A Dutchman on the GR1

It seems a long time ago since I walked the GR1 so it's lovely to have my memories refreshed by someone who has made the trip recently.  Ed from Holland, with his partner, walked it earlier this year and had a great time.  He forms part of a growing band of intrepid walkers who have both completed the whole of the GR1 in one go and walked from east to west.  My guide goes from west to east but Ed still seems to have found it useful.



The GR1's amazing bridges

Ed made lots of helpful comments about accommodation on the GR1. Unless you're a camper, the viability of the GR1 is dependent on local accommodation.  More than that, staying in little hotels/bars, eating local food and meeting the owners is a key part of the GR1 experience. I'm always nervous when I get a long email that I'm of going to hear that one of my favourite places have closed. So far this hasn't happened and while a couple have gone out business there has also been new openings and the 'discovery' of accommodation I missed.  Ed's email was rich both in terms of series of positive reviews and new places to stay.  These have been incorporated into the ever-lengthening blog on GR1 accommodation updates.



The GR1's tiny remote churches

Apart from recommending the route, Ed makes three points useful to others planning a trip.

Firstly he found the waymarking good but appreciated the GPS.  For most of the time, the waymarks will guide you through what is often a remote countryside but occasionally they give out and with no detailed maps the GPS, with the route displayed, is really helpful.



A castle around every corner on the GR1

Secondly, booking accommodation is not generally a problem but can be at holiday weekends (Easter is very big in Spain) so watch out for these weekends, particularly if there is somewhere you really want to stay.



And stunning GR1 scenery

Thirdly Ed had some trouble with the caterpillars that nest in the pine trees.  We don't get these in the UK, although they are spreading across Europe.  They are known as the 'pine processionary moth', named because the caterpillars follow each, head to toe, in long chains as they move from tree to tree.  Apart from damaging the pine trees, their hairs, which can be blown in the wind, can result in a painful skin irritation.   Generally speaking, my skin reacts to almost anything but despite being exposed to the Thaumetopoea Pityocampa for many years they haven't caused me any problems.  You might not be so lucky.

Congratulations Ed on completing the walk and thanks for the photographs.  They make me want to do the GR1 again!

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