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Mar 30, 2019 - Valcarlos and Roncesvalles

29 March It was a hot and sunny day all the way to Valcarlos. Didn’t get lost even once. I must have started late because I saw few pilgrims on the way and not a lot in Valcarlos so I suspect that most just hiked on through to Roncesvalles. Which made sense. I left SJPP at 9:00 a.m. and arrived in Valcarlos as the noon church bells were ringing. Which left me lots of time to look about. Valcarlos has a store dedicated to Jamón here. Not much else. And no snow anywhere along the way or in the mountains (hills) around here. Met an...

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Solo Camino 2019

Mar 28, 2019 - Saint Jean Pied de Port

There is something mystical about arriving at the start of the Camino. Pilgrims anxious but excited, meeting and greeting others, talk about "is the high route open?", stories they have heard about places to stay or not stay and lots of talk about food. It seems to be on everyone's mind. Bayonne is really the start of it all. A French town near the Atlantic coast with a lovely river and fantastic restaurants along a canal. And the train to Saint Jean Pied de Port. The last time I was here the train wasn't running so we had to bus to Saint...

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Solo Camino 2019

Aug 21, 2018 - Champagne area

Then wandered through the champagne area of France. Met up with neighbours from Papamoa, Kate and John, who are doing the same as us. One of the nights we stayed at a winery – it was luxury! Were parked under trees, which was so nice in the heat. Had a covered area beside us, showers and toilets, barbecues available (charcoal provided), dishwashing area, lounge and free washing machine. €15 for the night. Pretty good, when it usually costs €8 for a load of washing. Our barbecue took quite a while to get going, but we hunted in the trees for...

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Aug 28, 2016 - Larrasonana to Cizur Menor

Humph! I didn't hear my alarm go off this morning at 0500, but I do hear hear someone elses at 0540. We hit the trail at 0615, which is still ok, in the dark. The downside comes about 5 kms into the walk. We were following the road and missed the turnoff, arrow, shell, way marking of some sort to take the trail. The road went up the mountain about 3 kms. Nice scenery with lots of forrest and logs everywhere stacked up. Reminiscent of British Columbia last year on my bike ride, going thru logging country. About half way up the hill, since we...

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Walking with Dad

Aug 27, 2016 - Ronsavalles to Larasonia

Today was a long day of walking-27 kms worth. We started at 0745, and ended at 1830 ish. This was too long of a day for Dad, and much too hot. I felt fully recovered this morning, and it has carried through for the entire day. Dad was proud to kick my ass the first day. I am only too happy to hand it back to him!Todays walk was mostly uphill to sort of flat, and in the shade for the better part. It looked like the end was supposed to be flat but, na, it ends uphill, and the end of the day was hot. Once we checked into the hostel, we walked...

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Walking with Dad

Aug 26, 2016 - The Challenge Begins, Destination Ronsavalles

August 26, 2017 We are up at 0540, along with a number of others that are anxious to get an early start to their Camino. We are out the door by 0600, and stop at the bakery which has just opened for the day. We have a couple treats each along with some black coffee, and the we are off! The first 6 kms are on pavement. Mostly rolling hills, and not too bad. The next 9 kms, are all on a dirt path. This is where the fun begins today. It's mostly straight uphill, and a challenge, but I am managing fine. The next, and last 10 kms of the day are...

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Trip Journal


Walking with Dad

May 20, 2016 - Cannes - leave off the 's' substitute 'r' for the first 'n' and you are nearly there

This was one of the more surreal days of our holiday. We caught the bus from our place in Villeneuve-Loubet to Cannes. This took an hour and we saw a bit of suburban France on the way. We had hoped to see the wonderful coast but not on our bus. When we got there: heaps of people. Heaps of luxury. We walked along the board walk and saw many different people groups/nationalities and down right different. We stayed to watch the cattle judging at the film festival for which this place is famous. Yes we just happened to be here during the...

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May 18, 2016 - Village hop

We went all over the place today. Saw the source of the Sourge at Fontaine de Vaucluse. Interesting walk up a creek. INterstnig theories on the source. We saw paper being made out of rags, beautiful villages up hills, old churches, older monastery, stone huts, where ochre is mined in Rousilon and of course narrow roads. These are fine until someone comes at you in the other direction. And when it is a camper van I sweat. Never hit the gutter Chris is sure we will end up in it though. There is a famous abbey here that is on lots of post...

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May 17, 2016 - Visit Vaison la Romain

You guessed it - Romain ruins all over the place, along with Medieval remains. We fluked a market day (again) so the place was incredibly crowded. Parking the car we took the usual precautions of taking a picture of where we parked it, wrote down street names and this time no map as we are feeling like locals - not really I don't think we could lose it. So much fresh quality looking cheese, fruit, vegetables olive oil, nuts, dried fruit, seafood and then so much junk. I am sure $2 shops empty their shelves in the hope of selling something....

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May 16, 2016 - Off to Orange

I wanted a quiet day to help my recovery from a cold. Yes thanks for your concern. So we drove about 30 minutes north to Orange where there are the remains of a Roman theatre. A huge structure and some of the building still remains. This is surprising as the Romans must have been hated by the locals and their conquerors. There is a huge arc de triumph on the way in. It shows graphically in freeze Romans beating up the locals. Lots of stone was removed and reinvented in other buildings, and the whole structure was built upon for housing....

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Jun 30, 2015 - Ajaccio and Corte, Corsica

Ajaccio and Corte - Corsica After finishing the GR20 Sud, we had a few days up our sleeves and so we thought we would explore some of Corsica's towns. We got the train from Vizzavona to the coastal town of Ajaccio, famous for being the birthplace of the one and only Napoleon Bonaparte. Ajaccio was to be our base for the next two nights. Our hotel was central to everything and we enjoyed wandering around the local streets, grocery shopping and browsing. We even picked up our own Corsican vendetta knives, hoping they won't be confiscated by...

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Jun 27, 2015 - GR20 - Corsica Sud - Day 7

GR20 - Corsica Sud - Day 7 We departed the Refuge de Prati for Capanelle - a wonderful sounding place which Paddy described in his guidebook as having bars and restaurants. We began to ascribe it mythical qualities. Perhaps there would be a masseuse. Perhaps there would be electricity and wifi (pronounced wee fee here). It was beginning to sound like the Emerald City, where all our dreams could be fulfilled. We plodded downhill again through beautiful shady and cool forests, coming across another hiking dog with his own backpack. We reached...

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