I have rounded off my guide to Poland with a new city guide for Gdansk, a little-visited city on the Baltic coast of Poland that was one of my favorite discoveries of my journey through Eastern Europe. The new guide is posted, and I will begin to focus my writing attention on the Czech Republic.
In the meantime, I am 4 months out from flying to Iceland and Greenland, and as the weather sort of warms up (it’s been a strange spring in Wisconsin – snowstorms one day, severe tornadoes and thunderstorms the next), I have been lacing up my neglected athletic shoes and hitting the pavement. My goal is to be ready for up to 9 kilometers of hiking/walking a day by the time I land in Reykjavik. I have found walking to be the best therapy for my sore, fatigued muscles, so while the first week of exercise after a winter’s relative inactivity is painful, I have stubbornly pushed through and begun to limber up. I am packing as much walking as possible into my daily activities. For instance, today I have to go to the bank, so instead of driving there, I’m walking the 40 minute round-trip.
I have also been stretching my intellectual muscles in preparation, with language lessons in the old tongue of the Vikings (Icelandic is remarkably unchanged from the Golden Age of the Norse) and bedtime readings of the Icelandic Sagas, full of drama, adventure and betrayal centered around the old haunts of the Norse (Iceland, Norway, Greenland, and Denmark.) In a few months time I will be standing in the exact places these events took place, preserved for memory in the dusty old vellum pages of some of Europe’s greatest medieval literary treasures.
So now to slip on my walking shoes – 4 months and counting to get in shape!