For the neurotic hiker: Camino del Norte resources


I experienced a great deal of anxiety while walking the Camino, and much of it was centered around getting lost.  A part of me feared that we would disappear into the wilderness of northern Spain, licking the peanut dust off our empty snack bags to survive.

Never mind that Camino del Norte is not that wild; I was neurotic about having the right resources during our journey.

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It began with a movie: Why we walked Camino del Norte

We often get questions from readers about the Camino del Norte, which we walked in 2015, so we decided to set up a section on the blog dedicated to our hike.  It includes the 37 posts that we wrote while we were on the trail in Spain, listed chronologically.  It will also include, over time, more posts about the walk, including practical advice as well as an examination of the lessons that we learned along the way.  This first post is an introduction and a look at how it all startedwith a movie.  

A signpost from Day One, pointing us in the right direction
The Way

In the fall of 2015, Dale and I hiked 425 miles of Camino del Norte, the northern-most branch of Camino de Santiago, a historic pilgrimage with starting points and routes all over Europe.   Continue reading “It began with a movie: Why we walked Camino del Norte”

Paris, France: Notre-Dame Cathedral

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.

What a contemplative little ghoul, and, oh, that view!

It goes without saying that Notre-Dame Cathedral was at the top of our Paris sightseeing list.  It’s one of Paris’ most recognizable and iconic buildings, a sprawling, Gothic feast for the eyes.  We returned several times, tiptoeing through the massive interior, listening to live music in the small park around back, and, as part of the Paris Museum Pass, climbing hundreds of steps to the iconic belfry.

We were lucky enough to visit the cathedral and take a tour, and here are the highlights:

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Are tourist city passes worth it?

Our take on how to make the most of your big city trip

A view of the Seattle city skyline from our boat ride on the Puget Sound

Our move to Seattle in January 2012 was the culmination of our dream to experience someplace very different from Texas, and it was also the beginning of our eventual jump into long-term travel.  It whetted our appetite for learning about new places, and we were excited about the cross-country move.

But when we arrived, we were also overwhelmed.  In addition to looking for a place to live, we were challenged with getting to know our new home city.  So much to do!  So much to see!  Where should we start?  To be honest, we didn’t learn a lot about the city ahead of time; we knew that it was beautiful and rainy and home to Starbucks and Gray’s Anatomy, but as for the specifics, we hadn’t much of a clue.

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Paris, France: The (naked) sculptures of the Louvre


This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.

When I told my mom I was writing about our time in Paris, she asked, “Are you going to talk about the naked men?”  She was referring, of course, to the collection of sculptures that we saw at the Louvre, which, yes, did include quite a few nude male subjects.

“I’ve told all of my friends that there were lots of sculptures of naked men, and they look at me like I’m crazy, so now I can show them.”

Of the many fascinating artifacts we saw at the Louvre, the thing that most stands out to mom is the naked men.

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Paris, France: The Eiffel Tower

Experiencing this French beauty with my mother and sister

Ronica, me, mom, and Dale, on the summit observation tower of the Eiffel Tower
Ronica, me, mom, and Dale, on the summit observation deck of the Eiffel Tower

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.

A little over a week ago my mother had an endarterectomy, a “rotor rooter” procedure that cleared a large blockage from her left carotid artery.  The surgery, if not major, certainly wasn’t routine, and while the outcome of the procedure was a success, she’s taking some time to recover.

Dale and I have been staying with her to assist with the recuperation process.  I’ll admit it’s sometimes hard to face the fact that she’s not getting any younger, but I’m also happy to have this time with her.  I’ve had many wonderful moments with my mother, and this seems like a good time to reflect on one of them–our trip to Paris.

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Paris, France: Church of Saint-Sulpice

The base of the obelisk that is used as part of the Saint-Sulpice sundial, with the meridian line moving up the middle.  Various inscriptions are written on the base in Latin and French.  Look carefully and you’ll find where the text honoring the monarchy was removed during the French Revolution

This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.

With its beauty, romance, and history, Paris is one of those cities that was made for the Silver Screen.  Hundreds of movies have been set in the City of Lights, including some of our favorites—Midnight in Paris, Before Sunset, and Julie and Julia just to name a few, and all of these evoke the ephemeral magic that only Paris possesses.  And it’s because of a movie—The DaVinci Code—that we recognized the Church of Saint-Sulpice when we happened upon it during our trip to Paris.

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Paris, France: Random first thoughts


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This is one post in a series of articles about our visit to Paris.

Our trip to Paris got off to an awkward start.  After arriving by train from Hamburg, we found the Métro link to our hotel.  It was rush hour, and waves of Parisians were moving through the station and into and out of the cars.  I thought I had the whole Metro-riding thing down cold—after all, we’d been in Europe for a month now and were on our fourth country—but the car was packed, I was one of the last ones on, and my bulging backpack got caught in the door.  It closed on me like the clenched jaws of a bulldog, stubborn and unyielding.

I was trapped.

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