|TAGS:||France, GR-20, trails|
Trails ~ Turkey
The Lycian Way and St-Paul Trail
Every year, more walkers are discovering the walking trails of Turkey. Although the routes themselves evolved far back in history, only in the last decade or so, have they been organized and waymarked for modern day long-distance hikers. There are two principal routes. The first is the Lycian Way (more…)
|TAGS:||books, guidebooks, trails, Turkey|
The Miam Miam Dodo Guides to Walking in France
One of the best resources for Santiago pilgrims and other long-distance walkers in France is a series of guides with the funny name Miam Miam Dodo. This is French baby talk that roughly translates to “Yum Yum Nighty Night”. (more…)
|TAGS:||Camino de Santiago, France, GR-65, GR-653, GR-70, guidebooks, maps, preparing, trails|
French Trail Maps ~ the IGN
The Espace IGN in Paris
The Institut Géographique National (French National Geographic Institute), or IGN, as it is commonly known, is the principal government mapping agency of France. The IGN creates, updates and publishes a wide range of map products that are available to the public. There are several of particular interest to long-distance walkers who are planning a hike through France. These are described below, but first a few facts: (more…)
|TAGS:||France, maps, planning, preparing, trails|
Gear ~ Hammocks
Swinging in the Rain
Just for the record, I love sleeping in a hammock – some of them, anyway. There are some damned uncomfortable ones, made of rope with stretcher bars that make an old canvas camp cot feel like a down feather bed. Others stretch canvas between sticks strung with rope; these are the ones that lead people to think you’re going to flip out and wake up on the floor. Or the ones that make people think hammocks will dislocate your spine. With those rigs, they may be right.
But a true string hammock is a completely different animal. Unlike rope and fabric hammocks, stringers, like Mayan, and Paraguayan hammocks, stretch in all directions in a way that supports your entire spine. (more…)
Gear ~ Ultralight Shelters
Sleeping in the Great Outdoors
I don’t tend toward camp when walking through Europe, but a fair number of people do. There are quite a few campsites (campings) along some of the GR trails (sentiers), and having your own shelter may be essential in the alpine regions. On the great American wilderness trails, some sort of shelter system is required gear.
For those of our friends who are seeking their own roof over their heads, here’s a nice, consolidated, alphabetical list of ultralight tarps, tents, and lightweight backpacking shelters. (more…)
They really are looking out for us
One of the greatest, and always unexpected joys of going for a wander, is the people you meet along the way.
This is nowhere more special than in France. The great trails of Europe, the “sentiers de grande randonnée”, have been active footpaths for many centuries, and all along the trails, particularly the ancient pilgrim trails of leading to St-Jacques-Compostelle, various local people do what they can to make the pilgrim’s passage a happy one. (more…)
|TAGS:||France, fun, pilgrimage, trails|
Gear ~ Compass
Suunto Clipper – 5 grams
On my first grande randonnée, I started off with a compass that was inset on top of the grip of my walking stick. Although it was a very small compass, it was all I required to keep track of which direction I was heading. At unmarked trail junctions it was easy to determine which trail was most likely the one shown on the map, and it was very convenient, because it was always out there in front of me. I just stopped, observed the needle, and moved on.
Unfortunately, it proved not to be very robust (more…)
|TAGS:||gear, lighten up, tools|
Getting Ready ~ Learning French
If you’re planning to go to France, especially for the extended adventure of a good long walk, there is no better way to enhance the experience than to speak French as well as possible. Not only does it make travel easier and less stressful, it makes it more fun. You can really get to talk to ordinary people and exchange stories and ideas.
But don’t let a lack of language prowess deter you from hiking the sentiers de grande randonnée. On my first walk, I knew only the bare rudiments of basic French, but just trying to speak their native tongue seemed to bring out the friendly best in people. (more…)
|TAGS:||France, planning, preparing|