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Working it out in the world, and sometimes writing about it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


More than once on this trip, someone I was spending the day with or hiking with would flop down on a rock or in a café chair next to me and say, “I wonder how far we walked.” And I would pull our my pedometer and quip, “Oh, just six miles today.” I’m not a geek for much, but I am a bit of a geek for numbers. 
               Not the kind of numbers that prove the existence of our universe or even the kind of numbers I can use to find the third side of an isosceles triangle. More like the kind of numbers that have no use except to count them, know them, and get some sort of weird satisfaction from them.

               Such is the case for the below. Enjoy! I did.

Days abroad: 84 quick, slow, hard, easy, enlightening, disheveling, spirit-breaking and making days.

Hostels stayed in: 13. Some great, some deplorable.

Couches slept on: 10. Nine great ones, and one on which I learned a few very important lessons.

Countries traveled to: 10 (Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, France, Brussels, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden,
Norway, Scotland).

Chinchillas encountered: Just the one, and all its poo.

Fancy splurge dinners I treated myself to: 8 (the majority of which were in Italy. Excellent choice).

Mountains climbed: 1 ½ . San Moritz in Lugano, Switzerland and halfway up the vicious munro Ben Nevis in Glen Nevis, Scotland.
San Moritz

Places I went because I’d read about them in fiction books: 2. Lugano and Stockholm, both equally lovely and surprising.

Miles walked: 552 cranky, happy, tear-drenched, cold, too hot, sing-songy miles.

Total steps walked: 1,385,153 (average of 16590 per day). Woah.

Train rides taken: 25. Some bumpy, others slow, all interesting in some facet or another.

Debit cards lost: ZERO! This is a vast improvement from my last trip. High-five, Sexy Money Belt.

Beverages tried: Kopparberger berry cider, pear cider, Strongbow, Super Bock beer, Sagres beer, Peroni
beer, Stella Artois beer, Moretti beer, Chimay Reserve, a quadruple, Guinness, Glenlivet 12, Moidart, Deuchar’s IPA, Caledonian’s 80, Belhaven’s Beast, Hebridean Skye Blonde, Sheep Shagger’s Gold, Kelpie, MacEwan’s, Old Hen, Talisker, Ben Nevis Blend, limoncello, limoncello cream, Chianti to Merlot to green Portuguese wine…to name more than a few. J I can’t help that I take copious notes on the small details.

Delightful Sagres beer on top of my host's roof in Faro

Lifelong friends made: while I can’t be certain yet, I would estimate at least five, one of whom I have
already seen again. Win!

Things I did that scared me: probably as many steps I took, and that’s a lot (see above).

Concerts attended: 1. And what a one it was. Ben Folds in Amsterdam, where I rocked it out like a Dutch
woman and then took the no. 13 tram home to Mercatplatz, as if I were a local and I lived there.

Weird foods tried: Lots. Herring sandwich, fries with mayo, haggis (delish), Balmoral chicken, and a variety of “home baked” goods.

Cappucinos consumed: so, so many.

Different types of sadnesses felt: 27

Things I learned about myself: still counting, but it’s a big number, I’m sure.

Gelatos eaten: an embarrassingly astonishing number, and also one I can’t be quite sure of.

Books read: About 15. Lesson learned: sometimes you have to read the James Patterson to get to the Frank McCourt.

Number of dance sessions on top of Arthur’s Seat, listening to Dave Matthews while the sun set over Edinburgh Castle: 2. J

Number of ways I can now say “thank you”: six. Thank you, grazie, danke, obrigado, merci, takk, dak.

Number of crying sessions: Oh-so-many.

Types of happinesses felt: About as many as steps taken.

Number of articles of clothing I threw away upon my return: just three. The saved ones are fabulous reminders of my days spent in their sleeves, legs, and zippers.

Sunsets watched: enough to fill my heart.
Steps taken of which I was proud: Every single one.

Number of times I was grateful, grateful, grateful: Every single moment, in every single city, and with
every single breath (even if I didn’t know it at the time).

Probability that I will go on a similar trip in the future: Oh, just guess.

Number of times I count my lucky stars: Every time I see one.

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