Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Mountain living, side by side with nature.

A time we’ll remember.

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A time to remember and one we’ll definitely not forget. A time we’d never imagined would happen within our lifetime, in this modern age. A time that we were seeing unfolding in other countries, but couldn’t believe it would come to us, that was on their news, ‘The them & us’ thought process was in full flow. Then it did, then it arrived, then it was consuming our lives.

I am writing this post for me, for my family to store in our keepsake memoirs. To read in the future when we need to look back on or remind ourselves what we’ve lived through, what we’ve survived, how vulnerable we were and are. Controlled movements, business breakdowns, families separated, but also what we’ve positively gained, what we achieved and how I see our lives will change.

Although as I type on an unusually cold and wet May Day (12th May 2020), we are still in Fase 0 in Malaga province of Spanish Lockdown, I will write in past tense, as after I have written this, I hope to not read it for years to come, because quite frankly, I am sick to my back teeth of Covid-19, the politics, the false news, the speculation. I just want to go back to normal or as we’re preparing for it ‘THE NEW NORMAL’

On Friday 13th March !! As I did my last hike, unbeknown to me, and stopped for a cafe con leche at a rural venta, and soaked in the view, the news of the Covid-19 Pandemic and changes were unfolding around me. “Difficult times are coming,” said the bar owner and we just stood and stared.

My youngest daughter was in college in Malaga, rumours were spreading of the impending Lockdown, social media was in a frenzied state, people were travelling whereever they could, to be where they wanted to be. My son travelled up from Gibraltar, for our last reunion, only to be called back within 12 hours. Bars, restaurants, public transport, schools were closing, and then BOOM by the end of the week-end, here we were in Spain in the strictest Lockdown in Europe.

Business bookings started cancelling left, right and centre, tourist and catering industries folded overnight. We watched as our numbers of infected rose, we watched as other countries restrictions seemed to be flaunted and not adhered to, as WE had the army on the streets even in rural mountain villages. Police stops became a norm, with those stopped having to prove their reason for travel, walking or even stepping outside. Heavy penalties for those without justifiable reasons. No outside exercise for 7 weeks. This was like something out of a movie.

Flights stopped, the skies were pollution-free, the world’s countries borders closed, nobody could travel anywhere. My eldest daughter Sasha was put on Furlough from her career at Birmingham airport as air travel was no more, her visit to come home to the mountain for a break was gone.

As realisation sank in and we all tried to adapt to our lockdown lives, motivation to start was on a high, we would get up every day, exercise, make a plan, be productive, focus on the future, be positive, blah, blah, blah. Homeschooling for every child, including our Nell in her first year of Bachillerato in Spain (16), video lessons, WhatsApp group chats, virtual projects, hats off to her college they kept the school routine as well as could be expected. Then the rollercoaster of emotions starting running and the RAIN came. Our Spanish blue skies left us, and our blue moods hit us.

Colleagues, associates and friends rallied round to encourage each other, chivvy each other up, find ways we could grow in the future, damage limitation was in full force. Lack of empathy from some was hard to deal with and one had to learn to scroll on by frequently as the social media posts, opinions and comments went on overdrive. Virtual and life long friends and family not as badly affected financially showed great support and encouragement and to this, we shall never forget.

Food and drink played a huge role in everybody’s coping mechanism, comfort food needed every day, never before bakers were appearing, newbie foodies sharing their creations for all to see, camaraderie for me in its finest form. Food shopping, limited to once a week and only to our nearest shop, meant we had to be more creative in our menu plans and ration some foods, to save for special treats. We were determined for the weekend to have a different feel to the week, which meant 2 bottles of wine not one ūüėČ who was I kidding?

As the weeks passed 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9, the smallest of changes were made fortnightly, no work allowed, essential workers only, not more than 1 person in the car, emergency travel only, in the later weeks and after far too long for many stuck in apartment blocks with no outside space, an hour exercise a day no further than 1 km from your home. Gloves and masks became the imperative addition to the wardrobe, and the weekly long-awaited trip to the shop actually was never enjoyable.

On the good days, typically when the sun came out and we could breathe in the mountain air, I’ve loved time spent with my youngest daughter Nell, in normal circumstances and she would be no different as a 16-17-year-old, there would be no way she would spend 24/7 at home especially on the side of a mountain. We’ve laughed, pranked, Tik-Tok’d, exercised, worked together, hugged and cried. A time I shall be eternally grateful for. Regular Video calls helped keep spirits up for elderly parents in isolation on the U.K, family WhatsApp groups kept the banter alive.

Is the end in sight? I can’t see that, but there is a glimmer of hope in the numbers of infected, the majority of Spanish residents have followed the rules and observed the reasons, obviously, there’s always the select few who think they’re are above the law, and jeopardise things for the rest of us. The summer of 2020 will be most unusual, will we feel free or safe to enjoy the beach, eating out, meeting up with friends? We will just put it all behind us and move on? Will we stay in our cocoons and just be content with our families, enjoying the simple life? Time will tell!

I long for the days our border will be open, and we have freedom of choice to fly or travel to other countries, not even for holidays but to visit family, the feeling of not being ALLOWED to, even if necessary and an emergency is hard to bear and we pray each day we won’t have to be put into that situation.

I thought I’d list a few of the activities that we did during our Lockdown, things to kill the boredom, keep the grey matter, things we’d never done before, our time wasn’t wasted, we definitely learned the simple things in life can bring the most joy and happiness :

  • Made my first Youtube cooking video.
  • Baked dozens of loaves of bread. Hunted for flour and yeast, like everyone.
  • Played Monopoly.
  • Did a very difficult jigsaw. (took 3 weeks)
  • Online Yoga.
  • Plank challenge, lasted 10 days ūüėČ
  • Dalgona coffee, had to be done.
  • Decorated
  • Up-cycled
  • Pruned our olive trees.
  • Made fire.
  • Created weekly meal plans ( definitely too much time on my hands)
  • Didn’t buy diesel for 8 weeks.
  • Dug ourselves out of a landslide.
  • Cried live on Instagram.
  • Had to buy logs in April !!! was freezing, had a fire in May !!
  • Had my first doctors’ appointment by phone in Spanish.
  • Was only the T.V in the U.K on the evening news.
  • Had an article featured in the newspaper.
  • Tik-Tok’d
  • Karaoke’d
  • Zoomed.
  • Became and essential service.
  • Tidy every cupboard and draw (they need doing again)
  • Enjoyed watching the wildflowers left to bloom.
  • Drank too much, ate more.
  • Didn’t run out of Loo Roll. Now that ladies & gentlemen is a WIN ūüėČ

End of a decade.

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How did that happen, whoosh and the teens be gone, hello roaring Twenties .

Two Drakies have flown the nest, graduated, Passed out, now striving and ambitiously setting out at the start of their careers. Baby Drakie (aka Bright Shining One.) now studying hard and down off the mountain in the city of Malaga. Subjects above my head, Latin, Ancient Greek amongst others, philosophy that battles my brain, but I’m fascinated to hear about and give my point of view.

Hard to imagine when we packed up our bags 16 years ago, with 3 young blondies in tow, for a rural life in a different country, back of beyond second on the right, that they could have such a protected, idylisitc childhood, building dens, climbing trees, dancing flamenco, playing golf yet still are go getters, hard workers and wanting to rock the world. Did I say opinionated ? Yes very, all very different, that makes life even more colourful, and our rare reunions, boisterous, hectic and crazy but I wouldn’t have any other way.

Life on the mountain continues to evolve, challenges of rural living still test us. The season and weather patterns are becoming more muddled, first almond blossom spotted this week, so, so early, we pray for no extreme overnight low tempertaures to protect the blooms and promise a healthy harvest in the Autumn. Olives too were picked by most earlier than norm, we were not prepared, or should I say too busy, earning a crust & cooking paella to harvest ours. Our olives are still hanging precariously to the trees and we hope for a little while longer until we can plan the time and the mill to harvest.

Beuracracy has been bewildering with the much debated, argued and distressing Brexit that looms over us, I won’t get political, but will just say we were grateful that we and our children could make the choice to live and work with open European borders. We hope we have done all that is necessary to safeguard ourselves against the impending future and long may we live at La Rosilla.

I”m absolutely overwhelmed and delighted at the amount of intrepid travellers that have visited us at La Rosilla, to cook with us, dine with and make happy memories. Never have I ever cooked so many Arroces (Paella to you and me, but have to be PC), poured so much sherry, chatted over tapas, nor shared so many anecdotal tales of our life on a mountain.

I achieved my goal to trek down at sunrise from the temple in the foothills of the Himalayas through the jungle in India, down to Rishikesh, which was the end of my Indian adventure with friends. An expedition that will be etched in my mind forever. I achieved my 1000 mile challenge for the 3rd year and I’m ready and eager for my 4th year at the challenge, I recommend to anyone, get your boots on, get walking, feel the difference, one step at a time.

Taj Mahal at Sunrise

So as I embark on a new decade I will continue to chase sunrises, sunsets, walk and walk some more and encourage others to build bigger tables not fences.

Much love, happy cooking, & remember stop, stand and stare, and from my family to yours, hope your Twenties are fantastic.

Our family

How the years have flown.

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How the years have flown.

It’s our ” Living the dream‘ anniversary, or that’s what we thought and called it when we left England many moons ago, lock, stock & barrel. ¬†Yes, it’s our anniversary of ¬†‘ The good life‘ on the mountain. Evolution,¬†of our family growing up and changing throughout the years and embarking on their own futures and decisions. Evolution of our land & home, simplifying now where we can, having fulfilled our dreams and tick boxes of owning every farm animal, pigs, goats, chickens, horses…. being self-sufficient, with our veggie patch, almonds and olives, learning the hard way through successes, our own organic extra virgin olive oil, failures of dying plants due to lack and no water through the summer months, & upset of animals being killed by Mr Fox and stote, we’ve bought that T-shirt and worn it. ¬†I’m happy now with my Olive orchard, hard work but rewarding, my back door herb and lettuce garden, and wildflowers and gardening to suit the terrain.

We still look at our view and think WOW, we still are grateful we live on the side of a mountain Wow, we still can’t believe that we have 3 bilingual children Wow, 2 now adults using their life swallows and amazons life experiences to enrich their futures.

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Always work to do.

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Mini Chef.

Times have been tough, but wouldn’t they have been anywhere? That’s life ! Bureaucracy drives us nuts, but we work through it and hold our heads up high. ¬†My ‘little’ Foodie passion is steadily and organically growing into a business I am proud of, sharing our lifestyle, local produce, customs and traditions. ¬†We welcome people¬†from all over the world to have a glimpse of rural mountain life, we cook for celebrations and occasions, people will remember for years. We have made many like-minded friends always with a common theme of eating, drinking and making merry.

My writings are getting more sporadic on here over the years, a few reasons for this;¬†procrastination,¬†I always find other things I should or think I should be doing, ¬†but once I get going I think, “Why don’t I do this more often?” Then there’s my brain fog, Hashimoto’s induced, which has really affected my vocabulary and ability to think what to write. ¬†Hey ho, I have the memories, experiences and thanks to social media, I’m an IG’aholic¬†@larosilla, I can share in other ways.

Our life here still surprises us, often flabbergasts us,  we are still learning the idiosyncracies of living in a different country, habits, mannerisms and morals, but when the going gets tough, our terrace and view awaits, our table is filled with visiting family and friends and my hiking boots are itching to be worn and mountains climbed.

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Viva Espana, Viva La Rosilla !

 

Tapear.

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Tapear.

Never will I tire of ‘Tapeando’¬†with friends and family, this is the art and I like to call it that, of enjoying Tapas from one place to the next. A small bite and a copa de vino or Jerez, standing at a bustling bar, or in the market. Maybe indulging in a little lengthier¬†time and sitting at the table an ordering, yet just another to fill the spot, or to sample the new delicacy or gastro tapa to be served.

From simple but tasty local cheeses and olives to mindblowing molecular gastronomy to please the most die-hard foodie like myself or Masterchef in the making.  Malaga delivers on every count, and never disappoints with new innovational bars, alongside cultural and historical institutions of food.

A recent visit with friends, with slightly aching feet, we decided on a one-stop Tapas lunch at the renowned¬†El Tapeo de Cervantes¬†this intimate and cosy restaurant, which is located in the heart of the historical Malaga centre,¬†just steps away from the Cervantes theatre and Picasso’s Plaza Merced, delights with its traditional interior and extensive and exceptional menu of Tapas.

They offer tapas of every guises and taste, listed in an informative way so diners can create their own perfect ‘Tapeo’,¬†if overwhelmed by the choice and you don’t know where to start, let the professionals choose for you. ¬†We did this, not overwhelmed persay, but with 3 differing tastes, we thought let’s go out of our comfort zone and see what they serve.

WOW – Course after course arrived at our table, tapas and raciones (larger plates) of seafood, fish, pork and, duck, enjoyed with a chilled Albari√Īo and a robust Ribera Del Duero. ¬†Each exquisitely plated and served with flair and introduction. ¬†As each dish was delivered there was a moment or two or me wondering ‘How much is this going to cost’…I was paying ūüėČ ¬†But on the delivery of the bill, feeling very indulged and complete, I was delighted – 3 people, 6 Glasses of wine, copious tapas. 65‚ā¨ !! Perfecto ūüôā ¬†Not many cosmopolitan cities in the world, where you can experience¬†that luxury and service on that budget.

Leaving the restaurant on a chilly but bright winter afternoon, we needed to walk off our long lunch, obviously taking in Picasso himself and taking the obligatory photo for my friends, to complete their whistle-stop tour of my inspiring and beautiful city of Malaga, with promises to return.

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Malaga Cooking & Culture Tours.

Desayunar

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Desayunar

I love the way the Spanish have a verb ‘To breakfast’ Desayaunar it’s what you do, together with friends or on your own to ‘take 5’, mid-morning when you hit that slump and coffee is needed, and you just need that something to get you through to late lunch.

Over the years of me living here, I’ve learned the hard way when making appointments¬†for around 10am, only to get there to be told the individual is ‘doing breakfast’, of course, why wouldn’t they be ? silly me. If you can’t beat them join them. ¬†A custom I now relish with gusto.

The traditional Spanish breakfast, of Pan con Tomate y Caf√©, ticks most boxes, fresh baked bread, local olive oil, fresh tomatoes and caffeine – That’ll do nicely. Sometimes though, I enjoy to explore and follow recommendations of my fellow foodies. ¬†A day in the city of M√°laga, off the mountain at La Rosilla and away from local village traditional¬†eateries, affords me the opportunity to indulge.

Often the smallest places can pack the biggest punch. Desal cafe is located in an unassuming street, with a small façade but with cute tables to enjoy people watching and the world go-by.  The interior is bright and welcoming and the menu certainly whets the appetite.  Tostados, brunches, home-made sweet treats and pastries, all plated and served with flair and unique touches.

A leisurely breakfast was the order of the day, vitamin-packed of course, healthy yes, indulgent double yes ūüėČ

The Eggs Benedict platter came with perfect oozy poached eggs, creamy hollandaise¬†and thick cut cooked ham, this rich dish was accompanied by a light and fresh fruit salad over natural yoghurt and crunchy granola. ¬†Fresh squeezed¬†orange juice and my favourite illy coffee topped it all off. ¬†Service was friendly, unobtrusive¬†and prompt. ¬†I definitely would go back to Desal Cafe, with friends and while away a little more time, and could even skip lunch and wait to ‘Meriendar‘ ūüėČ

Suitably refreshed and revitalised, more mooching in Malaga commenced.

DESAL CAFE ‘

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON GOURMET TOURS OF MALAGA AND COOKING CLASSES CHECK OUT

LA ROSILLA- LIFESTYLE & FOOD.

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 ūüėČ 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.

 

 

Peregrina !‚Äč

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Peregrina !‚Äč

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, ūüėČ 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 ūüėČ

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‚ā¨ 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 ūüėČ ) 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!

 

 

 

 

Mountain high !

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For 13 years, I’ve looked in awe at the mighty ‘Maroma‘ standing majestically above the lake. The highest mountain in the Axarqu√≠a in Southern Spain at an altitude of 2069m.¬†La Maroma meaning rope was named after the rope used¬†to descend to an ancient ice house located near the summit. ¬†I always hoped one day I’d be fit enough and brave enough to climb to the summit, well yesterday was that day!

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I felt fit enough, after my last few months of non-stop hiking, but the bravery part was a more challenging aspect.  You see I suffer from a crazy level of acrophobia, heights, and edges, push me over the edge literally ;).

Over the years I have been paralysed to the spot, clinging to any solid object, building, tree or person trying to escape the magnetism & pull of the edge. ¬† During my career as an¬†overseas tour guide, I would create little white lies to tell clients when we arrived at monuments, towers, and bridges, that as their guide I must stay at the bottom for safety and their security, so they always knew where I was. ¬† ¬†One time we visited the Gran dune de pilat in France, the family and I and hundreds of other tourists, started the trek up the dune, and half way up I knew I was just not going to make it, the single file line as far as the eye could see, had to stop, reverse and trek back down, with a sobbing me, erratically¬†bumping down on my bottom, until ¬†I could reach the solitary oak tree to hug and hang on to. ¬†On occasions, I have this sudden bout of Tourette’s style shouting at strangers who are near edges too, all very embarrassing for anyone with me and totally debilitating to me.

So I think you get the picture, this climb wasn’t to be taken likely, I had researched, I knew there were parts that would push my buttons. ¬†No way did I want to trek for upward miles, only to not get to the summit.

So yesterday arrived, our rucksacks were packed, heavy with litres of water and high energy snacks. ¬†I was already awake and had been most of the night, when the alarm went off, going over every situation in my mind, and trying to inject a PMA, along with positive affirmations, “cool wet moss’ that I used for my Tony Robbins ‘Fire Walk‘, years ago, wasn’t going to cut it, but ‘Onwards and upwards’ might help.

We had decided on taking the route from Robledal, not the shortest but most picturesque. The weather was perfect, not too hot, clear skies and the season too, springtime in the mountains is stunning, wild flowers, butterflies, grasses and lush vegetation, make the long journey so pleasurable.  Once parked, we started the trek, firstly winding away up through the oak and pine forest to the first vistas looking to Sierra Nevada and the lowlands of Granada.  The track then steeply ascends, on rocky paths some very narrow with steep downsides.  Watching our footing constantly, it was best to stop often for quick breathers and a moment to take in the views.  The path is easy to follow, and when the signposts fade out, piles of stones have been made to show the way.

The journey was as hard physically as I’d expected but doable, especially for regular walkers. ¬†Walking poles were a godsend, especially on our descent.

So the mental part….there were many moments when I thought OMG, and couldn’t bare look and when my pace and stride were slightly comical as I shuffled over various rocky crags. ¬†I knew THE challenge was near the summit , a 10 meter long very narrow precipice with a sheer drop to below a 1000 + meters below !!!! ¬†I’d asked my group not to mention it, and when they saw it before me not to comment, but I was constantly saying “Is this it ? are we there yet ? do you think that was the worse part ?” . Then there it was no mistaking THE EDGE OF DOOM. ¬†Palpatations,¬†heart in mouth, hot sweating, I focused, clinged on to the Other Half, ‘C’mon Lynsey it’s only 10 large steps’ I said to myself. ¬†Slowly, slowly I edged across, I’m not sure where I looked, not up, not down, I may have even had my eyes closed, not recommended. The other issue that now dawned on me, half way across, and why I hadn’t thought about it before, I was going to have to do it again on the return journey. ¬†Get across I did, did I enjoy it ? NO, but the relief was enormous and once I’d regained some sort of composure and fought back my tears, I realised of joy. ¬†I was bloomin’ well proud of me !

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The summit was breathtaking, views of snow laden Sierras, the lake below, boats at sea, Malaga port in the distance, white washed villages and our hamlet over yonder.  The temperature had dropped and the air was crisp,  we snuggled together in a low huddle for our picnic, reveling too with other climbers of all nationalities and ages.  We enjoyed a celebratory tipple, which helped calm my nerves and give me a little dutch courage for the descent.  Photo opportunities were taken and Maroma captivated me.

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Making our way down was as hard if not harder, muscles and feet took the brunt, but our minds were jubilant and our conversations were cheery.

6 hours 45 minutes it took us, including pit stops, the last part seemed to take forever, us all thinking we must be nearly there, but then sure enough the car came into view and we knew the bar was only a short drive away ūüėČ

Have I conquered my fear, definitely not totally, but I felt the fear and did it anyway.

Toot, Toot as I blow my trumpet, and while I’m at it another big red tick as during my hike I hit my 500 miles of my ‘Walk 1000 miles in 2017’ challenge. ¬†Go me, who’d have thought.

 

 

Best foot forward.

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I daren‚Äôt look when my last blog post was, they‚Äôre all in my head you see, I never seem to have the time, here we go again …

‚ÄúAll or nothing‚ÄĚ that‚Äôs me. I don‚Äôt often do things by halves. Rockbottom or flying high, up or down, no wine or the whole bottle, couch potato or?

Well, that leads me to this blog post …

January saw me at another chubby, yo-yo, clothes going up in size stage. I had been recognising the signs, but ignoring them, as I do, for the past 12 months, then that dreaded Christmas photo !! I looked well, frumpy. No-no good. I also was in constant pain, with diagnosed degenerative disc disease, a pinched nerve and a spine very badly out of shape. To add insult to injury, my Hashimoto’s (Autoimmune under active thyroid) was muddling my brain, disturbing my sleep and adding pounds to my person.

Rollercoaster life rock-bottom once again kicked me into touch. So I flung myself wholeheartedly, I ‘WAS’ in the zone, to sort it out. Weight, fitness, diet, and lifestyle. I decided to take on a few personal challenges that I could focus on throughout the year. Poco a poco, little by little. Goals that I could put a big red tick by as I conquered them.

They’re work in progress and they are as follows:

  • Dry January

To refrain from Alcohol for 31 days.

COMPLETED – SAVING ‚Ķ17,000..CALORIES & ‚Ķ403‚Ķ.‚ā¨ ( hides in shame !)

Miracles do happen, who‚Äôd have thought ūüėČ coming from a bottle of vino a night girl, plus a few!

THE FOLLOWING STARTED 9TH JANUARY 2017

  • Loose 15 kgs

Following the 5:2 Fast plan. Restricted food intake calories 2 days a week, and eating well 5 days a week, including indulging when called for at weekends.

PROGRESS TO DATE: DOWN 13 KGS ūüôā

  • ‚ÄėWhere‚Äôs you Everest‚Äô Challenge

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To climb the height of Everest 8823m wherever, whenever you’re in the world. Set by Trail Magazine.

PROGRESS TO DATE: 6 weeks to climb my first Everest, onto my 2nd …15,424…m Elevation in total.

  • Walk 1000 miles in 12 months

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Challenge set by Country Walking Magazine, with an online FB group and following of ‚Ķ‚Ķpeople. A positive and inspiring group of people, from, excuse the pun all walks of life, all over the world. Some folks counting every step they take, some counting ‚ÄėBoots on‚Äô miles.

PROGRESS TO DATE: 350 ‚ÄėBoots on‚Äô MILES, On target and banking a few!

  • Walk as many stages of the ‚ÄėGran Sendero de Malaga‚Äô

A circular walking route around the province of Malaga 650 KM

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PROGRESS TO DATE :

Stage 1 & 2 complete, Malaga to Rincon de la Victoria to Velez Malaga.

Stage 3 & 4 complete, Velez-Malaga to Torrox pueblo to Nerja.

Stage 5 complete, Nerja through the Sierras to Frigiliana.

  • Climb Maroma

For 12 years since we moved to our house on the side of a mountain, with looked with awe at the mighty Maroma. La Maroma, also known as Tejeda, stands at an altitude of 2069 m, is the highest peak of the Sierra de Tejeda,  Spain. The summit is located in the region of Axarquía on the border between the provinces of Granada and Málaga.

PROGRESS – Date booked 7th May, praying for good weather and not too hot.

  • Camino de Santiago

To start my Pilgrimage on the famous St James way.

PROGRESS TO DATE: Pilgrim passport ready, flights booked, depart 28th September, 1 week.

EXCITED !

Well, that‚Äôs the diet and fitness sorted ūüėČ should give me something to go on, now to fit in the lifestyle, not sure there are enough hours in the day. Maybe as I walk I can virtually write my cookbook, keep my website updated and plan recipes and menus. Perhaps I need a personal assistant, note to self must work harder, money helps ūüėČ

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Once somebody showed me the ‚ÄėWheel of life‚Äô to balance all aspects of your life, work, rest and play, I even set diary notes for it to pop up to remind me to evaluate my ‚ÄėWheel‚Äô each month. Maybe just a tad unrealistic, or too perfectly formed for ‚Äėreal life‚Äô and I know, I often would look at my ‚Äėapple‚Äô Pie Chart and think “ooh b********s”, I‚Äôm not that domestic, mantra chanting, chakra aligned, clean eating, goddess. But I‚Äôm ME work in progress, ‚Äėwatch this space Lynsey‚Äô back on the waggon of self-fulfilment, having a little me time, slipping up as and when life bats me a curve ball, just trying to recognise the moment before it side swipes me to depths again.

So as I put my best foot forward I‚Äôm praying for no blisters, hoping my back will hold up and my pill popping will be less. I‚Äôm enjoying every moment, breathing in the views, stopping to stand and stare at the top of steep climb or mountain, learning to cope with the wandering of my own mind, ( yes I still think I’m crazy ), and I‚Äôm truly thankful that I live, where I live.

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Buen Camino todos!

Humble abode & horses.

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I can’t believe it’s over a month since I’ve written, well I can actually, time has flown and life has been hectic, good but hectic.

Food creations have been a little on the back burner and lifestyle more upfront.¬† I’m not saying we haven’t indulged, we have but on a more makeshift and mend, rustic style.¬† Cooking on open fires, eating alfresco, picking salad leaves from the patch, shopping day by day.¬† Why ? because we had our first guests renting La Rosilla for the season, and we pack up and move to our much humbler shack on the mountain.¬† It is very picturesque but has no electricity (hence no posting) and only cold water, and washing up outside, think camping but with a roof over our heads !¬† Fortunately the weather was kind to us, which made life a great deal easier.

Whilst living out of our suitcases, our kitten that we are hand rearing, has grown from strength to strength now nearly 6 weeks old, he is weaned and starting to explore , keeping the dogs entertained and us of course.¬† I’m now thankful that the sleepless nights of 2 hourly feeds are over, and proud that we have succeeded in the task .¬† He has traveled with us over the last 6 weeks, wherever we’ve been, the beach, parties, camping and to work.

Rizzo and Nutty

Rizzo and Nutty

Our mountain animal menagerie is growing again.¬† We have another pony on the way, that we have rescued.¬† Inca will be joining Tika on the mount, for TLC and a better life.¬† I too have got back in the saddle after 25 years, my nerve or bravery seems to have diminished though .¬† I’m hoping my confidence builds as I get used to it again. I’m looking forward to hacks and rides with my little daughter and exploring new paths ,tracks and vistas, with a picnic or two.

This week-end we took part in our first Romeria, (Spanish Horse Fair), along with our friend and teacher Sharon.  We were the only female riders amongst many Spanish men and their stallions !! A great day riding and partying, flamenco and traditions with local musto, embutidos , paella and snails !!!! for all those who rode.

 

Nellie & Me :)

Nellie & Me ūüôā

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So once more settled back in at La Rosilla, I can re-focus and get creating again .  Recipe books out and being browsed, to get back on my #cookfromthebooks wagon challenge with menus being planned for guests and visitors.  The veggie patch is growing well, and courgette flowers almost ready for picking and stuffing, vine leaves fresh and green too will be hopefully ready to be harvested at the weekend to be turned into delicious dolmades.  The first figs our Brevas, and plumping and turning colour nicely РOh the joy of mouthwatering home-grown ingredients.

So from us all at La Rosilla humans and animals, Spencer, Rizo, Fanny (dogs), Baba, Rocket, Nutty (cats) Tika & Inca (horses) and Hens aka lovely ladies.

HASTA LUEGO