So I am Tweeting and Tumbling!

Embracing social media like a BAWS!!!!!!

Look for me on TUMBLR! (My new obsession!!!!)

And I will also be tweeting! Over there I am @warwalkshealth! (not sure how to link it!)

And don’t forget about my Facebook and, of course, the indiegogo¬†campaign!!!

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More than a bright star to sail her by….

I wanted to make a quick post tonight to talk about my trip planning software- and no- I wasn’t asked to do this! ūüôā

I am an apple! I admit it. One of those. I suck! ūüėÄ And I would never go back to the other guys!

In the past I did all my road planning in Google maps, but recent changes allow one only to make ten marker points and that just wasn’t going to work for me. I went looking for something else. After toodling around in the app store, I found Road Trip Planner by Modesitt Software, and I decided to shell out a modest amount to get it. I am pretty glad I did.

It is good, and being improved and updated all the time. More features are added with every update! When I did have a few issues in a much earlier version, I wrote Modesitt, and they responded super quickly. For me this is a BIG deal! They even sent out an email (one, not spam) asking clients if they had had any issues, and what they would like to see in future updates. I like to know the software I buy isn’t just being abandoned!¬†While the program is for the computer, they now (or maybe I just only found it!) ¬†have a viewer for your mobile device. Yippeeeeee!

It even will plan your route with fuel info if you are driving, or plan better routes if you are walking! Maybe this is a standard sort of thing- I know google does it- but it made me happy.

I need to do some tweaking now. Some things have changed, and I need to update, but it’s pretty easy with Road Trip Planner!

So there we go! I think a planner is as important a piece of gear as your shoes, and if you are a mac, this is a good’un!

ww1.trek.newLook at the spiffy map! And you can screen shot your map inside the program! YAY!

As usual, check out my indiegogo campaign!

Also- updates on the trek in one easy link! ūüôā

 

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A gear update… Trekking duds…

Well I have ordered a plus sized rain/windbreaker and fleece from Columbia in the US, (big sale on now!) and super cheap runners pants by Champion from US Target. (also big sale on now!)

Trying to find pants with flat seems in a cargo style trekking pant was impossible- or at least ones where the legs looked big enough! I carry a lot of weight in my legs, and that makes things a tad more challenging. Thick thighs, small waist relative to mah bootay! Fitting me is a nightmare.

I will let you know when I get them how they work! Yoga and running type pants are generally fine… but finding ones with flat seams up the inside leg have been a challenge. Why is this so important? Chafing. In fact, even thin people have trouble with chafing when they do 20-30kms a day. It’s a sad fact of life. The odd thing is (believe me, I have looked at the inner seam of pants from one end of the net to the other) they make all the seams flat EXCEPT the inner thigh ones- and where are you going to chafe? SERIOUSLY! Flat seams aren’t just an amusing style feature. Put them where they serve a purpose! I don’t want to be a blister from my girly bits to my knees because some designer didn’t know where to put a seam

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As I usually live in Europe where items for bigger women are somewhat non existent, one could say that my expectations for selection¬†were low… so when I first got to canada, I was pretty pleased with the selection… and then I looked at what was available in the US, and how inexpensive it is, and it is like gazing onto the face of the promised land. What is sad is the difference between American websites and Canadian websites. For example, Columbia Canada’s extended sizing is really parsimonious and only in a few colours…. but in the US it is a practical bonanza of shapes, sizes, colours and selection. Then there is the problem that every canadian knows so well. Companies who don’t ship up here. Luckily, I have an address in the US which passes things along for me!

Canadian secret! Have an American friend! ‚̧ And know who takes an international credit card. A shocking number of american companies won’t take money that is billed anywhere other than ‘Murica. But you never find that out until you have spent 1.5 hours reading through everything, and the reviews, and inspected the seams and chosen a colour to find out that they won’t take your MFing credit card!

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And then there are the few that will take your money, and will ship to Canada, but who bend you and etc with their service charges, taxes, duty and handling fees. I am looking at you, Lane Bryant!

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I think this is one of the things that makes being sporty so difficult. It is one thing to say, ‘I want to go out and do’… but there is a lot of gear that is required when one starts doing serious trekking and adventuring. Of course, you don’t need to have the gear to get started. I war walked for two years in crocs! (and comfortable they are!) but I couldn’t do this adventure in them. I don’t think crocs can stand up to 500kms of French and Belgian countryside. Then there is the price of the gear, and some of it is astronomical! Absolutely out of this world. I was shocked! Being as I am on a pretty strict budget, I have had to be very careful. Thankfully, July seems to be American online sale month, and I’ve saved a bundle.

Now, lets just hope it all fits.

For more info about the Trek….

 

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World Cup Glory!

 

 

Five and a half years in Berlin and I might be a little bit native! ūüôā¬†

I could not be more thrilled about last night’s game if I tried! I am only sad I wasn’t back in Berlin to enjoy it!¬†

That was a beautiful, beautiful game! Viva Deutschland! (and Manuel Neuer who is, quite frankly, a German god!)

Can’t wait for pics of the victory parade under the Brandenburger Tor!

Soccer: World Cup-Argentina vs Germany

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INDIEGOGO Love from Niesja Vance!

 

 

A big thank you to our most recent contributor, Niesje Vance! 

May the angels sing you to sleep tonight! Sending you the love for donating the love! ūüôā

lovecake

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Church of the Madeleine

So this post is about one small, but very important part of a war walk. Not my usual flavour- This one is medieval. Yes. Even I get bored of WWI and WWII and branch out into other tragedies and massacres.

That makes me sound so bad!

So today I am going to talk about war¬†which sounds like a sneeze. The¬†Albigensian Crusade. You might remember that I discussed this when I war walked through Carcassonne! Long story short, Northern French nobility, including the king, decide that they want the riches of southern France and use the excuse of Catharism to go on the plunder. ¬†It’s a gross oversimplification, but it will do for my purposes.

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Which brings us to B√©ziers. Rampaging crusaders arrived in the Cathar fortress town of B√©ziers on July 21, 1209. The town was a peaceful mix of ‘good’ catholics and ‘bad’ cathars. Why were Cathars bad? Because the Pope said so. Catharism challenged the believe in the formal catholic church- they only had one sacrament, they didn’t believe in war or killing to the point they were vegetarian, they rejected marriage which sounds good until you realise that they also rejected sex (unless legally married, which they understood was sometimes a requirement so they could have more little cathars… it’s tricky!) but their rejection of sex supposedly gave rise to sodomy, they gave women power and independence, and were generally pro-feminist.

TERRIBLY BAD THINGS!

The catholic church decided that these peaceful, fem friendly, occasional sodomite vegetarians (so really, like 50% of the population of modern Berlin!) were a dire threat to the rest of society and galloped down to the south to wipe them off the map.

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Bezier was the first Cathar town that the crusaders hit, and they wanted to make it an example. As all generals know, protracted fighting is bad for morale as well as the quantity and quality of one’s troops, so when they reached the town they decided to opt for some medieval ‘shock and awe.’ The Papal Legate (hombre in charge)¬†Arnaud-Amaury¬†told the catholics to turn out the Cathars and be spared. The Catholics inside the walls shrugged and said no.

La massacre de Béziers, 1960, by Jacques Fauché,

La massacre de Béziers, 1960, by Jacques Fauché,

While they are to be commended for standing with their townsman, they were to pay for their loyalty with their lives. The crusaders sacked the town with glee. When¬†Arnaud-Amaury was asked how the crusaders could sort the catholics out from the cathars, he said ‘Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. “Kill them. For the Lord knew His own.”

Ouch!

The slaughter in Béziers was so terrible and complete that other cathar strongholds would surrender to avoid such terrors.

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Which brings me back to the Church of the Madeline. 7000 people fled to both the Madeleine and the cathedral of Saint Nazaire, hoping to be spared. The churches were both mini fortresses inside the town.

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They huddled inside, hoping that the location would be their salvation. Praying the thick walls and romanesque vaults would protect them.

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They were wrong. The crusaders didn’t storm the churches. They lit them on fire. 5000 people burned alive in the Madeleine. Good catholics. Evil cathars. It didn’t matter. They died together.

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All in the presence of God.

The Church of the Madeleine is COLD inside. Not just cold, as in, “it’s a nice, cool building.” It is COLD inside there. 800 years of being cold, I would suspect. Cold because something so terrible happened inside there that it is still in the stones.

Now for the somewhat ironic part. 700 years later, the good parishioners of the Madeline wanted to prove to the church that they weren’t tainted by the events of the middle ages or by the more recent anti-catholics actions of the French revolution. They were good, loyal and true catholics.

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So they paid for this statue of St. Peter at the back of the church in 1875. A copy of the statue of St. Peter in Rome. I think there were some angry ghosts on that day.

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This window shows the Cathar cross. A memorial, perhaps, of the people who perished so terribly.

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The Madeleine is a beautiful example of a romanesque church. Sadly, it is usually forgotten for the more spectacular cathedral. Many guidebooks ignore it altogether. I almost did until the fine people at the Béziers office of tourism told me that it was the Madeleine which was the church of Cathar tragedy even more than the cathedral. One would like to think that they would know.

As a shout out, I would like to say that the Béziers office of tourism was staffed with the nicest, funniest and most helpful staff I have ever encountered in France. Seriously. Two thumbs way up!

If you are interested in more war walks adventures, please check out my main page! Also read up about my upcoming trek and my crowd funding campaign!

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Indiegogo love from MIGHTY MOTH!!!!

It all feels like it is rolling along! We received another contribution from MIGHTY MOTH!

A shout out and some love for those who give the love!

Paris_cupcakes_love

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INDIEGOGO LOVE from Amanda!

So I’ve had my first contribution to the INDIEGOGO¬†campaign!!!!!

Thank you so much to the incredibly awesome and fabulous AMANDA RAMSEY!

lovecake

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The lack of joy of technical clothing!

So this post isn’t about an adventure! It is about getting ready for the adventure…. and when you are bigger, this is a tough thing. There seems to be a real disconnect when it comes to big girls and technical clothing. A recent ‘home food’ binge fest has left me a little bigger than normal- for all you fans, I would say that I am a pretty solid size 22, and I am usually about an 18. (I am accepting of this change, 80% of the time… the other 20% of the time, I want to kick myself in the rear! But I am back in Canada so infrequently, that a nomsplosion is… what it is.) But even when I am at an 18, I have big legs and serious booty and a small waist. It is absolutely impossible to find trekking pants that fit. So I am fat, and I want to be fit, but I can’t get the clothing to be fit in.

I just don’t get it. I literally just don’t get it. People say- you are big so you should exercise… and as a WWFH reader knows, I do. But when you are big, it is nearly impossible to get the gear.

A few companies make some plus sized clothing, but then- at least for me- it is ALL the wrong shape. It’s like they cut for a size 10, but with a few inches added on at the waist. The technical pants all have TINY, NARROW little legs. Don’t even get me started on the calves. I have to say this¬†it is absolutely soul destroying.

I made a trip over the US border and went to REI (Americans are a big people, so I thought I would be going to the promised land!) and was pretty devastated to discover that their size 24 technical pants wouldn’t go all the way up my legs- yet at the same time- they would have gone around my waist with about two fistfuls to spare. *cue tearing out of hair*

I cannot be the only fat chick trekker! Really, I can’t.

I tried some trekking pants from Addition Elle- a Canadian fat chick clothing company and they were also very narrow in the legs, and while they were made of a light weight, fast drying fabric, they also had regular seams going up the inside of the legs. Big no no.

Picture a girl… going on a journey beyond human endurance (30 kms in a day)… meaty thighs rubbing against each other… each having a big seam crossing over… and over… and over…. That is like the worst chub rub EVAH! So what did AE do? Decide they were going to make a ‘trekking pant’ without having researched what a trekking pant needs to be? WHY DO YOU TORMENT ME THIS WAY?!?!?!!?! And.. lets just way that they wanted an unreasonable chunk of change for their half arsed (well the arse was big enough, as usual, but the pant legs looked like an overstuffed sausage) trekking pants.

I am thinking of trying Lands End. If not, Target has a pair of 2x Champion yoga pants which are super comfy. Yes, they have a seam (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, sports companies! JUST MAKE THE DAMN THINGS FLAT!!!!) which I can sew down, and they are only $20 on a price cut from $40 and I might just get a couple pairs. I can wear one, and wash one. The fabric isn’t super fast drying, but it can hang over my pack on the road and they will dry fast enough. And at least I am not out a massive amount if I hate them. After a month on the road, I will probably want to burn them anyway.

Anyway… rant at an end.

The rest of the gear for the big trek is coming together. Packs. Poles. Shoes. Sleeping Gear. I need to do a few more gear posts to be honest. Here is the last one!

Please please please check out my Indiegogo, and if you have a dollar or two to help out, that would be fantastic! I am mostly funded for the big trek and am set for Aug 31, but I just need a little help on the last bit!

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Indiegogo video!

Just so you can be amused and horrified… here is my terrible indiegogo video.

Sadly, when I did the video, I was too far away from the mic for the sound¬†to be very good… so I redid the audio and now it doesn’t exactly match. I hope it is less pathetic and more charming, but I am not so sure.¬†

And now it is official… I am a fat-bottomed historian. But according to Freddie Mercury, we might be a wee bit rocking.¬†

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