Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's Christmas

Christmas Tree
Originally uploaded by ebygomm.
Merry Christmas
       and a
Happy New Year

I'm saving trees this year (plus i'm lazy :-) ) so instead of cards I've made a donation to C-R-Y

Have a good one!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sun, sea, sand and starfish

Ok, so the sun only put in brief appearances but the title wouldn't have worked so well otherwise!

First of all to Esbjerg for a quick wander round the shops dodging the showers and Santa Claus. Then to Blåvand, the kite shop was closed though :-( probably for the best as we could only endure being out in the wind and rain for 10 minutes at Blåvands Hug, the most westerly point in Danmark.
After waving to England and Scotland we drove further north to Vejers right onto the beach. The rain had stopped but the evidence of previous bad weather was literally littering the beach. Thousands of starfish and razor shells (see here ) Never seen anything like it before. We looked for amber, but only Mikkel's dad was successful but it's my souvenir. The sun put in one final appearance and the reflections were amazing, pretty pictures on a cold, wet December day
More Photos

Hello Denmark!

Yay, I'm out the country again :-)

Unfortunately the sun wasn't out to greet us when we got to Denmark but it's making an appearance today.

Yesterday we went for a very little walk at the coast just down the road from here, Darum Dige and then in the evening to Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark. Very pretty even in the rain.

And now it's time for new adventures

Monday, August 28, 2006


Spend the last few days in Barcelona, trying not to do too much, just relaxing on the beach and wandering about, winding down.

After the solitude of the Pyrenees it seems awfully crowded but never having to worry about getting cold is great!

Friday, August 25, 2006


Say goodbye to the Pyrenees and head in the direction of Barcelona. Before too long Montserrat is looming and I take the train up to the monastery.

Even though i've promised to give my tired legs a rest the urge to explore is just too strong and spend all afternoon just wandering about.

It's spectacular and something totally different from the Pyrenees, I'm jealous of all the people climbing though.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Day 21 - Valle de Pineta

We start off doing another section of the GR11 today, and I'm thanking my lucky stars we weren't doing it with packs on because it was about as steep as it can get. The original plan was to climb up to the Col de Añisclo but seeing as it would just mean heading up into the clouds/mist we take a right along the Faja de Tormosa instead. We didn't see a soul, although a little marmot did pop out from behind a rock to say hello and we managed to find some dessert in the form of wild raspberries along the way.

Descend back down to the valley right by the Cascada del Cinca, Monte Perdido still hiding amongst the clouds and then up to Llanos de La Larri before calling it a day, in fact calling it 21 days because this was our last day of hiking in the Pyrenees.

Route Map

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Day 20 - Valle de Añisclo

Time to leave Torla behind and see some other parts of the Parc Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido.

First stop is Valle de Añisclo and we do a short route here. See the Ermita de San Urbez although we're left wondering about the history behind it because our Spanish isn't up to much.

Camp in the Pineta valley, after hearing cracks of thunder we decide that perhaps guy ropes might be a good idea after all and get safely inside the tent just as the downpour begins, the thunder's not loud enough to stop me sleeping though!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Day 19 - Marmots and the chamois who tried to steal my lunch

So the plan was to do a nice little circuit along the Faja Racon. Yet again we get distracted and end up climbing the Clavijas Cascada de Cotatuero. Turns out to be a great decision, above the clavijas there was no sign of anyone else and at the top we were greeted by marmots and a short while later a lot of chamois.

This one particular chamois was very friendly, although turned out she had an ulterior motive and was actually after my lunch.

Spend a couple of hours before retracing our steps and then continuing along the circuit. Have some fun with echoes and then start the descent. My knees are complaining with every step.

Route Map

Monday, August 21, 2006

Day 18 - Valle de Ordesa

An early start ready for a long day. Catch the bus into the park, luckily the rest of the bus are heading off in a different direction.

Zig zag up Senda de los Cazadores, quickly need to strip off most of the layers we'd wrapped ourselves in in the cold morning. Enjoy the view from the mirador and then along the Faja de Pelay with great views all the way. Arrive at the Circo de Soaso where we rejoin the crowds, but it's nice to relax enjoy lunch in the sunshine besides the Cascada de Cola de Cabello. And i must have been relaxed because a lizard walked right on over me as I was laying down.

A sign directing to the Refugio de Goriz por clavijas intrigues me and after watching several people make their way up a seemingly un-passable (from a distance) cliff face we decide to go and investigate. Turns out they're sections where pegs and chains allow you to 'climb' the rock. Of course we had to go up. At the top it seemed sensible to do a figure of 8 and return to waterfall via the 'sendero' path. From there it was an easy walk back down the valley back to La Pradera de Ordesa, with plenty of 'cascadas' to see along the way.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Day 17 - no boots day

We're still walking but letting some air reach our feet instead of hiding them away in boots. From Torla into the national park and the information centre, arriving 10 mintues after they closed for a 2 and a half hour siesta - not very good planning. We walked a little further into the park then back to Torla along the camino de Turieto Bajo. A nice little stroll (if you can call 4 hours a stroll) in the shadow of Mondarruego.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Day 16 - Ibón Gran de Batisielles

A shorter walk today, to allow time to head to Torla in the evening.

Along the Valle d'Estos on the GR11 and then up to Ibón Gran de Batisielles, we're in Aragón now so no more Estany's for us. We complete a survey for some girls working for an Aragonese mountaineering organisation, they were quite excited to be able to put down England & Australia for countries of origin!

It's not a particularly long walk but the days of hiking are starting to take their toll and my feet kill at the end of it. So it's nice to be able to enjoy the scenery on the way to Torla from the comfort of the car.

Camp under a blanket of stars, the first time we've really been able to appreciate them.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Day 15 - Ibón de Cregüeña

A steep climb all the way to Ibón de Cregüeña nestled in a rocky bowl, and it's cold up there! What looks at first glance to be snow actually turns out to be piles of hail presumably dumped in the big storms we had the night before. No nice sunny spot to stop for lunch today.

Distance hiked: 22km
Ascent: 1,200m (Route)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Day 14 - and all the way back again

After swapping the book I "acquired" in Espot for new reading material at the hostel, time to pick up the car, a new Peugeot 107 with less than two thousand miles on the clock. After christening him Pug (not very imaginative I know) it's all the way back to Lleida we go.

Then from Lleida up to Benasque, pick up two Czech boys who are trying to hitch hike to Toulouse, thus my hitch hiking karma is restored. Plus it's nice to have some company aside from Spanish radio.

Reach Benasque and the rain that has been threatening finally arrives. Benasque is a lot bigger than expected and beginning to wonder whether I'll actually be able to find Barry again. Consider staking out the supermarket but there's more than one so probably not much point. Amazingly 30 minutes after I arrive I manage to find him.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Day 13 - Catching a bus to Lleida Take Two

Another early start to catch the bus, this time we're successful - yay!

By this time I've had enough of Spanish public transport it's going to take way too much time and effort to get around the Pyrenees without a car. So from Lleida it's a train all the way back to Barcelona.

A quick search on the internet reveals car hire might actually be within my budget, although the stupid people at Hertz won't match their internet rates at their locations so I have to book the car hire for the following day and spend the night in a hostel in Barcelona.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Day 12 - Spanish public holidays grrr!

Day 11 was another day of doing very little ready for a 4:15 am start on day 12 to catch a bus to Lleida.

We'd arranged a taxi to the bus stop which was 8km from Espot on the main road, after being abandoned at the side of the road, there wasn't anything that resembled a bus stop nearby, we waited, and waited some more. An hour later we decided that for some reason or other, the bus wasn't coming. So still waiting for the sun to come up, we started walking towards Llavorsi, just trying to reach civilisation so we could sort out plans.

The first place we reach is Escaló, find a regular bus stop and discover there is a bus that runs to Sort Monday to Friday and it's arriving in 15 minutes. Think we're in luck, but it's another no show, put it down to an error in my translation of the Catalan bus timetable. With the heavens about to open it's time for a quick decision, we get a taxi to Sort in the hope we can continue our journey to Lleida from there.

Our first stop at the tourist information provides the explanation for the lack of buses, it's the 15th August - La Asunción de la Virgen and a spanish public holiday = no buses. Nice of the lady at the campsite who told us the bus times and booked the taxi and the taxi driver to inform us of this fact!

Resigned to the fact we're not going to get anywhere that day and the weather being atrocious we find a cheap hostal. Have a little wander round Sort but the rest of the day is spent catching up on some sleep and watching (not understanding mind you) Spanish TV.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Day 10 - Espot to Estany Negre de Peguera

Had a day of rest on Day 9, entertaining myself on the campsite was quite challenging and the only reading material in English was lots of back copies of My Weekly, not really my first choice but better than nothing. So I was ready to be back hiking on day 10.

Not the GR11 today but the GR11-20. A lot less busy in this section of the park, which was good, probably because it was pretty much a constant uphill climb. But the lakes at the end were spectacular, Estany Trullo and Estany Negre which is the deepest lake in the park at 117m. It was our third "Estany Negre" but none of them looked very black to me. No way of doing a loop trail today so it's back the way we came.

Total ascent 1,022 metres (Route Map)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Not exactly going to plan

Well, after 5 days of pretty much solid walking it all
seemed like a bit too much! Ive got a nice infected
wound on my ankle (i have pretty pictures) and i spent
a day being sick so the gr11 has been put on hold. It
was getting to be too much like an endurance test.
Were still in Espot, doing lots of day walks round the
national park. We met some other people who started
the same time as us. They gave up after day 1! Well
probably stay here until monday and then make our way
to Benasque and do some multi day trips from there. So
as i said, not exactly going to plan, but the timings
in the book were ridiculously optimistic so we get to
see more of the best bits this way.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Day 8 - Port de Ratera

We do the done thing and take a 4WD Landrover Defender taxi to Estany de Sant Maurici. Leaving the crowds behind we looped around the south side of the lake then up to Port de Ratera d'Espot via the GR11. A slightly different route back down, to take in the Estanys d'Amitges, and the Cascada de Ratera before completing the loop round the north side of Estany de Sant Maurici and continuing all the way back to the campsite in Espot.

Total Descent 1,214m (Route Map)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Day 7 - decisions

Decide to go to Espot and try and explore the Parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, won't let a silly infected ankle put an end to this trip just yet.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Day 6 - the end of the road?

Well, it seems I'd managed to develop a nice little festering wound on my ankle (don't click here if you're squeamish!). It hurt quite a bit and smelt even worse and after a trip to the pharmacist it was clear that we couldn't carry on with the traverse as planned :-(

Decided to have a day of rest in Llavorsi and work out a plan.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Day 5 - returning from France!

Retrace our steps back down to Estany de Sotllo but the weather's not looking good. A decision is made to head back to Vall Ferrera and make our way to Espot and skip days 4-6. Just as well as soon there was thunder, lightening and hail to contend with.

Reach Vall Ferrera and so thumbs out we start walking towards Areu. Ten minutes later we're in luck and we're out the rain in a van with the heaters blowing and it's so nice! They dropped us at the main road and we walk another 2k before we manage to get a lift the rest of the way to Llavorsi.

Find ourselves a nice little campsite with friendly neighbours, they gave us some red wine when we first arrived, we must have looked like we needed it.

Route Map

Monday, August 07, 2006

Day 4

Waking up with this sort of view is pretty nice.

Walked down to the Refugi de Vall Ferrera and then up the Sotllo valley and Estany de Sotllo, so far so good.

Following red and white signs without too much thinking we eventually reach to the top of a coll after a very steep scree slope (this turned out to be Port de Sotllo at 2894m). At the top we're a little confused about the route but if you've climbed up one side of a coll the only correct way is to go down the other side - surely? Well, turns out that logic only works if you've gone up the right coll in the first place. Unfortunately for us we hadn't. By this time though it was getting late and we only had about an hour of light left. We just about manage to find somewhere where we can pitch the tent. So we spend a delightful night in France, trying to sleep on a 30 degree slope, there's some nice big rocks amongst the grass as well, just for good measure!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Day 3

Well, officially it's only the start of "Day 2" but hey. It's another long climb to start with, but this one doesn't feel quite so relentless, or maybe we're just getting fitter. The coll at the top opens up into a beautiful valley, and then it's climb after climb after climb all the way to the Andorra/Spanish border at Port de Baiau.

The relief at being at the top is surpassed by the realisation of what we have to go down, a very steep scree slope. It's not as bad as it looks though and when you can just slide a lot of the way it makes it a bit quicker. Eventually start the more gentle descent down to Vall Ferrera.

Lots of cows around, but we eventually manage to find a few square metres free of cow pats to pitch the tent.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Day 2

Straight into the walking today, manage to lose the GR11 and end up in Sornàs, no great problem though, it's only a short walk to La Cortinada and we're back en route. We reach Arans and then it's time for the "tough ascent to Coll de les Cases" and they weren't lying! The Coll is a beautiful place to have lunch though.

Going down the other side is almost as tiring as going up and we decide to call it a day when we reach Arinsal. We decide to head for a campsite recommended in the book, supposedly 4km down the road which you can catch a bus to. We get off the bus only to find the campsite is another 1.3km away - probably explains why the driver was confused and I just thought it was my bad Spanish. Head back to Arinsal and get a cheap room in a Hostal.

We're starting to realise that the timings in the book are ridiculously optimistic, actually pure fantasy would be a better way of describing them and there's lots of other little inaccuracies.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Day 1

After stocking up on the breakfast buffet it's time to get to Canillo. My backpack goes in the trunk of the bus and I have visions of the driver taking off before I have chance to retrieve it. Thankfully that doesn't happen and I manage to get both myself and my luggage to Canillo.

After getting some fuel (for us and the stove) it's straight into the hiking.

So far so good, we reach the Planell de les Basses and in the excitement of spotting the first red and white GR11 markers take a left instead of a right - doh! Luckily we realise before too long and after lunch get back on track. Manage to walk up the steep hill to the Coll d'Ordino twice after a bit of dithering about the route - doh 2!

Pass a couple who have been walking for 30 days, they tell us this is the worst part of the GR11 they have done so far, nothing like jumping in at the deep end.

We had a late start so push on until it starts to get dark, and then find the first available spot to pitch the tent.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bored in Amsterdam

1 hour down another 3 to go!!! Bored in Schiphol airport right now. Flight to Amsterdam was uneventful, quite impressed that we got fed and watered, mind you they have to throw it at you becaus you're not up in the air all that long.
Off to find my gate and take a nap.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Yay, I'm off exploring again

Finally I get to go on another adventure, 26 days in all, so only a little trip by my standards.

So on Thursday I fly to Barcelona and from there I will get a bus to Andorra and on Friday start walking from Canillo to Sallent de Gállego! A long long hike, 305 km more or less, mostly along the GR11. It sounds a lot but if you say 13km per day it doesn't sound nearly as bad! It's meant to be spectacular and I'm sure it will be. 23 days without work, woo hoo, I'm so excited, the only things to worry about will be walking and eating and sleeping and enjoying the scenery. Hakuna Matata!

We're using the Lonely Planet Pyrenean Traverse as a rough guide, but we may alter things along the way depending on conditions (for example, the weather or our aching legs). Hopefully, through the wonders of modern technology, I'll be able to update this blog with snippets of information along the way but no promises.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Ronaldo (not fatty, the Portuguese one!)

Well, England are out of the world cup. A quarter final exit on penalties seems to be our destiny. C'est la vie! But this little cartoon is enough to cheer anyone up.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

My Pirate Name

My Pirate Name Is

Red Bess Flint

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Day 10

Yay, on the road to recovery. Can walk normally now (providing I think about it!) and most of the swelling seems to have gone but there's still a bit of bruising, including some new stuff on the inside. I am now working on balancing on the bad foot because I have lost the ability to do this. Apparently you are meant to be able to hop 5 times on the bad ankle before returning to high risk sports so being able to stand on one leg is the first step!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hmmmm beautiful!

Five days on and my foot now looks like this, very pretty i think you'll agree!

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Ouch, I hurt my ankle on Thursday :-( and have been confined to sitting with my feet up since then. Now I know this might sound like heaven to some, but the novelty of doing nothing soon wears off and I'm bored to tears now. And hopping about gets pretty tiring after a while.

So in my boredom I decided that as I hadn't written anything on my blog in a little while I'd tell my own little world about my ankle and put up a nice pretty picture for everyone to see!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter Greetings!

Happy Easter!

Today I have been mostly...

...playing about with animated gifs.

Wouldn't go as far to say that the results were impressive but it's kept me occupied!

Have a good Easter weekend everyone.

Another animation I made here. It's a work in progress.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Out my window

Been playing about with autostitch software this evening. Pretty impressed with the results so far, really does require no user input so it's pretty clever.

This is a pretty rough attempt out my bedroom window, without tripod or anything so not to bad all things considered. Even managed to get a few ducks in there too.

Just need to go somewhere nice where I can have a go at doing a really nice panorama now

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Where do you live?

New feature! I've added a guest map, click the link in the sidebar and show me where you live. Probably somewhere more exotic than me!

Friday, March 03, 2006


So after hearing about the snowfall just about everywhere else in the UK I've been very jealous all week. But now finally, the snow has arrived and there's a pretty good covering already. 'Tis all so pretty and white :-)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Flickrmap up and running

So my main purpose of starting this blog was to have somewhere to put my Flickrmap. Spent most of the weekend geotagging my photos with the help of Google Earth and my flickrmap isn't looking too bad at all. Lots of places still to see obviously but I'm working on that.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

And so it begins...

Questions & Answers

CAN YOU JUGGLE? nope, but I can make balloon animals

So now you know a little bit more about me!