Passing through FE

Passing through

Sadness and happiness. That’s what we sometimes feel at the same time as we leave a place or site. Unlike usual travel, Sojourning in 2015 has been about passing through – places and sites. Usually setting this almost daily goal in our minds, we do everything we can to get there. The sadness has been inevitable, but not something we think about as we arrive at a new place or site – then its happiness.

One of our favourite wild camping places: beside a 4th Century Synagogue ruin on the Jesus Trail, Israel (we define wild camping as camping where no formal campsite exists and where self-sufficiency is paramount for survival. This can be legal, illegal or dangerous, depending on the country. In Israel it is legal and safe).

One of our favourite wild camping places: beside a 4th Century Synagogue ruin on the Jesus Trail, Israel (we define wild camping as camping where no formal campsite exists and where self-sufficiency is paramount for survival. This can be legal, illegal or dangerous, depending on the country. In Israel it is legal and safe).

These places and sites are camp sites. Not the most ‘romantic’ of places, a flat pitch is where we make home, and call home for a few days. Why the sadness? Maybe it’s because we feel we leave a small piece of ourselves behind, yet at the same time we take a small piece of that place with us – all as we pass through.

Camping San Nicolò, Venice: after a tropical storm, we awoke to find hundreds of worms that made their home on our tent after dropping from a tree that we had camped under!

Camping San Nicolò, Venice: after a tropical storm, we awoke to find hundreds of worms that made their home on our tent after dropping from a tree that we had camped under!

The destination is not the goal, although the small daily ones keep us going, but the journey is the motivation to sojourning. Passing through, unlike usual destination-type travel is heart wrenching and keeps us grateful for the snippets of those places we can enjoy. Sojourning means movement, and so although there is a tendency to want to stay and enjoy more, we cannot, and so perhaps this adds to the sadness.

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Explorer or consumer traveller: you make the choice. Għajn Tuffieha Campsite, Malta, which happens to overlook the Radisson Blu Hotel!

But then we continue passing through, and as we realise that the destination nor the journey is the goal, so it’s the lessons we learn about ourselves and how we respond to them that is what it’s ultimately about.

Tent with a view: the evening of Day 6 of the GR20 trail in Corsica was one of those ‘in the right place at the right time’ kind of evenings…

Tent with a view: the evening of Day 6 of the GR20 trail in Corsica was one of those ‘in the right place at the right time’ kind of evenings…

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GR20

It was the night before and we struggled to fall asleep. Trepidation had mounted as we could not help but think about what the next 12 days and nights would hold on what we knew is known as the toughest trail in Europe.

For the downloadable GPS track and waypoints, go to http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=11277241

For the downloadable GPS track and waypoints, go to http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=11277241

The GR20 (Grande Randonnée), Corsica’s long distance trail, is 200km long and traverses diagonally, over and through the rugged mountain range across the island from Calenzana in the North to Conca in the South. It covers over 14 000 metres in accumulative assent and the same in accumulative descent. This post tries to tell our Tale on the GR20 in what we describe as nothing less than a remarkable experience.

 

Day 1: 12.14 km, 7h32, 1439m↑(ascent), 143m↓(descent)

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Trepidation? Perhaps, and fully self-sufficient, including all food and a tent for 13 days and nights (one day back up).

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Day 2: 8.84 km, 8h21, 803m↑, 1076m↓

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Rainbow promises! Day 2 displayed the grandeur of the Corsican Creation.

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Day 3: 8.3 km, 6h48, 819m↑, 664m↓

The Corsican mountains are known to be more extreme than their Alpine counterparts (and arguably more beautiful).

The Corsican mountains are known to be more extreme than their Alpine counterparts (and arguably more beautiful).

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Day 4: 13.44 km, 11h47, 1519m↑, 1504m↓

Summiting Monte Cinto, Corsica's highest point at 2707m was an added privilege; as the route today took an alternative track away from the famous Cirque de la Solitude (currently closed)which claimed the lives of 7 hikers on 10 June 2015 due to a rock fall.

Summiting Monte Cinto, Corsica’s highest point at 2707m, was an added privilege; as the route today took an alternative track away from the famous Cirque de la Solitude (currently closed) which claimed the lives of 7 hikers on 10 June 2015 due to a rock fall.

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Day 5: 15.3 km, 8h07, 812m↑, 847m↓

True colours - hiking the GR20 in late September/early October displayed Northern Hemisphere autumn.

True colours – hiking the GR20 in late September/early October displayed Northern Hemisphere autumn.

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Day 6: 17.3 km, 6h49, 662m↑, 444m↓

The GR20 is famous for its lakes.

The GR20 is famous for its lakes.

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Day 7: 20.63 km, 12h28, 1294m↑, 1518m↓

Awaking to this Lunar Eclipse was an unexpected delight!

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Day 8: 11.68 km, 7h33, 1196m↑, 1187m↓

Forests were plenty as we made our way South to the halfway point at Vizzavona.

Forests were plenty as we made our way South to the halfway point at Vizzavona.

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Day 9: 29.48 km, 11h51, 1327m↑, 908m↓

Halfway, and a relief to finally wash our hair after 8 days! 4 days and about 90 kilometres to go...

Halfway, and a relief to finally wash our hair after 8 days! 4 days and about 90 kilometres to go…

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Day 10: 15.75 km, 6h31, 1147m↑, 994m↓

"Day of the Sicilian Salami!" Received as a gift from fellow travellers in Sicily, we decided to keep it for 'one of those days'. This was the day - just over 6 hours of non stop hiking through continuous torrential rain, gale force winds and freezing temperatures. It went down really well after a rather humbling day out on the GR20.

“Day of the Sicilian Salami!” Received as a gift from fellow travellers in Sicily, we decided to keep it for ‘one of those days’. This was the day – over 6 hours of non stop hiking through continuous torrential rain, gale force winds and freezing temperatures. It went down really well after a rather humbling day out on the GR20.

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Day 11: 16.9 km, 8h01, 1054m↑, 1247m↓

Traversing the tops of mountain ridges is what makes the GR20 so tough.

Traversing the tops of mountain ridges is what makes the GR20 so tough.

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Day 12: 30.38 km, 11h12, 1323m↑, 2212m↓

There's more behind those smiles as we came to an end of the GR20.

There’s more behind those smiles as we came to the end of an adventurous journey on the GR20.

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We could not resist - completing the GR20 deserved it's own number plate!

We could not resist – completing the GR20 deserved it’s own number plate.

Sojourning so far

Sojourning so far

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Journeying – Part 2

We are all on a journey. Each of our journeys have reasons behind them. The Apostle Paul had a reason behind his well-known Missionary Journeys. Christianity, the only religion in the world which places so much significance on places, largely has Paul to thank in its spread. The Apostle Paul has been one of the reasons for us embarking on our Sojourning in 2015. Following on from Part 1, this Tale, Part 2 of 3, focusses on the places in ancient Greece where the Apostle Paul first Trailblazed with the Christian message and which we were privileged to visit.

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Paul’s Missionary Journeys within ancient Greece

White marble, lavish structures and culturally similar civilisations to the world we live in today, ancient Greece never ceased to amaze (click on the pics to view larger images; brown words are clickable links).

 

Kavala (Neapolis in antiquity)

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Philippi

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“And when they had inflicted many blows upon them [Paul and Silas], they threw them [Paul and Silas] into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks” – Acts 16:23-24 (brackets added)

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Paul would have used the Via Egnatia as he journeyed through ancient Greece in spreading the Christian message.

The letter Paul writes to the church in Philippi, known as Philippians, is as a result of his passing through this Roman outpost.

 

Thessaloniki (Thessalonica in antiquity)

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“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews” – Acts 17:1

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In referring to his persecution and imprisonment in Philippi earlier, Paul writes in one of his letters to the church in Thessalonica: “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict” – 1 Thessalonians 2:2

 

Athens

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“Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed. Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols” – Acts 17:14-16

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“So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring’” – Acts 17:22-28

 

Corinth

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“After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth” – Acts 18:1

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Paul writes in one of his letters to the church in Corinth:

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While white marble lies in ruins, the Christian message continues to spread…