Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gromperekichelchers at the Schueberfouer

As you may have guessed, i am in Gent, Belgium...again. After 4 wonderfrul days in Luxembourg, two in the captital using the free Veloh bikes that are all over the city, i went to Larochette and hiked 2/3^s of the Mullerthal trail, which is known as Little Switzerland, i even walkd over to Germany for a minute. All very very beautiful forest and craggy rocks and moss, lots and lots of moss covering everything. Really awesome two days hiking. But, i had to move on, so i did what anyone would do, i went to Gent, Belgium.

I partly came to Gent because the bus to Luxembourg passed through Brussels and Antwerp, so i sorta alrerady saw them...sorta. But i read good things about Gent and they were true, a lovely little town. The only downer was i wasnt able to get a bike to go cycling around the Flanders regio, so i hightqiled it to Brugge. Lots of people have seen the movie, and you know what, it really is as nice and old and cool as the movie makes it out to be. Spent lots of time walking the little streets, getting french fries with spicy sauce that wasnt really spicey, and by request drank some really good Belgium dark beer like Chimay, Leffe, Gulden Draak, Grimenbergen, etc. But the best part about Brugge, i got a bike for the day and went...to the Netherlands? Oppsq, i cycled for a bit to Sluis and didnt realize i crossed the border. But went up along the Belgium coast whiwh while a nice bike ride, the Belgium coast is super ugly.

So i figured my time in Belgium was done, but where to go and how? Well, Brugge isnt the transport hub of Belgium,; so here i am, again; in Gent. Being Sunday; i aint goig nowhere. So early tomorrow i hit the Eurolines office and discover where i am off to next.

Sorry that i dont have too many details, and clearly no pictures as of yet, but its really hard typing with the keyboards here, i think they are french or something, letters are all over the place, the a is where the q should be, the m is way out of place, etc. But comment or email for more info.

I recommend Luxembourg, nice city, nice country, easy to bike and the hiking was very good. Well, time is clicking down untill i leave for Japan and i am still trying to figure that one out. Till next time,

tot ziens!!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

They put the LUX in Benelux

Well, it's time we say goodbye to The Netherlands, it has been kind and flat and very bikiable, but its time to see some rolling hills, maybe a little mountain or two, and to go to a country 50 miles by 30 miles, where if i sneeze loud enough, everyone in the country will hear it. Tomorrow i head off to Luxembourg City, the captial of Luxembourg. You may askl yourself "Why are you possibly going to Luxembourg?" Well, to begin with, Slovakia is too far away, and a few days hiking and i can cover a lot of the country, maybe even, GASP, rent a bike somewhere. We'll see what happens, for now, trying to see where i can stay for the weekend, and then head into the countryside on Monday, but those are just ideas.


Grotere kaart weergeven

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fietsíng The Netherlands

I return triumpant from my week l;ong journey into the deepest, darkest, greenest heart of north holland, spending 8 days out with 6 full days riding. My journey started with a rainfull amble over to Haarlem, which surprisingly did not look at all like Harlem, NYC. But, i did get a coffee and got me and my stuff waterproofed for the onward journey, which ended up being further west as i got lost.

After some gripping, headed north. Took a free ferry across a large canal, and the rains seemed to had let up at that point. I also started the long northern strech through the Dune Reserves (http://www.northseatrail.org/show_single_article.php?article_id=2595&lang=uk&) partly a protection from flodding, partly naturally created but 100% beautiful and nice to bike through. Stopped for my first night of camping in Petten. The enxt day went to the tippy top of the mainland to Den Helder where i caught the ferry across to one of the many north sea islands that are part of the Netherlands, Texel.

Texel is small so i burned through Texel as i was secrelty trying to get to Vlieland, which i did after waiting around a while for the little, little ferry. The island if Vlieland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlieland) is small, and about half is all sand, which we had to traverse in a large truck that took us from the ferry 10km inland to the little depot. From there, i hit a nature camping spot and also stumbled into the one and only town on the island, Oost-Vlieland where i got me a dark, dark, strong belgium beer. Yum!! Vlieland was so nice i decided to take a day reast and wander the island, canberry bogs and beaches and the one town, and well thats about all there was. It was biking heaven there, nearly no cars.

But duty called and i headed east to make my way deep into the heart of north holland, from Harlingen to Leeuwarden and finally to the univeristy city of Groningen (http://gemeente.groningen.nl/english), where i camped a night. being that i was really tired i decided to do one of my longest days, heading south south south all the way down to Vlisteren, a nothing town with a big church and anature camping site which turned out to not be free the way i had thought they were, so it turned out that i simply just didnt pay in Vlieland...

Anywho, i wanted to get to Utrecht so the next day i headed out once again for another 10 hours of biking, south and then west thrugh Apeldoorn to Amersfoort (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amersfoort) where i ended up staying since Utrecht didnt have any campsites, and Amersfoort was really nice. Nice enough that i spent two nights there, and while this time i knew i had to pay, i couldnt, the office was never open. Oh well.

The next day i breezed through Utrecth, in fact, i went around it, through the really cool named town of Meerkerk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meerkerk) and onward to the bustling, new, clean city of Rotterdam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotterdam). Most of the city has been rebuilt after heavy destruction during WWII, and they did a nice job, a lot nicer than my next stop, Den Haag (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hague). (I did pass through Deflt but didnt see much). Den Haag was dirty, and didnt give off a good vibe, i had wanted to find the International Tribunal and sit in on session, but i decided to skip town and instead ehad towards Leiden. Before i got there though, i decided to camp a night on the lake at Vlietland.

Finally, headed off to Leinden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leiden), a very charming little city, old and with canals like Amsterdam. In fact, they claim the second most canals after Amsterdam but i didnt count. I did get a really HUGE cup of coffee at this place which caught my attention right away, Bagels and Beans (http://www.bagelsbeans.nl/). I recommend them when in the Netherlands, they make really big coffees. Anywho, from there it was a skip, hop and a jump back to Amsterdam, 8 days after i had left. Now i am back in the library trying to figure out what to do next, as the world seems pretty open right now. I do know wherever i go i might not do it on a bike, at least for a few days to allow certain parts of my body to recover.

Biking in The Netherlands is very simple, i barley even needed the maps i had gotten, there are so many signs, routes, paths, tracks, etc that sometimes it seems its harder to get around if you had a car. Also, the biggest hill i ever had to climb was a bridge over a canal. I spent a week and could spend another, but i shant. If you are thinking of a trip, even if you dont realyl bike, its so easy to do it, i did it on a rented granny bike with 3 gears and a pack on my back.

Info about biking in the Netherlands: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_the_Netherlands

This has a map nearly of the same trip i did, but not quite: http://www.micquality.com/cycling/cycling_netherlands/

Well, i suppose thats all for now, just wanted to spread the word about my biking, my long week, the fantastical journey, i cant belive only a little more than a week agao i was still a PCV in Cabo Verde. Life moves on.

Till next time from somewhere in the world, ta ta

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

God's summer home

Not sure if God resides here all summer, but today at least god is here. Where am I? Still in Amsterdam, at their new, amazing, HUGE, library (http://www.oba.nl/).

It has thousands of computers with free internet, macs for you to play with, multimedia up the wazzoo, a cafe with coffee (or so i'm told) and lots of funky chairs. It really is amazing. Its also the biggest library in Europe in case you are watching some trivia shwo or something. Anywho, i got a tent, got panniers and got my maps, so tomorrow i should hopefully be off and away. First stop will be Haarlem and then north.


Grotere kaart weergeven

So, untill i stumble upon some internet, i'll be somewhere in North Holland, hopefully dry.

Monday, August 10, 2009

what what WHAT!!!!????

You can call me???? Thats rght kiddos and worried parents, i am accessible 24hrs a day, sorta. My phone number is:

06-220-837-62

I belive i get incoming calls free so call if you want, but not excesivly, like everyday or i wont answer. 06 is the Netherlands country code.

Day 2 n watery Amsterdam and i think i could just walk around and soak in the beuaty of this palce for an entire month, but the bike calls. Today i got a bike from MacBike. I have it for as long as want/can pay for it. So today just biking around the city and parks, re-learning how to bike around lots of people and how to semi-stop using just a back brake. Now its time to figure out where and how long to go for, maybe start with Haarlem, or maybe go north...

Well, till next time. Ta

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Near the edge

For two years I have read and reread a little book about two girls making their way across a bit of Europe in their own way. The book is "Off the Map", one of many books put out by CrimethInc.. I wanted to share some of the things they write/dream/inspire about:

"Dreaming is a dangerous proposition; it dares us to risk everything, to walk blind into the hills, to do the hardest work in ourselves and in the world - and to reap the richest reward. Sometimes, possibly, our dreams urge us to reveal ourselves intimately to an audience of strangers, and hope they'll meet us where we most want to be."

"This is what it means to be an adventurer in our day: to give up creature comforts of the mind, to realize possibilities of imagination. Because everything around us says no you cannot do this, you cannot live without that, nothing is useful unless it's in service to money, to gain, to stability."

" In the end, the only thing standing between each of us and what we most want, is ourselves. We're our own border guards. And sometimes the crossing is easier than expected."

Basically, live your own life, your own rules, your own road.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Last Sonadei/Bike Project update

Sonadei update

They cap of the bike project with stunning glory. Once again thanks to everyone who had a part in this. And speaking of bike project the book project is also coming along, expect a publication date sometime after August 7th.

Untill then, goodbye Cabo Verde. Next stop, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Ver Amsterdam num mapa maior

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Fat Lady Hath Sung

Cue the Ghostbusters theme music, grab your girl for the last dance, and lets start taking the table centerpieces before someone else gets the good ones, cause this party is about over. Two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cabo Verde have gone ridiculously fast. When I got here, I imagined that two years would go ridiculously slow, according more to Afrikan time, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case. Either way, here I find myself at the end of my service, saying goodbye to the community of Cachaço, to my island home of São Nicolau, to this identity confused archipelago Cabo Verde, a little bit Afrika, a little bit Europe.

Past PCV’s mention the kinds of questions they got when returning home, which mostly boiled down to “How was it?”. How do you answer a question that asks about how living in a foreign culture, learning a new language, becoming a part of a rural community, working on projects that were successful and failures, and all the in between, when the answer that the person is basically looking for is a one liner: It was good.

It’s hard to explain, it’s hard even for me to understand what these two years have been, for myself or for those whom I have lived with and interacted with. The bureaucratic aspects of PC looks for quantifiable things: number of people taught, number of things built, etc. That’s the government side of Peace Corps, and not the aspect of it that matters, either for the people we come to assist or to the volunteers themselves. It’s the friends, understanding a joke in a foreign language, making a joke in a foreign language, having locals realize after two years that you aren’t a tourist, haggling in the market, the frustrations of life in a place where development and motivation are different concepts to that which an American understands them to be… Being a Peace Corps Volunteer, at least to me at this time of Peace Corps, is about the little daily interactions and daily conversations the PCV has and not the number of students taught, but the one that learns, the one that remembers your name years after you have gone

I don’t know if I would be where I am today if not for having served in the Peace Corps, maybe yes, maybe no. But for over two years I feel I have been part of something amazing, whether in the Peace Corps aspect or simply my own personal aspect. So I’m ready to move on, to take what I have given and gotten from this land and these people, to continue along the cycle and see where I go. I hope to continue documenting the things I discover through this blog, albeit in a different pretense, to share the wonders I come across, information, different ways of seeing, being, thinking, living, loving.

Together with the failures and successes, thank you for everyone who has helped, I hope you too have felt that you played a part in something bigger. Whether through buying a t-shirt, sending me letters, or much needed vegan food stuffs, thanks.

Wonderful to depart!

Wonderful to be here!

The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood!

To breathe the air, how delicious!

To speak--to walk--to seize something by the hand!

To prepare for sleep, for bed, to look on my rose-color'd flesh!

To be conscious of my body, so satisfied, so large!

To be this incredible God I am!

To have gone forth among other Gods, these men and women I love.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No more trials or tribulations...maybe?

So while i actually have a real last blog entry, this one is sorta preemptive to say good bye to "Trials and/or Tirbulatinos" as it evolves to its new incarnation, Bingle by Bingle. It's aim is sorta the same as what i have been doing except it will talk about some of the thigns i find, discover, trip over while traveling. some of the interesting people or organizations that are doing cool or interesting things, and a lot about biking. So keep reading, and enjoy discovering this world bingle by bingle, cause thats how it starts ( with a single)