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Week 25

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Alison Gould

Our prayers and thoughts of loving kindness are with Alison this week, and we send all our love for healing and well-being. Her most recent message to the WhatsApp group was to say that this diary “makes me very restless to travel again! Still off to Cornwall tomorrow for a week or so and hopefully some sunshine, not that I’m complaining – it’s been fantastic here the last days  Pity I can’t walk further in it… but very impressed and grateful to all you youngsters! 🏃‍♀️🙏🙄”. Maybe therefore all of us ‘youngsters’ can dedicate this week of walking to Alison, and as we go along we send her our love.

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Imamzadeh Shahzadeh Hossein

We’ll start the week with the peacocks, who are now south of the city of Qazvīn, nearing Tehran. Qazvīn is located in north-central Iran in a wide, fertile plain at the southern foot of the Elburz Mountains. It’s an old city, founded in 250 CE, and was an important base for the establishment of Islam and the city flourished from the 7th century. In the 13th century it was destroyed by Genghis Khan but soon re-established itself as a trading centre, and remains that today. It’s famous for it’s bazaar’s and bathhouses, and stunning architecture.  The peacocks are the first to visit this city of firsts – Qazvīn is home to Iran’s first modern hotel first modern school, first paved street and is Iran’s first municipality – so all in all a first rate place for our first team to visit first!

Up the road in Turkey the wee monkeys have been rushing along, and have closed the gap on the snow leopards considerably, so are now only 25 miles behind. And as we always like to mark milestones in this diary we can’t let the fact of the wee monkeys passing the half-way mark go by without giving them a special mention and a group hug! It’s been a great effort by all the wee monkeys this week, and an inspiration to the other teams. Well done everyone!

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Turkish Coffee

Maybe the secret to their burst of energy has been to keep themselves zinged with strong Turkish coffee! It’s guaranteed to keep you going, and at only 11 calories per cup you’ll walk that off in no time – well, it will depends how much sugar you put in, I suppose. As I thought about Turkish coffee my mind turned to other food and drink from Turkey and I found a fabulous page on the BBC Good Food website that should satisfy all tastes. Maybe diary readers could try their hand at one or two of the recipes and let us know how you got on with it? And why limit it to Turkish cuisine – if you have a good recipe to share with the others that originates in one of the many countries we’ve passed through then why not use the diary to share it? Pass it on to me and I’ll include it. You’ll get extra credit if you include a picture!

The wee monkeys didn’t make up so much ground this week by going on touristic detours but if they had they may well have been tempted to visit the Diyadin Canyon, not far to the south of where they reached on Sunday. It’s an impressive natural feature, but one they’ll have to save for another day.

Diyadin Canyon
Diyadin Canyon

The snow leopards are a bit further along, still in the striking valley that has been their home the past few weeks. Having just through the town of Doğubayazıt, I hope they took some time out to visit the Ishak Pasha Palace, with its stunning view of Mount Ararat, the supposed resting place of Noah’s Ark, an amazing sight, and our featured image this week. You can virtually climb it if you like, and it will give you a glimpse of the landscape (and weather!) of Turkey that our Chaparda Challenge has passed through.

43It’s been a week of high energy travel because our tigers, too, have been zipping along and are through and well past Budapest now. I hope they took at least some time to stop and enjoy this most beautiful and historic city. But maybe, as with so many of their other stops, they’re more interested in the natural world than whatever city life has to offer. If so, they’ve reached a good spot today – Magan Zoo, a private zoo that has, among other things, Siberian tigers, Bengal tigers and…. Highland cows!! Oh I hope they visited and took some photographs! And just so you know, the Hungarian for Highland Cattle is “Skót felföldi marha”. So now you know…!

Seeing that so many of our teams have been racing along this week it’s no surprise that our miles are up on the past few weeks – 549 miles completed by all teams, which is great. Well done. 

We’ve added £259 to the fundraising total, thanks to a generous patient of Emma. Please thank her on all our behalf, Emma.

Have a good week ahead,  don’t forget to send me any favourite recipes of food from the countries the Chaparda Challenge has passed through, and please continue to send positive, loving and healing thought to Alison.