Saturday, September 22, 2018

Estaing to Espeyrac, France

Yesterday was another glorious day for walking with high clouds, an early morning fall chill turning into a warm afternoon. We have started earlier the past two days, at least by 8:15 instead of an hour or even two later. Signs Damon and Susana have gained much strength and are past the exhaustion of walking every day for ten to fifteen miles carrying a backpack of ten to twenty pounds. Of course, today we walk to Conques, France our intended goal to complete our pilgrimage at the famous Abbey St. Foy, where we will stay. But they are feeling strong with just a few aches and pains and will recover quickly. 

Last night at dinner we talked about seeing the many memorials to young men who died in the Great War, 1914 to 1918. One village had 250 inhabitants and 80 men died in the war. When the Nazis came a few years later, there was no one left to really offer resistance. The memorials to men who died in 1941 to 1945 have far fewer names, because the population was so depleted after the first war. Every village has a prominent memorial. 

Today we walked through forests of chestnuts, oaks and a few ash trees. The route is in and around a few farm buildings and through a small village where we sat outside at a cafe overlooking the countryside and had an espresso and an apple tart. It was so lovely.

We walked 13 miles and were not exhausted or hardly tired. Damon and I went down to the small stream for a quick and very cold dip, just for fun. The water is clear and about two feet deep. Damon actually sat down to get wet but I just let my feet turn numb and called it good. We laughed and enjoyed the cold on a warm day.

A lentil salad at dinner. The first three nights we had a lentil dish and have not seen them for days. And this salad dressing was just a vinegarette whereas all others have had Dijon mustard in them. 

It was hot and Damon and Susana stretched out on the grass.

I have to make the pear sorbet when I get home!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Walking in France

My son Damon and his wife Susana, from Ecuador, are walking with me in France on the Way of St. James to Santiago, Spain. We started in Le Puy en Velay and are walking to Conques. It is about 145 miles through the countryside, hamlets and small villages. Charming!
We carry small backpacks with a few clothes, water and cheese, sausage and bread for our picnic. Every day is different and we stay in a different place every night. 

A meal with other pilgrims. In Lestrade, France. Our beef is from the farm of our hostess, as are the vegetables and the schnapps at the end of the meal is made by her father. It tasted like straight alcohol and had a pear soaking in it. Horrible stuff. I had just enough to burn my throat. Dinner, a bed and breakfast cost 37 euros here.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Blue Lagoon day in Piran, Slovenia

Waking up a bit tired from yesterday’s 15 mile walk to Croatia for lunch, and back, I walked about five minutes over to the sea for a swim. There is a long sidewalk around the tip of the small peninsula and people lounge in sidewalk cafes just over looking the water. 

The water is so warm and clear and several small docks for swimmers are along the same path. When I got out there was a group setting up an open water swim competition so I went home and showered off the salt water and came back to watch. 
Competitors were all sizes and shapes swimming around a course of big orange bouys in the bay. 
Some did one lap, others two laps. It was pretty calm water, sunny and ideal for a big swim. 
The afternoon I spent sipping a Blue Lagoon, a fancy non-alcoholic fru-fru drink, had a cheese sandwich and colored my sketchbook and made postcards at a sidewalk cafe. It is nice they do not bring you a bill until you ask and you are welcome to stay as long as you want.Strolled up to the remaining city walls to watch the sunset. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Walk to Croatia and back to Piran, Slovenia.

A totally flat walk today along the shoreline on a railroad turned to paved path. Since it is Saturday there were lots of cyclists of all ages. 
The path goes along this canal. As you can see, it is more for local yokels, as opposed to the big yachts in the main harbor.

Not looking good here.

Some beautiful wood ships on the backwaters . Now it have walked the entire Mediterranean coast of Slovenia. Okay, it wasn’t that far😜

Friday, September 7, 2018

Walk from Muggia, Italy to Koper, Slovenia.

A well marked trail! Mostly on paved bike paths or sidewalks, through small villages, around a port with big ships. About 10 miles and it was hot and humid. Going to the mountains might have been a better idea after all. But the paths through olive groves and past gardens make it pleasant.

There was no border crossing and Slovenia is on the Euro, so that is easy.

Containers arrive on ships from Asia with cars. Looks like the cars are wrapped for the trip. 


A new dessert for me. Served in a small restaurant in the small town of Muggia, Italy. I walked here from Trieste, about 4 hours. I had no reservation and was so glad to come across this albergo, which is a hotel.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

An interesting story in the Underground Tour.

Saturday September 1, when I took the 5:30 pm Underground tour in Krakow, Poland, our guide showed us the displays and gave great explanations and he was interesting and fun. As a guide, he had taken the training for this museum, which is particular as it is all the artifacts unearthed when the Main Square was updated just a few years ago. It was an archeologist’s field day. Basically, it consisted of several graves, lost items amongst the garbage accumulated over the centuries and the original merchant stalls and cobblestone streets. 
But the cost of development of  making this into an underground museum was $250 million dollars, paid for by various groups and the government. It was fantastic. 
On one of the enclosed glass display shelves were two glazed ceramic pieces, about 2 inches round. These are hollow with several smallish holes all over them. But not perfectly round. When held in a hand and waved back and forth there was a swishing noise as the air moved through and over the holes, so our guide said.
He squatted down in front of the display case. 
Then he told us a personal story. 
When he was small, three years old, he became very sick. The doctor said he did not know why and there was nothing that helped him. His parents took him to West Berlin, to see doctors in the big medical center and it was very expensive. But they did not know what was wrong either and could not help. 
At home in Krakow again, his parents took four hour shifts sitting by his side as the doctor said he was going to stop breathing. As in die. 
His grandfather disappeared for four days. He has no idea where he went. When he returned it was with an old woman who had one of these roundish holed ceramic pieces. 
For three days she sat by his side and moved the piece back and forth, making a swishing sound. After the three days, she told his parents to gather herbs from the meadow, make a tea from them, enough to bathe the boy in a tub. 
When the boy was put into the water, he was immediately healed. Immediately. 
Then the old woman told the father to take the water or more exactly the disease, which I assume was in the water, out of the house and put it on a tree not faraway. 
In ten days the tree was totally dead. And the family has a picture of it. 
Now, he says, I am 36 years old and you can see I am big and healthy.
He stood up and said, we do not know as much as we think we do. His name is Thomas and he has a law degree, but loves guiding and telling us about his beloved city. Amazing.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

A little help from my (new) friends!

Thankful for people I meet who kindly help me when I goof up!

We met on the Food and Vodka tour in Krakow, Poland. After the tour we sat, having sampled four shots of different flavors of Vodka; carmel, honey and lemon, elderberry and plain. And chatted and had a beer. Then agreed to meet for the 5:30 pm Underground Tour in the Main Market square. I went back to my room, showered, rested and put more money in my purse. Not realizing I was putting Czeck money in my bag instead of Polish currency. It looks not familiar to me, either one. And I had several big bills, which is actually not that much in US dollars. 

So being confident of having enough for the tour and then some, and feeling rested and refreshed, I walked a few blocks to the tour meeting place, by the pyramid in the Main Square. 
It was nice to see my new friends and I most likely would not have done the tour without them. 
It was a fascinating tour of medieval Krakow, through excavations under the main square. 
Thomas, our guide, was great. Except at the end when payment was due, I pulled out my bills and he saw they were Czeck money and refused to take them. Of course, and I could not blame him, or quite figure out what to do about it. 
Then one of my new friends, the woman second from the left, stepped up and paid for me. It was about $17. I am so greatful! How very kind of her. 
And she would not let me pay her back, so now I can pay it forward! 
It turned out to be more than Food and  Vodka sort of day!

Carmel-coffee Vodka.

Soon I shall be this round if I keep up my extravagant eating.