Commitment (2012-12-19 17:07)
One question that has popped up repeatedly the last few months is how committed I am to starting the-walk.
The answer is very! Something that I hoped would be apparent after my “short” 1800km trial this summer. I am changing my whole lifestyle, getting rid of a lot of “stuff” and essentially doing all I can to make sure I will be starting on my way in May 2013.
The-walk is becoming my life, which is great, as it was always meant to be much more than just another adventure. It is an experiment in a different way of living and an exploration of new possibilities.
Oh, the tattoo is not real… Yet….
The Route (2013-01-18 10:28)
The route has always been very flexible and subject to change, both before the start and during the-walk. The only 2 absolutes are the starting point and the finish. Stockholm to Sydney.
That said, I get a lot of questions about my planned route and the map above is my current plan. Not the shortest route, but then it’s all about living, experiencing and enjoying life and travel, not getting there as soon as possible!
Minimalism (2013-02-11 19:19)
Minimalism is one of the key elements of the-walk. Or rather my ambition to try to live a more minimalistic life. But nearly every time I mention it, people think that I want to become a recluse. To do an “into the wild”, back to nature, hippy or green wave lifestyle change. Which could not be further from the truth…
The-walk is all about being part of everything around me, of exploring it and living life here and now. Not to push away modern technology but to embrace it and what it makes possible. It is now entirely possible to work as a freelance photographer/writer/educator and have all the tools needed with you in a rucksack. With the advances in computer power, networking and digital imaging it is, maybe for the first time, possible to run a high tech business from almost anywhere in the world. At least I hope it is possible because that is what I am going to try to do.
The minimalistic part is the paring down of possessions,un-needed “stuff” that just takes up space, both emotionally and physically. A large part of our modern working week is devoted to caring for our stuff. Paying for it, paying for the place to store it, paying for maintenance, doing the maintenance and looking/longing for new stuff to surround ourselves with.
The-walk is about cutting back to the bare necessities, the stuff that I really need and use. High quality, good stuff that works. I have always been a bit of a tech geek and I doubt that that is going to change, but I intend to concentrate on the important stuff. Which hopefully will give me more time to interact with real people and explore their cultures.
When I leave in May, I will be leaving my apartment and will have disposed of nearly all my possessions. My cart will truly become my home. During my journey, I might (in fact I hope to) fly off to different places to run workshops or lead a class, but that will not be to go “home”. It will be no different from the way I might today, living in Stockholm, jet off to Chamonix to cover a 3-day adventure race. The difference will be that after the event I will return to my cart, “the mule”, and continue my vagabonding.
The Mule II (2013-03-22 14:34)
Meet my new best friend, The Mule II.
Based on a Kronan Duo chassis with an Alu-box aluminium, waterproof box it incorporates a few changes from the first Mule. Changes that I discovered might be a good idea during the test-walk.
Probably the most obvious change is going from three wheels to four. Strange as it may seem, it is actually possible to have a smaller chassis (length wise) with four wheels. The other benefit is that you have only two-wheel tracks as opposed to three, making it easier to straddle road irregularities. That was actually a bit of a problem with the Mule I, when I had to walk along the edge of a paved road the rear wheels were one on the pavement and one-off, with the front wheel skidding up and down and making tracking awkward. A possible advantage that I haven’t tried yet, is that if one wheel breaks it should be possible to continue with just the three remaining wheels. A bit of weight redistribution would hopefully result in a reasonably stable platform.
The Alu-box was one of the really great things on the old Mule, watertight and rugged and it is retained on the Mule II, but the box is now slightly larger. Not really sure if I need the extra size,81 liters as opposed to 72, but it allows me to keep some more gear out of the rain. One big change is that the box now sits higher and there is a storage area under it. The Mule I had the box mounted low and extra equipment (tent etc) in a waterproof (supposedly) base-camp bag on top. The result was that every time I wanted to access something in the box,I had to remove the bag first (or try to balance it as I reached in under it). Much more of a hassle than I had anticipated. The original thinking was to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible, but I think that with the super stable Kronan chassis, the slightly higher placement will not be a problem.
The alu-box is mounted with quick removal fittings, allowing the chassis to be folded down quickly and easily. In fact, the chassis can be folded even when the box is in place.
Large 16″ pump-up wheels with proper bearings make sure that the Mule II rolls easily and give it reasonable terrain covering ability. I am not about to go mountaineering with it, but some off-roading should be completely ok.
All in all, it is a much more rugged design than the original Mule and I don’t have any reservations about it lasting all the way to Sydney.
The possibility of being a horrific failure (2013-03-30 10:55)
Just read a post over at Tynan, the possibility of being a horrific failure.
In many ways, the-walk has the possibility of becoming a horrific failure. Setting out to walk halfway around the world is always rather risky. A lot can, and probably will happen along the way. But then that’s what makes it so exciting, an adventure. The important point is that it is better to dare to do something rather than to be too afraid of failure to try.
What is failure but a new experience that you can use to plan the next great adventure!
One day (2013-05-05 07:28)
One day to go!
I have been downsizing, slowly and surely since 2009, yet there always seems to some more stuff to sort, pack, get rid of. Amazing!
But tomorrow I have to be unencumbered enough to fit everything onto the mule. As always, there is lots to do the last day, but it all leads to tomorrow.
Finally on the road (sort of) (2013-05-06 23:01)
Today I finally got to start on my way south towards Sydney!
Feels really great to actually be doing something and not just talking about it.
Spent a lot of the day being photographed and socializing rather than taking photographs. Left my apartment for the final time and headed down to Lisas Café for breakfast where I met up with some friends and photographers. Then Göran Segerholm interviewed me for Bildradion as we walked towards Slussen where Mats Bäcker was waiting to photograph me.
When Mats was finished I pointed the Mule south and headed towards Handen. At last heading the right way!
On the way, we (Tomas, my brother-in-law walked with me all day) stopped and visited Peter Öhlander where I was very honoured to become the first-ever recipient of Slips Stipendiet.
On our continued way south, we passed the house in Sköndal that my grandfather built, where I lived the first 3 years of my life.
After a fuel stop for pizza, we got into gear and covered the remaining distance to Handen where my sister Denice had a wonderful dinner waiting with some surprise guests. If this is living on the road and being a nomad then I can’t really complain!
Although I haven’t covered a lot of kilometres today, I am still very tired as I write this. It has been an intense day (or rather a week) and in many ways, I am looking forward to walking in silence the next few days, don’t think the freestyle will be used much for a while.
Would very much like to give a heartfelt thanks to all the people that showed up both yesterday and today to send me off and wish me well. Thank you all very much!
Ösmo (2013-05-07 22:25)
Today has been a wonderful day and I have been spoiled both by the glorious weather and the wonderful people around me.
Started out having breakfast with my sister before I went and got a series of vaccinations (ok, maybe not the best part of the day).
Then a slow walk to Västerhaninge where Iris had a wonderful lunch ready to go! After almost 2 hours of eating and talking, it was off to Ösmo and my aunt and uncle and yet another glorious dinner. I am getting so spoiled, if this is vagabonding life then why haven’t I started earlier?
Tomorrow promises to be different though, may even have to use the tent…
Today has also been a slow meander through nostalgia. Stopped at the flat in Jordbro where my family lived before we moved to Australia and went past my first school as well. The last 2 days have been a re-creation of my earlier path to Sydney. I was born in Södersjukhuset, lived 3 years in Sköndal and then 5 years in Jordbro before moving to Sydney. Following the same steps now.
Last time it took 8,5 years to reach Sydney, hope I manage it a little bit quicker this time around!
Remember to follow me on Instagram (matsandren), will upload pictures along the way with short descriptions and will be tagging everything #the _walk.
Skansholmen (2013-05-09 08:19)
It rained last night. Looks like the good times are over…
Fortunately, I spent the night in a small cabin, managed to make a good deal that was only a little bit more expensive than a campsite. Will have to camp out in the “wild” to save some money in the coming days though.
Took it easy all day but according to the GPS, I covered 37km, much more than expected. Am feeling it though. I am nowhere as well prepared physically as last year. When I got to my cabin, I lay down on the bed and got an attack of the shakes. Having been outside in the sun for 3 straight days after what was a long winter has to take its toll somehow.
Will take it easier today, only planning to cover about 25km.
If you look closely at the mule, you will see that there are some new accessories on it. Yesterday morning I mounted some Jolly Motion arms to it. They are intended to enable me to walk without using my arms to push with, leaving them free and at the same time taking some of the strain from the upper body. They were very easy to mount, only took 10 minutes. I have not used them properly yet but am looking forward to trying them, especially when the terrain gets a bit hillier (which might take a while).
I will leave you with a shot from Mats Bäcker of me walking through Slussen:
Trosa (2013-05-10 11:27)
Spent last night in the tent. Just to let you know how well prepared I am, it was the first time I tried to pitch it. All went well!
Walked from Skansholmen to Vagnhärad during the day and enjoyed a late lunch (pizza). While I ate, I was interviewed by Södermanlands Nyheter, the local newspaper and just as we were finishing Milka, Janne and Wille turned up. They had gone for a ride on their new motorbikes and managed to spot the Mule as they rode past.
From there it was a short walk to Trostorp where I had decided to try to camp for the night. Found a spot in the woods and just as I finished pitching the tent, it started raining. Great timing!
Today will be a very restful, easy day. Playing tourist in Trosa. Met up with Robert this morning and plan to walk slowly around Trosa and enjoy the sights, We have already visited the best café (according to Robert). Later this evening it’s dinner at Roberts’ mothers home.
As I am having some problems with my knee, an easier day is just what I need. I did say that I planned to ease into walking longer distances…
Västerljung (2013-05-10 22:36)
Spent most of the day playing tourist in Trosa. Eating ice cream and comparing equipment with other travellers. Needless to say, the Mule was without peer…
Then it was time for a slow wander home to Inger and Kjell in Västerljung and a wonderful dinner with friends and neighbours.
What can I say, still enjoying my new vagabond life!
Nyköping (2013-05-12 16:13)
Sitting in a pizza/kebab place in Nyköping and its 15.30 on day 7. Am a bit amazed that I haven’t gotten further, especially considering the distance I have walked per day. I either have to start walking straighter or start saying that it’s going to take 5 years!
After leaving Västerljung, I meandered along country roads, taking my time and enjoying the scenery.
During the early afternoon Sandra turned up with some snacks and we sat down and caught up with what has happened since we met last.
Then it was on to Nynäs Slott. Impressive but what is a castle compared to the Mule…
Milka and Janne picked me up at Nynäs and took me to dinner (after which they dropped me right back where I started). By then it was long past time to look for a campsite. Eventually found a secluded spot right next to the water and spent most of the night listening to the mating noises of the local waterbirds.
This morning I set out towards Nyköping and after 30 km of more or less non-stop walking, here I am, very undecided about what to do next. Continue and camp further south or check out the hostel?
I think I will have a cup of coffee and see what happens.
The phone just rang and the local tv station is on the way to do an interview. You can read the (Swedish) interview with Södermanlans Nyheter from a few days ago here:
I get a few comments as I walk along with the Mule and here is the comment of the week:
I was walking along the road next to a large field and spotted an elderly gentleman on the other side of the road heading towards me. As he approached I noticed that he was well dressed and was moving along with brisk, confident steps. When he was almost next to me he said ” Are you heading to New York with that?” It took me a moment but I answered “No, further south, to Sydney!” I’m not sure he heard or understood me but he answered “Oh, ok” and continued on his way, not missing a stride.
Djupvik (2013-05-13 19:39)
The home office
Walked 40km yesterday and ended up camping in the forest not far from the road. Spent a restless night, can’t really explain why but didn’t get much sleep.
Woke to brilliant weather this morning, packed up the mule and headed out. Start of week 2!
Monday morning, start of the working week.
Walked to Simonsberget, a local climbing spot where I hoped to find some climbers, but there was nobody there. Guess they had to go to work this morning.
Spent the rest of the day walking through some glorious countryside and capped the afternoon off by doing a live interview with P4 Radio Sörmland.
By the way, you can catch my small spot on the local television news from yesterday here:
Was unsure how far I was going to be able to wander today, was starting to get a bit tired and could not decide how far to push myself. Serendipity stepped in and I found a wonderful B &B at Djupviks Gård. Intend to get some serious sleep tonight!
Valdermarsvik (2013-05-15 20:53)
Left the B &B in Djupvik reasonably early and headed towards Stegeborg. The morning started out overcast and even though the forecast was for afternoon sun, it started raining instead! Most of the afternoon was spent walking in the rain but looks like the Mule II is just as watertight as the original. By the time I reached the ferry at Stegeborg, the clouds split and the sun looked out from behind.
The ferry master had read about me in the paper and was full of questions. A fair few people have stopped to talk to me the last few days.
After 40 km of walking, I pitched the tent just south of Stegeborg and then spent a restless night tossing and turning. Not only that, it was cold as well!
Today started cold and blustery and I set sights for Valdermarsvik, about 35km away. Wonderful countryside along the way but the weather did not encourage long stops.
Finally made Valdermarsvik, really tired for the first time. Can start to feel the accumulated mileage…
Heading to bed to sleep for 10 hours straight.
Gamleby (2013-05-17 10:18)
Yesterday was a long day, the longest so far. Walked 47 km to Gamleby and arrived to be greeted by the ever wonderful Helena Savio.
The weather was brilliant, with blue skies and just enough of a breeze to keep me cool.
I was afraid that I would feel the distance, especially as I was very tired the day before, but everything rolled along nicely. Even the knee I have been having some problems with seems to have gotten better!
Spent some time last evening meeting some of my old students and then hit the shower and crashed…
Chose the right time to visit Gamleby as one of the photography courses is having an exhibition that opens today and I am heading there as soon as I finish typing this.
I will be back with a summery of the first 11 days later this evening…..
12 Day Summary (2013-05-18 08:54)
Photo: Robert Paraniak
Been on the road for 12 days now and thought I would summarize a few things so far.
I have covered 364 km which averages out to about 30 km a day even when I count yesterdays “rest” day. A higher average than I expected but then I have walked more km and yet not got any further on the map than expected. Makes me wonder what the total distance will be by the time I get to Sydney!
By this stage during the-test walk, I was suffering intensely from blisters and even skin splits, yet so far I don’t have a single blister. This is all due to me using five-finger barefoot shoes and corresponding toe socks. They really are the most comfortable shoes I have ever used and the only thing against them is that prolonged walking still makes the soles of my feet sore. I hope to toughen up enough so that even that problem goes away before too long. In fact, the only time I have felt the slight tingle of a beginning blister, was when I used my sandals for about 10 km one day. The sandals are a great backup to the five-fingers due to the fact that they have a thicker sole, a nice cushion if the underside of my feet cries “too much!”
The Mule II is working perfectly although I still have too much stuff… Will have to have a sit down after another week or two and go through everything again. By that time I should have an even better idea about what really is needed.
Meeting a lot of people, both old friends and new acquaintances. The Mule is an excellent icebreaker, most people wonder what I am doing walking along with my little cart.
The photography has been a bit slow though. I have taken a fair few shots but can’t say that I have been all that inspired or managed to capture anything very exciting. Think I am very much still getting into the grove and have not yet relaxed enough. Hopefully, inspiration will strike me (which may happen as there are thunderstorms forecast today).
All things considered, I am having a great time, even the weather has been good. One half-day of rain and one slightly colder day, apart from that mainly sunshine and blue skies.
Heading slightly inland today as I start to angle my way towards Vimmerby and, unfortunately, it looks like there might be a bit of rain today.
Time will tell..
Värekulla (2013-05-19 22:11)
Left Gamleby Saturday morning after meeting Helena Savio for breakfast and then having the honour of being photographed by her and her beloved Linhoff.
Had decided to head straight for Vimmerby rather than walk along the coast to Västervik as there were thunderstorms forecast for the coast. Was hoping to avoid them if I headed inland. More or less successfully. Got caught in one short downpour but in all, the day was more or less dry.
I suppose it had to happen sometime, and I have no doubt that there will be many more before I reach Sydney, but I had not expected a puncture just yet!
A thumbtack had gone straight through the tire and punctured the tube. Even though I was a Boy Scout for less than 2 weeks, I have still learnt to be prepared, so it was just an easy matter of changing the tube.
Continued on a few hours more and finally found a secluded spot to pitch the tent, just before the rain (or rather drizzle) started.
Sunday morning was foggy and dreary and the threat of rain was ever-present. It finally started raining as I walked through a sleepy Vimmerby and then persisted throughout the rest of the day. It might have been more depressing if not for the fact that I was headed to the home of my old colleague, Lars -Erik whom I was looking forward to seeing again for the first time in almost 6 years. Even finally got to see his Jaguar, which we had talked about more than once!
Hope tomorrow brings slightly better weather…
Eksjö (2013-05-20 22:05)
Learning to walk
Left Värekulla this morning after a leisurely morning talking to Lars-Erik and headed off towards Eksjö. Had no intention of reaching Eksjö but I started listening to an audiobook (A life without limits by Chrissie Wellington) and time and distance seemed to fly by. Another 42 km day…
During the afternoon I spent some time answering questions from pupils at Oxhagsskolan in Akalla. This is the second time I have done this, they are (with a bit of inspiration from my friend Anders who works there) following my journey on the website. Just wanted to say a big “Hi!” to them all and thank them for following me!
Developed my first very small blister today. Mainly due to walking in wet shoes most of yesterday I think, but it is tiny and after a change of shoes has given me no more problems.
Intend to spend tomorrow morning having a look around Eksjö, so it’s of to bed for what I hope will be more than 40 winks.
Jönköping (2013-05-23 16:28)
Woke up Tuesday morning in Eksjö Camping with the weather looking overcast but at least dry. A few short km’s into the centre of town and I was sitting down in Lennart’s Konditori enjoying my first cup of coffee for the day when it started raining! I had planned to play tourist in Eksjö but the rain washed away any inclination to wander around town looking at historic buildings and I donned the rain gear and set off towards Nässjö.
Found some very nice roads running alongside the main highway and if only the weather had been better, it would have been a brilliant walk through some typical Swedish countryside. Rolling green hills, tree-lined gravel roads, newly shorn sheep and flowering trees.
I managed to enjoy it despite the rain.
Ate a late lunch in Nässjö and had decided to try to continue to somewhere around Forserum before pitching what I suspected was my still damp tent. Took my time, meandered along and by the time I was approaching Äng (7 km from Forserum) I was starting to slow down and feel a bit tired. As I passed, a door open in the house beside the road and I heard a voice asking, “If I was the person walking to Australia?”
Victor and Mikaela had seen me on TV and wanted to say “Hi!” and ask a few questions. They were kind enough to make me a cup of coffee and I set off again a while later, much less tired.
Carried on about 1 km past Forserum (where I bought some food) and found a likely spot in a field beside the road to make camp. The rain had stopped by now and as I pitched the tent (still damp, as suspected) I said to my self “At least it isn’t raining!” The words had hardly left my mouth before the downpour started!
Quickly up with the tent and into hiding inside.
Wednesday morning and at least the rain had stopped. With only 25 or so km to Jönköping, my planned stop for the night, I could take it easy and detoured slightly to visit the Husqvarna Factory Museum.
In Jönköping my goal was Moderskeppet, where I was met by Filip who had promised me a couch for the night. I tagged along to Filip’s military training work-out but only looked, plenty hard enough work for me.
Afterwards, we got cleaned up and went out to dinner, discussing films and most everything else we could think of.
This morning (Thursday) I was booked to do a live appearance at Radio Jönköping P4 and the day started early. You can listen to the interview here:
Then it was time for breakfast and a short video interview for Moderskeppet that you can see here:
Then back home to Filip, pack the mule and back on the road, heading towards Gothenburg.
I really want to thank Filip and everyone else at Moderskeppet for a great welcoming and making me feel right at home. Thank you very much.
As I headed out of Jönköping a car pulled over and a couple of happy guys stuck out their head to wish me well! Always nice.
You can read an earlier interview I gave to Västerviks Tidning here: http://www.vt.se/nyheter/lokalt.aspx?articleid=6842411
Hindås (2013-05-26 22:48)
Rolled into Hindås Marina and Camping this evening after another 3 days walking. Got to talking with Lasse who owns the place and he cut me a really good deal after he heard I was walking all the way to Sydney!
When I left Jönköping, I was worried that I would have to walk along the main road, with a lot of heavy traffic, but I managed to find an old train embankment to follow.
Although it was harder rolling for the mule, it was nice and quiet and I relaxed. Towards the afternoon, with the sun setting behind the trees, for the first time during the walk I felt totally relaxed and in the moment. It was great!
Camped out in the woods and continued into Ulricehamn the next day. After dinner, I found yet another old train embankment that had been converted into a cycle road leading to Borås. Spent the night camped on top of some 14th-century castle ruins on the edge of lake Mogden. Cool campsite!
Saturday was spent walking to Borås where I had been offered a bed by Roberts brother Conny, his wife Marie and little Tilde. Arrived just in time for a wonderful dinner and then, wonder of wonders, I got to have a bath! Love a hot bath!
Headed towards Göteborg this morning and just outside Bollebygd I found a great old Volvo bus being readied for the annual school outing.
A quick pizza in Bollebygd and then another 2 hours walking to Hindås. At this rate, I might just make Göteborg by tomorrow night…
Gothenburg (2013-05-29 09:03)
On Monday I set out on an easy walk to Göteborg after an interesting breakfast with some of the regulars at Hindås Marina & Camping. Lasse even sent me on my way with a piece of homemade lasagna for lunch (which was excellent).
A few hours into the walk, I spied a gentleman standing on the side of the road looking towards me. As I approached I could see two takeaway cups of coffee in his hands. Man, that would be good right about now. Incredibly, Mikael was waiting for me! He had seen the video interview on Moderskeppet and, after checking the blog, worked out where I was. One of the cups was for me!
Thank you Mikael!
I enjoyed my lasagna outside of Landvetter and very nearly went for the first swim of the year, but the still slightly cold wind blowing off the water put me off (along with some of the fish parts floating in the water).
For the first time, I developed a small blister that I had to stop and have a look at. It wasn’t a major problem but the first foot-blemish that I actually felt when walking. All in all, not bad for almost 3 weeks and 750 km walking.
Rolled into Göteborg in the evening and headed towards Anton’s place, where he had promised to put me up for a few days. Will be staying put for at least 4 days while I sort out some equipment, get new vaccinations and catch up with old friends and colleagues. Really looking forward to meeting some people I haven’t met in many years!
Anton making me a healthy breakfast!
Eating Italian with Robert G
Time to move on (2013-06-01 20:13)
I have now spent 5 days in Gothenburg and although it’s been both restful and productive, it’s time to get back on the road.
Spent a lot of time catching up with old friends, always great, but have also made some equipment changes, made some new contacts and even gave a lunch talk.
Christer from Stendahls Reklambyrå asked me to turn up and talk about the walk during one of their inspirational lunches. Turned out to be a great opportunity ending with a question and answer session that hopefully helped to explain what many people see as a rather eccentric project!
The equipment changes have been rather major as well but I will leave that for another post after I have had time to digest the changes myself.
Today was Andra Långgatan day in Gothenburg when they close down the street for traffic and move the shops and pubs out into the street. I naturally went down for a look and it was great. Lots of happy (and thirsty) people with live bands every 5 yards. It was all interrupted by a thunderstorm that I managed to avoid, but I have no doubt they are still going strong there now.
I was far from the only photographer mingling with the crowd, some more discretely than others.
Anton has been a great host and the city as a whole has really shown it’s best side but I am starting to feel restless.
May have a guest walker along with me for the start tomorrow, along with Lisa who is going to take some pics for an article in GT.
The plan now is to head down the west coast towards Helsingborg, enjoying the weather and hopefully spending some time on the beaches trying to even out my “farmers” tan. My face, lower arms and legs are really brown, but the rest of me is lily-white!
Kungsbacka (2013-06-02 23:29)
On the road again!
It has been a long (48km) and very social day today. As I hinted at yesterday, I had a guest walker along for a large part of the day. Annelie Wester, last years adventurer of the year wanted to join me for a walk and kept me company for a day. Annelie is a pretty incredible person and we found lots to talk about, from alpine expeditions to what is important in life and some stuff in between as well.
To find out more about her, make sure to check out her Facebook page and read this article in Filter.
Halfway through the day we were joined by Lisa who had been sent out to take some pictures for an article in GT. She also took some shots for me, to add to the ones by Mats and Helena.
There were some young girls on the pier who wondered what we were doing and when they were told that I intended to walk to Sydney they were a little bit sceptical to begin with but soon showered us with questions.
Lisa had not more than left before Christer called and checked where we were, he was on his way with coffee and snacks!
Annelie caught a ride back with Christer and I settled back into my own thoughts and trudged on towards and through Kungsbacka. It was starting to get late and it was time to either find a place to stay or pitch the tent.
I ended up finding an absolutely brilliant place to stay but I am going to save that story for tomorrow, now I want to get some shut-eye…
Hilmersgården (2013-06-04 09:49)
I spent Sunday night at a B &B called Hilmersgården. When Eva who runs the place heard about my little walk she insisted on sponsoring me to a comfortable night and an excellent breakfast! If you are ever in the area and need someplace to stay, then I could not recommend it warmly enough.
I was sent on my way in the morning well-rested, with sandwiches and cinnamon buns to last me through the day. Not only that but I also received my own little guardian angel to mount to the front of the Mule, to guide us safely through the-walk.
Varberg (2013-06-04 16:09)
Monday was a long, but very enjoyable slog along the coast to Varberg.
The sky was blue and a breeze blowing in from the sea kept the temperature comfortable. I am really going to enjoy the coming week or so if the weather continues like this.
Arrived late in Varberg but knew I would be staying with Jonas and he served up a healthy, low carb dinner to round out a perfect day.
Walked 55 km and after the 48 km the day before I decided that a rest day was in order. Don’t want to arrive in Sydney too early!
Glommen (2013-06-05 20:51)
It’s almost nine in the evening and I’m sitting in Glommen drinking a beer and about to go out and look for someplace to sleep. Might try to sleep under the stars tonight. Would be great. The last few times I have tried I have been foiled by all the mosquitoes but they seem to be absent tonight and the sky is almost cloudless. Just a matter of finding a suitable place…
Falkenberg (2013-06-07 00:04)
Today was my birthday, along with Swedish Flag day. A lot of flags were flying from the flagpoles, naturally all for me!
Didn’t spend last night under the stars as I had hoped, couldn’t find a suitable spot and there was a cold wind blowing in from the sea. Still, a comfortable night in the tent is not too bad either.
Walked the 10 km into Falkenberg in my new flip-flops this morning, have to get my feet used to them, and was surprisingly comfortable.
When I got into town I found a coffee shop (på G) and treated myself to a luxury, extra special coffee to celebrate my birthday. Got to talking with the staff and they were very interested in the-walk. Not only that, when they learned it was my birthday, they insisted I try the cheesecake!
Then it was off to see my old mate Mats, whom I originally met in Sydney, and his family. We got to talking about how long it had been since we met and finally worked out that it had to be 20 years ago…
It was great to see him and reminisce about “glory days” and the beer and peanuts were just icing on the cake. One unexpected side effect of the-walk is the surprising number of old friends and colleges I have met along the way. That in itself has already made the whole project worthwhile, and there is a whole lot more to come yet!
Mellbystrand (2013-06-09 22:43)
I left Falkenberg two days ago intending to walk down the coast and look for a suitable campsite. There looked to be plenty of possibilities on the map and I was almost looking forward to pitching the tent. But as I walked through Ugglarp a van slowed down and a face almost as suntanned as mine peered out, “Are you the guy that’s walking to Sydney? I recognized your cart from the article in GT.”
As usual, the Mule was more famous than I….
The guy with the tanned face turned out to be Stefan, from Borås, who was down for the weekend at his summer house to do some bicycle training for the upcoming Vettern Runt. When he heard that I was planning to camp out, he promptly offered me the use of his guest house.
As if that wasn’t enough, he served up a great dinner and some beers as we sat down together with his mates Christer and Niklas to watch Sweden in the soccer world cup qualifier. I won’t talk about the result…
The next morning I was back on the road and heading towards Halmstad where Mats and Birgitta from Falkenberg had arranged for me to stay at some of their friends, Birgitta and Jörgen.
Another great stay with incredible hospitality! Swedes are often derided for their coldness and lack of hospitality, don’t know where that stupid idè came from.
Sunday morning I headed out of Halmstad, again intent on following the coast southwards. Everything rolled along so nicely and quickly that I almost forgot that I would pass an important point today. I have now walked more than 1000 km!
This is the Mule at 1004 km, missed the 1000 km mark.
As I write this, I am sitting in a hostel almost on the beach at Mellbystrand where I intend to spend all of tomorrow. Taking the day off from walking for a few reasons. One is that I need to sit down and write down the impressions from the last few weeks before I forget all that has happened. Another is that I really want to go for a barefoot jog along the beach and, thirdly, I will be giving an interview on Swedish Radio P4 Extra tomorrow. Not sure what time it will be on, but sometime just after 15.00 I suspect.
Actually had the boomerang out at the beach the other day and I can proudly say that I still know how to throw it!
Now it’s time to hit the sack and rest my feet…
Helsingør (2013-06-12 19:40)
Ladies and gentlemen, the-walk has finally gone international!
I’m writing this while sitting in Heslingør train station waiting to meet up with my first Couchsurfing connection.
Yesterday, I left the beach and made my way over Hallandsåsen, the one slightly higher area around here. Although it is a climb of somewhere around 200 meters, it was easygoing. Just as well as I am going to encounter some proper climbs later on. If this small hill had proved difficult then I would really have been in trouble! As it was, I used the jolly-motion for the first time in any sort of serious way and found that it works as advertised. It really helped to move the strain from the upper body, down to the hips and made everything feels much lighter.
Today I made my way into Helsingborg and caught the ferry over the water to Helsingør, Denmark.
Over the last 13 months, I have walked a little bit more than 3000 km through Sweden. Last summer during the-test, and now as the start of the-walk. It’s interesting to note that 3000 km is 10 % of the total distance of the-walk, and somehow that makes it all seem very possible.
The last month has felt very much like a holiday and I don’t think I have realized what I have started. The reality of the situation has not sunk in yet. It is first now that it feels like the adventure will really start. Not only have I gone international, but today will be the first time I try Couchsurfing, something I hope to be able to do a lot more in the coming year.
At the moment I am a very hopeful and expectant newby vagabond!
Copenhagen (2013-06-15 00:06)
My first couchsurf turned out to be a great experience. The whole idè and concept is wonderful and I could not have had a better host for my first attempt. Thank you Anja!
But the weather on Thursday could have been better. Rain and wind… Sort of made walking along the coast towards Copenhagen a fair bit less entertaining than it should have been. I was definitely not tempted to go for a swim!
But Daniel and Tina made up for that when I arrived at their place in Copenhagen.
Spent Friday playing tourist in Copenhagen, amongst other things I managed to find a car that was on fire,
The owner was trying to put out the fire with limited success, but the fire brigade turned up very quickly.
They looked rather bored as they put out the fire, so it probably was not that serious.
Found time to visit the Carlsberg elephants before I headed off to Larry vs Harry, the makers of Bullit bicycles, in my opinion, the coolest bikes around.
If I wasn’t walking to Sydney, I would be riding a Bullitt (a blue one with 30 external XT gears and an alu-box).
Apart from playing tourist, I have had to suffer through dinner,
and playing with the cat.
It’s a hard life……
Rødvig (2013-06-19 19:13)
I have had a varied three days since leaving Copenhagen.
The first day started out great, with a nice clear sky and good cycling tracks to follow. Only I managed to follow them too closely and walked 3 or 4 km in the wrong direction at one stage before I discovered my error. Still, it was a nice day and late in the afternoon I figured I had “earned” myself a nice, big Danish ice cream cone. Although I hadn’t covered as much distance as I had hoped, I decided to make camp early as the sky was starting to look very threatening. Just as well as by the time I was pitching the tent, the wind was blowing quite strongly. It was an exercise in pitching the tent in a storm. The tents around me were flapping in the wind and I was pleased with my solid, seemingly stable tent when I was finished.
How not to do it….
The proper way!
As I crawled inside, the thunderstorm started in earnest. Wind gusts, thunder and lightning and heavy rain. I lay down in comfort as I listened to my neighbours rush about trying to stop their tents from blowing away while getting soaked in the pouring rain.
Sunday started out nice enough but soon turned into a slog through rain gusts. One minute sunshine, next heavy rain and strong winds. Even had to get out my gore-tex rain pants for the first time. At least it wasn’t raining when I approached Køge and set up the tent for the night.
But today, Monday the weather has been great. Walking along the seaside during the morning and then cutting across some fields during the afternoon. Today it wasn’t the rain pants that got used but my sun hat!
Stubbekøbing (2013-06-22 10:14)
Another 4 days of walking have passed and I have reached Stubbekøbing. It’s been a varied few days, with everything from storm winds to hot, calm sunshine.
From Rødvig, I walked to Præsrtø where I met Fritz, the wandering artist. I was sitting down reading and enjoying a beer when he came up and wondered if I belonged to the mule. Turned out that he had a passion for walking and combining it with painting.
Nice compact minimalist kit that doesn’t require any electricity!
We spent some time talking about equipment (strange how stuff always comes into it). One thing I have discovered that I need, is some sort of cooking pot, preferably one that can double as a cup. The camping grounds here in Denmark don’t have much in the way of utensils in their kitchens, I have been spoiled in Sweden.
The next day it was onwards, towards Stege where I made my base at the campsite and planned to leave everything (including the mule) while I made my way to Møns Klint and back the next day. After a night with thunderstorms, Thursday turned out to be warm (soon hot) and clear, and I left the mule to soak up some sun and socialize with the pensioners as I headed towards the cliffs.
They are brilliant limestone cliffs that tower above the sea, well worth seeing even if there were a lot of steps to get down to reach the beach.
But the scenery was worth it.
This is from my GPS app, first going down to the beach, and then heading up. Note that the speed is pretty good even going up!
It was a long way back to Stege in the late afternoon, and the sun was blazing down. Towards the end, the only thing I could think about was a cool shower. Maybe the mule had the right idè.
In Stege, I met a very nice artist, Susan Starwing. She heard me ordering a pizza in English and asked where I was from and what I was doing. When she heard about the walk she immediately wanted to help in some way and quickly sponsored me 100 Dkr! I am amazed at how many people say they are inspired by the-walk and the ideas behind it.
Thank you Susan!
As I headed south away from Stege on Friday morning, it was obvious that I was still tired from yesterdays escapades, those 500 or so steps had taken more out of me than I thought. So Friday became an easy, relatively short walk to Stubbekøbing with the only complaint being the very strong winds. The last bit was on an old restored ferry, Ida, that runs from Bodø to Stubbekøbing during tourist season.
Then I quickly found the campground and pitched the tent, walked into town and bought some fresh strawberries that I am munching on as I type this. I won’t be able to publish this post tonight as there is no internet, but it will turn up as soon as I get “connected”. As for now, I’m off to bed!
Grömitz (2013-06-26 13:19)
We have now made it to Germany!
On Saturday I had an easy start as I waited for the local library to open, they had WiFi. Internet access is proving slightly more erratic than I had imagined already.
Then it was a not too long walk to Nykøping Falster, although I did pass the Klondike on the way…
In Nykøping the campsite had organized a small bonfire for midsummer and I hung around for a while but the crowd consisted almost entirely of pensioners and it wasn’t long before I headed into town instead. If anything, it was even quieter there and I headed back to the tent to rest my feet.
Sunday was a long but uneventful slog to Rødby, with the weather threatening rain almost all the time.
In Rødby I spotted a German cyclist that I have seen at 4 different campsites through Denmark. We recognize each other and have started smiling and nodding each time we meet. He must wonder about my walking as I am always turning up at the same time and places as him, and he is on a bike!
Then, on Monday morning the Mule and I took the-walk to one more country!
We had only just got off the ferry in Puttgarden when we were cornered for our first international interview!
Gerd had been tipped off that I was on the ferry and as the Mule is anything but inconspicuous, we weren’t hard to spot.
Then onwards towards Burg, a bustling tourist town with lots of restaurants and souvenir shops. Cycling through the centre of town was my German cyclist friend. We smiled and nodded…
My friend Marc had made arrangements for me to camp at a farm near Neukirchen and I thought it was nearer than it really was. Became a longer walk than expected and I arrived first at 8 pm to encounter my first real language problem. I had the number of a man who was going to show me where I could camp, get water and use the toilet, but, let us just say that my German was as bad as his English! I usually find that body language solves most misunderstandings but try that on the phone! I eventually found another guy who was feeding some horses who understood a bit more English (and could see my gesturing). He called, got instructions and showed me where everything was.
Tuesday morning was grey and threatening rain, in fact, I hadn’t even left the farm before I had to find shelter under some trees while I dug out the rain gear.
It’s a shame, as I am walking past some great beaches, but the weather is not what it could be. It’s not cold, but grey, windy and wet.
Ended the day at a large, soulless camping ground just south of Grömitz. Hundreds of caravans lined up in row after row…
Had to escape down to the beach for a bit of sanity and some dinner
Lübeck (2013-06-28 09:43)
Spent Wednesday walking along the German coast, lots of great beaches but they were all deserted. The sky was grey, it was cold and the wind was blowing.
I had been thinking about getting some signs made up for the Mule for a while. I noticed that people would stare at the Mule with wonder and curiosity, but often not ask what we were doing. Just outside of Neustadt, I found a company that made advertising signs and thought I would check if they could help me.
No problems, Axel helped me make a couple of signs for both sides of the Mule and then helped me put them on properly.
He even gave me a very good price and took a picture to send to some friends in Sweden.
I headed on, taking it very slowly and by the time it was getting dark, I was somewhere between Travemünde and Lübeck. There was a field beside the road, behind some trees and I decided I had walked enough for one day.
The night before I had started having some problems with my mattress, it had started to leak. Just a little bit, took an hour or two to deflate. At first, I thought it was the valve but no amount of mucking around with it seemed to help. The leak is so small that I can’t find it without the help of water, will have to find a pond or lake to dunk the mattress in as soon as I can. As it was, I spent the night first inflating the mattress, then waking up on the hard ground an hour or so later. Repeat…
Gets old very quickly!
On the way into Lübeck, I found some art. Somebody does not seem to like trains!
I am now in Lübeck and intend to stay here for a day, do some sightseeing and enjoy a good cup of coffee. Then it will be off towards Büchen, 2 days easy walking, south along a canal, where I will be staying with my friend Marc.
Büchen (2013-07-01 14:52)
Spent one day being a tourist in Lübeck, dodging the rain and seeing the sites.
Even had time to do some washing and sorting through what is working and what needs to be fixed or replaced.
Then, on Saturday, I followed the Elbe-Lübeck canal south out of town.
It was nice walking along the canal, away from the traffic with only the occasional pushbike to worry about and there was not a lot of them as the weather was grey and windy, with one or two showers.
Spent the night in Mölln and continued towards Büchen the next day. If anything, the weather was even worse and to add to the excitement, the Mule had developed a slow puncture.
Still, the local rowing club was out for a morning workout and there was a bit of traffic on the canal.
Finally in Büchen, I found my friend Marc’s house and was just in time for dinner. Today, Monday has been filled with puncture repair. First the mattress,
And then the Mule.
But all the repairs seem to have worked great and I only have to remember to buy some more inner tubes, that was the last spare.
I have one more day of packing and sorting ahead of me and then on Wednesday, very early in the morning, I fly from Hamburg to Stockholm. To work. I have three, three-day courses to teach at Fotografiska, starting on Friday and continuing through the coming week. Then I fly back to Hamburg and continue walking.
It’s taken me almost two months to walk here, the flight takes an hour and a half…
End of the working week (2013-07-15 20:57)
Nine intense days of workshop teaching is now at an end and tomorrow I head back to Hamburg and then Buchen to collect the Mule and continue the-walk. First towards Bremen and onwards to Amsterdam.
I have lost almost 9 kilos of weight during the first two months of walking but Denice and Tomas have tried to make sure I put on at least that much during my stay with them in Stockholm.
Being back at work and pretending to be a regular commuter has been interesting…
At least teaching at Fotografiska is always a pleasure. It is always inspiring to work with people who want to learn!
Spent today doing some shopping (don’t worry, only essentials), meeting old and new friends and talking both about the past and the future.
But most of all I want to get back to the Mule and start walking!
Hamburg (2013-07-17 11:07)
I’m in Hamburg, back on track and looking forward to doing some serious walking. Will spend a day sightseeing and then head to Büchen to pick up the Mule.
Just got back from the Reeperbahn, not much happening there at 9 in the morning!
It feels like the-walk is about to start for real. If the-test was a warm-up, the last few months have felt like a prologue. The nine days teaching at Fotografiska was my last firm commitment and now I can stay on the road, not thinking about anything but the-walk.
It helps that I’m finally far from “home”, different language and different culture. Makes the adventure seem that much more real.
Now I just have to relax into the experience and see where it leads me…
Tesperhude (2013-07-20 12:06)
Back on the road!
Picked up the Mule at Büchen yesterday, where Marc had taken great care of it. All the tyres were still full of air and the Mule was ready!
Did a 30 km walk yesterday and can honestly feel that I have been on a break. Even felt a twinge in my knee, something I haven’t felt since during the first two weeks.
I liked Hamburg and think that it is a place I would like to spend some more time in. One of my ambitions after the-walk is to be able to continue living a vagabonding lifestyle, moving from place to place and spending some time exploring each new place. I have no doubt that I will have a long list of interesting places by the time I reach Sydney.
I am a bit annoyed with myself because I still have too much equipment. Have made several changes but need to make more. Have promised to write more about the equipment and the changes but am not sure where I will end up yet, promise to share more of my thoughts and experiences as I feel more comfortable with where I am going.
Will be walking along the Elbe today, more or less back towards Hamburg. Plan to pass south of the town but there is an international triathlon there this weekend and maybe the excitement of the event will pull me into town as I pass tomorrow. Time will tell…
Rotenburg (2013-07-23 15:17)
I’m at McDonald’s in Rotenburg (Wi-Fi and coffee),
On Saturday morning I headed west along the Elbe and in Geesthacht, Marco saw the signs on the Mule and after checking the blog, he decided that he wanted to shout me something to eat. He found me just outside of town and after asking if I would like some food, he shot off and got some currywurst mitt pommes.
We sat down and had a nice chat, about travel and the environment. Thank you, Marco.
I crossed the Elbe with the Zollenspieker ferry and stopped for a coffee on the opposite bank. The place was a hangout for the local motorbike riders and there were a lot of nice bikes.
Hard to compete with the polished aluminum of the Mule though! 🙂
After a while, a guy came over and asked me about the-walk. It was Kalle, named after Kalle Blomqvist, and after some talk, he offered me a place to set up camp at his house. It was in Winsen and we made plans to meet there later. Kalle would go for a ride on his Harley and I would walk there.
Spent a nice evening talking first to Kalle, and later, when they arrived home from holidays in Spain, to his wife and daughter.
The Mule was even accorded honorary Harley status and was photographed under the Harleys only parking sign.
Set off after breakfast on what was to prove to be a very warm day.
Just outside of town we were stopped by Kaos from Norway, he took some photos and said he’d post them on his blog.
It was a long warm day and I was glad to see the sun getting lower in the sky. It also felt slightly poetic to be walking into the setting sun…
Then, just when I was feeling like a lonesome cowboy, I got another flat tire.
Not a major problem as I had stocked up on inner tubes, but it sort of killed the mood.
Spent a warm night hiding from all the insects that thought I was their dinner in a field beside the road.
The next morning (Monday), I bought some breakfast at a supermarket and headed further west. The heat was making me long for the coast!
In Welle, I stopped for a cappuccino when a gentleman came up and started asking about my little project. He insisted on not only paying for the coffee but even giving me the change from when he paid. He said he had been helped by so many people on his travels and felt it was the least he could do to pay it forward.
I headed onward, wanting to find a camping ground for the night as I really needed a shower after two days of walking in the warm sun.
As I rolled into Scheeßel I saw an Esso service station and decided I needed a cold drink. Sitting outside were 3 people, all with a beer in front of them. They called out hello and it looked really good, so I bought my own beer and joined them. Turned out to be (I think) the owner, his wife and an employee. We talked and, not for the first time, my Hilleberg tent drew a comment. The brand seems to command a lot of respect in Germany! They sent me off with a complimentary dinner and directions to the campground.
The campsite turned out to be not only the cheapest, but also the best yet! So far removed from the expensive, soulless experience that my first camping ground in Germany had been. When I asked where I could get some coffee in the morning, I was invited to join the owners for breakfast!
Have met so many helpful, kind people in the last few days that I almost feel overwhelmed. In Hamburg, I walked past a small Indian gentleman and as I passed he said ” You are a lucky man, I can tell by your face that you are a lucky man.”
I’m starting to think that he was right!
Bremen (2013-07-25 19:22)
I’ve reached Bremen on my way west towards the Dutch coast and am spending an extra day here looking around town and trying the local brew.
Decided not to go on the Becks brewery tour, have so far avoided most of the major tourist attractions wherever I have visited. In part to save money but also because I like to try to hang around where there are more locals.
Spent Tuesday night at a campground that had a pool and went for a swim late at night. Incredibly that was my first proper swim of the-walk! Was about to go and get my phone to test its water capabilities (it’s a Sony Xperia that is waterproof) but just then a group of kids turned up and started splashing around in the shallow end of the pool. I did not want to be the old guy with a camera in a pool with a group of kids. The waterproof testing will have to wait!
The weather has been great, warm (hot by European standards) and I’m glad I remember to pack my sun hat.
Sent another package back to Sweden with stuff I don’t need today. Have decided that everything except the tent and mattress has to fit inside the alu-box or I have too much.
I’m off to check out the beer garden scene along the river and if I don’t get back too late, I might start working on the equipment update I have been promising for a while…
Esterwegen (2013-07-28 09:08)
Yesterday was a long day. Lost one night but managed to walk 104 km from Bremen to Esterwe- gen in 27 hours.
As the evening approached and it was time to look for a campsite, it started raining. Heavily! So I kept walking. Easier to keep walking rather than try to pitch the tent in the rain.
It eventually cleared up but it was a nice night and I just felt like keeping on walking.
I also wanted to break the one “day” record from the-test (78km). Getting into triple digits was also enticing. 🙂
It went well even though I developed a nice big blister from my wet socks.
Once I reached Esterwegen, I was more than ready to hit the sack. Couldn’t find a place to stay at first but a very nice young lady at the local pizzeria pointed me in the right direction.
Am just about to pack everything into the Mule and set off. Today, unless something very unexpected happens. I will pass the 2000 km mark!
Only 28000 to go. 🙂
Rolde (2013-07-30 21:06)
I’m sitting inside, out of the rain, waiting for my freshly washed clothes to dry in the drier. My friend René managed to find me on the road today and invited me to stay at his place for the night. I met René while covering the Explore Sweden adventure race in 2010, a race that started in Å, Norway, and finished in Piteå, Sweden. We were both there as photographers and got to know each other during the race. Just the other day I had been sorting through all my old e-mails trying to find his address and kicking myself for seeming to have left it in Sweden.
I left Esterwegen on Sunday, surprisingly well-rested after the long walk the “day” before, and spent the day following canals towards the border. I eventually struck camp just on the German side of the border.
Almost forgot the big moment of the day, the-walk officially passed the 2000 km mark!
Monday morning I crossed the border into the Netherlands, just next to Bourtange, where I planned to get my morning coffee fix. I sat down at one of the cafés in the centre of the old town and ordered coffee and cake. Several people asked me about the-walk and I tried to explain without sounding too crazy, not always easy!
When I had finished “breakfast” I tried to pay but discovered that one of the ladies I had been talking to had already paid my bill. Without even mentioning it when she wished me a good journey and left a little bit earlier.
I did some sightseeing and was lucky to cross paths with the lady a bit later and got to thank her in person.
Then it was back on the road. In Vlagtwedde, I bought a salad at the supermarket, along with a fruit salad for dessert. I am trying to eat a bit healthier…
Halfway to Stadskanaal, where I planned to spend the night, a car pulled up in front of me, a man got out, followed by a lady and three young girls. It was Jaap and his family. They had passed me earlier and seen the sign on the Mule and decided that I could probably use a bit of fresh, cold water. They sped off to the shop, got some cold water and a packet of Tick-Tacks, turned around and were here to deliver. Thank you, it was very much appreciated!
About 4km outside of Stadskanaal, I spied a small café, adjoining a service station. As I needed to visit the bathroom, I thought that a cup of my biggest vice would be in order. I entered and asked about some coffee. There was some confusion but I eventually understood that I could get coffee, but would have to wait for it to be made. No problem I said and started to make my way to the toilet. On the way, I passed the bar where a gentleman was sitting with a cold bottle of Amstel in front of him. It looked so good that I turned and said not to worry about the coffee, I would have a beer instead. Everybody smiled..
It was an incredible, small café. It was clean and neat but looked like it had been unchanged since the fifties or sixties. On the wall was a plaque celebrating the café having sold Amstel for 75 years, but the plaque was 20 years old! I sat down and enjoyed my cold beer. The proprietor did not speak much English, but the other customer did and I fielded the usual questions about the-walk. Before long there was a new beer in front of me, compliments of the other gentleman ( never did get his name).
An older couple turned up, then the proprietor’s wife and finally two other regulars. Everybody was speaking dutch and I relaxed back, trying to capture the conversation and enjoy the atmosphere. I thought I could discern something about speeding and police, but that was about all. Eventually, they asked me if the police in Sweden do their job or if they just try to collect as many fines as possible, so I was pretty close. One last beer and then I thought I had better leave if I wanted to be able to find the campsite. I was not allowed to pay for my beer, the original gentlemen customer insisted he sponsor me. Again, thank you!
Outside of Stadskanaal, I got directions from two lady joggers, found the campground and pitched my tent.
Then it was off to the centre of town to find Wi-Fi (McDonald’s). On the way there I ran into the joggers again and could report that I had found the campground safely.
The next morning (today, Tuesday), I headed in the direction of Assen, a suitable distance away. Just after midday, I passed Gasselte and a gentleman on a pushbike pulled alongside and asked me if I was really going to walk to Sydney? It was Chris, from Brisbane. Man, was it good to hear a true blue Australian accent!
Then the phone rang. It was René who was trying to find me and told me to stay where I was until he could get there. Chris and I sat down and had a coffee and a chat. He was in Europe on holidays with his wife and they were returning down-under tomorrow. René turned up just a few minutes after Chris left and, after some checking on the map, we found that he lived almost along my planned route. I was quickly invited to spend the night at his place. He did offer to drive me, but this is the-walk, so I set off on foot towards Rolde.
I passed through some beautiful forest along the way and soon met up with René again, this time on his bicycle. René shouted me dinner, got the washing machine going, and showed me the sights.
How is this for ironic, two photographers photographing each other with their mobile phones!
If you read this in time, make sure to listen to Swedish Radio P4 Extra tomorrow, I should be doing a live interview with them (if I have coverage).
Kampen (2013-08-02 20:42)
After enjoying the excellent hospitality of René, I set off towards Assen. I wanted to walk past the TT circuit, from which I had watched so many televised Grand Prix races. Not only that, I was doing an interview with Swedish Radio and wanted to make sure I had good reception.
René found me a little bit south of Assen, took some photos, said a final goodbye and I headed towards Smilde, where I hoped to find some lunch.
The bakery in Smilde was great. A cappuccino and some delectable cake (the cakes in the Netherlands are so much better than in Germany). The Mule generated some attention and I answered a few questions about the-walk. When I paid, the lady behind the counter sent me off with a bag of goodies to keep my strength up for the rest of the day.
I was feeling a bit tired, I hadn’t slept well the night before. After doing a late telephone interview with a reporter from Aftonbladet, I had not been able to relax and spent a large portion of the night tossing and turning. By the time I reached Hoogersmilde, I was ready to call it a day.
Camping De Horrebieter was to be my campsite for the night. I checked in and as usual, answered a few questions about the-walk, found my site, turned the tent inside out to dry and clean it, and sat down with my snacks from the bakery and some water. A few minutes later, the girl from the reception came past on a golf cart. She had two beers with her for me, along with a refund of my camping fees. Her boss had read the blog and wanted to sponsor me a bit, he felt it was a wonderful, if slightly crazy, idea. I thank her very much, now I had both snacks and beer!
It started raining just as I finished “dinner”, and I quickly set up the tent and crawled inside, wanting to have a little rest before I showered. A while later, during a temporary lull in the rain, somebody called to me from outside. It was the girl from the reception, along with two other guys. They wondered if they could take some pictures and maybe write something about me for their website and Facebook. Sure…
The rain continued through the night, giving me a good excuse to hide in the tent and get as much rest as possible. In the morning, the rain had stopped and as I packed up a lady came over and wondered if I had already had breakfast. If not, I was welcome to join her family who was camping just a few places away. As I had planned to try to find a coffee in Hoogersmilde, I thanked her and accepted.
I am again extremely thankful for the hospitality so many people are showing me.
The weather had cleared up and I spent a warm, windy day walking along the canals to Meppel, just far enough to be able to call it a day. I was still a bit tired and a little bit irritated by deep, beginning blisters on the front soles of both my feet. They had started to form when I walked in wet socks during my 104 km all-nighter.
I set up camp in the campground/harbour and wandered into town. In the central part of town, there were two stages set up and beer vending tents were being erected. I had lucked on to a free concert. I found some dinner and waited for the action to start. Stage one filled with musicians and a recognizable riff started. It took a while, but I finally realizes that it was Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”. Sort of…
They carried on destroying Pink Floyd songs and I head off towards the other stage.
Stage two had a Dj sorting through various summer dance hits, a slight bit better. I hung around for a few beers but didn’t really catch the proper mood and decided to head back to the tent for some sleep. Slept poorly, with the music almost as loud at the tent as in town, and it was very warm. If I have one criticism of my tent, it is that it could be better ventilated.
Friday morning dawned cloudlessly and after a salad and milk coffee breakfast from Aldi (super-market), I started walking. It was hot, the forecast had been for upwards of 33 degrees and the heat was tangible right from the start.
Lunch in Hasselt and as I made my way out of town, I saw a sign showing 34 degrees…
But, like mad dogs and Englishmen, I continued on.
I am now sitting in the bar at a camping ground outside of Kampen, enjoying a cold beer after an afternoon of hot, slightly monotonous walking. The only interesting break was when Jan and Jenny, a Dutch couple who live halftime in Sweden, stopped to say hello.
I intend to stay here for two nights and spend tomorrow exploring Kampen. As always there will be much, much more to come…
Urk (2013-08-05 13:21)
That’s right, I spent last night in Urk. Met a couple from there on my way into town and when I mentioned that I thought it was an odd name, they looked surprised. “In Swedish?” they asked. “In both Swedish and English” I said. Sounds like a town in The Lord of the Rings.
Spent Saturday looking around Kampen.
From the drawbridge, to the markets.
The ships and even a cow hanging from the clock tower.
When I photographed a cheese display, the guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted a shot with me and a block of cheese. Why not!
They have probably done this with countless tourists, check out the girls in the background giving a thumbs up!
Sunday I walked to Urk and planned to take the ferry to Enkhuzien but the ferry did not run on Sundays. In fact, most things appeared to be closed on Sundays. There were plenty of tourists and boats in Urk and plenty of restaurants, cafe’s and bars, all closed. I managed to find one open restaurant, a Chinese one of course!
While I sat there enjoying my black bean chicken a couple of local girls came to pick up their take away and I took the opportunity to ask them if there was a camping ground anywhere close by. They conferred and then tried to explain where. It was proving a bit difficult and in the end, one of the girls whipped her mobile out of her bra and showed me where. Then she put it back. That’s one way of stuffing your bra!
On the way to the camping, I discovered why everything was closed. Suddenly the streets were swarming with people dressed in their Sunday best, heading home from church. There were plenty of black suits and I almost felt like I had been transported back in time.
There was plenty of room at the campground, that’s the Mule and the tent almost lost in the big field.
Had a good nights sleep and headed back to town to catch the 9 o’clock ferry. Still heading west towards the coast.
Amsterdam (2013-08-09 12:32)
After taking the morning ferry to Enthuisen, I walked along the dike. Towards Amsterdam instead of the west coast as I had originally planned. It felt really good walking along the water and I just didn’t feel like heading away from the coast, even if it was towards the coast on the other side.
The dike is not very large or high but very impressive in its own way. Especially when you stand on it and realise that there is an unending amount of water on one side, and on the other, all the land you can see, stretching to the horizon, is well below water level!
Spent Monday night just outside of Hoorn, where it rained more or less all night.
Tuesday morning was cloudy but it looked as if it would clear up and I set off along the coast and eventually reached Edam, a short 20 km walk.
As I found a nice campsite right on the beach, I decided to stop, take a rest and finally get to go for a swim! I now know why the Dutch are so good at breaststroke. The water was so shallow that it was impossible to freestyle! My hands kept hitting the bottom!
Lazed in the sun and took it easy. A great break. Even had company for dinner. A lady biking with her daughter invited me to have company with them and we spent a pleasant dinner talking about Dutch history (among other things).
Wednesday was wet and windy and I pushed on towards Amsterdam where I had the pleasure to be met by Sonny and Yvonne. They have to be two of the most open, happy, generous persons I have met in a long time!
Sonny is the father of Lida, who attended a course I had last autumn and at the time she said that if I was to visit Amsterdam, I would probably be able to stay with her father. I had forgotten all about it until a week ago when I sent a quick mail to Lida. Even with such short notice, she made sure that I was welcome in Amsterdam and Sonny and Yvonne made me feel like family.
A lot can be said about Amsterdam, from canals to old buildings to artworks but what really struck me was the number of bikes. It really is a bike city!
There are so many that they have to stack them both high and wide. They even have multi-story bike parking garages.
As you know, I have had a few punctures already, and I wanted to do something about it. Walked around and finally found a shop that had 16″, Kevlar-reinforced tyres. Great, I thought, bought 4 of them, a couple of tubes and headed “home” to fit them on the Mule.
They didn’t fit…
Turns out 16″ is not always 16″. Had to return them today (Friday). The guy at the Brompton shop where I bought them was very helpful. He refunded my money and found another shop that had the right size, but not the reinforced, marathon kind. I headed off to get those instead but on the way, I decided not to worry about it. I will wear out what I have first and try to get reinforced tyres when I have to change them. Time will tell. If nothing else I will get very good at repairing punctures.
Now I’m off to spend the rest of the day walking (what else) around Amsterdam.
Leaving Amsterdam (2013-08-12 14:13)
It’s time to leave Amsterdam and hit the road again. Have had a wonderful time in Amsterdam, very much due to my very gracious hosts, Sonny and Yvonne.
Have walked around town, seen the sights, eaten chips with lots of majo and made new friends.
Amsterdam is a wonderful if slightly touristy city. If anything, I must admit to being surprised at how small it is. I was expecting a large, international city but it feels more like Stockholm than London.
I am sitting in Haarlem as I type this, on my way to Noordvijk where I’ve been lucky enough to get to borrow a summer house right near the beach for the night. Today I will finally reach the west coast and turn south to begin making my way in the right direction again.
But it’s a long walk from Amsterdam and I will probably not arrive till after 9 or 10 this evening.
Better get walking!
Monster (2013-08-14 19:19)
I’m in Monster, another great name!
Yesterday, (Tuesday), I started the day by walking along the beach around 4 km to Noordwijk. It was very nice, although the Mule is hardly made for the beach. My tracks were all over the place as I searched for the hardest sand to avoid getting stuck.
In Noordwijk, I changed to the bike path, a lot easier! The beach here is long and beautiful, I am really enjoying it!
Made it to Scheveningen by late afternoon and decided to stay.
They have a bit of humor here, even the artwork needs to take a leak!
Woke Wednesday morning with a slightly sore throat. Nothing serious, but I did not need much encouragement to make today a short day, make camp early and spend some time in the sun, on the beach. Found a nice camping site in Monster, almost on the beach, and on the beach, I found the Bondi Beach Club!
Not the real Bondi, but still!
Went for a walk along the beach and tried to find a break big enough to body surf in. Not much luck, but I found one place worth a try. The water was 20 degrees, definitely worth a swim. After several tries, I managed to get a few waves to lift me, but they did not carry me much longer than a few meters. A bit disappointing, but hardly surprising considering the size of the waves.
I had bought a cheap tarp/shelter in Amsterdam and used it for the first time today. Thought it might be a good idea for when I did not want to pitch the tent, just wanted a bit of shade or some extra protection outside the tent. But I am not sure, it might just be more “stuff”.
Almost forgot, met another photographer near Noordwijk and he took a shot of me and posted it on his blog, check it out here.
All in all, everything is great, sore throat or not, but I am feeling a bit restless. Want to get some km done, to get further south, further from Stockholm. Wonder if I will ever be able to walk off my natural (extreme) desire to always be moving somewhere else?
If not, I’m going to be wearing out a lot of shoes!
Shipping out (2013-08-15 15:40)
Thursday morning dawned grey and overcast. There was the threat of rain and no blue sky to be seen, anywhere. Managed to get everything packed away just in time before a slight drizzle started.
Walked south along the coast and the rain increased. I was very glad that I had decided to stop early yesterday to enjoy some sun and go for a swim. Great timing! 🙂
Continued towards the Hook of Holland and just outside of town I came across a sign with a ferry and the word Harwich. Just yesterday I was thinking that it was so enjoyable walking along the coast, that I might not go to England at all. The plan was to go there from Calais, but I was still undecided. Then, here I was, on a grey, dismal day and there was a ferry to England less than one kilometre ahead. I decided to check it out!
Sure enough, there was a ferry leaving at 14.30.
One of the reasons I don’t plan too far ahead is that I want to remain flexible and be able to make decisions about where I am heading as I go. As I have said several times, the only absolutes are the starting and finishing places. Everything else is open and subject to change.
So I bought a ticket!
Serendipity is a mistress not to be trifled with.
I’m on the ship now and will arrive in Harwich around 8 pm local time. That will be the-walks’ first time zone change. It also means I will miss Belgium. Not sure yet which route I will take in England, but I will be heading towards London to visit some friends.
Stay tuned, much, much more to come! P.S.
Here is a link to an article about me in a Dutch paper. Can’t read it myself but those of you that know Dutch can have a look.
London (2013-08-20 20:05)
I arrived in Harwich on Thursday evening and after a bit of searching, I managed to find a place to stay.
A room with a view of the ocean no less. 🙂
After a real English breakfast, I set off towards London, following the national cycle route 51 towards Colchester. It was immediately apparent that this was no longer the Netherlands. No more cycle paths, at the best, quiet country lanes, but at times I was forced to walk along the side of very busy roads. It was time to break out the safety vest and try to be very careful.
The scenery was very English, with red telephone boxes and grey skies!
Not long into the day I had another flat, which turned out to be the first in a series of punctures to plague me all the way into London. All in all, I think I had 5 punctures, and that was just between Harwich and London. Only 4 days of walking… I should have bought those new tyres in Amsterdam!
At least the hearty breakfasts I was eating was keeping my strength up for all the repairs.
On Saturday I left Colchester, following cycle path 1, and finally made camp at Osea camping, near Heybridge. Spent the evening in the campground’s pub, watching a musical show that was introduced as being “straight from West End” (wonder why they had to leave), and spent a windy, rainy night in the tent.
Sunday I walked through Chelmsford and headed out through the countryside.
With a few more punctures to take care of on the way…
Along the way, I saw a great range of interesting vehicles, 3 wheeled Morgans, Lotus and Rolls Royces, but the best was a Mini Cooper S.
Love Minis, my first car was a Mini, though nowhere near as nice as this one (Not even a Cooper).
Walked late into the night and at the last moment, before they closed, I got a room at a pub in Fyfield. Woke up the next morning to yet another puncture, not even the carpet was helping!
Monday was a long day. I was tired and sluggish and even developed a couple of blisters between my toes. The day before I had stepped on a large thorn that went right through my flip-flops and into the arch of my foot and every step was a reminder. I was headed to Petters’ place near Tottenham. Petter, who had written a story about me and some other Swedish “adventurers” for Aftonbladet, had promised me the loan of a couch for a day or two and I was very pleased to finally arrive.
At least I managed to find the road to Sydney. 🙂
Walking through the London suburbs was interesting, it reminded me a lot of Sydney. Could just as well have been walking through a Sydney suburb, the architecture and general look of the place was so familiar.
I’ve spent today, Tuesday, chasing through London after some kevlar reinforced tyres and managed to finally find 4. They are now fitted to the Mule and I hope that will be the end to the endless series of punctures I have suffered. Even found time to do a recorded interview with Evy, my first in English.
Tomorrow I intend to spend the day playing tourist in London. Riding the underground, visiting pubs, looking at people and, who knows, maybe even taking a few photographs.
Brighton (2013-08-27 16:03)
Spent Wednesday morning being photographed by Peter in typical London scenery for a feature Petter is writing about me and the-walk. It will hopefully appear in Aftonbladet this coming Sunday.
The rest of the day I got to play tourist and ambled around central London, just trying to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy myself.
Thursday morning it was time to start walking again. Evy had arranged for me to be able to stay with one of her friends, Katherine, in Peckham. It wasn’t a very long walk and I had a lot of time as Katherine wouldn’t be home until 10 pm, but it was through central London and it had started raining.
Spent most of the day ducking in and out of pubs, avoiding the rain, then explored the docklands a bit before finally meeting Katharine and some friends at a local pub.
Friday morning started well, with proper coffee and what looked like clear blue skies.
Set of south, walking through some of the nicer suburbs and had made it to Bletchingley by the evening, where I got a room and settled in as the weather started deteriorating.
Saturday was a wet slog through the countryside and by the time I reached Crawley, it was pissing down!
Not much fun to walk in and I got a hotel room to dry up in. It even had a bathtub! Spent the evening soaking in the tub, reading and relaxing. 🙂
Sunday started out grey with some drizzle, but slowly cleared up and became quite nice. Walked the remaining 38 km to Brighton where Evy again had organized for me to stay with one of her friends, Holly.
The only downer was yet another puncture! I had been hoping that that part of the-walk was all over, but no such luck.
Holly kindly gave me and the Mule the run of her flat and even served up a nice dinner.
Monday was a day I had been looking forward to, in fact, one of the reasons I had wanted to walk via England was to visit Brighton. One of my favourite photo books is The Last Resort, by Martin Parr and I wanted to experience Brighton with the images from that book in the back of my mind.
Brighton has no doubt changed a lot since the photos in The Last Resort were taken, but the feeling was still there.
I don’t take the same type of shots as in the book, but I could see the possibilities all around me.
Ate fish and chips at Bankers, supposedly one of the best places in England and even ordered mushy peas (wish I hadn’t).
It was a very nice fish and chips, but it’s still just fish and chips and I can’t really get all that excited by it.
As I was checking and uploading some photos to Facebook, I noticed that an old friend, Håkan, was in Brighton with his wife! We only just recently got in contact again, after 30 years. The last time we saw each other was in Sydney, 1982 or 83. I quickly sent a message and we managed to arrange to have dinner together that night. Talk about coincidences!
Had a great dinner together and reminisced about some adventures in one of my old, crappy cars and partying in Kings Cross. Thankfully, we are probably the only ones who still remember…
Today, Tuesday, I am off back to London to visit my friend Andy and his family. He is a great guy (even though he did once break my leg) and I am looking forward to spending some time with them.
Fécamp (2013-09-01 20:02)
Have arrived in France and the scenery is great.
The only problem is internet access but stay tuned and I will post a longer update as soon as I get some stable wifi.
Etretat (2013-09-02 19:07)
Finally, some time with an internet connection to update. Seems like a lot has happened since I took a day off and visited Andy and family in London.
On Thursday, I set off from Brighton and walked to Newhaven. I started late as I knew the ferry didn’t leave before 11 pm and it was only a bit more than 20 km.
Even then I ended up hanging around in Newhaven for a long time, and lets just say that it’s not the most happening place.
The ferry trip is only 4 hours and after trying to eat some bland, expensive slop that passed for food on the ferry, I was in Dieppe, ready to walk, at 4 in the morning.
It was interesting trying to find my way through town without a map that early in the morning, but at the same time it was wonderfully quiet and I had the roads all to myself. I made a few wrong turns, at one stage ending up at the Canadian soldiers’ cemetery, but eventually found my way out of town.
I had no plan apart from making my way south along the coast and as the sky slowly brightened, I found myself walking through some beautiful scenery. The early morning is a very special time to walk, it’s like nothing else and there is an intense feeling of peace and tranquillity that is hard to find at any other time.
By 9 am I had reached the beach at Quiberville and lay down in the sun to relax and soak up some warm rays. I got to rest maybe half an hour before the clouds rolled in and the warmth disappeared.
A bit further along the beach I found an open café and ordered a cappuccino. Before long I was talking to a Swiss couple who were travelling on their tandem cycle, on their way to Le Havre, to catch a freighter bound for Costa Rica. I had not much more than left and continued on my way south when a couple on bikes stopped to talk. They were headed to New Zealand, from the UK. So many exciting places to travel to, and an untold amount of things to see and experience!
Isn’t life wonderful! 🙂
Eventually found a campsite at Velues-les-Roses and as I was pretty tired by this time, an early night felt like the right plan.
Saturday morning I was still feeling a bit tired and the weather was not very good. It rained as I packed the tent but gradually tapered off and by the time I was heading south, it was merely cold. Didn’t walk very far as I found a nice campsite in Veluettes-Sur-Mer, close to the beach and by this time the sun had found its way out from behind the cloud cover again. Pitched camp and headed off to the beach. Lay down on the stones and promptly drifted off…
Woke to try to find some food, frittes and bieres, what could be better!
Headed back to the tent, intent on having a shower but, somehow, I ended up on my back and the shower had to wait till morning. I had apparently not recovered completely from my night without sleep yet!
Sunday I woke refreshed and feeling strong! Southward, southward…
Walked to Fecamp, where I found a strange little campsite carved out of the hillside. I had to struggle to get the Mule up to my little piece of the hillside, but I had wonderful views, so it was worth it.
Monday I continued my journey through some more wonderful countryside, with scenic views everywhere, eventually stopping in Etretat. The cliffs here are famous and I spent the afternoon exploring.
All the walking must be doing something because I found myself scurrying around all the slow tourists as I made my way to the top and even though I got hot, I never found it especially hard going. This was after a full day of walking!
I am enjoying France, loving the scenery and the courteous people. Just wish I could speak some more French (at the moment I can order coffee, a necessity). Will have to explore what Audible has to offer in the way of French courses…
Tourville sur Mer (equipment update) (2013-09-06 09:36)
I spent a whole day in Le Havre even though it is not very scenic. It is a modern, industrial port city but it is a city and I wanted to sort out some equipment issues and Le Havre was the first place in France where I found a selection of mobile phone providers. I now have a French telephone number, which also gives me some internet access, hopefully enough to keep some sort of Instagram flow going.
You can now reach me on: +33(0)645137385
As I have this new SIM card in my mobile, my Swedish number can only receive text messages (it is now in my tablet).
Another priority was to get some more spare inner tubes. I hope not to need them but better safe than sorry.
I left Le Havre this morning, Thursday, and am sitting at a camping site near Tourville Sur Mer and thought I would finally force myself to write some sort of equipment update, so here goes…
What can I say, the Mule is working perfectly! Apart from the incredible amount of punctures in England, everything just works. With the new tires, that problem should be rectified and everything else seems to be holding up great. I am moving some things around and trying to pack differently but these are small changes, mainly intended to improve day to day usability. The whole concept of the Mule works great and the only problems occur when I need to get into small rooms, through narrow doors or up winding staircases. That was a problem that I anticipated and as the Mule is more or less modular and can be taken apart and folded together, most obstacles can be overcome, it just takes a little bit longer. My only other worry has been the lack of a brake. The Mule has a parking brake but no brake that can be used on the move, something that might prove a bit of a handful on long downhills. So far, it’s been a non-issue but the real test will be crossing the mountains into Spain…
Time will tell.
My Hilleberg tent works great, seems to be standing up to the use and abuse wonderfully and it is comforting to know I always have it with me if needed. I did buy a simpler shelter, essentially just a tarp, in Amsterdam but have not used it much. About the only thing I have done is throw away most of the tent poles that came with it, heavy steel ones. When I want to use it as a shelter, I can tie one end to the Mule, and use just a few sections of the tent poles on the other. Not a problem and a whole lot lighter!
I’m not missing my camp stove. In fact, I found and bought a very small solid fuel stove along with a stainless steel mug to be used in emergencies (read serious coffee abstinence), but it is just taking up space in the Mule. It’s small enough to keep, just in case, but I would probably be just as well off without it. The fact that I haven’t used it proves that!
This is where the biggest changes have occurred since the start. I no longer have a “proper” camera or computer with me. Ever since Gothenburg, I have been using only my Sony Xperia Z mobile and an Xperia Z tablet. For me, that is a gigantic change, both in priorities and expectations about the future and how I am going to finance the-walk.
One of the priorities when I first started planning was that I absolutely wanted the highest quality photographic material when I was finished. At one stage I was actively thinking about how I could have a Phase One digital back with me. During the test-walk, I was spoiled by the quality of the Leica M9 that I was using delivered and I did not want to settle for less.
But as things have evolved, I have more and more let go of the notion of absolute quality and embraced a more minimalistic, simple approach. This has not been an easy choice, I have made a living teaching people how to maximise the quality of their photography and to let that go for reasons of ease and simplicity is not done in a moment. I suppose that I have been headed this way all along and should not be surprised, it’s in the nature of minimalism after all.
As I see it at the moment, there are two aspects of the-walk that are greatly affected by this decision.
Firstly, I will not be able to generate an income from photography during (or even after) the-walk in the amount or scale that I was hoping for. Eventual income will have to come from selling the story, or stories, and the photography will be nothing more than a complement to the text, audio, video or performance that will be the saleable product. As I have been thinking about pushing myself to produce a more complete package rather than just photos for quite a while, this might not be so bad.
Secondly, I really need to experiment with all the new forms and methods of sharing and using photos in this very connected and immediate world. Used to be that you pursued a project, came home, sorted, produced and worked with your material, to finally show the result when it was finished. But times change and there are endless new possibilities to share and show what is happening, as it happens. To let your audience become more than just an audience and participate in your project, more or less live. The possibilities are evolving all the time and are both challenging and intriguing. I am not sure where this is leading me, but that’s part of the fun! The limitations of a mobile phone, even a high-quality one like my Xperia Z, are an interesting challenge. How to overcome the lack of focal length variability, lack of settings and dynamic range? Then how to show and share the results in a quick, safe and informative way? These are questions that are foremost on my mind at the moment and that I hope to solve. My photography has been a bit limited lately because I have been thinking more than photographing, but that will hopefully change as I discover the method and approach I wish to use. Until then, expect a fair bit of experimenting…
What can I say, my Houdini clothing is like the Mule and my Hilleberg tent. It works! An important part of being minimalistic is choosing the equipment you use with care. As you have a limited amount of “stuff”, what there is has to work and be of high quality. The only problem I have had is with the wool boxers, they aren’t as durable as they should be, everything else is better than great.
I get a lot of comments about my shoes (or lack thereof). It usually goes like this: “Are you really walking to Sydney?”
“Yes, that’s the plan at least.”
“That’s a long way. How long are you planing for it to take?” “Yeah, it’s pretty far. It will probably take me 2 to 3 years.” “Wow, you must have really good shoes!”
This is when I show them my flip-flops!
At the moment I have 4 different pairs of flip-flops, one pair of sandals and a pair of Fivefingers I am saving for colder weather. All the flip-flops are starting to wear and I have more or less been constantly looking out for new pairs that are minimalistic (thin sole, minimal or no support) as they usually take a few days to get used to. They all chafe different parts of the foot and one needs to start off gently. A 40 km day straight off is a guarantee of blisters. Several pairs are modified to stay on the foot better, more like a sandal.
My sandals are a pair of Tevas with a very thin sole that I bought in Copenhagen. They have been great apart from one thing, the straps are some sort of plastic and invariably chafe my toes with their sharp edges. In the end, I took a knife to them, cut off the plastic straps and replaced them with tent rope. Problem solved, they are now usable, barefoot, without causing me any blisters. But even they are starting to get worn.
To get past the problem of having to find new flip-flops as the old ones wear out, and get something that I can depend on for a longer time, I finally bit the bullet and ordered some Xero shoes. These used to be called invisible shoes and are huarache inspired minimalistic sandals. I ordered two pairs, one with a 4 mm and one with a 6 mm sole. As I ordered online, they will be sent to my sister in Sweden and then I will have to find a way to get them to me.
The Xeroshoes have a 5000-mile guarantee, something I will be putting to the test and should last me a large part of the rest of the-walk.
The plan is to have just 3 pairs of shoes. The 2 pair of sandals and one pair of proper shoes to be used in cold weather or when sandals just aren’t appropriate.
After all, less is more!
If you would like to comment or suggest something concerning my equipment (or ask a question), please do so either via e-mail or on the Facebook page. I will post a shot of my flip-flop collection there that can be used as a place to post equipment discussions.
Omaha beach (2013-09-10 18:12)
Have spent the last few days walking along the D-day beaches. There are a lot of monuments, museums and related sights to be seen and to top it off the beaches are pretty good as well!
The weather has been very varied, changing from warm and sunny to windy and rainy, sometimes all in one day.
Don’t really know what to think, let alone write about the history of this place. To be truthful, I think it tends to depress me a bit. Even though the monuments are very much meant to be a tribute to great sacrifice and struggle, they are also a sad reminder of the opposite. Humankind at its best and worst, at the same time.
On a very much brighter note, I have had company the last 2 days. At the campground in Port-en-Bessin, I met Christoph when he came over and offered me a cup of tea. I had just arrived, in the rain, and was pitching my still wet tent at the time, so it was very much appreciated. We talked and I found out that he was spending his holidays walking around parts of France, for once I wasn’t the only walker!
We have been headed in the same direction the last couple of days and have kept company. Great to have someone to talk to and his French is way better than mine, which can be handy.
We left Omaha beach today, Tuesday, and are heading towards the opposite coast. I haven’t decided completely yet, but I might go to Jersey…
Granville (2013-09-16 12:18)
Wednesday was a big day, after only 1 km, the walk became 3000 km old!
As it happened, that was almost right outside the local McDonald’s. Not the most auspicious place, Omaha beach would have felt a lot more dramatic…
Christoph surprised me with a bottle of champagne that he had bought at Omaha beach after I had told him I would be reaching 3000 km sometime in the next two days. But coffee, muffins and champagne did not seem like a great mixture, so we saved it for later and bought baguettes, sausages, camembert and apples to make it into a luxurious lunch instead.
We had planned to walk to La Haye-du-Puits, a distance of around 33 km. It was further than Christoph had walked before, but we put his backpack on the Mule and set off.
We eventually found a bike path to follow and enjoyed a day without cars whizzing past all the time. Great!
With about 6km to go, it turned out to be 40km in the end, Christoph had had enough. His feet were hurting and after a break where I took a call from my sister, he decided to hitchhike the last bit and meet me at the campground. We left his pack on the Mule as the extra weight makes no difference at all on these relatively flat roads and it would probably be easier to get a lift without it. I was still feeling fresh and as I set off on my own I jogged a couple of km to get warm, it was starting to get cold and a slight drizzle had started.
I found Christoph again at the campground, where he had already organised a site for us. After a hot shower, we were sharing some pasta that Christoph had cooked up when the wife of the proprietor came out for a chat. She and her kids had checked out my blog and she wanted to give me a jar of homemade blackberry jelly! We talked a while and found out, amongst other things, that her sister lived in Brisbane.
On Thursday morning I headed off on my own as Christoph was taking a rest day. It was a reasonable walking day and I ended it at a beautiful campsite, next to an old manor house. I got to camp in the apple orchard and spent most of the night listening to the apples hit the ground. A place for Newton…
Breakfast was served in the manor house and was brilliant. In fact, campsite plus breakfast was cheaper than what a lot of campgrounds wanted just for a site.
But the day was grey and wet, the tent soaking wet. I started walking but after just a couple of hours of rain, I got a room in Coutances. Draped the tent all over the room to dry and spent the rest of the day seeing the sights. Which was basically the church.
The next morning, Saturday, I set off towards Granville and was happy to be dry and that the weather was improving. It was a nice day and I spent most of it thinking about a new project, an idea I had about a week earlier that seems to have stuck with me. More on that later.
My stool has finally given up. I suppose I could try to have it fixed, but I decided to toss it and try to live within it. Just more stuff…
From Granville I intend to head towards Mount St-Michel, should be worth the walk. Then I really need to try to get further south, autumn is on the way and it is starting to get colder!
Mont Saint Michel (2013-09-17 14:54)
From Granville, it was a 2-day walk to Beauvoir, next to Mont Saint Michel. Had to pack the tent when it was wet and had a nice break during the day drying it out before finally reaching Genets and striking camp.
It was a very windy night, with fierce gusts and rainstorms and I was again very glad to have my Hilleberg tent. It might be a bit overkill in a lot of situations (being a four-season tent) but I always know that I can rely on it when it’s really needed. No, I am not sponsored by Hilleberg. Not yet anyway, hint, hint!
Monday was a strange day. It was gusty and windy, with the weather changing more or less every 5 minutes. It was on with the rain gear, of with the rain gear, of with the jumper, change to shorts, back to long pants, on with the rain gear again etc, etc. Sometimes it felt like I spent all day changing clothes and it was a wonder I managed to cover any distance at all!
Somehow I made it to Beauvoir, found the campsite and was ready for a day exploring Mont Saint Michel the next day.
It’s an intriguing place. Beautiful and awe-inspiring but the weather was not great, grey and dreary and there seemed to be repairs and construction work going on everywhere.
It was interesting exploring but I did not feel inspired to photograph a lot (mainly because of the weather) and let’s face it, the last thing the world really needs is more pictures of Mont Saint Michel!
My original plan was to head out towards Brest from here but it’s starting to get cold! Autumn is arriving way too early. I think I will head as much south as possible instead and hope to catch some sun in Biarritz before it’s too late…
Le Sables de-Olonne (2013-09-26 20:46)
Just a quick update. I’m heading south, following the sun and hope to be in Bordeaux in a week. Spending most of the days walking but that does not mean I’m not having some adventures have seen a, thankfully slow, car crash and experienced every kind of weather imaginable apart from snow and hail. It is getting warmer as I get further south, which feels great. Was definitely not ready for autumn yet.
Have had poor access to the internet, the main reason the updates have not been so frequent. My pre-paid card ran out and even when the campsites claim they have internet, it is not always what I would call high speed. More like no speed a lot of the time.
Had my first puncture since England this morning. A big, fat thorn that went straight through the kevlar puncture protection.
The morning continued with rain and thunderstorms, soaking me to the skin. But the sun is starting to break through the cloud cover and I am enjoying a coffee as I type this, so it’s not too bad.
Need to hit the road again, more updates to come, stay tuned!
Bordeaux (2013-10-04 23:15)
I have finally made it to Bordeaux. After 16 days of walking, and averaging almost 40 km per day, I am ready to have a more relaxing week!
On the Wednesday I started out, I only made it as far as Pontorson before I made a shopping stop. Needed some food for the coming days and as luck would have it, it was market day. Bought some fruit, a potato casserole and some bread. As I was waiting in front of one of the stalls, Daniel came over to ask me some questions about the-walk. He had a stall selling salicorne, amongst other things. He invited me over to try some. It’s a sort of seaweed, and Daniel sells it pickled. It was quite nice, especially on duck paté, and I bought a jar. It is supposedly full of trace elements and good for you, so why not. Daniel also gave me a jar of fresh fish paste, so now I had plenty of food!
Later in the afternoon, I caught up with a couple from New Zealand that I had met the night before. They were on a last European bicycle holiday before moving back home. I think they were a bit surprised to see me, 30 km south of where we had started the day.
I have had a few adventures, like seeing the aftermath of a minor car crash, and the weather has thrown more or less everything at me. It is not always sunshine and roses on the walk. Some days you are struggling against a headwind, in the pouring rain, trudging along the nonexistent shoulder of a heavily trafficked road as you try to avoid becoming a new hood ornament on one of the seemingly thousands of French cars that speed past you with only inches to spare.
But then the next day finds you relaxing over a cup of coffee, in a tiny town where everybody seems to know everybody, and all the new people that drop in for their Sunday midday coffee or drink all come over to shake your hand and say bonjour.
There are more and more vineyards along the road and I am looking forward to some sampling of the finished product.
I am definitely feeling the distance after 16 days without a break, but intend to take it much easier in the coming week. I will even get some walking company in Bordeaux.
Anna-Maria is flying down to join me for a week and we intend to start off with a day walking around Bordeaux, a rest day…
Then it’s off down the coast towards Biarritz, where we hope to find the last of the summer sun!
Mimizan (2013-10-08 16:06)
After meeting Anna-Maria at the airport on Thursday night, we spent Friday walking around Bordeaux.
It’s a nice town with everything from designer label shops to smaller, more hip areas where everybody wears black and the hipsters abound.
On Saturday we started walking out towards the coast and unfortunately, we had to walk along some heavily trafficked roads. Never the nicest experience, but all the cycle paths seemed to lead the wrong way. It got better on Sunday, we found smaller roads that were pleasant to walk along. Now the problem was that the Mule was harder to push!
The weather has been good with only a few drops of rain. The nights are colder than I expected but still not too cold and the days have been sunny and warm.
Anna-Maria seems to be enjoying being on the road and we have walked about 30 km a day during the first 3 days.
We ran into a couple from Argentina just outside Gastes and later that night we found them again when we were looking for a campsite. We ended up camping next to them and they shared some wine with us and told very interesting stories about biking around in different parts of the world. From being lost in Patagonia to camping on all the seven hills of Rome!
When I get a link to their blog I will post it.
Writing this at McDonald’s in Mimizan where we will do some shopping and then head towards the Atlantic coast beaches that stretch down to Biarritz. If the weather stays warm there might even be some swimming in store during the coming days!
Biarritz (2013-10-14 14:15)
We made it to Biarritz in 6 days from Bordeaux and I think Anna-Maria was proud of herself, justly so. We walked 230 km in 6 days, not a bad average. During the last 4 days we could not find a campsite that was open, they are all starting to close for the season, so we camped wherever we could. A shower was nice when we arrived at Biarritz… 🙂
Anna-Maria flew back to Sweden on Saturday and I managed to find a hotel for a few nights, need to rest, fix some equipment, do some washing and think about the route. Where to next?
Biarritz is a strange and wonderful place. I think the best way I can describe it is Monaco meets Bondi. When I went for a walk Sunday morning, I saw a girl in a wetsuit carrying a surfboard. She was walking along the shopping street, right past the Hermés shop, on her way to the beach. Later I saw a very dressed up, proper French lady walking her poodle, crossing paths with a middle-aged mother trying out her son’s longboard skateboard. There are surf shops right next door to designer boutiques, pizza joints next to fine restaurants. The only thing missing, at least while I have been here, is some decent surf. It’s all been small and rather boring.
There are all sorts of vehicles, a lot of shops have old-style scrambler motorcycles in their displays. There are tricked out Vespas, neat VW bugs (even sporting Hearbie’s number), campervans and I even saw a Benelli Six!
The only thing wrong with Biarritz is, that like all similar places, it is expensive to be here. It is all too easy to sit down at one of the many sidewalk cafe’s with a beer or a coffee and check out all the passing girls, I mean people!
Both the Mule and I have sustained our first injuries. Apart from punctures, the Mule has been faultless, but during the last week the handlebar rubber has split and is slowly falling off more and more. Not bad considering that we have walked more than 4000 km! It was when I set out to find some replacement handlebar tape that I think I finally caused some damage to my left foot. I walked to the nearest Decathlon, about 5 km, and on the way back the straps on my Xeroshoes sandals broke. I had worn through the knot underneath the toes on my right foot. That’s the second time in one week, the first was after just one day, so I am starting to wonder if I am doing something wrong?
I had to walk the last 2 or so km back barefoot and when I woke up Sunday morning I was very sore under the ball of my left foot. Hardly the first time my feet have been sore so I ignored it and went for a walk. Rather than getting better, it just got worse. As I write this on Monday, it is still quite sore and I suspect that I have given myself a stress fracture (of the second metatarsal).
The only cure is rest so it’s lucky that I only have to get to Bilbao by the 28th. It’s only 150-170 km so should be no problem, even if I have to hobble along. Which brings me to the subject of shoes…
After all my experimenting, I thought I had finally arrived at a configuration that suited me. Two pair of Xeroshoes minimalist sandals and a pair of stout leather shoes, almost boots, that I could use both in colder weather and when barefoot sandals were inappropriate. I think the sandals are great, though I have obviously not gotten as used to barefoot-style shoes as I thought, witnesses the stress fracture. The idea behind the boots is probably correct as well, although I am not sure I have found the right pair yet. I have a pair of Doc Martens, expensive shoes that fit well and that I thought would last, hopefully, the rest of the trip. But even though I have not used them all that much, they are only a month old, there is already a fair bit of wear on the soles. I guess time will tell but there seems to be nothing that tests the durability of shoes like the-walk! Any shoe manufacturers out there want some testing done…
Meaga (2013-10-19 20:50)
After a few days of “resting” in Biarritz, I am on the road again. Trying to not get too carried away and not walk more than 20 km per day, mainly to spare my foot, but also because the scenery is great. I don’t need to reach Bilbao before the 27th, so I have plenty of time.
The landscape is no longer flat, the Mule is harder to first push up the hills and then restrain from taking off down them. But it is nice with some new scenery and the locals say that I have been very lucky with the weather. This time of year it usually rains but I have had mostly sunshine. The first night out off Biarritz I spent the whole night listening to the rain falling on the tent and thought that, oh well, it was great while it lasted. But morning broke to a blue sky and I ate lunch in the sun, overlooking the waves crashing in from the Atlantic ocean.
I have finally reached Spain and am more or less on the “Camino de Santiago”, even though I have no intention of officially completing it. I mean what’s the point, only 8 or 9 hundred km, hardly much of a pilgrimage!
On my first night in Spain, I was stopped on the side of the road by David and his son.
He said that he lived in a commune nearby and that I was welcome to spend the night there if I wished. Sounded great and I took him up on the offer. The community turned out to be the Twelve Tribes.
They were very hospitable and I spent an interesting evening talking to some of the members while the children practised a new dance they were preparing for an upcoming wedding. They gave me some literature to read but were on the whole not too pushy with their views. Just as well as I am not religious at all and would probably have started to feel quite uncomfortable if they had started to try to convert me! I did find out that the Argentinian couple that Anna-Maria and I had met earlier had also stayed there.
Their names are Patricia and Oscar and you can find their blog here: http://www.unavueltitaenbici.blogspot.com/
Even managed to find a local using mule power as well.
As I wrote earlier, the weather has been great and the scenery fantastic.
Even the Mule has been making some new friends.
Today I walked a section of the Camino and though it was a bit of work with the Mule, it was pleasant and got us off the larger roads, so I might continue along it tomorrow. Will have to see what my foot feels like in the morning…
Gernika-Lomo (2013-10-25 12:58)
That’s right, more than 1000 hours of effective walking time! If you work a 35 hour week, that’s almost 7 months of work…
The walk from Meaga to Deba was probably the hardest day so far. It wasn’t very long but by the end of the day, I was absolutely knackered. It started nice and easy, but before long I was pushing the Mule up long steep hills and then trying to hold it back on the descents. It was during one of these hills (up naturally) that I passed 1000 hours of effective walking time. It’s hard to comprehend how long that is. It is a long time!
I was also passed by a couple who warned me that it would be crazy to try the last section before Deba with the cart, it was much too narrow and steep. I thanked them for the information and made plans to follow the road into Deba instead of the Camino.
Not much farther along I found some local cider for sale along the path and decided to celebrate by buying a bottle. It was only 1.50, so I tossed 2 in the payment box, uncorked and took a long swig. Which I promptly spat out! It was terrible, with a strong yeast taste and no other flavours. I put it back and kept walking.
Towards the afternoon, I started looking for somewhere to camp and found some signs to a campground on a headland above Deba. But when I got there it was closed for the season.
After consulting Google maps, I thought I could try a path down the side of the hill that connected with an access road that would eventually lead to Deba without me having to double back. It was a concrete path and looked promising.
I started down and before long I was sliding along behind the Mule with no traction. Basically skating along on my boots as the Mule pulled me down. There were only a few short sections that were that steep but I remember thinking that I was glad I wasn’t heading up instead…
Then I came to the end of the road…
A rockslide had destroyed about 20 meters of the track. I scrambled over and could see that the track continued on the other side. I slashed my way through all the blackberry bushes and decided to carry the Mule and my stuff over the obstacle bit by bit. That is one of the reasons the Mule was made to be able to take apart and fold up. Said and done. 30 hot minutes later most of my stuff was on the other side when I realized that I should check that it really was possible to continue along the track before I carried the last bit of stuff over.
Turned out that the track became a dense thicket of blackberry bushes just a little bit ahead and there was no way through….
I hate blackberry bushes, I think they are responsible for about 90 % of the punctures I have suffered and they don’t even taste that good. Bland…
I carried everything back and set off back up the track. Just before the steepest section, there was a track that leads back down, I suspected it was the Camino, the one that I had been warned about. I now had a choice, backtrack up the steep section, then back along the road I had come, or try my luck on the “way”.
Not being the type of person who likes to backtrack, I went for the Camino, I mean how bad could it be?
Oh, so stupid…..
An hour later found me halfway down a steep, singletrack switchback that had me more or less carrying the Mule most of the time. There was no way in the world that I would be able to turn back, it would be too hard, so I kept going. About this time a couple swept past me. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t even say hi, let alone check how I was doing.
Thankfully a real hero came along shortly afterwards. He helped me down the last bit and someway up the other side before we realized that we were going the wrong way.
Back down and I finally found the access road I was looking for. I don’t know his name but can’t thank him enough. Thanks again!
Then it was easy going, comparatively. At one stage I was lying on my back on the road, panting as hard as I ever have in my life. And I was only halfway up the hill…
Eventually made it and started down the winding coast road to Deba. There were beautiful lookouts along the way and at one of them I met a couple from France that asked me to write in their logbook, something they reserve for “interesting” people.
Finally made it to Deba and had a rest day, I deserved it!
Since then it’s been up and down with beautiful scenery. Have tried to follow the Camino where I can, but have had to use the roads where the “way” has been too rough for the Mule.
I don’t have far to go before I reach Bilbao, just two very easy days. Then it’s back to Stockholm to attend my nieces’ wedding. It will be a nice break and hopefully give my foot time to heal a bit better, can’t say that it has gotten much rest during the last week.
I will also try to do some hard thinking about the continued route and maybe look at some ways of putting the Mule (really my equipment) on a diet, I mean, why should I be the only one losing weight!
Bilbao ( and Stockholm) (2013-11-02 09:27)
The Mule and I reached Bilbao on Sunday and spent most of the day sightseeing. It’s a very interesting city, a mixture of old and new, from extremely modern to ancient. The streets were full of people enjoying the Sunday afternoon and the weather was great.
I have been very lucky so far, everybody I have met has said that it is usually raining this time of year!
In the evening we made our way home to Gosia and Koldo, two couch surfing hosts who not only had offered me a place to sleep but were going to stable the Mule for two weeks while I returned to Stockholm to attend a wedding and get some important paperwork done.
Last summer they hitch-hiked across Russia, check out their video blog here!
Then on Tuesday, it was time to leave the Mule and head to the airport. An early start and long stops for connections meant a long, boring day spent looking at all the tax-free stuff that I did not want or need. Endless cups of coffee….
But finally, I was back in Stockholm. It is a strange sensation, walking for almost 6 months is only equal to 4 or 5 hours of effective flying time!
I am working on some changes to everything from the route to equipment and have a fair bit of organizing to do in Stockholm but the most important thing I will be doing is resting!
There will be much, much more to come in the future…
The Coffee so far… (2013-11-07 13:24)
If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I like coffee. A lot. It would not be completely wrong to say I am addicted to coffee!
Like any addict, I will drink almost any coffee, as long as I get my fix. Which does not mean that I don’t appreciate the difference between a great cup and machine brewed rubbish. After six months of walking through Europe, I have formed a few opinions about where you can get the best cup and thought I would share my experiences.
The Best: France
There is no doubt that the best coffee (so far) has been served in France! You can get great coffee anywhere. Every bar has a proper espresso machine and they know how to use it.
Care is taken and the coffee tastes great, always. There is really only one complaint that I have about French coffee, they do not know what a large coffee is! Not even McDonalds serves a large coffee…. My solution was usually to get two.
Spanish coffee is almost as good as French. They have proper expresso everywhere but there seems to be just a slight difference in the care they take to make your cup. It is not as great, all the time, as in France. Close but not quite. A big plus is that it is half the price.
Third place: Sweden
Sweden manages third place by virtue of the availability of drip filtered coffee almost everywhere. You can get a great cup in the many coffee franchise chains but there is always the standard brewed cup to fall back on and it is usually pretty good.
The rest: Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands and England
It is possible to get great coffee in all these countries, but only if you find one of the (in larger cities many) franchise stores. Where they all disappoint is when there is no Starbucks in sight. The only option then is usually some terrible, machine brewed coffee-like substance that manages to almost but not quite emulate real coffee. Either that or instant… In the words of a famous film character “You can drink it, but it tastes like shit”.
The one place that has ok machine coffee is generally McDonald’s. That combined with free wi-fi probably gets them a lot of repeat customers they would not have otherwise.
Am looking forward to continuing the search for the perfect cup!
Go West, young man! (major route change) (2013-11-15 17:14)
There have been some major changes in the route I plan to take on my way to Sydney. Check out the video for details:
The-Walk: Revised from paraniak.com on Vimeo.
Irurtzun (2013-11-24 10:07)
Stockholm was nice to visit, but it is great to be back on the road and to be reunited with the Mule. The only downside is that it is nowhere near as warm as I hoped it would be. In fact, it is just as cold as it was in Stockholm! When I left Bilbao it was 26 degrees, but now, 2 weeks later it is struggling to get to 10 and the nights are even colder.
Nether the less, Gosia and Koldo had taken great care of the Mule and I guess I will just have to head even further south…
I left Bilbao on Monday morning. I have been invited to spend Christmas in Barcelona and intend to slowly make my way there, passing Pamplona on the way.
It was cold and raining….
Luckily I was heading to a warm place to stay, Javier a couchsurfer friend of Koldo and Gosia had offered to put me up for the night in Durango.
After a rather miserable day walking it was great to meet him, get shown around town, have a meal and enjoy a beer.
I have basically spent the rest of the week walking through the rain. And it has been cold! At one stage I was walking through snow, something that I was hoping to avoid this winter!
The countryside has been beautiful but when it is only 2 to 3 degrees and raining it is difficult to really enjoy it.
All the streams and rivers are full of water and I get the impression that even the locals have had enough and are wishing for some blue skies.
Pamplona is next and even though I have been warned that it is not that exceptional as a town, it is the running of the bulls that makes it famous, I am still looking forward to having a look around. If it just stops raining…..
Alagon (2013-12-01 00:01)
Pamplona was a nice town, not anything extremely exceptional compared to other Spanish towns but well worth the visit.
They have the third largest bullring in the world, apparently. Just glad it was the wrong season for bullfights, seem like an incredibly stupid idea to me. If men want to prove their courage and daring, let them fight each other instead. Would probably draw even larger crowds, but I bet there would be fewer volunteers. I mean, if the odds were suddenly fifty-fifty, maybe it would no longer be so enticing.
At least the weather has gotten better. It’s no longer raining all the time. Still cold, but there has been a fair bit of sunshine.
Thankfully, I bought some wool underwear and an extra sleeping bag in Pamplona. Just as well as one of the few nights I have spent in the tent so far was somewhere around -4!
It’s been a bit cold even during the days, but there are lots of bars along the way where it is possible to sneak in, get warmed up and enjoy a coffee (or beer).
Will try to reach Zaragoza tomorrow, and plan on taking a rest day there, walking around town and exploring. Don’t know squat about Zaragoza so it could prove interesting!
Thought I would leave you with a bit of important information I discovered along the road.
So now you know!
Lleida (2013-12-08 21:19)
Walking into Zaragoza, I was very visibly reminded of the effect of the economic recession in Spain. I passed endless rows of commercial properties displaying signs that they were for sale or lease. Most were empty, but some still seemed to house businesses that had managed to keep their head above water.
Zaragoza itself was nice and I spent a day walking around town, eventually finding a depressed serpent in a tiny pool, not far from the river.
Heading out of town, there weren’t a lot of options and I more or less had to walk along one of the larger roads that was seriously busy, mostly with semi-trailers.
At least the weather was better, sunshine but still cold!
I have camped out a few nights, but it’s been very cold so I have been trying to find cheap rooms. There are small towns along the way, so it usually works out but it is playing havoc with my budget. As soon as I get to warmer climes, I will have to use the tent more or less all the time.
There have been plenty of cafes and truck stops to feed the caffeine itch and get warmed up in.
It’s strange, the road I have been following parallels a large, straight motorway, and yet nearly all the heavy traffic is on this, smaller road. The motorway is a tollway and probably too expensive? Is it smart thinking to build a beautiful, straight road, suitable for heavy traffic and then make it too expensive for that traffic to use? Apart from the fact that it means that I have to keep a nervous eye on all the trucks hurrying towards me, it doesn’t seem to make much sense, economically or environmentally.
The days have started out cold and foggy, but have gotten warmer and clearer as the day progresses.
The landscape has been flat and a bit boring, but there are one or two interesting sights along the way.
Depressingly, the side of the road has been filled with cans and plastic bottles. If there is a refund system in Spain, then it’s not working!
As I approached Fraga, the road started to head down and I was confronted with a compact wall of fog.
The fog has been with me for the last couple of days, not even lifting during the middle of the day, and the temperature has not risen into double digits. It’s seldom been more than 3 or 4 degrees…
The world has become white and cold and the only places with a bit of colour and warmth are indoors.
I am already pretty close to Barcelona and as I will have no problems getting there in time for Christmas, I have decided to take a few days off and do some sightseeing. I intend to rent a car here in Lleida and head towards Andorra. Not yet sure where I will go, but I’ll spend a few days and nights in the car and explore the area around Andorra. Just hope the fog lifts so I will be able to see the sights!
Why walk? (2013-12-13 15:14)
After having spent the last few days in a car, I thought I would try to write about why I’m walking to Sydney. Rather than, say, flying, driving or even cycling. The last few days have definitely helped reinforce my decision.
If I was driving, I would already be there! No kidding, I seem to be unable to stop when I am driving. To be in constant motion seems to be the most important aspect of life. To get somewhere, to devour distance, reach the goal.
A bit of a character defect of mine that I am hoping to get to grips with and a major reason why I chose walking.
I want to slow down and smell the roses. Actually have time to experience the countryside. Walking is so very much more immersive than driving. One experiences the surroundings and the weather. Hears the sounds and feels the wind. There is no escaping where you are, the only way out is to walk, which takes time and even more interaction with the environment.
Even walking through a small town is very different. One has time, is in fact forced, to see more than just the commercial and often touristic centre. The poorer parts, the more disreputable areas and all the washing hanging out to dry.
I believe that even cycling would be too quick for me, or rather, I would make it too fast. Walking forces me to be slow, I can only get so far, so quickly.
Then there are the health benefits.
Walking is good for you. It really is, I feel great and look forward to getting to walk nearly every day! The same can be said about cycling, but walking fits even better in a minimalistic view of travelling, closer to what we evolved to be good at doing in order to survive.
There are days of endless sameness, long days that could be thought to be extremely boring, but that gives time for introspection and thought, time to appreciate. Time that is difficult to find in the daily rush of life when you always seem to need to be somewhere doing something, right now.
I’m glad I chose to walk and know that it was/is right for me and that I have a lot more to learn from the experience. Lucky there is still such a long way to go!
Sleeping in the car was not as comfortable as the tent. Sure it was warmer, but the seats compared very unfavourably to my air mattress.
I’ll start walking towards Barcelona in the next day or two, where I just found out that my new solid tyres are waiting for me!
Valls (2013-12-17 19:38)
Back on foot! Just as well, wouldn’t want to get too comfortable!
After leaving Lleida, I finally managed to walk out of the fog. I’m not sure what it usually is like living in that area, but I hope the people there don’t have to endure the cold, uninspiring fog all the time…
Have walked a few days and the road has varied from tiny gravel tracks to main highways.
Once or twice, google maps has led me to a path that is maybe not optimal for the Mule, but we always manage somehow.
The best roads are the small ones that wander through the hills and lead to tiny villages desperately clinging to the sides of the hills. But they are also the slowest and usually the roughest. Not only that, they often lead to dead ends!
But there are all sorts of things to see along the way.
I took a short food break at a shrine erected beside a very small gravel road. As I approached the shrine, it was very difficult to see if the statue was pointing towards heaven or just giving me “the finger”.
Good news! Just found out that I am going to go to a traditional Swedish “Julbord” on Sunday. Will be the very first thing I do when I arrive in Barcelona.
Just finished reading By Men or By the Earth, by Tyler Coulson. It’s the story about his walk across America. Although I think I have walked at least the same distance on my walk so far, I can definitely say that I have had a much easier time. Will be exciting to compare my upcoming crossing with his experiences. Although it’s better for the story told afterwards if you have been forced to survive a few challenges, I sort of hope my walk continues with the good luck it’s had so far.
Tomorrow I walk down to Tarragona and I might spend a day there doing some city sightseeing.
Tarragona, 5000km! (2013-12-19 20:55)
After an easy mornings walk, only 24km, I was walking around Tarragona, sightseeing and wasting time. I had booked a room in a hostel and the reception didn’t open until 5 pm.
It was sunny, reasonably warm and it was interesting walking down the main street. Rambla Nova. Had no idea where I was going, just mindlessly playing tourist.
Slowly I approached the end of the road. It ended at the top of a cliff with a view of the port, the beach and the sea. The Mediterranean Sea. That’s when it hit me. Here I was, standing at the edge of the Mediterranean and I had walked here from Stockholm, covering 5000km.
I hadn’t been thinking about this as a special waypoint on my journey, but I felt good, really good 🙂
Maybe because I hadn’t been thinking about it as anything special before, it hit me harder, surprising me. Whatever the reason, it is something that I will remember. A feeling worth remembering.
Too bad the weather today hasn’t been as good. Rain and light rain. Followed by some rain…
Spent most of the day “resting” by walking around town.
Have somewhere around 100km to go before I reach Barcelona and two and a half days to walk it in. Shouldn’t be a problem and I am looking forward to a Christmas smörgåsbord on Sunday!
Hopefully there will be much, much more to come, 5000km is only the beginning.
The evolution of the Mule (2013-12-27 22:11)
The Mule and I have now walked more than 5000km together and I thought I would post about what has worked and the things that have changed for the better.
I put a fair bit of thought into how I wanted the Mule to work, and I was glad to have had the test-walk behind me. After all, 1800km does equal a lot of experience.
Key qualities of any cart used for such a long and varied walk include being narrow enough to fit through a standard door frame, small enough to fit the kind of tiny elevator often found in older buildings and being able to be folded together to enable transport in cars, buses, trains and planes.
Large wheels that roll easily and having proper bearings and rugged construction are also important. All without being too heavy.
The first Mule was a very special, hand-built, one-off and the more I considered this, the more I realized that it was stupid. What if it was stolen, or wrecked? What if I suddenly needed spare parts?
Much better to use a standard cart that could easily be replaced (not that I ever want to do that) and had parts available on demand.
I did a lot of research, even bought a few different carts secondhand to try and finally settled on a Kronan Sulky chassis as being close to perfect. Especially with the accessory 16″ wheels.
In the interest of total disclosure, I was given the chassis, but only after I already had decided that is what I wanted and approached Kronan asking if they would consider sponsoring me.
As a sidenote, I managed to sell the other secondhand carts for a very slight profit!
The chassis has worked beautifully and been without fault, despite some severe overloading at times. The only thing to wear out has been the rubber handgrips, now replaced with handlebar tape.
The Mule might be thought to be unnecessarily large, especially considering the general minimalistic theme of the-walk. But there is a good reason.
It is made to be able to carry lots, and I mean lots, of water. We will be passing through some very dry (desert) areas and as I have always planned the-walk to be unsupported, I need to be able to carry plenty of water. Note that the water is carried low, under the alu-box, for a low centre of gravity.
At the moment the tent, tarp and cell-foam sleeping pad are under the alu-box but can be moved either into or on top of the box leaving room for up to 30 litres of water.
I have had a lot of questions about the choice of using an alu-box instead of a waterproof bag or backpack. The reason is that it is guaranteed to be waterproof and is lockable. Not only that, it is actually almost as light as a comparable waterproof bag and I suspect that it is infinitely more durable.
It also provides a perfect mounting area for my solar charger, not that that has had much use lately…
I also have a feed bag. 🙂
It is a waterproof bicycle pannier that hangs from one of my walking sticks, is easily accessible and will work as a bear-bag when I reach America. I’ll write more about the walking sticks and multiple uses of equipment in a future post (possibly a video).
Other add-ons include a stainless-steel water bottle, and a superclamp to mount my Xperia Z1 or camera.
I’ve written about the jolly motion accessory arms before and I use them all the time. I have modified them a bit, largely because I constantly overload them. Tomas made me some custom aluminium clamps to replace the standard plastic ones and that made all the difference.
I am considering fitting the aluminium clamps with a quick release to enable me to remove them in a hurry when I need to fold the cart for packing, time will tell…
If you have read this far, it is now time for the most welcome change, one that I very much wish I had done right at the start. Fitting solid tyres!
The very kind people at www.smartadack.se have given me a set and I am looking forward to never having to fix another puncture. This is something I highly recommend for any cart being used for a long walk.
No doubt there will be other changes before the-walk is finished, but this setup is working very well as it is.
I hope to make a video where I go through the equipment I am using and how I pack it when I’m in Stockholm at the end of February so stay tuned for that, I just have to convince Robert to help me.
A New Year, Palma (2013-12-31 14:25)
Tomorrow is the start of a new year and a lot of people are busy making new years resolutions and planning their future.
Exactly two years ago, I was on another island in the Mediterranean writing the very first project description for the-walk. Looking back it is strange to think that it was only two years ago, so much has happened that it feels much, much longer ago.
But reading the original description is interesting, there are definite suggestions as to what might happen and what is important and so far I seem to be very much on track. One point that is emphasised is that the route is very much subject to change, being based only on what I find interesting and want to experience! That proved to be right…
In the last two years, I have walked 7,000 km, including the-test walk. Although that’s a long way, is still only the start. It is difficult to predict how far I will have walked by the time I reach Sydney, but I am probably somewhere around one-quarter of the way there, so there is still a long way to go.
Which means that I don’t have to make a New Years resolution this year, I already know exactly what I will be doing next year. Walking!
January will see me (hopefully) finishing the European part of the-walk, heading down through southern Spain and finishing in Gibraltar. If I have enough time I might even take a short hop over to Tangier, to make the-walk intercontinental.
Then I fly to Stockholm to work a few weeks at Fotoskolan Stockholm, teaching sports photography, English for photographers, lightroom, possibly running a printing workshop and helping to repair and install some scanning equipment. All in all, it looks like it’s going to be a busy time.
In March it’s off to the states to continue walking, really looking forward to it already.
If there is one thing I would like to try to do next year, it is some more writing. Something I have been wanting to do for several years but somehow have not got around to. You would think that doing nothing but walking would give me time to do that, but walking takes time.
Hopefully, next year will see some longer posts on the blog and I am working on a pdf publication about being a photographer that I would like to have finished before I fly west. Maybe even some articles about the first section of the-walk?
I would like to take this chance to thank everybody that has helped me during the year. All the incredibly friendly, helpful and generous persons I have met on my walk. There are so many that I can’t list you all, but you know who you are.
Thank you all, so very very much!
Also a big thanks to everybody out there following my little adventure online, please keep doing so and to everyone, a very Happy New Year!
Benidorm (2014-01-07 18:26)
A New Year!
So far it’s been a good one, with great weather, interesting places and friendly people. What more could one ask for.
Left Palma early on Friday, via Ibiza to Denia. It took all day and I used the last of the light to walk up a hill outside Denia and find a campsite.
Ended up with a nice view back over the town, even if the ground was hard and it was difficult to find a clear space large enough even for my small tent.
Saturday saw me walking to Calp, arriving a bit late and getting a room in the cheapest hotel I could find.
Rather than walk along the busy road to Benidorm, I set off on a roundabout route the next morning, trusting Google maps to help me find the way along some smaller roads. Which might not have been a great idea…
Halfway up the mountain I met Sheila and spent some time talking to her about my planned route. She was a bit sceptical.
Then I found some climbers and wasted time watching them cheat their way up a small cliff.
Sheila found me again on her way back down the mountain, sitting and enjoying a very nice three-course meal in a restaurant filled with German and Dutch people, with the odd English and Spanish couple thrown in. She had checked the route with some locals and everyone agreed that it was going to be impossible to complete with the Mule. It was essentially a very rough mountain pass, a walking trail. Not wanting to turn around, I was going to have to take a much longer, circular route, adding lots of kilometres.
Ended the day camped on the top of the mountain, with spectacular views all around. It had been a hard day, heading up all the time.
The next day proved just as hard, over 700 meters down followed by even more up again. At least I was burning some calories!
I have been in this area once before, during a road trip through Europe in 2006 and I remember not being too impressed. Something I have told other people since then.
But I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s both beautiful and interesting. Just shows how important it is to travel slowly and really get a feel for an area, rather than blasting through it in a car and missing everything!
I was lucky to have a goal for the day, Sheila had contacted some friends, Vivian and Roger, and they had very kindly offered to put me up for the night.
Spent a nice evening talking with Vivian and Roger, and set off back towards the coast the next morning.
If possible, the views were even nicer
I had been meeting a lot of cyclists on the mountain passes. Seems that this is a popular area for off-season training, with a few professional teams spending time here.
I’m now in Benidorm, about to try to find something to eat and then get some rest. What could have been a short 20km walk from Calp, turned into an 80km, three-day struggle, up and down mountains and along some rough tracks.
But so worth it!
San Javier (2014-01-12 08:39)
Have spent the last few days walking down the coast from Benidorm and hope to reach Cartagena later today.
It was nice to leave the tourist hustle that was Benidorm, although there was plenty to see there.
Unfortunately, the coast has become more boring, especially south of Alicante. It’s flatter and there are rather boring retirement developments everywhere. And almost everything seems to be closed this time of year.
My new solid tyres proved their worth yesterday when I found a large piece of glass sticking into one of them. Not to worry, just pull it out and keep going. Don’t have much mileage on them yet and I am very interested in seeing how they last.
I was feeling very tired and lethargic on Friday and finally figured out that I probably needed some extra calories. Something that I set about trying to remedy with gusto. Started the day with a gigantic breakfast buffet, eating at least one of everything. Then I stopped for a large English breakfast at eleven. Early afternoon found me at McDonald’s, feasting on a large Big Mac menu, followed by a sundae and coffee with ice cream.
Finished the day by eating a three-course Chinese dinner and bought a tub of ice cream on the way back to my room..
Surprisingly, I felt restored the next day!
Living now! Cartagena (2014-01-13 14:48)
I’m in Cartagena, having a rest day and am giving myself some extra time to think about a problem I discover I’ve been suffering from during the last week.
It’s hardly something new, but rather something that I was hoping the-walk is going to help me come to grips with.
I find myself not living in the moment.
Although I am walking through Spain and have at least three more weeks of walking in front of me, I am spending way too much time thinking about what is going to happen and what I am going to do once I get to America.
What a waste! Here I am, in the middle of a great adventure and I’m letting it slip past, wondering more about a possible future than the wonders around me.
It’s a character flaw that’s far from new to me, and one that I know I have to work on. A part of my curious and restless soul that helps to drive me forward, avoiding stagnation, but that at the same time prevents me from truly living in and experiencing this moment.
I’ll have to be more careful to be aware of here and now, I’ve no doubt the future will get here in time!
Carboneras (2014-01-17 20:48)
Have now spent a few days walking through some wonderful countryside, relaxing and enjoying it.
The weather has been mostly great, but I did have an overcast day with a bit of drizzle. Thankfully it never started raining hard and I did not even need to get my wet weather gear out.
I have succeeded in enjoying the moment more, even slowed down for a lazy beer in the sun. 🙂
Have met several interesting people, among them Terje.
When I asked him where he was from, he said Bergen in Norway. But he has been on the road for more or less 16 years!
But he claims this is his favourite part of Europe and he always returns here when he can.
Can’t really do more than agree, it is a nice area!
Abla (2014-01-21 18:19)
Have spent the last four days walking through some very varied landscapes. Everything from beautiful beaches to endless stretches of plastic greenhouses. Everything from inspiring to mindlessly dull. 🙂
A bit distressing is the amount of rubbish spread through some areas. A lot of plastic bottles, cans and glass is just thrown next to the road or any free area at all. Spain really gets to get some kind of refund system working for pet bottles…
Just before I reached Almeria, I suffered my first major mechanical problem. Nearly all the spokes on one of the wheels had become loose, two of them finally falling free and getting tangled in the frame.
I should have noticed earlier, but had been listening to audiobooks all day…
Not a major problem, just sat down and tightened the loose spokes. I’ve respoked many a wheel before, from bicycle to motorcycle and even the odd English sports car. But I will be adding a proper spoke key to the toolkit, do not enjoy using an adjustable wrench on the tiny, soft spoke nipples.
Ate out in Almeria and was given a small, fried fish to try. Tasted ok, nothing special but it did look rather disturbing. Looking at me with an accusing stare!
Left Almeria and headed into the mountains, towards Granada. Spent yesterday walking through some grand scenery, the only problem was that it was uphill most of the way and into a headwind.
Found a nice place to camp, just off the road and as the sky looked clear and the forecast was good, I decided to skip the tent and sleep under the stars.
It was a beautiful night but a bit cold even though I was using both of my sleeping bags, the thermal liner and was wearing clothes. Worth it, but it took a long time to get warm in the morning.
Today has been a hard day. Walking all day into a cold, strong headwind. Though I have only covered about 30km, I’m pretty tired. Was planning to sleep under the stars again tonight, but I am even higher in the mountains (about 900m) and as the evening has progressed, it has gotten colder and colder. Luckily, I found a cheap room in the small town of Abla and am looking forward to a great nights sleep, I need it!
Malaga (2014-01-27 21:36)
I’m back on the coast and arrived in Malaga this evening. One really great aspect of that is that it is warmer, in fact, I used my shorts again for the first time this year!
This is what it was like in the mountains near Sierra Nevada, not shorts weather…
Spent almost a day sightseeing in Granada. Lots of interesting sights, from small touristy back streets to old ruins. This is definitely a place I would like to return to and explore more. Hiking the Sierra Nevadas would be fun in warmer weather!
Since leaving Granada, I’ve been walking steadily. Need to move a bit if I intend to reach Gibraltar before it’s time to go back to Stockholm and do a few weeks work (and then on to the states!)
There are a lot of houses built into the hills in the area around Granada, I mean really built into the hills. Sometimes the only parts visible are the doors…
Yesterday, as I was leaving this beautiful view behind, I found some people waiting for me on the side of the road.
They had spotted me coming down the mountain, seen the signs on the Mule, checked out the blog and decided to stop and offer some encouragement. Always great fun to meet people who are interested in my little walk! 🙂
In fact, I was stopped again this morning and spoke to a lady about where I was headed.
Tomorrow, I intend to do a quick walk through Malaga and then continue southwest towards Gibraltar. I Will probably stick to the coast, I need to store some warmth and sunshine before I head back to a wintry Stockholm, even if only for a short while.
Marbella (2014-01-29 19:05)
It’s been a long and strangely difficult day. Reality has been at odds with Google maps and, perhaps not too surprisingly, reality refused to budge.
But it has also been a pleasant day, continuing the last few days theme of people stopping me to talk and ask about the-walk.
A few moments ago, I sat down and looked at the map. I wanted to check the route that remains before I reach Gibraltar. It looks like this:
Looks like there is still a fair way to go.
But then I zoomed out so that I could see Stockholm, where I started from.
Suddenly, the distance remaining seemed almost inconsequential. I guess Einstein was right, even walking distance is relative!
Gibraltar, the end of Europe! (2014-02-02 18:56)
Gibraltar. This is where I have decided that the European part of the-walk comes to an end.
You could say that it is the end of part 1. Stockholm to Gibraltar proved to be a bit more than 6000 km, took almost 9 months (including some breaks) and has left me even more excited about the continuation.
Tomorrow, I will go to the local DHL office in Gibraltar and see if I can ship the Mule straight to Florida, or if it will be easier to send it to Stockholm and onward from there. Then I have to find a cheap flight to Stockholm for myself and try to change mental gears and get ready for 4 weeks of hard work before being able to jet off to the USA and continuing.
It will be very nice to meet friends and family, but these breaks are definitely a bit of a distraction. Nether less, I need the money and it is, strangely enough, cheaper for me to fly to Stockholm and then to Fort Lauderdale than it would be for me to fly straight there from here! So I can make the most of it, earn some very welcome money, meet everybody and hopefully have time to write a bit and update some stuff on the site.
Next time I post an update, I will probably be shivering in the cold somewhere in Stockholm…
Minimalism, going to far? (2014-02-17 17:13)
I’m in Stockholm, working, trying to find a cheap ticket to Florida and organizing all the last minute odds and ends that a change of continent always entails. But I have a bit of a problem. Well, not a problem as such, but I am trying to make some decisions about my photography during the-walk.
How minimalistic should I go? Or rather continue to be?
I have more or less been using only my Xperia Z1 for the major part of my European walk. I can’t complain about the quality of the Z1, it is exceptional but exceptional for a mobile phone. There is no doubt that a larger camera could deliver better quality. At a price…
Larger, more expensive, requires more peripheral equipment and is more likely to be stolen.
I am very conflicted at the moment, being back working with professional photography naturally makes me very aware of the differences. But it has been refreshingly relaxing and easy to limit myself to the Z1 and I had intended to continue using it (or rather my new Xperia Z1 compact).
What I am looking for is a bit of feedback, what do you think? Post your comments on the Facebook page, the-walk.se
Weighing the options… (2014-02-19 11:41)
Photo Miguel Herranz
I have had a lot of reactions to the last post about how minimalistic I should approach the remaining 75 % of the-walk.
As could be expected, they range from one extreme to another, and it is always interesting to get feedback, please keep it coming!
I have to admit that I am slightly biased towards being very minimalistic, mainly because that is how I first envisioned the-walk during the first planning stages.
But as I work with professional photography, deciding to limit the quality is difficult. I have after all spent much of the last 12 years teaching other photographers to optimize the technical quality of their work.
Looking back at the-test walk, where I used a Leica M9, it is not to difficult to see that there is a quality difference. Check out this gallery of images from the-test to see what I mean:
Decisions, decisions, decisions…..
Narrative Clip, lifelogging (2014-03-10 17:09)
I just received a Narrative Clip. It is a small, wearable, automatic, lifelogging camera that I hope will be an interesting addition to my minimalistic equipment.
I have only just started playing with it, and it looks like it’s going to be a fun addition.
The quality is not going to replace a camera, but it takes a shot every 30 seconds and produces a great, memory jogging record that contains timestamps and GPS coordinates.
Really looking forward to using it as I walk across America.
Welcome to the-walk.se podcast! (2014-03-16 13:11)
Welcome to the new podcast!
In an experiment to find the best way to share my experiences and thoughts with you, I have decided to try to start a podcast. Hopefully, this will make it easier for me to invite you along on my journey, after all, it is easier to talk while walking than to write!
This first episode will just be a short introduction, a trial to check that all the technology is working, but I hope to be back with a lot more very shortly.
I’m sure you would like to hear a summary of my European adventure and I plan to talk about my equipment and give you an update on my thinking about my photographic equipment.
Don’t worry, there will still be plenty of pictures, both here on the blog and on Instagram, but I hope that the podcast will enable me to share much, much more.
Narrative Clip: mini review (2014-03-17 10:54)
Just before I started out on my walk, I spotted what looked like it was going to be a great little accessory.
It has taken a while but I finally have a narrative clip to call my own and this is my mini-review, after only a few days of testing.
Listen to the podcast for the details and check out the photos below!
European Summary, sort of: Podcast 003 (2014-03-22 07:54)
Podcast number 3 was intended to be a summary of the-walk so far, the European part.
But it turned more into a discussion about motivations, ambitions and equipment.
As I mention in the podcast, I have finally decided to take a “better” camera along with me and not restrict myself to using only my mobile phone. I will be using a Ricoh GR, a large sensor, advanced compact camera with very good image quality. All in all still a very minimalistic, compact kit. Now it only remains to see if I actually use it…
Thanks to Stellan, Miguel and Anders for helping me and for turning it into an interesting discussion!