July 31, 2009
Wow, bad blogger….long time no post.
So its not completely my fault…I need to get the pictures sent and then I will update with fun posts about the round the world trip.
In the meantime lets fast forward to right now!
So I came back to Boston a month ago. It was great to see Sonia and Jonathan, I am temporarily staying with them. I call myself their practice child…and they call me babyK…its working out great =)
My first weekend here was a treat because Amelia and my mom (coincidentaly) were both visiting.
We met up with Aran and it was like old times….add a little too much wine and you get Aran kicking me and breaking my toe (im sure a lot of love was also put into the toe…he is gonna kill me for writing that it was him on the blog…love ya aran!)
My time was therefore spent with my little toe up and searching for jobs and apartments. I have successfully found a cute little place in Davis square AND a chemistry teaching job in Lawrence. Success!
About a week later dad came by and we visited Maine…finally! id never been to the land of Jonathan. It was a lovely family vacation and I cant wait to go back now that the toe is cured (almost) to pick blueberries in Maine and help Nancy (jonathans mom) with her garden.
Lots of lovely dinners with dad…its great to go to restaurants and be able to eat! there are so many vegetarian options everywhere…mmm…and lots of wine of course..( see below for intrigued karla trying to read the menu without glasses)
Lots of fun things in between…like watching the new Harry Potter which was great! (haha thats us below at the movie theater on opening day…WAY too excited)
Also got a new bike named Bruna who is white and pink and really fun to ride around…
This weekend we are going to Vermont….but first stopping by the REI member sale and buying everything in sight!
Enjoy summer everyone…lots of love from Cambridge. ah almost forgot…here is the broken toe
April 11, 2009
First and foremost. One of my life questions has been answered. Are koalas as cute as they look in pictures?????
YES!!! THEY ARE EVEN CUTER!!!!! Me looking at Koalas….in the wild…didnt wanna pay for one of those koala zoo stories. SO glad I got to see the little guys.
We drove down to the Grampians in 2 days. On the way you pass the Fruit Fly zone…which means you cant bring any fruit. I had to get rid of my massive stock of bananas so I ate them…felt a bit sick after since they werent ripe enough.
The Grampians is quite big and FULL of kangaroos. The first day I was uber exctied and screaming. After 2 days it was like…”oh look another 34 kangaroos next to the car…”. But they are pretty cool little dudes.
Most important tip for the Grampians for weakling climbers such as myself: bring trad gear! The sport routes at the Grampians in the lower grades are few, sandbagged and sparcely bolted.
If you climb 7b and up you will be in sandstone heaven.
Etienne (the french climber we met at the blueys) met us down there and we went to Taipan wall. Wow, what an impressive piece of rock.
We headed over to The Gallery, which is also quite famous. I dont know which one looks cooler, they are quite different. I cant speak for the climbing since i cant do these routes but they are both impressive.
The Grampians are really nice, just a bit dry, so there is nowhere to swim etc. If you are dying for a shower go to a hotel in Horsham and they will let you shower for a few buck.
There are lovely campsites in the national park, Mt Stapylton Campground is good for Taipan wall and Van Diemens Land and Buandik Campground for the Gallery and other southern crags.
Etienne decided to join us on our trip to Tasmania. On the way to Melbourne to catch the ferry to Tassie we drove the Great Ocean Road. Its very pretty and all,..but im not a big fan of driving and stopping, then looking at something pretty and getting back in the car. Im sure you could hike it and it would be a cooler experience.
We reinstated the family dinners inside Etienne’s Wicked Camper.
We boarded the Spirit of Tasmiania ferry and sneaked up to the closed bar on the top deck with our sleeping bags. Travel dirtbag style.
March 31, 2009
(forgive me for rambling in this post – i am way too excited!)
After dreaming so much about the Blue Mountains we finally arrived last week. Its as fairytale like as I had imagined.
The new guidebook by Simon Carter et al reminds me heaps (haha I’m a local already with the lingo!) of the Red River Gorge guidebook. When we ran into Simon ( he is an amazing photographer- check out his site http://www.onsight.com.au/) and Monique at a crag they said it was inspired by the Red’s guidebook, they were also very helpful as we picked their brains for crag info.
The rope we are using is Cristina’s, her mom Pilar gave it to us and it feels like Cris is climbing with us all around the world.
The guidebook said there were Free camping spots, we were a bit skeptical but very happy to find our completely free and legal campground in Megalong valley road- there are a couple others, we just saw this one first and decided to stay.
The little village of Blackheath is so cute, it has a little veggie shop, cute cafes and the people are incredibly friendly. The climbing here is very similar to the red. Sandstone with iron formations – overhanging walls, pumpy and fun!
On our second day here we ran into Mitch who is one of the developers (of climbing) in the Blueys and he has been giving us advice every morning.
and…YES I HAVE SEEN KANGAROOS! There are also parrot like birds (cant remember their name!!) which look really cool- and the gum trees are funny to see- I’m used to them in Florida were they are an invasive species- so its nice to see them in their natural habitat. We have Francesca, our little pet-basil plant that keeps the car smelling nice and our tummies happy.
The car has served us well…we even slept in it the other night!!
Toni (boathouse owner) told us his carpenter Andy lived nearby and would give us a call to meet up. WOW, Andy invited us over for dinner and a much needed shower and his wife and daughters were so welcoming and kept insisting for us to stop by again for a movie a shower or dinner….how lucky are we???
So after a week of climbing….I have a major climbing bug. We are taking a rest day today because my fingertips are on the verge of bleeding and its pouring down rain outside. Hence the massive blog catch up!
Still feeling completely out of shape but its so fun to see the improvements!
My favorite sector at the moment is the Freezer. There are easier things for little Karla and hard things for Richard – who is cranking almost back to normal. This little traverse is called the Log of Death Traverse at the Freezer, it separates the easier from the harder climbs.
I am usually not so amped about down-climbing chains or crossing things like this – but I have been liking them in the Blueys.
The hikes into the climbing areas are always fun…
We have another week here, a couple days in Sydney and then we are off to Melbourne and the Grampians! See you then!
March 31, 2009
After a layover in Singapore we arrived in Sydney airport really tired but super excited!
Beau (Richards Aussie friend) and his family picked us up and said “Our friend has a small studio apartment in North Sydney were you can stay”
We were amped! So we drive to the small apartment and its a boathouse on the water with the most amazing view – the postcard view- of Sydney, Harbor Bridge and Opera house!!!
This is the view from our window!!!
Wow- what an amazing welcome to Australia! The owner is Toni , this really cool greek guy that does lots of work with aboriginal kids. He took us out on his boat and showed us around, I cant believe how nice him and Beau have been to us! THANK YOU!
The next day we met up with Gavin – Richard’s dad- who drove his car all the way from Tasmania so we could use it and flew back the same day! What a tiger! Not only did Richard’s parents lend us their ganster car but they left 3 BOXES of south african wine in it!!!! THANK YOU!
Richard bought some japanese carpentry tools while we were in Spain from a guy in Sydney- so we headed to his house to make him and his wife a paella. So and Fumiko had us over at their place like we had known them for years- we even slept in their futon so Richard wouldnt drive with wine in his system. Yay! We have friends in Australia!!!
A couple days later we had a soba noodle party at the boathouse….and drank a lot of south african wine – Thanks again Gavin and Karin!
So we took the ferry to Sydney, ate at Chinatown, walked around and saw a surf comp in Bondi beach and we were ready for the mountains.
So chapter 1 of Australia has been nothing but love and hospitality, thanks again everyone, I am overwhelmed. If you look at a newspaper and think of all the wars and bad things that happen in the world you lose hope in humanity. Receiving so much kindness from near strangers gives me so much hope in human nature.
Welcome to the land down UNDAH!
March 31, 2009
So for the first month in South Africa the ongoing thing was: We are leaving Monday for Montagu….haha… when it finally happened- after visas, and all the activities I mentioned in the last post were done- I didn’t really believe it…
We arrived in Montagu (climbing area 2 hours from Capetown) and headed for Lola’s farm. Lola is this lovely South African lady that lives in the middle of the little Karoo in a farm . From Montagu we drove 1.5 hours in a dirt road and arrived in the most remote place I’ve ever slept. The dust in the road was so crazy i put on a little Egyptian style wrap!
We ended up spending 4 days with Lola- first because the place is so peaceful and magical and second because my tonsils were the size and color of golf balls- yikes.
After lots of reading, braais, potjiekos and herbal remedies I was ready to climb.
Climbing again was quite a wake up call, lets just say that 3 months off does not make your muscles any stronger. The campground in Montagu is great, lots of grass, shade and the owners are climbers. We spent a few days there hiding from the scortching heat and then headed to Rocklands.
Rocklands is the world’s biggest bouldering area and is in the Cederberg region where there is also lots of trad climbing and some sport.
I had seen tons of pictures of this place and heard that its really impressive to drive in and see a field of boulders that goes forever. It didn’t prepare me for how majestic it is. There are a million shapes and sizes of boulders and the vegetation feels like being in the wild west.
We drove to the campground and met the cool owner who said “Well, the campground is empty so just pick a spot”.
Hmm….empty campground in one of the worlds best bouldering spots can only mean one thing.
Really really HOT…so hot in fact that we couldn’t even sleep. So after three days we went back to Capetown….So there was no need to leave earlier to climb more, the fact is that climbing in the South African summer isnt that much fun. We knew it wasn’t ideal, but that is when we had to start the trip – maybe next time we get more climbing done!
We said goodbye to all the lovely Capetonians and headed for J’burg (Johannesburg) to visit Richard’s other aunt and cousin – Yvonne and Bridget. Wow, I’m still not used to how hospitable and loving everyone has been with us, we had 5 star treatment and tour of the city- thank you!
We went to the Cradle of Mankind museum and caves with Bridget and her boyfriend Michael- they are both environmental scientists so we had a full day of rambling which is always good!
One last braai and we were headed for the airport.
Next up AUSTRALIA!
March 11, 2009
I sit here in Capetown and cannot believe we are leaving South Africa in a few days – time flies.
Our trip started with our loving goodbye dinner in Barcelona, so many good people that we have been missing since we arrived.
The best part of South Africa: Janine. We have been staying with Richard’s cousin in her sweet apartment in Capetown. She is a fairy and has made us feel so at home, loved, squished, has listened to my ramblings and has made me laugh endlessly. I cannot thank her enough!
We arrived in Capetown and got caught in a flurry of activities, braai (South African barbecue- heaven) at Stewart’s house, hiking-climbing Table Mountain in a hurricane worthy wind, dinners, lunches, visas and a visit to Cape Point National Park. I felt a bit dizzy and jet lagged!
Janine’s mom – Jeanie- is also a fairy and had us over every Thursday for family dinners. She has been my South African mom and has helped so much during the trip. Like mother like daughter.
Then we set off with Richard’s friends to the Eastern Cape. Here is the team:
Thanks to Stewart’s parents; Toni and Howard Langley who lent us their bakkie (truck) – they have been so helpful and loving…check out their guest room if you visit Capetown. http://www.capestay.co.za/erewhon/
We stopped in Stormsriver and everyone did the worlds highest bungee jump…not me…i was the old lady in the group!
Then we went to Cinsta and stayed in Bucaneers Backpackers which I highly recommend, clean, safe, amazing empty beach, free canoes…
We finally reached Coffee Bay. The moment you turn from the highway you enter a land of rolling hills of buffalo grass and turquoise blue rondavels.
My favorite part of the trip was the Hole in the Wall Hike, a hike from Coffee Bay to a big rock with a hole in it – the hole isnt that amazing, but the hike is wild, green, rough and it leaves you renewed and fresh – until you have another Savannah Cider sundowner and feel unhealthy all over again!
After the Transkei I got the full tour of Capetown, Kalk Bay, Fishoek, Hout Bay….
We visited Kirstenbosch Gardens and I fell in love. Botanical Gardens with Table Mountain in the background, one of the highlights of South Africa.
We swam with penguins in Boulders Beach – what a trippy place! Boulders and Penguins…I couldnt believe it.
Richard’s brother James took him and Stewart out diving while my recovering ear drum and I stayed in the beach and took long walks.
Finally we set off to our main mission- Climbing.
We went to Montague and Rocklands-mmmm sandstone…. pics and stories to come soon.
The first leg of our trip has been very different from what we planned – we have barely climbed but I have seen so much of this diverse country and have met so many wonderful people. It has been so good to see where Richard grew up, his favorite places, meet his friends and family and get to spend time with them.There have been times where I have felt shitty and lonely, when I have craved the independence I’m used to in Spain- being able to go places alone and do my own thing . In the end it has all made us learn and understand each other more.
I have also missed my sister madly, sharing all the adventures, yummy food and lovely places with her is ultimate happiness.
Leg 1 of the trip is over…..Australia here we come!!!
February 25, 2009
uploaded all the pics on flickr….will write a lovely lengthy post soon about them
in the meantime…here they are
sorry about being terrible posting…hehehe…vacation!
January 1, 2009
wow, the countdown is almost over!
15 days left in Barcelona.
Today we are moving out of our apartment to Victor’s house for the remainder of our time in the city. If my ear is fully healed I might get to have a climbing escapade…Montgrony, Margalef, Siurana….oh no…my hands are sweating just thinking about it.
Catalunya is having an unusually cold winter that has left a lot (for here) of snow in the mountains, so maybe a ski trip is more appropriate.
I have had a fantastic year thanks to all the love I have gotten..sentimental recap of 2008 below!!
Having my dad close, healthy, seeing him happy and glowing at my sister´s wedding.
Having my sister close and visiting her in Boston, seeing her glow at her wedding and skype always keeping us in touch…the two sistas and the bru…
Seeing my best friend Aran in Boston after he made an INCREDIBLE recovery after his accident, he is stronger than he knows…
Taking climbing trips with our fantastic friends.
Finding bivy spots…
Missioning with the train to ski.
Having Cristina in my life, for a short time but intensely filled with love, climbing trips and friendship.
Remembering Cristina, in Montserrat and Margalef.
and of course…having Richard next to me, taking care of me and always making me laugh!
I feel so lucky.
New years resolutions?
-To take care of my health
-To be loving, patient and understanding
-To be self-aware and live in the moment
-To climb more and to run further
I can’t wait for this year’s adventures….remember to savor them…life is short!
A big big new years hug to everyone!
What are YOUR new years resolutions?
December 23, 2008
I went a little stir-crazy today. After a week of not leaving the apartment and mostly sleeping (see previous post) my body needed to use up some energy.
So after a few hours of packing (we are moving on Sunday!), I decided to celebrate this year’s Winter Solstice by baking.
Courtesy of Veganomicon (amazing vegan cookbook) I baked the following vegan treats:
Bare with me with the pictures, I never realized food photography was such an art, props to everyone who has foodblogs!
Raspberry macadamia nut chocolate cookies: These are chewy and really unique.
Oatmeal raisin gingerbread muffins: Mmmm if only it was snowing…
I also tried to make Chocolate hazelnut biscotti but they completely fell apart because I omitted the cornstarch- BAD CHEMIST!…(Dobby head pounding go to 3:00min mark)
Gotta go, dinner is on the stove…Bulgur with Broccoli and Spinach Coconut curry.
Anyone wanna come over for dinner?
December 21, 2008
So this really shows you, don’t take your health for granted.
I had plans to be skiing in Andorra right now, to spend Christmas climbing….but the lovely bacteria now installed in my left tonsil and ear had other plans….
I woke up last Monday with an excruciating pain in my left ear.
Exhibit A: Ear
Veredict: Burst Eardrum.
Now, for those of you that immediatly go into thoughts of scuba diving, bombs exploding or someone blatantly punching my ear let me clear this up-I didnt do anything!! It burst thanks to the bacteria in my tonsil, yikes. I had no clue this was even possible. I am beyond happy that this isn’t serious and that i am actually really lucky in life in excellent health.
So, fully loaded with antibiotics, I am now healing, planning for the upcoming trip, cooking and reading my favorite blogs.
I love food blogs for cooking ideas. Here are some links for your inspiration:
www.katheats.com Goddess of creating fun healthy meals and my personal fave blog.
www.fitnessista.com Super fitness instructor, always funny.
http://sweeteatsny.com I come here to drool over Candle Cafe meals and waffle breakfasts.
www.vegandad.blogspot.com Best fake meat recipes in the planet.
http://carrotsncake.com/ Balancing health and treats in Boston.
and of course…I also visit climbing sites:
www.skalada.wordpress.com My friend Oskar’s climbing adventures.
www.8a.nu Guilty pleasure of climbing news and ranking….
http://coletteloc.com Colette’s climbing blog, super strong chick.
http://www.daniandrada.blogspot.com Spanish bolting and climbing maquina.
http://www.ethanpringle.com Uber-Strong, vegan, cute.
So just in case you are confined to your bed, biting your nails, wishing to climb and run like me, or simply sitting at your desk procrastinating…i think i left you with enough entertainment.
and if you wanted climbing pictures…fine fine…here is the REAL DEAL
I hope the next post is climbing related!!!