Sonntag, 9. Oktober 2011

Closing the gap...

... in the last 2.5 months I continued traveling to Bordeaux and Den Haag and I have been serving in the Vipassana Center close to Barcelona: Dhamma Neru for 10 days.

And now after traveling for 11 amazing months I have found my new home in ... BARCELONA.

I am very happy to be here - I like the city, the people, the country, the cultural and hopefully soon I am able to speak Spanish as well. I think it is the beginning of a great new year of learning and exploring and I am very excited to be here.

In the end, I want to THANK all of YOU for being with me on this journey - for all the special moments you shared with me. I hope to see you soon in Barcelona. Besos, smiles and happiness. Yours Eylin.

The End.

Montag, 8. August 2011

On the road with my Mum

Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Sevilla, Cadiz and Malaga in 2 weeks – my Mum and I had many places to see and to explore in Spain.

Finally, my Mum arrives at the airport in Barcelona
We started our trip in Barcelona – walking at least 15 km’s every day. There is so much to see in Barcelona: Gaudi’s constructions like the Sagrada Família, Casa Milá and Casa Battló – amazing buildings. Then we’ve been walking along La Rambla - a 1.2 kilometer-long tree-lined pedestrian mall. We went to the beach area: Barceloneta, the harbour, various parks, the old town: Barri Gòtic etc. etc. – Barcelona was for us an exciting and diverse city and definitely worth a visit.

La Rambla
The harbour

Sagrada Família

Parc de la Ciutadella

Barcelona's Cactus Garden
Then we continued our trip to Valencia, a city with a great mix of tradition and modern spirit.
A truly mind-blowing confection of some of Europe's most awesome architecture is the City of Arts and Science in Valencia. 

We also have been trying Valencias’s culinary specialities, like: Orxata: a drink made from tigernuts, water, and sugar - refreshing and delicious and the best Paella ever (of course vegetarian style). 

Orxata sales woman
# 1 Paella restaurant in Valencia
Next stop was the magical city of Granada, where we’ve been visiting the Albaicin and the World Heritage Site, the complex of the Alhambra.
The Albaicin is a labyrinth of narrow streets perfumed of blossom smell, where you can find many small tea houses. Of course my Mum and I had to try different teas and Arabian sweets, mh - yammie. 

Then we’ve been visiting the Alhambra, originally designed as a military area, became the residence of royalty and of the court of Granada in the middle of the thirteenth century, after the establishment of the Nasrid kingdom and the construction of the first palace, by the founder king Mohammed ibn Yusuf ben Nasr, better known as Alhamar.


30-40 degrees every day...

The garden of Alhambra
Graffiti art on the walls of Granada:

After 2 days in Granada, we hit the road again and made our way to Sevilla and the largest cathedral in Spain and the third largest (by square footage) in the entire world. Sevilla is a beautiful city but very, very hot in the summer – so don’t forget to bring a hand-fan.

The cathedral

...a great view of Sevilla after climbing a 100 m high tower
snails for sale

I always wanted to try a flamenco dress.

refreshing - after a long, hot day of walking

After so much sightseeing it was time for a bit of beach vacation and so we drove to Cadiz and enjoyed the beach, sun and ocean for 3 days. It was also the 1st youth hostel experience for my Mum and she did really well – we stayed in a 6-bed-mixed-dorm and my Mum really enjoyed meeting travellers from all over the world there.

Happy times

Sunset in Cadiz

Botanical garden Cadiz

Mum chilling on the roof terrace of the youth hostel in Cadiz
As every journey has an end, so had ours and after 2 weeks of sightseeing and beach vacation and an amazing time with my Mum it was time to say Good-bye in Malaga. But not before we explored the old town and beach of Malaga ;)

Saying Good bye at the Malaga airport.

I really enjoyed my trip through the different parts of Spain and specially spending time with my Mum was better than anything. Now my journey will continue – next stop: Bordeaux – stay tuned.

Hugs and besos from Barcelona,

Sonntag, 17. Juli 2011

Wwoofing in France

...after walking a part of le chemin de saint-jacques de compostelle, I felt like staying in one place for a while. So I decided to try Wwoofing in Provence – mainly to see the Lavender fields in this area, something I have wanted to see for a long time.

For my 1st wwoofing experience I chose a castle, which was located near to Avignon.

The owners are from the Netherlands and they are accepting 4-6 woofers or helpx volunteers at the time. This was a great opportunity for me to spend some time in a beautiful area of France and get to know people from around the world and work with them.

As a woofer you work usually 5 days a week, 5 hours a day and in exchange you receive free food and accommodation. In my case, we volunteers weren’t staying in the castle but in a safari tent – interesting experience :), specially at times when the mistral was playing with the tent and you weren’t sure if you would wake up the next morning and see the sky directly above you…but a great experience nevertheless. 

The safari tent from outside and...

... inside.

surrounding of the castle

My work changed every day: from garden work to helping in the kitchen, painting, restoring furniture and so on. I liked the variety of things which could be done; no day was like the other and we volunteers (from New Zealand, England, USA, China, Germany) had a lot of fun together.

My highlight although was, as mentioned before, to be able to see lavender fields. As I always imagined it, it was an amazing sight and smell.

Finally - me in a lavender field and also...

... sunflower fields everywhere.
After I had finished my woofing experience I travelled to Montpellier (very nice city) and then further to Barcelona. I will spend at least one month in Spain now, travelling from Barcelona to the South and back. As usual I will keep you all up-dated.

Hasta luego, Eylin

Freitag, 24. Juni 2011


... le pèlerine 

My toughtest challenge so far during this year has been walking ‘Le chemin de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle’ for the last 10 days.

I’ve been thinking I am in a good physical condition but the camino showed me differently.

I tried to blame my shoes and backpack for all the pain I’ve been going through but probably I should have been better prepared: physically and mentally and not underestimated this journey.

The 1st day started excellent. I got up at 5 am in the morning, the sun was shining and I prepared myself and my backpack and went off to the beautiful cathedral in the heart of Le Puy en Valey. At 7 am we had a mess and then all the pilgrims went off and started their pilgrimage.

the cathedral at Le Puy

me and Saint-Jacques
I chose to walk 22, 5 km the 1st day from Le Puy to Saint-Privat-d’Aller. As mentioned before, it was a beautiful, sunny day; I walked through amazing landscape, met nice people on the way. But when I arrived in Saint-Privat-d’Aller, after 6 hours walking, I thought my feet are on fire. My calves, shoulders and hips were killing me – I was completely exhausted and just wanted a hot shower and go to bed…I wasn’t sure if I could survive the next 8 days.

The 2nd day got worst – more pain all over my body…I made a decision and sent 5 kg of my luggage via courier to Conques, the end station of my journey. It was anyways recommended to carry only a max. of 8 kg but I had 11-12 kg on my back, so the books I carried and other stuff I didn’t need for these 10 days were sent off. I also bought some bandages for my feet and with new courage I started day # 3.

...walking along fields...
poppy flowers everywhere...

...after a break, on the road again...

welcome company

beautiful Aubrac cow

...always smiling in the morning but...
... in the evening, I had to put my feet up :)
Everyone who knows me, also knows that I am not giving up on a project I started, so every day since then I have been walking between 16.5 km (10, 2 miles) and 27 km (16, 8 miles). I have met many wonderful people on my trip, most of them shared my experience, they suffered as much as I did or even worst. Others gave me tipps on how to stretch my legs/calves – in my case it was a veterinarian (!!!) and his friend. Then you meet people who recite poems to you and make you laugh (thanks Jean-Claude, the most romantic pilgrim on the camino).

Some days are physical or emotional difficult, other days are challenging due to the different weather conditions. I experienced sunshine, rain, wind, fog and a mix of everything during the last 10 days.

a rainy day

through the forest

BUT, in the end I am very happy that I kept going. To walk from Le-Puy-en-Valey to Conques was the most beautiful start of my France experience. I am so happy to have met so many beautiful people (who accepted me with a big smile, even though I barely spoke a word of French). The nature, specially the flowers in June, and the animals I’ve seen, everything was worth going through the pain.

I highly recommend to everyone to walk this part of the camino – I heard from many pilgrims, that it is the most beautiful part (thank you, Corinne, for recommending it to me :)). But I also recommend anyone who does it, to wear good hiking boots, have a good backpack, not more than 8 kg to carry and if possible some hiking poles – and if you know a little bit of French, it will make your life a little easier. As for the best time to go during the year, I recommend the months of May and June – since the temperature is most likely pleasant and many flowers are blooming.

Aubrac's dômerie
... a stony way ahead...

charming Estaing       

Conques Saint Faith abbey
dorm room for € 10,-/night

... and in the end:

bonheur or happiness - finally arrived in Conques: after 9 days and 200 km/124 miles of walking
my pilgrim passport