I had the very special treat of hosting my dear friend Stef for the weekend; Stef and I met when we did The Camino De Santiago last April. We also happen to be from the same hometown, and I went to highschool with her two best friends, but didn't meet until we were both waiting for the train to St. Jean Pied Au Port half way across the world. We became fast friends and ended up walking the whole pilgrimage together.A few choice memories: eating a whole loaf of bread each on our very first day, crossing the Pyrenees; trying pig snout for the first time in Logrono; showing off our rainy day gear on our way into Astorga; elated, exhausted faces (with our friend Reed!) after arriving in Santiago. [It was really fun to go through all those posts to link back to them; I also realized that I hadn't seen most of the comments people left for me... couldn't get to them through my phone while on the road. Thank you to all of you, family and strangers, for cheering me on along the way]. Back to this weekend, Stef and I had a super late brunch and then went up the Royal Ontario Museum, which I haven't been to in a while, so it was great to go back! They have an incredible permanent Gems & Stones exhibit, and of course there are all the crazy dinosaur fossils that are so cool! The feature exhibit we went to was a gallery of the winners of the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year competition. It was SO FASCINATING. And stunning! Each photograph comes with an explanation of how the photographer came about capturing their image (one photographer spent 74 days in a hole in the snow in the Russian mountains to take ONE picture of a tiger!!!!!) as well as some background on each species captured. I would suggest it to anyone when it comes through your city. Stef came with me to see Foy Vance on Friday night. I've been a huge fan of him for years and years and was so happy to finally see him live. He has that undeniable Irish charm and soul, and pretty much stole the encore from the headliner when they dueted on James Taylor's "You've Got A Friend."
Something I took note of this weekend is that, when you have limitless time to talk to someone, you start to tell stories in a different way; when I chat with Stef, there is no pressure to get to the punchline of a story. We just talk and ramble and give as much detail and background as we feel because, on the road, we had the time to do so. In the five and a half weeks we walked together, we became life long friends, and it was so nice to get to spend some time with her this weekend. Thanks so much for visiting, Stefi!
[PS Stef is doing an even CRAZIER hike, starting in May; she's walking the Appalachian Trail, which is a 3500km hike to raise money for Inspiraction, which is a humanitarian initiative to help rebuild Haiti. Check out her blog to learn more HERE].