Saturday, May 28, 2011
Lunch - again!
Friday, May 27, 2011
27 May 2011
We have eventually reach our turn around point, Halmstad in Sweden!! We left Holland on Wednesday morning with Johannes riding with us until lunch time. We asked that he take us through all the small towns and small roads, but eventually we all decided that it was just going too slowly and so decided to get onto the freeways and travel at a reasonable speed again. Holland is so built up that the villages are so close together that it will take you an hour to travel 50km. On one of the small roads I was riding behind Johannes when I saw two things fly off his bike, I immediately slowed down and both Larry and I stopped next to the road. Larry could see one of the items lying in the road and turned round and picked it up, Johannes’ passport and he then started looking for the second thing, we were still unsure of what it was and eventually I found his driving licence. Johannes has just bought a new BMW 800 and a new tankbag, he thought that everything was securely zipped into the bag!!
We carried onto to northern Germany, crossing two large rivers by ferry, the difference with the African ferries was amazing. After having ridden for about 8 hours and only covered about 450km we decided to look for a camping site, we found a camp site next to a large fresh water lake and set up camp next to a cyclist traveling long distance. We were saddle sore and very tired but we are still battling to get to sleep early as the sun only starts setting at about 10pm.
Thursday morning we set off for Sweden having decided that we would stick to the freeways and try and get some distance done in a reasonable time. We were soon in the rolling hills on Denmark with lots of fast moving traffic, a large percentage of these huge trucks. There seems to be a huge amount of freight moved by trucks the further north we get. Denmark is made up of a number of islands and there have been some huge bridges constructed connecting the islands. We crossed one of about 18km (at a cost of R157 per bike), there were warning signs before and on the bridge warning about strong winds, and they were not joking. Riding behind Larry I could see him leaning into the wind at an angle of about 60 degrees and everytime he passed the huge concrete supports of the bridge he would bounce upright for a few seconds and then back to his impossible angle! We eventually got to the ferry crossing to Sweden, from Helsingor to Helsingborg – very modern, with duty free shops, cafeteria, although the crossing only takes about 20 min. 100 km more, and we arrived at Himmelkulla Gard, near Halmstad. Riding through this part of Sweden was easy, traffic mild, along the West coast of Sweden. Modern, lots of industry, but still with forests, and agriculture.
Pc has a 45 hectare property, with lots of outbuildings, and the bikes get to sleep in a shed for a change! Everything is green, lots of barley growing. Weather is a bit mis, with some rain, but it gives us a chance to have a rest, and catch up.
We will be here for about a week, will see some of Sweden, and then head back to Holland, to ship selves and bikes to Nairobery!! Pc has all sorts of tricks up his sleeve, regarding the next few days, something to do with a gathering tom night, a look at some wild boars, a tour to the north, a hunting expo, a visit to people who work with hair, a newspaper person, a meal with real South Africam borewors!!!
So, time moves on!
Larry replacing the radiator on my bike, no more leaks and the bike is running well!
Posting our parcel home, we always seem to take way too much with us when we travel. Johannes standing with me, he has really been wonderful, helped us with flying the bikes home, parts for my bike, airtickets for ourselves and tyres for our bikes.
24 May 2011
We have had a very productive few days while staying with Johannes and his family in Groningen, Johannes has been a wonderful help with phoning people and helping us book the bikes and ourselves tickets back to Africa. We have booked tickets to fly back on 9 June, just waiting for the company to verify my credit card and then we should be in business. We are flying with Egypt Air so will probably have to haggle to get a seat!! We still have not reached out turn around point, Halmstad, Sweden, but hopefully will be there this weekend, only 805km to go. So PC, we will see you in a short while. We have arranged pallets to pack the bikes onto, cling wrap and bubble plastic to wrap, lots of tape, tie downs etc, so should be on track for packing the bikes, ready for delivery to Schipol airport! We also went to the post office today, and sent a large box of extra goodies, that haven’t been used, home. Nearly 14 kg, but have saved a huge amount of space. Our Heidenau tyres have been ordered and we will put them on the bikes once we get back and start preparing the bikes for transporting to Nairobi. We have done just over 21000km to date and (touch wood) no punctures and the front tyres are still good for our homeward trip so we are just replacing the rear tyres, wonderful mileage. We plan on riding home slowly, through Kenya and Tanzania, exploring Zambia and Namibia on the way home.
We went for a ride around the area here last night got back at about 10pm just as the sun was setting, very typical Dutch country side, lots of pastures, very green and quaint villages every few kilometers. The flying in this area would be fantastic, the only problem would be that we would never be at home with the sun only going down so late.
L & S
Monday, May 23, 2011
The road lifting over the canals on our way to the area known as Holland's Venice - Giethoorn
The canals in Giethoorn
Robbie- Jan is going to ride down Africa at some stage.
The sandy road in Holland
Johanne's home in Groningen
No prizes to guess where we are!!
23 May 2011
We saw Anna to say goodbye to her very early on Sunday morning, a very cold wet morning, and then we walked across to Anna’s home and had breakfast with Roelina and Robbie-Jan and we all said goodbye. The rain was still coming down and so we decided to wait a while as we only had 70km to ride to the town of Groningen and so we took a very slow ride once the rain had stopped through all the small roads and even managed to find a small sand track for about 2km. The ride was very pretty with lots of green fields and open ground. The cattle are all fat and lazy very different to the ones we saw in Africa.
We arrived at Johannes home in Groningren and spent the next while catching up on the traveling that we had both done in Africa. Johannes had also done some shopping for us and the new radiator and a few other parts for my bike were waiting for us. Larry has spent most of this morning fitting the parts and checking my bike. We have also sorted out our luggage and will be posting a box of bits and pieces home, this will give us a lot more space on our bikes as well as make them lighter. We are now waiting for the tyre for my bike as I don’t think that it will make it all the way to Sweden and back but Larry will.
Johannes also contacted a shipping agent for us and it seems that we will be able to ship the bikes from Amsterdam to Nairobi. We are hoping to get this done round about the 16 June and then start our way slowly home via Zambia, Namibia and Cape Town.L & S
Saturday, May 21, 2011
21 May 2011
The ride to Zweibrukken was through a section of France, and we decided to change our routine, so stopped at a nice roadside restaurant for lunch. Following the gps instructions, we crossed through a tiny one lane track, from France back into Germany, and into a small village. Unfortunately, the gps led us to a spot 20 km from where Anja and Holger were, and after much battling, got some locals to help us get onto the internet, where we got the correct street address, and set off again! After finding the correct street, with 2 round the world bikes in the street outside the front door, we knew we were at the right place!
Thank you to Holger and Anja for your wonderful hospitality and to your family for welcoming us into their home. We enjoyed lots of wonderful typical German food, a braai, and the last evening we had a Rocelette, a small oven where we each had to cook our own food in tiny little pans, veggies and meat covered with special cheese, yummy! Very Typical in Switzerland, apparently.
We left Zweibrukken early on Thursday morning heading for Breda in Holland to see Anna, the Dutch Rotary exchange student who stayed with us in South Africa. Holga suggested that we ride along the Rhine towards Mainz, then follow the Rhine to Koblenz and then to get onto the Autobahn and head for Holland that way, and so this is what we did and the ride was wonderful with lots of really old castles on the surrounding hills, the architecture of all the villages that we rode through was very typical and beautifully maintained. We then exited onto the Autobahn and for the first time in a long while we were travelling at a speed of 120km. The Autobahn is wonderful if you are in a hurry but you see absolutely nothing of the surrounding countryside, the traffic moves well nothing like in Africa! We routed through a part of Belgium, to see a bit of that country, and left the autobahn to see some of the villages. We were fascinated by the language – we could understand all the signs there, and a “brood automat”, where you could buy bread from a machine next to the roadside!
We rode for about 500km and arrived in the small town of Breda where Anna is studying. A shock awaited – she wanted us to ride another 190 km to her parents house, but we really had had enough – 8 hours – for one day!! She lives in the centre of the old town and we were very lucky that motorbikes are allowed into this section of the town and we managed to park the bikes very close to her apartment. She lives in a very nice flat with 6 other students and she has leased out her room for the time that she is away in central America and so she had cleared out her room and Larry and I set up our inflatable mattresses on the floor and had a very pleasant evening meeting all her friends and a lovely meal in the old section of the town.
The following morning we left to visit friends in the town of Tilburg, Ad and Anker, who we met at Mount Elgon in Kenya. It was lovely seeing them again. We then left to stay with Anna’s parents in the village of De Wijk. On our way out of Tilburg we met another biker on a 1200 BMW adventure, Doekele, this was the first time in Europe that someone had stopped to talk to us and it was great to meet a local bike, he says that he has always dreamed of travelling to South Africa. So we will see you in SA next! Soon after we arrived, we got an email from him, inviting us to join him on a ride in Scotland, starting on 29 June – but I think we’ll be back in Africa again by then!
Roelina and Hilco welcomed us very warmly into their home and we were taken around the local area, and to Meppel, where Anna went to school. Everything is very green and lush, although they tell us Europe is in a drought at the moment!! The forests and open spaces have been a real surprise to us as we expected Holland to be very built up. There is lots of agriculture in the area and we were taken to a village where the people still dress in traditional clothing and farm in the traditional way, very interesting to see that people can still live like that. It must be really nice to live in the European countries, where everything works, transport is no problem, crime is scarce, etc!
It has been wonderful to see both Marius and Anna again and see that neither of them have changed a bit, Anna has just got very skinny!! She looks very good. And Marius has filled out from all his training for the army.
Tomorrow we will leave to visit Johannes who we met in Malawi and last saw in Tanzania, he lives about 70km from here, in Groningen. He has helped a lot with parts for my bike and we will replace the radiator and a few other parts on my bike. Harry from Bike Gear in SA also managed to arrange some tyres for us and these should be delivered to a dealer in Groningen where Johannes lives. Thanks Harry. Nearly 21000 km on those tyres, and still lots of life in them, but we will need to change before tackling another long stretchL & S
Thursday, May 19, 2011
This is Chicken, our Dutch daughter!!
More when time.