The Way

So, here I am on the Camino de Santiago, two days out from where the trail ends before you enter Spain. It has been extremely hard. Walking six miles a day at home didn’t come close to preparing me for this. Maurice has finished a lot of marathons so, no matter what, he finishes. Me, not so much. On our first day it was in the 90’s and the heat was really getting to me. We got to the last village for the day but had to walk 3 kilometers more to get to our gite (which is a home or farm with rooms to rent). We turned at the sign which said it was 800 meters further on which seemed like miles. Then we got to the farm/gite and it was at the top of a high hill. I started crying, something I seldom do, and Maurice came and took my hand and somehow got me up that hill. The owner told me I should have called, she would have come and got me. They served a huge dinner later and sat at the table while we ate. I found out that all of the gite owners did this. I was so tired that I just wanted to eat and go to bed but  had to sit there politely. They served us a wonferful salad plate and then cassoulet, a heavy dish made with their own ducks. Then fresh strawberries. I was asleep by 9 PM.
This is how a lot of the Camino looked. By the way, we were in the southwest part of France the whole time. Many trails went through thick forests, through small villages here and there, sometimes we were beside a road with occasional traffic. We rarely were beside heavy traffic.

Since it was going to be in the 90’s again we started walking at 6:30 which is how I got this shot of a cow at dawn. There was a calf too but it doesn’t show here.

There were roses blooming in every village and in front of every house. I liked the rustic patina of this house and the climbing pink roses.

I liked the roof of this building made of chisled rocks.

You can see some of the rolling hills that we climbed or went down. Going downhill was the hardest for me. I should have gotten some of those walking poles so many of the hikers use but I didn’t just for one week being cheap.

Cute colt along the way. We didn’t see many horses, mostly cows.

More From Venice

As usual, I have many photos so I want to share them. Venice is so full of photo ops.

The famous Realto Bridge was teaming with people.

So many lovely courtyards and gardens, most of which are private.

Wouldn’t you love to sit here along the canal and have a drink? It was in front of a hotel in the Carnaggio area of Venice which have way fewer tourists. Even at this time of year Venice was crowded but not like it will be this summer.

An unusual and bit crooked statue on the side of a building where the famous Italian artist, Tinoretto, once lived, also in Carnaggio.

Drying laundry when you don’t have a back yard line.

Evening light on a canal.

Three Days, Two Nights

We had a chance to be with friends for a short time (Two nights, three days) in Venice. It’s not long enough but no way was I turning it down. As always, it was fabulous.

Of course I took photos of many canals and bridges.

Obligatory shot of gondolas with their blue tarps.

One of several Spritzs made of Aperol, an orange liquor, Proseco and a bit of carbonated water. So pretty, so tasty, and such a part of Italy.

I’m usually not a fan of Italian pastries but these were exceptionally light and tender and, of course, chocolate.

The only bridge in Venice with three arches.

Madonnas are everywhere and I thought this one was especially charming, especially with the flowers.

Another madonna on the corner of a wall.

Desert Beauty

Because I grew up in the southwest I don’t generally like the vegetation and desert but in the Spring, there is a lot of beauty to see and I appreciate it. Plus, the temperatures are in the 80’s while it is rainy and cold back in Paris.

The Polo Verde are very impressive in the Spring.

The palm trees against the morning sky are pleasing.

My son came for a quick visit while I was here and we went to a movie. They are making theatres very fancy now with reclining seats, reserved seats and you can take wine or beer in to the movie. Afterwards we went out to the terrace there at the movie theatre and had drinks. We saw the movie, Colassal, by the way, which was very strange while being interesting and good at the same time. We got the lasts seats and had to sit in the front row which made me dizzy a couple of times.

Back to Paris on Saturday.

Desert in Bloom

H
 I am in Arizona visiting my mother and there are trees and bushes and cacti in bloom all over the place.

In the yard of my mother’s neighbor. When my Dad was in the last stages of his Parkinson’s and disoriented, he got the neighbor’s garbage bin mixed up with theirs and to this day it bothers my Mom as it is smaller and stained with paint. No one would do anything about it so when it got dark, I went over and switched them. There are just renters in the place so I doubt they will notice or care like my Mother does. We will see.

These bloomed only for one day.

The cacti flowers come in yellow too.

You can see the buds on the saguaro cactus but I will miss seeing the blooms. You can also see a little hole where cactus wrens often build nests.

Paradise

There was very little to do on Meeru, our island in the Maldives. They had some live music some nights but no loud music with dancing, no nightclub type action. We sat and had a drink every night to watch the sun set and ate more than we should have. They had an enormous buffet for each meal and it was hard not to try everything. There wasn’t fish every day as I thought there would be. They always had something which the English would like such as lamb or beef with potatoes and steamed veggies. There was always Indian food which was too spicy for me and I ate a lot of Chinese food. I should never have passed by the desserts because I discovered that they made a fantastic smooth and silky mousse which I had twice a day. Dessert twice a day is not a good thing for the waist line.

Our room was on stilts right on the water and there were lights illuminating the water each night. I was very surprised to look down and see a shark. It, and the others I saw, turned out to be Black Tipped Sharks, reef sharks, which aren’t dangerous. I saw sharks all of the time along raised walkways. When we snorkelled I always looked for them but never saw one.

We saw this sting ray too but never up close while actually in the water. We snorkelled every say, sometimes off a boat by a reef and sometimes right by the spa which was full of fish.

I was surprised to see this egret on the shore. I thought they hung out in still water. There were actually very few birds on the island. I heard one at night in the trees, I saw three rather large bats fly overhead as the sun set, and only one sandpiper. I expected lots of birds and wondered why there were so few. We never saw dogs or cats either.

It only rained once while we were there, and only for the morning. November is their most rainy month, monsoon type rains from what I read.

Of course, there were those tropical sunsets. This one is actually the glow on the other side of the island on the east side.