Category Archives: Facebook Pages for Walking Holiday Companies in Spain

The horror of the Calais refugee camp: ‘We feel like we are dying slowly’

The trip from the Pyrenean Experience to the ‘Calais Experience’ was little more than a descent from the Garden of Eden to the Gates of Hell. There are many photos and reports on what it is like in the refugee camps in Calais and it would be impossible to exaggerate the extreme conditions these people are living in and yet, one of the many things that struck me, was the dignity of these people – trying to salvage the vestiges of normality, picking their way through a quagmire of mud and rubbish to brush their teeth at a communal tap or hanging out a child’s jumper to dry on a bush as the rain clouds approach. Known as ‘the jungle’ – unfortunately there really is no other word that better describes it – but it describes the place NOT the people. Had the people who allowed this to happen inhabited this place then the word ‘jungle’ could be applied with no incongruities at all.
I was introduced to the camp by Jesus Denia Medrano from Pamplona, a man of huge heart and energy, working as an independent social activist in collaboration with Doctors of the World, The Red Cross, SOS Racism and many more. The reason of our visit was to organise the arrival of a lorry of supplies leaving Pamplona later this month which meant that I spent a couple of days in the ‘jungle’ – talking and eating with the people; Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Eritrean, Sudanese, Ethiopians … engineers, vets, scientists, architects … listening to their harrowing stories and their hopes of working and studying in the UK. People who want to give, to contribute if only someone would give them a chance. Two days and a lifetime of impressions. This article in the Guardian by Amelia Gentleman says all I could possible say or more – it describes the situation precisely. All I will add is that the volunteers out there desperately need help, living in the same conditions as the people and pitting all they have against a virtually impossible task. HOWEVER, for those with doubts, one small light in the middle of the nightmare is that I returned convinced that whatever aid we send there DOES go straight to the people. Contact: Annie at calaisdonations@gmail.com who works at L’Auberge des Migrants and who I left last week huddled over a heater in a makeshift hut at the back of the warehouse working 12 hr days (like so many others) and dedicated to making a difference. YES – the aid gets through (which means the onus is on us).

The horror of the Calais refugee camp: ‘We feel like we are dying slowly’

Since the summer, the makeshift Jungle has quadrupled in size – it is now home to 6,000 desperate people. They are living in slum conditions, surviving on charity handouts and risking their lives under the wheels of trains. Now winter is coming …

More info at the Facebook page of the Pyrenean Experience

House Party Dates 2016 : Walking Holidays /Spanish Immersion Courses/ Mountain B…

House Party Dates 2016 : Walking Holidays /Spanish Immersion Courses/ Mountain Basque Culture and Gastronomy.

Barely has the dust settled on the acorn-crunch drive to the farmhouse after the final guests left a few days ago and I am being pressed for my 2016 Dates. I could run now – before I press SEND – and run off and write my memoires but once the dates are published next year is on! But we have had such a wonderful year and met truly incredible people – the house has been full all summer – a block buster year – with so many stories to tell and anecdotes for us to live off over the cold winter months.

So, for anyone crazy enough to joining the mad house again here are the new 2016 DATES: http://www.pyreneanexperience.com/dates-prices/

OH and do check up on this year’s reviews on TRIPADVISOR (if you dare).
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187453-d7155448-Reviews-Pyrenean_Experience-Basque_Country.html

THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING US – IT HAS BEEN SUCH A FUN YEAR!








More info at the Facebook page of the Pyrenean Experience

ELIZONDO – THE INVISIBLE GUARDIAN WALK

Pello (historian and consultant to Dolores Redondo on the Baztan Trilogy and owner of this year´s find, a wonderful chic bar Jauregiarte Taberna Kulturala in Irurita) has just told me that the international film team aim to start filming in February next year. The Baztan valley may not be a secret for much longer!

ELIZONDO – THE INVISIBLE GUARDIAN WALK

ELIZONDO – THE INVISIBLE GUARDIAN WALK trail – Elizondo, Navarra (España) Following the footsteps of the Invisible Guardian this easy circular walk starts at the plaza in Elizondo and visits many of the places featured in th…

More info at the Facebook page of the Pyrenean Experience

If ever I forget for a moment the incredible beauty of the world we live in here…

If ever I forget for a moment the incredible beauty of the world we live in here in the Baztan and Bidasoa Valleys, then photos like this bring me back to the moment. A new group is just about to walk in the door and autumn is in the air, the morning mists and the slow kaleidascope change of colours. I look forward to showing it to them … the car is here crunching up the drive so I am off to uncork the wine!



More info at the Facebook page of the Pyrenean Experience