A Walk in Montmartre {Paris} (21/48)

Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, Paris, Go with Oh Apartment

When Mary Polly and I were in Paris in June, we rode bikes from our apartment in Marais to Montmartre early in the morning, so we could spend our last morning in Paris walking the hill that overlooks the city.

Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, Paris, Go with Oh Apartment

Sitting on the steps of Le Sacre-Coeur was on Mary Polly’s Paris Wish List, so off we went through this park to find the famous stairs.

Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, Paris, Go with Oh Apartment

We began to catch glimpses of the church as we climbed higher.

Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, Paris, Go with Oh Apartment

And then, we were there. We spent over an hour just sitting here on these steps, looking out at the city and watching people. A bride was being photographed. A group of people were filming something. Tour buses came and went.

A Walk in Montmartre, Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

We were both glad we had made the effort to see this spot we’ve seen in so many pictures and films, and we were reluctant to leave the stairs at all but we took a spin inside Le Sacre Coeur before we went on to have a bit of breakfast and a walk through this quatier of Paris!

Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, Paris, Go with Oh Apartment

La Mere Catherine claims to be the first cafe in Paris, so we had our coffee and pastries here.

A Walk in Montmartre, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

I loved watching the artists set up in the square for the day and all the people coming and going, shouting Bonjour Madame! Bonjour Monsieur!

A Walk in Monmartre, Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

We walked through the square a couple of times before setting off to find Rue Lepic, the long winding street that takes you back down the hill.

A Walk in Montmartre, Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Along the way, you get to see the former home of Victor Hugo and his brother. Amazing.

Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, Paris, Go with Oh Apartment

It’s just a normal house that someone still lives in with a small plaque to the left stating that he and his brother lived there once upon a time. Number 54.

A Walk in Montmartre, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

And at the bottom of the road, The Moulin Rouge…

A Walk in Montmartre, Paris, Go with Oh, #48walks

With a big Heineken truck in front of it. :)

After seeing The Moulin Rouge, we turned around and walked all the way back to the Seine to spend our last hours in Paris by the river, Mary Polly’s very favorite Paris spot!

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

We are partnering as a family with GowithOh this year as we travel around Europe, so we received our apartment in Paris gratis. We love staying in neighborhoods and having space to hang out together, as well as being able to cook. Stay tuned for more of our fun summer travel adventures!

Summer Harvest Menu

Summer Harvest Menu, Summer Squash, Purple Hull Peas, Tomato, Okra, Cornbread

We are having a absolutely FAB summer, but I have to say, I am still missing hot, hot summer in Arkansas. I know that sounds crazy, but it just does not quite feel like summer without daily trips to the pool and constantly dripping of sweat.

Other things I miss include Arkansas tomatoes, purple hull peas and okra! A plate full of foods that taste their very best when harvested in the hot Southern summer is something we would have regularly around my parents’ table. So if you find yourself with an overabundance of summer squash or juicy tomatoes, this menu is for you!

Southern Summer Harvest Menu

Summer Squash

Purple Hull Peas with Ham

Oven Roasted, Cornmeal Okra

Skillet Sizzled Cornbread

Guacamole

Sliced Tomatoes

You also might add a summer salad or two to fancy up this menu a bit.

Happy Summer Eating, Y’all!

 

 

Snapshots of London

Snapshots of London, Summer, #IGTravelThursday, View from London Eye

I am back in London this week so I thought it would be fun to share just a few of my favorite photos from my last trip to London with Mary Polly.

Snapshots of London, #IGTravelThursday, #GowithOh, England

Our big splurge was riding The London Eye (super pricey at 20 pounds per person), but we got some very fun shots from so high above the city!

Snapshots of London, Summer, #IGTravelThursday

We had the most unbelievably gorgeous weather while we were there in June and we stayed in a gorgeous apartment in East London with GowithOh.

Snapshots of London, #IGTravelThursday, #GowithOh, England

From there, we explored the city mostly by bicycle, stopping whenever we found a fun building or park. LOVED this yellow building near the Tate Modern.

Snapshots of London, Summer, #IGTravelThursday, Columbia Road Flower Market

Since we were in London on a Sunday, I went to the Columbia Road Flower Market that happens on Sunday mornings. It was only about a five minute bike ride from our flat, so Mary Polly had a bit of a lie-in while I took about 1000 photos of flowers.

Snapshots of London, Summer, #IGTravelThursday, Columbia Road Flower Market

The peonies were my favorites! But also the hydrangeas and roses were out of this world. It was just fun to watch the markets being set up for the day and people coming to buy piles and piles of flowers.

Snapshots of London, #IGTravelThursday, #GowithOh, England

I was guessing what kinds of events folks were preparing for as they chose armfuls of bouquets.

Snapshots of London, Summer, #IGTravelThursday, Westminster

After the flower market, we went to attend a morning service at Westminster Abbey, which was so special, I have plans to write about it in more detail soon. It was a treasure of an experience for sure. I highly recommend seeing the abbey this way!

Snapshots of London, #IGTravelThursday, #GowithOh, England

Of course, no trip to London is complete without a walk across the Tower Bridge. Mary Polly and I actually tried to see all the bridges in London and we got pretty close. I took a quick vine of all the ones we hit. Now I can’t wait to see London through Simon and Ben’s eyes. It’s their turn this week!

Snapshots of London, #IGTravelThursday, #GowithOh, England

We are partnering as a family with GowithOh this year as we travel around Europe, so we received our apartment in London gratis. We thought the apartment was precious (Mary Polly is standing in front of it in the above photo) and we loved staying in East London and eating, walking, biking like locals in the neighborhood! Stay tuned for more about Paris, London and all our summer adventures!

Do you travel + Instagram? Join in IG Travel Thursday!

More of my IG Travel Thursday posts.

 

 


#48 Walks Update

#48walks, St Cuthberts Way, Lindisfarne

Friends, I have so enjoyed taking walks this year.

Even more, I have loved that so many friends are walking along with me via the internet. (and sometimes in person!)

I thought I would just do a little #48walks update since it is about halfway through the year. Personally I find the summer to be a much easier time to start projects than January, so I wanted to let you know that it’s certainly not too late (it’s never too late!) to start walking in 2014. And even if your walks don’t number 48, I would still love for you to join in using the #48walks tag to take a walk with me!

I’m a bit behind on the goal of 48 myself, but here are the 20 walks I have blogged so far this year!

#48Walks, Scotland, England

A Year of Walking 2014

1. Seven Bridges Walk

2. Bennachie Walk

3. Aberdeen Walk

4. Tyrebagger Forest Walk

5-8. Aberdeen Walks

9. Scottish Coastal Walk

10. Aberdeenshire Walk

11. MacLeod House Walk

12. Balmedie Beach Walk

13. Roseberry Topping Walk

14. Whitby Beach Walk

15. Killarney National Park Walk

16. Muckross House Walk

17. Bray Head Loop Walk

18. Carrontohill Peak Walk

19. Glen Clova Walk

20. St Cuthbert’s Way Walk

Even if I just manage to blog ten or twenty more, I will have a wonderful record of our Year of Walking. I hope you’ll feel the same way if you blog a few of your own walks this year!

In The Pipeline + London Planning

London Planning, In the Pipeline, Scotland Suspension Bridge

Y’all! My family is in town!

We are making the most of a week in Scotland before we take off together to see some other places in Europe. Peter and Whitney are over for three weeks and we are loving being together + seeing the world at the same time!

We’re heading off to London next week and I’ve been collecting some fun London Planning Links just for our trip.

After London, we will swing through Paris on our way to Switzerland!

We are doing a combination of plane, train and car travel to Europe from the UK. I’m super curious to see which we prefer in the end!

You can follow along on Twitter or Instagram. Our hashtag is #CousinsTakeEurope because it is so much fun to have the cousins together!!

London Links!

Budget London in A Day

Unusual London

London on the Tube

Saving Money in London

London Travel Guide

Things to See and Do in London

Free Things in London

For Hikers in London

Hope your 4th of July was amazing! I got to participate in an interview on the BBC about how Americans celebrate the 4th abroad in Scotland. Happy Summer!

XO

Alison

 

 

Snapshots of Paris

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

So, Mary Polly and I went to Paris for two days and nights with our dear friends, Sarabeth and Elizabeth. They were stopping over on their way to Kenya, so we jumped at the chance to stopover with them.

To Paris!

Because Paris is always a good idea.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

We were positively giddy to be in the City of Light. We kept looking at each other and saying, “Oh my gosh! We’re in Paris!”

We had to keep reminding ourselves because our time there was so short that it felt like a dream.

Also, it was just a little bit fast and furious, because I had to keep these girls moving in order to get through our Paris Dream List.

Which looked like this:

Snapshots of Paris, Paris Wish List, IG Travel Thursday

We planned to meet up at Shakespeare and Company, because it was fairly close to our Go with Oh apartment in the Marais district.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Mary Polly and I were late to this adorable bookshop because of flight delays, a train strike and an unaccounted for time change.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Not to worry. Mary Polly and I were just giddy to be walking on one of the many bridges that crosses the Seine.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

And after a wander through the neighborhood, we met up at a wonderful cafe, right across from the Centre Pompideau.

Snapshots of Paris, GowithOh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

The whole area was bustling with people and activity in the evenings.

Snapshots of Paris, GowithOh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Since the cafe was right around the corner from our apartment, I went by our last morning and took a picture or two as a souvenir of our lovely first evening in Paris, laughing and having drinks in a street side cafe.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

We loved the courtyard of our apartment so much.

Snapshots of Paris, GowithOh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Sarabeth and I snuck out early while our daughters were still sleeping to have a coffee in a cafe. Then we brought back warm pastries from down the street.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Pain au chocolat? Yes please!

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

After breakfast, we rented four bikes and took off down the Rue de Rivoli and the Champs-Elysees until we reached the Arc de Triomphe.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Riding bikes in Paris was super happy to me. I love seeing a city that way. Breeze in my face, glimpsing amazing architecture plus the thrill of almost being hit by buses.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Okay, maybe not the part where you almost get hit by a bus, but we did feel such a great sense of accomplishment after riding bikes all over Paris.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

And it was a great way to quickly get to the next major monument.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

We bought sandwiches and other picnic foods to eat in front of the Eiffel Tower, so we spent a long time sitting on the lawn and watching all the people.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Our favorite street performer near the Eiffel Tower was this man with a simple string and a tub of soap bubbles. He was a magnet for all the kids milling around and we loved watching them be amazed by his string of bubbles.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

There’s something pretty magical about the Eiffel Tower. You kind of can’t take a bad picture of it.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

And it’s fun how it pops up in pictures for a while, even when you’re not right in front of it anymore.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

After Le Tour Eiffel, we went for treats along Rue Cler, both sweet treats and eye candy treats.

First, crepes!

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Then flowers!

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Especially peonies!

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

And then gelato!

How can you not love gelato sculpted into a flower.

Also, it tasted amazing! We had gelato three times from three different Amorino’s and one was right around the corner from our apartment in Marais! So good.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

After all the treats, we walked and biked some more along the Seine in order to work off all that food. We loved this area near the museums that was full of public art made from recycled materials.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

There were old containers turned into meeting rooms along the river and you could see people who had reserved them having meetings or playing games or working inside of them.

There was also a pop up dance floor where you could plug in your phone and have an impromptu dance party, complete with a disco ball.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Mary Polly left her mark on this chalkboard wall.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

My favorite Paris museum is the Musee D’Orsay. I wanted everyone to see it but the girls really did not want to wait in a line to get into a museum. Especially since they weren’t super sure they wanted to go to an art museum at all. But the Musee D’Orsay is open late on Thursday evenings so we wandered by at about 4:30 just to see what it was like.

There was no line to get in and it was free for both the girls!

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Perfect! We went right in and I got to show Mary Polly some of my favorite paintings in the whole wide world! Such a treat!

Also, you can go outside from the top floor and look over across the Seine at the Louvre!

SO beautiful!

14 - 1

 Later we rode our bikes right through the courtyard of the Louvre!

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

After the museum and a little more lazy sitting along the Seine, we hopped on bikes again and headed back to our apartment. Up the stairs we went for a little rest before we went with friends for a dinner picnic.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

I told Mary Polly that I almost looked Parisian with baguettes coming out of my backpack.

She totally disagreed.

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

Yummy picnic dinner + the sun going down behind the Notre Dame = PERFECT last night in Paris!

Snapshots of Paris, Go with Oh Apartment, #IGTravelThursday

We are partnering as a family with GowithOh this year as we travel around Europe, so we received our apartment in Paris gratis. We love staying in neighborhoods and having space to hang out together, as well as being able to cook. We even had friends from Arkansas visit us in our apartment in Paris! (Hi Stacey and Anthony!)

Stay tuned for more photos and stories from our time in Paris!

 

Do you travel + Instagram? Join in IG Travel Thursday!

 

More of my IG Travel Thursday posts.

 

 

PS I love participating in Instagram Travel Thursday with Skimbaco Lifestyle! Simon was even featured in last month’s eMagazine on family traveling!


A Story about Yoga on the Beach

A Story about Yoga on the Beach, Mauritius, First Choice Holidays, Long Beach

A Story about Yoga {On the Beach}

It was that time of day when the light is so magical you can hardly bear to tear yourself away from staring at the horizon, except that there are young children with you who do not care about the color of the sky. They care about making it to the climbing wall before it closes.

And so we were walking towards the gym at the resort where we were staying in Mauritius, and we passed a gentleman who was carrying a roll of yoga mats under his arm.

I stopped him to ask about yoga and it was starting in ten minutes. On the beach. At sunset.

Sally graciously allowed me to leave our party and follow Roj back to the beach.

I have an up and down relationship with yoga, which is strange because I enjoy it immensely. If I charted my yoga frequency, I’m pretty certain it would look something like this:

Winter: Almost Zero
Summer: Lots

I know that my muscles need yoga (and exercise) in the winter but it just feels better in the summer.

Yoga clothes are summerish. Beachy.

Sun salutations work best for me when there’s a sun to salute.

So being in Mauritius where the breeze is warm and the air is soft opened my heart wide up for yoga. And for all that yoga on the beach in Mauritius has to offer:

Breathing in the sea air.

Balancing in the warm wind.

Walking barefoot on crushed seashells as a form of acupuncture for tired feet. (Yes, really)

Soft light and softer voices.

Kicking sand on your mat and brushing it off again.

Slower than slow sun salutations. Light, simple movements that remind you that you never want to be in a hurry again.

No rushing. Just being.

Receiving praise for doing something so simple. Taking time to stretch. To pull yourself wide and just be still.

Falling over from your tree pose into the sand and being put at ease by a new instructor’s soft guidance. A kind reminder to take your time.

A Story about Yoga on the Beach, Mauritius, First Choice Holidays, Long Beach

I love to meet a good yoga teacher. I have done some yoga teacher training myself and I have so much awe for instructors who can lead a class and maintain an air of relaxation themselves. A good yoga instructor’s voice draws you in to their circle of peace, their good vibes are part of your experience.

Roj was definitely all good vibes. You would never know it, but by day he is a headmaster of an all boys’ school. Practicing and teaching yoga is an outlet from the stress of his daily life, and he teaches classes at Long Beach three evenings a week. They are free to attend for guests or private sessions can be arranged as well.

What a gift to get to practice yoga in such a magical setting!

A Story about Yoga on the Beach, Mauritius, First Choice Holidays, Long Beach

Simon and I were sent to Mauritius, along with Sally and Flea, as part of our role this year as First Choice Out of Office Bloggers. First Choice has chosen five bloggers to visit their resorts in 2014 and blog about them. I’m feeling super thankful for the privilege and already looking forward to my next trip Out of Office!

 

St Cuthbert’s Way 20/48 {Scotland + England}

DSCF2203.JPG

For the last two weeks, I’ve been journaling my walk along St Cuthbert’s Way and now it’s complete. Here are all the links in one place for your reading enjoyment. And there’s even a recipe!

St Cuthbert’s Way Journal

Beginnings

Day 1: Melrose to Harestanes

Day 2: Harestanes to Morebattle

Day 3: Morebattle to Kirk Yetholm

Day 4: Kirk Yetholm to Wooler

Day 5: Wooler to Lindisfarne

Spicy Roasted Eggplant Soup

A Story about My Sister

Snapshots of Yellow

As a bonus, here’s a little wrap up of our time along St Cuthbert’s Way. Bullet list style.

What we loved.

  • Well marked path (except for that bit at the beginning where we couldn’t find the start)
  • Gateways and crossings were exceptionally well- maintained
  • No fear of wild animals (or snakes) + we never felt unsafe on any part of the trail
  • Sheep + Baby spring lambs
  • Yellow fields
  • No crowds
  • Gorgeous scenery
  • Quiet
  • Simplicity of the long days of walking together

What we’d do differently next time.

  • Split the first day in half, giving plenty of time for visiting all three abbeys: Melrose, Dryburgh and Jedburgh. Also, St Boswell’s was precious and we would have loved to spend more time there. Related: Plan around the abbeys’ super limited opening hours. We arrived to town too late and left town too early to see the inside of two of the abbeys.
  • Skip Morebattle and go on to Kirk Yetholm.  While this would make for a BRUTAL second day, I think it would be worth it to not have extra time in the two smallest towns on the trail.
  • Related: Get an earlier start from Harestanes.
  • Pay attention to the end day at Lindisfarne. There is a bus from Lindisfarne on Wednesday, so if you arrive on Tuesday, you can get the bus off the island instead of having to call a cab. But check the bus schedules because they change. Also, the island can be a bit overrun with visitors on weekends and bank holidays.
  • Related: Very little is open in Wooler on Sunday, so try to arrive in Wooler on another day if you want to visit the shops.
  • Bring/wear gators! Better on sunny days for mud. Saves your pants.
  • Bring along more food. We bought bread and peanut butter about halfway through, but we wished we had more lunch food since we had room in our luggage. You can buy a lunch from any of the hotels, but I’m not super partial to cheese and pickle sandwiches on white bread, so I’d rather make my own. Also, I would bring a couple of things I could add boiling water to and eat since every room has a kettle. Like cup-a-soup packets and oatmeal packets. On one of the long days I would have rather eaten something easy like that and then gone to bed early instead of having to go out to dinner.
  • Focus less on the arrival at the day’s destination and more on the journey. This is always true with travel, but since I am new to longer walks I was always concerned about “making it” to the next town, and I would get discouraged if we were still walking late in the afternoon even though the sun did not go down until after 8pm. I am determined to worry less about how slow I take the walk because I enjoy everything I’m seeing along the way.

A HUGE thanks to Macs Adventure for making this whole adventure possible! I’ll be walking with Macs Adventure again this September along Wainwright’s Coast to Coast with my friend Diane and I can hardly wait! This is my favourite way to see the English countryside: Slowly, on foot and alongside a precious friend.

 

St Cuthbert’s Way Journal {Day 5}

St Cuthbert's Way

Day 5 of St Cuthbert’s Way: Wooler to Lindisfarne

From the moment we received our itinerary, the last day of our journey along St Cuthbert’s Way loomed large with its big number 18 in the mileage chart.

Before we ever left home, I was harboring doubt about whether I could actually walk 18 miles in one day. The grace of our detours on the first day (both accidental and on purpose) was that we confirmed that we actually could cover a distance of 18 miles in one day. However, the problem remained that on the last day a tide would roll in and cover the final three miles of our walk by about 6pm. And we were slow. The first day we had finished our walk at nearly 7pm.

DSCF2117.JPG

We figured that in order to reach the causeway by the recommended time (3pm), we had better get off to an early start, which is how we found ourselves already high above Wooler just after 6am munching granola bars for breakfast.

DSCF2121.JPG

For the morning hours of our walk, it was just us and the animals. We crossed field after field full of green grass and grazing sheep.

I find that in the early hours of a long walk, if you think too much about how many miles are ahead of you, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Even defeated.

So one of the best parts of starting to walk while barely awake is that you can just put one foot in front of the other in your hazy dreamlike state, without giving much thought to the rest of the day.

The air was cool, but the sky was blessedly clear. My mind was lingering on the previous day’s events, while I moved slowly but steadily forward without worry or concern for counting miles.

By the time I was fully awake we had put many miles behind us in our quiet stupor. The sun had grown a bit warmer and we began to keep a sharp eye out for St Cuthbert’s Cave.

DSCF2131.JPG

St Cuthbert’s Cave is a rock overhang where a group of saints brought St Cuthbert’s remains when they had to flee Holy Island because of a Viking attack in 875AD. St Cuthbert had died in 687AD, but his body, which according to legend had not deteriorated, became sacred and people traveled to Holy Island to receive the same healing and blessing from St Cuthbert in death as they had while he was living.

DSCF2143.JPG

For eight years a group of saints carried around St Cuthbert’s remains, hiding from Viking raids, until they enshrined them in Chester-le-Street. St Cuthbert’s body stayed there for more than 100 years. Then it was moved to its current home, Durham Cathedral, which was actually built to house a large shrine to the saint. People still visit Durham today to pay their respects to St Cuthbert.

DSCF2144.JPG

When I visited the awe-inspiring Durham Cathedral, it struck me as a tiny bit strange that a saint who wanted to live his days out quietly in caves and on islands resides in death in such a grand building.

These woods are where I imagine him. Walking and praying and speaking softly to farmers and sheep.

Reaching the wood that houses his cave was a blessing to us in that it helped us mark the way, and even better, the fact that we reached it by mid-morning also indicated that we were well on our way to making the causeway in plenty of time to cross over to Holy Island.

DSCF2146.JPG

If we kept up our pace and managed not to get lost, we would finish this thing, these 63 miles we had set out to walk five days ago. Even more exciting was that after we left the cave and the woods, we crested our last hill and far off in the distance, there it was…

DSCF2161.JPG

The North Sea.

We celebrated by having our lunch soon after spotting it. Yes it was still before 11am, but we were plenty hungry already.

DSCF2172.JPG

We ate our sandwiches and Pringles. Apples and granola bars.

We thanked the Lord that it was not raining, and that we were only six miles from the end.

DSCF2175.JPG

After lunch we reached the railroad tracks and followed the careful instructions to call the station master for permission to cross.

DSCF2183.JPG

And then we called him again to let him know we were safely over on the other side.

DSCF2184.JPG

You have to love the British regard for safety that inspired someone to put these extra measures in place. The only way that railroad crossing could have been any more British was if there had been a queue to use the telephone. (Anna got tickled while making this call.)

DSCF2187.JPG

After the railroads, we passed the last of the yellow fields. Then we reached the sea. We were almost there.

DSCF2190.JPG

Well, sort of.

It was a Monday and a bank holiday in England, so every family in the area looking to spend a day out by the sea seemed to be making their way over the causeway road to Holy Island. The road doesn’t really have a shoulder, and it felt a bit discouraging to have so many cars flying by us on the last stretch of our walk, so we opted to get off the road and walk the Pilgrim’s Path across the sand to reach Lindisfarne.

DSCF2191.JPG

It was a beautiful sight, all the poles in the water guiding you across the sand and the sky reflected in puddles of sea.

But the sand is more a combination of sand and mud. It is recommended that you walk across the sand barefoot, but it was still a bit chilly for that. (Especially for Arkansans!) Also there was not really a place to sit down and put your shoes back on if you decided that you’d rather not be barefoot.

DSCF2199.JPG

We tried to pick out the driest possible route across, but there were many mis-steps where our boots sunk deep down into the boggy mess.

DSCF2196.JPG

I kept asking Anna if she thought the island was getting any closer. We were on the sand for what felt like hours and it seemed like we were not really gaining any ground.

DSCF2200.JPG

Anna said that she definitely felt like the land behind us was getting further away. This was encouraging and stopped me whining that I was going to have to crawl up into one of the emergency shelters to rest for a bit.

IMG_7003.JPG

Towards the end, I was sort of falling forward more than walking. Each time I got a boot stuck in the mud again, I would yell up at Anna and she would start laughing. She was getting stuck as well, but her boots had been bothering her, so she had opted for her running shoes which were easier to pull out of the bog.

DSCF2203.JPG

Finally we made it and (literally) collapsed on the other side in the grass. I could not wait to get my boots off. We were resting and letting our feet air off a bit while we watched a party of four senior citizens come across. They were using our footprints to make their way, which helped them to see the sinky bits.

They marched right past us like they were not at all tired, which I thought was rather smug, but then when we got up twenty minutes later to make our way into the village, we realized that they too had collapsed on the beach, but just a bit further down from us.

DSCF2207.JPG

We couldn’t find an official ending point in town, so we took our picture in front of a map we found.

DSCF2208.JPG

Later we searched out and found the statue of St Cuthbert in Lindisfarne Abbey, but that was after we spent a while recovering at our hotel.

DSCF2240.JPG

With it’s gorgeous views and lovely rooms, the Manor House Hotel was probably our favorite place we stayed.

DSCF2211.JPG DSCF2259.JPG

We both about cried when we opened the bathroom door and discovered a TUB! Our first one all week. A soak in the tub and tea in our room was a perfect end to our long day.

IMG_7026.JPG

We were completely taken with Holy Island. We walked (hobbled) about the island after dinner, and then went and explored with fresh legs the next morning, after which we declared that we would love to bring our families back and let the kids run and play on Lindisfarne.

DSCF2219.JPG

We were ecstatic to have made it and both so grateful for all the time on the trail to talk and just be together. We agreed that the week had been a delight, and that we would do it again if we had the chance.

It was a wonderful way to see a bit of Scotland and England and to share part of my new home country with my sister.  I’m so thankful that she took the time to come and have this adventure with me. Anna said she loved the simplicity of walking from place to place and that it was comparatively less stressful than many other forms of travel.

I even loved that we were following someone else’s story in walking St Cuthbert’s Way, and my journey with this saint has continued even since I’ve returned home. I might share a bit more in the future about tracing his steps, but for now I’ll leave you with these two photos of Holy Island. Above is the view of Lindisfarne Castle from our hotel room window and below is another shot of Lindisfarne Abbey. Both sights are well worth a pilgrimage of your own, even if you decide not to go on foot.

DSCF2252.JPG
Disclosure: Macs Adventure generously discounted my booking for our walk in exchange for my being willing to tell you all about it here on my blog, which of course, I am more than happy to do since this trip fits in so perfectly with my Year of Walking. I’m trying to blog #48walks this year. Join me?
Read more stories from our wonderful journey along St Cuthbert’s Way.

 

 

 

In The Pipeline

How has your week been? Are you loving some summertime?? Me too!
I took the train home from London on Monday and have been playing catch up ever since.

I grounded myself from the internet this week to finish an enormous amount of writing + laundry, so I just have a few links this week, but I’m trying to make it up to you with my Vine of the London Eye and a silly animated gif of MP and I at the Eiffel Tower.

We were total nerdy tourists in Paris and London, and we loved it A LOT!

Our trip last week kicked off our summer travels with Go with Oh, a website that specializes in European apartment rentals. Stay tuned for more about our trip and our time in a couple of super cute apartments in super fab cities!

IMG_9186-MOTION.gif

A few links for weekend reading:

A great message for the girls in your life.

Oh, and another one.

I am more of a budget traveler for sure, but Mrs. O’s Lux Weekend in Paris had me swooning.

Also regarding Paris: Technology in the City of Lights.

Hello wanderlust.

Always brilliant writing advice.

How far are you willing to go for a story?

My daughter has a little cameo in this commercial. LOVE.

I’m super excited about working with Acorn Influence this year (they are sponsoring me to go back to Arkansas and speak at the Arkansas Women Blogger conference this September. Yay!) Stephanie got to talk about her new adventure recently as the CEO of Acorn on the Go Rogue Podcast. It’s a bit long, but you will find it fascinating if you’re a blogger (or a brand who wants to work with bloggers).

And from my walking friends! A Walk in the Park with Katie. Ellen walks on two islands.  And Jen walks through the Rogers Historical Museum.

That’s it for me friends!

I hope your weekend is amazing + full of love!

Holler at me if you go for a walk!

XO

Alison