The GR1 - the best bits

Kim asks:

I am taking my son on a hike for his high school graduation present before he starts college. He loves hiking and so do I . We have talked about doing the El Camino trail, but I am afraid it will be too flat for him and he doesn’t want a crowd or beds to sleep in every night (but I would appreciate a couple now and then). I saw your blog about your experience on the GR1. I thought it might be a better hike for us. I saw that you took 37 days to complete this hike. We were only taking about 2 weeks, possibly 3 if we can find the time. We are trying to leave somewhere around the end of May and return mid June. I am a flight attendant so we can adjust our arrivals and departures if necessary. Can you recommend what part of the trail we concentrate on so we could see the best of it in a shorter amount of time? Also, how many kilometers did you average a day? You are probably in better shape for walking than me, so we may be slower. I have hiked the Inca Trail and did fine with that. But that was only 4 days. One last thing, we speak very little Spanish. Will we need a guide or can we muddle thru it with a pocket translator and a GPS? Thank you for your feedback. Any information will be appreciated.

Kim - what a brilliant high school graduation present and a good set of questions.  I'm getting the same sort of questions from lots of people as they get serious about plans for 2017.

Traumpfad - 'a pilgrimage without the religion'

If you don't like meeting people, don't walk from Munich to Venice.  If you want to be on your own, prefer solitude, not seeing anyone from dawn till dusk,  choose Spain and try the GR1, the subject of my first guide.  If, on the other hand, you don't mind bumping into the same people every evening and enjoy engaging with a multi-national community all sharing an ambition to reach the same destination, then you should think about the 'Traumpfad'.

Cycling in Chile & Argentina - the Lake District

Getting away to the sun and cycling in January is a brilliant way to escape cold grey Britain and it's now established as a regular feature in our calendar.   After three excellent trips in south-east Asia, we wanted a change from the traffic and the endless Buddha statues and decided to go to Chile and Argentina.  Another first for us, we booked our trip with Skedaddle, the cycling holiday specialist from Newcastle.  So what's involved and would you enjoy it?
From Puerto Varas 
The trip involves cycling on road and gravel tracks for two weeks in Patagonia's 'Lake District'. The scenery is spectacular and surprisingly varied.  While huge lakes are a common theme, the landscape is lush, forested and green on the Chilean side of the Andies and like a desert in Argentina and comparisons were made with both British Columbia and Nevada.  Particularly spectacular were the snow-capped volcanoes (this is the land of 'fire and ice') and, on a smaller scale, the monkey puzzle forests.

Munich to Venice - how tough is the Traumpfad?

One of the first question's most people ask before deciding to go on a trek like Munich to Venice is 'can I do it?'.

To be honest I had a bit of a 'discussion' on this issue with Cicerone who felt that only the experienced should attempt a walk across the Alps.  The trouble was this didn't fit with the sort of people I met on my transalpine journey many of whom had never done a long distance hike before.   All sorts of walkers were doing the trip: lots of young people with very little money; lots of older people, particularly the recently retired on their first post-work adventure; and, as well as couples, lots of single people, including solo women.  It wasn't hiking experience that these people had in common, it was a sense of adventure.
A sense of adventure the key requirement

A Walk Among Ghosts – A Norwegian on the GR1 Sendero Historico

A Guest Blog from Tarjei Næss Skrede
There’s a world of walking opportunities out there, but what led me to a remote pass in the Parque Regional de Picos de Europa in Spain? Some years ago, after walking the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela, a spark was kindled inside me. Other trails followed, the GR20 on Corsica, the GR10 crossing the Pyrenees, the Baekdu Daegan in South-Korea, the list goes on. Always looking for new trails, until one day a series of pictures flickered across my screen. Pictures of abandoned and remote villages in Spain set in stunning locations.
At the start of the GR1 Sendero Historico, Puerto de Tarna

Munich to Venice - what's the Traumpfad route like?

There is more to the Traumpfad than a north-south traverse of the Alps, but the mountains cannot help but dominate the experience.
The Hintertux Glacier in the Zillertal Alps
The whole trip will take most walkers 30 days to complete and it only takes two and half, walking alongside the River Isar, to get from Munich to the mountains. You are then in the Alps for the next 20 consecutive days (depending on the choices you make about how you stage your journey). When you emerge you follow the River Piave and it takes another five days of flat walking to get to Venice.

The Traumpfad - Munich to Venice

­­­­If yo­­­u ask a German hiker how to get to Venice the chances are they would tell you to go to Munich, find the Marienplatz, then head south across the Alps on Der Traumpfad (the Dream Way).  Thirty days later after the trip of a lifetime, you’ll have swapped the crowds of Munich’s busiest square for what Napoleon described as the ‘drawing room of Europe’, the Piazza San Marco. 
On the ferry approaching the Piazza San Marco
Der Traumpfad has the same must-do status for German walkers that the coast-to-coast has for the British. Each year hundreds of people take up the challenge and set off from Munich on a trans-alpine adventure.