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    Europe Travel

    The Long Haul

    My Camino

    Location: Camino de Santiago

    Day 14 and there is something happening that hadn’t occurred to me before – mental fatigue. Walking everyday, all day it begins to set in just how long this adventure is, both in miles and in days. At two weeks in I’m astonished at how far we still have to go. The days, weeks and miles unfold ahead in and endless fog and the end seems nowhere in sight.

    And so we settle in for the long haul. 

    After two weeks we have made some adjustments to help both the physical and mental strain;

    1. We are taking days off. Today we arrived in Burgos. Originally we had planned Burgos to be our first day off but it is actually our second. We plan to take at least one day a week off from here on. Originally we planned to arrive in Santiago around
    October 8th. Now we think it will be the 11th.

    2. I got rid of my pack. Arne has changed his mind about it being “cheating” not to carry the pack. I feel so much better now. The service picks up the pack in the morning and it is waiting for me when we arrive at our destination. We have lightened Arne’s load too, putting much of what he was carrying into my pack to take at least ten lbs off of him. 

    3. We are listening to our bodies. Most of our early aches and pains have gone, but we both have colds and the plantar fasciitis has continued  to give me trouble. Today, rather than take a chance of completely ruining my foot we called a cab to take us the last three miles into Burgos. My thinking is better I take a cab three miles than have my whole Camino ruined.  Tomorrow in Burgos I might go shop for some shoes that can provide me some additional support.

    With all that said, we are really thankful to be here.  Each mile has something new be it people or scenery or history or weather. Spain is a gorgeous place and all along the Camino the people are kind and supportive. We have met people from all around the world – Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Germany , France, England, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, and of course the USA (Nebraska, Ohio, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Florida).

    We have found our comfort zone in our pace and in
    our style of accommodations. Still working out the food however (blog to come on that).  Rain has threatened but only materialized twice and Mother Nature has been very gentle on us and we are very grateful for that.

    Walking side by side with my husband we sometimes go thirty minutes without speaking.  And other times we talk about the future or reminisce about the past or laugh and sing and pass the time in idle chatter.

    Each day is good.  We have settled in for the long haul.

    179 miles so far. 310 miles to go.

    Europe Travel

    My Camino

    In the beginning…

    Location: Camino de Santiago

    It was a relief to finally start walking. I just needed to GO. And so we did.

    Day One. Leaving Saint Jean Pied de Port

    We arrived in Saint Jean Pied de Port France on the evening of August 31st. Went straight to the Albergue we had reserved in advance, located right in the Camino. But at checkin

    On the steep climb on day one

    the very rude owner
    told us we would need to pay again, even though we had a paid in full confirmation from

    Bunk room in Orisson Apparently Booking. Com hadn’t paid her, even though we booked months ago. Arne says to her this is between her and She says no, I won’t allow you in the room until you pay.

    Ugh. What are we supposed to do?  We need a place to sleep. So we pay. She is not kind. We are pissed and now need to try and get a refund from

    The Albergue in Orisson

    So I try to put it behind me. I want my mind clear and focused on the task we have worked hard for. We sleep restlessly and are up and ready to go by 7:30am. Step out the door and we are on the path. Here we go.

    The beginning poses a problem. You need to choose. Either only go five miles day one because it is very

    We frequently have an audience.

    steep. Or do the steep five miles and then continue another 12 to the next town.

    Since it was day one we chose the short day. And it was very steep, and also very beautiful. But it wasn’t all that difficult to do just five miles and we were at our stopping point by 10am. Sheesh. What were we going to do all day?

    Water is available all along the route

    We ate lunch at 10:30 because I was starving. We then showered and sat out in the sun to get my hair to dry. But the weather then took a turn so we went and laid in our bunk beds and read for hours.

    We were in a bunk room with a total of ten beds. Arne was the only male. Women seem to outnumber men about four to one.  Curious that.

    Dinner in Orisson

    Dinner for forty people was served at 6:30 and it was really delicious – chicken and vegetables with wine.  We enjoyed talking to other guests and then everyone introduced themselves and said where they were from.  Pilgrims from South Korea, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, Ireland, Holland, England, Spain, France and the USA.  We briefly told our story about how the Camino was the

    Bread and coffee for breakfast

    catalyst for our Grand Adventure and we got a big round of applause.

    I slept like a log with my ear plugs in and woke at 6:15.  Breakfast so far has only been bread and jam and coffee.  I’m a bit disappointed by that.  I really need some protein when I’m tackling a mountain.  But no protein for this mountain.

    It was beautiful but chilly when we started walking at 7:45.  We had 12 miles today, and most of it up.  But after less than an hour we saw the storm coming.  We stopped and put our rain covers on our packs and put on our ponchos.

    The start of day two

    The rain came.  It was a sideways rain.  Very cold.  Windy and the damp seeped into my bones.  Slogging along the fog so thick we couldn’t see more than 40 feet in front of us.  After an hour I needed to put on another layer.  I was shivering and so cold so we stopped and got out another coat.  Then we continued the climb.  We ate our sandwiches as we walked because it was just too wet to stop.  Slogging on.

    Miserable conditions

    Finally the wind stopped and the rain lessened.  Grateful.  At the peak elevation 4680 feet there was actually someone selling hot coffee.  I think he was an angel in disguise.  That coffee made the

    At the summit 1420 metres

    remaining three miles down much easier.

    We arrived in Roncesvalles 6 hours after leaving Orison. Here we have a real hotel.  No bunk beds.  Happy Hiker! Hot shower, a little yoga, a beer.  Oh the pleasures of life!

    Tomorrow is a long one – 17 miles.  But it is relatively flat and hopefully dry.  Surely better weather than today!

    Our route yesterday, today and tomorrow

    Total so far 17 miles!  Only 472 more to go!! 😳

    Buen Camino!



    Asia & Oceana Travel

    Time to Tiki Tour the Wop-Wop

    Chapter Six -New Zealand Impressions

    Location: New Zealand

    We have been in New Zealand 12 days already. Several words come to mind to describe this country in my early impressions;

    CHEERFUL – the people here! Wow!  They are all so happy and nice. Something in the water?  Or maybe they realize how good they’ve got it in this beautiful country.

    PATRIOTIC – everyone we talk to loves their


    country and wants to tell you all the things you shouldn’t miss while you are here. They actually seem to like tourists.

    COURTEOUS – the roads in New Zealand aren’t freeways. And they do drive fast and on the left. But everyone is so courteous. They don’t use their horn, they allow others to pass when it’s safe. Also everywhere there are these one lane bridges. Everyone waits their turn. And it works. It just

    Blues and greens


    FUNNY – New Zealanders love to give things nicknames and it’s fun to listen to them talk.  Of course they call themselves Kiwis; their flip flops are jandles; sunglasses are sunnies; breakfast is brekkie.  Clothes are togs, the corner market is the dairy, caravan is a camper and wop-wop is out in the boonies. Ta means thanks, stoked is excited and choka means overflowing.  And the one I like the best is “tiki-tour”  that’s what we are on – a tour without any real destination.

    Interesting finds while tramping

    OUTDOORSY – Trekking (or tramping as it is also called) is a national pastime and everyone young and old is out tramping about on the trails everywhere we go. Being on the water is also a national pastime (this is an island after all) and people are on the beach, in the water and on the

    The trails

    water in kayaks, paddle boards, dinghies, sailboats, ski boats, water taxis, cruisers, yachts, ferries and cruise ships. Boats are everywhere.

    CLEAN – the water is the clearest and cleanest I have seen anywhere in the entire world. There is not a speck of litter ANYWHERE! The beaches are pristine as are the woods and trails and roads. And everywhere there are clean and efficient FREE public FLUSH toilets WITH TOILET PAPER!!!!


    GORGEOUS – we have spent most of our time so far enjoying the stunning scenery of the South Island and have been blessed with sunshine the past seven days. As we begin to journey farther south tomorrow I’m anticipating cooler and wetter weather. But even with the rain comes more waterfalls and beautiful rivers.

    COLOR – the multiple hues of green are amazing.


    Who knew there could be so many shades of green. And the turquoise of the water is such a surprise.

    EXPENSIVE – alas it’s not perfect. New Zealand is expensive. Gas is around $5.50 US per gallon. Groceries are very expensive, but not as expensive as eating out. Our Airbnb’s have been reasonable, but tomorrow we pick up our camper van. It will average about $100 a day (plus gas – yikes!).

    So starting tomorrow we are off in our caravan, wearing our sunnies and jandles, headed to the wop-wop on our tiki-tour.  And we’re stoked!

    Asia & Oceana Travel

    Glamping on the Abel Tasman

    Chapter Six – New Zealand’s Upper South Island

    Location: New Zealand

    I’m finding one of the most enjoyable parts of our grand adventure is the feeling of accomplishment in both physical endurance as well as in logistical planning. Our just-completed three-day hike on the Abel Tasman Track in the most northerly section of New Zealand’s South Island ticked both those boxes.

    The view and the water color was spectacular

    New Zealand was high on the destination list as we began our world tour planning three years ago. Hiking the Abel Tasman Track became part of the discussion about a year ago. So

    New Zealand’s famous silver fern. Silver on the bottom.

    early on day one of our hike we stopped and just breathed it all in. Look where we are!  We aren’t just talking about it, we are doing it! It’s such a remarkable, joyful, invigorating and even spiritual feeling. Accomplishing goals is my drug of choice.

    Parts of the trail was through lush green jungle-like forests

    Our journey was made especially lovely through the help of the Abel Tasman Guides out of Nelson, New Zealand. We knew we did not want to have a guide

    So many birds we have never seen before!

    lead us on our hike, but we also knew the logistical needs of sleeping and eating on the trek were going to be a challenge.  We are not traveling with camping gear and so that is where the Abel Tasman Guides come to the rescue.

    We were picked up at our Nelson hotel and transported to Marahau where we parted with our largest pack and kept just a daypack.  Our large pack would be transported ahead for us.  We then boarded the Abel Tasman Aqua Taxi for the ride to the beginning of our hike.

    It was cloudy and drizzly and the sea was quit rough as the boat not only brought us to our destination

    Our journey begins

    safely, but included several side tours into inlets and bays with our skipper describing the history, geology and flora

    Split Apple Rock as seen from the Abel Tasman Water Taxi

    and fauna of the area. We reached our destination of Totaranui after about two hours. Here is where our

    The views!!

    hike would begin. And by the grace of the Maori – the sun came out!

    The first day was only about 6 miles and it provided us some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen

    At the estuary

    in my life. We had been advised to take our time, because we needed to cross an estuary at low tide, which wasn’t until 4:00pm.

    We arrived at the estuary just before 4:00 and the

    A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

    unusually high tide combined with recent flooding from previous days had the water running much higher than usual. We

    Oyster catcher

    watched other hikers ford the stream with water up to their chest and waist. We waited about thirty minutes and then decided to give it a go. I didn’t mind getting my shorts wet because I had another pair but I really wanted to keep my shirt dry so I decided to wade across in my bra and shorts. It makes for a good story and the reality is we only got wet up to our upper thighs.

    Day one was finished as we arrived at the Awaroa Glamping site. Owner Mike greeted us with beer, wine and a smile. We were his only guests that night and he made us a delicious dinner of edamame, coleslaw and three kinds of pizza in his outdoor pizza oven. We had hot showers and then slept in a tent with a double bed inside. I slept like a rock.

    Day two Mike made us breakfast before escorting us back to the trail where we said our farewells and began our trek. This was our longest day and the weather made life grand. Sunshine and blue skies prevailed as we tramped along admiring the interesting plants and birds and spectacular

    Tree feens look like palm trees but are actually ferns.

    turquoise water.  When we arrived at the next tidal crossing the water was again very high. But here we had the option of adding an hour to our day by

    Inside a dead tree fern

    going around and over a headland to avoid wading. We opted to go around. Our total distance on day two was 17 miles.

    Glamping tonight was at Anchorage where huge multi-

    Glamping night two

    room tents were set up for us as well as several other trekkers. Dinner tonight was enjoyed with several other couples; a young American couple from California, a young French couple on their honeymoon, a “seasoned” fabulous American couple(just like us!) from Durango,

    Salmon dinner at Anchorage.

    Colorado traveling with their friends, two “seasoned” fabulous New Zealand couples. We all hit it off

    Dinner together night two

    and dined on salmon, salad, potatoes and chocolate brownies, prepared by Chris and the Abel Tasman Guide service.

    Day three allowed us to get a bit later start after breakfast as we headed out for a ten-mile final trek. We once again ogled the views, never seeming to tire of it. We ate our lunch and napped for an hour on the golden sand beach at

    A bit of a rest.

    Apple Tree Bay before arriving at our final destination back at Marahau. Here we joined our new friends for celebratory beers before the two-hour bus ride back to Nelson.

    The end of the journey

    We could not have enjoyed it any more than we did-  such a blessing to be here and to accomplish a 32 mile trek and come out smiling on the other end.

    And our time in New Zealand has barely just begun! We have more than five weeks to go!


    Cheers Mate!

    Chapter Six continues…