Mongolian Memories

A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away:

There were skilled horsemen and brave fighters.

There were places where one could feel a force.

Great beasts could be discovered who had been slain by … the man with the camel?

But balance could always be found on the wanderer’s path.

Mongolia1

Scotland – The West Highland Way

Don’t get too excited, I’m not going on a hike anytime soon. However, about ten years ago I walked the https://www.westhighlandway.org/. Well, to be honest not all 154km. Husband and I skipped about 30km or so, but we spent some time afterwards on the Isle of Skye and made up for that.

I vividly remember the first two days or so, which took us all along Loch Lomond. In sunshine!WHWLochLo

Then we had a few days of typical Scottish weather – cold blustery wind, rain, the odd ray of sunlight. But by the time we had reached Glencoe it was all sunny again.

WHW GlennCo

The last stretch down to Fort William was evil. We could see Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, and we could see the path going on and on and on. The sense of achievement was great though once we arrived. I’m glad we did this long-distance hike – lovely memories.

WHW

Spain – A short break in and around Alicante

Did you know that there are really splendid ferry connections from and to Algeria? Besides places in France and Italy one can go to Alicante in southern Spain, and that’s exactly what I did. One needs tons of patience to go through the boarding procedures, mainly because there’s a lot of waiting for something. I’m not sure what, but I managed to listen to several hours worth of podcasts.

Oran port

I’m in the extremely lucky position to have friends who, although I hadn’t seen them for seven long years, allowed me to crash on their sofa and it was as if barely a week had gone by since last we met. Thanks Mr and Mrs Paella for existing! They took me around the local sights including hot chocolate, tapas, red wine, Phoenician archaeology and, for the first time in my life, avocets.  If you, like the WordPress spellchecker, don’t know – avocets are the most lovely birds ever. Note to WordPress: not avocados.

Alicante is well worth a visit because of the views, the great graffiti, the yummy vegetarian restaurants and lots of history to explore. Alicante is where the Spanish civil war ended.

I just really fancy the idea of a place called Joyeria. Make of that whatever you want. I also got to see a very local bit of culture because the parade of the Three Kings was on. I felt a bit like in a live version of the opening of Life of Brian. Always look on the bright side of life!

Dinosaur of the week: Common Linnet

linnet

This Linaria cannabina was perching in the dunes of Dunkirk in France. The species is in decline because of ‘the intensification of agriculture, resulting in destruction of hedgerows, improved harvesting of cereals, and the eradication of fallow and weedy fields through application of herbicides‘.

The bird is also commonly mentioned in popular culture, e.g. mentioned by Charles Dickens or Oscar Wilde. Thanks to the people on birdforum.net for their help with the ID.