forest

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine

It’s still light in the mid-afternoon, so we decided to go up to the Mirador to have a look. The trail, though steep, isn’t very tricky until the last leg. Here the path gave way to a field of enormous boulders that made the trail markers harder to spot, especially since it’s started to hail. (And in typical fashion people gave us very much underestimated traveling times.)

When we finally got over the giant rocky humps, a magnificent view opened before us. We arrived just in time for a small break in the clouds, as the Cordilleras del Paine so very briefly unveiled its famous facade.

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Hitting our stride (sort of)

Hitting our stride (sort of)

Chewie says today is a day characterized by sounds. Rhythmic tapping of trekking poles. Raindrops falling on rocks. The whoosh of swaying trees and grasses, dead branches creaking and humming in the breeze. The wind howling over clearings. Waves breaking and water blown out of Lago Nordenskjöld. Whispering rivulets in the forest gathering into gushing rapids. Waterfall crashing from a mountain. The echoing thunder of avalanches and the terrifying silence before a storm. We could’ve been blind and heard the changing landscape of TdP through the sounds. 

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Northern Ireland in 72 hours or less

Northern Ireland in 72 hours or less

We decided to try to walk some of it off by exploring the Mourne Wall along the nearby mountains, or slieves. Built over eighteen years in the early 1900s, The Wall spans 22 miles and averages about 4ft tall and 2-3ft wide, and was constructed, we were told, for the express purpose of preventing the sheep and cattle from sullying the enclosed water reservoir. The ubiquitous presence of walls in Ireland that demarcated every parcel of land was something that surprised us, especially when compared to Iceland where the concept of common land meant wide open spaces and free-roaming sheep. As Ann pranced up Slieve Binnian, I took a breather and sat on a portion of the Wall, where it became apparent to me that "the grass is always greener on the other side" is most definitely true, especially when there are sheep involved. 

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Provence, here we come again

Provence, here we come again

This was our second trip to the Abbaye de Sainte Croix in as many years (with very, very belated photos from both). Just up the hills from Salon de Provence, the Abbaye was built in the twelfth century, but is now a charming hotel with restaurant run by a staff thoughtful and obliging almost to a fault. 

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