A walk is something one does after lunch, enjoying the scenery. On a proper walk lunch is at the summit with expansive views of the world.
A walk does not require sticks and special shoes; for a proper walk they're vital.
A walk is for conversation and musing; if you can talk on a proper walk…. well, it's not really a proper walk, then, is it?
Oh, there are always places where you can hold a conversation with the person in front or behind and, sometimes, one can even walk 2 abreast. That should be the exception, not the rule.
On a walk, puppies and children are allowed. On a proper walk they're left at home.
Note that I didn't mention 'mature' people. On the first walk I went on in Andorra one of the walkers was a sweet, little gray-haired lady with butterfly-rimmed glasses hanging around her neck on a long gold chain. She was dressed to the nines (except for the hiking boots – should've been a clue there). She was at least 35 years older than me. I have been working out regularly for years. I took one look at her and decided I may as well take a nap.
I was oh so wrong. I watched her daintily pick her way over the boulders, hop from slippery rock to slippery rock across swift-flowing, icy mountain streams and then effortlessly pass me on the way to the summit. She suggested that, what with the altitude and all, I should learn to pace myself. I sat, corrected.
When I reached the top she was sitting there having a beer – honest. It had been in her backpack.
The photo (above) with the puppies and dogs is of a walk near our friend's house in Spain.
The village is where he lives, the purple arrow pointing out his house. (This was take on our proper walk.)
On the Sunday we were visiting we decided to go on a proper walk. There was an old church, only used for weddings and saint's day celebrations about 2 hours away that would be an easy walk – since mon mari and I were so out of shape (we hadn't been on a proper walk in over a year).
Most of the paths we were following had been kept clear by the sheep and goats that graze in the mountains. It wasn't an official walk so it was unmarked. We followed the animal trails most of the way.
For years I thought that yellow and red splotches on rocks was bad graffiti. Now I know better. They're marking walks.
If you keep your eyes open you will see them all over Europe – circles, splotches, stripes, both vertical and horizontal, on rocks, trees, fences and buildings, in towns and cities, and out in the middle of nowhere – all marking walks.
After about an hour we came to this part of the path. This is what separates the walkers….
Mon mari and the little German bitch headed back to watch some golf on T.V. Emma, the big white dog, was going to regret her decision not to join them.
I was amazed that there are actually places that a human can get to, over, across, on two legs that a dog can not negotiate on four. This was one for Sedi.
Unfortunately the little church underwent a bad restoration 100 or so years ago and, I think, lost a lot of its character. You can see the top of the unrestored 'priest's house' in the background.
Nice location though, sitting right on top of the hill.
Oh yeah, that's another thing: we don't go hiking in the mountains, we go walking in the hills. As long as you don't have to use spikes and crampons it's a walk …. and if it doesn't involve rappelling, said walk is in the hills. Please, remember that.
We got back to the village, a little after 3:00. I thought I was going to have to carry Emma the last few kilometres, but she managed to find enough energy to pick a fight with one of the village dogs so I figured she'd survive.
We had some restorative wine, a bit of bread, locally made sausages, pate and cheese to keep us until dinner.
Wild boar stew with carrots, parsnips, celeriac and onions. Our friend regularly picks up sugar, wine, butter, cheese and cigarettes when he's in Andorra for the villagers. It's all much cheaper there. In return they give him sausages and bits of whatever game they get. While we were sitting on the terrace, enjoying the last of the wine, a neighbor came to the door, the rib cage of a deer slung carelessly over his shoulder.
mmmm – Barbecued Venison Ribs! Maybe we'll get some on our next visit…