German Christmas Market

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The last travel related item of my 2018 bucket list! Chris and I enjoyed a long weekend which focused on the Christmas Market in Bremen. More details will shortly be available on our travel blog…

 

 

 

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Hello Eastbourne!

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Eastbourne Pier

Eastbourne is situated along the south coast of England and was the recent end point of my 13 mile Seven Sisters trek! A ‘Victorian landmark’ the Pier is one of Eastbourne’s famous sights and I had a quick wander to the end and back while we waited for the bus to take us to Seaford to begin our trek back to Eastbourne.

Eastbourne seemed a typical British seaside town complete with amusements, fish and chip shops and… stripy beach huts!

The walk took around 5 hours in total and we arrived in Eastbourne at 7 pm, just in time for dinner in a local pub and a couple of drinks 🙂

I certainly have Eastbourne in mind for future adventures… this is the end of the South Downs Way, a 100 mile trail which begins in Winchester. Definitely something I would love to do at some point…

I admit that I slightly tweaked this challenge… originally it was to visit a new city in the UK however I’m not sure I’ll get to a new city this year so decided to settle on a new town instead… the good thing about a personal blog is you can make up the ‘rules’ and chop and change as you go along…

 

 

 

 

August book reviews(s)

Book number 14

Book read: The Little Princess by Casey Watson

One of the most powerful and emotional books I’ve ever read was ‘One Child’ by Torey Haden which I read sometime around 2004. The contents of that book were horrifying and humbling and caused me to take a different approach to life and really appreciate my own upbringing.

This short book was also sickening and also described the abuse of a 6 year old girl. The girl had been removed from her own evil parents and was taken in to spend Christmas with a foster family. While only a short story I feel full of admiration and respect for families such as Casey’s who consistently give generosity and kindness in such tragic circumstances.

 

Book number 15

Book read: Thunder and Sunshine: Around the World by bike Part 2 by Alastair Humphreys

Wow… another superb book which I read quickly as I found it difficult to put down! Having travelled pretty much the length of South America in 2016 I could closely relate to many of the places Alastair visited on his epic adventure from the tip of South America or ‘El Fin Del Mundo’ (the end of the World) to the top of Alaska.

OK… so Alastair cycled and I took the soft luxury option travelling by plane, bus and cruise liner however I was able to visualise many South American places as well as LA, Seattle and Alaska.

The book continued with Alastair’s incredible cycle journey through Siberia… in the winter and then through Asia and back into Europe inspiring me to do something more adventurous and push a few more boundaries… I’m not yet sure what…

Alastair had some awesome quotes in his book too, particularly towards the end as he reflected on his fantastic journey:

Page 341: How mad we are to neglect our body, the very machine that carries all our thoughts, emotions, ambitions, dreams, fears and our life itself. And yet we still expect to live smoothly, healthily and happily to a ripe old age.” So very true and something I am very conscious of… especially now that I am 50…

Page 339: I decided to see some of the world and to escape from England and the conveyor belt of my life” most people probably do live on a conveyor belt of a life and conform to a similar pattern without even questioning they could be doing something different…

 

 

 

Cuba holiday

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So… a shared celebration with my best friend! We’ve just returned from a wonderful and relaxing holiday in Cuba to celebrate that we are both 50 this year! My lovely friend Bridget and I have known each other since we met at school when we were about 13 and through the ups and downs of life we have remained good friends ever since!

A full update on our Cuba fun and frolics are available on my travel blog frombluetogreen.com 🙂

 

 

Smashed 1000 miles!

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Local river

A short mid week update as today I passed the 1000th mile walked so far in 2018 🙂

The weather in the UK has been awesome this week… temperatures up to 30 degrees C and endless blue skies… perfect for clocking up several miles in these gorgeous evenings.

I walked a total 16 miles today:

  • Walking to the stations and back (5 miles)
  • Gym cross trainer and tread mill (5 miles)
  • Evening local walk (6 miles)

These miles don’t include miles when I am milling around the office or popping out to get some lunch or wandering around at home. They are miles walked over and above what is necessary to conduct my day to day life. I wasn’t originally going to include gym miles but as I work so hard to achieve them I felt they should be included. I estimate that around 25% (or 250 miles) would have been gym miles.

As of today I’ve walked a total of 1,007 miles so only 43 off my personal target of walking 1050 extra miles this year and in only 6 months rather than 12!

I’m doing more and more miles each week and its getting easier and easier to walk around 15 miles some days… I haven’t been this fit in years, if not decades! Previously, after a 10 mile hike I would collapse on the sofa for the rest of the evening. Now, after 15 miles I feel I could keep going on and on and with no aching muscles in the mornings. (Although this would be a different story if my hikes included hills or mountains… the area in which I live is very flat…)

 

 

 

Snowshoeing!

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I had the opportunity to try snowshoeing while on a day trip to Mount Rainier National Park while visiting Seattle recently.

Wikipedia explains the purpose of snowshoes is to distribute the weight over a larger area so the person doesn’t sink into the snow while hiking…

May is nearing the end of the snow season in this part of the national park which meant the snow was slushy and watery in places. However, they did ensure more grip was had on the snow and I was far more confident coming down the steep slope than I would usually be…

 

 

 

 

May book review(s)

Book number 7

Book read: Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson

This is the first book by a famous travel writer that I’ve read this year. This book documents Bryson’s trip from the very top of Europe starting in Hammerfest in Norway as he travels across the continent and right through to Istanbul where the east of Europe meets Asia.

This was Bryson’s first travel book which was written in 1991 and I must say that I did read the original paperback version when it was published then, so over 25 years ago.

It felt weird reading this book again as it is nothing like I remembered it! This shows how time can distort the way you remember things… I have since been to many of the places he visited which is great as I can now relate to them. Maybe this is another reason I remembered the book so differently?

This isn’t the best book of my 50@50 challenge year by any means… Bryson does complain a great deal and does paint himself as a stereotypical moany tourist… I found the book funny in places but after a while the jokes become a bit tedious…

 

Book number 8

Book read: Lone Rider by Elspeth Beard

Elspeth was the first female to circumnavigate the world by motorbike and documents this fantastic journey in the form of her book. She is incredibly inspiring as she shares every detail including accounts of her being treated badly, being ill and having to deal with nightmare bureaucratic border crossings.

She did this between 1982 and 1984 so long before the days of smart phones and sat navs… and while in her early 20’s…

I was in the middle of reading of her immense courage and the hardships she overcame on her own while on my recent solo trip to Montenegro. This really put my trip into perspective… the short flight, comfy hotel, things to do, people being super friendly so not even a little toe dipped out of my comfort zone… Elspeth inspired me to do something more adventurous another time…

Elspeth noticed that people in developing countries seemed far happier as she reflected on her journey towards the end of the book:

“It was clear to me how easy it is to take things for granted and forget to be grateful for the basics in life: family, food and shelter.”

This is something I also noticed while travelling around the world in 2016… travelling in developing countries is a humbling experience…

 

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Always up for more adventures…

 

 

April book review

Book number 6

Book read: The Long and Whining Road by Simeon Courtie

An interesting and realistic account of a family of 5 who travelled around the world in an old VW camper van. The author (the dad, Simeon) gives you a good insight of what would be involved if you ever wanted to take on such a trip, setting out a number of issues for example with border controls and with shipping their van between continents.

This book did take me a while to get into so progress was slow at the beginning. However the book got better and better as the family continued to drive through Europe and into Turkey, Syria and Jordan and onto India, Australia and the US.

Incredibly Simeon drove his family through Syria although thankfully for them this was shortly before the tragic events of Syria took hold. Even so, he described the tensions the family felt in a country on the brink of civil war.

This book definitely inspired me even more to take on something similar… maybe not driving around the world in one go but I would certainly love to drive around the UK, Europe, Australia and the US in camper vans!