The West Europe Road Trip Movie is ready.

Hey together.

Finally, after 2 months, it is done. The movie to our Road Trip is ready. Ok, there are still some mistakes, but honestly… I am done with it. It takes me always 24 hours just to render and upload the movie… not to talk about the editing.
So… be quite and watch ;)

It became 43 minutes long. Probably also a bit boring, for someone who wasn’t there. But to put 9 weeks in a 5 minutes movie is just impossible.
I also recognized that we recorded to much of driving and to less from our adventures. Shit happens.

I hope you’ll like the movie anyway. :)

Solar energy – My experience with my first (portable) solar system

Hi togehter,

today it’s about the subject solar energy for outdoor, backpacking, camping and even at home.
I was thinking a long time already to get a small solar system. I think it is a big advantage if you are not reliable all the time on a socket. Especially when you are camping or backpacking and you are not even close to a socket for days. How to charge your mobile, camera, laptop, torch, etc.?
The only possibility, mobile electricity.

The wish came even more on my trip in north Cyprus, 2 years ago. When I was camping in the middle of nowhere (nature protection area). There I had the situation that I didn’t had socket anywhere. Soon my mobile, my camera and all other electrical stuff was running out of battery. Luckily I found a possibility to charge my devices from a socket. But if I wouldn’t … I would sat in the dark, without emergency call possibility and without camera.

Anyway, I was thinking now a long time already what would be the best solution. Nowadays there are many seller on the market. And even more products.  Which one is good? Which one fits for my needs? … I am not an expert, help!

So I started to have a closer look onto this systems and technique (even I have no idea about this solar stuff). There were just a few market leader around, when I had the first time a look around (2 years ago). Now is it, as I said, different. Now there are many products. And even before they was advertising the products already with the promise that they can charge mobiles, iPads and even Laptops/Netbooks.

After a bit reading in the internet I became suspicious. How can a 10Wp solar cell charge a Laptop? Is it even enough to charge a mobile=
I was reading in several forums and websites and they said always that the current solar systems are not strong enough. At least not for Laptop or Netbook. In the best case a tablet. Mobile or batteries wouldn’t be a problem with most of the solar systems.
So my confusing was even bigger.

Now we went to the big Road Trip and I’ve known that Julia, my travel buddy, had already experience with the solar company ‘Sistech Switzerland’. And we wanted to visit Switzerland anyway. So we planned a stop at Sistech. It was almost anyway on the route.

Solar cell on the carI need to say that Julia was buying before our trip already there. Our car, the Kangaroo, got the biggest solar cell of the company. The ‘Solarlite “Dieci”‘ is the biggest solar cell in the product range, with 18V and 126W. The cell on the roof is connected with a charger controller with a second battery in the car and is supposed to supply to cooling box and to charge several devices. And like that it happen.
We didn’t had the time to connect the second battery to any other supplier source (as we wanted to do it). It got charged only by the solar cell.
And I can say it in advance, the battery was never empty, but also just 2 times full.

So, we visited on our trip the company Sistech in Bubikon-Zurich.
Julia was with the stuff familiar already. She know them better than I thought already. :) She bought earlier, for her Asian trip, solar panels there already.

The people from the company were really nice. The manager – by the way also a Hugo ;) – spend a lot of time with us that day. I wanted to know it now really clear. Is there a system which fits my needs. It has to charge all my batteries (cameras, normal batteries for flashes and torches, mobiles and of course also my netbook). Plus the system should consist also a buffer memory (a big battery), if there is no sun or it is just night. And this buffer has to be big enough to charge the netbook at least one time completely fully and to get charged from the solar cell very quick (as less hours as possible).
Hard needs to a solar system.

Sistech product lineAs I said was Hugo very friendly and took a lot of time for me to answer all my amateur questions as best as possible. It was logical for me that it is not possible to say “This solar cell is charging this buffer in 2 hours full”. Solar energy relays on the sun and it’s power. Are there clouds in front of the sun, then is the gain much less and the buffer is charging slower or not at all. Also the angle to the sun is very important for the gain. The best angle is cell to sun = 90°.
But first of all he was showing me the buffer batteries. The company have a big range of this buffer batteries. From 4400mAh/16,3Wh till 24000mAh/88,8Wh. The biggest was finally my choice. It was big enough to charge my netbook and there would be even power left to charge a few other devices.
Now I’d need to find the right solar cell, to charge the buffer in a proper time.

The range of solar cells is even more big and varied. There are small, big, foldable, stiff, light and heavier solar cells. And every type has different features. Small and light means also less energy. Big, stiff and heavy means of course also more power. (It is always like that in the life.)
So I was choosing the best compromise product. The solar cell ‘Solarfold “Volta”‘ with 17V and 46W (max). There would have been a lighter alternative, the “Chepre”. But this would have had, at approx. the same size, just 18V / 18W. But therefore it would have been a lot lighter and better to carry on a backpack (530g VS 1,6kg).
But for me was the most power important. If I really want to go trekking one day, then I still can buy something lighter.

And the system works like that. I put the solar cell in the sun and connect it with the buffer battery. This will be charged by the solar cell and I can connect the devices to the buffer and it will charge it. The buffer battery model have 2 USB outputs (5V with 1A and 2,5A) and a high power output (9V, 12V, 16V, 19V and 20V, selectable). Optional you can connect it with a car socket, for car charger. Thanks to the USB and included adapters is it easy to connect most of the devices to the buffer battery.

We was also straight looking if all of my devices can be connected to the battery and if I have all adapter. Except of my new pocket camera I had everything and was now ready to charge my netbook, the DSLR camera, batteries and everything else with the solar system. Great! :)

The field test

Now I went with my new solar system on the road trip, through whole west Europe. The first time I used it in north Italy. I was hanging out the solar cell in the morning and connected the buffer battery. The sun was strong that day. It needed good 5 hours to charge the buffer full.
Of course it was first of all totally genius to see how the sun makes electricity. How it works… magic. :) That’s why this day didn’t count… it was emotional. :)

My solar cell in the sunQuickly I realized that on a road trip are not many possibilities to use a solar system. We wasn’t standing often hours around, that I could put the solar cell somewhere and watch it all the time. We was driving a lot and walking around. Also during the driving I couldn’t use the cell, because in the car is mostly no sun. Just Julia was putting her small cell in the front window and was charging with it her small buffer battery. My big one was most of the time stowed away.
However, from time to time I could use it. For example when we parked somewhere longer or we had a lazy day. Mostly I was putting the cell on the roof of the car or on the engine cover and charging the buffer battery like that. But very seldom we had the time to charge it completely. So I had to stop from time to time at Mc Donalds to charge my netbook from the socket. But for my mobile was almost always solar energy available to charge it.

And now the surprise. Back at home in Cyprus I’ve tried the system proper again. The buffer battery was at 0% charge. I was putting the cell in the morning in the sun and was waiting till the battery was full charged.
And now the time: I started it at 10am and full was the battery at 1:15pm. So the solar cell was charging the 88,8 Wh buffer battery one time completely full in 3:15 hours. That is not bad!
But I need to say fairly that it is now summer in Cyprus and the sun here is really powerful. On the other hand I wasn’t careful about the angle to the sun. I guess if I would put the cell in an ideal angel to the sun, then the cell could charge the battery in 2 hours.

I am loading now also at home my small devices (e.g. mobile, tablet pc, batteries, etc.) only with solar energy.

The conclusion

As conclusion I have to say that the solar technique is impressing me a lot – it’s magic. But you really have to check what you want to do with the solar system and what you buy. What do you need? What will you do with the system? What will you charge with the system?
And then is the best to go to an specialist dealer (like Sistech) and get a proper advise.

The market is big and it is good to have a VERY close look on what you buy. Very often are the big advertised offers just junk. I know now that it was a good decision not to buy one of these ‘supermarket mega special offer’. Quality has its price and especially here is quality important (except you have 5 days time to charge your netbook). But therefore you can get nowadays good products already.

I am still surprised how good it works and how we could charge our electrical devices, far from every socket. Just with solar energy.
I think I will also buy the lighter cell, because I don’t want to have 1,6kg hanging on my backpack, if I want to make one day a backpacking tour.

I hope I could help you a bit more and if you have questions, then just write me a comment (I read and answer all! :) ). And have also a look to Sistech and check out the products. And if you have questions, then just contact them. They are really nice! ;)

Along these lines I also would like to thank Hugo and his ladies for the lovely and great advices (and the coffee). Thank you :)

Best wishes
Gordon

Who the hell is Hugo?

Hugo… who the hell is Hugo?

Maybe you was wondering about the name ‘Hugo’, while you was reading my travel reports, already… and you asked yourself… “Hmm? What? I thought they are travelling as a pair only!? Who is now this Hugo? And how they manage to sleep in this small caravan?”. Here the enlightenment. ;)

Hugo is of course no human, he is a donkey. A cuddle donkey, to be exactly. 21 cm tall und 222 gram in weight. But Hugo was not just our mascot or something like this. He was a full crew member. :) He went (almost) everywhere with us and was posing for the pictures.

2 thinks inspired me to Hugo. One thing are the cuddle toy travels, which some special agencies offer. You can send your cuddle toy to this people and they are travelling around with it and show them the world. They take pictures of your cuddle toy in front of sights and write sometimes even small travel reports about it.
And the other source of my inspiration is called Amelie. The movie ‘Amelie’, in which the main actress is sending the garden gnome of her father around the world. A friend of her, a stewardess, takes the gnome with her on the trips and makes ‘holiday pictures’ of the gnome in front of sights all around the world. The sense behind it is that Amelie wants that her father starts travelling, to get rid of his daily life and to see the world.

So I decided to take a cuddle toy with me on the trip and to make pictures of it in front of sights. But I was searching for a special passenger. At Amazon I found it finally… the cool donkey with the sunglasses and the Hawaiian shirt.
That is the right one. We could need such a cool guy in our team. :D

And like that it happen then. The cool donkey came with us on the road trip. :)
But better we let pictures speak now (my Facebook junkies probably know most of the pictures already… it is just easier to publish them on Facebook… but here now all)… have fun.

PS: In fact that I was photographing Hugo with 3 different cameras, the pictures are not sorted well. It starts 3 times from the beginning. Please don’t get confused.

Luxemburg, Belgium, Netherlands… End.

23.07.2013

This morning we slept really long. We got out of the best just around 11. And before we got on the street it was already 12. Luxemburg was on our list today. Exploring a whole country… well, at least the capitol… and it was already 12. Great.

LuxemburgApproximately 100 km and 2 hours later we reached finally the capitol of Luxemburg, Luxemburg. :)
We found very quickly a parking place. The ticked machine said that we have to pay 2 Euro per hour. But just till 6pm. We inserted 6 Euro and could have stayed there until next morning 8 am. But for us was it enough to stay until the evening.

We started to walk into the city center, to the next tourist information. Inge told us the way… was trying at least. But she failed and we couldn’t really find the tourist information and ended up in a shopping information. It’s almost the same, but only for shops. If the tourist wants to leave his money in Luxemburg and don’t know exactly in which stores he can spend it, they will help him. (No joke.) But they could tell us as well where we can find the real tourist information. :) It was just around the corner.

So we went in and asked for the information which we needed… what we can and need to see in the city. There are some things you need to see. On top of the list was the casemate, the plaice and the boulevard.
It was a hot day for Europe and we went first of all into the next ice cream cafe and ordered an ice cream. That was a great idea. We felt straight better. :) Especially because in the other countries, which we visited, where no proper ice cream shops.

Casemate in LuxemburgAfter that refreshment we went to the casemate. But they was closing at 5pm already and it was already half past 4. Luckily is Luxemburg not that big and we reached the casemate already after 10 minutes walking. Buying postcards and passing the plaice already included. :)
The lady at the ticket shop told us that they have open until 5:30pm. Like that we had still 45 minutes to see it. What a luck. The entrance fee was 3 Euro. The prices here are already ok again in Luxemburg.

And we went down in the aisles of the casemate. Basically the same like the Siege tunnels in Gibraltar. A bit different, of course and the canons are a bit smaller. :)
All the time was a young lady close to us. Obviously also a tourist. She had a look here and made a picture there. And doesn’t matter where we was, she was also there. (I am sure not in purpose.) Finally I asked her if she would like to have a picture with her also on it. I know that problem as photographer, that you’re never on the picture. :) Of course she wanted it. I made a picture of her in the casemate and we got into a conversation.
Her name was Amelia and she was from Washington DC (USA). She was traveling already since 13 month, in Europe and Asia. It was the second last day of her trip.
We explored the rest of the casemate together and continued our chat. Where we all come from and what we do and such things.

Hugo in a canonBut we didn’t finished our chat, after we was done with the casemate. We understood really good with Amelia and wanted to spend some more time with her. So we went in the next best cafe and were drinking together. I think we sat there until 7pm, till Amelia had to leave. She had to call urgently with her family.
We spend a bit more time in the cafe, to write our postcards. Actually was Paris the big target and I can’t see postcards anymore. But the circumstances that we travel through more countries brings us to the point that we need to write more postcards. At least for 2 special receiver. One is little Lotta, which got from everywhere a postcard :) and the other is Anna… who got from almost everywhere a postcard :)

As this was also gone, we went back to the car. Again through the city center.
Here, on a place in the middle of the city, we got our 3rd live concert. An orchestra was playing cover songs of famous songs. We was listening to 2-3 of them and moved on. It become dark slowly and we had to get out of the city.
The kangaroo was still standing safely there. Like always. The good kangaroo. :)
The target of the day tomorrow was Liege in Belgium. I wanted to go Brussels, but that was too far away from the route. So, Liege.
I told Inge where to lead us and she was showing us the way out of Luxemburg. And then we had to find a place to sleep again. But before we found a petrol station in Luxemburg. The petrol here was really cheap. 1,38 Euro per liter is rarely cheap on our journey. We had no other choice then to fill up the kangaroo. :)
And then we had do find a place for the night. But it wasn’t that easy today. We was in Belgium already when we finally turned into a forest path and parked there. Even wild animal was observing us, as I could see on its shining eyes in the glow of my torch. :)

24.07.2013

The night ended suddenly at 6am. A thunderstorm was approaching and erupted above our kangaroo. The rain was falling loudly on the roof. We couldn’t see the lightning’s through the non-transparent windows, but the thunder did his job well. It sounded like it was partly direct above us. But a small thunderstorm couldn’t shock us after the night in Andorra. Our only worry was that the forest path will become soft and we will stuck in the morning. Well, we would find it out in the morning… and continued sleeping.

I woke up a bit after again, because I was freezing. Wou… we are back in middle Europe. I tuck myself up and felt asleep again.
At 10am was my alarm clock ringing. We was both not in mood to get up. I switched off the alarm clock and we slept on.
Till I woke up finally half past 12. I still didn’t felt well rested, then we will not see Liege anymore and would just pass Belgium.
But before we finally really started was it 1 already again.

It was still 150km till Liege, a bigger city in Belgium. On the way we stopped … of course… at Mc Donalds and Carefour. But we minimized our internet consumption and was eating quick 2 cheeseburger and used the toilet. At 4pm we was finally in Liege.
The city welcomed us with its industrial side. From there we got strait in the large construction site of the city, which also prevent that we got to our parking place. We had to follow the roadwork’s and went then in direction to the city center and took the next free parking. Into the city center wasn’t it luckily so far anymore.

We went to the first best church, to see at least something of the city. The cathedral was not bad. But we are now a bit spoiled of all the great churches and cathedrals which we saw already before. So, this holly temple couldn’t impress is so much anymore. :)
After the culture trip we went to the shopping street of the city. A normal shopping street with shops and cafes. But somehow the whole city couldn’t impress me. Somehow it appeared grey and depressing. Probably it was also because of the weather. But also the buildings are pale. Souvenir shops are also rare. In a paper shop we could find at least some postcards, which we wrote in the next best cafe and left them in the next postbox. That was Liege. Back to the car and quick leaving here… before we get depressed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo our next target, Maastricht in Netherlands, was it just 40km. So we watched out for a nice parking for the night in a forest. It was just 10 km from Liege.
When we arrived we realized that it is a kind of natural preserve. With a pond full of ducks and geese, a cafe and a big parking. A great place for the night.
It was still very early and we had a look around. We still had a lot of old bread, with which we made the day of the geese and ducks. The cafe didn’t had internet. :( So we decided to park at the end of the parking and to convert our babe.
I could write a bit and to maybe finish an article again. I haven’t published anything since days. And tomorrow we will visit The Netherlands and then is our trip over already.

24.07.2013

A last time but one we was rebuilding the Kangaroo this morning and the get ready for the day. Maastricht was the target of the day. A city in the south of The Netherlands. It was not very far anymore from our sleeping place. Just around 40km. Not even half an hour later we was in Maastricht. Just the oriantation wasn’t that easy… we was circling 2 times (even with Inge) before we found finally the way to the car park.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2,30 Euro per hour was worth for me today to pay, before we have also stress with finding a parking.
Direct in front of the church we found the first church. The cloister was interesting and the treasury we didn’t visit (also because of the entrance fee).

After this piece of culture we went to the city center… to the next tourist information. We got a city map and went off. The map was not very useful and we was following, like mostly, just our nose. The city center of Maastricht is really beautiful. Small, friendly buildings and a lot of shops and people.
We found after a few minutes the town hall square with more shops.  A souvenir shop was also there. It was the first shop we visited. To get some nice souvenirs from Holland… I remembered in the last days a few more people to which I would like to bring a souvenir. But our space is unfortunately very rare. Also I need to bring it all to Cyprus. So, the shopping ended a bit miserable. But the shop was cool. A real general store :)

3D painting in MaastrichtAfter we went further through the city and the shops. I could really get a buying frenzy, if I would have the money and the space. :) We saw some shops which had really interesting and innovative things. I can’t remember single things, but it was all very handy things.
After a few hundred meter we got again to a place, at one end with 2 churches. The St.-Johannes-Church and the St.-Servatius-Basilica. The Johannes church looks a bit strange, because it have a red tower.
2 artists painted a 3D painting on the floor of the place in front of the churches. This kind of painting you need to see from a special angular, for sure from a higher point. This time from the tower of the Johannes church.

So we went to visit this chapel as well and to crawl up the tower. The church itself was empty. With the expectation of a few chairs, a speakers desk and an information desk, on which 2 old woman were sitting. They were also selling tickets for the tower. 2,50 euro per person. Well, therefore it is a nice view. :)
The ascent to the top of the tower was through a very narrow staircase. With oncoming traffic a very tight case. On the half way up was an exhibition of an artist about Rembrandt. And from the top we really had a great view over Maastricht and the surrounding. And of course we could see from up here the 3D painting on the place.

After this culture excursion we went back into the city. We still had to write the postcards, which we bought in the souvenir shop. I limited it this time to 4 cards. Did I mentioned already that I can’t see postcards anymore? :)
No, it is not that bad. But not too much in one time anymore. But they have really beautiful postcards in the Netherlands. So Lotta and Anna got a postcard. :)

On the way back we stopped again at the tourist information and I bought a very special souvenir (which has nothing to do with Maastricht, but it is a cool one :) ). I hope it will survive the way back to Cyprus. Back at the car park we paid our ticked and went then, over this bridge again, to the next postbox. Inge said that there is also a Mc Donalds around the corner. That fits well. :)
When we arrived, we mentioned that it was just a small street, where it was hard to find a parking. And the Mc Donalds didn’t had an own parking. So we stopped for a moment and I just posted the postcards. We didn’t wanted another parking ticket, to stay longer.

The Kangaroo in the forestWe skipped Mc Donalds and thought about a place to stay for this night. It would be the last night. Tomorrow we would be back in Germany.
Inge was showing us a few side streets in a forest area, close to the German border. That looked good on the map. So we went there… and could read on every single street “Just for forest vehicles.”. Well, our Kangaroo wasn’t looking like a forest vehicle.
But then I saw a spot on the map which looked like a parking, in the same forest. We drove to the other side of the forest and really it was a bigger parking, direct at the forest. A great place for a last night into the wild. :)

We parked between some trees and converted the Kangaroo.

25.07.2013

And how much this place was suitable. The trees, under which we was standing, was spending shadow in the morning. Even in the late morning it was nice cool in the Kangaroo.
Of course we was also late on this morning. Why to make a difference on the last day? But it didn’t matter today. From here we just was going back to Germany and then would be everything over.
We was wasting time. I made a movie from our little Kangaroo… and slowly we packed our stuff together and left the parking place.

It was just 8 km from there to Julias home. Not even 15 minutes later I parked the Kangaroo a last time and switched off the engine.

Best wishes
Gordon


Größere Kartenansicht

Paris

20.07.2013

The night was calm and nobody disturbed us. We got up very relaxed in the morning.
Well, me first. I was out of cigarettes and couldn’t get some in the evening. The cigarette shop at the railway station, just around the corner, was also closed already. Luckily it was open in the morning already. So I went there first of all and bought my drugs. Back to the car it take a while till we could start finally.

The flat of Julias friend in Paris was just 23km away. On the way we stopped at a small Lidl. But we couldn’t get what we wanted, but a post office was around the corner. We still had postcards to send. But Julia had to write hers first of all. So we parked for an hour on the parking… without paying the ticket. :o Then we went to Paris.

The stress on the streets was luckily not so hard. I expected it much more badly. But maybe Inge was leading us good… apart from the main stream. Except of a small stop and go on the highway was there no trouble. And this in the middle of Paris. We found the house of the friend very easy (thanks to Inge) and even got a parking almost direct in front of it. Just she wasn’t at home yet. She would arrive first in the evening. So, our plan for the day was the Eifel tower.

Subway in ParisAfter a small shopping in a small supermarket around the next corner, we went to the next subway station. The nice lady at the ticket center explained us where to go and we went in the underground of Paris. Interesting subway here. Or maybe it just seems ‘different’ to me. We had to go with the line 13 to the next station and then changing to the number 6 till the station at the Eifel Tower. In the subway 6 was suddenly a young guy starting to play and instrument. In the subway and loud. But he was not bad. Of course I had to take out my GoPro and had to make a movie of it. Just before the Eifel Tower station he went around with a cup… why that was so clear that this will happen. But he was good and I gave him some coins.

When we arrived at our station I realized that the subway became an overhead railway. The Eifel Tower was just 500 meter in front of us. On the way to it I realized a lot of black people, which tried to sell toy Eifel Tower to the tourists. Of course were there a lot of souvenir shops on the way. We had here and there a look, but we wanted to see first of all THE landmark of Paris. And we arrived there a few minutes later. In the middle of the city is this metal monster standing. At the beginning of a big park.

Hugo and the Eifel TowerIt is stunning and amazing to see the famous Eifel Tower in real. To see it with my own eyes. It looks smaller in real, then it’s famous status lets expecting it. But anyway great. We sat down on the meadow and tried to realize that we are here.
After a few minutes we went further and had a look around. There are also toilets… totally crowded of course… for woman. The men toilet wasn’t that full.

Then we passed the ticket shops. Up or not up, that was the question. It was around 3pm already. I wanted to go up, I am here now already. Julia was not so interested in it. So we decided that Julia will wait down and I will go alone up on the tower.
The tower has several ticket shops and entries. At one was a very long line, at another one was it long. And then I saw one ticket shop where no line was. I was asking myself why. But then I saw that someone went there and got a ticket. Then was it empty again. Maybe it is a special ticket shop or maybe the people like to go to the crowded shops.
So I went there and asked if I can buy a ticket here … and got it. Through a side entry, which was only for people with a ticket, I could get into the staircase of the tower… took me 3 minutes to get in the tower. At the other shops I would had to wait for at least 30 minutes.

I bought a normal ticket for the stairs, not going up with the elevator, up to the second floor. I was not sure if I want to get up to the top, when I arrive at the second floor. So I went first of all to the first platform. From here I had a good view over Paris already. I went one round around the tower and made pictures. :) Then continuing to the second platform. From here was the view more better. Again I made pictures and movies. Up here are even souvenir shops. I bought a postcard for Anna, but nothing else. It was even more expensive up here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then I saw the line to the first platform and rethought my plans to go up to the top. Luckily I couldn’t even find an open ticket shop up here.
I went slowly down again. The trip in the tower took me around one hour. Not really much. So I had a look first to the meeting point with Julia. She was lying in the grass there and was calculating our expenses.
I was lying down as well in the grass and took a rest from my exhausting tour. :)

After half an hour we got up and started to walk around, to have a look in the park. I wanted to go a bit further, to make pictures with the Eifel Tower in the landscape. During our tour we saw the finish of a bicycle race (Tour de London to Paris). Tomorrow is here even the finish of the Tour de France.
We made some pictures of it, bought some more souvenirs and went slowly back to the subway station. It was already half past 5 and around 6-7pm we had the date with Anais.

On the way back we passed also some thimble rigger. Julia stopped to watch them. I stopped as well and watched it as well. Looked simple. Someone always turned around the wrong one and another one turned around the right one then. It was always clear where the ball is. The point came where I couldn’t anymore… it is clear what’s next. I was 150% sure where the ball is… but it wasn’t there. Julia told me that I shouldn’t do that…
My stupidity got punished very painful. Especially because we are traveling with a low budget… it would have been a petrol filling for the Kangaroo.
I think I’ve learned something from it and will make a big circle in future around this cheater. I was really angry, mostly about myself. The nice money, what I could have made with it this evening… well, it was gone.

We arrived back at the railway station where we started from. A few meters further were the café where we wanted to meet with Anais. The café had charm. The street was very ‘French’. Like Paris is in my head. A small street with walkways on which the cafés put their chairs. And here are the people sitting and drink their coffee or whatever. The people which walk on the pavement doesn’t bother at all that they have to share the pavement with the café customers.

We went to the café, in which we wanted to meet, and was waiting on Anais. She came soon and we sat together an started to chat. :) The girls about their time in Asia, about our trip and a bit bla bla. Things people talk about.
We became hungry and relocated in a restaurant. The ladies ordered the fish menu of the day and I had a steak. And one is sure, Paris is not a cheap city. A dish cost generally 16 euro (and I wasn’t full after), dessert 8 euro generally, beer 4 euro, a scoop of ice cream 2,50 – 4,50.

Around 12 we were back at Anais home. Finally we could take a shower, surfing in the internet and more talking. We could also sleep in her small flat. And the first time since 8 weeks we didn’t slept in the Kangaroo. The girls were sharing the bed and I slept on one of our airbeds.

21.07.2013

We were alone when I woke up. Julia was already awake and Anais wasn’t there anymore. Julia was reading a note, which she left for us. That we shall send her a SMS when we are awake, so she will come back with breakfast. Totally sweet! :) She woke up earlier and didn’t wanted to disturb us sleeping and went to a café. That was very… yeah, sweet. :)

It was already half past 10am when we finally got out of the bed. It wasn’t so nice then in the Kangaroo but anyway great to sleep alone. Julia was sending a message to Anais, that we got up now and she was 5 minutes later back with a bag full of sweets from the bakery. Amazing :)
And I got even a coffee…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter the breakfast we started our day trip. First of all was Notre Dame on the list. With the subway we went almost until the doors of the cathedral. The line on the entrance was huge again. But this time the people went true quickly. It looked like we have to wait at least for half an hour, but at the end it wasn’t even 5 minutes. Inside it was like… in a church. Like many others as well, but still different. The atmosphere was different here. I think it’s because of the design of the cathedral. I would say the atmosphere is mystical. It has also huge mosaic windows.
But there is not much to see. We went one time through and sat down after on a bench, before we left it again.

We went further by feet to the La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre. Another church. But before we had another plan. We took pick nick stuff with us and wanted to make our pick nick here. The church is on a hill and we went it up a bit, to sit down on a meadow. Of course we weren’t alone there. The place was full with people. The dark colored people was also ‘at work’ already again and trying to take the tourists to the cleaner (partly almost brutally). And direct in front of us were Korean musicians busy to get ready for a concert there. They just made a sound check. It sounds very interesting. We hoped that they start the concert before we leave. But after one song they left into a tent and didn’t come back. Pity.
Anyway was it a nice pick nick. The place was already a bit higher on the hill and we could watch Paris from a bit higher position.

P1000954 (Kopie)After our pick nick we went up to the Sacre Coeur. A church which I wouldn’t recommend as interesting. Only the painting at the front is interesting. At the try to make a picture of it, a guy came and pointed me rude on the fact that making pictures is forbidden here. No I’ll go to hell… if I would be a member of this sect…
We went out there immediately and went further to the place of the artists, named Place du Tertre. It is a square place at which a few artists try to sell their paintings and even paint there in public on the street. Of course are there also some bars and souvenir shops.

From there we walked to my personal sightseeing highlight. The café Les 2 Moulins. The famous café from the movie ‘Amelie’. Anais was with us the whole time, of course. And she was leading us through this big city. :)
We were drinking a coffee there as well, of course. We was anyway really thirsty from all the walking.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe café is a bit different then in the movie. At least was it not that easy to realize that this is THE café. But with a closer look… the bar, the toilets, the door to the kitchen, the entrance door. But the chairs standing different, there are many mirrors which are not that visible in the movie. (I need to see the movie again to check this details. :) ) That we was in the correct café I could realize at the people.
Sometimes came people in, made a picture and left straight away again.
It was definitely cool to drink a coffee in THE café. :)

Moulin RougeA few pictures later (from inside and outside) we went further. Back to Anais home.
After another small walk through the city, where we passed as well the famous Moulin Rouge, we went back to the subway station and back home to Anais.
Our feet where tired and hurting already.
Back home I wrote a bit, Anais was cooking a great salad, which we eat as dinner. And we went early to bed, because she had to work tomorrow again.

22.07.2013

So we had to get up very early today. Anais had to leave at 8 to work. We could stay a bit longer in her flat, to take a shower and so. But at 9 we had to be gone from the parking, because it was free on the weekend, from Monday 9am it became a payable parking.
So, we said Good Bye to our friend, took a shower and then go. Back on the street in direction to Luxemburg. I imagined driving in Paris much more badly, but it was very calm (for such a huge city). The Kangaroo didn’t got even a scratch. Good!

After a quick stop a Lidl, to refill our provisions. The rest of the day we spent on the street, until Sedan. Here we went again to Mc Donalds. We still had to write postcards, which we had to send from France, as long as we are in the country. A bit internet is also always good. After we wrote our postcards and used the internet enough, we went in the shopping center opposite. Outside was a postbox, where we left our postcards and then we went shopping a bit.

And then back on the street a bit. We came till Belgium. Around 100km was still left to our next target in Belgium. But for now we found a lonely, but huge, parking in the forest. Like made for us. We converted the Kangaroo and went around midnight to sleep.

Best regards
Gordon


Bigger map

Versailles

17.07.2013

The night was very calm. I was afraid that someone from the camping place will come to shoo us away. But nobody came. We got up very relaxed at 9:30. I drunk a coffee in the café and used the clean toilet of course.

After we packed everything together we went back on the street. First of all down to the sea again. It was just around the corner. To say Good Bye to the sea. From now on we would drive in the country side and wouldn’t see the sea again.
We sat down on the stones and was just looking on the sea for half an hour. While we were sitting there I found shells of oysters between the stones and collected some as souvenirs. :)

And then we went back on the street. On the country roads through France. The rest of the day we were just driving. With one stop at Carefour (supermarket).

Around 6pm we went again to our favorite restaurant. First of all we were eating something and I had to work urgently. We stayed here until they closed. My work took longer than expected.
Just before they closed I ordered another burger and a milk shake. That was the vengeance of Mc Donalds. One of both wasn’t good anymore… my stomach was against it. Just ‘pity’ that Mc Donalds just closed… I had a funny evening…

18.07.2013

My stomach was healing a bit over night… but not fully ok. I dared to get a coffee… no burgers or shakes anymore.
We went away there very quickly… before other bad things would happen.

Also today we were most of the time on the road. Target was a place just before Versailles. I found a lake on Inges maps and told her to lead us to this point. It was working fine, till the last turning. The field road was overgrown. No way to pass it. :( So, to the next lake. I wanted to sleep nice calm direct on a lake.

Also the next one we couldn’t reach. Here was a sign which told us that it is the end of the road and further is it a private road. Using prohibited. Later we realized that it was the lake of the golf course :D

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, we were moving on, until we found finally a nice place direct next to a field. It seemed to be a great alternative place and we parked here.

To mark the occasion we took a shower… this time our own. A shower out of the bottle. We had enough water with us. And we went fresh (thanks to the field shower) to bed. :)

19.07.2013

Our field place was a good idea. Nobody disturbed us in the night and the trees behind us were spending shadow the whole morning. Thanks to that we could sleep long this morning and the alarm clock was first at 10 am ringing. What a great morning. We enjoyed it extensive at the field and started first around noon.

Target today was Versailles. The city with the probably most known castle in Europe. The castle of Versailles, in which the treaty of Versailles was signed.
Versailles was just 10 km from our sleeping place away. But first of all we needed urgently petrol. So we went to the next cheap petrol station. Good that petrol stations from supermarkets are reliable. We went to the next Carefour petrol station and got the good 95er for 1,52 Euro per liter. Mostly you’ll find only 95er with E10. But Julia didn’t want this stuff for the Kangaroo.
Also in France is makes every petrol station its own prices. We recognized price differences of over 10 cent in a small radius.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen we went finally to Versailles. I was afraid that it will be busy on the street, but it was more or less relaxed. We didn’t drive much through the city. The castle is visible from far away already. But first of all we needed a parking place. Which we found very quickly. Not direct in front of the castle (even there were also parking places), but therefore one with a parking ticket until the next day. So we had also a place to sleep in the night. It’s not allowed to stay there with a camper, but we are not a camper ;)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was late already when we started to the castle finally. Around half past 3. The first point of interest was … Mc Donalds of course. Just quickly eating something and then straight further to the castle. Around 3 we were finally at the castle. And this is a castle! It’s huge. The courtyard is huge already. And it was full with people. Julia even realized in this crowd a line of waiting people, which I didn’t realized. And the line was huge as well. We went to the ticket office and the guy said that we will wait approx 30 minutes, to get into the castle. The alternative is the gardens. This would be free.
After a we were thinking a while about the opportunities we decided not to spend the 16 Euro for the castle and to visit the gardens first. We could come back tomorrow morning to see the castle itself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd so grabbed a free map and went to the gardens. Also here… impressive huge. I don’t even know if huge is the right word. Gardens, flowers, trees, lakes, fountain, statues… as far as you can see. The last lake is so huge that you can drive on it with a rowing boat. And of course a lot of people.
We had a look around on the right side first and decided that the bright side is not always the best choice. Sometimes is it better to walk on the shadow side.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo we went at the next best chance to the left side of the way. It was by chance a fountain. We stopped here some minutes and relaxed a bit. Then we walked further to the big pond. Here was a meadow in front of it. Some people was lying on it and we did the same. We relaxed, watched other people and I made some pictures (of the garden!).

After that great break we continued our excursion through the park. It’s approx 3,5km long, according to the map. But we went through gardens back in direction to the castle. We reached it after approx one hour and sad down close to the ticket office on a bench. Here is supposed to be free wifi… but we couldn’t find it. Instead we made a break and had a chat with 3 girls from Germany, which just made a holiday week in France. After our break we went back to the car.
A small visit in the city center and we found a bakery for a Baguette and a small supermarket for some other shopping. It was already half past 8 and all other shops was closed already.

Back at the car we made a very yummy dinner with original French Baguette. Interesting and tasty.
And of course there can’t be a Mc Donalds visit be missing in the evening. We had one just around the corner. I wanted to make a research for the address of the café, from the movie Amelie, in Paris. I need to see it, when I am already there. And also I needed to check my emails.

Around half past 12 we converted finally the car and hopefully nobody will bother us in the night. In the evening was a breakdown car came on the parking and a guy was running around to inform everybody who was at his car this time that tomorrow all cars have to be gone. The Tour de France will pass by the day after tomorrow and the parking must be empty at this time. But we will be (unfortunately) not here anymore at this time. Tomorrow we will drive straight to Paris in the morning. I hope we will get out of the bed early this time.

Best wishes
Gordon


Bigger map

Dune du Pyla and Cap Ferret

13.07.2013

Also this night was very calm. The rubbish collection came in the morning, direct next to us of course. Then the Mc Donalds opened finally and we could get breakfast… coffee and a cheeseburger for me and 2 hamburgers for Julia :)

Around 10 we packed together and was ready to go… but just around the corner, to the Lidl next to it. Here we filled up our stocks and went back on the street, in direction to the Dune du Pyla. It was still 200 km to drive.

The route was leading us through all the little villages there. And every 500 meter a roundabout. Roundabouts are a great invention, but when there is one every 500 meter then is it annoying. It was going on like that for the next 40km. Until we reached the freeway finally. Now we could travel faster again.
Just a few kilometers later we were in front of a tollbooth. But it was forbidden for Inge to lead us via toll roads. I guess they were rebuilding a freeway into a highway with toll and Inge didn’t have it in the system yet.
Ok, 1,80 Euro are still a good price and we could travel faster. Later we had to pay again 1,80 Euro. Therefore we were in 3 hours at the Dune.

On the access road to the parking we could get a small view on the 100 meter high sand dune. The Dune du Pyla is the biggest shifting dune in Europe. Over 2km long, 500 meter width and over 100 meter height. It’s shifting around 1-5 meter every year.
We parked the Kangaroo on the parking and went straight to the dune. It’s amazing to see such huge pile of sand. So much sand and no sand mold… :) (It’s a saying)

The stairs to the top of the dune.There are even stairs up on the top. We went up the steps (it’s really exhausting) and was standing a few minutes later on this sand hill and had a great view around, the bay and the rest of the dune. The dune looks from the top like a small desert. Just the temperature is more pleasant. :)

Gordon on the duneWe was sitting (and lying) at least one hour on top of the sand mountain, before we went back down. But this time we was running the dune down… in the sand. One time running down a dune… fun, fun, fun! :)
After viewing the dune we went souvenir shopping. What else? :) We found some special postcards, which look like a bottle message. Practical, especially here. Because it is great to fill some sand in it and to send it then. :) But these ‘postcards’ are expensive, so just my most beloved people will get one. :) I was sending so many postcards already, I can’t see postcards anymore…

Actually we also wanted to eat an ice cream there, but be was wasting too much time with other things… the ice cream house was closed already.
So we went to a parking place, which 2 other camper, which we met on the dune, recommended to us. After all the usual camping places shall be a place which is free of charge. When you drive the street parallel to the Dune du Pyla, then you will pass 4 camping places. 2-3 km after the last camping place you’ll see on the right side a place with several campers. That is the place. Not far from the beach, with (dirty) toilets and some restaurants near to the beach.

We met the both people from the dune again here and parked next to them. A father and his daughter. They also make half a Europe trip, just the other way around. He is German and his daughter is half Sri-Lanka and half German.
We were talking with them for quite a while and went then to bed. … Before 12, premiere for us :)

14.07.2013

We slept until half past 10 today. Another premiere. But it was really good. Fresh and well rested we started in our day today.

And the whole day went like that. We didn’t left the place today anymore. The whole day just relaxing. I wrote a bit for my blog and Julia relaxed in the hammock. Like that we wasted the whole day. Another resting day where we could relax.

In the evening we invited Amanda for a BBQ. Amanda is the lady which we met the day before on the dune. Together with her father. Amanda is just 17, be we hit it off. She is a beautiful young lady, without being smug and also with brain. In this age is that combination rare. So we decided to spend some time with her, that she can experience something without her father. To do something with ‘young’ people.

One hour before sunset we packed the BBQ stuff together and went to the beach, to make there a nice pick nick with BBQ at sunset. Very nice!
On this day was also a national holiday in France and everywhere we could see, far away, some fireworks. One of it last for at least one hour. It wasn’t ending anymore :)

Around midnight it became a bit cold at the beach and we went back to the cars. We brought Amanda save back to her ‘home’ and went then also to bed.

15.07.2013

The night was ending at half past 9. Of course we wasted time, arse around till 5pm. I was talking with Amanda and Julia went away with Friedrich somewhere… for around 2 hours. We was worried already. But when I was looking after them, I found them just around the next dune and they were talking and talking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome when they came back. We said good bye from both and went to the Dune du Pyla another time. We had to collect sand for the ‘postcards’. :) After we went to the café again and was finally eating our ice cream. Ok, I had a discussing Cappuccino and a Crepe with Nutella.
After it we went to the other side of the bay. It was good 80km to the Cap Ferret. On the way we stopped for 2 hours at Mc Donalds. I published quickly another article. The one for south Portugal. Slowly I start to be long behind with the articles. But what to do? I don’t want to spend all my time just to write and translate my articles. Then I’ll not do anything else anymore.

After Mc Donalds we went to the Cap Ferret, to the other side. It was almost dark when we arrived at the end. We got a quick view on the Dune du Pyla from the other side.
Here was a restaurant, which was just closing. But luckily it has an open WLAN, which was also on in the night. So we converted on the parking and used this free service for a while, till we fall asleep some when.

16.07.2013

P1000856 (Kopie)We got up very late today. Around 10 maybe. It was already high life at the Cap Ferret. A lot of people were there already. We went first of all to the restaurant and ordered a coffee. Ok, Julia a cacao, because she don’t drink coffee.
The coffee was 4 Euro (even it was better than the one yesterday).

After we went to the beach and had a look to the dune by daylight, from the other side. From here it looks much smaller, as if you are standing on top. But still big.
A boy just brought a huge jellyfish on the beach. That was another highlight, even a sad one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe packed our stuff and went back. I needed urgently cigarettes, because my one finished. But that is not that easy in France. Just special shops are selling cigarettes and they are well hidden. We was asking in the next village for such a shop and they was sending us through half of the village… but we couldn’t find the shop. We drove further and I found one direct on the street. 6,70 Euro per package… there is it better to stop smoking. … I bought 2…

Half a chicken we bought as well… we were hungry.

Then the big question… what to do now? Actually we wanted to go straight to Paris, to visit a friend from Julia. But during a phone call yesterday we got informed that the friend will be first in 5 days in Paris. Now we have 5 more days to fill up in France. What to do?

We decided to visit a small island in the north. I wanted to go till the Bretagne, but this detour would have been too far, said Julia. The tires are at their limit already, from the profile. So, the island.
I told Inge where do we want to go and she was calculating the route … and we started. But first to the next Lidl… our drinks was almost empty. We needed urgently supplies and got them. Actually we wanted to try a local store… again not. Next time.

Inge told us the way… until another bay. But suddenly we found us in front of a ferry, instead of a bridge. And they wanted 29,50 Euro to bring us to the other side. To drive back was not a solution, because this bay went down till Bordeaux, where we just came from. And to drive 300km back cost the same then the ferry, at the end.
So we had to pay the 30 Euro and went with the ferry. Again something new… but too expensive for our budget.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally we arrived and could drive on. Until the bridge to the island. Now they wanted again money, for the usage of the bridge… 16 Euro. They are really mad. This time we turned around and didn’t drove on the island… and didn’t pay. Just before the toll house we turned around and went to the next camping place. But it was full. Not our day today…

But the nice lady from the restaurant was so friendly and let us takes a shower and we bought therefore a cacao and a glass of wine. But a wine on an empty stomach is not a good idea. So we are now on the parking place of the camping place and will stay here for the night. We got also this permission from the nice bar lady, even it is probably not in her authority. But it doesn’t matter for us. It is a great place to sleep.

Best wishes
Gordon


Größere Kartenansicht

Nature protection reservoir in north Portugal and Santiago de Compostela

09.07.2013

The morning started relaxing like always. The sun was high on the sky already, but with the wind from the sea was it still nice. We opened the sliding doors on both sides a bit and had a nice draught.

We was very lazy today. No mood for nothing. And the best was to make a lazy day again. Especially with this nice beach in front of the door and the internet. Like that I could write a bit more for the webpage and we could relax. Sounds strange, but when you are every day somewhere else, then is it also exhausting. And I am always the driver, on top.

Gordon at the beachIn the afternoon we even managed it to go a while to the beach. The weather was good and the sea… sorry, the ocean, looks really nice here. Unfortunately is the current also very strong here and the waves are strong as well. Just Julia went full in and I was enjoying the surf. It’s anyway cold in the Atlantic.

There is nothing else to tell about today :)

10.07.2013

What can I say? We got up today… like every other day as well :) Maybe a bit earlier today, then usually. Our nice lady from the tourist office, Ielva, was sending us a SMS that we definitely have to visit the nature park. We had a look where it is… and it would be direct on our way to Santiago de Compostela. So we decided to check it out. Maybe it could save Portugal from its ‘boring’ status.

I was drinking again a coffee in the café, 10 meters away (also to use the toilet). And then we started the engines. :) First of all we went to the next post office. We still had to send our postcards, before we could leave Portugal, which would be the next day. Inge was leading us, in the next village, to the local post office. But I couldn’t see any post office, when we arrived. I just saw a pharmacy. Maybe the post office is in it. So we went in and asked if here is the post office. No, around the corner. Ahh… ok. So we Post office in Portugalwent around the corner, behind the house. There was a DIY store. Hmm… we saw a tiny sign with ‘Correiro’ (portug. For post). Okk… we went in the store. Looked like an information stand in a DIY store… in which was no light. The both guys in there were talking to each other and one was typing something.  They didn’t deigned to look at us… for minimum 10 minutes. We felt a bit ignored. We wanted to go already, as we got finally a bit attention. Julia was waving, a bit pissed off, with the postcards, in the hope that they will understand what we want. The lady, which joined the scene, took the postcards and started to read them… the addresses and the messages… we didn’t thought we become mad. Then she started calculating and the man, who had to translate, because he spoke a bit English, said that we have to pay a little amount, because we used the wrong stamps. The ones we used where only for Portugal. Interesting… someone was cheating us. But what could we do. So we paid another 5 Euro for our postcards… which went hopefully on their journey. So, who gets a postcard from Portugal, please let me know!

Nature park in GeresAfter that experience we went further to the north. To Geres. Here starts the natural protection reservoir (or it is already in it). It starts already with a nice lake, on which they offer even water sports. We stopped quick for some snapshots and went straight further to Geres. But we went also just trough, on the way to the next camping place. I wanted to see how the prices here are. We reached the next camping place, which was easy to find, by all the signs, very adventurous. The surrounding here looks really like a nature protection reservoir. The nature is very lush, in compare to the rest of Portugal (but also south Spain or Cyprus). Many trees, hills, fern and so on. And of course mountains again. And almost no traffic, which is good with this narrow streets here.
The way to the camping place was leading us down from the tarmac, on a country road. We had to drive over a wooden bridge, crossing a river… I was a bit worried. :) And further on a ‘field road’ to another bridge. Here was a Stop sign (on the bridge) and we could recognize a camping place. A young man came and took the sign away, to give us the way free…

We went first of all to the reception and asked for the prices. 3,50 Euro per person and per car. So, 10,50 Euro for one night for us. Very nice prices.
But it was just noon and we wanted to have a look around. Julia was asking the guy what we could see here. We were especially interested in waterfalls. In a bad English/Portuguese mix he tried to answer our questions (very friendly and helpful). We bought also straight a map from this area. So we could check on the way also where we are and what where is. Our navigation systems wasn’t helpful here. Inge had at least streets here.

The first point was an allegedly a great waterfall (we saw a picture in the office of the camping place… looked great). We had to went up the hill. Via small, narrow roads and many curves. The slopes we could drive mostly with not more than 30km/h.  But it was ok. Like that we could see more from the park. And we can also slowly arrive at our target.
We reached finally the point where the waterfall is supposed to be. But there was no waterfall. Instead of the waterfall we found … well, a small waterfall and a natural pond in front of it. That looked also very nice… for the first time. Just the parking was around 300 meter up the road. I could convince Julia to a small walk and we were walking to the pool. It was a bit lower located and the decline was a bit complicated… but it was worth it. There were a lot of people already. Mostly young people.
The water was crystal clear and chilly as well. Actually exactly as we needed it. And as I said already, with a small waterfall.
Of course I didn’t go there without my diving mask. And we went straight snorkeling a bit. We was a bit surprised to find small trouts in this little pond. They were swimming there happy between all the people.

We stayed there around an hour and enjoyed the atmosphere of the pool. :) Then we went back to the car. The map was showing more waterfalls. We wanted to try another one. The next one was 10km away. We had to drive back to the camping place, from which we started. Inge doesn’t know waterfalls, of course and so we told her to lead us to a small village behind the waterfall. This one she knows.

Unfortunately we was probably on a point where she was a bit confused. So we made a victory lap on one of the most plunge road I ever drove. I have no idea how many percent the descent was… I would guess around 30%. And the with curves and narrow roads through a village. We made it without any accident… luckily. And came back to the same point where we started. We took a wrong turn. So back again and now the right turn.

We went some more kilometers through this beautiful nature and landscape. Lonely streets up the hill and down again. I can count the cars we passed on one hand. Partly we got a view from the hill over the whole valley and Geres. Amazing beautiful. And the forest looks partly really like an enchanted forest… here is Portugal’s true beauty hidden.

We had to take a turn, on which the road ended and a sand trail started. It was leading us to a bridge. From here we had to walk to the waterfall. But it’s just a few minutes by walking. He is just around the corner. This waterfall is already more impressive. He has 4 levels. From the top is the water falling into a pool, approx. 8-10 meters deep. Then the next fall into a pool, 4-6 meters deeper. And then the big fall to the bottom, which is approx. 20-30 meter. From the 4th to the 3rd floor was just climber busy with abseiling. It also looked like that a cave is in the 3rd level. At least I believe that I saw stalactites and I couldn’t see the end of the cave. Now I am curious of course :) But I think I will never know it…

It became late slowly… what to do? After a bit watching around, we found not far a parking with view. Just made to sleep there :) We parked there and made a BBQ (with a common grill of course). It was a great day and a great evening. :)

And the best was, after we converted the car, the light was off and the night came. I never saw such a clear star sky. I could see clear the Milky Way. A dream (just hardly to ban it on a picture or video).

11.07.2013

It was again a surprising morning. We woke up from very strange, very close noises. Like a jingle. Goats? … Goats! … What now? Julia opened carefully the door and we got a very … strange view. Direct next to our car was goats walking. But not just 5 or 6 … dozens.
A goat is looking in the car.The goats didn’t feel bothered by the car. Not even as Julia opened the door and we was starring out of the car. They just passed by, like here would park every day a car and strange tourists would stare out of it.
Just 2 or 3 stopped for a moment and was gaping inside like we were gaping out… and continued walking after a few seconds.

But suddenly one young ram felt bothered from our car and attacked the kangaroo. We, still inside, could hear how it was hitting the bumper with its horns. Julia tried to banish it from inside by calling it. But it didn’t work out. Finally she got dressed and went out of the car, to stop the ram. Actually we didn’t want to present us to the shepherd, because we were still in a nature reservoir and he shouldn’t really now that we are in the car.
But Antonio, this was his name, wasn’t interested in it. Julia caught him quickly in a ‘conversation’. If you can call it like that. Antonio didn’t spoke any English and we don’t speak Spanish. But somehow we understood that his name is Antonio and he takes care of 500 goats… which just passed us. His shepherd dogs were small… I mean really small. I have no idea what race it was, but they were mini. But they were 2 and very agile. They were good after the goats.

We packed together, after this interesting start in the day, and went to the next highlight of the day. A shower under the waterfall or at least in the pool in front of it. The waterfall was just 100 meter back the way we came from. So we was rolling down the hill and parked the car a bit below. We packed our stuff… diving mask, snorkel, GoPro and swimwear… and started. On The pool at the waterfallthe stony riverbed in direction to the waterfall. We reached a pool which we couldn’t pass without swimming through it. But we couldn’t see the waterfall itself yet. It was around the next corner. But the pool looked also very nice. So we changed and went carefully into the water. The water was again crystal clear and a bit colder. Also here were small fishes inside. But I don’t know which race.

We relaxed here for approx 1-2 hours. It was a beautiful place. Quite and calm. After the swimming we laid down on a big stone in the sun.
Julia found in the pool a bottle of beer. It was still closed and good. It will sweeten one of my next evenings. :)

Some when we realized that we still have a long way in front of us today and that we should better start. The target of the day was Santiago de Compostela. The end of the Camino de Santiago. It was still 200km to drive. It doesn’t sound far, but without a highway it takes it’s time.

We had to drive through the whole reservoir again. A very beautiful place and the most beautiful in Portugal, which we saw here. Just here I could spend weeks, to go on photo tour. The reservoir adjoins in the north to Spain. We left the park direct to Spain.

Cathedral of Santiago de CompostelaAround 5pm we reached Santiago de Compostela and walked straight to the cathedral, of course. Santiago has a very beautiful and old city center and the cathedral is really not bad. Old… and she looks like that. But it has its own charm.
We needed also postcards. So we checked first only the opening hours. The cathedral itself is open until half past 8pm. So we had enough time to go to buy postcards and some souvenirs. The streets around the cathedral are full with souvenirshops and cafes. We bought some postcards, stamps and souvenirs and went back to the cathedral.

Basically is it very simple. No paintings on the walls, no marble… but 2 things strike the eye immediately. The organ with its tubes, which are hanging into the room and the huge golden altar. And you can go in. Below are catacombs, which are also partly open.

For our surprise they started a mess at 7:30 pm. No camera and no video were allowed anymore. And being quite was requested. Julia wanted to stay, I am not really a friend of this things. But ok, in this special cathedral… an exception. :) So we sat down on a bench and I hold my camera shut.
A nun came on the microphone and said something in Spanish. She finished her speech and the organ started to play and she started to sing… breathtaking! She had an amazing voice and with the acoustic in this place… amazing.
Then someone else was speaking and in between she sang again, from time to time. And then came the best. The filled up the incense holder and moved it… and how they moved it! I really thought it will fly out of the window in a second. At this point I didn’t know the whole cathedral and didn’t know that there is another hallway to the left and right of the holder. The people who were sitting there must have got the whole incense load.
After one hour was the mess over. Of course I made secretly a movie with my GoPro. I had to record the nun. I hope the sound is good on the movie, I couldn’t check it yet.

We continued to have a look around, after the mess was over. Until we got kicked out, not even 10 minutes later. And really kicked out. A guy was running around and told the people very rude to leave the cathedral.
We decided to have a look into the city center and then to walk in direction to the car. Behind the second corner we heard suddenly music. The sound was very interesting and it was anyway on our way. Around the next corner was a place. And in the middle of the place was technique and between was musicians sitting. An orchestra… wou. In front of the orchestra were stone steps.
Concert on a city placeWe stopped and listening to the music. Really nice music style… and the acoustic on the place… just great. We decided to stay longer and sat down on the stairs, in front of the musicians.
We sat there at least one hour and listened banned to the music. I can’t say which style it was. It wasn’t classic. At the end they were playing something African style.
I made videos. So you need to wait until it is uploaded. ;)

We stayed there until the concert was over. It was already half past 9 and we had to go back to our Kangaroo. It was in a car park and the clock was counting. We had to pay 5,70 Euro.
Then the question of every evening: Where will we sleep. We decided to drive a bit further and to see where we can find a nice place to stay overnight. The next tour will be long anyway. Good 950km to the Dune du Pyla in France. We are slowly running out of time. We have just a few days left and have to cover the distance. 2 Points are still on our list. The Dune du Pyla and Paris. Those are our last targets and this time without wasting time and stopping 5 times somewhere.

It was already dark and I don’t really love to drive in the dark. It is very exhausting for my eyes. But we could still make 160km. But only because 90km was on the highway. Later it became suddenly foggy (very foggy) and curvy. We reached probably the north of the Pyrenees. Some when at 1 in the night wasn’t it possible to drive anymore. Luckily we found a cemetery with a huge parking place in front of it. Here will nobody bother us and we were converting the car in the rain. I think I never fall asleep so quickly

12.07.2013

The place was holly quite. :) In the morning we heard an electronic car driving over the parking place and later a tractor. But nobody bothered us. We go up around 9. After a while we had a look to the cemetery. Very strange thing. Julia was calling it cupboard cemetery. I have no idea how I would call it. But you can imagine it as cupboard. With many small, but (obvious) deep, holes. There are the dead bodies in it. 4-5 ‘levels’ on top of each other. Very… unusual. But space saving.

We packed our stuff and went back on the street. The weather wasn’t the best today. Cloudy and foggy. For us very nice travel weather. We had to be the whole day on the street. 750km to be exact.
And so we was driving the whole day trough the landscape of north Spain. First we had the luck that we could use the A8. Later we had to continue on the N634. The fog stayed the whole day and converted the landscape into a mystic view.

One stop we made finally anyway. Of course at Mc Donalds. To do something against the hunger, a (more or less) good toilet and Internet :) We are junkies!
Ah, and we had to write and send the postcards from Santiago, before we could leave Spain. We still had many Spanish stamps.
We spent again 2-3 hours in our favorite restaurant and had to go afterwards into the city center, to the postbox. And then back on the road. Further trough north Spain… which reminded me totally on Middle Germany.

It became dark again… surprise, surprise. :) Inge said that it would take until 2.30 in the night until we would be at the Dune du Pyla… still 250km.
 We made it until the French border and just stopped on the next Mc Donalds parking. The restaurant was closed already, so nobody could bother us anymore. We converted and fall asleep. The day was tiring. Driving makes tired as well, especially driving in the night.

Best regardsGordon


Bigger Map

The south of Portugal

05.07.2013

The night was not so great. Even we was parking direct next to the sea (just a few small houses between us and the sea) it was hot like hell in the night. We had to open the doors 3 o’clock in the night, to get a small breeze in the car. We was sweating like hell.

In the morning was it better. We had a look to the beach, first of all. A huge nice beach with wonderful sand. The kite-surfer was on the water already. We saw on the beach even a whole school class with surfboards. Little Portuguese with small surfboards. :) The ocean itself didn’t look very inviting. It was dirty (from the sand or sediments) and the waves were heavy. We decided not to go in. Who knows how the current is.

We went back to the car and packed our stuff. But before we left, we went to the next café, next to us, and drank a coffee. And I realized that ‘coffee’ means also here Espresso. I got a wet spot coffee with the caffeine of a whole cup.

Then we went off finally… further. We wanted to go this day till before or after Lisbon. Direct in the city was not our goal. We didn’t wanted this stress as well. I don’t like to drive in big cities in general. Too much stress.
I found, in Inges maps, a nice place at a big bay and told her to lead us there. It was good 300km to this point. A while to drive, without highways.

And then we went in the Pampa of Portugal. And it was hot again. In the car partly 45 degrees and even outside not less. The wind was also not refreshing, because it had the same temperature. Even in Cyprus is it not that hot. Like that I would imagine the desert. Hot and without any possibility of cooling down.
And in this heat we saw now again huge gatherings of stork nests. And also here there was building their nests everywhere, like a few days ago in Spain. It seems like they don’t care about this heat.

The landscape was passing in this hours. Personally I don’t really like Portugal so much. Until now is it the most flat country, we passed… except some small hills. It is hot and the vegetation is there, but not really unique.

We stopped somewhere at a supermarket to get some cold drinks. But nothing more happened this day… expect the street.

We reached the place early. It was still bright. We had a look around. Here was a torero school before. But the owner died, as we got told later, and now is it closed and rots.
In front of us was a lagoon, which goes a few kilometer into the country. The water is brown dirty. So dirty, that I can’t see anything anymore in a depth of 2cm. On the other side of the lagoon is the next city.

We just wanted to convert the car, as a van stopped next to us with 3 men inside. They got out of the car and had a look around. We was wondering already what that for men are and what they want and was waiting what will happen. But they didn’t left again. They started to put things out of their van… fishing ropes. Ahh, fishermen. So, better then murder. :)
After a few minutes, one guy was holding a bottle of beer in our direction and said something, which we didn’t understood. So we got out of the car and went to him. He offered us a beer. Julia tried to explain that she don’t drink alcohol. But Juan, that is his name, didn’t understood or didn’t wanted. I accepted a bottle and said thank you :)

We started a chat. Which brought out that Marko, one of the men, is working since 8 years in Germany. I haven’t understood it in total, but as it looks like from time to time. So sometimes he is in Germany and sometimes in Portugal. He spoke even very good German. Juan is also working sometimes abroad. In Germany and Switzerland. But he spoke hardly German. And from the other Juan we didn’t got much information, he was very quiet.

The guys took care about us with beer and even invited us for BBQ. It became a very nice evening with the 3 guys. We was talking a long time, but usually with Marko, because he spoke German. It’s easier. Juan was trying from time to time to talk with us something in Portuguese and sign language, but mostly we didn’t got what he was trying to say. Pity actually, even he didn’t looked like, was he probably a really nice and friendly guy, like the other both as well.

After this unusual evening with the 3 Portuguese Fishermen, we went to bed. The guys wanted to leave next morning around 5-6 o’clock. So we said Good Bye before we went to sleep.
In the night the same game like the night before. It was hot like hell in the car in the night. But we couldn’t open the doors this time. This place was full of mosquitoes. We closed Julia’s window with a mosquito net and could open at least this small window.
I had slowly also an idea why it is always so hot in the night, even it is much colder outside and we also had the doors open to aerate. I think the source of this problem are the liquids in the car. This liquids heating up during the day. Up to 40-45 degrees, like outside. And in the evening they give it back… into the car. We have some liquids in the car. 13 liter in the toilet, several liter drinks, 10 liter in the washing canister. And these are just the big amounts. Plus the fridge, which is cooling from time to time and gives back the heat.
I think here is the source of the heat in the night in the car. We just can’t change it. We need the drinks, the toilet and the water for washing.

Well, we managed it to fall asleep.

06.07.2013

As expected was the night very hot. I woke up several times and was sweating like hell. And outside it became also hotter already. The sun was shining on the car already. The fishermen were also still there. The night wasn’t successful for them and they continued to catch something.

We packed our stuff quickly, said Good Bye again to our friends and went further. Further to the next Mc Donalds, which was in the next city. Which we saw on the other side of the river already in the night.
When we arrived, we realized that there is no Mc Donalds, or if, than is it inside of a shopping mall… without good parking places. Also was some festival in this village on this day. Half of the city was closed for traffic. So, we went to the next Mc Donalds in the next city.

The next one was just 10km away. Luckily in the right direction… to the north. We reached this Mc Donalds around 10 o’clock. They opened at 11. Luckily was the umbrellas and the tables outside. So we could sit outside and write a bit and using the internet already, until they opened at 11.

11 they opened finally and we could move inside. We was looking for a place with socket and we connected straight the junction box and connected everything we had to charge on it… laptops, batteries, camera batteries (I still don’t have a 12V charger for my pocket camera). Of course we used also the toilet there :)

Interesting was here the difference between the inside and outside temperature. Inside was it so cold that I was freezing. And when I went outside, to smoke one, the heat was hitting me in the face, so warm… hot was it. The car was showing an outside temperature of 45 degrees and the inside temperature was out of scale.

We spent again half a day at Mc Donalds. First at 5pm we left the place. We wanted to drive at least a few more kilometer, that day. And we did it. Till a forest lake somewhere in Portugal. We had the hope that we could go swimming in the lake, to get a shower as well. Unfortunately was the water here as well totally brown and dirty. Direct next to the lake was a picnic place, which was even at 10pm quite busy. But the last people left a few minutes later and we had the place just for us. Beside of a few fireflies. Really cool things which I never saw before.

We converted our car and went to bed. It was again great hot in our private sauna…

07.07.2013

The night was ending early. But this time not because of the heat, more because the picnic place became busy in the early morning again. The picnic places was quite full already, when we took a look outside around 9am. The first people carried BBQ stuff already on the place and occupied the first places already. Within minutes new cars arrived. They was building up a football field and 2 piglings turned over 2 huge BBQ grills. … I guess we missed some Portuguese holiday.

We converted the car before it became too busy. After a short walk on the lake we left the place. Of course was the technique not working again. It took Inge and the GPS tracker many minutes until they were working properly.

Also we still didn’t had a shower or a bath and the hill with the dirty clothes was also growing. We needed urgently a launderette for our clothes and a shower for us. My solution idea was to stop at a camping place. They have usually both of it. A launderette and a shower. To find a shower is not that hard, but a launderette is harder.

We stopped at the next camping place and asked them if we can take a shower and if we could use the launderette. The lady said, after a lot of thinking, that she could let us in as daily visitor. That would cost 3,75 Euro per Person. Ok… We asked for curiosity what it would cost to stay for one night, with 2 people and a car… 12,50 Euro. Well, we didn’t thought long about it and stayed there for a night. For this little amount of money…

The camping place was ok. Unfortunately a bit less shadow, in the Portuguese sun. But we found a place. Under some trees and direct next to the washing houses. So we had the whole evening shadow. It was just 5pm.

First of all was putting the dirty clothes in the machine and went then to the beach. It was 200 meter away from the camping place. By feet to reach in a few minutes.
A huge beach. For sure 50 meters wide. It was Sunday and the beach was packed. Many people took a sunbath. But funny was for me that many people was standing direct on the waterline. But they was just standing there and that’s it. In the water was just 2-3 people. But direct in front of it were around 100 standing. It looked like they were waiting for something… but on what… I don’t know.
We was also standing there for a few minutes to observe that a while. But nothing. The people was just standing there, but nobody went in. Very strange…

We was sweeten the way back with an ice cream from the kiosk. The best you can do at this heat. The wasching machine was also almost ready. We had to wait 10 minutes and then we could take the clothes with us to the car to hang them up there. Then was it our turn. Taking a shower… always an experience… with these showers here. But at least they had normal valves and not this push-valves, which close the water after 10 seconds again. Like this I could take a nice long shower.

And then the highlight of the evening… BBQ. The first time on our tour we was trying Julia’s great mini-bbq-grill. On the way here we stopped at Lidl and bought BBQ meat. This ended up now on this little grill. Ok, partly a bit dark at the end… but it was anyway very tasty :)

After this great evening we went to bed. The washing we left this time on the lines, that I can dry more over night.

08.07.2013

Finally a night I could sleep through the night. At least until the morning, till the sun was shining at the Kangaroo. Then was the cool time over and the car was heating up within minutes. But anyway was it a good night. Finally sleeping through the night.
And we started slowly in the day. Nice relaxed.
Slowly taking of the clothes from the lines, converting the car and more relaxing.

After we went to the bar, where they had internet… and a coffee. Later we decided also to eat something there. But it took longer than we thought and we left the place a bit late. At 1 we had to check out latest. Half past 1 we checked out. Luckily we had no extra payment to make. We paid our 12,50 Euro and left. Today in direction to Santiago de Compostela, this is in Spain already. That we will not manage the long way today was clear. But the direction was right already :)

And there was already again something… we haven’t sent a single postcard from Portugal yet. We didn’t even saw shop yet where they sold postcards. Somehow strange here in Portugal. In every country you get bombed with postcards and souvenirs. But in Portugal you have to search for them. And we will leave the country in 200 km already again.
An idea was to stop at a tourist information. They should have some or at least know where we could get bloody postcards. And so we stopped at the next tourist information. That was in Povoa de Varzim.

We explained the nice lady in the tourist information that we need urgent postcards and if she have an idea where we can find some. She didn’t had any there in the moment, but explained us where we can find some and gave us also a city map in the hand. Also we could leave the Kangaroo on the parking space from the tourist information (there is 1 free parking for the tourist information) and went into the city. First was it an unsuccessful search. In one shop we found 2 ugly postcards. In a bookshop then the first findings. Later at the beach we found even a better range. And straight we bought some cards, who knows if this is not the last shop with postcards :) Portugal is the most important point on our travel. It is the point where we turn around and heading back in direction to Germany. It’s not possible to move futher to the west. The Atlantic is in the way. So we travel from the south to the north and then back to the east. Via north-Spain through France back to Germany. Maybe 1-2 days Luxemburg and Belgium.

But now we had finally postcards from here. We found on the way then even a souvenir shop, in which we spend 30 minutes, at least. Looking here and there. Well…
After our shopping tour (for tourists) we went back to the tourist information. Ielva, the nice lady there, found also some postcards in the meantime for us. We made it us cozy there and wrote the postcards straight in the tourist information, that we could send them straight away. We also had now Portuguese stamps and had to send them now from here.

As we finally finished all postcards, it was almost 7 pm. And at 7 the office was also closing. But somehow we was talking so much with Ielva that we forgot the time. As some other tourists came into the office, we realized that it was half past 7 already. But it was nice to talk with Ielva. A very nice and interesting woman. We swapped our contact information.

It didn’t made sense to drive much more at this time. We was looking for a nice place, just 5 km further, and stayed there. It was a lonely place, luckily. Here is a hotel, but it is more closed then open. The beach is also huge here, but not full at all.
We was watching the sunset on the beach… beautiful. How the sun is set blood red in the sea.  Unfortunately is the sun in Limassol never going down in the sea.

And we also went to the hotel, for a coffee… and the WiFi password. :) And now I am writing here while Julia is sleeping well already. :) … Which I will do as well now.

Best wishes
Gordon


Größere Kartenansicht

Tarifa

03.07.2013

The alarm clock was ringing a few minutes before 8 am. Diving is a great hobby… but the early morning times are really bad. We managed it somehow to get out oft he bed in 15 minutes. I had in mind that the guy from the dive shop said that weg o at 9:30 am. At 9 we was still not ready and I was calling the guy, that we come a bit later. But he said that they start at 10. Ohh… then I had it wrong in my mind.

We arrived around half past 8 finally at the dive shop. Here was it busy already. We was the last ones. Quickly looking for the boss, to saying hello. The people here was (like all divers) very friendly and gave us a quick overview. Then we had to fill out the usual papers (dive checkup, health overview and signing that – in case that something happens – the dive shop has no responsibility). Then quickly getting the equipment ready and getting changed. They was waiting already for us… :)

We went out with a small boat. We were approx 8 divers and 3 instructors. We got Moritz. Moritz, approx. my age and originally from Switzerland. We was very glad about it, so we could get the instructions in German. Of course we didn’t went to the wreck, as the man on the phone, the day before, said. We went to a dive spot from which I forgot the name already again.

P1000701 (Kopie)We arrived at the dive spot on the south side of the island.
I had problems with equalizing again and had to go down slowly, to equalize properly. Julia had a totally different problem. She had not enough weight on the weight-belt and couldn’t submerge. Moritz had to drag her down. But then, after maybe 10 minutes, we were all down.
The visibility was bad. Everywhere sediments, which was reducing the visibility down to 10 meter. Maybe even less. And the water was cold. 17 degrees down and 18 on the surface. Atlantic is not the Mediterranean anymore. Well… it is half / half from both here. Of course I didn’t take gloves and hood with me. But I was brave :) And after a few minutes was it ok.

We went down to the depth of the Street of Gibraltar… well, at least to 30 meter (of max 1000 meter) :) But we didn’t saw a lot. Just almost the same fish as in Cyprus, but bigger. We saw 2 (scary) huge crabs and some fish. That’s it.
The dive incl. safety stop was 44 minutes. Disappointing.

We got back on the boat and then back to the harbor and dive shop. We didn’t had much time to relax. Just a few minutes and then we were starting for the 2nd dive. In the meantime I’ve checked when we will be back from the second dive and booked us in for the 5pm tour whale watching.
I just finished it and had to go back on the boat straight away. This time we drove more around the island, on the west side, to the Atlantic side… luckily the water wasn’t even more cold on this side… but more warm also not.

Moritz said that we will see maybe now a wreck of an old steamer boat. But just the boiler are left, he said.
So, we went back to the water. This time we had strong current. We had to get used to it first of all, but then we could use it to drift and it was cool. :) I saw this time a big octopus (the other both just swam over it and didn’t saw it). Plus a few (different) snails and fish again.
But the wreck we didn’t reached anymore. 2 dives without any wreck. :(

Back at the dive shop we used first of all the shower, which are there in the shop. A dream! And they provide even soap and shampoo dispenser. This service does worth a mind. We could even finally take a normal great shower. And on the other hand is a hot shower after a dive in the Atlantic ocean also great. Fresh it could go to the bad part on it (for us)… paying. 37,50 for one dive and per person. Actually it is a good price (incl. equipment). But for low-budget traveler like we are… is it a fortune. We also bought straight a few diving postcards (and got some for free on top.. with advertising of course). So, I lost 80 Euro for half a day. But… I was diving in the Street of Gibraltar. :)

I can recommend the dive school Yellow Sub in Tarifa! The people there was very nice and friendly, they spoke good/perfect German and English. The equipment was good and they was always behind us to help us. Pity that they couldn’t hold their promises with the dive spots. That was a minus for me, because I love to dive at wrecks (the landscape is everywhere similar, but wrecks are the real treasures). An exception is dolphins and whales, of course.
But in general is this dive shop good. Especially the possibility to take a shower is a huge plus!

We went back to the car, after everything was done. Changing clothes, grabbing the cameras and taking out the dive stuff. And then we had to go already again, to go Whale Watching with Firmm. But before we went out with the boat, they made half an hour an information round to the subject. I liked it a lot, even I couldn’t get many new information. The introduced the local species of dolphins and whales and said a bit about then. The Common Dolphin, the Striped Dolphin, the Bottlenose Dolphin, the long-finned Pilot Whale, the Orca, the Sperm Whale and the Fin Whale. That is a lot more than I expected. The lady said to every species a few words and I also liked a lot that she also spoke about why Dolphins are not made to live in capacity. Pity that this subject was just mentioned ‘beside’. But better than nothing.
Of course was she also introducing the foundation and said a bit about the Street of Gibraltar. That the meeting of the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean produces a very seldom current, which is the base of best conditions that the food can grow, which they eat. She said as well that the tuna is passing the street to spawn in the Mediterranean sea. The Orca is following them, he loves the tuna. But the tuna get also caught by the fishermen… en masse… before they can spawn. And for whom? Yes, for the Japanese market (for sushi e.g.). So the tuna get caught before he can multiply. Japan… there it is again. That reminds me on the Japanese Whaling fleet in the Arctic and the probably most known village in Japan (for me and many Dolphin friends), Taiji. Every year they kill there thousands of Dolphins… to get some Dolphins for dolphinariums and for… nothing. Dolphin consists higher doses of quicksilver and it is dangerous to eat it.

After the information round we went on the boat. I don’t know how many people we was, but some… 50 maybe.
I wanted the place direct in the front. At the bow. I didn’t wanted to stay somewhere in the middle of a group of 50 people, in case that there would be a Dolphin or Whale. I wanted to see a Whale and not the back of the head of the guy in front of me. One of the crew member gave me a sign that it is possible, but later. After we left the harbor, I saw the reason. We drove first against the waves. The spray made even the back part of the boat wet. If I would be out there on the bow, I would be wet in seconds. So we was waiting patient and was watching the landscape.

Then, finally, the captain turned the boat to the south, to Africa. Now we could go out, in front of the boat, and I caught my place in the front. Great view. But still a bit wet. I just took out my camera, with the big 300mm lens, as a big wave hit the boat and… *patsch* everything was wet.
I was putting it quickly back in my backpack and just kept the GoPro in my hand. The GoPro is at least waterproofed and can’t get damaged from water. Would be bad if I would kill my good camera now.
And then we had to wait, to search and to look… on the water.

We got really close to Marocco… Africa. Very close. That was Julias target. Being close to Africa. I didn’t cared about Africa at all. I wanted to see a Wale. As bigger and more impressive as better. I was standing in the front and observed the sea. 2 crew member from Firmm was standing lookout and was searching from there (I am sure that a few passenger was starring as well on the sea). 2 hours was we searching and searching… till the captain finally changed the curse to the north, in direction to Tarifa. I’ve known that he is heading back to the harbor now. Now or never… and I was still starring over the wavy sea. Africa behind us, on the left side the sun deep on the sky and mirroring in the sea, on the right side the Mediterranean sea with some huge container vessels and in front of us Spain. The waves was hitting the boat, partly so strong that the spray came over the whole front. I was long time wet already. My trousers, shirt and the backpack were dripping. I didn’t care, I wanted to see a Wale today… or at least a Dolphin. But more likely a Wale. Even with the fear to get sick, which wouldn’t be so nice on the trip, didn’t had any influence on it.

Approx 20 minutes later came the guy from the stuff again and have me a sign to come in (I was longer already alone there in the bow). We arrived a few minutes later in the harbor… without seeing anything. Which disappointment. :(
Of course is there no guarantee. It’s never there, when we try to see animals in their freedom. And I like it more not to see animals in freedom then seeing them for sure in captivity. This point of view was helping me to smile again. Partly I was standing there, on the bow, and was smiling to myself… Because I didn’t saw Wales and/or Dolphins… this means that they are free!
A discord, I could say. Sad and glad in the same time, that I didn’t saw the beloved Wales.

We went back to the ‘base’. The foundation gives, in the case that we see nothing on the trip, free tickets for another trip. Money back was unfortunately no option. But we had to leave the next day and a free ticket was not an option for us. Especially because they would go the next day from Algeciras, at 3pm. It would be a detour as well. But we took the tickets anyway. You never know. Maybe we could sell them.

After the tour we went back to the car. I needed to get rid of the wet clothes, before I really get sick. We decided that we wanted to go out to eat something and to see if we get internet somewhere. We choose a little restaurant opposite the harbor. They didn’t had internet, but something to eat. Not a big menu, but better than nothing. I’ve chosen the Gnocchi again. They was tasty.

After a while came 2 Austrians on the table next to us. Julia asked them if they would like to have the tickets for the Whale Watching maybe. They would have liked to do it, but they was also leaving on the next day. It was a nice couple, middle 20s, from Vienna. They offered us straight a sleeping place in Vienna, in case we would pass by. It was a bit strange to offer a stranger straight a couch… but sweet as well. We was chatting a while, till I became sleepy. I wanted to go back to the car. Also I think it is impolite to talk to people while they are eating.

We went back to our Kangaroo. … What a day.

04.07.2013

The night was quite and like that was also the day starting… quite.
First of all we had a walk through the city on the plan. We had still 3 tickets for the Whale Watching to sell. Our travel budget would be glad if we could manage it.
So we went to the town center. Most of the bars and restaurants was still closed. First station was the Post office. Here should be a Deutsche Bank (according to Inge), even if ATM. So we went to the desk. Unfortunately was it a branch of the Spanish German Bank, it is not possible for Julia to get money here… funny, hmm?
Well, we went to the next café with internet. It was working more bad then well. But ok, better than nothing. 2 more chanced to sell the tickets failed as well. I was checking how my financial status is and was more than surprised. I was spending more money than I thought/hoped. Actually I was already at the limit of my travel budget. Expenses, which were not directly connected to the trip, not included (like the solar system). So, I had to be careful with my expenses now… and even more need now to sell the tickets. But nobody wanted them :(

On the way back we passed the harbor again, where the office from Firmm is. Maybe exactly now are some tourists there which would like to make Whale Watching. But unfortunately nobody was there. But at the dive shop, next door, was it busy. So I went there and asked Moritz if he know maybe someone who would like to have the tickets… and I was lucky. Moritz itself took them. He wanted to go anyway soon again Whale Watching with his girlfriend. Great. So we was helping him to get cheaper tickets and he was spending money for our poor traveling fund. Mission accomplished. :)

We went back to the car, was packing our stuff and drove. In direction to Portugal, the west end of our trip. I found a very nice place for the night, at least on the map. Faro. Here are some lagoons… many lagoons. At the most end point I expected a very calm point. I told Inge to bring us there.

The way there was hot. We drove first of all to the north, in the domestic of Spain. Till Sevilla and then to the west to Faro. We never had such a hot day on our trip like this. The thermometer in the car said 45 degrees in the car. To open the window was not helping anymore. The wind had the same temperature. We died.
Therefore we saw something wonderful. In the middle of this hot hell were storks. On almost every single pylon was a bird-nest. On the big electricity pylon was sometimes 4-5 nests on one single pylon. Next to each other, above each other… as there was place. We saw even road signs with stork nests. That was great to see.
I can remember that in my childhood was a (single) stork nest in my home town. A stork family was breading on an old chimney. But one year they didn’t come anymore. And some when was the nest not there anymore. Now I don’t even know if the chimney is still there.
But here… here they are in masses. And that is somehow wonderful. So many storks in one place. It’s really cool.

We drove the 400km this day and arrived in the evening at the place I’ve told Inge to lead us to. Unfortunately is the place not that quite as I hoped. This spot was also explored by the Portuguese people and they was building a lot of holiday houses there already. It was late already. So we was looking anyway for a parking place. We found one between all the other cars. Only Portuguese car signs, so no tourist holiday houses. More for locals.

We went to a café and I was drinking a beer and we enjoyed the great night view. In front of us the lagoon, in which the lights of the airport were mirroring, which is behind.
After we just went to bed.


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