A Little Rest for the Weary
I like the pause that tea allows. ~ Waris Ahluwalia
I’m writing this post while taking a cup of tea on the deck of my sister’s place. Also typing this on an actual keyboard instead of with my thumbs which is more exciting for me than you can imagine, I really hate posting from my phone and typing with my thumbs drives me nuts. I’ve linked into individual posts or links to more information about each of the places throughout the piece where possible, enjoy.
It was a wild two months and it was both long and went by too fast like every other trip. Tonight, just to get back into the groove a little recap, some minor highlights from the trip. Although while on the road I got out some good reports and some photos, I have a lot more photos and a lot more to say about my time abroad. I’m taking comfort in the familiar at the moment, the little things I posted about. The biggest is that after three days stateside I’ve finally stopped thinking about which language to speak in before I speak and just using English. The last five weeks or so I’ve been in non-English speaking countries with wide varieties of English availability which was both awesome and challenging. I have to admit it is nice right now to just talk, but it’s a brief respite as I move to Oaxaca, Mexico in three weeks.
The trip I was on had a really good balance. I spent the first two weeks hiking the West Highland and Great Glen Ways in Scotland. Followed up by a short taste of hiking the Camino de Santiago. Scotland was fantastic but I set a rigid schedule that was a bit faster than I should have, an additional day on both trails would have made both experiences even more enjoyable. I was blessed with both pretty good weather and minor amounts of midges on both trails, something that doesn’t always happen hiking in Scotland in the summer.
My experience on the Camino de Santiago (Primitivo) wasn’t as pleasant. The trail is a bit too suburban for my liking. Too much road walking and too much proximity to people’s houses and their dogs, three of which took extreme exception to my presence. I think a lot of people do their first long-distance hiking experience on a Camino and come to the hike with more of a spiritual focus. This is not me at this point in my life and so I think it’s easier for others to have a better experience on the trail. I think that’s great that the trail can work for them in this way, it just didn’t for me.
Spain – Part 1
Before and after the Camino my landing pad was Oviedo. A really nice city in Northern Spain. I grew to have quite a bit of affection for the town. It’s compact, walkable, loaded with restaurants, cultural sites and cathedrals. The people were welcoming and there was just a really comfortable vibe there. After abandoning the Camino I decided to go to the beach in Spain. I went up to a town named Gijon and spent five days relaxing and enjoying the waves, walking on the beach and the trails along the coast. It was a really nice place to wind down after my hikes. I finished my first swing through Spain by spending a few days in the city that is the endpoint for all Camino hikes, Santiago de Compostela. Santiago was an interesting place, the central cathedral is supposed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul. It’s a heavy tourist destination between hikers and religious tourists with a lot of places to see and lot’s of good photo opportunities. I finished this leg with a couple of days in Fisterra on the coast, the end of the Primitivo hike.
I visited three different cities in Portugal. Porto, the second largest city in the Northwest of the country near the Spanish border, then to a little place called Aveiro and finally down to Lisbon. Each was different, Lisbon was very much a big city, Porto had a complex landscape of big city, tourist town with a healthy dose of poverty. Aveiro was very much the picturesque little tourist town.
I landed in Marrakesh and what a frantic and amazing place it was. The medina, the souks and the main square are everything you’ve ever heard they were and more. I liked Marrakesh but it also wore me out. I left there by train through Casablanca to Tangier where I spoiled myself for two days in a five star hotel with a rooftop pool. I would leave Africa by ferry to Barcelona.
I really can’t believe I haven’t written about Barcelona yet, but posts are coming I promise, it was a really amazing place, for now just some photos.
Back in America
So I’m back in NY visiting family and planning on visiting some friends and doing some writing and photography as I prep for my move to Mexico. Lot’s more coming in the next couple of weeks my friends, I hope you have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane