Saturday, 6 December 2008
Through nightly jogging and running, some short bike trips and bushwalking, I have been slowly regaining fitness and the desire to escape again.
I have also compiled a list of various goals I wish to accomplish over the next few years, a few of which are learning Spanish, trying some some basic parkour/freerunning, and becoming competent with the Harmonica. I should be quite busy.
Saturday, 1 November 2008
Not all the way back to Croatia, but a nice jaunt around New Zealand to see the sights and save some money to send to far-flung outposts in Alaska, Central Asia or Ireland (haven't decided yet!).
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Imagine hundred of km's of this
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Over the Border into Aachen and at last, Germany - a country we would spend the most time traveling as a pair. I had visited Northern Germany the previous year and I was delighted to be back. Instead of the pancake-flat Elbe river lowlands of the last visit, this time we would be traversing the hilly interior of the country, the heartland of Germany, starting with the Eifel National Park.
It was a startling change from the flat northern farmlands of Europe to be in a mountainous forest, but the scenery, breathtaking it it's semi-alpine beauty invigorated us with the extra energy required for the steep inclines.
After our contour exertions, we made camp on the Rhine River, bathed and relaxed. Following an offshoot of the Rhine, the Lahn River, Frankfurt Am Main - a metropolis, was thankfully skirted and we were more than halfway across the vast country, having quite an enjoyable time. We camped much of the time and bathed and washed our clothes in rivers and the like. It was a well-honed practice after a while, and I much preferred the mosquito netting and nylon of the tent to the brick-and-mortar of conventional dwellings. The freedom to stop anywhere along the route we took and the feeling of being close to nature had me hooked.
We continued through the dark green hues and summer bloom of Germany, stopping to stay with friends in Fulda and Suhl, two days of rest from cycling the mind and certainly the body needed greatly.
The north of France passed quickly out of our lives, an we started making headway in Belgium, only to be stopped about 15km outside Bruges by a young lady and her slightly less young, but equally friendly husband. We were welcomed into their house as if we were old friends - food, drink and animated conversation a definite improvement on Calais and a good welcome to Belgium.
The usual touring deeds were undertaken in the beautiful towns of Bruges and Gent th next day. Germany was at the forefront of my mind, so we followed the horizon-straight Albert Canal through the heart of the small country to Maastricht, and the Netherlands. We met another couple there, and they showed us the magnificent sights of this ancient and well-conquered(14 times, I recall) city.
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Sunday, 6 July 2008
I met a companion on the second day of the trail following the towpaths west, a man travelling by bicycle to his friends birthday in Bristol. Camping is naturally more enjoyable with two, I handed over the book I had recently finished and he did the same, giving me the classic "As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning" by Laurie Lee. Quickly finished, it was tale that did not help alleviate my wanderlust.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
However, I lived to see another day, precisely, one filled with a guided tour of the Leicester highlights by two of the world's worst tourguides. The following day Rachel and I departed to the Liecestershire countryside for a quintessential day ride, a pleasant meander through fields and fords, complete with a picnic in a field of clovers. I felt like I was in England.
Unfortunately, I had my ever-present companion with me, and a bicycle does not mix well with large crowds. The protest was panning out how most peace-promoting and tolerant protests do, until the police closed Whitehall, a major throughfare passing by No. 10 Downing St, where Bush and Gordon Brown were busy sipping tea and plotting coups.
Understandably, closing a public road to the public for no other reason except there being protestors present did not sit too well, and before long the crowd was pressed into a face-off between rapily reinforcing police lines (at least five deep). Naturally, Rachel wanted in on the action, getting a a birds eye view of the action from my shoulders, before lanching herself toward the front of the ruckus.
To the protestor's credit and police suprise, apart from a few obligatory ararchist troublemakers, the protest stayed peaceful and the night ended with a wonderfully contrasting Thai restaurant dinner with Rachel and her father. A interesting afternoon and evening that only got more interesting when I found myself on a train bound for Leicester, 100 miles away, at 11:00pm on a Monday night.
Monday, 26 May 2008
I don´t want to sound elite, but Contiki Tours, busabout, any of these companies catering to Westerners who want to get royally pissed in as many European cities as possible, as fast as possible can really impose on my hideously vain attempts at impressing strangers in random bars. Unfortunately, this group of 20 drunken heathens turned out to be Australian. Within moments, I was suddenly, seemingly, just another one of these obnoxious parent-funded gap year revellers wanting to experience Europe in he least cultural way. To each their own I guess.
I am not really a 'normal' person when it comes to social interaction. Call me boring, antisocial, call me what you will, but I have never had the desire to wander streets looking for pubs and clubs at ungodly hours, depriving myself of sleep, nutrients and general enjoyment for the ability to brag and compare with people the next morning who got the least sleep and who managed to have the highest blood-alcohol concentration. The Vienna anecdote reinforces my views. Unfortunately, my friends do not share my curse and have been convincing me of late to join in their revelry. It has been fun enough, I guess, but this way of life can seriously destroy your bank account in the same way it destroys your liver, brain cells and decision making processes.
Here are a couple of reasons not to involve yourself in this new-fangled youthful clubbing lifestyle: