Time to Relax and Reflect – Week 10
Hello again! It’s been awhile… 2.5 weeks to be exact! Sorry for the pause in blog writing, I think I’ve been too busy relaxing!! 😀
So let’s fast-forward a little bit in time from where I last left you guys back in Cinque Torri in northern Italy.. wow that really does seems like FOREVER ago. After Cinque Torri, Paul and I climbed in 5 more places in the Dolomites. Two of them were a bit intimidating and the other three were quite fun, one of them allowed us to climb up to a castle!
We spent 3 days at Crepe de Oucera Bassi, which we had a few good days of climbing but once we climbed all the classic routes, the rest kind of turned sour. Badly bolted, slippery rock, overhanging, just blah. So we moved on to a crag just a few kilometers away called Crepe de Oucera Alti. We didn’t have the best time at Alti either.
But the thing with climbing in so many places is that you are bound to hit some areas that just don’t suit your style! And when we have a whole entire guide book filled with places that we could climb all within a max of an hour of each other, why climb in places that aren’t what we are looking for? And anyways, it started to rain. So we packed up from Alti and decided on a new area altogether.
We spent a day driving, restocking, and getting more propane for our stove. Then arrived at Frea around 5pm. We decided to take a little evening adventure and pack up what we needed to make dinner, hike to the crag to climb a few routes, bring our headlamps for some night climbing, and cook dinner when we got hungry. It was so much fun, it’s always good to switch things up a bit and do things a little bit differently. The view wasn’t bad either 🙂
We spent that night and one more full day at Frea. The next morning though, oh man the rock was COLD!!! I came down from my climb with frozen fingers and toes, it was quite painful. The sun hit the rock around 1pm and then it got much better from then on. We left the next morning for Steinerne Stadt, a climbing area that was really interesting! It was an area filled with humongous boulders that had broken off from the Dolomite mountains above. There are about 200 different routes there. We chose an overhang area, which is both Paul and mine’s biggest weakness. And it was fun to really push ourselves and work on growing strength in this area. Even though it really was a struggle!
Paul and I spent 2 days at Steinerne Stadt, then headed to Hauenstein where we could climb up to a castle! After spending two days on overhang, vertical climbing was really refreshing.
Then we began the journey over to the southern coast of France. It took us two days of driving to get here, which I drove some parts of! Yee!! And we were entertained with an audiobook called “No Shortcuts to the Top.” We had one last delicious pizza dinner, swam in the ocean on the Italian coast, and then continued on our way.
We were headed for a studio apartment in Bormes les Mimosas that is owned by my parents’ friends. After a short detour of going to the wrong city (hehe oops, sorry Paul :D), we finally made it!
And that’s where Paul and I are at the moment. We’ve been soaking up the sun at the beach, and mainly just relaxing here. It has been so revitalizing to have a place to stay for so long. Thank you both SO much Rudy and Joyce for letting us stay! And thanks Kim for helping coordinate with everyone 🙂 Being here is quite luxurious, for so many reasons!
We’ve been able to take warm showers, buy veggies for salads, have meat in a fridge meaning we can cook chicken and have cold cuts on sandwiches, we’ve had space to move around when getting dressed and cooking, we’ve been able to get up and pee in a normal toilet at night, I’ve been able to shave!!, and the list could go on forever. Basically, we are really enjoying all the little luxuries we can, and really appreciating and soaking it all in. Because we know it won’t last forever.
Not to say that being in Ben isn’t great, because I do love our life in the van! This is just a nice change, and nice to remember and experience the little perks we’ve been missing out on.
One thing I’m really appreciating is how the mornings can be a little more how I like them to be. I’m a morning person, so I want to wake up early and get the day started, normally with something active. Or else I can get restless and start the day off feeling like time is already behind me. But because Paul is more of a night owl, staying up until 12-1am, he also sleeps in a little later and is more tired in the mornings. The problem with our different sleeping schedules in Ben is that the bed takes up the majority of the van when it’s pulled out. So if I want to get up and get going in the morning, I have to get out everything I need the night before because most things are inaccessible once the bed is out. In the studio apartment here in France, I can get out of bed when I wake up at 7:30, watch the sunrise and have breakfast out on our patio, and go for a run to the beach to go for a swim in the ocean! I come back already feeling like I’ve had a productive day when Paul is just getting out of bed! It really works out for both of us; I get my morning activity and Paul gets to sleep in 🙂
I am also really loving all the thinking time I’m getting. During my runs, I find myself coming back to ideas for my next step. At this point, I feel like I have so many options it can be overwhelming! And I’ve realized that although a part of me would love to live like this forever, life on the road in Ben, and I think I could make it work by getting some small jobs here and there, I do crave something more fulfilling. I want to get myself into a career where I’m contributing to society and helping others, not just myself. I have some ideas but not quite ready to share yet 🙂
Since arriving here last Wednesday Paul and I have been filling our days by having picnics down at the beach, swimming, playing paddle ball, I have my morning running routine, we go on walks, we make yummy dinners (I recently had ratatouille for the first time and discovered how amazing and versatile it is!)… We’re basically just enjoying our time here.
Apart from one very sad thing 🙁 Our wonderful Ben is in surgery. We took him to the mechanic last Friday because he was making some pretty awful noises on our way from Italy. It was a loud clunking noise whenever we slowed down. So we took him in and they lifted him right up to take a look. The mechanics were very shocked and extremely unhappy with what they saw. Apparently, both front brakes were completely out of use and it was lucky we hadn’t gotten into a major accident. They said they wouldn’t let us drive Ben out of there until they fixed him up because it was so dangerous to be on the road!
When we went back to check on things yesterday, they told us there was something else wrong with his brakes and another part needed to be ordered. We were planning to be leaving here tomorrow but now it’s looking like we won’t be leaving until Friday.
But I’m not complaining 🙂 Although I know I’ll be extremely happy and excited when we get back in Ben and get on the road again to start climbing, right now I’m really soaking in this time of relaxation. And I’m really loving it.
Paul made a really great video last week highlighting our last few climbing areas in Italy. You can check it our here 🙂