It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and my new thing is to go away or try something new on that day (month...whatever). Last year, I went backpacking in England by myself as one of my top two trips of a lifetime. This year, I went back to England, but also added France in the mix making this the other trip in my top two trips of a lifetime. I not only got to roadtrip with a great guy (and surprisingly didn't have to kill him when he was wrong about the toll ticket...again), but I was able to see the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France. In fact, that's the reason we took the long drive from England to Segur Le Chateau just so I can be at the spots where soldiers landed many many years ago during the second world war. It was a powerful and moving experience.
But this is a blog about my exercise and I did manage to do some. In fact, I did a great deal of walking. London alone covered most of the walking that I have done in a year on a normal basis. However, I did manage to do some more. I kayaked on my birthday in France and I hiked in England when we got back. And that's what I will chronicle here...with pictures.
Brantom, France was by far my favorite French town that we saw. It was such a beautifully picturesque town with a river wrapping around the center, perfect for a birthday kayak.
|How could you not want to kayak here?|
The kayaks were weird. They weren't like the ones I was used to and I almost fell in when she pushed me, too. They were like little plastic boats with a hole cutout that even I felt unstable getting in to it. Also, whenever I stopped, the current basically turned me 360 degrees everytime.
|This is what I thought we were getting.|
|Jim and I in our first shot together on the water. The water on the lens caused this effect, but really shows Jim's disdain.|
|These were the first rapids.|
|We were covered in shade by these beautiful trees.|
|Jim getting out of the kayak to go up the little rapid so that we can continue on the river.|
|This is what we had to climb up; as you can see, my kayak has turned.|
|He's concentrating so hard.|
|Isn't this a beautiful overhanging tree? Don't mind the thumb in the corner; another side effect from turning.|
|This was the big one and Jim got lots of air!|
|Look at that smile. I enlarged the picture so that you could see it.|
|Jim and I totally survived and ready for our next adventure. Apparently, he's taking me to the widow maker race course in England to try racing his car. Revenge? Nah.|
|Montignac, France is another picturesque town that I wished we had more time to explore. Lascaux II was located just above it in the hills.|
|This is a great picture of Jim and I. Notice I'm wearing the quintessential French striped shirt...only not black in white.|
|Maggie, Mark, Jim, and I in Brantom, France the day before our kayaking trip.|
Relaxing Day of Hiking
On my last day in England, Jim and I headed to a small town called Knaresborough in Yorkshire. We wanted a close hike that wasn't too strenuous. Jim had never been to this town and I was sold with Pilgrim's caves and beer.
|It was Jim's turn to take pictures. Naturally, he took pictures of me. I'm having a beer and a nice lunch before we start our hike.|
|Do my pigtails look cute? I think so.|
We headed first to the Knaresborough castle on top of the cliff. Within 6 steps, Jim said, "I'm tired." I responded with, "Me too." Those steps were steep and they only got worse. However, when you see a very pregnant woman (later on, we saw 2) making it up there, it only motivates you to keep on going without complaint. There was a lookout point halfway up that showed the town. We stopped to drink some water, stretch, and relax. Eventually, we made it up to the top and saw some really cool ravens trained by this lady dressed in chain mail. This town is so medievil. And after looking at the castle, I realized that this was my first English castle to visit that was actually a castle.
|The first lookout point with a spectacular view of the River Nidd.|
|I wonder why he took this picture.|
|Just look at that view.|
|Looking back at knaresborough.|
|Finally, we made it to the top to see the Knaresborough Castle.|
|The train going over the River Nidd.|
|At the top overlooking Knaresborough.|
|The ravens of Knareborough Castle. He is attached to a line, because of his aggression here lately.|
|And it's due to the new guy...the one on the right just staring.|
|And Jim wonders why I call England medievil.|
|The beautiful River Nidd.|
|War Memorial for WW1 and WWII.|
After looking at the war memorial, we walked back down and headed towards the caves. We wanted to see this other memorial, but it was closed. I thought that this one path would take us up there, but all it did was take us to another footpath and wore us out.
|Jim thought this was hilarious.|
|Yes, Jim, I do think that this path will take us to a back way to see the memorial that is closed.|
|OMG! I survived. I don't know how. My legs at this point are jelly.|
|St. Robert's Cave, which did have more walls than what we see today.|
|Be careful Jim. Anything could get ya in there.|
|The insides of St. Robert's Cave.|
|Taking a break for a photo op.|
|Crossing this little bridge. High smells of garlic around this area. Yum!|
|No, Jim, you can't eat the baby lambs right now.|
|They even have signs for your footpath direction. It's just amazing to me how they are right next to people's houses.|
|Loved the smell of these flowers. What are they?|
|If you are ever in Knaresborough, go to the Dropping Well.|
|Since this is an exercise blog, I thought I would add this picture. The guy is competing in the Special Olympics and the lady will be carrying the torch for some of the time.|
|The start of my eclair chocolat downfall and why I came back heavier. I felt like Aubrey in European Vacation everytime I went in to a Patisserie (or really at any French dinner we had).|
|Arromanches (Gold Beach) where the British landed. This is a remnant of the Mulberry Harbour used during D-Day that is still on the beach. You can see other pieces out on in the ocean.|
|Looking out of our bedroom at Brive la Gaillarde Vacation Farmhouse, Segur Le Chateau, France.|