Doug Fitzgerald


Doug Fitzgerald

GOM. Only partially domesticated. Married to Elaine. Separately they have five kids, all now adults - or at least maintaining the pretence. Doug hoped to tread lightly on at least a little bit of every continent, and has now done that. Elaine wants to shop in every major shopping centre in the world, and is still well short of the mark.

Europe » Portugal » Central » Tomar May 5th 2022

I left Tomar this morning on the river route. Once out of the town, it is a delightful path along the Rio Nablão on a mix of gravel and dirt track. Where the River route joins the alternative winter route, I met two other pilgrims, one from Canada and the other from Brazil. It was a start of a day the pilgrim encounters. All good things must end however and it wasn't long before I was back on asphalt road. There wasn't much relief from that for most of the rest of the day. Then what release it was was to walk back on forest track was a little sad because it was through plantation eucalypts. I hadn't realized how sad it would make me to see eucalypts in formal rows as plantation trees. It seemed ... read more
Weir on the Rio Nabão
85 km post

COVID Pilgrimage It has been an interesting couple of months for an Australian getting ready to travel to Portugal to walk two of the Christian pilgrimage walks there. Elaine and I had already tested leaving Australia (and returning) when we visited my son and other friends in England right at the end of 2021. It was a wonderful trip, but not without some major changes to what we felt comfortable doing, and what we had to do to meet COVID requirements in different places. I had initially expected that Portugal would be very similar, so it was a little disappointing to find that matters like reciprocal recognition by Australia and Portugal of each others vaccination certificates had not be finalised. Portugal was only accepting Australians flying into the country for essential purposes, which did not include ... read more

Europe December 7th 2019

A convoluted start We had not started our planning with a consistent view of anything more than being in Rochester to spend Xmas with Daniel, Rachael and the grandchildren. When Elaine looked at flight options, our original thoughts about arriving mid-Dec and leaving mid-Jan moved forwards a fortnight. It also gave us the opportunity to plan taking a Xmas Market tour with Trafalger, and form me to plan a week's walking in England. But it also meant getting to Frankfurt after arriving at Heathrow, a rather more convoluted trip than going straight to Frankfurt from Australia. It also meant just over 36 hours travel. We were still recovering a couple of days later. Visiting Frankfurt Part One We arrived a day before the tour started, so we had the opportunity to take the subway from where ... read more
Frankfurt market stall
Frankfurt market stall
Frankfurt market stall

Europe » Germany » Hesse » Frankfurt am Main December 5th 2019

We had spoken briefly with the tour director, Jon, on our return to the hotel, Now it was a matter of being in the hotel foyer 15 minutes before the advertised start time to tidy up some administration. We did, only to find the briefing had been underway for a few minutes already by the designated start time. I hope this doesn't mean that punctuality is going to be a one-way street. Frankfurt Christmas Markets Part Two Our first tour excursion was a visit to the Frankfurt Christmas Markets, fortunately to a different section to that which we had visited earlier in the day, and it was in the early evening. We have been equipped with a small radio receiver that allows the tour guide to give their spiel without crowding all 47 of us uncomfortably ... read more

Europe » Norway » Trøndelag » Trondheim July 30th 2018

I kept basic walking notes along the way from Sundsvall to Trondheim, alhough I wasn't as consistent as I might have been. I also kept a GPS track which I will look at when I get home. For the days for which I have notes: Equivalent walking distances (using Naismiths Rules and Langmuir corrections) 10 to 20 km - 6 days 20 to 30 km - 14 days Over 30 km - 7 days Longest day: 38.1 km Elevation gain/loss Less than 200 m: 3 days / 5 days 200 m to 400 m: 15 days / 9 days 400 m to 600 m: 5 days / 6 days Over 600 m: 2 days / 2 days Most accumulated climb in a day: 712 m Most accumulated descent in a day: 689 m Both these on ... read more

Europe » Norway » Trøndelag » Trondheim July 29th 2018

I stood by the final marker in front of Nidarosdomen four days ago. This wasn't the last walk, but it did mark the end of a journey over a month and about 560 km that is the northernmost Christian pilgrimage route in the world. On Friday, I attended the Pilgrim service, where they announce that 58 pilgrims had arrived the previous day, including one Australian. Two more Australians, Jason and Annette from Goulburn had arrived that day and were acknowledged the following day at the last pilgrim service before the St Olav vigil on Olsok eve. There were nearly 160 pilgrims arrive with them. Trondheim celebrates Olsok- St Olav's feast day with a range of events that to an Australian are far more openly religious than would happen at home. Olsok eve starts with a pilgrim ... read more

Europe » Norway » Trøndelag » Trondheim July 26th 2018

Today will be my last walking day. As the crow flies, Trondheim cathedral - the Nidarosdomen - is 11 kilometres away. Walking the final part of the St Olavsleden pilgrimage route will take 16 kilometres. I expect that I will arrive by mid-afternoon, meet Elaine, and after the formalities at the Nidaros pilgimsgård, have a quiet little celebration. So far I have walked for 27 days, with two rest days. I have walked for perhaps 30 minutes of that with other pilgrims - the vast bulk of my walking days have been spent alone. When the walking is difficult, it took all my concentration, but at other times I was left with my own thoughts. Whether I chose to repeat mindless tuneless, and inane ditties in my mind, or ponder what spiritually meant to me, was ... read more

Europe » Norway » Trøndelag July 18th 2018

I'm not sure what I expected from today's walk. I knew it was only about 10 km to get to Stiklestad, and that the road passed the fields where Olav's army rested on the night before they went into battle at Stiklestad. More recently, a massive earth slip one night killed over 100 people in their sleep, a national disaster for Norway. What I wasn't expecting was the smoke haze drifting across the mountains from the bushfires in Sweden. I had read the news reports about the concerns about fire danger in the areas where I was going to walk, and it was regularly mentioned along the way that it was unseasonably hot. So it should not have been a surprise, but it was a little disturbing to realize this was coming from places close to ... read more

Europe » Norway » Trøndelag July 17th 2018

The first night I spent walking on the Gudbrandsdalen route from Oslo six years ago was in a stabbur hut. This seems to a unique Norse approach to building. I had seen somewhat similar styles in Sweden, but nothing quite the same. So I had just spent my first night back in Norway in a stabbur. It had been a warm night, not conducive to getting a good sleep, and today looked like it was going to be long and hot, so I did what I had been wanting to do all week, and got away early - well, just before 7:30 am. Much of the morning was spent on a combination of Karl Johansvägan and wide forest path. There was still dew on the plants, which remained for a surprisingly long time given the temperatures. ... read more

Europe » Sweden » Jämtland » Åre July 16th 2018

Breakfast didn't start till eight, so even though I had a 23 km day, and the temperature was expected to be in the high 20s, I wasn't going to get away early. Even when I was ready, there was another delay getting the bill paid. Lisa, the manager, already had several of her holiday residents sorting out their day'svactivities with her. So it wasn't until about 9:15 that I was on the road. After a short stretch of the main road, the St Olavsleden route takes the Karl Johansvägan. While earlier roads might has been used, this road was built in the 1830s to improve the trading route that had already existed for centuries. On the Swedish side, the gradients aren't too bad. On the Norway side it's quite a different storey. In three or four ... read more

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