Archive for the ‘germany’ Category

The road goes ever on and on

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Posted by Krista
Munich, Germany

The road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began –
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Whose many paths and errands meet.
And wither then? I cannot say.

Photo: A fine reunion of friends and family in Munich, Germany

Tolkien’s words, written in our new travel journal by Uli Grosskurth, are the perfect words to send us onwards. Our friends Jasper and Birthe departed last night for their bicycle ride through Hungary, Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland, we now are leaving the warmth and hospitality of the Grosskurth family, and riding towards Austria, still following the Alps.

Surf in the City

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

Posted by Krista
Munich, Germany

Photo: Surfing a wave on a river in the city of Munich, Germany

Surfing on the ornamental river that runs through the Englischer Garden in Munich is a famous pursuit in the surfing world…

Adventures with Ulla and Reinhold

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

From Barbara’s studio, we had a wet and windy cycle ride that followed the line of the mighty Alps. Unfortunately, for most of the day we had no view as the low clouds obscured these mysterious mountains.

However, as we got close to our destination, the clouds dispersed … and we got the view we were waiting for! The fantastic sight of snow-capped peaks and jagged edges spurred us on, and we reached Hopfen am See.

Hopfen See, the stunning view from above Ulla and Reinhold's villa

We had been sent there by Barbara, who had given us the address of her friends, Ulla and Reinhold… We are so grateful and happy that everyone is looking after us so well!

Riding into Austria with our new friends

We spent a fantastic four days with Ulla and Reinhold – sailing on their yacht around Forggen See with Captain Reinhold at the helm, mountain bike riding on dirt tracks into Austria, morning swims in the lake at the front of their house, sunset viewing and lots of photography. Ulla inspired us – she has been a food photographer since the Seventies and her work is published in many cook books.

If you’d like to see Ulla’s website, go to

Walking in the Alps

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Posted by Krista
in the Allgau, the Alps, Germany

Krista and Dan make it to the Alps and enjoy the view from up high

We made it to the Alps! And it’s been nice to get off the bicycle and walk in these spectacular mountains,,, although I suffered from a bit of vertigo when the edge of the mountain disappeared and the track became withered and thin! eeergh.

Cows chase me and my red scarf!

I also had a nervous few minutes when the cute Heidi cows with their clanging bells wanted to chase me on the summit of Steinberg. Was because I was wearing a red scarf on my head, or did they just like me?

An artist’s life

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Posted by Krista,
Kempten, Bavaria, Germany

Talking to my friend Nic in Tasmania, from his parents house in Germany!

“Hello Nic!”

In Kempten, we are taken in by my friend Nic’s parents… they are wonderful. Nic’s mum, Barbara cycles 30 kilometres with us to her art studio!

Riding to Barbara's art studio, where Dan and I stay for a few good days

We spend a good few days at the amazing art studio, relaxing, walking, eating, sleeping, and we even make a sculpture with Barbara after an inspiring visit to an art exhibition in her friend’s garden!

Making art with Barbara Wolfart

To see more of this wonderful family’s work, visit

German weather forecast

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Posted by Krista
Ottobeuren, heading south to Kempten, Germany

Our perfect camp spot... before the rain!

Everyday in Germany we are always given the latest weather forecast by the people we meet! It seems like a big topic of conversation here! Rain is coming,,, the sun will arrive in 3 days,,, it will be cold,,, expect the wind from the south! And usually these predictions are correct… So when we found our perfect ‘camping platz’ next to the Iller river, we were dismayed to hear that a huge storm was on its way.

Well, we swam and lounged about in the sun anyway, hoping that this particular forecast wouldn’t come true. We even lit a fire to bake potatoes on. Just as the coals were beginning to go red, the sky darkened and rumbled, and before I could run for shelter, a deluge was upon us.

Dan was quick to duck into the tent, but the storm was so bad that I spent the first 20 minutes repegging the tent, afraid that it would blow away. We spent the next day climbing over trees that had fallen over our track!

The storm brought down lots of trees

That evening, for the first time on this trip, we hunkered down in Youth Hostel. Our room looked like a Chinese laundry as all our clothes and equipment hung to dry from lines we’d tied.

From here we are heading for Kempten, where the parents of a dear friend, Nic, live. I can’t wait to meet them and experience the place where Nic grew up.

Blue Danube

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Posted by Dan
Ulm, Germany

People from the countries of the Danube share their music, dance, food and drink, at the Donau Festival in Ulm

Drums ring out, warmth radiates from the Donau festival vibe. The smell of food wafts in the air whilst people sit on the scorched grass and absorb the music, sun and energy. Hippy clothes are on sale, aswell as assorted handicrafts, such as carved wooden instruments from Hungary and fur hats from Slovakia.

The Donau (Danube) has just revealed itself to us through a crooked medieval tower. We step out onto the river towpath to find it full of people celebrating the great river Danube which flows through 10 countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine) all the way to the Black Sea. People from the Danube countries have united here in Ulm, a city near to the river’s source, to share their culture – bringing crafts, food, music, dance, tradition clothes, wines and beers. We’re excited to be here, especially as we’ll be cycling through many of these Danube countries.

Amongst the tourists is a local man called Hamut and his wife. Hamut has lived in Ulm his entire life – 67 years – and has experienced its change and growth. The couple are warm and friendly, light and enthusiastic. Hamut has an innate knowledge of the local history and takes us on a tour of the old town, hidden and preserved behind the old city wall that stretches along the river. He points out the twisted and leaning buildings assuring us that they are secure structures. Many of them have symbols or paintings that depict their origin and history and Hamut explains what they all mean. We see the home of the boat builders who travelled from Ulm along the Danube all the way to Bulgaria and the Black Sea. Trout is a common catch on the Danube and the smell of it cooking comes from the fishermen’s house, which is now an upmarket restaurant. Hamut points us to a cobbled square just round the corner where a large statue of a farmer and sow stands. This was the marketplace where pigs were bought and sold.

After this historic tour, it’s late and we cycle out of the river valley to a Youth Hostel, promising ourselves a much needed rest day and the luxury of a bed. Unfortunately, since it is festival month here, it is fully booked along with every other guesthouse in Ulm! To top it off, there is no campsite in or near the city. It’s been a long day of 62 kms in headwind and now we are challenged to find a secret camp spot, which we are duly warned by an old man is forbidden. Our lack of accommodation is a stress as the sun begins to set and then we meet Jo… a kind and excited family man. He offers us a ‘camping platz’ at the end of his garden!

The Best Camping Platz in Ulm!

Their stunning home backs onto a large meadow-like field, which stretches up to a hill where there is fine view of the city. The tallest church steeple in the world (161 metres) peeks out above the trees that surround this field where we camp. In the morning a shepherd grazes his flock of sheep on the long grass and Jo’s wife, Angelika, shows us maps of possible routes and sights to see in and around Ulm.

We rest and, with a leisurely pace, perform some basic chores to organise and take care of our equipment. In the afternoon we freewheel back to Ulm for more festivities and a cool dip in one of Ulm’s many surrounding lakes.

What a perfect rest day and what a perfect family to spend it with!

The Priller family and their wonderful hospitality!

First 1000 kms

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Posted by Dan

Nr Heidelburg, Germany

Last night a family home was invaded by man-eating slugs! Swollen with rainwater, the slugs broke and entered our tent, smearing their sticky trail over panniers, coats, hats and tent. We woke in the morning to find that we had been surrounded and were under great threat from these slimy beasts! Before making a quick dash, we had to first evict slugs from Krista’s shoes.

The sun has come out now and we have mapped our way along the Neckar river, leaving our campsite near Heidelburg.

We have made 1000kms so far! Yee-ha

Today our total distance travelled will reach over 1000 kilometres! We now have only 14,000 left to reach Tibet, and if the sun keeps shining, Krista will keep on singing her newly composed song called ‘What Makes You Feel So Fine RIding All The Time?’, which is available in all good record stores from here to Tibet!

Tal to Tal

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Posted by Krista
Cycling along the middle Rhine, from Bingen to Koblenz

Krista cycles traffic free, from Bingen to Koblenz

Once a year the road along the middle Rhine is closed to motor traffic – and the day is called the Tal to Tal. What a great day for cyclists! We decided to join in the fun and pedal to the whole way, from Bingen to Koblenz. This particular stretch of the Rhine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with restored castles dotting every hillside, and beautiful traditional German buildings in every town. At each town, to mark the passing hour and interval of the hour, the ancient church bells toll and echo round the steep Rhine valley, making me feel like I am part of an old storybook.

The beautiful Rhine valley

Our pace is fast as we’re riding with the flow of the river (which eventually finishes its journey in Rotterdam, Holland) and we’ve left our 40 kg luggage at our friends Madhubala’s and Nikolaus place. It’s a treat to be riding so light and on a road that is free of traffic. There are many other cyclists out for the day, with nifty racers, mountain bikes, tandems, recumbent bikes, and trailers of varying sizes and shapes. My favourite vehicle is a tandem in which the person in the front is in a recumbent position, whilst the person at the back is in the traditional upright position…

One day I will be a bicycle collector!

Cherry Tree Trail

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Posted by Krista
Neiderheimbach, on the Rhein river, Germany

Picking cherries with Madhubala, in Niederheimbach, on the Rhine river, Germany

Madhubala greets us with smiles, hugs and a bowl of wild strawberries, raspberries and walnuts from the tree from above the favourite place where she sits. Our glasses are filled with water from a 900 year old well in the garden, her family home being on the grounds of a monastery, built around the 1100’s. The walls of the ancient monastery still remain, as does the chapel – in which Madhubala’s delightful 95 and 91 year-old aunts pray with devotion every day.

Madhubala is a friend from Australia who is visiting her family who have lived at this historic site on the river Rheine for many years. We’ve been pedalling quickly to meet her before she leaves for another trip to Portugal.

What a lovely reunion it is! The next day she takes us on a lovely walk up the mountain that backs onto her property, to sample the fruits of all the cherry trees that are growing in abundance here. Some are wild, some cultivated, and all are delicious! The rain catches us, and we shelter under some pine trees until the storm passes.

The day is restful and Dan and I hadn’t realised just how exhausted we were from the last few weeks of cycling. Holland was flat and easy, tho I was suffering from quite a bad cold. Belgium was flat until we took a detour into the Ardennes, and the land suddenly became quite steep! From Luxembourg, we took the Eifel route into Germany, which climbed and dipped all the way to the small village of Bruch where we camped next to a river in the field belonging to the community. The locals were having a barbeque there, in honour of the European Cup football – and a small tv was plugged in to watch Russia vs. Holland. They invited us for food and drinks and were shocked and bemused at our tale of cycling to Tibet. “How can you afford such a trip?” has been the main question that people have been asking us since we arrived in Germany. After a fun evening and a restful sleep we made our way to the Mosel river, which flows through a deep valley. The climb up on the other side was tough and we were rewarded by the offer of a camp spot in a local family’s back garden. The family suggested a nice route for us to take the next day, which follows a well-marked cycle path (or ‘Radweg’ in German!) along the Nahe river and eventually meets the Rhein river. Since hearing that Madhubala will be in Germany at the same time as us, and staying at the Rhein, has inspired us and given us a focus to get here.

In the evening, Madhubala’s brother, Nikolaus, takes us into the historic town of Bacharach. As well as admiring the traditional buildings, castles, churches and old city walls that abound, we also venture into the cellar of the old PostHof, to watch the semi-final of the 2008 European Cup between Germany and Turkey. It’s a nail-biting game, yet Germany clinch it and celebrations shower the surrounds.