A circuitous route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Stage One beginning in Munich, Germany ending in Jerusalem - traveling through Austria, Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Israel. Second stage from Vienna, through Germany, Czech Republic, Holland, Belgium, France and Spain.
Final destination - Santiago!

Post Script: The changeable situation in Jerusalem has led to a change in plans. The Rome to Jerusalem leg of this journey has been changed to the 'End to End' in the UK, after which the journey will resume as above in Vienna.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Farewell Cornwall, London, and hello to Germany.

Well, since my last post a week ago I have travelled back to London, had a good rest there, and crossed from England into Germany.  But before I tell you about that let me go back to the last day on this "End to End" journey.

As I have said a number of times, it seems as if I have been walking in a little "reasonable" ( I can't say good, though it is all relative I guess) weather bubble.  This last day was a classic example - glorious sunshine, which at one point even felt warm!  The sea glistened, the birds sang, and it seemed as if I could see the grass growing!
  On this last day in Cornwall.........
 .........the sun shone,..........
......the grass grew (Lands End aerodrome)
......... and the sea glistened.

I caught a bus from St Ives, through Penzance, to St Just where I had walked in reverse from the previous day.  I only had about 6 miles to walk and so was in no hurry, stopping in a cafe before I even began.  Here I met three delightful people who asked if I wanted a ride to Sennen Cove, a mile short of Lands End but the closest place I could get to sleep.  My response of "no thank you, but my pack would!" was taken up.  These kind people, whose names I don't even know, took my pack and delivered it to the pub for me.  I hope they realise how much I appreciated this.  To walk that last day without being burdened with my pack was a real joy.
 There seems to be an abundance of water in Cornwall.
 When I got to this part of the path I was a bit concerned, but it was only about 100 metres of overgrown path, fortunately.

The rocks in the background are called the prisms.

Arriving at the pub I was greeted with another surprise.  The publican told me that I had been upgraded because anyone who had done what I had done deserved the best room in the house!  It was certainly that.  I sat by the window watching the sea come rolling in, so close that I felt like I was on a big ship looking out, and during the night, whenever I woke, I could hear the sea, and on waking in the morning I lay in bed looking back towards Cape Cornwall.
 Nearly at Sennen Cove, looking back towards Cape Cornwall.

 Old Success Inn where I spent my last night in Cornwall.  I slept in a room on the first floor looking out over this view.
 The lifeboat house (on right), Sennen Cove.
Sennen Cove.

However that was after I had dropped everything in my room, taking only my camera, to make the one mile jaunt around the coast path to Lands End.  There were few people around and I had to go hunting to ask someone to take my photo, and I had to content myself with a stamp on my paper work from the pub at Sennen Cove as nothing was open at Lands End - closed for renovations.  I couldn't even have a celebratory coffee!
 On the way to Lands End from Sennen Cove the sun struck the rocks along the cliffs.

Looking towards the Longships Lighthouse, Lands End, Cornwall.

I have spent the past week, after making my way by train to London, shopping!  I have had to buy some replacement gear, though I postponed buying boots until I got to Germany as I was going to buy a German brand and so thought I might as well get them in Munich.
 This is for the Caminoites who are reading this blog - they will realise the significance of this.  In Spanish Place, in London, I came across St James Catholic Church!
 On one of my meanderings I came across this memorial which I hadn't seen before.
 The horse guards change every hour, but I suspect the change can't come quick enough for them.  I noticed a much higher police presence this time and had a chat to one bloke armed with his automatic, body armour etc, who said this higher presence has only been in the last month.  Its quite sad really.  There were at least a half dozen police guarding the guards!
 Buckingham Palace.
 Walking through Hyde Park, London.
 The fountain, and the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London.

I started keeping a record of how far I walked while in London because I was feeling pretty tired after the first couple of days there.  On two quieter days I clocked up almost twenty kilometres per day.  Thus I conservatively estimate that I walked around 130 kms in the time I was in London.  One day I know I walked 34 going backwards and forwards!  No wonder sometimes I felt weary by days end.

Not that there is any chance of changing my mind, but London confirmed why I dislike mobile phones so much.  I don't walk fast, but it was frustrating being stuck behind someone who was dawdling along sending text messages or reading them, worse when someone stopped dead in front of me so that a near collision had to be avoided, and nerve wracking taking avoidance action as someone strayed into my path because they were busy on the phone and weaving all over the place!  I have a sim card in my tablet so that I can Skype mountain rescue should I need to ( and if there is a signal), but that is my only concession to mobile phones, or Handy's as they are called in Germany.
There was some snow still lying around at lunch time

The Rathaus, Marienplatz, Munich

The next stage of this year long journey is about to begin.  The End to End took me a month longer than planned and thus I am going to begin the next stage from Leipzig.  I am currently in Munich having spent the day shopping for boots, and head off by train to Leipzig tomorrow.  Flying into Munich was like looking at a black and white picture as everywhere was covered by snow.  It has snowed several times today, but in the city it hasn't stayed, though there are piles of snow along the edge of the paths showing that it has recently snowed heavily.  Snow is forecast over the next few days, and I am very glad that for the next couple of weeks I will have some company.  German speaking company what's more, as on Sunday I meet my son Emrys.  I am looking forward to that.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Let the picture tell the tale!

I have arrived!
 1 mile to go........
 .....and at Lands End.

This section of my journey:-
 began in fog, ended in sunshine 
covered not 874 miles, but approx. 1,300 miles 

More to come later.  Rest time now!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Cornwall's coastal path.

I am writing now from St Ives.  Accommodation throughout the last week or so has been tricky to say the least.  This however, has led to some really good experiences not least of which is that I have had four days walking pack free.  I stayed in Newquay for three nights, going out each day, and I have stayed here in St Ives for two nights, going to St Just and walking back today.
 St Just church
 A memorial at St Just.
 The Methodist church at St Just.  Methodist churches in Cornwall remind me of those in the copper triangle back home.
 St Ives (above and below)

Over these days of walking along the coast, here in Cornwall, I have seen some wonderful sights, met some lovely people, heard some interesting stories and had a lot of laughs. I have had reasonable weather fortunately, quite a bit of sunshine, just a little rain, and only one day of strongish winds.

As I walked up the hill into Newquay I stopped at a cafe for a coffee and cake and to escape the rain that had just started.  Here I met a really interesting man, a former policeman, and a karate expert.  He took it upon himself to educate me about Newquay, taking me for a drive around the town showing me such things as where to cross the River Gannel the next day, the hotel where the film "The Witches" was filmed, and the newly restored huers hut, explaining about the phrase "a hue and cry" and the history of gig races.
The restored huers hut

 Crossing the River Gannel at Newquay.

Today, while I was walking through the little village of Pendeen I passed the gig shed.  A man was working in there doing maintenance on the gig oars in preparation for the gig championships at Easter.  Now - "hue and cry" you ask?  It was here, in the gig shed, that I got a further explanation.  A huers job was to watch the water for the pilchards, and when he saw the sea "boiling" with the pilchards he would cry out, the gigs would be launched, and presumably the pilchards would be netted.  There were huers huts along the coast, and most bays had gigs.  Not only were they used for fishing, but also on occasions as life boats, as they are pretty large, flat bottomed boats, very manouverable and stable.
Working on the gig boat, Pendeen.

Here in St Ives I am staying at the Treloyhan Manor Hotel.  The people here are fabulous, good fun and very helpful, with James driving me to St Just this morning to walk the 26 kms back.  Spending the evening in their company last night, and two guests from Rambler Holidays tonight has been great and made my stay in this pretty village quite memorable. Added to that, there is a good piano here and so I raided the music shelf and had a play for half an hour.

Walking along the coast I have been treated to great views over the cliff tops, sometimes scary with the close proximity to the edge.  I have loved seeing the bird life along the way, watching the seagulls soaring in and around the cliffs.  There is also the mining history in evidence as I walk along both the cliffs and the roads.

 The path feels as if it is very close to the cliff edge at times.

 At St Agnes.

It is interesting that over the past week I have had a number of people comment on my mention of Cousin Jack, and so I will clarify.  Cousin Jack is not a reference to my cousin, though I can make a claim to this heritage, but to Cornishmen in general.  It is thought to have a couple of explanations. One is the habit of calling fellow countrymen "cousin", and the other is that miners who had emigrated were in the habit of asking for jobs for their cousin and Jack being the most common name they became " cousin Jack".

Its late, I'm tired, and I'm going to let the photos tell the rest of the story.

The steps are going up here, but hidden from the lens is a mirror image with them going down!