A night at Strictly Come Dancing, UK. November 11th, 2018.
Last night my friend Rebecca and I were some of the super fortunate people in the audience of the live show of Strictly Come Dancing, UK.
Sometimes dreams do come true.
A truly amazing experience. Thank you to all of you who made this possible for us.
Hiking in Sierra del Guadarrama. 31st October, 2018
A mini hiking break in Soro del Real, La Pedriza, just north of Madrid, with my two hiking buddies Carla and Jan.
Stunning scenery and easy to follow hikes. A day of sunshine and a day of……………snow!!!
Revisiting Morocco. I just couldn’t stay away. 23rd October, 2018.
It has been such a long time since I posted here. Life has been busy and has taken on its own form, seemingly without any interference from myself. I guess this is what it feel like when living in the flow of life. No or low expectations often equals great surprises and there has been plenty of those in the last months.
But as always, where I am happiest, is when i have my my hiking boots on and out in nature. The Atlas mountains in Morocco called me again this year and did not disappoint. Brahim was our expert guide and the owner of climbingtoubkal.com
This year I was accompanied by my great friend Liz. There was lots of laughter and happiness on this trip which was filled with adventure.
Liz braved the negotiations of buying a handmade carpet with the help of our guide Lahsan. Lahsan also liked a good laugh at our expense and made us dress up in traditional Moroccan clothing.
A first for me…a camel ride into the desert for the night…a pretty uncomfortable ride i have to say. Think ill stick with walking next time but a fantastic experience and the colours were spectacular.
Morocco is a magical place with amazing people and scenery. My visits to Morocco will not end there. See you again soon Morocco!
A mini hiking break in Catalonia. 9th of April, 2018
A hiking trip in Catalonia puts a perfect end to a very busy spring. Travel is great food for the soul, but coming home feels just as wonderful as going away. Paradise is in the mind and life is what you make it. Feeling grateful. 💗
Antigua. A trip down memory lane. 22nd march, 2018.
A working holiday and a trip down memory lane is what I am on right now. I spent a lot of time in Antigua in my youth and a hike today through the Antiguan rain forest felt good. The flowers in the garden of our guide were out of this world. What a life it is!
Memory lane day 2. I had completely forgotten how breathtaking the beaches here are. I am not a beach lover and prefer to keep out of the sun, but i cant get over the beauty of the colours. The pictures do not justify what I am seeing.
Memory lane day 3. Somehow the days seem much longer here in the Caribbean. It might have something to do with waking up super early every day, seeing the sun rise and my morning walk over and done by 7am.
A letter to Morocco. 8th November 2017
I thank you for your hospitality on my recent 9 day trip to you, my first visit to you ever.
My 3 days in Marrakesh was filled with smells, sounds, impressions, people and lots of laughter.
Morocco you are funny!! Your people are full of humour and kindness. I did not expect to have so much fun bantering and bartering with your people in the souks. The bustle of the souks was mesmerising. The nightly party in Jemaa el-Fna plaza with food stalls, snail stalls, fruit stalls, storytellers, henna women, gamblers, drummers, music makers, the list goes on and on, was pure madness and unequalled by anything I have ever seen before.
The mountains are spectacular, filled with intriguing berber villages, built literally out of the ground they stand on. Each village is the colour of the earth underneath them. Grey, pink or greenish as the hills roll colourfully up and down your valleys.
The smell of apples from your apple orchards was everywhere, at this perfect time of year to visit you. Listening to the sound of prayer time echo through the valleys from every village mosque became familiar and calming.
We walked through rolling hills, up beautiful rivers where we saw how life was lived. Women gathering food for the animals and for the family. People bringing their animals to higher ground to graze for the day and returning to their homes at night. Shepherds riding their mules while chasing their goats.
All just living one day at a time. How much I learned from watching this, from seeing happy satisfied children playing with no concerns or worries in the world. Women together washing the clothes in the rivers having fun and helping each other in the community. Life is simple and hard in the mountains, but everywhere we went we were met by smiles.
You provided us with a fantastic team to take us safely and securely through our 5 day trek. Young Mohammed and his 2 mules made it easy for us to walk as they carried our luggage, food, water and cooking gear. Omar cooked us great food from a makeshift kitchen set up under a tree or in the shade of a rock to provide us with lunch during the day and dinner at night in our refuge.
Rachid our guide taught us to walk slowly slowly up up up, to try and minimise the chance of altitude sickness. Walking slowly is unfamiliar to me but I found myself getting into a rhythm of not concentrating on anything other than putting one foot in front of the other and blowing my constantly running nose, because those were the only things that mattered right then.
Toubkal base camp is at 3600 meters. The air there is thin and I didn’t feel quite myself while we were there. Thankfully I had remembered to take headache tablets with me, because I needed them every day.
Everyone reacts differently to altitude sickness. It has nothing to do with fitness or age. You either manage it well or you don’t. We saw young guys carted off on mules to lower ground and older people trekking happily up to the summit as if they never did anything else.
Our aim from the beginning was to make it to the Toubkal summit which is Africa’s second highest peak after Kilimanjaro, at 4167 meters.
On the day of our ascent to the Toubkal summit you provided is with the most beautiful day Morocco. A brisk cold day of sharp, bright sunshine, windless and a minimum amount of snow, was all in our favour. We walked slowly slowly up, stopped again and again to catch our breath.
The air was now so thin we could feel it in every step we took. It was an effort but we made it up to the top in 4 hours (not fast, but not slow either). The feeling is hard to describe. I couldn’t really understand why I felt emotional but when I mentioned it to my travel companions after a big group hug, they had felt the same. I suppose the achievement hadn’t dawned on us until we reached the top. We had made it!
Thank you Rachid for your patience, your humour, your kindness to everyone around you, your easy going personality and most of all for your professionalism and simply knowing what was best for our group. You worked tirelessly to make sure we were comfortable and happy. Without you we would not have made it to the top.
You are good at your job.
Thank you Omar for excellent food every single day, cooked under the most difficult of
circumstances. You did not disappoint us a single time. I didn’t expect to eat so well in the
mountains but you proved me wrong and as a chef myself, I salute you!
Thank you Mohammed for going out of your way and beyond your job description by joining us in the ascent to the summit. This to make sure that we had an ‘out’ in case one of us needed to go back down before the top. You should have had a few hours off but instead you joined us walking far too slowly for you. You are a true trooper!
Thank you Morocco for an unforgettable trip. I am full to the brim with experiences and
gratitude. I believe you will see me again sometime in the not too distant future.
With love, Anna
If you are interested the details of our 5 day trek in the Atlas mountains go to:
Climbing Toubkal will provide you with treks ranging from 1 – 9 days.
A Magic Trip Around Menorca. 20th April, 2017.
What are you passionate about? What is the one thing that makes you forget the world and feel you could go on forever doing just “this”?
My passion is not everyone’s cup of tea. Many people say, “I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t think of anything worse”, but when I put on my well worn hiking boots, an 8 kg back pack with everything I need for 6 days and I walk out into the open air, with a few like minded friends, I am unable to think of anything I´d rather do. I am then truly in heaven.
That is how I spent my Easter this year. 6 days of hiking around the coast of Menorca, on the famous trail, the Cami de Cavalls. The beauty of the island was mesmerising.
Not once did I think of anything except what was happening right there and then. That is what you call “living in the moment”. Every moment of every day was lived to the full with no thought for “tomorrow”.
I only thought of food, water, sleep/shelter, (and my sore feet) during this time, the very basic human needs.
My gratitude list grew moment by moment, as we turned another corner and a beautiful, beach, cala or spectacular sea view was revealed. Our days were filled with “wows” and “ohh my gods” and “how amazing is this?!”
Blisters and throbbing feet were the reminder that we were doing something different. That we were pushing our boundaries beyond what we were accustomed to. On day 3, I was sure I would´t want to walk day 4, but day 4 came and I was ready to go again.
The promise of more beauty and the feeling that my body was getting stronger, kept me going and focused. By day 6, I didn’t want it to end and I felt sad when it was all over. The feeling of companionship and accomplishment had filled me to the brim with gratitude.
It struck me, at the end of this magic trip, how little is needed for me to feel fulfilled: Water, food, shelter, friendship, a spare pair of clean socks and a spare clean t-shirt as well as a bar of soap to wash, and a few other essentials. With that little pack I would have been happy for a very long time. I didn’t miss my home comforts and plentiful wardrobe once.
I walked towards my home late in the day, the feelings of “real life” came into my mind. That little ping of “reality”. A familiar, slightly negative feeling, but I decided to say “no” to that feeling and let it pass, bringing myself back to the moment, where everything is OK. Do what you love! Always!