Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Insomnia at GopherBroke

Today we set off for Spain. I am traveling with my dear friend Barb McCowan and so came up here yesterday so we could set off together to catch the 5:30 p.m. flight. Everything is packed (more or less) and there are just a few last minute things for me to do. I thought I would sleep until 7 a.m. or so but some how my brain thought otherwise and I find myself awake at 4:30 a.m. It was a dream that woke me up - you know, one of those "made for TV" drama type dreams. I was a cop and there was a serial killer on the loose. I woke up when I got to the part when my partner and I found a clue which suggested that I might be the killer's next target. I gave up trying to go back to sleep after tossing and turning for an hour. I wonder what that dream is supposed to mean?
I am quite excited about my trip. It is part 2 of my 6 month sabbatical journey. Having successfully put Part 1 behind me I am anxious to resume my gypsy ways after my 10 day "refueling stop" at home. Next is 90 days travelling through Europe - 50 days in Spain, 16 days in France and 24 days in Italy to be precise. A lot of traveling and a lot of travel arrangements because by nature (and profession) I am a planner and I did all the planning myself. No "I will figure it out when I get there" for me! So I have carefully researched destinations to decide the cities I want to see and places to stay and things to do and the route to take. Let me give you the "Reader's Digest version.
Seville, Spain for 4 nights to do some sight seeing and to get in the right headspace to walk across Spain. Going to take a day trip to Granada to see the Alahambra. Barb and I will be joined in Seville by the 3rd member of our little expedition, Ian Royce.
Yes, I said WALK ACROSS SPAIN! It is called The Camino aka The Way of Saint Jaimes. We set off on April 15th following this ancient pilgrimage route leading to the official final resting spot for the bones of St James the Apostle. Each year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims or Peregrinos (as we will be called) follow the many routes in Europe which all lead to Santiago de Compostela. The route we are taking, called the Via de la Plata or Silver Route will send us pretty much straight north for about 700 km at which point we can continue on this route west or head a bit further north to join the Frances Route For the final 300 km to our final destination. We will need to average about 25 km per day to keep to our timetable. Barb is going to fly home at this point with lots of stories to tell Johnny when she gets there. Ian is the wild card. I hear he will finish his Camino wandering a wee bit earlier than Barb and I so that he can spend a week in Barcelona. I will fly from Santiago de Compostela to Barcelona on May 30th.
  1. I will spend 2 nights in Barcelona before taking a scenic train through the Pyrenes Mountains to Toulouse, France and then on to Bordeaux on June 1st.
  2. I have for 2 nights pencilled in Bordeaux to do a winery tour and hopefully hook up with some "friends of friends" for a meal. A fast TGV train will take me to Paris on June 3rd.
  3. Paris will be fun. I have rented an apartment in the 4th arr. which is right in the heart of Paris near the right bank of the River Seine. Three of my adult children will be joining me for a week of sight seeing. We will even steal away for a day trip to see the D-Day Beaches at Normandy! The kids fly home on June 11th.
  4. Next I have 2 unplanned nights. I expect that I will leave Paris on the 11th and spend some time in Burgundy in either Beaune or Dijon, but in any case I need to be on my way to the French Alps - Chamonix/Mont Blanc for the 13th.
  5. I am staying in Chamonix for 3 nights and am really looking forward to seeing the Mer de Glacé Glacier and taking the cable car to see the the highest peak in the Alps. The cable car travels over the Alps to the Italian side, so I may be able to get to the next destination from the Italian Alps side. The train route doesn't look promising so I will have to see.
  6. I arrive in Cinque Terra, Italy on June 16th for 3 nights. The 5 hillside villages are famous for their views of the Mediterranean and the picturesque, colorful houses built on the sloping ground from the sea up to the National Park they border. The walking paths and the train ride connecting the 5 villages is what folks come for.
  7. On June 19th I will take a train to Pisa, see the sights for a couple of hours and then carry on to Florence where I will be for 4 nights to see the city sights and the Tuscan countryside.
  8. On June 23rd I will take the fast ave train to Venice. The next morning I will join a small tour group for a 15 day tour of the rest of Italy including Gubbio, Assisi, Spello, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento and Almalfi Coast including Positano and Amalfi Villages. At tours end, on July 8th I will make my way back to Rome for my flight home on July 9th.
You might have noticed that the picture didn't upload when I loaded this at first, then the whole blog disappeared for a day - evidence that i am somewhat challenged by my blooging tools. But now (I hope) the whole thing is going to upload.

October 17, 2012 - Update:
I am revisiting all my blogs and fixing them up - some have somehow lost their pictures and many contain small typing errors due to my haste in posting while on the road.  I fixed this blog and replaced the missing picture today.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Fram! We arrived last evening in Seville, very tired but not so tired as we couldn´t take a walk around town, sample some Tapas and wine. Stay tuned for the next instalment.

      Take care!