Irish Ancestors and History: An Irish Walking Holiday to Explore the Culture

Archaeological studies show that Ireland has been settled for over 9,000 years. The majority of Ireland’s recorded history shows that the Irish people have primarily been a Gaelic nation. In the 12th century, parts of Ireland were conquered by Anglo-Normans. And, in the 16th-17th century, England re-conquered and colonised Ireland, bringing several English as well as Lowland Scots to certain parts of the island.

The Irish are traced to major Biblical figures, according to a medieval Christian pseudo-Irish history. The record states that the earliest lineage of the Irish people entered Ireland through Iberia and Scythia. While other medieval texts spell out a notion that the people of Ireland are all descendants of Eber Donn believed to be an underworld god.

Notable Irish People

Throughout history, there have been a good number of prominent Irish people. For instance, Columbanus, the 6th century missionary and monk is seen as one of the “fathers of Europe”. Other notable Irish people are Vergilius of Salzburg and Kilian of Wurzburg. Also, the “father of chemistry”, Robert Boyle is a famous Irish man. That’s not all, famous explorers; Robert McClure, Tom Crean, and Ernest Shackleton are also Irish.

Ireland’s current population is around 6.3 million, but estimation shows that about 80 million people all over the world have Irish descent. According to history, emigration from Ireland is said to be the outcome of conflict, dearth, as well as economic issues. Irish descendants are mostly found in English-speaking countries, particularly the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and Canada. Also, a substantial number of Irish people are found in Mexico and Argentina. The largest number of Irish descendants are found in the United States.

Indeed, the ancestry and history of the Irish people is fascinating. Learn more about Irish ancestors and history by joining Women’s Own Adventure tour “Feel the Soul of Ireland on Foot”  A Walking Holiday to Explore Ireland.

Walk in the company of like-minded people through the soft rolling Wicklow Hills to the mountainous coastline. Catch a breathtaking view of the Cliffs of Moher, the amazing Wild Atlantic Way, and the studded islands off the stunning coastline. Women’s Own Adventure takes you on a guided adventurous walk through beautiful villages. Get to familiarize yourself with the Irish history and culture. The mere sound of traditional Irish folklore and music will connect you to this amazing land and its people.





Italian Cooking Tours – Enjoy a Great Culinary Vacation

Amalfi Coast and Tuscany Cooking Holidays

Many consider Amalfi Coast to be the Mediterranean Sea’s most spectacular stretch of scenery. The Coast is a pleasant mix of amazing coastlines, vertical landscapes, blossoming Mediterranean islands, and of course a great Italian cooking holiday destination. During your Amalfi Coast Italian cooking tour you will enjoy the refreshing sunlight, irresistible flavors and pampering lifestyle of Amalfi, Sorrento, Positano, Capri, Ravello, and other legendary places. Embark on a guided tour with Women’s Own Adventure to uncover the secrets of Mediterranean cuisine, as well as what makes Italian home-made pastas so delicious. Perhaps you’ve heard of the appetising “Limoncello” liqueur, a guided Italian cooking tour is a great way to uncover the mysteries behind such famous liqueurs as well as the tasty artisanal cheeses.

Learning to cook amazing dishes in Italy is is a simply wonderful way to spend a holiday. And, Italian cooking is one of the world’s best known and loved cuisines. Amalfi Coast is famous for great food.

Some of the features of Amalfi Coast and Tuscany Cooking vacations with Women’s Own Adventure include hands-on cooking lessons in a relaxed setting in great company. The list of dishes during the week-long cooking vacation may include the following;

  • Pasticciotti – tasty pastry pie with lemon custard oozing
  • Marinated anchovies, spaghetti al limone
  • Ricci e peperoncini – handmade pasta prepared typically with chilli sauce and fresh tomato
  • Shrimps and prawn meals, including parpandalo shrimps and other fresh local seafood.

The Amalfi Coast and Tuscany cooking tours with Women’s Own Adventure is not restricted to only women. It is also an adventurous and fun cooking tour for men to enjoy.

Combine your flair for travel with a cooking adventure in Tuscany, Italy. Tuscany cooking tours cover all aspects, from practical pasta-making classes to restaurant visits. A cooking tour to Italy will not only expose you to new flavors, but will also boost your knowledge of, and increase your appreciation of the country’s outstanding culinary expertise and vast culture.

Come along and be inspired by the sunny and lush fields. Enjoy the Italian hill town markets and view the stylish display of appetising fresh produce. Watch the outdoor tables decked with country food, spicy olive oils, delectable wines, and mouth-watering fresh-baked breads. This is just a glimpse of a culinary adventure in Tuscany.

Tuscany landscape1


Growing Popularity of The Camino De Santiago: How to Walk the Walk

More than ever before, the Camino de Santiago Walk in Spain is growing increasingly popular. The number of pilgrims who troop in yearly to walk the ancient route to Santiago de Compostela is almost growing in geometric progression. Also known as the Way of Saint James, the Camino de Santiago is a popular one. The walk is one of the most popular Christian pilgrimages that has outlived several decades. The starting point of the pilgrimage is any point on the many routes that lead to the Tomb of Santiago.

There’s no better way to walk this “Walk” than to be in the company of like-minded people. The women only Camino de Santiago offers great fun and adventure while walking through the stony pathways, paved roads, cobbled streets and wooded trails leading to the medieval Santiago de Compostela city. Make new friends and experience diverse cultures in the company of adventurous and high-spirited women like you.

How to Walk the Camino de Santiago

The Way of Saint James also known as the Camino de Santiago is Europe’s oldest traveled route that attracts huge number of walkers and pilgrims, especially in summer. At first, it all started as a sacred voyage to Santiago de Compostela in medieval times. Today, it has become a sociable, well-organised walk, as well as an adventure through Galicia, Northern Spain. It is a Christian pilgrimage to the “third holiest city” in Christianity, next to Rome and Jerusalem, in search of salvation at Santiago Tomb.

Modern-day ‘pilgrims’, like their forerunners, come from all over, but nowadays those with purely religious motives are joined by lovers of adventure, art, history and legends, all with a desire to take part in an experience that is unique in the modern Western world.

Here are some tips on how to embark on Camino de Santiago Walk in Spain;

Choose a Route

No single route leads to Santiago de Compostela. What is obtainable is a network of routes from Spain, Portugal, and France, leading to the tomb of St. James; the spot where a vase discovered in 813 A.D. contained what was thought to be the remains of the apostle. Traditionally, the main route to Santiago de Compostela begins in St Jean Pied de Port, approximately 780km journey.

Make this walk adventurous and fun by choosing the most picturesque route that starts from Leon (one of Spain’s greatest cities) and ends in Santiago de Compostello. This route is also the most rewarding. A lot of women prefer to walk in the company of fellow women with the same passion and zeal. You can join the  Women’s Own Adventure Camino de Santiago guided tour, designed with the adventurous woman in mind. Every bit of the trip has been organized, leaving you with loads of fun, adventure and ultimately a fulfilled walk.


It is usually easy to find a place to stay along the way in inexpensive pilgrim hostels. These hostels are locally called ‘Albergues’ (usually bunk beds in dormitory style accommodation) , manned by volunteers and exclusively kept for pilgrims. A Pilgrims Passport is required to get accommodation in the pilgrim hostels. The passport must be stamped by host Albergues along the way. You can obtain the Pilgrims Passport from the local confraternity in the larger towns along the way.

On the other hand, if you desire more comfort than the Albergues can offer, you can book hotel rooms along the way, in the main towns and cities, or join a guided walk where the accommodation is already  booked for you in comfortable hotels and manor houses.

Women’s Own Adventure specialises in Walking Holidays for women.

Now about the food in Vietnam

Having enjoyed a unique cooking class in the Koto restaurant cooking school in Hanoi, i have gained a great appreciation for the freshness and natural style of Vietnamese cooking. It is quick and easy to do while being very tasty and healthy. The Koto restaurant has a wonderful philosophy of Know One Teach One (KOTO). They take poor street children with little prospects of a good future and teach them the trade of cooking with a 100% success rate of those children being gainfully employed after their 2 years of training. They are delightful students and teachers and have given us a wonderful cooking class, the best part of which was to eat our delicious creations as well.

Living happens on the street, so street food is the norm for families, cooking and eating on the footpaths.

Meeting the Vietnamese People

Having embarked on our trip to Vietnam on 15th March, we have been enjoying the tastes and sensations of this remarkable country and its people for 10 days already. Time has passed with great speed as I have only just now managed to find the time to write about our journey so far.
The Vietnamese people are friendly and accepting, particularly given our small group of women travellers. Vietnam has not long been a destination for tourists, so the opportunities to see and feel the true culture and the people are great.

Hanoi is a bustling city with few foreigners. Our accommodation in the old town was the perfect location to wander down to the lake in the early morning and witness, or in fact join the locals in their morning Tai Chi activities. It seems that absolutely everyone living in the city was by the lake at sunrise, exercising, meditating, socialising, walking or practicing Tai Chi in their own way. The people of Hanoi socialise with their morning exercise, then socialise all day, lining the footpaths outside the small shops, then socialise again in the evenings while meeting in the central plazas with family members and friends to skate, play ball or simply stroll.

The city is full of life, and all the living happens on the streets. The buzz of motorcycles, bicycles, cars and the general city traffic is a constant. The streets are full all the time. Footpaths are filled with locals sitting, cooking and eating all throughout the day, from very early in the morning until late at night.

After the city, Halong Bay was an amazing experience, staying aboard a junk boat for the night while exploring the tranquil waters, bays and limestone caves. Halong Bays rocky outcrops conceal caves, with one massive cave in particular that we walked through, having been a refuge for the local people during the war. This huge cave hid about 200 people for a period of up to 2 years, while life went on with around 20 babies being born there during that time.

Hilltribe trekking in Mai Chau was next on our agenda, a huge contrast to the busy city life of Hanoi. In country areas the people work very hard, bent over the rice fields all day. Our small group have been welcomed with traditional serving of tea into the very basic homes of local people in the farming villages, witnessing first hand how life in the country is lived. We stayed in a small village, off the beaten track for 2 nights with a lovely family, sleeping in a village longhouse. It was a great experience, walking and cycling through the countryside, among rice fields, with our local guide.

The next night we visited the Cuc Phuong National Park where a walk was enjoyed, while staying in our own private house just outside the national park, in the jungle, surrounded by the amazing sounds of different monkeys and hundreds of birds.

Have I told you about the food?
Check back here is a few days to learn more while we journey south to Hue and Hoian, then onto Saigon.

– Marika at Women’s Own Adventure signing off
Location:Vietnam, Hanoi and Halong Bay


What is your dream for 2013? – What will you do this year?

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”  

― Gloria Steinem

This year I will:

  • fly more (with my paraglider)
  • fly more in a commercial aircraft, maybe upgrade from economy just once 
  • keep up my gym membership. I had great results late last year.
  • get really, really good at cycling (with my new pink bike) 
  • use my newly found cycling expertise to enjoy an overseas cycling trip, maybe even with my husband 
  • say WOW every day to something new (this was borrowed from my friend Joanne Fedler)
  • I will be a new grandmother (grandma? granny? nanna? nagy? nona? – just trying them on for size)
  • be more social and arrange / attend more events, just for fun!
  • nuture (i.e. water and possibly talk to) and expand my new veggie garden -tomatoes and lettuce today – tomorrow, beans and cauliflower!
  • and of course travel to new and exciting destinations! 

What will you do??

 – signing off from Marika at Women’s Own Adventure