Friday, June 12, 2009

Hiking West

Sorry for the late post, but we thought we should finish it up, as we are actually home...

On May 22nd, we packed our bags and headed off to the Pyrenees with our friend Ben and began our hike to Guethary, a beach town on the Atlantic coast of France where Ben's family has an apartment. Our plan was to find a high mountain town where the snow had mostly melted and to head West from there along the final portion of the GR10, a major French trail that covers the 866 km stretch of Pyrenees from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic coast. The trail is set up to go through towns every 20 km or so, equipped with gites (similar to youth hostels but for all ages) and occasional grocery stores, so we always had the option of sleeping in a town. We brought camping equipment anyway, though, because our bags weren't heavy enough without it.
We started in a mountain town called Etsaut and began the 10 day, 210km trek to the coast. Between the weight on our backs, the storms, and the monotonous grind of endless walking, the hike wasn't easy. But the views, the helpful strangers, and the irreplaceable experience of being out in nature made it completely worth it.

Unfortunately the photos couldn't quite capture the magnitude of the landscape, but here's what we got:

Day 1

Getting to Guethary on June 1st, after 239 hours of walking (we made it in just under 10 days), was a great accomplishment. We spent 9 days surfing, swimming and eating lots of fish at the local restaurants, before heading to N. Ireland and then home.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Vive La France!

We've now been in France at Anna's family's house in the beautiful countryside near Limoges for two weeks so this blog is a bit overdue. The house was an old stone shell when Anna's family found it 9 years ago and now has all the amenities while keeping its original old-farm-house feel. We've basically been leading the life of retired people: cleaning, cooking, eating, reading, going into town, and working on things around the house.

Last weekend Jamie's brother Caleb came to visit us here, and then the three of us headed to Paris for a few days of museums and awesome restaurants.

It is nice to finally have a base in one country that feels like home. Check out the pictures.

The French Countryside

Anna's house.

An old pig-house that has yet to be converted into a cottage.

Hike to Mont-Ciex

Cherry tree.

Limousin cows.

Our 1st dinner.

Bread baking in the stone oven house.

Caleb and Jamie make pizza.

Lumberjack Jamie.

Nightly fire.

The view from our bedroom window.

A few days in Paris
Around the corner from Jamie's place.

Anna at the Centre Pompidou.

L'art moderne.