West Highland Way: Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy

September 2, 2015:

We make our way to The Green Welly Stop  in Tyndrum, Scotland to pick up snacks for the short 7 mile hike from Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy.  I am quite sure that the hikers doing the long twenty-mile walk today are long gone and quite a distance down the trail.

WHW_5-1090816eSurprise! We are delighted to see Scottish friends, Thomas and Allan, just outside the shop. We get in some last-minute chatting and bid them farewell again with best wishes for the remainder of the hike. Sure going to miss those guys…


According to Google, Tioraidh is a greeting similar to Cheerio in Gaelic. Not sure why it appears on this stone monument.

WHW_5-1090821eRandy is striking up a lively conversation with young Leon towering over him at nearly seven feet. Not surprising that he is a basketball player from Holland.
WHW_5-1090896eScottish mother/son hiking together and going for a long twenty-mile hike today.  We have quite a bit in common since they are also farmers and the mother does daycare for her grandchildren.

WHW_5-1090912eIt’s about time I bring out the Love Rock.  This rock was given to me by a woman camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota and I’ve been carrying it with me on this journey. Click on the Love Rock link for more background information on this heart touching story.

We enjoy the company of Laura, from Germany, who has just finished her master’s degree and is celebrating by hiking the West Highland Way. I feel as though we are celebrating along with her through this experience.


The path isn’t too bad today as this is the only rocky, hilly section with uneven footing.


Sheep creep under the railroad.


Someone did not watch their step and found a monster sized cow pie. (Wasn’t anyone in our group).

Much of the route today follows a military road. In the years after the 1715 Jacobite uprising the government put a huge amount of effort into building roads and bridges over the length and breadth of the Highlands. Previously, drove routes had existed to move cattle to the lowland markets. This bout of road building was intended to provide a means of moving troops quickly around the interior to suppress rebellion. Those rowdy, high-spirited clans, right? They built some 1200 miles of road and 700 bridges in the years from 1725 and 1767.  ~Undiscovered Scotland.co.ukWHW_5-1090936e

We are tickled to see our Northern Ireland/Ukrainian friends, Michael and Stacy  catching up with us as we near Bridge of Orchy.


Bridge of Orchy Hotel looks  a little like the background of a Harry Potter movie. We eat our dinner about 2:30 p.m. in the hotel bar while we wait for our room. Since we didn’t sleep that well in the hobbit house last night, we are weary and feel like napping.

It’s time to check in and they inform us that we have been upgraded to a cottage (Our own bathroom/shower, no less!) at no extra charge. Yippee!!  It seems as though two people were in need of a room and they figured the three of us would fare better in the cottage while the couple took the smaller hotel room. Little did we know it was Michael and Stacy who decided to try to get a room instead of waiting the rest of the afternoon for the hostel to open up. (I think they felt in need of a nap, as well.) Thank you!


From the back door of our cottage, we can easily see the Bridge of Orchy which spans over the River Orchy and dates back to 1751 .


Our lodging is very posh, it’s cold and rainy outside, so we really want to stay inside where it’s nice and warm.


I mix some dehydrated peanut butter powder with water, slather it on a prepackaged (doughy?) baguette and we have supper.  Yum?

Laundry is drying, we’ve had hot showers and we are sipping hot tea which means a cozy night in luxury. Z-Z-Z-Z…

Below is today’s video:



Tulum: More than lizards and rocks.

Each Mayan city had a specific purpose and Tulum, situated on 12-meter tall cliffs along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, was a seaport, trading mainly in turquoise and jade and the only Mayan city built on a coast.

Easter2015-38There are several theories as to why a wall surrounds Tulum. One has a Mayan population of 600 on the inside, protected from invaders. Another suggests only priests and nobility were housed within the walls, while peasants were kept on the outside. ~Tulumruins.net

Easter2015-31Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayas with its height between the 13th and 15th centuries. They managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico.  ~Wikipedia


Easter2015-35In the Yucatec language, Tulum means “wall” referring to the large barricade that surrounds the settlement. In the Mayan language, Tulum was called Zama, meaning “dawn,” which is fitting since it is on the eastern coast.

Easter2015-36Tulum honored the “diving god” or “descending god” and “the god of the bee,” an important insect for the Maya even today.

These lizards are frequently sighted on and near the ruins, but apparently are not honored. Lizards get no respect, right?

Easter2015-32The Tulum site is well preserved and the beach is gorgeous. It was chilly and our tour was rushed due to another group being bused in right after us. We could have easily spent another hour exploring the site.

All images by Joyce Meyer



Musée de Cluny

Musée de Cluny joins together two prestigious buildings in the heart of Paris: the Thermes Gallo-Romains de Lutèce (Gallo-Roman baths), built at the end of the 1st century and the Hôtel des Abbés de Cluny, built at the end of the 15th century.

Click on images for a larger viewing window:


The six tapestries depict a slender, blond woman in a Mediterranean garden with a unicorn and a lion on either side. They were woven in Flanders in the early 1500s by unknown artisans — most likely ordered by a wealthy family in Paris, but their subject remains mysterious.


They are considered some of the finest examples of medieval handiwork in the world.


For images and more information about this series of tapestries and information click on the following links:




Early medieval sculptures from the seventh and eighth centuries are also stored in the museum.


Adam made of stone from around 1260.


cluny-1080100Vaults of the gothic chapel

cluny-1080095While Musée de Cluny is probably not the first place that comes to mind when visiting Paris, it was well worth the visit.


Galicia and O’Cebreiro

2014Camino-1070328dmvcrWe are now officially in Galicia. This part of the country has an economy based on fishing, farming, agriculture and increasingly tourism.  While the population is Spanish, they see themselves primarily as “Gallegos.”   When the Galicians talk about nationalism, they are generally referring to the “nation of Galicia”  rather than the nation of Spain.  ~ http://www.galiciaguide.com

2014caminoblog-1070340In O Cebreiro, all roads lead to the village church. Founded in the year 836, Santa María la Real (Royal St. Mary’s) is supposedly the oldest church on the entire French Road of the Camino de Santiago. The building is embedded into the ground, with sunken floors that added protection against winter storms.

2014caminoblog-1070342 At a desk, a clerk stamps pilgrims’ credentials and sells votive candles.

2014caminoblog-1070343The building is quite spacious inside.

2014caminoblog-1070347Many are only short-term pilgrims and are dropped off by large tour buses that wait while they explore the village and pay their respects with a candle purchase.

2014caminoblog-1070350 Villagers lived in stone huts called pallozas until as recently as the 1960’s.  Upon entering a palloza, which typically housed a dozen people (and their animals), you’ll find two simple rooms: the only “private” room in the house, belonging to the parents, and a living area around a fire. Surrounding the fire are clever benches (which were also used as very hard beds) with pull-down counters so they could double as a table at mealtime. Cooking was done over the fire using a chain hanging from a big beam, while giant black-metal spirals suspended from the ceiling were used to smoke chorizo.

2014caminoblog-1070352Attached to the living area is a miniature “barn,” where animals lived on the lower level, and people — kept warm by all that livestock body heat — slept on the upper level. Thanks to the ideal insulation provided by the thatch, and the warmth from the fire and animals, it was toasty even through the difficult winter.  ~ Thank you, Rick Steves, for the fun facts to know and tell.

2014caminoblog-1070356It was a little on the cool side and this cat has found a nice sunny spot to guard the beer crate in back of an old cafe.

2014caminoblog-1070360Shopping is available at the horreo (granary).

2014caminoblog-1070361… and here it is, but store is closed.

2014caminoblog-1070358Have no fear!  Gypsies decide to set up shop right by a cafe sign so I guess I can shop, after all!

2014caminoblog-1070362  I’m taking photos of the cute dog, right?  Oh, and there just happens to be Gyspies in the background.

2014caminoblog-1070367Group shot just outside O’Cebreiro as we begin our descent to the other side of the mountain. We’ve enjoyed our little noon break in this quaint village with so much Celtic influence and history.

Now it’s back to hiking with Fonfria as our destination.  We enjoy conversations with other Pilgrims, but I can’t say the trail is over-crowded.

A traveler without observation is a bird without wings. ~ Moslih Eddin

There is more to Minnesota than just the Mall of America and more to South Dakota than just Mount Rushmore.  Likewise, there’s more to Jamaica than just white sand and coastal resorts.

To each their own and there are benefits to both.

Holiday life in Jamaica:

Real life in Jamaica:2014Jamaica-1060125







2014Jamaica-1060133kpcrMy ultimate achievement:  Finding clotheslines to photograph in Jamaica

The passing of time…

My husband’s family recently experienced the loss of its patriarch, who was born in 1925. The original painting featured above was painted by his granddaughter, Elizabeth Meyer.

It boggles the mind when you think of the history and changes in the world since his birth:

  • farming with horses and mules to GPS auto-steer farm equipment
  • Telephones using a party-line system to cell phones with internet allowing constant contact with people all over the world
  • Horse and wagons and Model T’s to cars that parallel park themselves
  • No one had been to the moon in 1925 and now NASA has plans to colonize Mars
  • Outhouses to private indoor plumbing with jacuzzi and whirlpool features
  • Entertaining radio shows such as Fibber McGee & Molly to black & white television and really “living the dream” when a color television was purchased. Now we have Netflix, cable and satellite programs, as well as programs on dvd.
  • Technology changes in weapons and aircraft used  in warfare to utilizing unmanned drones
  • Food primarily grown or raised on the farm to a multitude of products available at the store
  • A large percentage of the United States engaged in farming to less than 2% of the current population
  • Country school with one teacher for all eight grades to consolidation of several towns into one school district
  • Polio and various epidemics to vaccines and treatments for a multitude of illnesses

This is the list I came up with, but maybe you could add some more.

The big question is:  What changes will occur during the NEXT 88 years?

How to experience nature and history near Chicago’s O’hare Airport

Looking for a hiking, exploring experience near Chicago’s O’hare Airport?  About ten miles from the airport you can find Schaumburg Park  which is an interesting and free nature center that is open to the public.  It is located at 1111 E Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, Illinois which is about ten miles from O’hare Airport.

Chicago-1050451dmvpopWe wander down the path to find a pond with lily pads lounging in the still water.

Chicago-1050453dmvInformation plaques are located throughout the park to educate us.


Spring Valley Volkening Heritage farm info gives a glimpse into life on a farm in this region of Illinois in the 19th century.  They host living history events from April 1 to October 31.  These events involve a recreation of activities on a 19th century farm. The August calendar of events included laundry, rural cooking, barn chores, German sweets and coffee time, bread making and historic gardening.
Chicago-1050487plhpThis colorful rooster roams the farmyard.

Chicago-1050473plThe chickens are too fast for a 21 month old.

Chicago-1050471plRandy found new friends in the pig yard.  These friendly critters remind him of doing pig chores during his days as a kid growing up on a farm.

Chicago-1050462dmvcrThe sign does not deter Randy as he has determined that these are friendly pigs that enjoy a little scratching and petting.  At least he didn’t feed them.

Chicago-1050498plhpBeautiful flowers line the walking path along the Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary located in the park.

Chicago-1050502pophpcrInsects are buzzing and enjoying the flowers, as well.

Chicago-1050446fp20pop50dmvNicely paved walking paths wind through the nature area and farm and Rachel uses a walking stick just like Grandpa.


The beauty of taking a walk is the simplicity.  No fancy equipment required since comfortable shoes, curiosity and an appreciation of nature is good enough.