Sunday Special – Dublin Mountains Way, Ireland

Exploring a region by foot can be one of the most worthwhile ways to see it. This is certainly not limited to strolling through city centres. Walking and hiking is an activity enjoyed by many, from easy hikes spanning a few hours to ones that are strenuous and require days to finish. The payoff is exercise, breathing in nature and some phenomenal views. 

Dublin Mountains Way, only a mere 8 km / 5 miles from Dublin was named one of the most scenic walks in the world by Barry Stone in his book 1001 Walks You Must Take Before You Die (2015)The 43 km / 26 mile trail winds from easterly Shankill through to Tallaght in the west. Although it is considered a moderate to difficult hike that can take anywhere from 1 – 3 days it has been divided into three sections that can be done at any pace.  The trail was completed and opened in 2009 by the Dublin Mountains Partnership (DMP) and they continue to maintain and upkeep the paths. Their website offers descriptions of the routes, downloadable .pdf maps as well as event listings, transit information and “Leave No Trace” material.  The DMP also have also set up mountain biking routes, assembled  bouldering sites, introduced wheelchair orienteering on way-marked trails and manage conservation and upkeep of the area. As with any activity, make sure you are prepared and let someone know where you are going. 

Ireland is a stunning country, arguably one of the world’s most beautiful. Why not see it’s beauty by roving and wandering along these paths?

The Scalp From Barnaslingan Hill

The Scalp (Barnaslingan) on the Dublin Mountains Way – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Joe King (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


The Hell Fire Club along the Dublin Mountains Way – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by jasonrogers [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Andorra

The Sunday Special will be trying out a new spin so let’s see how it goes. In the past I have done series on natural landscapes (deserts, mountains, etc). My own travels have been highlighted. And of course, bucket list worthy destinations have made it here too.  This time ’round I am going to alphabetize. Yep, I will go through the alphabet to select a place, sight, or event (and possibly even food) to showcase to you.  Let’s see the world one letter at a a time.


Ski hills of Andorra – Photo credit:  Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Michael Karavanov [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Snuggled high in the Pyrenees mountains of Europe lies the landlocked micro-nation of Andorra. The sixth smallest European nation is found between France and Spain, which means entry into it is via one of them. There are no airports or train stations so bus and car is the way to enter (or by helicopter is you have the funds). So how can one spend their days here? Here is what I found:

  • Hiking and walking for various skill levels. Being a mountainous country there are plenty of places to explore on foot in the summer months
  • Skiing. It’s the mountains so there is a bounty of ski resorts to choose from. Heli-skiing is also available. It’s a winter sports wonderland
  • Cycling – both mountain biking terrain and asphalt-lined paths
  • Activities such as zip-lining, mountain slide, horseback riding, archery, rope circuits high in the trees, camping and more
  • Shopping and good food
  • Museums

It seems to me that Andorra may be a micro-sized country yet has large-size itineraries. 


View of Andorra la Vella, capital city of Andorra – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Tiia Monto [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Ferran Llorens (Flickr: Vall del Madriu-Perafita-Claror 63) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Schnapps Trail, Germany’s Black Forest

If ya can’t travel yourself then celebrate those who are travelling. This week my sister and two of her friends returned to Canada after completing the northern route of the Camino de Santiago in Spain and the Black Forest Schnaps Trail in Germany. The Camino story will be showcased at a later date. Today will be about this German hike with various stops to taste homemade schnap liqueurs. Forget a water station and go for the schnaps. 

Learning about this hike from an Air Canada Enroute article, they decided to add this trail to their travel adventures. Tucked away in the Black Forest is an area with hiking trails amidst numerous families making tasty liqueurs. Making this tradition drink has been a family tradition for numerous generations. Each adding their own flare to the drink. At various points there are schnaps springs awaiting you in self-serve style. Enjoy your fill (don’t forget to pay) and go on your way. It’s probably safe to suggest a decent meal before heading out to the Sasbachwalden. You can pick from the northern route (7km / 4.35 miles) or the southern way (12km / 7.45 miles). Either way it sounds like a fun twist to add to your nature hikes. 

Sunday Special – Fox Glacier & Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand 

Ice. Moving ice. Big moving ice. It can be found in various places on our planet. I usually associate it with the northern part of the world, however that is not the only side that has these magnificent glaciers. The south does too and today we’ll be looking at two which are found in New Zealand. Considered among their most famous pieces of big moving ice are Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.

These glaciers are located on the  western coast of the South Island of the country. Although they are not the largest of New Zealand’s glacier (that title belongs to the Tasman Glacier) they both share a trait not common to rivers of ice. These glaciers end at a rainforest. That means that they terminate rather close to sea level. This is due to their very high altitudes along the mountain. All that snow and ice stays cold and only begins to melt when it reaches the end of its trail which is close to sea level.

Of the two, Franz Josef is visited much more often and has more tourists. It has also been described as being more spectacular although it is smaller than Fox Glacier. Though the less touristy Fox Glacier may be an incentive as well. Either way, I do not doubt that they will provide amazing memories. I think I will add these to my travel list and I don’t even like snow!

Many tours and adventure companies are available to help you see and experience both of these mammoth ice marvels. Numerous activities and ways to experience them are open to you. From walking/hiking to the ice, helicopter tours, Glacier Hot Pools and skydiving with incredible views. Alternately you can make your way there by car and walk the region on your own (though be careful and do not stray from the paths or cross marked barriers for your own safety).


Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons  – Taken and owned by Dramatic


Fox Glacier, New Zealand – Photo: Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)