WhiteBlaze Pages 2022
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
$5 for printable PDF, AVAILABLE NOW. $9 for interactive PDF(smartphone version)
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-21-2009
    Location
    Tennesee
    Age
    63
    Posts
    1,241

    Default ? about hiking Spain's (or Europe's) GR trails

    There are several GR trails in Spain that I am looking at for my next adventure, none of which are the Camino Trails (too many people for me). My only other hiking outside of the US was in Scotland so language was not a barrier (outside of those folks I met from Glasgow...that was a different language altogether. ). Just curious for those of you who have travelled little known trails outside of the US how did you manage the language barrier issue? A book? Technology? I would appreciate any and all tips or comments outside of learning Spanish. The route would traverse a region that would encompass Portuguese, Basque and Catalan as well so it is not as simple as learning simple phrases in one language.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-17-2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,045

    Default

    I have not trekked in Europe yet, but have researched it. I have traveled throughout Europe and rarely had language issues (yes, Scotland was a challenge). But seriously, any place that attracts a lot of international trekkers will be set up to handle whatever language you choose. But certainly learning some basic phrases is always a good idea. I can say "I'm sorry, I don't speak ________, Do you speak English?" in 7 languages (8 if you count English?).

    High on my list of places to trek is northern Sweden. Swedes have the highest rate of speaking English as a second language. I've traveled there and it's no problem even though jag talar inte Svenska.

    The Kungsleden (Kings Trail) is a long distance hiking trail serviced by huts you could look into. The northern section is especially spectacular. It's one of the most popular treks among Europeans. It intersect with the Padjelataleden, another trail to check out. In the area there are countless other trails and off-trail routes to explore. One of the great things about trekking in Scandinavia is you can trek and camp on any undeveloped, unoccupied land you want, even private land, with no permission, permits, or fees, as long as you LNT. Here is a good on-line resource.

    https://www.distantnorth.com/destinations/

  3. #3
    Garlic
    Join Date
    10-15-2008
    Location
    Golden CO
    Age
    64
    Posts
    5,529
    Images
    2

    Default

    I'm going to recommend the old-fashioned, hard way of learning Spanish. Many Basque, Catalans, and Portuguese will understand your basic Spanish, and making the effort means a lot. Learning the language is also a window into the culture. With English and Spanish, you can travel much of the world and communicate well enough.

    I haven't been there since I hiked El Camino in the year 2000, and it was crowded enough then.

    In the 1980s I bike toured in France and spent the prior year studying the language. It made the month there memorable for a lifetime and has paid off on many other trips. Same thing in the 90s on a backpacking trip to China. My next overseas trip will be hiking in Italy. I studied Italian briefly 30 years ago, and need to start again. It's fairly easy with a strong background in Spanish.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-21-2009
    Location
    Tennesee
    Age
    63
    Posts
    1,241

    Default

    Thanks for the replies. OMO i have thought about the Scandinavian countries and the Kungsleden for alot of reasons, finding people who can speak English being just a small one.

    garlic08, that is great advice for some but I am skeptical due to past experience based on travelling in Mexico in my younger days and relying on my two years of HS Spanish (this was shortly after leaving HS). Perhaps my southern hillbilly accent does not lend itself well to the intracacies of the Romance languages? I can struggle with even communicating in English with people from certain regions of this country. While I do not dispute your idea as a good one, any thoughts on a backup plan? I am a firm believer in the old Boy Scout motto...be prepared and I have to believe others have dealt with this challenge as well. The trail I have in mind looks compelling and I will not let this issue prevent me from going.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-17-2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,045

    Default

    For learning language, I recommend Pimsleur. It is based on the idea that you learn languages by listening, so it uses only audio files to start. If you read words in a foreign you will pronounce them wrong. It also focuses on learning a small core vocabulary of essential words. I like it when simple low tech solutions are the best.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-21-2009
    Location
    Tennesee
    Age
    63
    Posts
    1,241

    Default

    Thanks again. I will look into that OMO. I still like the idea of a backup plan based on my experiences in Mexico where I relied 100% on my "learned skills". (Hey, I even got A's in both years of Spanish but how does one know that the teacher is even speaking it? She may have been making stuff up and we wouldn't have known back then!) I googled a bit this morning. Apparently there are handheld translators about the size of a typical phone. Anyone know anything about those (I didn't know they existed until today). Or perhaps a site similar to WB geared more for international trails and backpacking? As always I appreciate any feedback. I don't use this site much anymore but it was a great find when I prepared from my through hike years ago/


    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    For learning language, I recommend Pimsleur. It is based on the idea that you learn languages by listening, so it uses only audio files to start. If you read words in a foreign you will pronounce them wrong. It also focuses on learning a small core vocabulary of essential words. I like it when simple low tech solutions are the best.

  7. #7
    Registered User SAWNIE's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-15-2020
    Location
    SUGAR GROVE, VIRGINIA
    Posts
    25

    Default

    4SHOT: In your message regarding visiting Scotland during which you underatsandably had difficulty with the Scottish language (especially spoken, I presume).. I wonder if this was with Gaelic speakers or Scottish speech of English? And I am curious about the regions involved. I am hopeful of being able to walk much of it and would like to be literate and fluent in both. What have you got to suggest?==Thanks.

  8. #8
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-06-2007
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Age
    72
    Posts
    350
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    4shot--It's great that you're planning to do some international hiking. That will become practical again soon, after this COVID nonsense has passed.

    I too have difficulty with foreign languages. I struggled for two years with high school French. Apparently I'm not a very good listener and don't like to spend time memorizing illogical patterns of things. But in spite of those limitations I have managed to develop considerable Spanish fluency. When I began graduate study in political science/Latin American studies at the University of Florida I spoke no Spanish (not even from high school or college classes) but was motivated to learn it. So, I spent 10 weeks at an intensive Spanish School in Mexico. After a month there I spoke enough Spanish to be able to travel around the country easily. Later the skills that had acquired at the Mexican school subsequently enabled me to successfully conduct research in Costa Rica, using Spanish to interview government officials there.

    Privately operated Spanish-for-Foreigners schools in Mexico, Guatemala, and other Latin American countries focus primarily on development of comprehension and speaking skills, rather than emphasizing reading and writing. Students can begin any week of the year and continue for as many weeks as are desired. In order to thrive such schools must be located in pleasant and interesting places. I personally received 20 hours of Spanish instruction each week, four hours during each weekday morning, doing so with a teacher and just two or three other students. In order to thrive such schools must be located in attractive and interesting places. So, when not in class (afternoons, weekends)its possible to undertake day hikes or other explorations. Using the language outside of class,for example while dining with a host family, is also pleasant and helpful.

    Costs of Spanish-for-Foreigners instructions are very reasonable at schools in Latin America. For example, in Guatemala (good quality and probably the least costly) a person can receive 25 hours of individual (one-on-one) instruction and room and board with a host family for a total cost of less than 300 U. S. dollars. I suggest that you spend three weeks (or more if you like) at at Spanish language school. Then, confidently hike and/or trek independently in a Spanish speaking country. See:

    www/guatemala365.com
    Last edited by Siestita; 01-17-2022 at 17:11.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-21-2009
    Location
    Tennesee
    Age
    63
    Posts
    1,241

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SAWNIE View Post
    4SHOT: In your message regarding visiting Scotland during which you underatsandably had difficulty with the Scottish language (especially spoken, I presume).. I wonder if this was with Gaelic speakers or Scottish speech of English? And I am curious about the regions involved. I am hopeful of being able to walk much of it and would like to be literate and fluent in both. What have you got to suggest?==Thanks.
    Sawnie...my wife and I spent 6 weeks in Scotalnd tring to go from coast to coast (west to east) in the Highlands starting on their outer islands. About 5-6 years ago. Severe weather in the mountains made it impossible to stick to our plan so we did a hodgepodge of trails, some named and some not and got to see most of what we went for. Beautiful country and the people are fantastic. Especially when you get out away from the cities or touristy areas. While they do a lot of walking there, backpacking isn't too common from what we could tell. We had people in the smaller towns invite us home and cook us dinner, buy us drinks in their pubs. One couple loaned me some clothes and golf gear and hosted me at their golf club in Boat of Garten and dinner afterwards. Go to the towns that are not in the tour guides!!!!!

    To answer your question, we did hear some Gaelic but all the Gaelic speakers we encountered also spoke English. The only difficulties we ran into when we ran into people from Glasgow. their accent or dialect is impossible to decipher so if we asked questions to someone who spoke Glaswegian we would nod politely then find someone else and discreetly ask again. Even the Scots from other areas have difficulty understanding them at times. I heard this on more than one occasion.

    The best part of the hike is just walking by old castles or ruins or little churches that have been in place for 1,000 years or so. Bring rain gear!!!! We wore it on almost every single day for parts of the day on 35 out of 38 days iirc. Also, June was a bit chilly - the typical day for us was overcast, mid 40's windy and drizzling or just flat raining. But I would do it all over again. PM if you have any other questions.

    My question to you...in my through hike in '10 for reasons I can't recall (making a wrong turn) I ended up road walking through your town . You offered me a lift to where the AT intersected the road. If you are the same Sawnie, did you post here previously using your full name? if so, I remember our chat that day and your offer of generosity.

    It's funny. I can't tell you what I had for dinner last night. But I can recall many odd and random facts from that AT hike 10 years ago.

  10. #10
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-06-2007
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Age
    72
    Posts
    350
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    FYI--During the two years that I lived in San Jose, Costa Rica, while dinosaurs still walked the earth, I took many day hikes in the mountains nearby and also did some multi-night treks independently, sometimes making impromptu arrangements to spend nights sleeping on the floor of living rooms in farm houses and on other occasions using a plastic tarp for shelter out in the woods. Costa Ricans are very friendly and hospitable. The drier season from December to April is the ideal period to hike there, although other times of year are also OK. Some of the trails and country roads that I hiked during the 1970s have been incorporated into the relatively new "Camino de Costa Rica" for which a good guidebook was published in 2021. That recently established 150 mile hiking trail crosses all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The first several days, and also much of the last day of that westward trek, take place in very hot lowland coastal areas. In between those coastal plains the Camino de Costa Rica passes through much cooler mountain areas.



    https://worldtrailsnetwork.org/evan-...-hiking-guide/





    https://www.amazon.com/Camino-Costa-...2998765&sr=8-1
    Last edited by Siestita; 01-17-2022 at 18:32.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-21-2009
    Location
    Tennesee
    Age
    63
    Posts
    1,241

    Default

    Siestita....the idea of a Spanish for Foreigners class is intriguing now that I think of it. Certainly more interesting than any other form of instruction as it seems more hands on. Just curious, would your Spanish learned in South America travel well to Spain? My high school Spanish teacher was from Spain and I wondered if that why my experience in Mexico was less productive than I hoped. I have heard different ideas on this topic. Your thoughts?

    Or, if I skip the lessons and just go, are you available to go with me if I pick up the expenses, You could serve as a consultant/interpreter!

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-21-2009
    Location
    Tennesee
    Age
    63
    Posts
    1,241

    Default

    To Sawnie....I recall why i was on the road walking. The green guidebook that was most popular back then used the terms east and west. East always meant go right but West always meant left. However, when it said East (or whatever) i checked my compass as I always did and started walking in that direction. This is when I went back and checked the fine print. It's amazing that I got that far without getting tripped up but maybe I was with others? Or perhaps this was the first time the compass and the guidebook wre in contradiction?LOL. That mistake was not repeated over the next 1600 miles or so.

  13. #13
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-06-2007
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Age
    72
    Posts
    350
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    Spanish , like English, has many local dialects, but its standard/international form is taught in schools throughout the Hispanic world. So, yes, Spanish learned in Latin America can be usefully applied in Spain. I have used my Mexican accented Spanish to effectively communicate with people during a 2 1/2 week trip to Madrid and Andalucia.

    Your invitation to hike together and interpret is enticing. But family responsibilities currently make it impossible for me to be away from home for more than three days a time. And, possibly due to my having had a mild case of polio as a child, even with extensive conditioning I have not been able to hike as far or as fast as do many other people my own age, which will soon be 72. These days I typically backpack at about one mile per hour, with daily mileage usually not exceeding six miles.

    But, the idea of you hiking with a translator/guide some places merits consideration. The Pueblos Mancomunados mountain communities in Mexico's Oaxaca State could be good place to do that.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-17-2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,045

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SAWNIE View Post
    4SHOT: In your message regarding visiting Scotland during which you underatsandably had difficulty with the Scottish language (especially spoken, I presume).. I wonder if this was with Gaelic speakers or Scottish speech of English? And I am curious about the regions involved. I am hopeful of being able to walk much of it and would like to be literate and fluent in both. What have you got to suggest?==Thanks.
    The Scottish I could not understand was definitely "English" and not Gaelic. I was taking a tour of the Church in Dunfermline and our guide (a church elder) was speaking standard English for us tourists. Then a friend of his came over to discuss some bit of church business and he switched to his local version of English and I could barely understand a word.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-17-2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,045

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 4shot View Post
    ...Apparently there are handheld translators about the size of a typical phone..../
    Just use your phone. I have used Google Translate when traveling. I didn't use it for voice translation (although I think it can), but I did use it for text translation. You can type in a text and it will translate. Even better there is a feature where you use the phones camera to view text and it will do a live translation. It's pretty spiffy. We would go to restaurant and point the phone at the menu and the image that appears on the screen is in English. You don't even need to take a picture. It translates the live preview screen. You don't need phone or wifi service to do this if you have download the Language you need before you travel.

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-17-2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,045

    Default

    In case you haven't seen it (wrt Scottish accents).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMS2VnDveP8

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-21-2009
    Location
    Tennesee
    Age
    63
    Posts
    1,241

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    In case you haven't seen it (wrt Scottish accents).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMS2VnDveP8
    Thanks for that! My wife and I lol'd.

  18. #18
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-06-2007
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Age
    72
    Posts
    350
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    "The Scottish I could not understand was definitely "English" and not Gaelic. I was taking a tour of the Church in Dunfermline and our guide (a church elder) was speaking standard English for us tourists. Then a friend of his came over to discuss some bit of church business and he switched to his local version of English and I could barely understand a word."

    A possible explanation--Twelve hundred years ago many people in both England and lowland Scotland spoke what is now called "Old English". That is the language, unintelligible to people now, in which the poem Beowulf was originally written. Since then "English" and "Scottish" (which is not Gaelic) have diverged from their common "Old English" origin, developing into two different, albeit closely related, languages. During the late 1700s the poet Robert Burns wrote poetry in Scottish, including the poem Old Lang Syne (Old Long Since in English). Old Lang Syne is now sung in Scottish, English, and many other languages.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHArJzJ697A
    Last edited by Siestita; 01-21-2022 at 17:16.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 4shot View Post
    Siestita....the idea of a Spanish for Foreigners class is intriguing now that I think of it. Certainly more interesting than any other form of instruction as it seems more hands on. Just curious, would your Spanish learned in South America travel well to Spain? My high school Spanish teacher was from Spain and I wondered if that why my experience in Mexico was less productive than I hoped. I have heard different ideas on this topic. Your thoughts?
    Or, if I skip the lessons and just go, are you available to go with me if I pick up the expenses, You could serve as a consultant/interpreter!
    You can pretty easily learn some basics in a language to be able to say a few things and get around (or just let the google translate app talk), but being conversational or learning anything that you won't quickly forget takes awhile.

    I am intermediate spanish and can converse pretty well, and am planning to go to Spain in May. I am doing some of the camino with my wife, then she's going home and I'll do some other travel and hikes where I might have to put my spanish to the test. I can let you know my thoughts on the language issue if it's still relevant to you at that point

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-17-2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,045

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Siestita View Post
    A possible explanation--Twelve hundred years ago many people in both England and lowland Scotland spoke what is now called "Old English". That is the language, unintelligible to people now, in which the poem Beowulf was originally written. Since then "English" and "Scottish" (which is not Gaelic) have diverged from their common "Old English" origin, developing into two different, albeit closely related, languages. During the late 1700s the poet Robert Burns wrote poetry in Scottish, including the poem Old Lang Sine (Old Long Since in English). Old Lang Sine is now sung in Scottish, English, and many other languages.
    I've been to many Burns Suppers. Our local ones always include a complete recitation of Tam OShanter

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •