Posted by: Talie Morrison | November 10, 2012

The Rest of the Trip

Picking up where I left off – It took me a bit to get my head around the fact that I really was finished with my hike – I was a little bit sad not to be hiking every day, but then I was a little bit relieved also!   I spent a day wandering around Banyuls-sur-Mer, a lovely little French town on the coast of the Mediterranean.   I had been looking at that name for so long – knowing that it was my destination.   So I enjoyed getting to know it!

From Banyuls, I took a train South to the next town of Cerbére.  This is the most southern city on the coast before Spain.  There I camped for two nights until my new friend, Martin, came to pick me up for a road trip back to Barcelona.  I first met Martin in the Pyrenees on a dirt road just below Lac des Bouillouses – he was on a mountain bike and I was hiking.   We stopped to talk and hit it off right away!   Now most of you who have known me for a while, know that I love road trips!   And I love sleeping in vans and trucks.  (I had my little Toyota van from 1992 till 2002, and now my lovely GrayJay, a Toyota truck, since 2002).   Well believe it or not Martin shows up in … a van!   Life doesn’t get much better than this!!!  So Martin, who is actually German but has been living in Barcelona for 15 years, gave me a tour of part of the Costa Brava.   Either fortunately or unfortunately it was a couple of rainy days.   Thus we didn’t see lots of sunshine and beautiful beaches, but we did see blustery windy incredible coast lines!  We went to Cape Creus and had lunch in the restaurant at the top of the cape – I thought I was going to blow off the edge!   But it was great fun.   Then we hiked to an unfinished castle named Montgri.   We found a great place to camp under some pine trees with the beautiful rocky coast stretching below us.   It was wonderful!

The next day was a bit sunnier and thus we did enjoy some beautiful blue sea and rocky beaches!  We toured beaches and small towns and then drove into the mountains where we filled up about 8 gallons of fresh spring water to take back to Barcelona.  Some of Martins’ friends had a great BBQ that night and I enjoyed meeting all of them!

The next segment of my adventure continued on the Costa Brava.  I took the train back North to the Vilassar de Mar station and my new friend, Carme, picked me up.  (I met Carme and Joan and several other Catalonian hikers at the Refuge du Ras de Carança in the Pyrenees)  Carme and I drove further North to the little costal village of Calella de Palafrugell where Joan (that’s John in Catalonian) has a holiday house.   I was wined and dined for 4 days with those guys!   We visited little villages, beaches, met family (who cooked lovely typical Catalonian dishes), visited museums, swam in the Mediterranean, and had lots of lovely chats!   I ate lots of awesome paella and even had “cremat” (a flaming drink) one night.   It was wonderful!

Joan brought me back to Vilassar and I took the train back into Barcelona where my new friend, Neus, met me.  (I met Neus at the Refuge de Mariailles and again on the top of Pic du Canigou). I only spent one night with Neus, but we went out to dinner with other friends I met on the trail:  Marixa and Oriel.   It is so fun reconnecting with people who you have met out in the mountains!

From Barcelona, I flew to Berlin to meet up with my friends from our sister church in Spremberg, Germany.   They had invited members of our congregation in Crested Butte to join them on a working trip to clean a Jewish Cemetery in Miroslav, Czech Republic.   My poor German friends – I had told them last spring that I would come on the trip IF I finished my hike and IF I was still alive!  (Very un-German of me to be so indecisive !)   But I was on such a roll by the end of my hike, that I emailed them and told them I was definitely coming!   So Hans Jacob (the minister in Spremberg) picked me and Sue Sweetra (from CB) up in Berlin, and we drove to the Czech Republic.   There were about 13 of us in multiple cars on the trip. We stopped in Prague for a couple of hours to wander around that beautiful city!   And then drove on to Miroslav.   Sue and I stayed with a lovely Czech couple and “hosts extraordinaire”, Eric and Mila.   Eric speaks excellent English, so it was wonderful being with them.   Along with working and cleaning up the cemetery, we hiked in a national park to the boarder of Austria and visited the smallest town in Austria.   We also toured wine cellars, a custom shoe factory where them make all the shoes by hand, a food processor plant, a castle-like residence, and a home for elderly.   The people in Miroslav are wonderful and I now have so many new Czech friends!

On our way back to Spremberg, we stopped at little village of Terezín, which was used during WW II when the Jews were being rounded up.   It was very moving and heart rending – especially the drawings done by the young Jewish children.   What a scary part of history!   But it is important to remember so we won’t repeat it!

After a day in Spremberg, where I was able to catch up with some of my friends there, Sue and I took the train back to Berlin.   We stayed a couple of days with Han’s daughters, Julianne and Franci, and their families.   We did some touring of Berlin – lovely parks to walk in, a “festival of lights” downtown, ruins of churches bombed during the war, memorials to the Terror of WW2, and Check Point Charlie.   From Berlin, Sue flew on back to Crested Butte, and I stayed another day in Berlin before heading out.

My next stop was a little town of Erfurt, where I visited with my new friends Henryk and Benjamin who I met at the Refuge d’Orri in the Pyrenees.   While in Erfurt, I took the train over to another lovely little German town:  Weimar.   I love the architecture and cobblestone streets in these little towns.   I was also wandering around Germany at the height of the fall colors!   It was beautiful!!

From Erfurt, I took the train to Leipzig to hang out with my friend, Henriette (Henriette lived in Spremberg and that is our connection.)   Henriette was studying for her final exams to become a Psychologist so I didn’t want to disturb her studies too much.   I wandered around Leipzig, another beautiful German city, while Henriette studied.   Then we spent time together in the afternoons and evenings.

From Leipzig, I headed down to Munich, where I met up with Tobi (another Spremberg connection).  Tobi is now the father of 2 boys (Jonathan 6 and Maxim 2) and it was great being in the chaos of family life with them!  We even had dinner one night with Tobi’s brothers, Daniel and Michael and their families – 7 adults and 7 children!   Awesome!   I spent a couple of days touring Munich while Tobi was at work, but he was able to take one day off and we went up to the Chiemsee and toured the islands.   It was a bit of a gray day, but still beautiful!   On Wednesday of my stay in Munich, I connected with my friend Anni (who I met backpacking in Patagonia a couple of years ago).   Anni and I drove about an hour South of Munich to the little town of Ettal and climbed up the Notkarspitz.  It was a steep trail both going up and coming down!  We started out in the clouds and misty rain, but then climbed above the clouds and spent several hours on the tops in the sun.   It was lovely!

From Munich, I took the train up to Nuremburg, where I visited with my friends Susi and Basti (and their new daughter, Paula).   I met Susi and Basti at Cochamó, Chili a couple of years ago.  It was great fun to reconnect with them and meet Paula – and play our favorite card games again!

Then I was on my last stop on this “European Friendship Tour” –  Wiesbaden, Germany, where I visited with my friends, Shelly and Miriam.  Shelly and I know each other from backpacking around Crested Butte.   She has been living in Germany for about 15 years.  We had lots of fun hiking around the Wiesbaden area – along the Rhine River, and in the hills.   Again the leaves on the trees were lovely and I enjoyed getting out and hiking.

Finally on November 2nd,  Shelly dropped me off at the Frankfurt airport to fly home.   It was pretty funny.   I was flying “standby”, and because of the mess that Hurricane Sandy had created, all the flights were shown as “full”.   I thought I would be hanging out in the airport all day (or maybe several days), but as the first flight was boarded – they called my name and got me on.   The same thing happened in Detroit!   All the flights were full, but somehow there was still a seat on the flight for me!   Way fun!   So a night in Denver (I found a youth hostel in downtown Denver), and then the bus to Gunnison, where my friend Joni picked me up and took me to her house for the night!

What a SUPER trip!   I can’t thank my friends enough for letting me “drop into” their lives and stay with them.   There are so many beautiful places and wonderful people in this world!   I am SO LUCKY to know so many of you!!  I was totally amazed when I realized that I had just spent 5 weeks touring Europe and never paid for a night’s lodging!   I thank each and every one of you!

Now I am back in Crested Butte for the winter.   It is snowing this morning and that is a very good thing!   So unless we do something outstanding (like snow caving!), I probably won’t do any more blogs till my next trip…. Thanks for reading and following me!   Have a great winter (or summer if you are in the Southern Hemisphere).

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Responses

  1. Talie, you are amazing! Thank you for adding all the photos. So glad you had a great time with wonderful friends.

  2. Talie – it was so good to see you and to personally hear about your wordily adventures! Thanks for posting the photos…now we can put the faces to the wonderful stories you told us about your wordily friends! Have a great winter on the slopes! Looking forward to next year’s blog entries!!!


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