Thursday

Mushroom Rock
























Buried deep in the heart of Kansas lays Mushroom Rock, a unique formation of towering eroded stone.
The bottom of the rock is made of softer stone and has been eroded by wind and water, while the top stone is more solid and sits upon it now stone stalk.

The State Park dedicated to these rocks sits at the end of an abandoned dirt road, with only hand painted wooden signs pointing its direction.

























The softer stone is covered with carved names and messages of visitors who aid the wind and water in their erosion. Slowly the stone "stalk" crumbles away and eventually it will be nothing more than a boulder on the earth.

Used by native explores as a landmark, Mushroom Rock is steeped in folklore.
We are glad to have seen it in its glory, one day soon it may only nothing but a rock and a story.






Saturday

Things you should see before you pass on

A Sealion in its natural habitat

Things you should see before you pass on

The Redwood Forrest

Wild west what?

You know goldrush got real when you pass through a town like Placerville, California which was originally known as "Hang Town". The main street even has an historic marker for where all the hangings took place. There is no messing around with this once, wild west rough, now touristy, Placerville.

This town contains so much energy it floats are like a fog. Such an interesting balance will not be forgotten.

Tuesday

Part of the Salish Sea

Congratulation the region of Puget Sound, Washington!
You've been added to "places we might have babies in"
























Though I am sure we need to come back in the winter to get a true sense of your climate, you have been nothing but beautiful during our week off in your embrace.

Surrounded by lakes and bays, beautiful inactive volcanoes loom in the distance while seagulls cry to remind you that the ocean is near.

























When it comes to natural beauty Puget Sound is stunning. Giant Douglas Firs fill the close National parks, while yachts and houseboats fill the crystal lakes.





















 



The locals seem to think these lakes are the perfect temperature for swimming, though a bit chilly for east coast blood, I'm sure it is something you just get used to.

Friday

Reunited and it feels so goooooood

Jameson made it back to Virginia, safe and sound.  We have been (sort of) hiding out in Northern, Virginia, resting.  His second day back my Mom asked  us to make our special vegetarian sushi for her friends.  The cooking was therapeutic. 



Tuesday

A Post Camino Thank You:

Thank You:

To my hat (for your shade)

To my bag (for weighing very little)

To my sleeping bag (sorry I kicked a hole in you on our first night and I had to stitch you up with rope)

To my water bottle (for holding water)

To my poncho (for keeping me dry and warm)

and To my shoes (I cannot believe you made it the whole way)

Fun Facts:
(all numbers are approximate)

Walked: 342 kilometers
Drank: 25.5 liters of water
Ate: 1,475 grams of nuts
Followed: 3,815 yellow arrows
Stepped in: 6 piles of livestock poop
Blisters: 0

Monday

Family and friends, I have safely completed the Camino Portugu├ęs, plus a little extra.
I walked my planned route in about one week and had a few days left over, so I continued to Muxia, on the coast as did many ancient pilgrims who followed the Camino de Santiago.


Just to give you a brief history on the Camino:

Santiago de Compostela is a city in northern Spain, an area known as Galicia. The cathedral in the city center contains the beheaded body of Saint James. According to legend, after he was executed, his apostles brought the body by boat back to northern Spain for burial in the land where he practiced his ministry.

The exact burial site was lost over time, but in 820 AD remains of a tomb were found and the body was confirmed by the Catholic church along with other civil authorities to be those of Saint James the Greater.
The area his remains were found eventually became the city of Santiago de Compostela.

The pilgrimage to Santiago has been a tradition since the body's discovery, with monks and devoted catholics from all around Europe walking great distances to pay their respects to Saint James. Many continued past Santiago de Compostela to end their journey in either Fisterra, which at the time was considered the end of the known world, or Muxia, where Saint James's ministry began and where his apostles began when they journeyed with his body for burial.

According to legend Saint James was visited by the Virgin Mary, who sailed on a boat made of stone to the coast of Muxia to aid Saint James in preaching the gospel. The remains of the stone boat can still be seen on the coast today. Though you sort of have to use your imagination.

This journey was very important for me. I had a list of things I wanted to work on within myself and I learned lessons along the way that I had never planned to learn.

It was an absolutely beautiful trip and I hope to return to you as a better person for having done this voyage.


Friday

A note from home

Sometimes you get to a place where money just looks like numbers.  You forget all the hours and hours that you worked to make 2,000 dollars and it all seems like vanity because you just want to use it to be somewhere for a few days.  This is how I feel right now, with Jameson on the other side of the world.  I am comfortable, in my beautiful mother's beautiful home with everything that I could ever want... but I have always been attracted to adventure.  I see pay checks as plane tickets.  Greater education is being in the middle of nowhere with the sun and the moon and the trees.  It is difficult for me to think of my greatest love adventuring in some far off place, learning important lessons about life and himself while I am back where I began. Although I have this deep desire in me to go and meet him on the road for the next two weeks, I know that I have already chosen my path for this time and it is a much  more subtle one.  My lessons are going to take a different type of discipline.  I am ready for the challenge but I hope that I have the inner fortitude to learn what I need to learn and to not constantly distract myself.  
Friends, wish me well on my journey too.  To be in the same place with people who have known me my entire life and to focus on interacting with them out of love and gratitude.  To find beauty in the small and simple things of everyday life.  
-Laney

Thursday

I leave in the morning to start the Camino Portugues, a 12 day pilgrimage that ends in Santiago de Compostela (northern Spain).

I am very much treating this walk as a pilgrimage and plan to do a lot of spiritual and medatative work within myself during these next couple of weeks.

As a result I will not be accessing the internet much and will post some photos and thoughts when I finish after June 12th.

If you'd like to see descriptions of the route simply search 'Camino Portuges'.

Wish me enlightenment luck!

Wednesday

Since 1978, the Assilah medina hosts an annual street art festival where Moroccan and international artists, along with children, paint graffiti murals throughout the streets of the old town. They leave these murals up year round until the next festival, when they paint the walls white and do it all over again.
The style of graffiti and the playfulness involved is unlike any other street art I have seen. This just adds to the interesting contrast that already exist in the old medina of Assilah.

One. Two. Three. Fort


Assilah is the fourth walled city that I have been too, but defiantly the first Portuguese/Arabic hybrid.
It was first owned by Portugal in the 14th century. Then Morocco took it over in the 16th century, decided to leave the walls up, but change everything within. This makes for a really interesting contrast of visuals as you walk around the old medina. Mosques next to Latin arches, next to european cobble stone next to mosaics. It really is something to behold.

Assilah is next to the ocean, so naturally this made us want to go swimming. We trotted down to the beach and found that the main beach is not kept very clean during the off season.
Now, I am no diva, I swim in the James River, but there were just a few too many baby dipers and chemical puddes for both Liam and I.

We heard that there is a much nicer beach south of town, so we decided to give it a try. We walked, for what felt like a few kilometers, but had no luck. We saw in the distance what looked like a resort and decided to walk towards it. When we got there we found a resort complex and golf course that was completely empty. There appeared to be some construction that still needed to be done, but over all these HUGE buildings towering over us didn't seems to have a soul inside. The lawn sprinklers were spraying and it felt as if the world had ended while we were walking and everyone had disappeared. Had we found ourselves on the set of a bad armageddon movie?
We continued walking through the grounds, and then there in front of us, the holy grail, a boarder less swimming pool.

We ripped off our clothes and jumped into to the clear waters. A private pool surrounded by resort giants.
At one point a groundskeeper and a housekeeper walked by us, but didn't seem to mind that we were swimming away.
This is where they thought we should be, white tourist staying at a resort. We swam and laid poolside like millionaires for the afternoon, then found some towel on the ground, dried off and walked back to town.

Tuesday

Golden Tangerines


I have been really excited to see the Roman ruins in Lixus for awhile now, or at least since I first read about them, which granted was only a couple of days ago, but still the point is, I was stoked!

Liam and I caught a bus and figured out where to get off, we got pretty lucky with guessing the timing and direction.

The ruins are just off the main road to Tangier, siting there like a road side attraction (which they are), but in a very rustic sort of way.

The ancient Roman ruins date back to 1000 BC and was part of the Roman outspread and conquest of northern Africa.
The site is fairly massive and has ruins of government buildings, an amphitheater, public baths, garum (fish paste) factories, olive presses and temples.

It has been left to nature since it was first excavated and only a quarter of the ruins have even been unearthed. The ocean, which is now 4 kilometers away from the sight, was at one point right next to the town. This provided them easy access to the fish that were salted and turned to paste, an ancient Roman delicacy.

Insects and amphibians are everywhere. Thorny weeds and dry grass stretch between the massive stacked stones that were once walls. Ancient olive trees drop its fruit to the ground and ants carry their dried pits off into the hills and holes.

According to Roman mythology, this is where Hercules was thought to have picked his famous golden apples, which may have very well been Moroccan tangerines instead.

I had never been anywhere so ancient and so unpreserved, it was an amazing thing to experience. I felt as though I had just stumbled upon some secret historic sight for the first time and it was mine to explore.
There were no other guests there and apart from the security guard, who i guess is paid to follow at a great distance behind you, we had the place to ourselves.

I wanted to spend more time there and had even packed a lunch to eat in the ruins of the temple, but the bugs were relentless. I have red bites all over the exposed parts of my skin, and most of those came from the 5 minutes I tried to sit down and meditate next to the temple to see what the roman gods felt like through ancient stone.
In a way it was nice that these bugs were doing their best to protect the ruins, so I respected their wishes and we left, after spending only a few hours there.

As we walked to the main road to catch the bus a car pulled over and offered us a ride. We hopped in, not completely sure yet if it was just a taxi that pulled a fast one on us, seeing as it was a 70's model Mercedes and was blasting female sung love ballads, but it just turned out to be a free ride.
We gave him a few dirham anyway as a thank you.

He dropped us off by the port, which was still full of empty, tiny fishing boats that were covered with seagulls looking for scraps.
Larache defiantly has a way of growing on you.
We sat and ate olive bread in the plaza in honor of the roman ruins, olives for us and fish guts for the birds.