Mahone Bay to Lunenburg on the Bay to Bay Trail

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.

Bay to Bay Trail Lunenburg Mahone Bay

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Camino de Santiago planning: Getting my pilgrim credential

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

My Camino de Santiago in 2014

When I visited Spain in 2011, I immediately fell in love with the country and knew I’d return. In Madrid, I encountered a couple who had just finished their second Camino de Santiago, this time from Portugal. At the time, I knew nothing about it and asked them enough questions to know this was something I’d have to do. On the flight home, I was decided: I will walk the Camino de Santiago in 2014. On paper, it’s a big year for me. I turn 40. And while 40 is the new 29, or some hot nonsense like that, it’s also a good time for me to go somewhere I really want to go, enjoy what comes my way and meet people from all over the world while I’m doing it.

Walking, eating and meeting. This is what I want to do in 2014. As the months tick by, I’ll provide updates with my progress, planning and preparation. At best, it will be one person’s definitive guide to fulfilling her dreams. If you find it helpful, have questions, or even better, want to offer advice, let me know in the comments! Buen camino!

#caminotwits

My friend Lori and I are planning to do the Camino at the same time and have been pursuing our planning with great, shared enthusiasm. She’s also blogging her Camino prep, and we’ve created a hashtag - #caminotwits - to tag information in our Twitter conversations. Needless to say, it’s quickly becoming the theme of our adventure and a source of amusement among our friends.

Caminotwits handles

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Italy travel journal: Hiking through Cinque Terre’s grape harvest

If you enjoyed last week’s visit to the wine harvest in Tuscany, my wine adventures in Italy continue with my visit to the Cinque Terre. This part of the trip involves even more grapes and wine, with the added benefit of hiking straight uphill for many hours and kilometres. I joke because I love.

Hiking through the villages of the Cinque Terre has been something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years. While I am definitely a walker, I wouldn’t call myself a “hiker.” When I found the dreamy sounding Cinque Terre Coastal Walk through G Adventures, I knew right away I found what I was looking for. “What could be more lovely than a leisurely walk among brightly-coloured villages next to the Mediterranean?” Ha!

Manarola Cinque Terre hike hiking trails grapes

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Hometown travel: Looking for spirits on the Halifax Ghost Walk

My hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia is a very, very old city. After thousands of years of settlement by the Mi’kmaq, and hundreds after European contact, the city has an enormous amount of history, and, if the stories are to be believed, an odd ghost or two hanging around.

I’ve been wanting to take a ghost tour of the city for some time. It combines the appeal of a walking tour with the opportunity to learn a little more about my hometown, and have some spooky fun along the way.

When the universe aligned the schedules of some friends and the weather gave us a balmy August evening, we set out for Halifax’s iconic Town Clock to experience the Halifax Ghost Walk. We met up with a large group of 25 intrepid souls, paid our tour leader (cash only!), and set out to meet the ghosts of Halifax.

Our tour was given by local musician Dusty Keleher, who combines storytelling with a nice, downhill stroll on a lovely summer evening. I won’t be spilling any of his stories here, mostly because it’s just not fair, but it also spoils the fun for future tour-goers.

We started on top of the city on the Halifax Citadel, with a sweeping view of the city below us and a quick history lesson about how the city was settled by Europeans, and life in the city during its early years.

Halifax Ghost Walk tour

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