Week 2 – Beringe, Holland (there are 6 Beringes in a very close radius of this one)

Originally posted on 52 Weeks:

‘Live authentically and savour each precious moment of your journey, because when you arrive at your destination another journey begins’. – Joe Keane

[So, how this works is each week I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach it’s destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Wow, already week 2 of my 52 weeks are done! The time seems to be flying already, and I’ve not even made it onto the ‘big’ plane to take me back to Canada.  I’ve had an excellent week with John’s rellies in the south of Holland.

We went for a bike ride

Beringe, Holland

Bike Ride – Beringe

around Napoleon’s Canal

Napoleon's Canal

Napoleon’s Canal

- it’s where Napoleon stopped building his canal…

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First stop South Holland

We have been in Holland around a week and had a wonderful time. Our first stop was a hotel near Schiphol as we arrived late. Surprisingly, it was a nice hotel that took two short bus rides to get to but at 50 quid a night no complaints.

We then took a train to Weert and a bus to Beringe in Limburg which is a part of Holland that gets few international tourists. My father’s side of the family are from a village called Beringe. There are six other Beringe’s in Europe.

We relaxed with a bit of cycling and visiting relatives. Debbie returned to England a bit earlier than me but before going back we visited my cousin Marita and her husband Wil in the south at a place called Landgraaf near Maastricht.

We spent a few days exploring the surrounding area with Debbie going back after we visited Valkenburg, Monchau in Germany and the highest point in Holland.

Week 1 – London, UK (the one all other London’s are named after!)

Originally posted on 52 Weeks:

‘Silence is the music of wisdom’ – Apoorer Dubay

This is my first letter of my 52 week adventure going round the world.  So, how this works is each week I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach it’s destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).

My first week has our house getting rented, but we haven’t moved out yet, something we had hoped would happen by July 1st, but has been moved back to July 19th, which is perfectly acceptable, but this hasn’t stopped me starting my adventure for July 1st. 

I went up to London to stay with a friend, as planned.  It was a great break, as it gave me much needed…

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India reliving the past

I was looking through some diaries and found an old one from 1990 when I went to India. I spent six weeks in India with a lovely girl who took lots of photos and regretfully got very sick and had to be flown back to Australia for treatment. Alas we lost contact and I took no pictures as she had a brilliant camera. However, I did keep a detailed diary so I am going to attempt to retrace the route we took 24 years ago with my wife next year and even try to stay at some of the places I stayed last time if they still exist!

I arrived in May 1990 in Mumbai where we stayed at the Red Shields Salvation Army hostel. My abiding memory was having jelly and ice cream and not getting sick. I want to see how the city has changed and revisit some places such as the Gateway to India. Our next stop will be Ahmedabad as a jump off to Mt Abu where I want to go back and revisit the Dilwara Jain Temples. Then we will go to Udaipur where it took four and a half hours on a bus and to see if the Hotel Lalghat still exists and whether we can get a room overlooking the lake. Hoping also to have dinner at the lake palace in the middle of the lake, last time it cost 250 rupees for a slap up dinner. I expect prices may have gone up a bit.

Our next stop will be Jodhpur by overnight train and hopefully get the connecting train to Jasilmer. Last time it took in total 27 hours by train and I stayed at the Tourist Inn. Had a great time as we did a camel trek for several days. I liked Jasilmeer and the medieval feel it had and remember a dinner at a rooftop terrace watching an amazing lightning storm. From there it is back to Jodhpur and again another connecting train to the Pink City or Jaipur. Then on to Agra where this time I hope to avoid burning the soles of my feet on the marble floor. Finally we will end the trip in Delhi.

Not sure what to expect but I am sure there will be a few surprises and challenges on the journey.

The Panic Begins

Procrastination sucks. The deadline is fast approaching where we leave the rainy isles or the UK as it is better known. Time does fly. We leave for Holland for a few weeks in a week. Then a few weeks later Canada. The house is nearly all packed up and rented which is great. But there is still so much to do. I almost paid for travel insurance with World Nomads until I read in the small print that worldwide has several exclusions including India!

Still have not bought a suitcase or backpack and thinking of just getting a cheap one in the UK and buying something more permanent in the USA for the rest of our travels. I also have been a bit slack on the blog with everything happening.

This week we are doing a trail pack which will be fun. I keep looking at other blogs to get an idea of what not to take and what to take. Hopefully things will be clearer and pointers on what to take for a year-long trip RTW welcomed!

Strange places I have slept on the road

Over the years during my travels I have slept in some strange places. In the 1990′s when the Berlin Wall came down I travelled to Hungary and Budapest. On arrival the information office told me that the citadel which had fantastic views of the city and Danube was a hostel so I got the bus up to it. It was a bit of an odd experience on arrival in the afternoon and the place was empty with the exception of an American backpacker. He told me his dorm was empty so I went up to the desk and asked for a bed for the night. The receptionist said the hostel was full. I then said but that guy over there said his dorm was empty. The receptionist looked me up and down, sighed and said Ok you can stay. I went and dumped my backpack in the dorm and went into town to explore the city. When I returned I sat in the reception area as there was no lounge and had a few beers with another backpacker. We noticed all these elderly suited men arriving with beautiful young women. They also went to the left of reception instead of the right where our room was located. They also returned after about half an hour, the penny dropped. I stayed a week at the hostel and I must say it was entertaining and the rooms were kept very clean and I had the dorm mostly to myself. In essence the hostel was a front for the brothel. Years later when I returned to Budapest and went back up to the citadel it become a museum which was even more surreal.

My second experience was arriving around midnight in Cairo airport. Where I joined a Contiki group who were taking the bus into town costing the grand price of 20 pence where the group met there tour guide. We got to Tahir Square and the group disappeared with their guide and I found myself completely alone with not a soul around. I then started to walk looking for a place to stay when a jeep of soldiers armed to the teeth pulled up. They spoke a little English and told me their was a military curfew and I must get off the street. Difficult to do with no taxi’s and not knowing where the hotels were in my price range. They took pity on me and gave me a ride in their jeep to what they said was a nice place called the Hotel Select. On arrival a very reluctant veiled woman after arguing with the soldiers in Arabic finally said come with me. The place was dark, dingy and a smell which was not pleasant enveloped me. My single room was rough to say the least and had seen better days. I was very thankful for my silk liner. This place was the polar opposite of the Budapest brothel in being disgustingly dirty and I had a night fighting off the bed bugs and listening through paper thin walls to some strange groans from neighbouring rooms.

The next day I moved to the Pension Roma which was bed bug free, cleaner and not a house of ill repute!

Has anyone else slept in strange places on the road?

USA draft bucket list

In just over 50 days we travel to Canada and then the USA for several months. I am fascinated by the USA. I have visited New York and Washington, DC. several times and enjoyed both the cities. We are now we are about to embark on a round the USA tour in an RV. It is all a bit overwhelming trying to determine where to go and what to see. In order to make it at least a bit manageable and achievable I have decided to make a USA bucket list and would welcome any suggestions from people.

My USA bucket list

The Grand Canyon
Arches National Park
New Orleans
Yellowstone National Park
Mount Rushmore
The Wave Canyon
Times Square
Gettysburg National Military Park
National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Nashville
The Bourbon Trail, Kentucky
Climb White Butte in North Dakota