Monday, 26 February 2018

Travel Tips

Travel tips.
I was recently made aware of the excellent travel guide written by Jane Rogers - 50 travel tips from my past 10 years of experience travelling to more than 100 countries around the world.
I know that in the main we are all walking but somehow we have to get to the start of the walk and then we have to travel home. Jane shares some valuable tips and these are the ones that I certainly endorse.
Booking accommodation:
There are lots of discussion and questions about booking accommodation in advance and everyone has their own preference. Myself, I like to have at least three or four days accommodation booked in advance and I am now too fussy about where I stay. Pilgrim accommodation (I tend to rely on recommendations), Agroturismos, Bed & Breakfast, Airbnb, Couch Surfing, Camping there is so much to choose from but cost is usually the deciding factor.
Jane recommends making friends along the way and potentially sharing accommodation costs. I have certainly heard one story about a fellow Pilgrim travelling on the Via Francigena who shared an apartment with three other women. Not only did they have use of a kitchen but a washing machine, a fabulous balcony and oodles of space that worked out to be better value than the Pilgrim accommodation in the town.
I think that unless you are a mule and have four legs then ideally the weight of your rucksack should be no more than 10% of your body weight and that should be everything that you would walk with, including water and any food that you would have too.
In my most recent walk, after walking 20km with two very good friends, we stopped for an afternoon snack. We still had focaccia breads that we'd bought that morning which I was carrying. After removing them from my rucksack Claire unfolded a feast before us..."Which one would you like, Rosemary and potato, Cheese and ham, or plain", Claire uttered. "Pardon" I replied. It transpired that there was so much to choose from that Claire had bought three varieties......weighing 200g each. So an extra 600g of weight in my pack and that did not include fruit that had been snuck into the side pouches of my bag either. I was ok with it as I can carry it, but it is surprising how the weight of a bag can suddenly increase without thinking about it.
Try to learn a few simple words and customs of the country, it's surprising how differently people can treat you if you use their language. Don't worry if you pronounce a word wrong or say the wrong thing. I just love the fact that in Italy when you walk into a shop you always say Buongiorno / Buonasera (good morning or good afternoon). The give-away being they know you're a tourist if you don't say it.
I have fallen foul of this a few times recently with my walking poles. They are an important part of my walking equipment so prefer to have them on board as cabin luggage in a small rucksack, but not all airlines allow that. Check the small print about sports equipment in their FAQ's. I didn't when flying recently and had to return to the baggage drop, have my rucksack shrink wrapped because the poles stuck out of my bag. The total extra cost was €40 which I couldn't have avoided as I'd already handed my large rucksack off at baggage drop earlier.
Always have a contingency and that may be a bank card where the charges are reasonable for withdrawing foreign currency, hiding small amounts in your rucksack (but don't forget it's there), money belts or pre-loaded bank cards.
Getting sick:
This is not uncommon when travelling and Jane's article provides some comprehensive advice. In 2015, not long after leaving Aosta I came down with severe food poisoning overnight. After managing to get a few hours sleep I decided to continue walking, but after only one mile it was very clear I was not going to make it to my accommodation that night on foot. I found a bus stop and just took the first bus, heading in the right direction, to the nearest town. I bought a heap of medication to aid my recovery including rehydration salts. I managed to get to my accommodation that night but had to take an extra day off to rest because it literally wiped me off my feet. I was fortunate though that my accommodation was able to add an extra night to my stay and they were very sympathetic and supportive when I informed them that I was not well. 
Listen to your body, if it's saying it's had enough, rest. If it's telling you that it's not feeling 100%, think before you continue to the next point and always make sure you have medical insurance. 
Pass on advice to fellow travellers:
There are many places to do this and it can make the journey much more fun. Abbeye Notre Dame in France on the Via Francigena was recommended to me and it was one of the most memorable places I've stayed in. Sister Lucy is just so fabulous I wanted to take her home......
Write about your journey:
This can be as little or as much as you would like. Keep it to yourself or share with others, but it is always good to look back and read about your journey and if you're like me you will be transported back to relive it again. 
I met a young Pilgrim who was a graphic artist and she recorded every day as a picture with a short caption.

Wet weather jacket alternative - the poncho !

Last year whilst walking with my lovely walking companion Claire, we got caught in a big downpour of rain. I think the blog post was titled......10km swim. From Montefiascone to Bolsena it just rained and rained and rained. 
As we were leaving Montefiascone there was a sudden increase of water coming out of the sky and bouncing of the pavements as it landed. At a road junction we paused to let a car pass, but as we stopped it stopped and the passenger window by us started to lower. I bobbed down to see through the window and the lovely Italian lady driver uttered something to me and promptly leant over to the back seat, picked up her umbrella and offered it to us.
Grazie, grazie we called and Italian / English we mentioned that we were ok and totally dry. Well we were at the point. That is one of many generous gestures I / we have received as we walked through Italy. A lovely place and such wonderful people.
That day continued to be a mixture of heavy deluges of rain and some light drizzle but before we entered Bolsena the rain stopped. Once in our accommodation it was time to reflect on the day and assess whether either of us were still dry.

Much to our amazement we were predominantly dry, we'd both worn breathable waterproof trousers and with the exception of the odd spot, they had served us well. The jackets however were a different story, Claire was mostly dry but needed to think of an alternative for future walks. Myself, well I was dry but the day had been very humid so although my jacket was breathable there was still an element of moisture that stayed inside my jacket. I was a wee bit damp but on the whole had kept reasonably dry.
Below are three Poncho designs that we trialed this year. 
Mine on the left. Pros: The poncho was easy to put on, I found putting the poncho on first and then putting my rucksack on under it was the best way to apply it. The Poncho has its own pocket to live in and becomes a pocket for the wearer. It kept me dry despite the intensity of the rain. With it being a big open space humidity was not a problem so no perspiration when wearing it.
Cons: Sleeves were too short
Price - it was donated to me
Of the three ponchos Sue, in the middle had the best design overall and it can be bought from Decathlon and the make is Quechua mountain trekking rain cape £16. It also comes in its own bag so won't take up too much space in a rucksack.
I think the next time we walk together we will all have a Quechua rain cape in our bag.
With a poncho in your bag all you need to add is your waterproof trousers to stay totally dry.....

Thursday, 22 February 2018

St Augustine Way - Bussana Vecchia, Italy - Menton, France

Day 17. Bussana Vecchia, Italy to Menton, France 32km
Total walked: 379km
The final walk day.
Well today is the last days walk for a few months as I need to return home and earn some money to pay for the final leg....walking through France. At the moment I have self funded all the new Pilgrim walks.
I have spent a lot of time planning, walking this route virtually at home and editing walk notes which has certainly made this journey much more enjoyable. So yet another good reason to return home.
I woke early with the room still bathed in darkness and was heading out of the village just as the first crack of daylight was creeping into the sky. There was not a soul around as I wound my way through the narrow streets, not even a bird or cat to disturb the deafening silence.
The path down from the village is one of the original routes and in parts it had deep gouged channels, steep, slippy stones, overgrown in sections and basically just a nightmare to walk on. At the bottom and safely on the road I really did feel like kissing the tarmac in relief at arriving.
Ahead of me I had a day of ups and downs again, but this time more like pimples as opposed to mountains, with the maximum altitude to gain.....a dizzying 70m!
I negotiated my way to the outskirts of Sanremo after a breathtakingly beautiful descent from Poggio. The whole of that journey providing me with enviable views across the sea. At the old railway line once more I followed it into town. Despite the path clearly being marked one side for pedestrians and one side for cyclists, most people using it had other ideas. I bobbed and weaved my way along trying to avoid hot sweaty runners of all shapes and sizes. Cyclists zooming along in their attempts to break through the sound barrier. Dog walkers with their leads stretched across the path, blissfully ignorant of their dog squatting. After several days of relative peace and quiet behind me it looked like today was going to be filled with a cacophony of sound, smell and general irritation.
And relax.................
In the centre of Sanremo I slowed my pace not only because of the amount of people, but also to get the feeling of what the music festival was about. Along the main street there were several radio stations interviewing people, some were just talking others singing away, I have to say not always in tune, as if they were on X factor. What is it with everyone wanting to be just famous these days? The main Piazza was transformed into a heady mixture of mobile radio studios, stages, food and drink vendors, entertainment stalls. I'm sure everyone was having a good time, but just now it was not for me. I quickened my pace and left it behind me.
Back on the old railway line again I was soon bobbing and weaving along as swarms of people were heading the opposite way to me and into town. The day continued to be uneventful as I followed the coastline through Ospedaletti, Bordighera and Vallecrosia. Yes there were some fine views, ahead and behind me as I passed round the bays but in the main it was just monotonous unfortunately. On reflection I have to admit that I really can't remember much about that part of the day, just walking on the pavement by the side of a smelly main road, passing almost seamlessly from one town into the next. Lost in my own thoughts and dreams.
Mid afternoon was totally different and after leaving modern Ventimiglia and ascending into the old town my mood picked up. The town was originally called Albium Intemelium and goes back to the Quaternary period 2.58-0 million years ago. Today the main evidence is from the Roman period with examples from the 2nd century including the Roman Amphitheatre on the outskirts of town.
My walk notes directed me into the Cathedral of St Micheal and it was not a disappointment. The church was built in the 10th century on top of a pagan temple and then entrusted to the Benedictines. In the 11-12th century it was rebuilt in a Romanesque style. The original 11th century baptistry survives with a huge font in the centre of the room. Its presence make a bold statement about its importance and beauty. After paying my respects and saying thank you for a safe journey, I walked out of the church door.
The old town is not very big and after walking through the old gateway, Porta Del Fontanin, I was once more travelling uneventfully along the main road for the final 6km to the border and into France.
It was 4pm now and after walking most of the day without any real pause for a rest, I made my way straight to the hotel to drop my bag off.
Whilst sat in a bar by the sea, drinking a beer, I completed the final video blog I'd been making for the last two days. In it I reflected on the last three weeks and I introduced my permanent travel companion, Wee Man.
The Via della Costa is not a well walked path, in part because of the challenging terrain but also as there are some stages that just walk along the main road, through the trappings of modern civilisation including its noise, smell and concrete jungle. Myself I have viewed it as a means to an end.
These 17 days and 379km have completed stage two of my journey from Rome and the new pilgrim walk, The St Augustine Way - A Gregorian Mission. Sometime this year (2018) I hope to complete the final leg that will take me from Menton on the Via Aurelia footpath to Arles. From there I will create a footpath link through all the places that St Augustine stopped at enroute to Canterbury and the first Augustinian Abbey in England.
In 2019 the route will be complete for others to follow should they wish and just maybe I'll complete it then as one complete walk!
I hope you've enjoyed walking the Via della Costa with me, thank you for reading about my adventure. 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

St Augustine Way - Torrazza to Bussana Vecchia, Italy

Day 16. Torrazza to Bussana Vecchia 25km
Total walked: 347km
After a super evening meal I was intrigued as to what breakfast would be like.....would it be just a brown breakfast of stale bread, shop bought chemically injected fruit tart etc? Non!
Breakfast was another gastronomic feast of delights. All the tables were laid for breakfast so I was unsure if there were ever any other guests. My buffet breakfast consisted of, fresh fruit juices, fresh fruit salads, fresh breads, pancakes, a meat and cheese platter. Fresh fruit bowl and copious amounts of scrummmy home made cakes to choose from and as much coffee as I could drink.....Burp!
I filled my boots and after settling my bill, was invited to help myself of goodies for my walk. I was close to the coast which meant that once again I had a number ascents and descents ahead of me. I was hoping to end the day at Sanremo but there was a music festival on and almost every bed had already been taken. Well I could have paid of €150+ but I am not that rich. I had found an Airbnb apartment in Bussana so that was were I was heading.
My first climb took me first past the medieval tower that sits above Torrazza and then after weaving around the hillside to the chapel of Madonna della Grazie (Our Lady of Graces). I paused to top up my water and admired the views back to where I had come from. It was going to be another humid fine day I mused to myself.
After descending to an old watermill, now a restored family home, I was quickly making my second ascent of the day. Initially it was a bit steep but once I was back on a road it was just a slow steady 4km walk up to the medieval fortress village Lingueglietta. The fortress being built to protect the village but now just a ruin. It turned out to be a sleepy place, with not a soul around as I passed along the narrow street lined with pastel coloured houses. One quick blink and I was heading out of the other side and continuing to climb a further 230m to reach the highest point of the days walk.
At the top I was met by the familiar ringing sound of bells that animals wear and the call of a shepherd as he moved his flock through the scrubby hill. His dog came over to say hello and received a short, sharp reprimand.......we both ignored the shepherd and got on with getting to know each other. Eventually I shooed him away and I got on with my walk, not knowing which direction had the finest view so constantly look around me.
Once more on a road, my progress quickened as I made the long slow descent down to Castello and past the newly built 4 star golf course. From above, for me it looked totally uninviting with the motorway hurtling past one side and the uniformly shaped houses sitting so close to each other they almost blurred into one......mmm definitely not for me and some would say that chasing a small white ball a waste of a good walk!
In what was once the Roman settlement of Tavia, now Taggia I crossed the medieval 16 arch bridge over the river into the old town and out of the other side into the modern trappings of suburbia. 
As I was going to be in an apartment that night I had decided to cook my own meal this meant carrying food in as I was not aware of any shops in Bussena. At the Trony shopping centre, which sold everything but food, I switched my GPS to locate a food store. Lidl, it replied, 600m, that will do nicely. I changed direction and took the small detour to the supermarket and stocked up with food for the evening. Now I don't know about you, but it's the simple things that I miss when I'm egg n chips. With supplies bought I returned to my path and the final ascent.
The route took me past and I quote my notes "past a colony", which turned out to be a large industrial house / factory. I have to admit that on occasions I have been nervous travelling in some places. This is due in the main to the amount of migrants that are now displaced in Italy and in some place in large numbers. Areas like the "colony" are perfect places that are large enough for them to stay without fear of being disturbed. I quickly passed by making as little noise as I could but did not see anyone. 
As I approached the top of the hill and Bussena, Bob Marley was singing his head off. This turned out to come from a garden cabin with its two elderly occupants singing away to the songs too, totally oblivious to me. Obviously stoned!
I had walked through Bussana virtually from my home office and knew there were two ruined churches and a maze of small narrow streets, like a bowl of spaghetti. In truth it turned out to be so much more and another one of Italy's gems.
The village had previously suffered from a major earthquake, hence the two ruined churches and all the occupants moved to a village at the bottom of the hill. In the 1960's local artists started to occupy and renovate some of the houses and so the repopulation began. It is now home to some of those same artists and musicians with a wealth of craft shops and studios to buy products from. There is even a resident jazz club.
As I sat at a small cafe there were plenty of tourists mooching around. With my beer drunk and feeling rested I went in search of my room for the night. It turned out to be one of the former settlers, and Englishman and his son who were letting one floor of their house out. 
The room was simple, comfy and with the aid of a portable gas fire, sufficiently warm enough. That night I settled down for my posh egg n oven roasted chips, washed down with a fine red wine.......heaven! 

St Augustine Way - Torrazza, Italy

Day 15. Evening time
I'd made enquires about restaurants in Torrazza and was informed, as there were none, my host would provide a meal for €15. When I checked in, I confirmed this and was told in Italian what to do and where to go. Roughly translated into English............I didn't have a clue, but basically I believe I was to go downstairs and outside, down the passageway and then who knows what? All clear!
So after completing all my chores including writing a blog, at 7.30pm I ventured out of my room and hesitated at the top of the stairs. Decision made to continue the bottom door opened and an Italian man called, "Tony"........"Si" I replied. Oh, come on down lad, grab yourself a pint glass and a bottle of wine as you pass and I'll take you to your table. Well I'm sure he said that in Italian.
He proceed to take me into the downstairs room with a beautiful brick vaulted ceiling and down a small spiral staircase into the dining room. This was also resplendent in it's original style but tastefully modernised. After being sat down and provided with a bottle of local wine to help myself, I decided to have a sneaky peak around the lower ground floor. It transpired that the original instructions I had been given were correct as there was a large door in the room leading to the outside. I'm guessing that this was the preferred route for guests to take to avoid the very narrow spiral staircase. In one corner room a small kitchen preparation area and the other a small storage room, but all rooms open plan. I'm guessing that at one time this may have been a cellar or a place that the animals / chickens may have lived.
I'd informed my host that I was vegetarian and my meal turned out to be one of the tastiest home cooked meals provided in a non restaurant. 
Antipasta (starter) Home made Ligurian vegetable soup with a variety of fresh non white breads.
Primo (first plate) A selection of four cheeses and finely sliced roasted root vegetables. Home made tomato Foccacia bread and boiled eggs as side dishes to choose from. With more wine.
Secondi (second plate) Home made fruit sponge and a fruit basket to help myself. Oh.....more wine
I have to admit I ate the lot and retired to my room, waddling and weaving up the stairs as I went.
If you are in the area, I would not hesitate in recommending Dal Patriarca

St Augustine Way - Diano Marina to Torrazza, Italy

Day 15. Diano Marina to Torrazza 18km
Total walked: 322km
A cooler morning today and a later start due to breakfast only available from 8am. Ahead of me were three reasonable climbs but thankfully nothing that didn't look too strenuous.
I returned to where I'd left off and aside from the few bits of fruit I was carrying, omitted to buy anything else, this turned out to be a bit of a mistake. I'd also taken to prefer to get water from the drinking fountains rather than use water from the hotel taps.....again another small error on my part. But I guess a lesson learnt is one that is not usually forgotten.
Soon I was leaving the sprawling but very quiet town streets and heading along cobbled paths, tarmac roads and hillsides littered with olive groves to pass through the three medieval villages of Diano Calderina, Diano Serreta (my water stop) and Diano Gorleri. The latter being where I summited the first hill at 210m, with extensive views across the Gulf of Diano Marina.
What goes up must come down and I descended into Sacra Famiglia which is a small suburb of the coastal town of Imperia. As I walked along the streets in my own little world and elderly man approached me and uttered something I did not understand but I politely uttered Buongiorno........ He proceeded to repeat what he'd just said and pointed at a large pile of wooden pallets on the floor and then at his three wheeled truck, a Piaggio Ape. 
"Oh, you want hand with those," I replied in English. So with my rucksack still on my back we proceeded to lift 4 large wooden pallets onto the back of his truck...."Grazie, grazie, Buon viaggio (thank you, thank you, good journey)", he replied once the task had been completed. I'm sure I saw the truck springs actively groan
The Ape's are fascinating and I would love one. They are the commercial workhorse for most Italians. They have motor cycle style handlebars and an enclosed cab that has either one or two seats with a 175cc engine. They are seen everywhere. I will dig out a photo of one that I came across two years ago, owned by a young boy racer of about 16 near Aosta and add it to this blog......
My good deed completed, I omitted to take the opportunity of buying food from the Pane (bread shop) before I left town. Once across the Impero river which separates modern Imperia and Oneglia which is possibly a pre-roman settlement, I started to climb the second hill of the day.
After a 2km slog on steep uneven steps, more tarmac and an old mule track, I was hot and sticky in the humid air. Finally I reached Bardellini Hill from there I had unobtrusive views of the valley of Imperia Porto Maurizio. I turned right on the road and over the course of about 2.5km my journey was a mixture of very short but steep uphills and then a quick descent, a bit like a rollercoaster but without the car. Eventually I started to descend, all the time continuing to pass between acres and acres of olive groves, occasionally dressed with large colourful nets draped between their trunks to collect the precious fruits before being turned into olive oil. At this time of year there is the occasional buzz of pruning or the crackle and wisps of smoke rising above the orchards as the debris is burnt. A lovely sound and smell.
At the Sanctuary of Montegrazia I chose to take a bit more of a rest and starting to feel hungry topped up my energy supplies with the aid of a very tasty banana, whilst sat on the doorstep of a closed restaurant. The church (The Grace's Sanctuary) was closed unfortunately which was a shame as parts of it are 14th century and it is known as one of the most beautiful monuments of Liguria. 
I eventually continued on my way through the olive groves on yet another old mule track, occasionally interspersed with steps to arrive at the ancient village of Caramagna. Now much more modern, a holiday hotspot and complete with its own olive oil factory. 
At the edge of the village I had my first dog experience and one I would prefer not to repeat. I was unsure which direction the path was and hesitated by a house fence. No sooner had I stopped when two extremely vicious looking dogs leapt out of nowhere and proceeded to hurl themselves at the fence. Now not wishing to become dog food I quickly started to move and using my GPS tried to identify the correct direction. 
I made a turn to get back on the correct path and then looked forward and there in front of me was one of those viscous dogs.....parp! I think I may have uttered from somewhere behind me. I froze and just looked at it for what seemed and age trying to think how do I get out of this.......alive?
A car suddenly appeared from nowhere, screeched to a halt and a man shot out of the drivers seat towards me shouting scusi, scusi (sorry, sorry). He pushed the dog out of the way and off the path and as it turned, booted it up the bottom. It whimpered away thankfully. Now I don't like to see animals mistreated but I was grateful that he'd come to my rescue.
With my knees still knocking I continued the final few kilometres in relative peace. Once more on an old pathway to pass the 12th century Oratory of San Martino in Clavi and then across a medieval bridge before my final ascent to Torrazzo.
I had been hoping to finish the days walk in San Remo but there was obviously something taking place because everywhere was booked up in and around the coastal town. I had managed to find a bed and breakfast though in Torrazzo.
I'd arrived earlier than I'd expected to and informed the owners, so I sat in the sun in the Piazza and started writing up my walk notes. I was a bit hungry now so I fished out my last spare energy bar, took my boots off and put my feet up and got on with some work.
An hour later and starting to get a bit coo,l I called the bed and breakfast to say I'd arrived. Within 5 minutes someone came and I was swept into the house and up the stairs. My room turned out to be in the old tower and what a treat I was in for. Not only was it exquisitely and sensitively decorated, it was warm and cosy, and I had a balcony with a view all the way back from where I had come from....across the hills and the villages to the Ligurian sea. I just sat on the bed and drank it all in, unable to move. 

Thursday, 15 February 2018

St Augustine Way - Alassio to Diano Marina, Italy

Day 14. Alassio to Diano Marina 22km

Total walked: 304km
I woke early and after a reasonable breakfast I returned to where I had walked off the path the previous day. It was a cool morning but with only a few large fluffy clouds it looked like it was going to be a fine day.
Ahead of me were two fairly strenuous climbs before a few kilometres of flat walking to the coast for the evening.
I meandered through the finally streets of Alassio before ascending 370m over 1.5km past the ruined 17th C church of St Bernard, it was slow going and it was warm despite being the first part of the day. At the top the whole of the Gulf of Alassio on one side, the Andora valley on the other and the Maritime Alps too unfolded all around me....I could have stayed there all day just drinking it in. The Alps looked as though someone had dusted them with icing sugar overnight. As I walked the ridge I could not help looking all around me not knowing where to look next.
Colla Micheri was the first Ligurian village I came across, blink too long and you'd pass through it. It's a sleepy place with a miss mash of higgledy piggledy narrow streets that you never see the end of. Each one showing something magical of the history, windows, old doorways, blocked in windows, ruined ground floor rooms where the animals once lived. The Via Julius Augustus Roman road 13 AD passes through it and it was where Pope Pius VII passed through whilst returning from his French exile. 
More recently the village became famous thanks to Heyerdal Thor, the famous Norwegian explorer and navigator who died on 18 April 2002. After travelling the world far and wide, he decided to spend his old age there because of the beauty of the location, the position and climate. His tomb is located under the sixteenth-century Saracen tower. With its dominant position over the sea and its circular shape it could have possibly been a windmill in the past. 
I continued out of the village on the cobbled path of the Via Julius Augustus, narrow, steep but beautiful in its own presence. Past a large 13th / 14th century medieval water fountain before being privileged to walk on the 100m 10 arch Roman Bridge into what was once the Roman village of Andora. 
After digesting the historical mornings walk my second climb of the day took me up 380m through the lush vegetation again resplendent with oaks, holm oaks, the sweet smell of pine trees, thyme and broom. Once again I travelled along wide sections of medieval pavements that depicts the importance of the route between the valley of Andora and the Dianese valley.
At the top I followed the ridge and slowly descended down to Cervo and what was once a Roman stopping point (2BC) on the Roman road of the Via Aurelia. A road I will be following once I have completed this second part of my walk from Rome. Cervo is now regular voted as one of the most prettiest coastal villages on the Italian Riviera, once you've seen it you will understand why.
I was now back at sea level and the day was hot and humid and as I was off the ridge now so I was soon getting back to walking in my t-shirt once again......oh I do have my trousers on too!
The final leg of the day saw me walking past large glass houses again, shimmering in the sunlight. In some sections the land is covered in carpets of black and passing by one such section I took a sneaky peek. Underneath there was a wealth of small green shrubs with what looked like red berries. I'm not sure what they are so if anyone does know please tell me.
At the ripe old age of 29 (well that's writers license for not telling the truth) I have started to rely on responding to my inner gut feelings and today was no exception. As I plodded along the road, late in the afternoon I thought that I'd either missed my turn off to my hotel or I was pretty close. I paused by the side of the road and using my Garmin tried to locate my hotel.............900m it replied!
With a renewed spring in my step I changed my course an pootled off to my abode for the night - 4pm and a perfect time to end the day.