Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Home


People often ask me of we have a favorite place we have travelled and I always have the same reply. It is each and every place I have been and the moment that I am in them. In this way I am able to fully savor each and every place and still be excited for what is ahead.

We have had the most extraordinary opportunities to pursue our love of travel and culture. From Southeast Asia to the Middle East and many places in-between we have been the recipient of many gifts. For me, there is something very freeing about this part of my life and I am always trying to incorporate it into my life back home. I am still working on this but each time I leave and return the new me gets a bit more confident in the living a treasured life.

We are home now and I am processing all that has been a part of this journey. The beauty of something new. The familiarity of something revisited. The excitement of spontaneity. And the hope for what is ahead. I am back on my walking 'program' and use this time to daydream of our next adventures.


But for now, I am savoring this moment of beauty in my favorite place of all. Home with family.

 You are the anchor of my heart...

Friday, November 3, 2017

Heidelberg Germany


Today we went into Heidelberg which is situated on the Neckar River, a tributary of the Rhine. It houses the oldest university in Germany and is  one of the oldest in all of Europe. The weather was perfect as we walked along the Philosophers Way up over the city and  enjoyed a fantastic view of the quaint village and river below. Many families were out today as this is considered a holiday and the Germans take their holidays seriously. It made for a lively day and we enjoyed this reprieve from thoughts and plans of travel.



It is pumpkin season here and we were the recipients of wonderful pumpkin dishes. From soups to risotto and ravioli we had them all. The Germans love their beer and some regions even consider it a food group so we enjoyed it as well. The pastry is rich and hearty and meets my definition as a perfect desert and breakfast meal.


It is certainly an enchanting area and we can see why it is such a popular place for locals and visitors alike. We are thinking this is an area we may want to explore again and are looking forward to pursuing that.

Always think of you in these beautiful places. You are the most beautiful part of our lives.

You are loved...

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Picturesque Germany


We are excited to be in Germany! It was one of our considerations last year at the end of our planned walk through the UK. I had the opportunity to spend time in Lebanon, where my family is from,  a few years ago and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. We have always wanted to return here so Tom could experience his heritage as well. It was an unexpected treat to be here and we are thrilled.

The German culture is very different from the Spanish lifestyle but both countries are stunning in their own ways. We are staying in Labac, a small village near Rammstein. It's beauty is postcard perfect and it is as if can not get enough ofl the beautiful landscapes and historical sites as we meander this area while we are here. We are the guests of Lois and Gurdon whom we met on our Space-A travels and they have been incredible hosts by allowing us to stay in their home and by being the absolute best tour guides! We even got to ride their e-bikes with gel seats through the countryside for a while! It was a real treat.


It is a holiday weekend and so most Germans are off work. They will enjoy time with their families enjoying  outdoor activities. None will be working, in fact, you are not even to do yard work or fix your car because this is considered a religious holiday. It is the 500th year anniversary of Reformation Day and All Saints Day and they take this very seriously. We were in awe of the number of families outdoors on this holiday and began to experience their joy of recreation. 

We will head out to Heidelberg later today to walk the Philosophers Way and then enjoy a day in this beautiful city along the river. 





Thinking of you...you would love it here.

Gibraltar or Germany...


We had decided we would take advantage of our time in this area and intentionally spend a few days enjoying a life in this coastal region before heading home. We rented bicycles and rode along the beaches, through the surrounding small villages, and then at the urging of one of our friends on base, a twenty-five mile ride to one of our favorite small costal village. We felt energized and legendary. Our bum was a bit sore the next day but that did not hinder us at all.

After the return of our bikes we decided to pick up a car and drive to Gibraltar. We had visited this area in 2009 and really enjoyed our time here. Besides, Tom was having a craving for fish and chips English style. We stopped into the PAX where the car rental office is and happened to hear that a C21 Lear Jet was flying through and might be willing to pick up a few passengers and take them to Germany. Our car would not be ready until about the time the jet was coming so we decided to try to take that flight to Germany and if we were not accepted we would take the car to Gibraltar. Seemed like a fun thing to do and either way we would be good...

 It paid off and we were were accepted on that flight and got to fly in an Air Force C21 Lear Jet. It was a first for me and an incredible experience. Within a few hours we were in Germany and checked into a beautiful suite at the General Canon Hotel on the Rammstein Air Force Base. It was a bit cooler (30 degrees) but we were happy to be in this beautiful area.


We will connect with a couple of our friends who live in this area and explore places we have not been before.


Thinking of you...home soon.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Gift

  

It has been nearly six weeks since we left home and I feel a lifetime has passed as we rest our bones for a few days before beginning the process of our return. It is really not the physical rest we need although the leisurely pace we move while here and the warm sun and cool breezes upon us helps restore our physical needs. It really is the rest of my heart and soul that I am savoring now. In the quiet of these moments they are being restored  and I am able to look at things differently than when I first arrived.

It has been a year since we returned from Spain where I had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder with a very abrupt onset. I was told at the time a few things could happen. I could develop an acute autoimmune disease, a neoplastic disease, or it could just resolve itself. It would take about a year to know for sure and after monthly medical check ups I believe it has resolved itself without further complications. It was a hard year for me in many ways and I am just now appreciating where this year has brought me. 


There is something very freeing for me in these pilgrimages and I am still learning many things as we continue to experience life this way.  With our technology we had the ability to look ahead at both the topography and weather before we set out each day. Sometimes that knowledge was daunting and I found  it could alter the way I felt our day might go. I might worry about the degree of difficulty, the length of our walk, or how the weather might hinder us. I realized this early on and chose not to use these pieces of information to  try not to predict the outcome of each day in advance because if I dwelled on what might happen I might miss what was actually happening. And, there was such exquisite beauty all around me I did not want to miss any of it.


I am a firm believer that our day to day lives do not change much. There are the exceptional days but what changes is our perception of them. We become prisoners of our mind and thoughts and true freedom comes when we realize that each day is a gift.  We ourselves are a gift. Another day may follow but this day will not pass again. I can not dwell in what might be or what might have been, I can only move forward the very best way I can. How foolish I would be to not live and appreciate each day as if my days were numbered.

So we rest here for a bit. Savoring these moments and yet, eager to come home to you. You are the best places in my heart...




  







Tuesday, October 24, 2017

From Santiago to Porto, Portugal!


Much to our surprise we finished this portion of our walk in less than a week. We had the opportunity to experience places we had not been before and to share some of our favorite Spainish traditions with our friends during our time on the trail. We were feeling invincible when we we were a mere twenty three miles from Santiago and decided to walk the entire distance in one day. We were greeted with a lovely finale. A pelting rain and hailstorm which left us soaking wet! It was awesome and made for a most memorable entry.



There usually are a variety of feelings we have when we have completed our journey and the time comes to move on. This time was no different.  We were feeling very exuberant and excited and as the weather cleared our need for a  celebratory destination intensified. We decided on Porto, Portugal! A lovely and easy port city within a few hours from Santiago. So off we went...


A funny thing happened as we began. There were only two seats left on the bus to Porto and there were four of us with no other options for the rest of the day. Out of the blue, our cab driver offered to drive us to Portugal for a reasonable amount of money. We took him up on his offer and so off we drove to the next country in a cab! It was a nice way to travel. We found a lovely place to stay with a beautiful balcony and enjoyed the most beautiful sunsets over the city. We indulged in every delight around us and experienced some unforgettable moments. We stayed up late and slept in even later. It was a lovely way to celebrate our accomplishments.


Today we begin the process of heading back to Espana. Still a bit of an adventure to get back to where we need to be but we are up for it. Marguery and Louie are heading to Barcelona where they will spend a few days before heading home. We will be heading south to warm our bones a bit before heading back to you. 


We have missed you very much in these lovely and fun moments. Looking forward to being with you soon and catching up. You are the best and you are loved...

Buen Camino

Life With Friends


We are in Sarria on the Camino Frances and ready to walk again on the French Way. We will meet up with our friends the Martina's and walk into Santiago with them. While we have met many people on this road that we still count as friends, this will be the first time we will be taking someone we know with us. We have been looking forward to this for quite some time.




These moments give me time to reflect upon the meaning of friendship and travel. It really is a time we get to practice trust and vulnerability by sharing the parts of ourselves that we usually only share with each other. We will learn each others idiosyncrasies and develop a deeper understanding of who we are in moments that are very beautiful or very stressful. I think our friendship will only deepen as we walk this Way together. We continue to be thankful for the many years and experiences we have been blessed to share together as friends.


We look forward to the time when we are together again.

Until then...

Buen Camino