Visiting León, Spain

I took the train to León where I’d be starting a week long cycling trip to Santiago de Compostela on the French Camino. A pilgrimage people have been doing for over 1000 years.

It’s very walkable, a small city with most of the attractions close together.

León’s Cathedral is one of the finest in Europe.

Panorama of Plaza de Regla and Leon Cathedral, Castile and Leon, Spain
Me and the cops.

My official start is this Cathedral. I’ll finish at the Cathedral in Santiago.

León is a great tourist town. I did a lot of cycling there testing the rental bike.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My Dental Vacation in Portugal


I can smile again.

After 9 months with a missing upper tooth, I finally got the implant installed June 2022.

Can you tell which upper tooth was replaced?

I never want to get another implant. WAY too expensive. WAY too time consuming.

But I believe they did an excellent job. This tooth should see me out. 😀

I got implant dental surgery November 11th at 11am. #NotChicken

I’ll update this post with details on how it went.

Canadian dentists are WAY too expen$ive.

Nations around the world that cater to “dental tourists” include:

Not Portugal. BUT I wanted to travel to Portugal for hiking and cycling in November. Also, it’s one of the most vaccinated large nations in the world during a pandemic.

Of dentists in Lisbon I looked at online, most impressive was the Institute of Implantology.

Here’s their Dental Tourism page.

I booked a FREE assessment appointment on my birthday:

  • November 2 ~ free assessment
  • November 4 ~ cleaning and measurement for ‘flipper‘ (temporary replacement tooth)
  • November 11 ~ implant surgery and placement of the flipper
  • November 15 ~ final checkout

The last 4 days in Lisbon were in case of complications. And that allows time to adjust the flipper, if needed.

Happily I had no infection nor swelling. And the flipper looks pretty good. Can you tell which top front tooth is now removable?

In fact, I’m as good looking as ever. … Ladies? 😀

I’ll return to Lisbon in 4-6 months to have the permanent fake screwed in.

The Institute of Implantology is not cheap. Price everything included for me will be about CAD $5000 (US$4000, EUR3490). Here are some of the major costs:

  • €160 CT Scan
  • € 160 Extraction
  • € 890 Implant placement
  • € 650 Bone Graft
  • € 280 Flipper
  • € 695 Instillation of implant

The bone graft encourages regeneration of bone and increases the odds that the tooth will stay in my skull for life.

The Institute of Implantology is the second private hospital I’ve used. The other was Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Toronto. Both are excellent. I wish I was rich enough to use more private clinics.

My surgeon was Dr. Gonçalo Caramês. Trained in Los Angeles, he married another dentist. They planned to set up practice in Seattle but he opted instead to return to Portugal because of the pandemic.

The facility itself is impressive. Chic. Very modern technology.

Visiting Valencia, Spain

I’d never been to Spain’s 3rd largest city, so jumped on the chance to catch a cheap flight down to the sunny Mediterranean coast.

The historic centre is great.

But the highlight for me was walking and cycle the huge green space that runs through the city.

It was once the river Turia, drained and rerouted after a catastrophic flood in 1957. The old riverbed turned into a picturesque sunken park.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I did make it out to the beach.

But best was exploring the City of Arts and Sciences.

Click PLAY or watch highlights on YouTube.

A TOURIST in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

I’d always planned to get to the Holy City on foot or by bike.

It’s one of the 3 Christian pilgrimage cities: Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela.

Pilgrims have been walking here for over a thousand years to pay tribute to the shrine of Saint James the Great, now the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

The Old Town is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I’d originally planned to cycle from Porto, Portugal to Santiago. BUT there were no rental bikes available out of Porto. So I arrived (eventually) by bus.

YES I felt like a pretender. Tens of thousands of other visitors look legit — like this guy.

I stayed 3 nights in a magnificent building, Hostel Seminario Menor, one of the most important stops on the Camino.

I got some work done in my monks / College student private room. (19 Euros). And did a LOT of walking around the city.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

A huge surprise to me was to see a massive ultramodern complex called City of Culture.

It’s impressive. But generally seems to be considered a white elephant, not attracting the numbers of visitors anticipated.

See more architect drawings and photos.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Tour Divide 2022 POSTPONED 🤨

I was hoping to cycle out of Banff in June 2022. START on the Tour Divide with the pros.

Ride to Montana. Do some hiking.

Then cycle to visit friends in Idaho.

But getting my NEW TOOTH installed in Lisbon, Portugal took longer than anticipated. I’ll be adventuring in Europe May / June 2022 instead of riding Montana.

HOPEFULLY I’ll be there for Tour Divide 2023.

Click to see a larger version of the Tour Divide map by Aussie Alex Hotchin.

Click for larger version

Portable Wind Turbine on the Trail

I sometimes hike and often bikepack with the 1.66 pound Big Blue Solar Charger.

It’s enough power for me on the trail, except on particularly overcast days.

I’d be tempted to carry a 3 pound portable wind turbine instead, on some adventures.

Though heavier and more expensive, wind power would be faster and more reliable than solar.


Click PLAY or see how it works on YouTube.

Watch an unboxing and first set-up on YouTube.

My Tripods in 2022

I’ve experimented with many tripods over the past 2 years. CRITICAL gear as I mostly travel solo and want to take photos and videos of myself while adventuring.

Weight and volume are super important. I can take them all on some bikepacking trips. But for hiking, I usually only take two of the smallest. All of these tripods can hold any of my 3 small cameras.

My favourite is the Miggo Splat. Super tough. Very reliable. BUT I did manage to break one.

Even better — but not as durable — is the Fotopro uFO 2.

Like the Splat, it can wrap around fence posts, tree branches, almost anything.

Least likely to make a hiking or bikepacking trip is my Neewer 56 inches/142 centimeters tripod. It’s good — but 2.73 pounds/1.24 kilograms is often too heavy.

I’m not much of a selfie stick guy, but the new-to-me 3m / 9ft Insta360 Extended Edition Selfie Stick has me intrigued. I MIGHT even end up getting one of their expensive Action Cameras.

I’ll often take it along despite the 365gm / 12.8oz load.

I bought the lightest JOBY GorillaPod I could. Only 325 Grams. But it’s pretty flimsy for anything more than a phone camera. I’ve never had much luck with JOBY. Those arms break easily.

So far I’m really liking my new DJI Mini SE drone. Until I crash it 🤔 … drone footage can replace tripod for long establishing shots.

Shooting video of yourself when alone can be tricky. Here’s how I’m doing it, so far.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.