A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about walking

Helsinki Day 1

Exploring Helsinki

overcast 34 °F

24-hours from leaving our house to landing in Helsinki; 9:30pm and -10F. We hoisted up our backpacks and we were off on a new adventure.

After a great, and free breakfast we went to the tourist information office to find out what we might want to do for the next 2 days. The lady gave us info on where she eats lunch for a reasonable price and gave us info on concerts.

We also found that everything is within walking distance to our hotel; the Christmas market, concerts, shopping and a ton of restaurants. There is a different restaurant every few feet.

We decided to go to a 6pm concert at the Rock Church. The lady at the tourist office said that the music would consist of pieces composed by Finnish Composers. We thought that might be fun. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temppeliaukio_Church

We were at the Christmas Market checking out items and drinking Gluhwein when it was time to walk to the Rock Church. As we walked it started snowing, so nice to experience when walking thru a European city at Christmas.
The concert was exactly what we’d wanted to experience, yet so different than what we expected. The music had a jazz and big band edge. There was a singer and he sang various songs, none of which we understood. We did recognize the music “Little Drummer Boy” but it was all Finnish, of course.
The singer spoke between many of the songs. One song, after he spoke we understood that he had invited the audience to join in. Many knew the words of the song “Beautiful Savior”. As it was being sung in Finnish, we couldn’t think of the words in English. But it was beautiful anyway. This version attached is performed by the St. Olaf Choir, which we heard several years ago .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QJ4TkIcSkk

The audience also sang along to a Sibelius piece. We were unfamiliar with the piece, only knowing a few of the pieces by the composer. It again was moving, everyone around us singing. Here is a sample of the piece. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIt3nx2uMEc

The last piece was the Christmas Carol “Silent Night”. Again, it was probably introduced to the audience but we didn’t understand what was being said. Everyone sang along, in Finnish, of course. But we were happy and warm inside the rock church while it was cold outside.

We walked back to another part of the city where we found a restaurant. We ordered bowls of steaming hot Cream of Salmon soup. Our insides were warm and full. We fell in love with Helsinki!

Posted by Miss Chris 05:59 Archived in Finland Tagged helsinki walking music outdoors sibelius christmas_market rock_church Comments (0)

Back to New Mexico

Thanksgiving trip to New Mexico

sunny 40 °F

Several months ago, our daughter-in-law, Jen suggested that we spend Thanksgiving in Taos. She’d never been to Taos but heard us speak of it plenty. She then found the El Monte Resort and it looked like a nice place to stay and play. We reserved rooms for our 2 families.

After flying most of the day we finally arrived in Taos after 11pm. We got into our room, a small casita, the equivalent of a small cabin but New Mexico style.

We’d brought a bottle of wine and a pumpkin pie dessert from home. Those were perfect for winding down in our living room. We got the fire going and relaxed.

We had to meet Clayton and Jen early as they had to drive to Santa Fe for a cooking class we’d given them for a present. We meet at the restaurant at the resort, but as I suspected it would be, there was nothing I could eat. That was fine, the Taos Diner was only a 15-minute walk and they have most everything New Mexican gluten free.

We got the grandkids all bundled up and walked to the Taos Diner. It took a little longer with Fynn stopping to have a conversation with himself periodically.
After a good filling breakfast, we walked to the Plaza. Kids were not interested in the history, rather it was more fun to play tag and a sort of hide and seek tag game. Dale and I took turns running around with the kids.
After some pool play back at the resort, we took the kids to Orlando’s for dinner, another Taos favorite of ours. We were able to introduce the kids to real chili sauce, pure from the dried pods. I need to learn how to make a sauce like this.

Posted by Miss Chris 09:09 Archived in USA Tagged food road_trip walking outdoors new_mexico grandkids new_mexico_cooking Comments (0)

Hovenweep For A Day

Hovenweep National Monument

sunny 65 °F

Hovenweep is part of the Canyon of the Ancients, located at the end of the canyon. The canyon is very narrow at the bottom and not much elevation gain between the bottom and the top. Nevertheless, the Ancient Ones built structures around the edges and in the bottom.

We really like Hovenweep because it is an easy 8-mile walk down around and back up to the campgrounds. While you can’t enter the structures it is easy to get up and close as the barriers are not set back very far. And like Mesa Verde, the ruins are from the similar people, but here there are not the tourists. We only saw 6 other people during our entire walk.
While we are not religious, it is a place that is very spiritual to us. To be so close to those who came before us, and to experience seeing structures built on sheer rock walls or small outcroppings is a source of amazement.

We were at Hovenweep as part of a grandkids trip about 10 years ago. We’d taken the 4 older kids to Mesa Verde for part of the 100-year anniversary and then heard of Hovenweep. We fell in love with Hovenweep so it was easy to combine this with our road trip.

This time, being alone, we packed up a picnic, very simple sandwich makings, veges and hummus, and white wine. Dale found us a nice flat rock to spread out the lunch and then we found a place in front of the “Twin Towers” to enjoy lunch and the canyon. Having simple food and a simple wine was fitting to the area.
The sky was blue, not a cloud, and the air crisp and cool. We couldn’t ask for a better day.

Posted by Miss Chris 14:27 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature walking travel national_parks rv outdoors hovenweep Comments (0)

Summer Plans Revised

A fizzle start to our summer trip

sunny 95 °F

We had quite a summer planned, and as usual, life got in the way. We’d planned for Dale to backpack across the Sierra with two of our boys and 3 of the grandkids, plus an adopted boy and his son. Then, the day after returning from the Sierras we’d go to the UK and travel for a month, return home and then be off to Alaska.

Unfortunately, as I haven’t worked since last year, and after several vehicle repairs and unexpected expensive home repairs, we decided to postpone the Europe trip until next year. I called United and they canceled the UK, giving us until Feb to rebook a new trip. This was quite a relief as I was afraid, with cheap seats, we’d lose our tickets. We do lose tickets to Les Mis, a concert at Royal Albert Hall, a performance at the Globe, opera in Oslo and a tour of Highclere. Alas…..

I’ve been on standby for most of this year so planning the hike has been iffy. I’d wanted to go, but I hike slow and felt that it could hinder the hike rather than help. But it was something I really wanted for Dale to do and the boys were so wanting him to go along. Also, someone needed to drive from one side of the Sierras to the other in order to get kids back home.

As last week was ending, and I was not called out, we made the decision to go with the hiking party. The hike would start in Onion Valley, just out of Independence on Hwy 395, go over Kearsarge Pass and end in Kings Canyon, 25 miles and 5 days later.

On Tuesday, Dale and I loaded up 4 kids, 3 of them hikers and one little, who needed to be taken care of during the hike. We drove up to the Upper Greys Meadow Campground, about 10 miles east of the Onion Valley trailhead. The campground is at about 6,000’ and quite a climb, even for our truck.
We arrived at the campground after 7pm, hot and tired of the 4-hour drive. Kids took off running, the campground nearly empty. Winds were howling off of the Sierras on thru the exposed campground.

Dale thought that he’d fill the fresh water tank before parking, turned off the engine and coasted to the faucet. Well that was a mistake, remember Palm Springs? We didn’t! So there the truck was, on the campground road, stuck. Dale sprayed the brake cleaner into the intake, but nothing happened. We waited and then sprayed and hit the gas but nothing.

Finally, with winds howling, no light, we decided to camp right there and deal with it in the morning. We’d take our chances on someone arriving in the night and needing to drive past us, as we took the whole road.
We got the slideout out, made dinner and all of us fell asleep quickly.

Posted by Miss Chris 18:26 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature walking driving camping breakdown rv outdoors grandkids onion_valley Comments (0)

Sunset Beach at Sunset

Some alone time

overcast 70 °F

After all of the keeping up with kids, Dale and I were happy to have a couple of days to ourselves.

We left the South Beach campground on Sunday and drove south on Hwy 101. This is the coast highway in Oregon. We needed to work our way to Fort Bidwell, but pulling our RV we were a little concerned about road conditions. We were not wanting to pull the RV over a snowy or icy pass. We decided to take a more southern route across.

On our way down we found a small seafood market open. Until then, all had been closed. We stopped immediately and I ran in. There was fresh caught wild salmon and fresh oysters. We were ready for a feast!

As we looked at campgrounds that would be in the area of our route we found the Sunset Beach Campground. There were a couple of others around the Sunset Beach but after driving thru those we just kept going. We drove into Sunset Beach and found a space that was perfect. The site was in the corner and there were no neighbors. http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=182

There had been rain in the area, but it let up before we arrived. About sunset, the clouds parted and we walked to the beach across the street. I took the camera and started shooting photos. It was so beautiful.

For dinner, we set up our Downton candelabra, silver flatware and ate our salmon Downton RV style. IMG_20160320_214206865.jpg

That was a perfect ending to our alone time. Ever onward, we were off to Ft Bidwell in the northeast corner of California and then down to the southern border.

Posted by Miss Chris 07:32 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature walking oregon driving camping rv outdoors sunset_beach oregon_state_beaches Comments (0)

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