My husband received new Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles for Christmas.
The trekking poles made a huge difference when we hiked in the Italian Dolomites this past fall, so we thought it would be good for him to have a pair of his own.
The area has had terrible landslides and the trails were closed in some places. The mountain hike led us through all types of terrain, or as my husband commented “the Dolomites has complex geomorphology” Go figure.
Despite the various aches, pains, and torn up knees, we’ve traveled a lot this year:
In February, we cruised through Asia – visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. We got to ride an elephant and saw temples in Siem Reap, including the Angkor Wat temple complex.
In May, we did a quick trip in the British Isles and France. Highlights of that trip included visiting Eric and Helen at their new home in Ripe, East Sussex. We then took a cruise that included biking on the island of Sark- an island in the southwestern English Channel, off the coast of Normandy, France.
We had to rent bikes because, with a population of about 600, Sark is one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned from roads and only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed.
Dublin, of course included a trip to the Guinness Storehouse, as well as various pubs along the way.
It was a treat to see Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, France. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, as well as the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.
Taking a break, we made our way to Las Vegas, Nevada in July. We watched the NBA Summer League and had a great time.
September saw us in the Alta Pusteria Valley, in the northern Italian Dolomites. It’s an area renowned for its 3000m jagged peaks of pale, heavily-eroded limestone that shoot up from green pastures and pretty meadows and is recognized by UNESCO as a unique and spectacular mountain environment. We stayed in Dobbiaco, Italy and hiked trails in the area.
Walking sticks were a must as it was unseasonably snowy. The days and the hiking trails became a little unpredictable. We will probably do something similar in the future as we met great people and had a ball.
We took a quick cruise to Mexico in November, stopping at Cozumel and Costa Maya to see the Chacchoben Ruins.
What an amazing time we’ve had these past few months! We traveled to London, UKto visit with best friends and family and then headed out on a cruise through the Baltic. After that, we traveled to Jamaicato attend a friend’s wedding. Finally, we returned to New York!
When we began the cruise, we stopped off in Amsterdam, Netherlands and visited the Van Gogh Museum. Just a hint: be sure to order tickets online or be prepared to wait a long time to get into the very small museum.
Our next day was spent traveling from the North Sea to the Baltic via the Kiel Canal, Germany. We had an amazing suite overlooking the ship’s prow.
Once we arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, we took a tour of the waterways [boring] then walked through the Gamla stan (The Old Town). The streets were closed down for the 15th Stockholm Half Marathon.It was fun to see all the runners and the celebrations.
In Tallinn, Estonia, we walked on our own into the quaint old city and went shopping. The woolen goods are gorgeous, well made and reasonably priced. Woo hoo!
Two days in St. Petersburg, Russia meant we visited the Hermitage, Peterhof Palace, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and cruised down the River Neva.
The Old Town of Riga, Latvia had lots of medieval culture and Art Noveau architecture to explore.
Despite mockery by our friend, Eric, our excursion to the former missile silo in the Zemaitija National Park in Klaipeda, Lithuania was terrific. The best part of it was listening to the guide’s childhood stories and the gradual growth of his sense of Latvian pride and nationalism.
We had the opportunity to visit the Louisiana Museum outside of Copenhagen, Denmark and saw the Yayoi Kusama: In Infinity exhibit. It was terrific fun.
Thought I would try to do some easy exercises while I lay on the beach (while not attracting lots of attention):
Hand Exercises: Using a Hand/Finger/Forearm Strength Trainer, I did a hundred repetitions while suntanning on the beach.
Side Leg Lifts – Side leg lifts work the abs, especially the hard to get at obliques, as well as the inner thigh. Lie on your side with your legs stacked and your head resting on your arm. Tighten the muscle in the front of the top thigh and lift that leg into the air. Hold for one count, lower to touch the bottom leg and then lift again.
Two-Knee Twist Lying on your back, bend your knees into your chest and bring your arms out at a T. As you exhale lower your knees to ground on the right. Keep both shoulders pressing down firmly. If the left shoulder lifts, lower your knees further away from the right arm. Hold for 1-2 minutes each side
Forward Seated Bend: There are many benefits of this posture, the main and most obvious one is to provide a complete stretch of the entire backside of the body from the back of the head through the heels.
Sit up straight with your legs together, stretched out in front of you. Point both feet straight up towards the ceiling. Be sure you are sitting straight up on the sitbones with your spine straight.
Inhale, and stretch your arms up over your head. Following the direction of your hands, at the same time lengthen the entire spine upwards
Sphinx: Lying on your stomach, prop yourself up on your forearms. Align your elbows directly under your shoulders. Press firmly through your palms and the tops of your feet. Press your pubic bone forward. You will feel sensations in your lower back, but breathe through it. You are allowing blood flow into the lower back for healing. Hold for 1-3 minutes.
OK- It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had a gym that offers kickboxing classes near to me anymore so I thought I would start up again with the very basics. I’ve copied a Fitness Magazine article that includes a 10 minute kickboxing workout [with pictures] into my Guidance and Exercise section. There is a nice short workout and illustrates how to do each move. 10-Minute Fat-Burning Routine (Do it twice and you’ll burn about 170 calories.)
Time to retest baseline fitness! (It’s been a crazy couple of years so I did not have high expectations.) I used the tests outlined on The TopEnd Sports Page. These are tests that can be done at home with minimal or no equipment. The tests are designed to quickly gauge a person’s general fitness level and to act as a benchmark for future testing. After taking the test, you may wish to train for a few months. Then, take the test again and compare the results.
Although there are six tests, I did only the first three — Push ups, Sit ups and Squats.
Push Ups: I did the modified push up with a “bent knee” position. (To do this, kneel on the floor, hands on either side of the chest and keep your back straight. Lower the chest down towards the floor, always to the same level each time, either till your elbows are at right angles or your chest touches the ground.) I was able to complete 35 push ups vs the 25 expected for my age group. Woo Hoo!
Sit Ups: You must count the number of sit ups you can do within one minute. The sit ups required that you (a) squeeze your stomach, (b) push your back flat and (c) raise high enough for your hands to slide along your thighs to touch the tops of your knees. I was able to do 45 sit ups versus the 27 expected for my age group. Again, I was cooking with gas.
Squats: The test has you stand in front of a chair or bench with your feet at shoulder’s width apart, facing away from it. Placing your hands on your hips, you squat down and lightly touch the chair before standing back up. A good sized chair is one that makes your knees at right angles when you are sitting. You keep doing this until you’re fatigued. I was able to complete 20 squats which is the level appropriate for my age group but I have to admit that I was not lightly touching the chair before standing back up. My knees were making a racket as well. I will stay away from squats for the time being.
Listening to old episodes of Fat2Fit radio (still my favorite although they’ve stopped recording), I remembered that I have to do weight training so I get my metabolism at a higher rate. I think it’s great that I can do some light weight training at home or while traveling with little or no equipment. Good luck with your training everyone!
We did the Lanikai Pillbox Hike on the Ka’iwa Ridge Trail in Oahu with Liz and Becca. The beginning of the trail is steep but the views of Lanikai and Kailua beaches are great. Currently, the state owns 4.07 acres of Lanikai Pillboxes trail, but it does not maintain the trail or put up signs on it. It is deemed an “unimproved trail.” That means it is not designated for public use or maintenance.
More information on Hawaiian walking trails can be found here: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/hawaii/kaiwa-ridge-pillbox-trail
Desciption of the Lanikai ‘Pillbox’ Trail:
The short, steep hike to the pillboxes offers breathtaking views of the Mokulua Islands and Koolua Mountains. While it is unclear how many were actually constructed, we do know that both the Lanikai and Diamond Head pillboxes were part of the island’s defensive system. They reportedly were observation posts built between World Wars I and II, which could alert shore artillery batteries to any approaching enemy ships. Eventually they were stripped out and left abandoned by the military. [The Kailua Chamber of Commerce]
The two famed Lanikai “pillboxes” on the trail are misnamed. In military terms, a pillbox means a defensive site such as a machine gun pillbox. The two concrete structures on Kaiwai Ridge were built to be observation stations, not sites for defensive armaments. Military historian John D. Bennett says the observation stations were constructed in 1943 and equipped with high-powered telescopes to fix positions of possible enemy ships. The job of the soldiers working in the structures was to transmit target information to artillery batteries on the Mokapu Peninsula, and later to serve batteries at the Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station and Puu Papaa. [Denby Fawcett]
Part of network of coastal artillery, Fire-control station “Podmore” was built in 1942 to direct fire from the 3 and 5 inch guns of former Battery Wailea. Each held optical range finding equipment to target the artillery in the event of a Japanese landing during WWII. [XP Not So Great Hiking Blog ]
We are setting off for Tanzania next week!!! This will be my first safari and I’m not sure what to expect. I’m reading up a bit on Tanzania and it’s wildlife. The first book I read was My Serengeti Years: The Memoirs of an African Game Warden by Turner Myles. It was an interesting read because it presented stories of a world that is clearly gone. Myles wrote how much the Serengeti and the world had changed in his lifetime; I can’t imagine how much different it is today [can’t wait!!!].
I’ll be joining my husband there. Hopefully, we’ve packed appropriately. 🙂