I’m off to the Alps this weekend with my brother to walk the GR5, 400 miles of mountains from Mont Blanc to the Med. They’ve had a record snow year over there (best in 50 years apparently), and we’re rather optimistically starting in June – should be quite interesting on some of the high passes..! I’ve been using the French Geo Portail site to stitch together some topo maps for trip, thought I’d post the finished map set to save someone else the bother :)
Get the maps:
Here’s a link to the Zip file to download (250mb).
It’s a PDF of 77 A4 maps to colour laser print (doesn’t bleed when wet like inkjet), I’ve mapped out most of the main alternative routes (GR55, GR52 etc) and some other variations that looked interesting. The orange line has mile markers along it to make it dead easy to gauge distances at a glance.
Just back from my first trip to Mexico, other than briefly stepping over the boarder when starting the Continental Divide Trail. It didn’t disappoint – the weather was hot and sunny, the food was hot and spicy, and plenty of tequila to wash it down :) Not a bad recipe for and short winter break. We flew into Cancún, hired a car and worked our way down the Peninsula along the Caribbean sea.
2 days in Cancún
Lovely beach, sea was a bit strong for swimming, too many big concrete hotels for my liking, Nicky loved the swimming pools and air conditioning though.
3 days in Tulum
Tulum was lovely, all the accommodation along the coast was wood and thatch Robinson Crusoe style cabana’s. Everything had bags of character. We visited the ruins nearby, interesting enough, there’s access to an awesome beach by the ruins, make sure you take your trunks, we forgot…
1 Week in Mahahual
I really liked Mahahual, it’s about a 5 hours drive from Cancun, if I came back to the Yucatán I’d just drive straight here. We spent 4 days in the town, lots of beach side bars and nice places to eat, very relaxing and quiet. We quickly found our favourite bar – Chiquita’s, they had swings hanging from the roof as bar stools. An innovation I’d have to say I quite liked, a very relaxing way to enjoy one of their mean margarita’s. On the 3rd day two cruise ships pulled into town and the place was transformed, we quite enjoyed watching the sleepy little village spring to life to service all the cruise ship passengers before they embarked later in the afternoon. The sea is that amazing turquoise blue colour, calm and great for swimming, there’s a reef just off shore so it’s a bit like a lagoon. We stayed at Luna de Plata just on the outskirts of town, 700 pesos a night (about £35) very good value for money.
Then we drove down the coast road for a bit and stayed at Almaplena eco resort, probably the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at. It was twice the price of Mahahual, but it felt like it was worth the extra. Extremely comfortable rooms, right on the beach, nicer water than at Mahahual – deeper and bluer, palms trees hanging over it, awesome. I wanted to continue down the coast to the ‘naturalist retreat’ Playa Sonrisa, but once we’d found paradise Nicky didn’t want to budge.
All in all it was a pretty awesome break, wished we’d gone for longer. I’ve uploaded a set of holiday pics on Flickr is you want to check it out.