Hi Charioteers,

I have seen that very little is happening on this site these days. When posts are written, by far the most are from Christopher, who writes exceptionally well, yet often on subjects which are heavy or political.

Since Covid I have taken a much needed backseat on writing or commenting about such topics, because I found it wasn’t doing me any good. My views around the covid measures were seen largely as the ideas of a loony conspiracy theorist, many of which have now been vindicated by research and evidence. Excess deaths are increasing worldwide. None of us really know what the lockdowns and virtually forced vaccines were all about. Anyway, here I go again, drifting into the “heavy”.

Over the last year or two, in order to keep away as much as is sensibly possible, from MSM and social media, (I still use Facebook for posting some of the nicer aspects of life, such as holidays, running events etc. As my family and friends are spread over many countries, Facebook is a great way to let them know how we are and what we are up to), I have been doing a lot of reading and hiking.

As we are living in Spain and I have been concentrating on learning to master the language, I noticed that my German was gradually weakening. I still often speak German with Bettina, but as time went on I began to notice that I needed more effort than before to find certain words. In the hope that this was not due to dementia setting in, I began reading books in german again, mostly novels. It seems to have worked. My german is now back with the fluency it once was.

My second main activity, hiking, is a great passion of both mine and Bettina’s. We began a little project to try to walk the complete circuit around the perimeter of the Iberian peninsular. As we began this in 2014, we went away for one or two days every couple of weeks to walk the coast. Now, as we have to travel over 600km to reach our next starting point, we go for around 12 days every 2 months. So far we have covered every inch from Portbou at the French border, down to Mazarron in Murcia. In the Summer months we do the GR route across the Pyrenees, from the Mediterranean towards San Sebastian.

We have completed approximately a quarter of the whole coastline and a third of the Pyrenees route so far in 8 years. Now, we are trying to decide whether to increase the frequency of our trips or accept that we won’t complete the journey before we become too old. I suspect, in the end, we will just continue as we are and let life show us how far we get. The end goal of actually completing the circuit is less critical than the goal of attempting to. We have so many lovely experiences of situations or meeting new people, that it is the journey that gives us pleasure, not the final goal.

Now that I have drifted into waffle mode, if anyone is still reading this, I will finish by wishing you all a Merry Christmas and good health and happiness in 2023.

Oh, one more thing. I shall be going away to Garrucha in Almeria over the Christmas period for the next 12 day coastal hike. We will be having a very quiet time walking along, while everyone is eating, drinking and celebrating with their families.

What will you be doing this Christmas?

Author: gazoopi

After finally leaving the world of the black suit and tie, briefcase and laptop, hotel rooms and airports, and donning sandals, jeans and a flat cap, I have entered a new world of creative writing. If, through my written work, I can create a smile, cause a tear to fall or stimulate an LOL from my readers, I will be a winner!

11 thoughts on “Christmas”

  1. Not really mate – we’re just a bit slow these days. Hang around a bit and the fireworks will start, I’m sure. 😎

  2. Hello Gaz, I have a good friend, an old school mate who currently lives in California. He is a walker. A few year back he walked Geneva to Finisterre and then a year later, Guidford to Rome. This year he plans to walk one of the islands in Japan. Can’t remember which one. In any event, when people talk about the length of a coastline beng so many miles/kilometres, I cannot help but ponder the length of the minimum unit that they use to measure said coast line. The distance determined using a kilometre ruler would be considerably shorter than one using a 1mm ruler. If you get my drift. Think of all those beach pebbles. Idle speculation, I know, but speculation nevertheless. Have fun.

  3. Not so much interesting. My Castillian tutor and I will look into the pieces of literature I will be reading. She is, like me, fond of Spanish and Latin American literature.
    One of my old mates will visit next month. He’s preparing to return to China for 18 months. Can’t say I think it’s a terribly brilliant idea, but the lad is homesick and you can’t fault him for wanting to be with family and old friends.

  4. Sipu, I know exactly what you mean. When we plan our day we look at the map (I am a bit of a map freak and buy all of the walking maps for our trips) and try to make a judgement call on the distance we need to walk. If it is straight and flat, as in a promenade, it is fairly easy to calculate 1:1, but on coastline such as the Costa Brava or much of Murcia, which is very hilly and many small diversions around natural features it can be up to double that what appears on the map.
    With experience we get better at judging roughly the distances before we set off. Years ago we had some real disasters where we planned about 30km and it turned out to be rough terrain and 40km, where we got back shattered in the dark.
    At my age we don’t take such risks any more. 🙂

  5. For myself, under the circumstances I’ve pulled the plug on all holiday festivities this year. No tree, no decorations, no lights, no card-sending, no nothing. I’m fixing myself (and my dear little dog) something of a “special” meal but that’s it.

    To all others, I wish a very Happy Christmas and (if the world lasts that long) an excellent New Year.

  6. I missed out on the Christmas comments because we were on Santiago, the capital of the Cape Verde islands for a bit of winter sun. At least I am in time to wish all Charioteers a Happy New Year. May 2023 be a more peaceful time for the world.

  7. Hellow Sheona,
    In 1986 I sailed a 30ft yacht, as an unskilled crew member, from Cape Town to Dartmouth. We made an unscheduled stop at Cape Verde, to off load a couple who had lost their nerve following some rough weather. The skipper and I sailed the boat the rest of the way, taking our 3-hour watches in turn. Other stops included Luderitz in Namibia, (unscheduled repairs), St Helena, Ascension Island and Horta in the Azores. 10 weeks at sea in total. Probably the best thing I ever did.

    Back in the ‘good old, bad old days of apartheid’, South African Airways was not permitted to fly over most African countries, so they used to fly over the ocean which required a refuel at Ila da Sol. I landed their once, or possibly twice. I hope you had fun.

    Happy new year to you and the rest of the chariot’s crew.

  8. Sipu, your mention of Horta reminded us of a holiday some years ago in the Azores, visiting six of the islands, all different. For some reason I have a particular recollection of the little stone-walled inclosures for each vine on Pico. And let’s not forget Peter’s Sport Cafe.

    I believe that Sal is now a resort island in Cape Verde. I found Praia very interesting, particularly watching the market ladies carrying their goods on their heads. There was even one lady with four trays of eggs up top – that would have been some omelette if anything had gone wrong. A visit to Ciudade Velha, formerly the capital, to walk along Rua Banana and see the excellent moorings which made it so fatally attractive to pirates, gave us a history lesson. Sadly my Portuguese is not improved.

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