Los Muíños do Picón e do Folón

A couple of miles from O Rosal the road begins to climb gently into the mountains. Built to harness the Picon and Folon rivers, the first mill dates from 1702, with 60 eventually completed. They remain well preserved and linked by a hiking trail. Despite their entirely functional purpose, they manage to have a wonderful symmetrical pattern in two areas. The trail sneaked up the Campo do Couto  mountain and the mills started to come into the view. They are in surprisingly good condition, with small irrigation channels running between them. The water usually runs directly through the mills, which…

Zanzibar of the Mind

Let me be brutally honest here. There are some languages that flow rhythmically and poetically from mouth to ear like some glorious Shakespearian, Mozartian love child – German is not one of them. In truth I have grown quite an affinity to the German people since being released by the cultural grip of semi disdain and suspicion often still experienced in England. Give me a a bushy mustached Hans in a lederhosen as a drinking buddy any time. That being said, a torrent of German still feels like I’m being flogged with cat and water boarded at the same time.

Camino de Santiago – Part 3

A long ancient bridge led us into the picturesque town of Hospital d’Ortega a few days after leaving Leon. At 204  metres it is the longest bridge along the Camino – and considering the tiny river it crosses – about 200 metres longer than strictly necessary. The majority of this aged relic stretches over a large expanse of bright  green grass, which in all likelihood we could have just walked across. Our home for the night was a quaint little alberque that had been recommended to us – a peaceful and serene place until a large gaggle of Italian cyclists…

Match of the Day

There are few taxis in Al Hofuf. Those that do appear tend to fire past you with a look of repulsion in their eyes. It was a Friday evening in the mid size desert oasis town and we were standing by the side of the road. Nabeel threw out an arm, and within seconds a white Toyota truck came to a halt next to us. The briefest of negotiations took place and we all climbed in.

Saudi Arabia

I’m always genuinely surprised when I successfully manage to get through an airport and onto the plane. Thanks to a litany of travel screw ups, I always fear I’m moments from disaster. An employee turning to me and asking flippantly, “You’ve got your B7236  per-authorisation form right?” or even the worryingly frequent “this flight is actually tomorrow sir”. On this day however, and despite the body complaining loudly about the rambunctious evening the night before, I breezed through.

The End of the world

I thrust my hands deep into the coat pockets, a refuge from the biting cold. The Beagle Channel stretches before me. A fierce, angry wind growls in from the sea. Great hulking ships sit dormant in port. Monsters of nautical travel – ice breakers – Antarctic ships. The frozen continent lies a thousand kilometers to the south. Bronze busts of past explorers line the waterfront, staring whistfully out to sea. I have no idea who any of them are – but if their clothing, steely gaze and sensational facial hair are anything to go by they were quite something.