Some people say I´m crazy, but what´s crazy?? I guess I am not the typical Backpacker as far as what I do and what I don´t do when I travel is concerned. The big thing for me is nature AND this trip is not only to see what´s around me but to see what´s inside me as well (adds an interesting note to it:-).
Thing is also that I´m one of those travellers that find it really hard to sit INSIDE a bus looking out. I just have to be smack bang in the middle of all the beautiful places on this amazing planet. Visiting cities is easy. But how visit nature? How get around if not in a bus or a car? Well my answer to that is - either cycle or walk. So this time I left my bike at home and called this trip "The big hike".
I do like going into the mountains for weeks on end, off the beaten track is always great and sometimes I even like to not see a soul for days, but it´s also always really good to come back to civilisation, have real supermarkets that sell all my favorite food and spoil myself in a neat restaurant and get stuffed to the rim!
By the way, if you want to view ALL pictures (there are more than 4!!!) of a particular entry you just need to double-click on one of the pic's and the entire album will open up (Seems some of you didn't figure it out:-))
October 22nd 2008
(Aug 08) There's much to say about Holland, but the one thing that strikes me as THE thing to do here is f i e t s e n (dutch for cycling) ! Imagine, a land full of dedicated bike paths, a land were anyone on two man-powered wheels is king and where everyone else is in the pitiful position of severe disadvantage... Well, apart from the fact that the wind doesn't bother the guy on a motorbike leave alone the rain and the guy in the car... and yes, guess what - my little cycle adventure in the kingdom of bicycles enjoyed the added benefit of a cooling shower from above almost every day - wanted or unwanted. That's the deal - flat land but horrendous wind and the odd bucket load of water straight ... read more
October 20th 2008
(This is a little older - Think Feb 08 - sorry that it's taken me soooo long...) When I looked at the map of the Big Island a few weeks before I flew across it kinda hit me straight away - this piece of land is made for cycling. It'd been a while (like 6 years or so) that I had packed my panniers and attached them to a two-wheeler. But something inside me was yearning for a little bit of a change. Initially I was going to do the hiking thing - two above 4000m a.s.l. mountains on like 10 square km's, but when I figured out that they could both be climbed in one day (each) I decided to exchange the trekking idea for being with my old lady again. Trouble was, the old ... read more
October 18th 2008
(April 06) I guess the definition of paradise is a rather subjective thing. To me paradise could be a million different things but that place that I had the pleasure to discover down in the very last corner of Cajon del Maipo, a Canyon close to Santiago, definately belongs to that bunch. And knowing that I only detected it by pure chance (or some heavenly guidance:-)) makes it even more special. (Couldn't believe that hardly anyone in Santiago seems to know it - Anthony, bl....GO THERE SOON before someone sends you back to OZ:-)!!!). I had 4 days to go before meeting Pierre in Santiago and I really didn't feel too much like hanging out in the city for the whole time, so I packed up my gear once again the very next morning after my ... read more
October 16th 2008
(Nov 07) Funny that some people don't even seem to know that there's reasonably high mountains in South Africa; when the guy next to me on the plane to Durban (a local "Capy") asked me what I was up to and I replied "hiking" he frowned, raised his one eyebrow and went "ri-i-ight"..."hmmmm...." with this sort of expressionless face and a big questionmark on his forehead. Soon thereafter, countless locals gave their well meant advice that I couldn't/shouldn't go backcountry - and definately not by myself! Well, after all I had come to the "'Berg" ONLY to go hiking, it did seem a little tough to have everybody tell me that I couldn't do it....by then I had also become aware that much of any motivation to do something in my universe seems to be fuelled ... read more
October 14th 2008
(April 06) DEUTSCH WEITER UNTEN Sometime in April around Pucon: All I hear is "have you climbed it yet?", "Did you make it?", "I´m dead and we didn´t see a thing"....what they are talking about is Villarrica, a still active Volcano near Pucón, the most climbed Moutain in Chile. People come here ONLY to get on top of that thing and the guides (it is not allowed anymore to go without) charge an arm and a leg for it (because they can). Even without knowing that you can´t currently see the lava (appearantly the glowing lava is only to be seen every so often when the pressure gets too much and the clogged crater blows up again) I knew that I wasn´t gonna spend the money (that I didn´t have according to my budget anyway) on ... read more
October 2nd 2008
(December 07) The best story really is how this came about. The Otter Trail is so bl**** popular that there is no way of getting a spot (only 12 people allowed on the track each day) unless you book it ONE YEAR in advance. Yes, that's right! When I first heard about the Otter Trail I knew that I just HAD to do it. But that was about 2 months before I left for South Africa (and I was pretty sure I wasn't going to stay for 10 months). So when about 3 weeks before I was due to fly back home I heard that Tsitsikama National Park (the site of the Trail) got closed due to heavy rains my heart made a little but clearly noticeable jump and the flicker of a thought surfaced that ... read more
October 1st 2008
(February 06) Hier ist ein Bericht AUSSCHLIESSLICH fuer meine Deutschen Freunde, den ich jetzt veroeffentlichen werde, auch ohne englische Version (ENGLISH VERSION STILL TO COME, SORRY...). Hallo meine Lieben, ich weiss, ich bin einige Wochen oder sogar Monate im Verzug mit meinen Berichten, also fang ich jetzt einfach mal mehr oder weniger beim Anfang an. Ich habe mich mittlerweile von fast 60 bis ungefaehr 41 grad suedlicher Breite "hochgeschlagen". Meine Entscheidung, Patagonien von Sueden as zu erkunden, wurde mit schmerzenden Hueften und Ruecken reich belohnt. Parque Nacional Torres del Paine lag als erstes auf der Strecke, und den konnte ich nun unmoeglich auslassen. Voller Enthusiasmus beschloss ich ohne gross zu ueberlegen, mir die volle Ladung zu geben und anstelle einer leicht(er)en 5-Tages Wanderung gleich mal den vollen Circuit (10 Tage) zu machen. (Bin ja schliessl... read more
September 30th 2008
(April 06) Considering that I wasn´t going to do this trek for another few weeks I can only say: GOOD ON ME that I postponed the other stuff, packed up and set off in a matter of half an hour that day. I hopped on a bus towards Osorno and asked to get off et Fundo El Caulle, the trailhead to "Los Baños", a series of natural hotsprings in an unwordly setting (and that for FREE!) PLUS a beautiful mountain to climb right next to it. When we came down from the Pass near the Argentinean - Chilean Border I saw the Mountain from the bus and already got so excited I could hardly bear to be INSIDE the bus! The weather was perfect, not a trace of a cloud...well, until we hit the lower lying ... read more
September 28th 2008
(April 06) At some stage I thought I wasn´t going to survive for much longer with those few words of Spanish that I could speak. With almost no ability to hold a conversation for longer than 30 seconds (because people either walk away or they immediately switch to English) I decided to invest in some private lessons. That made me stay put in Bariloche for a while. Not a bad place to spend some time. On one of the weekends during my stay in Bariloche I decided to check out that Track to Refugio Otto Meiling by Monte Tronador that everybody was talking about. It was going to be an easy 2 day trip with no need for tent or all the other crap one needs for the usual kind of trekking with camping out in ... read more
September 24th 2008
(September 05) DEUTSCHE VERSION WEITER UNTEN / GERMAN FURTHER DOWN India....how do I even start to describe this country? Well, India....to sum it up and make it short.....is just an absolutely mad place like you've never seen before. Cows, pedestrians, cycles, rikschas, cars, busses, motorbikes and dogs share Old Delhi's streets, no one cares about driving according to the rules (rules???). The Indians drive where there's space, and if it's on the sidewalk, so be it. Everyone that's got a horn blows it (until the cows come home! haha...). Incredible noise, but heaps of fun. In India they say it is quiet when you can hear yourself fart (as opposed to the german definition of quiet when you can hear a needle drop. Try that and you'll know what kind of noise I'm talking about!). The ... read more