Central Locking problem
From time to time we found that the habitation door won’t lock when you press the central locking key. We found out what the problem was and a quick and easy solution to fix it.
From time to time we found that the habitation door won’t lock when you press the central locking key. We found out what the problem was and a quick and easy solution to fix it.
So, we went round this roundabout and the fridge door swung open and a load of salad bags fell out. Good job it wasn’t the greek yoghurt eh? Could have been right messy. We taped it up until we could find a quiet spot to investigate the problem
The Netherlands is one of the best places in the world for challenging the irrational belief that ‘flat is boring’. The Netherlands is most certainly not boring – albeit it is mostly flat. Yet this small country in northwestern Europe will continually implore you to stay a while and soak up its culture, its hospitality and its natural beauty. We have visited on three separate occasions and each time it draws us in like the Pied Piper of Hamelin – we fall in love just a little bit more each time we venture into the land of windmills, canals and clogs. Check out our Guide to the best bits we’ve found so far, starting with our interactive map below…
Click on the map to explore some more.
The Netherlands is split into 12 different provinces – one of which is Holland, which the Netherlands is often mistakenly labelled as. Its name is translated as ‘the lower countries’ because of its topography. According to Wikipedia, only 50% of the land reaches 1m above sea level and 26% is below sea level. Back in 16th century work began to reclaim this lower level land from the sea and their efforts resulted in the polders. This region is typically speckled with windmills and canals as part of their land and sea management. The country has an intricate relationship with the sea, both in terms of protecting its inhabitants from the forces of the ocean and for their ability to trade on the world’s economic stage. Their web of canals and rivers that run from the North Sea through to Germany are critical to their economic status. With fertile soil, the Netherlands is second only to US for the exporting of agricultural and food products. So whilst it may be small, it is a force to be reckoned with.
Interestingly alongside many of their Scandinavian cousins, in 2019 the Netherlands ranked fifth out of 156 countries for happiness and wellbeing, according to the World Happiness Report. So they are doing something right.
If you want a real blast of culture, then visit the Netherlands around 27 April. This is their Koningsdag festival. King’s Day is an annual affair, often starting the night of 26 April. Then throughout 27th it is one big party, honouring their King’s Birthday. Since 1885 the Royals’ birthdays have been celebrated and it is classed as a national holiday across the whole country. Each town and region celebrate in different ways, although it is expected to dress in orange, the country’s national colour. Events are staged, parties are thrown and music is put on by local communities. It’s just one of those events that needs to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
My dad used to work for a Dutch company and often he would travel there on business. I have vivid memories of him returning with Dutch gifts for me, one of which was a treasured doll in traditional costume that was packaged up in one of those little plastic tube containers. It was that that piqued my interest for this northwestern European country and to follow in my dad’s footsteps.
Paradoxically, my first trip was also for work – after which we extended our visit to see Amsterdam and some iconic Dutch villages that you see in the brochures. Towns interlaced with canals and protected by windmills offering cheesy delights to hungry passers-by. This was where my love affair for this fair nation began and it is a book that we just keep adding chapters to.
Whilst Amsterdam is the Netherland’s capital, it is not where the Government is located. You will find this at the Hague. Although that has no impact on this stunning watery city that gives Venice a run for its money. Its 17th century Golden Age heritage is clear to see as you weave your way around the network of canals on slowly chugging boats. Towering buildings fringing the canal banks with facades shaped and coloured like variety pack of sweets. Church spires reach high above the city roof-line and bridges interlink streets across the entire cityscape. And bicycles – let’s not forget Amsterdam’s bikes! In fact it’s hard to forget as they are strewn everywhere. This is the capital’s main source of transport, as indeed it is across the Netherlands. This country seriously knows how to cycle.
We arrived on a murky day in March and even with soft wafts of fog caressing the water’s edge you could sense the city’s beauty. Flower markets selling every kind of tulip bulb you could imagine from the iconic fields close to Lisse, just east of the city. Museums galore satiate the appetite of any curious traveller, from Van Gogh to World War 2 Anne Frank’s house. And if that’s not your cuppa, then perhaps a coffee would be better? The Koffie Huis need caution as this is no ordinary tea-house selling cappuccino and cake. Well not that type of cake at least. Amsterdam’s wild spirit throbs in these ‘special’ cafés offering you a warm welcome and a heady experience – if you dare. And the Red Light District seems a perversely voyeur activity although it’s a cultural experience to wander the area and see the ladies standing in the windows as still as manakins.
Amsterdam can satisfy the needs of every traveller and is a sight to behold. Check out our small gallery below.
Holland’s iconic villages
Amsterdam is without doubt a major draw for the tourist intent on a perfect city-break, although for an authentic glimpse into Holland’s provincial culture, you need look no further than the surrounding villages. Volendam, Edam (yes of the mighty cheese fame) and Monnickendam all to the north of Amsterdam show you the Dutch sea-farers’ life. Where the sea meets the canals, the locals work in harmony with the water, mastering as best they can, the strength of this indelible element.
Mini versions, it seems, of their capital giant, these small villages cry out tradition and authenticity, as their daily work goes on regardless of the onlookers. Whilst there are tourist shops here, it’s done so tastefully and without the all too often cheap tat that they think we love.
Further west from the city you have the charm of Delft with its wonky church that rivals Pisa and Gouda (pronounced Howda) that will tempt you with their fare at the church square market. And it is a must to buy just a little bit of their nectar produce! Dutch cheese. With rounds of delectable dairy delights, you will be at a loss as to which to buy. Although try the green pesto cheese – it is divine. Either way you will not be disappointed by the exquisite taste of their sumptuous offerings. Beyond the cheese, check out their churches, waterways and cobbled streets that have a knack of transporting you back to some sort of Dickensian era, such is the atmosphere of these amazing places.
If you want a true taste of Holland, these coastal and inland villages are definitely worth exploring. Check out our gallery by clicking on the image below.
Holland’s iconic tulips and Keukenhof
One of my bucket list trips was to see the tulip fields of Holland. Known throughout the world for their patchwork quilted fields of colour I could only imagine their beauty. After the joy I experienced seeing Provence’s lavender I knew I had to see the Netherland’s carpet of colour. And so April 2019 we finally managed to get there in our camper. Whilst I think we probably timed it two weeks too late, there were still some amazing blasts of technicolour enchantment. It was everything I had hoped for. And then there was Keukenhof. Whilst the fields may well be the commercial side of tulip bulbs, Keukenhof is all about the mastery of the blooms themselves. A landscape of sheer artistry, as lakes, fountains, curvaceous beds and steams provide the backdrop canvas to these incredible flowers. 800 varieties of tulips and 7 million bulbs conspire with a bit of human intervention to create the joy that you will behold at Keukenhof.
Only open from mid March to mid May, undoubtedly the Netherland’s most famous spring tourist attraction, it is a rare experience that visually will blow you away and give you an overwhelming sensory experience. Check out our tulip video below.
Staying up north, well west if you want to be geographically correct, there is a region of the Netherlands that is a water power house. A region that has defied nature and resiliently honours their motto ‘I struggle and emerge.’
Zeeland is a set of 3 finger-shaped peninsula that have been gradually reclaimed from the sea over time. They are classed as the least populated region of the country, that is until the summertime when their population doubles. Don’t let that fool you though, because Zeeland has plenty to offer the adventurous types. With its intrinsic connection to the sea, Zeeland is well positioned for water sports and you will find this aplenty on each island you travel to. Middelburg, its capital, is a Dutch delight with its clean-line streets, waterways and central plaza. Music vibrates out of the cafés and the cathedral’s imposing stature stakes its claim on the skyline.
As you ‘island hop’, each one takes on a different feel and yet holding them together are their battle scars and historical heritage. And you might think these rivalling factions are people based, although no! These are wounds from the sea’s impenetrable dominance. Years of flooding have consistently shaped the land formation, the dykes and technology that now holds the sea firmly at arm’s length.
A fascinating place that really needs exploring. So don’t avoid this area for the sexier appeal of Holland’s other charms. For more info on Zeeland, check out our comprehensive blog here.
We stayed at Wolphaartsdijk, Camping De Heerlijkheid (51.54217 3.78037).
The Netherland’s iconic windmills – Kinderdijk
Every image of Holland in particular is framed by a traditional windmill in some form or another. And whilst in other countries they may just now be a pretty feature, for the Netherlands, they still hold an important role albeit they are superseded by the modern structures. One place that must go on your Netherland’s itinerary to really appreciate these mechanical magicians has to Kinderdijk – a UNESCSO site and museum that is free to the public. This area just a short boat ride from the Netherland’s oldest town of Dortretch, and it is a photographer’s haven. With the right light you can produce some stunning images. And the history of this place is so intriguing, as these 19 windmills from the 15th century are working museum pieces, presenting the role they played in securing the safety of the local inhabitants.
Catch the 202 water-bus from Dordretch and for €8 per person (bicycles are free) you get to explore this incredible UNESCO site. Check out our gallery by clicking the image below.
We stayed at Jachthaven Westergoot (51.813818 4.724003) at the marina.
The Netherland’s star-fortresses
One thing you expect to see in the Netherlands are windmills. Loads of them especially up in the polder regions of Holland because of their water-management role. Although what surprised us most, in our third visit to this fair land were their fortresses. Throughout Europe you often see towns protected by the archetypal walled-cities such as Evora in Portugal and Carcassonne in France to name just two. Yet in the Netherlands, they did things slightly differently. With their water affinity, of course it makes sense that they would protected themselves with moats. And moats designed with the most incredible flamboyance. Whilst they are often best seen from an arial perspective, Heusden, Bourtange and Loevestein are still incredibly beautiful places up close and personal.
Take yourself back to medieval times, when wars and invasions where prime in the battle for national supremacy and where protection of your land was a primary goal. What better way to shield yourself from the enemy than with moats and draw-bridges. It’s like something out of a fairytale. And yet today these impressive places still hold the shadows and battle scars in their cobbled streets.
We stayed at a free camperplaats at Loevestein (51.814377 5.02747). There were two places at Heusden to park overnight; the west car park was only suitable for campers under 6m (51.73496 5.13404) and the east car park for campers over 6m (51.734599 5.145048)
To find the right words to convey the charm of Giethoorn, I would need to use half the dictionary. Adjectives like delightful, cute, serene, peaceful and unique would just be a few. And I’m sure you would be well within your rights to call me a bit gushy. Although visit for yourself and see that it’s true.
Although Giethoorn is known as ‘Venice of the north’, I think this is wholly inappropriate. Yes Giethoorn has waterways, yes there are no cars here, although Venice it is not. The comparison somehow undermines both stunning locations and Giethoorn deserves a place in a tourist’s agenda, all by itself.
These northern reaches of the Netherlands have a wild feel about them as you see the landscape change from its westerly neighbours. The polders give way to marshland and peat bogs that have served this region so well for hundreds of years. In fact Giethoorn was born from this industry. When local workers started to dig up peat from the soil they stumbled across remnants of goat horns from animals killed by floods. And from that moment Giet (goat) hoorn (horn) was born.
The 6km elongated village is strewn with narrow waterways, rickety wooden bridges and the most gorgeous thatched cottages, that would look at home on a box of chocolates. With the ‘whisper boats’ that silently glide up the canals, you get a real feel for the peaceful existence in this charming village. Arrive here early before the coach parties of Chinese turn up. So popular is it to this eastern nation, that shop signs are in Chinese and there is a dedicated Chinese restaurant to boot. Apparently it’s all due to the successful YouTube documentary Ni Hao Holland where Cherry, who lives in Beijing, dreams of swapping the stress of life there for the serene life of ‘quacking ducks’ in Giethoorn.
We stayed at Jachthaven Kuiper (52.72141 6.073414), which one of three Aires along the canal that allows motorhome parking. We paid €11 for a pitch and €1 per person with water, EHU and showers all costing extra. Wifi was free.
Anyway Giethoorn… Go! It’s a must see when you are travelling to the Netherlands and only 90 minutes east of Amsterdam. You’ll love it. Check out our gallery below to see it for yourself.
The Netherlands will always be close to my heart and each time we go, it embeds itself deeper into my affections. And I defy anyone to come to this ‘flat’ land and describe it as boring. The Netherlands is so far removed from boring as you can get. It’s one of those countries that oozes personality and culture and leaves us wanting to return for more delicious Dutch delights. With its ease of access by plane into Schipol Airport close to Amsterdam and by road from UK and Europe, the Netherlands cries out to be explored. And with Dutch hospitality sure to make you feel at home, this charming northwestern European country needs to go on your list, soon! And we hope we’ve elevate it onto your agenda.
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As I write about our Greek adventures for a magazine article this week, I have noticed how many posts there are on Facebook about heading to this luscious land this year. I’m sure it’s always been a popular destination – after all who wouldn’t want golden sands, white washed, cobbled-stoned street villages and azure blue seas! I’m in!
As we had a glorious 3 months there touring in our camper, a month of which was in Crete I thought it would be worth putting together a resource that captures all of our experiences, lessons, places we visited, and camper stops just in one place. A one-stop shop if you like. Of course the normal caveat applies – we didn’t visit everywhere – you can’t possibly in three months, although we gave it a good shot and managed to get to see a diverse range of places on Islands, mainland and the Peloponnese. So sit back, relax and soak up the goodness that is Greece.
Interactive Route Map for Greece
This map gives you a good sense of our places of interest and our camping spots with co-ordinates, if camping is your thing. Just click on the dots for more information.
Getting to Greece
There are many ways to get to this gorgeous land;
We took the ferry from Spain to Italy, as we spent winter there and then hopped across the Adriatic Sea from Bari to Igoumenitsa. You can read more about the ferry options from Spain and Italy by clicking here for our comprehensive blog.
Greece Mainland – it’s a must
Many of us when we think of Greece immediately conjure up the iconic images of the lslands, steeped in glorious sunshine and to-die-for beaches. And whilst it’s true, they are certainly devine – (who wouldn’t want to see Santorini at sunset?), there really is so much more to Greece. The mainland in particular is a jigsaw of diverse pieces that, when put together create a map of historical intrigue, natural wonders and an authentic off-the-beaten-track perspective. Here’s our highlights, just to whet your appetite;
Metsovo Lake where your only neighbours will be the sheep dogs and the odd bear or two, if you are lucky to see them. In an incredible landscape high up in the Pindos mountains and with a little hop, skip and a jump you can check out Metsovo – a characterful mountain village that thrives on local tourism and agriculture.
Kastoria a byzantine town hidden in the mountains with its own mirror lake. A town that has prospered historically under the fur-trade banner and more recently attracts international rowing athletes. And if caves are your favs, then you seriously need to go see the Dragon Cave, which is the third largest and longest in Greece, with seven underwater lakes and chambers like you have never seen before. And then there’s the bird life which with its 100 plus pelicans, grebes and warblers you will be in ornithological heaven. Here’s a glimpse of what is in store for you at Kastoria.
Kerkini – the place where land succumbs to water as this wetland nature reserve protects hundreds of bird species and where water buffalo wallow in the bogs creating their delectable cheese. Take the sunrise boat ride to see the birds in their natural habitat and be bowled over by this preserved landscape. .
Meteora – a surreal and atmospheric place that looks like something out of a James Bond movie-set. Where sandstone rocks rise to the sky with six monasteries atop. An early morning visit benefits you with swirling mists and shafts of light caressing these magnificent buildings that make you wonder at their engineering feat. It’s a busy place, so beware of running the gauntlet with the caterpillar procession of coaches. Make the most of your trip by following our free guide. And don’t miss the incredible drone footage that we captured.
Parga and Lefkas – the west coast of the Greek mainland offers a town that Italy’s Cinque Terre would be proud of with its colourful terraced houses overlooking its double bay. And Lefkas, the only island you can drive to, is more like something out of an Indian Ocean brochure, with its white sand beaches.
PELOPONNESE – AN AFFAIR WITH THE SEA
So many visitors flock to the Peloponnese, three fingers and a thumb of the most spectacular coastal scenery you will see. Coves, bays and headlands will greet you here, with the earthiness of nature’s battle and yet the grace of a seagull. Don’t miss out on the Diakopto Railway that will take you to the mountain village of Kalyvita, scene of the WW2 Massacre in 1943 and then the Corinth Canal which tells a whole different tale. The ancient delights of Epidaurus with its Amphitheatre and Healing Sanctuary will no doubt impress or perhaps its coast will have you exploring the underwater cities with your kayak or snorkel. Methana and its volcanic delights reminds you how fragile our world is and how the earth’s core still runs the show from beneath the surface. Climb up to Methana’s largest volcano via its lava paths and even enter into its shaft – it’s like being on the moon and the scenery isn’t bad either. Check out our video here and our blog.
At Galatas, just a little further round the coast you will gasp in amazement at the first real sighting of a traditional Greek village. The island of Poros, which is just a €1 ferry ride away is a delight for fisherman, sailors and visitors as you wander the cobbled streets and immerse yourself in authentic Greek culture. It is a pretty surreal place only really captured by our drone – the pictures simply don’t do it justice… Here’s our blog on the area…
And the ancient capital of the Peloponnese, Napflio with its mesmerising coastline and crystal waters will lure you and surprise you with its three castles, suggesting its historical prowess. The old town is stereotypically Greek with its alleyways linked by magenta bougainvillaea, cafe culture and cobbled stairways leading to the real Greek lifestyle rather than the tourist one. And don’t miss the mind-blowing ancient citadel of Mycenae, just 20km drive north where you will be transported to 4000BC and will get to gasp in humility at the advancement of this age with their water system and jewellery making capability. All of which would look at home in our high street shops.
The Peloponnese Thumb is a great introduction to the area and a delight to behold.
Camping in Greece
Firstly let us say that Greece is wild camping paradise and as long as we are respectful and aware of our surroundings, you can pretty much overnight anywhere. We found some amazing spots, partly thanks to our Greek wild camp guide – Mit Dem Wohnmobil auf die Peloponnese. Although it is in German, the co-ordinates and pictures are more than enough to go by in choosing a home.
We also followed pins that have been collected by previous campers such as Peejays, although we also found our own spots along the way. This is one of our favourites at Porto Cheli on the Peloponnese.
As you’ll see from our interactive map, there are a fair few camping options and whilst campsites are not profuse in Greece, they do exist. Bare in mind that many of them are only open from mid April until mid-end October. That said, if you’re happy wild camping, then going into an official site will only become necessary to off load and fill up with a bit of washing on the side.
Water filling up is easy – every beach and marina have showers that you can fill up from and many mountain villages have fresh water springs. So you’ll never go without. For black waste we had a number of solutions for this. First was to go to a Garage, where they often had outside toilets. In exchange for diesel they would give us permission to off-load, given that we don’t use chemical products in our toilet. Secondly, we would ask permission from campsites that we found along the way, whether we could use their facilities. Despite always offering to pay for their services, they rarely took it and were very happy to help. We were only refused once and we kind of understood why.
Getting by in Greece
Life is very easy in Greece. There’s no need to rush and the weather is generally great even in Spring, except for the afternoon wind that always springs up like a bad smell, every day. Although let’s face it, it was a warm wind! Driving was pretty good on the whole, although some of the roads left a little bit to be desired. We learnt that when searching for a place to stay, to park up and explore on foot rather than risk taking the van and getting stuck. It happened once and we didn’t repeat the error.
Eating out is cheap and delicious and one of the best places in Europe to get lamb. The cost of living is pretty much the same as Italy and France. Still with the amount of wild camping you will do, you will definitely be in pocket.
During our first month we learnt plenty – and so we gathered all our lessons in one place so that we can easily share these with others. We also have compiled a ‘Getting By in Greek’ document, which is included in this blog that will help you master some of the language basics – the Greeks, much like any nation love to hear visitors speaking in their tongue. Click here for our insights and your Language Guide.
And so there we have it – Greece in a nutshell – at least based on our experiences there. It really is a fabulous love affair with the landscape, the culture and the people. Want to know what all the fuss is about? Then go and start your own Greek Odyssey. It will enrich you, entertain you and enthral you. Your visit is callin you….
Conquering my fear at El Caminito Del Rey, Spain
Integrity is so important when you write about your travel experiences; and even more so when you proclaim the importance of living life beyond fear – as we do. So when I had the chance to walk my talk I took up the challenge!
El Caminito del Rey in the Malaga region of southern Spain is a notorious gorge walk, which is famous for perhaps all the wrong reasons. Once crowned one of the most dangerous walks in the world, with death-defying climbs, 100m + impenetrable gorge walls and narrow, suspended boardwalks with only a small piece of concrete and a few planks of wood supporting you. It all sounded pretty frightening to me as a girl who loves to feel safe and not take un-calculated risks. Although, you know the sensation you can get when, however scary something is, there is a perverse desire to do it irrespective of what is going on in your stomach? Call it ego, call it foolhardiness, call it what you wish, although there is something inside of us all that just wants to conquer and accomplish. Perhaps it’s just that insane human trait that needs to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones to feel alive.
On first viewing, from the safety of the road, you can look up to the famous Eugenio Ribera’s Aqueduct and get a sense of what the walk would be like. And from afar the boardwalk paths that hug the magnificent rock faces of the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes – Gorge of the Throat, look too incredible for words. Tiny lines that seem to decorate the rock, with ant-like images of walkers who have taken up the challenge of hiking El Caminito del Rey.
I felt a mixture of ‘OMG I couldn’t possibly’ to ‘Yes, come on! I’ll have me some of that’. In truth I’m not sure which one came first, the fear or the anticipation, although one thing is for sure, my desire to try the walk was greater than my fear – at that point!
Later that night I started to do some research to identify what was involved and whether I was fit enough to do it. I found this great website which is full of information, images and a place to book up your tickets. The pictures looked incredible although strangely they started to engage my fear with their terrifying suspension, boardwalks seemingly hanging in mid air, without any visible anchors! Except I rationalised that hundreds of people do this walk every day, so surely it must be safe.
Still there was something inside of me that still wanted to do it. So I pitched it into my hubby who took one look at the website and fuelled by his vertigo said, ‘Not a chance in Nelly’ or words to that effect. So there was my dilemma – I could do it, although I’d be doing it alone. When my mum offered to buy it as part of my 50th Birthday, I jumped at the chance. We love to buy experiences and not gifts that will hide away in a cupboard unused. So what a perfect present.
My fears were three-fold; was I fit enough, was I courageous enough and how would I fare alone? Myles and I have been travelling Europe in our camper full-time for two years now and it has been an incredibly enriching experience for this little Miss Safety girl who used to like her roots. In that time I’ve learned the basics of seven languages, toured through US on the back of a Harley Davidson, driven up and down mountain passes and kayaked down rapids. Surely my confidence was great enough that I could tackle this walk – which is after all only 7.7km (that’s about 5 miles in UK money).
Although having made a commitment to myself – and my mum, I was determined to give it a go, as life is just too short not to have amazing experiences. So I tentatively pressed the send button on my €18 online ticket purchase and preparations for my walk began. As always, I knew that the journey would be so much more than treading the boards – it was about overcoming my fears.
The day arrived and we found a great wild spot to camp for the night, only 10 minutes drive away. So with my body strapped and wrapped as if I was about to climb Kilimanjaro, Myles dropped me off at the entrance for the walk. Not being completely clear as to where I would meet my group, I set off to the anticipated rendezvous point. It was strangely emotional as I saw our camper drive off, leaving me there. I was so used to doing things together – being alone left my inner child feeling vulnerable, although in truth I had little time to indulge her as my first challenge was slap bang in front of me. A low and seemingly long tunnel with no lights and a no Torch App on my phone. It felt so symbolic. I was in the dark, not knowing where I was going and with a long path ahead of me. And yet contrary to that, the pinhole light some 1/2km away really was ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’; hope that my darkness would soon end! With affirmations running in my head about how ‘I am strong, confident and capable’, I forged ahead, talking nervously into my GoPro that would record my journey.
With the tunnel nailed, it took just another 10 minutes to find my rendezvous point at the main Control Centre. I’d chosen to go for a 10.00am Guided Walk, so that I was guaranteed to be with others and have the relative safety and humanity of like-minded souls. Donned with safety hats, which I must admit didn’t fuel my confidence, and a Ref-Link radio and ear phones, we were ready to start our journey. Now there was no going back. With Marcelo, our Spanish Guide who translated into English for me, we were on our way, into the depths of this little known Caminito, whose soil had been blessed by a King almost 100 years ago.
The boardwalks – of which there are two sections both of which are about 1.5km each and have been skilfully reconstructed after the death of five people. A complete refurbishment of the walk took place between 2000-2015 making it a safer place to walk. Whilst the height is breathtaking and the views beyond adjectives, the catwalks are very secure, wider and more robust than I imagined. The wire fencing and cables keep the suspended paths secure and there is simply no way you can fall or wobble. The website photographs certainly conjure up a walkway from hell in your imagination, which is simply not the reality. With each step I grew in confidence and my nervous chatter into the GoPro subsided into a mindful silence as the scenery in front of me took my breath away.
Hundreds of vultures circle overhead, gliding on the thermals and the sound of the river coursing its way thunderously through the narrow gorges makes the walk an orchestral symphony for your senses. My fears simply didn’t have any space to control me.
With a glass viewing platform to test your nerve, tales of 19th Century sailors who worked in the gorge to satiate your inner historian and the sight of 23 million year old fossils – your anxieties soon disappear. The blend of ancient and modern Caminito stories are mesmerising and make your efforts to tackle this walk, so worth it.
And what of my fears? They evaporated within 30 minutes when I saw how easy the walk was both in terms of safety and my fitness. The most strenuous part of the hike is actually the 2km after leaving the gorge to El Chorro. And given that even with a few stops along the way for drinks and photos, it’s no more than a two hour walk from one Control Centre to another. And I would add, this is done at a gentle amble rather than a Rambler’s purposeful stride.
Then there is a strange sense of disappointment when I reached the final bridge as I realised it was over and that my return from the hidden canyons of Narnia meant I was back in the real world. And then I reflected on my feat – not my feet that had trodden the boards with the deftness of a gazelle – no the feat of my achievement and completing this incredible walk whilst learning about its secrets.
Fear paralyses us in so many ways with its deep-seated presence somewhere in our guts. It holds us back from living our life to its full potential and from doing things that could bring us joy, happiness and untold riches. Fear is only a figment of our imagination, developed into scenes of horror by our minds and is so rarely the reality. When we push beyond our fearful voice we can experience beauty beyond words. What is life, if not to embrace all of its faces and to learn about the extraordinary story that the world has to offer. Movies and encyclopaedias have their place, although they cannot begin to replace our participation in all that this magnificent place has to offer.
El Caminito del Rey? Come! It’s amazing.
Recommendations for your trip based on my experiences
Check out our bird’s eye view video of this stunning walk. Amazballs.