El Camino Portugués: Santiago to Porto

dscn184322/9/2016, Thursday. Back in 2013, Cheryl rode the Camino Francesa and the Via de la Plata, the latter stretching from Santiago to Seville. Remembering the ugly suburbs and industrial zones south of Santiago, and the heavily travelled N-550, she suggested taking the train to Vilagarcia de Arousa. After Vilagarcia, we biked the Michelin three-star roads of the Rias Bajas peninsulas. Continue reading

El Camino Inglés: El Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela.

dscn1748Friday, 16 September.  We awoke to threatening skies. With dawn at 0730, once again we did not get up early enough. We struck out from Ribadeo past the beautiful beaches west of town. Light rain followed us all day. However, the only two times that it poured heavily, we managed to be under cover, including lunch in Foz. Continue reading

El Camino del Norte: Deba to Ribadeo

dscn1575Monday, 5 September. Dawn came late as is usual in these parts. If it weren’t for the hikers setting their alarms, we would have slept until the sun came up after 0830. Spain occupies the same longitudes as England, but keeps Western European (Continental) time. During Daylight Saving Time, that makes the sun some up (and go down) two hours later than solar time. We never got used to that. Continue reading

El Camino del Norte: San Sebastian to Deba.

dscn1620This is the beginning of a very special journey. The Way of Saint James (El Camino de Santiago in Spanish) was inaugurated in 831 AD. For almost 1300 years, pilgrims have walked (and now biked) to the Cathedral in Western Spain where the Biblical apostle James is buried. There are several different routes that the pilgrims can walk, marked by distinctive blue and yellow signs. The Northern Way (Camino del Norte) runs from France along the coast of the Bay of Biscay through the Basque Country, Cantabria and Asturia, to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

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Vancouver, BC and Redmond, WA: living with nature

DSCN1472From Saturday, 6 August until the middle of the month, I concentrated on completing the book translation. The client’s offices were closed until 22 August for the traditional Italian Ferragosto holiday, so this job did not have deadline pressure. However, I needed time to prepare for our coming bicycle tour. Continue reading

Tofino: trekking with amenities

DSCN1371In the last trip update, I mentioned our long weekend in Tofino on Vancouver Island. Once the western end of the TransCanada Highway, this fishing village just north of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a jewel that attracts thousands of visitors every year. In very few places on the planet can you enjoy so much unspoiled nature, but still find a good meal and a comfortable bed at night.  Continue reading

Issues living and working abroad: taxes

 

DSCN1451Trip update: We spent last weekend in Tofino, which was so special, that I have decided to devote next week’s post to the visit. The rest of the week, I have been working on the book translation and taking daily rides around Vancouver. Spanish Banks is a favourite destination, where we lean against a log in the sand and read, or just watch the traffic in the roadstead and the people on the beach. The sea birds provide a fairly entertaining show, too.  Continue reading

Sea Story: A tale of two cultures (1987, 2016)

This week I tell a tale of two cultures in the same country. Not counting port visits during Mediterranean deployments, I have lived in Italy four times: 1956-1965; 1972-1974; 1985-1988; 2015-present. Returning to live in Formia almost 30 years after living in Pozzuoli and more than 40 years after living next door in Gaeta has allowed me to consider what has changed in the country where I grew up – and what has not. Continue reading

Driving the Pacific Crest Trail, Part II

DSCN1099Thursday the 7th of July, the weather over Mt. Ranier National Park cleared overnight, so Friday when we left the Paradise Lodge, we could take some pictures. The clouds persisted on the peaks, which was normal. We followed Forest Service roads through the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, stopping occasionally to admire an especially striking view. Continue reading

Driving the Pacific Crest Trail, Part I

PANO_20160706_113405Some places on this blue planet of ours I have only dreamed of seeing. I have read about them in fantasy novels and history books, seen them in movies and art exhibits, and noticed them in other people’s bucket lists in magazines. But I never thought about them on my own bucket list. In just 11 days, I saw the major natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest. Continue reading