COIMBRA – CONCLUSION AND CONTEMPLATION

A few years ago I stood on the path of a labyrinth marked out in a friend’s garden and, looking up at a benevolent full moon, asked the universe what was to become of me. Did I have the courage, resources and wherewithal to give up work, follow a dream and charge out of the … Continue reading

HOW WE FIND HAPPINESS …

They say that experiences bring us more happiness than material possessions.   Indeed, when I reflect on the things that have brought me the most joy in life it is my experiences which come to mind, not a car, camera, or even my very best jewellery.    It is barbecues at sundown on a beach; it is … Continue reading

LA COSTA VERDE CONTINUES TO CAPTIVATE

I left Cantabria and travelled further along the north coast of Spain into the Province of Asturias.  The surroundings were so lush I could understand more vividly why this is called the Costa Verde.   When I was not crossing precipitous high ground I drove low between green-brown mountains on my left and a turquoise sea … Continue reading

MULTIPLE MEMORIES OF MUNDAKA

Warning : This is a  L O N G post, make a cup of tea! Those nerves crept in again as I left France and set off driving into Spain alone. There was something about leaving my adopted country, with all that was safe and familiar, that gave me a slight sense of trepidation. As … Continue reading

LA BELLE BORDEAUX

Bordeaux is like a classy lady.  She is as sophisticated as the chic women I see walking around, similar in their elegant attire and pillared heels. And if she is a lady, she is blond. All her buildings in the town centre are of creamy stone, with classic columns, carvings and statues and the most … Continue reading

I come full circle

As I approach I can see Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral from miles away, standing completely alone on the skyline. Vézelay pilgrims saw Sainte Marie-Madeleine on the top of a far green hill, St Jacques pilgrims taking this route to Santiago see this important stage of their pilgrimage rising before them across a vast plain.   These … Continue reading

When does a traveller become a pilgrim?

When I started to dream, several years ago, of wanting to Journey I wondered what the experience should be called in my mind. Would it be an adventure? An odyssey? A pilgrimage? A quest? An expedition? Or would I simply be on a tour? I knew the word ‘holiday’ did not once enter my thoughts. … Continue reading

At Vézelay : The Unintended Pilgrim

Vézelay rises high on a hill above the surrounding Burgundy countryside, the twin towers of Sainte-Madeleine visible from afar. It has been a beacon for pilgrims for hundreds of years, guiding them to this special place on the road to Santiago de Compostela. Arriving at the village portal one climbs a narrow road by foot … Continue reading