At this point in our training, my #CaminoTwits pal Lori and I consider ourselves advanced amateur walkers. After the previous week’s 32km effort, we decided we needed to stretch ourselves further and sought recommendations from our hiking friends at AvoidingChores.com for a shorter, yet hillier route. That’s what brought us to the Admiral Lake Loop on the Musquodoboit Trailway.
For those unfamiliar with Nova Scotia place names, “Musquodoboit” is pronounced “Musk-uh-dob-it.”
We are not gluttons for punishment, except when we are. My #CaminoTwits buddy Lori and I had a pretty simple rationale for this adventure: we have a couple of days on the Camino where the walks could be 30+ kilometres and we thought it might be a good idea to see what that feels like.
Short version: looks good, feels terrible. It was a good test for what a long, long day of walking on easy terrain may feel like – for better or for worse – and we saw a porcupine in a tree.
As part of our efforts to get lots and lots of kilometres on our legs and be Camino-ready by September, my friend Lori and I are quickly burning though our 20-kilometre walking route options in Halifax and Dartmouth. So, we started looking for new trail ideas a short drive from Halifax in the 10-kilometre range or a 20-kilometre loop/return. One that jumped out connects two of my favourite spots on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, the Bay to Bay Trail connecting the towns of Mahone Bay and Lunenburg on an abandoned rail line.
As planning for my September Camino de Santiago progresses, I’m ticking off the to-do items on my ever-shortening packing list.*
In addition to a government-issued passport to enter Spain, pilgrims require a credencial that gets stamped at every stop on their Camino with sellos and serves as proof they walked, cycled or rode the required distances to earn the compostela upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela. There are lots of ways to obtain one, with many pilgrims purchasing their credencial in Spain when they are setting off on their journey. Continue reading
An essential part of any trip to Cape Town is a trip down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. The trip is full of historical significance – and charming African penguins. For most people, this trip also constitutes going to the end of the world or the southermost point in Africa, but that’s not exactly accurate (that would be Cape Agulhas), it is, however, the southwesternmost point on the African continent, and is a noteworthy destination on its own.
Cape Town to Simons Town by train
There are plenty of ways from Cape Town to Simons Town to Cape Point through organized day tours departing Cape Town. Generally, I favour independent travel using public transportation over bus tours, which can be challenging since Cape Town’s public transit is very different, and somewhat limited, compared to other cities as prominent and enthusiastically-visited as Cape Town.
Around Cape Town, commuter rail service is provided by Metrorail Western Cape, and it covers an extensive area of suburbs and townships. There are two classes of travel, and it is generally recommended for tourists to use the “Metro Plus” cars for safer journeys. Despite the warnings, I found the train service to be very, very safe, and my car was full of tourists both ways. All the same, heed safety warnings: travel with others if possible, don’t carry a lot of cash and valuables, and don’t take the train after dark. Also, don’t wear headphones or earbuds. This probably merits a post of its own, but I quickly discovered no one in Cape Town wears headphones when walking around. It’s an easy way to remain alert and aware of what’s going on around you, and an extra bit of attention doesn’t hurt.
The main Metrorail station is found on the edge of the Central Business District (or CBD), at the corner of Adderley and Strand streets. Inside the terminal, look around for ticketing machines, or ask someone at the information desk. It was a fairly easy transaction and before long, my friend and I were on our train in a Metroplus card and on our way south.