I am sitting in Cape Town International, having just arrived back from Spain, via London. What a trip, and for all the wrong reasons!
Let me start by saying that I am sitting with my foot elevated, because I got stung by a bee on my last day in Spain, and the flight has made it swell up even more! I have a hectic head cold/hope not flu, a have just recovered from a stomach bug that very nearly caused me to give up the race in Spain. The funny thing is, I had the best trip! I think it had something to do with the incredible spot I was lucky enough to stay in. Jonathan and Violetta Neil own and run Aqua-Ventura, whichis an adventure based holiday spot, about 15km inland from where we were racing. Hort De Gloria is a 200-year-old farm runs as both a guesthouse and organic farm. They rely on much appreciated and liked wwoolfers (world wide organisation for organic farmers). This is an association for like-minded individuals who go out into the world to learn and experience new things. Helping and working on the farms for board andlodging. With the help of different Wwoolfers they have been able to reclaim and farm many parts of the farm that were falling back to nature.
The vibe there was amazing. I think there were about 25 of us staying there. Daw, Tom and Shaun were the other Saffa’s, and then there were many Aussies (including Jeremy and his wife Jess) and some Brits. The wwoolfers cooked up a storm, and I truly felt like I was on holiday, not there to race. The mountains surrounding the area are hectic, no wonder the Spanish cyclists are so good at climbing! The land is so steep, that 1000’s of years ago, the locals built a serious amount of terraces, by hand. It must have taken forever, and every day we drove past, i couldn’t help looking in amazement at the hard work that must have gone into that.
Jono and Vio were great hosts, and I am going to miss the farm a lot. See www.aqua-ventura.com for more info.
Well, I woke up at 2am with a stomach bug, andby the time the start came along I was not feeling up to walking around, let alone paddling a race. Jeremy and a number of others had also caught the bug. Let’s juts say that if a certain nice Portuguese guy hadn’t nursed me through the last 8km, I wouldn’t have finished. He actually came past me sitting in my ski, waiting for a rescue boat. Matt B paddled a great race to get his first “big” win since he injured his back 2 years ago. Dawid was 2nd, with Shaun “the Prawn” in a very respectable 3rd place. Tom S finishedjust behind Busto in 5th. Watch this space!
After the race, the organisors treated all the 200 odd competitors to a sit-down lunch. Surf Ski paddling in Europe is on a big UP! The guys are amped, and I reckon next year is going to be even bigger!
We chilled at the farm for the next day, going for a walk to the local village, Sella, and swimming in a rock pool/waterfall. So chilled here. Andthe best is that everyone just shuts down around 2pm for Siesta time. On my last day, we went rock climbing. Now I have never done that before. It was incredible, andI am glad I wasn’t the only one with sweaty palms (Matt…) We went back to the waterfall, andthat is were my friend Maya the Bee thought he would get attached to my foot… Vio made the most incredible hot chocolate ( I don’t want to leave Spain, ever). Andthen everyone sang Happy Birthday to me, and I got some pretty cool Birthday cards from the Neil’s super kids. (And some Spanish chocolate, which actually rivals Swiss chocolate-sorry dad).
I spent a night in London, and managed to catch up and spend my 30th birthday with some old friends. I miss the people who have chosen to live there, but after a week in the mountains of Spain, I am very glad I don’t live there!
Now I’m waiting for a flight to Durban, where I’m staying with good friend Barry, and sickness-providing, I hope to take part in the Grading race for Billy’s Surf Ski Series on Sunday.
Thanks for all the Birthday wishes 🙂 Photo’s to follow.