We eventually transferred from a vertical snowy drop to a flat earthy top
It began at 7 in the morning with a transfer to climb the volcano that currently sat in the corner of Pucon, Chile, puffing white clouds into the air and covered in snow.
For this expedition I would be required to wear a 30 litre backpack – neck warmer – gloves - snow boots – waterproof jacket – trousers – ankle holders - mini-bum sledge (which I fondly referred to as the potty).
This was my first experience of really trekking and pushing myself to accomplish something far from home and what I thought was beyond my physical ability.
After a mere 30 minutes I became very hot in the layering of fleece, leggins and cargo-pants. So myself and another dear trooper decided to cut the first hour and take the ski-lift (family members will be pleased to know this was all OK, no accidents this time!). We then spent the next 4 hours zigzagging with Alberto, our guide, up to Villarrica as she breathed heavily. It’s surprising how quickly time can pass up there.
…This was my first experience of really trekking and pushing myself to accomplish something far from home…
Breaks were frequent and we eventually transferred from a vertical snowy drop to a flat earthy top. We had reached the crater - a spectacular and numbing experience. The chemical smoke could be tasted at the back of the throat, but it was very minor.
Dave and I conquering Villarrica!
We then sledged down, taking half the time – just 2 hours – which was utterly brilliant! My shoulders ached from the backpack; face sun burnt and my knees were completely buggered. I went to sleep with constant throbs of pain in my legs. Maybe doing an intense hike as a newbie isn’t the best idea…but now I’ve climbed a volcano. Good feeling.
- Bike Tour Exploring Chile’s Lakes and Volcanoes (duvine.com)
Here are the haunting eyes that have been a question mark for years. No doubt you’ve seen the portrait before, as it appears almost as famous to Paris’ Mona Lisa.
Last year I found the article that finally revealed the truth behind these fragile eyes and more importantly how they had grown into a woman.
Here is a piece of stunning travel journalism and photography that transpired from a single click in 1984; a read that will give you goose bumps, if the photo hasn’t already.
Hiking gear for a man isn’t that different to a woman’s approach; it really depends on climate and how much you layer up. Here are a few guidelines on what you can wear with the practicalities of a good hike and still look top dollar…
Walking shoes – they’re light and fully waterproof. Those bulky walking boots don’t fit nicely into any backpack and they give un-necessary platform, like ladies heels. Oh, and they’re super ugly. Walking shoes all the way people!
Start with a basic under layer: Standard t-shirt accompanied by a loose open shirt
Note: keep the shirt a dark, neutral colour: khaki or navy.
TIP: Board shorts are great on a hot day, try to go for a dip on route.
On a more shady day wear long but light trousers. Pack a windproof jacket and warm jumper, which you can secure in your backpack as layers.
TIP: Pack a thin, woollen scarf. They look really cuddly and this aids extra warmth, stylishly, of course.
Think of these as boys toys, the extra bits and bobs needed on an adventure:
A pocket knife – to open a bottle of wine mid-hike?
Condoms – you just never know.
Blacks - Outdoor clothing for men. It’s not cheap, but its decent quality.
Simply Hike – A range of products, brands and price tags to suit.
45 minute setup – 1.5 hours in sail - 10 minute capsized – 20 minute recovery
Costing 7 Euros per hour, Insurance 30 Euros for season
Although I was given a sincere promise that the boat would not turn over, it was important to know what to do if this eventually happened (which it did) and it really comes down to the simple task of swimming: fast.
My biggest fear with sailing is the boat falling upside down with me trapped in it. It turns out the few things to do during this catastrophe are:
- Ensure your belongings don’t drift far, far away
- Push the big piece of wood back into place…technical term apparently: sword (cool, eh?)
- To maintain a calm composure, naturally, whilst swimming for your life
This year’s next sporting challenge was to sail, and in Lake Constance it’s a mandatory requirement to swim the waters of this enchanting landscape. When they say ‘lake’ it appears to be a small sea, not a little enclave of water.
Highly recommended, involving lots more practical than I anticipated, although you can just sit back and cruise along in the sun once everything is in place; really rather good fun.
Note: Go on a sunny day, leave belongings in-car and take a few beers.
Fun Sailing Words
Captain Douche Bag, Boom, Jib, Fock-Affe: Fock (sail) Affe (monkey)
Here are some tips on cutting down luggage weight, enjoy and goodluck!
*Please note that when you’re going home you can throw these away and buy a new bottle later. Don’t be a guilty hoarder – unless it’s the expensive stuff, of course…
“The Weekend Visit” – Pack the mini stuff
For someone with thick hair, these miniature bottles have been a long standing joke. The tiny bottles of shampoo will not meet my needs! Please don’t be as ignorant as me, after trailing these holiday mini’s my verdict has changed drastically.
Shampoo, conditioning, body gel and deodorant will last you 5 days easily (surprised? I was!). Washing your hair twice, using body gel daily and using the deodorant daily (obviously). I was worried the mini-shampoo was going to run out very quickly on just one side of my head, but I was proved wrong.
I’ve tested Dove’s products, but there are plenty to choose from. This left my hair a bit dry, so for frizzle dizzle hair like mine pack the sachets of 3 minute hydrating conditioner too.
Unfortunately the price isn’t that impressive and seems a bit ridiculous, you’re paying for a brand in most cases, but there are some deals to be had.
Single bottles: £2, the cheapest being £1 from Boots and Superdrug.
OFFER! Spied in Superdrug at the moment 4 for 3 dealio, which I would take advantage of now, otherwise these mini-sets are around at Christmas in gift sets and often come with a scrunchy.
“I’m Moving Permanently” – Pack the mini stuff
If you’re fleeing the country and need simple washing products instantly, pack the smaller versions until you’ve settled in. Then you can purchase the bigger, industrial size goods for your new home.
“The Lucky Traveller” – 2 in 1
2 in 1 shampoo and conditioning – This also acts as a body wash and will last you 2 months easily.
I usually opt for Head and Shoulders, going for £3 in most beauty stores and supermarkets. I recently used Pantene’s 2 in 1 but it left my hair feeling a bit dry, while Head & Shoulders works the roots and tips much better.
OFFER! Boots are currently doing 2 for £6 on these products, nice!
For those not in the know, this isn’t something I do.
Paragliding is an extreme sport, requiring you to support the idea that dangling in the air is fun. You also put all your trust in a stranger to control wires and harnessing draped around you.
So each time I go to a new place the challenge is to try something a little out of my comfort zone. It’s usually a water based activity, this time it was Paragliding.
…You also put all your trust in a stranger to control wires and harnessing draped around you..
Here are a few snaps of how incredible this sport is with a briefing of what happens, enjoy!
- You’re safely harnessed into what will be your seat for the journey
- Then you’re attached to an instructor for a tandem ride
- Your feet will scurry back on the mountain top, as the parachute opens itself and pulls you back with mighty gusto!
- The parachute fully opens to unveil a storm of beautiful colours
- Your feet gradually tip-off the ground as you begin to glide up …
- Up and up and up …
- Sit back and look at that blue sky
If you head to Gran Canaria look up Chris and his team on: http://aventuraencanarias.com/parapente.html for a 25-30 minute ride its 70 euros.
Facey B: Aventuraencanarias Canarias