Category Archives: lifestyle

Friday Night, Fake-Away.

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Some of us, or most are us are cutting back one way or another, it just seems the January rite of passage.  Some of you may have already thought ‘tosh’ to the resolutions, January is tough enough as it is without, watching my weight, losing the booze, or tightening the purse strings, if that’s your choice embrace – Hell yeah.

Well, I’m sticking on in there on all 3 counts for the time being, but when it gets to TGIF (Thank god it’s Friday) I need something to feel different, to look forward to, to make believe it’s party-time.  Maybe one day it’ll all be fine and it’ll feel the norm for me,   feeling righteous and holier than thou, I do believe in Unicorns but miracles ???

Many folks are lucky enough to have a Take-away of some description on their doorstep or around the corner, but at this time of year that could just be a little too tempting, so for once I’m glad I live on a mountain, back of beyond, second on the right.  There are no ‘meals on wheels‘ here, tell a lie there is, IT’S ME delivering luxury dinner party meals to holidaymakers and locals, that’s another story, but you can check it out here 😉 

So I’m going to fake it a family favourite Sweet and Sour Pork and whilst preparing it I shall sip on a virtuous, totally VIRGIN Bloody Mary.  Just to preach a tad, there are double benefits to making your own FakeAway, you know what is in it, making it much healthier and it costs so much less.  WooHoo ! and as for the Virgin Mary, well that’s even one of your 5 a day- GET IN !

I will serve the Sweet and Sour Pork with roasted, sweet potato wedges dusted with Chinese 5 spice, on a bed of steamed Pak Choi. It looks fiddly, but it’s not, prepare everything then get cooking.

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SERVES 4

RECIPE :

  • 1 can unsweetened pineapple chunks, undrained
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup cold water, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pork loin, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 head of broccoli florets off, stalk finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 small onion sliced

DIRECTIONS

Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 the juice, set aside.
In a small bowl, mix 2 of the tablespoons cornflour, 1 tbs water, garlic powder and 1 tbs pineapple juice.
Put pork in a zip lock bag, or bowl and then add the above sauce and coat well, cover and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cayenne and remaining water, cornflour and rest of pineapple juice until smooth; set aside.
In a wok over medium-high heat, stir-fry pork in 1 tablespoon oil until no longer pink; remove and keep warm.
Stir-fry the broccoli, carrots, onion in remaining oil until tender. Stir cornflour and soy mixture and add to the pan.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add pork and pineapple, until everything is piping hot. 

Virgin Bloody Mary

In a large glass or jug, mix :

  • Tomato Juice
  • Few Tabasco sauce
  • Sprinkle of celery salt
  • Few drops of worcestshire sauce
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Garnish with a celery stick.

 

SALUD ! IMG_4667

 

 

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Late to the table.

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I know I’m late to the table, to jump on the ‘Overnight Oats’ bandwagon, never really appealed to me. I can’t do cereal with cold milk, I have to eat it dry I even have butter on my Weetabix when I’m being childlike and need nursery food memories for comfort.  Shock horror, I know but I’m sure we all have some weird and wonderful food faux pas.

The more I read about the phenomena, I thought I must try this, I have all the ingredients in my store-cupboard. Another fact, I’m not proud to admit, but hey it’s true, my youngest now 14, gets up and leaves the house in the dark (school starts too early here) before I’ve had chance to be bright eyed and bushy tailed, *Mum fail* and I know was grabbing anything to eat that didn’t take up pressure minutes to prepare.

So I, we, she, could prepare breakfast the night before, leave in the fridge and hey presto a healthy, vitamin, energy packed pot of goodness would be ready to go.

Still, at this stage, I’m thinking cold, gloopy, mushy …….

I investigated all the recipes, ideas online, adapted them to what we had and set about creating our oaty concoction.  Kilner jar clean and ready, loaded with ingredients that would supercharge us to Wonder Woman status ( always wanted that costume 😉 ).  In the fridge it stood, to work its magic.

By soaking the oats all night in your chosen liquid, preserves the tastes and nutritional value from not cooking, a great source of iron and dietary fibre and slow realese energy, keeping you full up till lunch.

So this is what I created.

 

La Rosilla – Superhero Oats 😉

Serves 2 generously.

What you need: Large Kilner Jay or covered jar, mug to measure ingredients.

  • 1 mug of oats
  • 1 pot 125ml of greek yoghurt  – I use full fat, fat-free often tend to be full of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds (Omega3)
  • 1 mug Unsweetened Almond milk – Skimmed milk would work fine too.
  • 1 tsp local organic honey
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of salt – I used Himalayan pink, I had it for Christmas 😉
  • Handful of frozen berries

Mix all together and place in fridge until morning.

I then served in a bowl with a scatter of almond nibs and a sprinkle of Bloom Supercharge Matcha.

Well, well, well I was so pleasantly surprised it was delicious, thick and creamy almost luxurious.  So my thinking cap is on as there are so many adaptations and additions for your basic recipe, you can literally add any fruits, spices, liquids & nuts.  What’s your favourite medley ?  Please share your ideas.

Grated apple and cinnamon.

Peanut Butter and strawberries.

Pineapple and coconut.

Sultana and walnut.

So I hope it won’t be an overnight (excuse the pun) fad, and we start to feel our Wonder Woman powers.

 

 

 

“There be snow on them there hills”

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When we left the U.K lock, stock, and barrel in May of 2005, we gave away to charity and friends, flogged and chucked, many of our possesions, don’t worry we still bought an arctic lorry load of belongings with us.  That was a challenge in itself, artic lorry, mountain roads, off-road tracks 😉   Of course, we offloaded our winter woolies, puffa jackets, and toboggans, why wouldn’t we? we were moving to Spain 😉 Yes, yes I know we should have done our homework, blimey I’d researched everything else, but  the weather don’t be silly.

One Saturday when we were on an idyllic family walk, 2,4 & 6 years old in tow, moaning, pexels-photo-266642that it was freezing they could walk no further. Suddenly as a mother I thought, well perhaps we are a little unprepared, it became more peaceful then usual, slightly eery and a light we’d never experienced before.  Heading back to warm by the fire and soothe tetchy toddlers with comforting ColaCoa (Hot Choc) we shut the day behind us.

 

Awaking the next morning and opening the shutters the OH declared ‘Bloody Hell it’s snowing’  ‘SNOWING?’ with no central heating, and beautiful abeit rustic wooden doors and windows, the inside temperature of the house had dropped to 8 degrees.  Dragon breath and icicles from the nose were the new personal accessories.

Needless to say the niños were delighted, wrapped up in anything we could find, off they trotted up the mountain with tea trays and plastic bags in hand as make shift sledges.  The vecinos (neigbours) were out assuring us this was the first snow the’d seen in 60 years….”oh yes just great I thought, and it’s my first year”

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When our Sun-lougers became Snow loungers 😉

After the initial shock we then had to plan for subsequent years, and actually we are grateful to have changing seasons and weather surprises to keep us on our toes.  We learned that up in the Montes the high peaks over 800 meters often have a cover of snow, us at La Rosilla at 600m , will get a flutter occasionally during winter but more than not it doesn’t settle.

Now this week the snow is BACK !! Last week we were basking in temperatures in the warm 20’s and now the thermometer isn’t getting above 8c in the day and freezing at night.  I adds to the January reality that it’s not always sunshine and siestas, and that we’re going have to dig deep to keep warm, keep nourished and keep on track to fulfil or New Years earnestness.

Comforting but frugal food is on the menu, soups, curry, hot-pots and a favourite of mine the wonder of the slow cooker, to allow tantalising aromas of what you have to look forward when the days chores are done.

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Some of our favourite home-made recipes are here. –

Butternut Squash and Zataar Soup.

Slow Cooking

Broccoli soup with melted cheese montadito.

Keep cosy everyone x

 

 

Sun shiny, brand new.

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How fortunate we are to be blessed with skies so blue and warm sunshine to start the year, it should put a spring in my step, but no actually I’m happy to sit, face smiling upwards, eyes closed soaking up the liquid Vitamin D. This does not mean I’m not planning, creating and goal setting, I’m just doing it in my mind, occasionally on a piece of paper but definitely procrastinating from sitting inside, typing away.

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For those that live in Spain will know our houses are built to stay cool, thus in the winter months, no matter how warm outside, there is often a chill indoors,in-fact we have to open all the doors and windows to let the heat it.  To light a fire before sunset is a luxury, many of us hardcore ‘campo’ (countryside) folk don’t partake in, but on the going down of the sun, fires are stocked, shutters closed and the evening hibernation commences.

We are on our last few days of the Christmas holidays, though we have chosen to take a mid-week break in feasting and frivolities to give our livers and stomachs a breather, before our last celebrations of “Los Reyes’ the 3 Kings on Saturday, when we will feast once more with friends.

New Year resolutions are still in the thinking stage, I look back in amazement that I actually completed those I made in 2017 !!

  • DRYJAN – YEP !
  • Walk 100 miles – I actually walked 1200 !

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  • Loose 15kgs – I actually lost 20 !
  • Climb a Virtual Everest – 8848m – I actually climbed 6.9 !
  • Walk part of the Camino de Santiago and get my Compostella – YEP !

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So I’m going along the lines of continuing my above efforts, carrying on walking, great for thinking time, breathing in the scenery and keep my back moving and delaying surgery . Adding a few more mountains to my tick list, and walking the Camino Finisterre and Muxia. This Camino route pre-dates Christianity, as pagans would head to Fisterra on the Costa da Morte (Coast of Death) where they believed the sun died and the worlds of the dead and the living became closer.

Food and drinks wise I aim for control, I need to loose my ‘All or nothing‘ characteristics, that personality trait though I feel may live in me forever and is actually what I’m renowned for, and I quite like me 😉 So I’ll enjoy my

So I’ll enjoy my Feast Days, and add the odd couple of fast days when necessary, I know that works for me. Fortunately, there is an abundance of fresh and vibrant local ingredients to whet our appetites, and whilst the sun shines we can enjoy

Fortunately, there is an abundance of fresh and vibrant local ingredients to whet our appetites, and whilst the sun shines we can enjoy light and healthy and often raw lunches & smoothies, and by night comforting one-pot’s full of vegetables, herbs and spices.

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Berry Bursting Smoothie.

Whizz together.

1/2 frozen Banana.

Handful of frozen berries.

250 ml coconut water.

1/2 Tsp of Macha powder.

Tbsp of fresh mint leaves.

 

New ideas for cultural, gastronomic, charity and hiking days for my business La Rosilla – Lifestyle and Food are in the pipeline, collaborating with like-minded people and businesses, who celebrate and promote this beautiful and unique area we live in.

So welcome 2018, you’ve made a sun-shiny, brand new start.

Keep up the good work and watch this space.

 

 

Elixir de La Rosilla

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I’m proud to present our first Cold Pressed, Single Estate, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

14 years ago when we moved to La Rosilla, we were definitely wet behind the ears, and certainly wearing, rose-coloured specs 😉 buying a small ‘Finca’ on the side of a mountain, with 600 sq metres of Olive trees planted or should I say clinging to the slopes, trees that had not be maintained for years.

Over the following years we’ve learned the hard way, trial and error and trusting perhaps a little too much on not quite so generous locals (who I’m pleased to say are far and few between) who definitely took advantage of our naivety.  Most years our olives have been picked by a young couple of burly boys, we share the crop, they take to the Cooperative, and then deliver us some oil, all’s good :).

A couple of years ago, our trees were bare, no crop, no oil – they needed TLC, then came along our saviour ‘Angel‘ – he has guided us in their care, helped us prune, rake and look after  the land, all hard hands-on work, but very necessary to maintain the trees and ensure their production for years to come and for future generations of our family.

In the 14 years on the land, we have never used any chemicals our animals have helped greatly over the years, fertilising naturally. Last winter we gave the trees an extreme prune, and they repaid us greatly with ladened branches of beautiful olives.  They only downfall this year or lack it was no rain, no rain at all. This meant our normal harvest time was brought forward a few months, as we couldn’t risk the olives dropping with lack of water.  The benefit of cropping early does give a better quality of oil, even if the yield is less.

This year we had planned our own pressing, to ensure we had our own single estate oil, so the Mill was booked and we had 3 days to harvest.  Up at dawn and worked till dusk, back and arm breaking work, laying nets and bashing trees with long poles.  Each tree took approximately 1 hour to harvest, and we soon got into a rhythm and method that suited us.  As the olives laid in their nets, we then, by hand sieved out the leaf and twig debris, before bagging in large sacks.

We collected 763 kgs – Happy Days.

We were rewarded with 137 liters of pure liquid gold, unfiltered and cold pressed.

The variety of our olives is Picual, which is great all-round oil, and good for cooking too.

That first taste of fresh out of the oven warm bread, dipped into our OWN organic oil was just heavenly and we have ‘Angel’ to thank for that.

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Pour & Pair!

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‘Is it sherry ‘o’ clock’ I would hear on a Sunday as the hand passed the yard arm.

A phrase I would cherish and recognise as a sign of relaxation, comfort, families, and feasting. Steamy windows as the roast and veg cooked away, mum in her pinny, with flushed cheeks.

Even from a young age, I loved the sound of that cork pop, and the first glug into the schooner, because yes back then it would’ve been a cream sherry. I have by coincidence my children’s long lost great, great, great ……Grandfather 😉 Sir Francis, to thank for that after he and his crew famously stole 2,900 barrels of Sherry and delivered it up to the British Court after the Spanish Armada. Soon after in late 1500’s, it became the most fashionable drink in England.

Many people still have this stereotypical idea, that Sherry is what ‘Old ladies’ drink, maybe they do, but that’s because they have taste ;). To dive deeper into this world of Sherry Wines, to share the love and tastes and versatility of a wine for every dish and occasion, is a joy. Thanks to Sherry.wines.com the renaissance is alive, Sherry is being enjoyed all over the world, the ancient, historical and natural process to create these wines with complexity is spellbinding.

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I have been a great follower and promoter of International Sherry Day and Week from the start, each year wherever I have been in the world, either on my mountain with a group for supper club and tasting of a flight of sherries, or enjoying privately with my ‘Charge’ or virtually with my Mama. Just introducing friends and visitors to a new taste sensation, something out of the box for them.

 

It is with great delight that I have been chosen out of many bloggers, to create a ‘Pour and pair’ recipe and hopefully a winning dish for the competition, to celebrate this years #Sherryweek 2017. I have been given a wonderful bottle of Cruz Vieja, Palo Cortado en Rama, from Bodegas Faustino Gonzalez . This special sherry has got my culinary juices flowing for the dish I think compliments this wine perfectly.

 

My thoughts and a little about the sherry: CRUZ VIEJA, Palo Cortado en Rama.

Palo Cortados have legends written about them. This sherry wine is fermented in the cask and bottled ‘En Rama’(raw). A wine of complexity and a rare variety, starting life and aging under a veil of flor to become a Fino and then mysteriously losing its veil, thus starting aging oxidatively.

The result is a wine with the delicate bouquet (on the nose) of an Amontillado and the velvety pallet ( in the mouth ) and body of Oloroso. Only a very small percentage of grapes naturally process into a Palo Cortado. The name ‘Palo Cortado’ (cut stick) comes from the markings on the sherry casks, as the sherry was originally destined to be a Fino or Amontialldo, It would have a single line marking /, later when the sherry maker was testing the wine and notices the change, they would mark a cross or strike the line.

This Palo Cortado is definitely to be enjoyed with food, perfect with a main dish so it can be appreciated slowly. The dark amber colour with copper lights, has strong aromas of caramel and vanilla, tastes of Autumn roasted chestnuts, and bitter Seville orange.

My recipe …

Cruz Vieja can take deep flavours, so taking both the attributes of Amontillados and Olorosos my dish is a feast of the Montes de Malaga where I live and harvest of Autumn. Rich earthy ingredients from locally made embutidos, comforting flavours, a hug on a plate, together with the Sherry wine, this dish should be enjoyed with friends around the table, sharing tales, anecdotes and making memories.

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Huerta, Granja y Montes

Roast Quail with braised lentils, chorizo & butternut squash with a  morcilla scotch quails egg.

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INGREDIENTS: Serves 4

FOR THE SCOTCH EGGS

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Quails Eggs
100 g Sausage Meat
50 g Morcilla
Fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg beaten
2 tbsp Plain flour

Bring a small pan of water to the boil, and add quails eggs for exactly 1 minute 50 seconds. Then immediately put the eggs in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process for 5 minutes.
Mix the sausage meat and morcilla together, I used a hand blender.
Put the Breadcrumbs, egg, and flour in 3 separate bowls.
Carefully peel the quails eggs.
Take a spoon of morcilla mix and carefully wrap around the quail’s eggs.
Dip the covered quail’s egg in flour, egg wash then breadcrumbs.
Refrigerate until later.

FOR THE LENTILS

 

Glug of Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 red onion diced
2 sticks of celery finely chopped
100g Chorizo diced
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 sprig of rosemary leaves finely chopped
1/4 small Butternut squash diced
200g cooked Pardina lentils
Sploosh of Palo Cortado

In a pan add olive oil and gently saute the onion, celery, and butternut squash until tender.
Add the chorizo, rosemary, and garlic – saute for 5 minutes
Add the sherry and bubble down for 1 minute.
Add cooked lentils and stir through to combine all ingredients.
Keep warm and set aside.

FOR THE BUTTERNUT PUREE

1/4 Butternut squash in chunks no need to peel.
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Sherry Vinegar

Place the butternut on a baking tray and drizzle with Olive oil and season.
Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes until tender.
Place in a bowl and blend to a puree add sherry vinegar and glug of olive oil.
Keep warm.

FOR THE QUAILS

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4 Quails
Olive oil
Butter
Salt & Pepper

Season the quails, inside and out.
In a pan melt the butter and olive oil and heat to high.
Add the quails and brown on all sides.
Roast in the oven 180c for 15 minutes.
Leave to rest in warm place.

 

Whilst the quails are resting, the lentils are being kept warm, time to fry the scotch eggs.

Heat a small pan of vegetable oil to 180C, then gently lower the eggs in and fry for 3 minutes.
Take out of oil and place on a plate with kitchen paper to absorb the oil.

NOW TO PLATE

Spoon the lentils onto a warm plate, place the roasted quail on top & drizzle with Olive oil.

Spoon on some puree and add the scotch egg cut in half to allow the oozy yolk to be seen.

NOW TO POUR

Cruz Vieja, Palo Cortado en Rama.

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Buen provecho todos y Salud !

I hope you all enjoy my recipe and fingers crossed it’s a winner.

 

Viva Jerez !

 

 

 

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Preserving the Summer!

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The abundance of summer and early autumn fruits are ideal to be preserved, to warm up a winters day.  I have been generously given by ‘Mi vecinos baskets of mangos, apples, limes, and chilies.  So it was time to get my big pan out and get busy.

These are two of my favourite recipes that I adapt according to what spices, sugar, and vinegar I have in the larder.  The aroma as they bubble away is so comforting and is an ideal job to do when you have a few hours to while away, chopping, stirring and jarring.

 

Spiced Apple fruit chutney:  Ideal with cheese, cold and roasts meats & pates.

Mango chutney: Ideal with curry, poppadoms, bhajis, loaded on cottage cheese, or on top of baked brie.

 

Both recipes would make ideal Christmas presents for a ‘Foodie’ part as a hamper for a family gift.

 

 

 

Fruity & fresh !

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The autumn and fall are full of fabulous seasonal fruits and vegetables, here in the Axarquia of Andalucia where La Rosilla is located, we have an abundance.  I have created two new recipes to highlight these wonderful ingredients.  Fresh and vibrant Mango and Pomegranate salad, a perfect brunch or lunch recipe, best eaten alfresco in a little sun trap if possible 😉 and a comforting veggie side dish of Lettuce and peas with fresh herbs,

I have created two new recipes to highlight these wonderful ingredients.  Fresh and vibrant Mango and Pomegranate salad, a perfect brunch or lunch recipe, best eaten alfresco in a little sun trap if possible 😉 and a comforting veggie side dish of lettuce and peas with fresh herbs, braised gently that would go perfectly with grilled fish or roasted meats.

Mango and pomegranate salad.

Mango & Pomegranate salad.

Braised lettuce & peas with fresh herbs.

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Peregrina !​

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Peregrina !​

Rucksack scrupulously packed and re-packed countless times, weighed 7kg, walking boots on, passport in hand, the time had come for my pilgrimage, even though I feel as if I’ve been on my personal journey come pilgrimage since January, when I started making many changes in my life.  But this journey I was about to embark on, would be one I will never forget.

The ‘Camino de Santiago’ or St James Way, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-western Spain. Legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried there. As pilgrims traditionally started their journey from their own home, different Camino ways have emerged over hundreds of the years.  Having walked many miles, 1000 to be exact,in Andalucia since January, I had booked a ‘Finale’ of one week, walking the last part of the ‘Camino Frances‘ from just outside Sarria to Santiago.

There are many rumors or negative vibes often felt, when reading the numerous blogs and forums of ‘The Camino Pilgrimage‘, for those only doing the ‘Last leg’ and not starting further afield, but I feel everybody’s journey, situation, reasons, and thoughts are different and who are we to judge ?  Time restraints, responsibilities, money and many other factors all add to each walkers choices and planned routes.  Unfortunately my limitations were time and family but fortunately, I never experienced any such negativities. Each Peregrino I met had their own story, were happy and welcoming to hear mine, share experiences, encouragement, pain, and joys.  In fact, pilgrims with these righteous views, in my opinion, should look a little deeper into the true spirit of the journey.  On first arriving I got the sense of happiness from many, to see ‘Fresh legs and faces’ to continue along with on the way.

A direct short flight from Malaga to Santiago de Compostela, and then a short, packed bus ride into the city, eye-spying others laden with backpacks and sporting big boots, added to my excitement and butterflies. Santiago was bustling and vibrant, full of pilgrims, tourists and locals.  I had booked a night in the old town so I could sample the delights, once a foodie always a foodie, of course that was all part of the journey too.  Many pilgrims choose to use Albergues and hostals that require no-booking and run on a first come, first served basis, but as this was my first time backpacking, EVER !! I allowed myself some comfort in knowing after a long days walking I had a bed at the end of it.

After a day and night, exploring, feasting and quaffing, I took a train journey to Sarria, my start point.  Dramatic scenery lined the route, through forests of green, gorges and lakes so blue, deserted villages and landscape rich with wildlife.  In the train, I was very pleasantly surprised by the furnishings, and comfort, little did I know I’d plonked myself in First Class, 😉 the Inspector was most charming, and allowed me to stay, me I was thinking ‘Soak it up, the last of the luxuries for a while’.

My choice to do Sarria to Santiago would enable me to receive the

Compostela“, the accreditation of the pilgrimage to the Tomb of St. James. 

To receive this, Pilgrims have to walk at least 100km, Cycle or Horse-ride 200km.  Along the journey, you have to collect stamps in the ‘Pilgrims Credencial’ to prove your distance and consecutive days walked.

So my route: Sarria-Portomarin-Palas de Rei-Arzua-Amenal-Santiago 116km + a few finding accommodations 😉

Each day I rose before dawn, for a quick Cafe con leche, caffeine shot.  I made the mistake the first day to fill up at breakfast, only to find walking a struggle after.  So quick coffee, head torch on, find my route, off I went.

The route is symbolised by a shell motif, belief is that the lines on the shell, represent the routes from across Europe to Santiago.  I would hear the click-clack of walking sticks and the hushed early morning, sleepy chatter of fellow pilgrims, this gave a sense of warmth and unitedness.  Some moments tested my nerve and personal thoughts, walking through forests in the dark, with not a soul in sight, firstly I was jumping at every sound, rustle or movement, I had a chat to myself, deep breath and then learned to soak up the moment of solitude and nature in its purest form.

Daybreak, was the feel-good moment of each day, taking in the new surroundings, views, some days with a glorious sunrise, others with a thick mist, slowly letting light through. Familiar faces, and the welcoming sound of ‘Buen Camino‘ all added to the experience.  I was known for a quick pace and even got nicknamed ‘BOLT‘ or ‘Lynsey LongLegs‘ so passed many people each day, but stop-offs for water breaks, sock realigning, rucksack adjusting and general ‘I need a rest‘ moments, saw them catch-up, over-take or even join me.

And that’s how it rolled!

5 Days walking, through ever-changing landscapes and weather.  Difficult moments, euphoric moments, lightbulb moments, hymn singing, praying, cursing and even crying, tears of joy and pain.

Each day as I arrived at my next location, I celebrated with a cold local ‘Cerveza’, boots off, tapa eaten.  Found my bed for the night, hauled my rucksack off, stood in the shower, face up to the steaming water, – Tiger balmed my feet, took my ibuprofen & closed my eyes for siesta.

Towns and hamlets on the route offer wonderful menus for pilgrims, comfort, substantial food to fuel our bodies, about 9€ for 3 courses with bread, coffee and a bottle of wine.  My favourite soup for the soul ‘ Caldo Gallego’ soothed my brain and body and almost felt like it gave me a warm hug.  Bedtime was never late, 9-10pm, sleeping was often difficult, mind wandering and noisy neighbours ( some people are just not considerate of others 😉 ) and a different bed every night often had me muddled when I woke mid-sleep.  Small sacrifice though and forgotten quickly the next day.

Favourite town on my route: PortomarinIMG_3007

Favourite quirky find: A little old man in the middle of no-where selling freshly made Bunuelos! IMG_3001

Favourite sign: Free hugs!

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Favourite meal: Pulpo IMG_2978

My last morning and my last walk into Santiago just 18 km to go !! My pace was quick, I was on a mission, completely absorbed by the end in sight.  The last few Km’s seemed to take an age, through built-up areas and suburbia of the city, many pilgrims were behind me, but few upfront, on occasions I felt lost, symbols seemed more spaced out.  Finally, I spotted a sign ‘Catedral 800 m ‘ I had an overwhelming, emotional moment, hidden behind dark glasses, my tears flowed. Turning the corner the Piper, piped the pilgrim’s welcome.  As I entered the Plaza, pilgrims who had arrived the day before, welcomed me with open arms, hugs and cheers.  Tourists asked for my photo, as a ‘real-life‘ pilgrim ;). I just collapsed on my rucksack, head in hands and thought

Yes this girl can, this girl DID

Not an end to my journey, part of it, part of my quest to walk more, breath and stop and stare.  Part of my learnings to enjoy the wanderings of my own mind, except the solitude, be just me.

After getting over my arrival and up off the floor, the realisation my legs and feet were not invincible became apparent.  The officialdom stage had to take place, obtaining my Compostela.  The pilgrim’s office, receives approx 600-900 Pilgrims a day, the day I arrived it seemed double.  A long wait, in a long queue, was one of the hardest parts of the experience, but everybody was in the same boat, others had obviously walked for weeks.  7.28pm I GOT IT – I had two minutes to get to the Cathedral for the Pilgrims service, there was only one thing for it I had to RUN !! Ouch !!!!

A full cathedral, candlelight, incense burning, finalised my pilgrimage and to my delight the Botafumiera swang……

Until next time – Buen Camino!

 

 

 

 

Hot footing !

Standard

I smashed it !

Woohoo, 1000 miles in the bag, muchas gracias 😉

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Some of you may remember my #Walk1000miles challenge I started on Janaury 9th this year when then it seemed a very far off, most inconceivable goal for me.  Many of you have been following my progress, with my regular shout outs of my distance, places walked and mountains climbed, on social media, FB & IG, even though I know it’s not the done thing, according to the Huffpost UK FB rules 😉 :

Realise no one cares how far thou hast run (unless it was from a tiger or bear)

Well, I’m pretty chuffed and amazed, I’ve just plodded on, walking further and further.  The summer temperatures gave me a serious battering, I don’t think I’ve actually ever been this brown, I’m certainly wethered that’s for sure.  Walking at dawn, was the only answer, but with the fierce heat this year, even then temperatures were in the high 20’s.

There were only a few moments when I thought, ‘Lynsey, this is just too far’ and yes talking to myself has helped, keep me sane ? Not sure about that, but it’s got me up the hills at point of collapse.

Things I’ve learned along the way :

  1.  You always need more water than you think.
  2. Don’t look up when going up a big hill.
  3. Stretch.
  4. Don’t get your hopes up when you think the end is in sight – It’s further away than it looks.
  5. Stop and look at the view.
  6. Remeber your € for your café con leche.
  7. Look for ants nest before taking a peepee.
  8. As Baz Luhrmann says ‘Remember the sunscreen’
  9. Exhaustive, hysteria is a thing.
  10. This girl CAN !

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Thanks for all those who have supported me, my amigas and family that have whiled away a fair few miles with me. Those who have tooted as driven passed, offered a lift when I look lost or done in, or just slowed down and shouted ‘Nearly there’ or ‘Surely you haven’t walked from there’ I thank-you. I will be plodding on, I best do, as I have more walking boots and trainers than killer heels now, not quite, but how times change.

Living in the mountains has often made me crave of flat roads and no hills to climb.  Coastal walks have been included in my total and country lanes with time spent in the U.K, but the bonus I get is that I can proudly say I have climbed equivalent to 5 Everests – 45,011 meters of elevation. The local ‘Cabras’ have nothing on me 😉

#wheresyoureverest

Next stop, a week on the Camino de Santiago, back-pack loaded, pilgrim here I come.

Oh BTW – lost 18kg in total, never had a summer before without gaining, thumbs up for calorie burning walking.

 

Buen Camino !