Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2 months later...(continued...)

Some internet troubles made it necessary for me to publish my last post without quite finishing. So,here continues the post on 'Favourites and Highlights' from our trip overseas.

 Favourite 'Look Twice' Moment:
Kathy and I were hiking a craggy, rough, rutted trail up from Collioure in the Pyreenes area of France, to Fort St. Elme.  The going was steep and demanding.
Suddenly, to our great surprise, we saw a cyclist travelling down this same path.  Shake our head, blink our eyes, is he really travelling this terrain?  And, if he is coming down, did he really cycle up?
He stopped to chat, a friendly, young Scotttish Adventurer. He assured us that although the path was difficult, he loved the challenge, and encouraged us that we were nearly there. 
Congratulations to Alistair (I made that name up) for accomplishing the impossible!

My 'Greatest Accomplishment' - Hiking the Cinque Terre:

It was a real test of my fitness, my fortitude!  It was the most physically demanding thing I have done since... giving birth??  Five hours of climbing, mostly uphill.  It felt like 5 straight training sessions from my personal trainer, Melissa.  The tourist guide books all suggest taking the low-lying paths from village to village.  But no, we decided to head upwards into the less travelled terraced hills on a hot, humid day.  "Leave early in the morning, to beat the heat" the book suggested.  And we left sometime after 10:30am.  oops!
The first 3 hours we set out from Vernazza and hiked towards Montorossa.  The resulting views were exceptional, and well worth the effort!
At some strategic point along the climb, we happened upon a natural spring.  What a Godsend!  "Water from the rock is what I needed!"
 We cooled off, filled out water bottles, and set out again!
Ahhh... heading downhill!
We had a break for lunch and set out again, this time from Vernazza to Corniglia.  That second half of the day I thought I would perish!  But the very good news is that I did it!  I persevered and pushed onwards and upwards.  I nearly gave up, but we finally crested the top of the climb and it was downhill then to this-
I would like to visit the Cinque Terre again.  I hope I have an opportunity to do this!  Possibly in 3 or 4 years time I can do these hikes as a fitter, smaller version of myself, with Robert, and Kathy and John!  Here's hoping and praying, (and training!).

'Favourite Photos' of Each Traveller:
She is such a charmer!  Kathy loved meeting people!  She never hesitated to approach someone for some information or just a chat.  She made a point of attempting a photograph with a man in uniform in each city.  Her new friend here is happy to drop his guard for a quick moment and pose with her.


So relaxed and relieved to be in this idyllic setting - a sparkling clean, quiet, 16th Century Auberge, Cote Loire, in the peaceful town of Blois in France. 

Love, love, love this!  Look at my beautiful girl!  The colours in that scarf do all the right things for Anna.  And the ecclectic mix of Bohemian glass, jewels, and treasures in this Prague souvenier shop are a lovely backdrop. Between them, Gill and Anna bought 15 cashmere/silk pashminas for "friends gifts".

Typically, I had trouble finding a pic that I liked of myself.  But 'Mary Bird in Rome' was such a concept, that I ended up choosing this one.  I had to pinch myself that this city experience was really happening to me!  (By the way, I became so sick of wearing that top that I threw it out on our last night in Frankfurt!)

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