Fife Coastal Path: Anstruther to Elie with an angel

9-14-15:   I believe there are angels among us…  ~Alabama

Yes, so many times when we may be tempted to take a wrong turn down a difficult path, someone appears to help us find our way. Today was no different.

The cold rain is drizzling down on us as we shuffle our way along the muddy path. We approach a coastal church with high tide up to the gated cemetery in front with no easy path around. The sign points to the high tide path which goes away from the coast and is quite long, but we decide that is our best option. Out of nowhere and in the rain, an older woman appears and stops us from taking our chosen path. No, that path is a muddy mess with all this rain and very long. Take these steps up and go around the front of the church, inside the cemetery and go over the stone fence. That will connect to the path directly on the other side of the church.

Anst-1110590We also find the church open for viewing and take refuge from the rain for a while. Coincidence?  I think not. Thank you, Angel lady!

Anst-1110609I believe this structure may be the remains of Lady’s Tower built for Lady Jane Anstruther in the latter part of the 18th century and was used as a bathing house for her. She was a naturist and from this point she was able to enter the bay below without being seen by the local residents of Elie. ~ longdistancewalks.org

Anst-1110663After arriving back at Anstruther, we walk uptown for a rewarding pint and supper. According to this sign there is no need for a babysitter if parents need a night out!!

Anst-1110680rThe evening views in Anstruther are spectacular as we consume our hot, crispy fish & chips. We try NOT to feed the birds as instructed!

Anst-1110688rThe evening walk after fish & chips includes a visit with this gregarious Scottish fisherman. Mackerel are the fruits of his labors today which will be sold to area restaurants.

Anst-1110707rOur B & B includes a nip of sherry for a nightcap and a decadent chocolate treat. Ah-h-h-h…  Sweet dreams as we rest our weary bones for the bus trip to Edinburgh tomorrow.

Below is a YouTube link to a short video of our adventures today.

 

 

 

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West Highland Way: Glencoe Mountain to Kinlochleven

September 4, 2015: We pack up and leave our cozy hobbit house at Glencoe Mountain Resort to diligently start down the trail finding the air chilly, but the weather generally pleasant.WHW_Day7-1100155eSeems as though we are in the middle of nowhere and here appears The Kings House, which is thought to be one of Scotland’s oldest licensed inns, originally built in the 17th century. It is called the King’s House because British troops were lodged here following the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Coffee, please!WHW_Day7-1100195eThe challenge today will be the Devil’s Staircase which was named by General Wade’s road building soldiers who were lugging materials up and down it all day. ~ Wikipedia

WHW_Day7-1100218eIt’s a long hike with several switchbacks, but really not a terribly strenuous hike so far.

WHW_Day7-1100224We finally reach the top and the views are spectacular today with clear skies all around.

WHW_Day7-1100230ecrThe Love Rock comes out of my pocket for a little fresh air and is perched on a cairn at the top of the Devil’s Staircase.

WHW_Day7-1100288eBlackwater Hostel is named after the Blackwater Reservoir and is our home for the night after a little more than ten mile hike.  Nice drying room and kitchen with dorm type rooms containing cozy bunk beds. From a camping perspective, the name does not sound desirable to me since waste water is called black water. It’s not the case here, though.

WHW_Day7-1100293eSign on the side of the hostel warns dog owners to keep their poop in a group or the Paw Patrol will take action.

WHW_Day7-1100284eWe find ourselves at the Tail Race Inn at the end of the day to take advantage of their advertised special prices on meals. All eyes are NOT on us as Scotland is playing Georgia for the Euro 2016 soccer qualifier and local patrons are glued to the TV screen. FYI ~ Scotland lost.

Video below shows highlights from day seven. I was able to video the Grand Canyon Girls as they skipped across a stepping stone bridge. We have observed that they are like mountain goats when it comes to rock scrambling. One has hiked down and up the Grand Canyon nine times and the other has hiked the Grand Canyon five times. They are a couple of tough hikers with strong legs and determination.

The Rain in Spain…Camino Day #12 ~ Arzua to O Pedrouzo

I look down from the albergue window as a lone, wet pilgrim shuffles down the dark street below. A-a-a-rgh!!
2014Camino-1070700bgI am also dismayed by the bathroom situation this morning.  Rule of albergue ettiquette:  When sharing a bathroom with twenty-some people, do not spread out a whole trunk load of make-up and proceed to tie up the bathroom and sink for 40 minutes.  Nobody cares what you look like on a wet, miserable day like today!  End of rant…

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2014Camino-1070713dmvGenerally speaking, the stage goes along dirt tracks, with some stretches through secondary roads and also through paths parallel to the road. Yes, this must be Galicia because it is raining.

2014Camino-1070718dmvNot sure I’d want to push a stroller, with a little one, across northern Spain in the rain.  …yet, he smiles.

2014Camino-1070719dmvDefinitely a rain coat kind of day.

2014Camino-1070721dmvMeanwhile, we seek refuge from the elements in a cafe with hot coffee. Not many photos taken today due to the wet conditions.  The rain did let up long enough for a short video:

2014Camino-1070725dmvThese speedy hikers arrive early and find a window seat to enjoy the view of wet hikers strolling past them. It looks like Bryon’s new insoles are helping the blister situation.

2014Camino-1070723dmvHooray!  After about 18 kilometers, we arrive at our destination, O Pedrouzo, and check into Pension A Solaina.

One more day of hiking to go.  Am I happy or forlorn?  Both?

 

 

 

 

 

Waking up with the monks… Day #3

It’s 6:00 a.m., the lights go on along with the repetitive sound of chanting monks wafting throughout the Roncesvalles albergue. (Click on video) No alarm needed when 183 people get ready to start their day.

Stage 2Our goal today is to get five beds in either Zubiri or Larrasoana which will be between a 22 and 25 km walk.  Many pilgrims walking and biking today so we may be homeless, when it’s all said and done.  Should we have packed tents, too?

2014Camino-1070032popWe say our goodbyes to Roncesvalles and start down our path for Camino de Santiago day #3.

2014Camino-1070028plThe air is crisp and talk is minimal as most put their heads down and concentrate on loosening their muscles for the day. Come on, aspirin, kick in!

2014Camino-1070063dmvcrThe early morning fog creates a surreal feeling.

 

2014Camino-1070033dmvpopTime to fortify our lunch supply as we stop at a little grocery store as we near Burguete.

2014Camino-1070034dmvI hope the birds don’t decide that Joan is their lunch, too!

2014Camino-1070035kpdmvThe path continues as farms mix in with the small village buildings.

2014Camino-1070039dmv2014Camino-1070041dmvThe first town to appear along our route is Burguete, renowned for its sturdy Pyrenean style farmhouses.   The author, Ernest Hemingway, stayed here in 1924 and 1925 while on fishing trips and also describes the village in the book, The Sun Also Rises.

2014Camino-1070050dmvBurguete is a cute little village with flower pots near many a doorway or window sill.

2014Camino-1070048dmvcrThere had once been a witch’s coven in the Burguete area in the sixteenth century. The surrounding forested region, part of the province of Navarre, was known as the Wood of Sorginaritzaga or Oak Grove of the Witches. Medieval people had believed that the presence of a white cross would save them from such evil. Spain had repressed witchcraft in this Auritz-Burguete area and eastward around Roncesvalles more fiercely than anywhere else in the country. Long before the Spanish Inquisition began in 1478, a major raid against witches took place here in 1329. This resulted in the burning of five alleged witches in a village square.  ~http://www.heatherconnblogs.com/tag/auritz-burguete/

2014Camino-1070057kpcrOur path wanders through pastures as this farmer checks his cattle.  Just like home.

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2014Camino-1070075plThe path turns to gravel with rolling hills.  Not a bad hike today!

2014Camino-1070078dmvWe wind through a small village to find a meticulously stacked woodpile, a clothesline and a neatly placed row of flower pots. To me, that is a beautiful sight and I know I could never stack wood that neatly.

2014Camino-1070080dmvThe path becomes more challenging as we proceed to Zubiri.

2014Camino-1070083dmvThe views make it worth the walk.

2014Camino-1070084dmvMaybe this should be our mantra today!

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Puente de la Rabia ~ Google

We arrive in Zubiri, which means “village of the bridge,” after crossing the Puente de la Rabia (Rabies Bridge).  In days gone by, they believed that you could walk a rabid animal three times around the central arch and cure it of rabies.   ~Brierley   

We are happy to arrive in Zubiri as we hope to stay here, but sad to find that we are homeless…

Hmmm…  what to do?  Maybe if we walk around the bridge three times we will find beds to sleep in?  Well, at least we won’t have rabies.

 

 

 

Swoosh… the sweetest sound.

End of February brings March Madness as high school basketball tournament games ultimately determine the state champion.  It truly screams, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  Every team loses, at some point, except for one.

A loss ceases the opportunity for advancement and thus ends the season for some and an era for others.  Juniors on down have next year to look forward to and work towards.

Seniors, on the other hand… well, this is the end of the road for most of you.  I have a tender spot in my heart for those hard working seniors that would love  these moments in life to just keep on going.  It’s tough to be done…

As a spectator, the excitement of a close game is nerve wracking, at best, but always adds a deeper layer of empathy, encouragement and community pride.  You love ’em when they’re up and you love ’em when they’re down.  This is the beauty of a small town high school…

Click on collages for a larger viewing window

Album template

Album templateCanon 5D Mark 2 ~ 70-200 L lens ~ Collage in Photoshop/Albums DS

The Frugal Grandma

I have a weakness for Christmas items on clearance, so the adrenaline rush hit when I discovered a mid-January 90% price reduction sale recently.  Whoa… a gingerbread tree kit for less than $2.  This would be fun to do with my two-year old granddaughter! Oh, no…Christmas is 11 months away.
So what.  She is two and we can call it a winter tree. 

racheltreeblendbwsnow2r

Rachel2-8865plCurious fingers open the box and pull out the contents.

Rachel2-8887hfm20plHmmm…pretty, but what do I do with them?

Rachel2-8903It wasn’t too hard to stack the cookies, but the kit frosting wasn’t quite as plentiful as the box portrayed.  Cream cheese frosting would have been easier.

Rachel2-8900dmvOops!  Someone took a bite…

Rachel2-8914Add the pretty candy balls.

Rachel2-8923hfm20dmvEven winter trees need a (broken) star.

Rachel2-8925Tah-dahhhh!!
Considering that a two-year old tends to have the attention span of a gnat, I’d say lasting one full hour on a project is impressive. On top of that, it held MY full attention for an hour. I did rush the decorative frosting part and pretty much globbed it on. Martha Stewart would have rolled her eyes and tisked

Rachel2-8944Even though the results weren’t as perfect as pictured on the box, it looked just fine to me.  In this case, I declared the process  more important than the results.  I doubt that I will be asked to be a contestant on any of the cake decorating reality shows, anyway.  That’s O.K., I have enough to do already!

“Create with the heart; build with the mind.”

~Criss Jami

Picture Perfect? Nope.

Traditional, eye pleasing, balanced family portraits with each individual  arranged perfectly have always been a challenge for me. I would not last long as a church directory photographer. While it is good to document a period in time for a family unit, we adults don’t seem to like how we look in portraits.  (Oh, I look so old, fat, my ankles appear too thick, can you give my husband 6-pack abs and a smile?  While you are at it, thin my thighs and waist…)   Then to find a background in the midst of Christmas chaos.  Oh, my.

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So, for the annual holiday card, rather than striving for the “perfect” portrait I decided to celebrate our imperfect, unique, quirky lives with a photo that embraces reality.  We are all leading lives that cover quite a wide spectrum of vocations, educations, interests and then you add a two-year-old.  It is what it is.

Thank you to my mother-in-law for crawling up onto a step ladder to capture this chaos.

Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 24-70 L lens, ISO 3000, Gary Fong flash diffuser on a Canon 580 speedlight

I leave you with a toast for 2014:  Here’s to another year of experience.

CHEERS!