Here's Your Next (And Much Deserved) Vacation: 7 Days in Spain
While Spain may lend itself to images of inert, bronzed bodies on the beach and the quiet lull of an afternoon siesta, don’t let the country’s laidback character fool you. For adventurous travellers looking for an entirely different angle to sunny Spain, there is plenty to do, from kayaking around the bays and snorkelling around the beaches of Menorca, climbing Montjuic in Barcelona, doing a day’s hike in the Sierra de Guadarrama near Madrid, to biking (and drinking in) the La Rioja wine country.
On your first day in Spain, you’ll land in Madrid. The city is filled with art and culture, so put your walking shoes on and take a wander around in the morning. In the afternoon, take the train to the little town of Cercedilla, where many of the spectacular hikes that criss-cross the mountains of the Sierra de Guadarrama start. Trails are colour coded and maps are easy to follow. Locals recommend Los Miradores, a 9km hike that takes hikers through serene pine forests, and up deserted mountain paths.
Madrid’s Parque de Buen Retiro, or the Park of Pleasant Retreat, is the city’s green lung. Here you’ll find locals jogging, families picnicking and lovers rowing across the lake in the middle of this lush park. Landscaped lawns, marble statues and tidy paths make exploring the park an absolute pleasure on a sunny day.
From Madrid, move onto Logrono, the capital of La Rioja – Spanish wine country. The city offers free bicycles to tourists who sign in and apply for a card from the Logrono Tourist Office. The flat roads, light traffic and world class wineries all within nearby cycling distance make for a fantastic experience on two wheels.
A short 3 hour train ride away from Logrono is Barcelona, the heart of Spanish Catalan country. Montjuic, a major Barcelona landmark, is a hill that towers over the city from the southwest. To climb Montjuic, you can either take the easy option of using the series escalators that run up the hill from Palau Nacional, or you can attempt the hour or so hike up instead. The views are worth it.
Barcelona offers an easy introduction wind surfing for amateurs via the gentle waters of the Base Nautica, located between Mar Bella and Bogatell beaches. If you already know how to windsurf, you can hire equipment by the hour; otherwise try kayaking or taking a sailing class instead. The calm waters of the Mediterranean are a calm respite away from the hustle of the city.
Ferries and short flights run daily from Barcelona to the Balearic island of Menorca, where sun, surf and sand await holiday makers. Kayak, snorkel or dive the turquoise waters off the beaches here. Colourful sea life and coral reefs abound underwater.
For a different view of the island, cycle the Cami de Cavalls, a bridle track that rings the entire island of Menorca along the coast. The track passes along some stunning views and provides access to pristine, isolated beaches that are otherwise unaccessible by other means. From Menorca, catch a short flight back to your starting point, Madrid, before departing for home.
For some people getting “in the mood” is easier said …
Top 10 Footcare Tips For Beautiful Feet
Footcare Tips for Healthy, Happy Feet
Your feet are probably the hardest working part of your body. They move you from point A to point B carrying your full weight to get there. Yet how much attention do you really give them?
Feet require just as much attention as your hands or face. You need to clean and massage and dote on them in order to keep them healthy. If you’ve never given it much thought before, here are 10 footcare tips that can help keep your feet beautiful.
Take Your Feet for a Walk on the Beach
First up on our list of footcare tips is to give those footsies some earth and air. If you have a few hours and want to get outside and do something special for your feet, take a barefoot walk on the beach. Not only is walking barefoot in sand beneficial to your aching feet it’s a great workout for the rest of your body as well. In fact, some suggest that a walk on the beach is so relaxing many people walk further than they would on a harder surface.
As for your feet, the grains of sand at water’s edge provide a soothing massage and a free exfoliant. Clint Ober, CEO of Earth FX and a pioneer in his field, calls walking on sand Earthing. It’s about grounding the nerve endings in the bottom of your feet with the free electrons in the earth. For those without ready access to the beach, cool grass is a good substitute.
Wear the Proper Shoes
When you go somewhere, you probably put a lot of thought into what to wear. Is the scene casual, formal, business, or something else? Your shoe choice probably plays an equally important role. You want them to be stylish as well as suit the outfit. Do you ever consider comfort?
Most people think of penny loafers or nurse’s shoes when they hear the word comfortable. However, there are many more options these days and not all of them are ugly. Naturalizer and Easy Spirit offer comfortable shoes in contemporary styles. Look for shoes that offer soft, flexible uppers such as leather with solid non-slippery soles. Lower heels are more comfortable and easier on your feet. To ensure you choose the proper size, have your feet measured.
It’s not that you can’t wear those beautiful high heels to your best friend’s wedding. It’s that you need to do it in moderation. After all, you wouldn’t eat piece after piece of her wedding cake. It’s not healthy. However, you can get away with occasionally wearing high heels three to four hours for a special event. Keep in mind that if you walk around in 4-inch heels continuously, the pressure on your toes may result in bunions or even arthritis.
Bathe Your Feet, Too
Don’t get so preoccupied with washing your face, hands, and body you forget to pay attention to your feet. Feet need love, too.
Beware that bathing can increase your dry skin even on your feet. You can reduce dry skin problems by limiting bath time and avoiding the use of very hot water. Whenever you do take a bath or shower, consciously wash your feet. Rub off any dead skin, especially on your heels, with a pumice stone or foot file.
Moisturize Your Feet Every Day
One of the biggest foot problems is dry, cracked feet especially at the heel, so fourth on our list of footcare tips is proper moisturization. Cold winter months, dehydration, excessive bathing, and harsh soaps can wreak havoc on both hands and feet.
Keep them soft by making sure to use lotion after you bathe. If you find the problem is particularly bad, slather your feet with petroleum jelly and cover them with socks. Sleep like that and you’ll wake up to softer tootsies.
Put Your Feet Up
You don’t have to work in a job that has you standing most of the time to find your feet are tired at day’s end. The very act of walking will eventually wear them out.
However, standing as well as sitting can affect your circulation. Raise your feet about six inches above heart level for as little as 10 minutes a day and you’ll feel better. Additionally, limiting the amount of time you cross your legs and not smoking can help reduce leg, ankle, and foot inflammation.
Give Your Feet a Pedicure
Whether you do it yourself, have a loved one help, or get a professional to do the job, a pedicure is one of the best things you can do to keep your feet looking and feeling healthy. A pedicure can even call attention to nail diseases and foot problems.
A typical pedicure includes foot soaking, foot scrubbing, nail clipping and shaping, a foot and calf massage, moisturizing, and your choice of nail polish. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Keep Those Toenails Trimmed
Even if you don’t give yourself a complete pedicure, make sure to keep your toenails trimmed the same way you keep your fingernails in check. Leaving them to grow too long can result in ingrown toenails and potential pain.
To cut toenails correctly, use toenail clippers. They are larger than traditional fingernail clippers and can cut through thicker toenails. Be sure to cut straight across using small cuts or, if you care for your feet regularly, keep toenails neat by filing them down instead. Be sure to pull the emery board in one direction only.
Eat for Your Feet
You may not have considered it before; however, whatever you put in your body can have a direct impact on it including your feet.
Specifically, experts warn about inflammation of your feet due to the consumption of too many refined grains, sugars, and trans-fat. This includes eating too many saturated fats found in red meat and omega-6 fats used in vegetable oils. To counter balance the effects, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet along with omega-3 fats found in fatty fish such as salmon.
Give Your Feet a Physical Check-Up
While getting an annual physical exam may seem like the norm, how often do you take the time to check your feet to ensure they’re healthy? Fungal and bacterial conditions are a real threat to their well-being, including problems such as athlete’s foot, blisters, corns, calluses, bunions, bone spurs, hammertoe, and ingrown toenails. To avoid these issues:
Keep feet clean and dry
Expose feet to fresh air as often as possible
Lotion feet after bathing
Dust feet with fungicide powder, if there is a problem
Wear the right size shoe
To avoid pain and discomfort, pay attention to your feet and get medical help if you notice any problems.
Make an Appointment with a Podiatrist
Don’t wait until foot problems get out of hand. If you have any concerns about your feet, see a podiatrist to prevent foot issues from becoming chronic.
In particular, people who run frequently, have diabetes, have persistent heel pain, have chronic calluses/corns/bunions, or experience unusual pain in the feet and ankles should make an appointment to see a podiatrist as soon as possible.
Beautiful feet don’t just happen. They need pampering. Take care of your feet with these 10 footcare tips and they’ll take care of you.
If you’re like most homesteaders, you’re always on the lookout for creative ways to make money from your homestead. Do love to be in the kitchen? Do your friends and family rave about your baking skills? If so, starting a cottage food business just might be for you! From preserves to cupcakes and spice rubs …