Cycling India: Kerala

Continued from: Cycling India: Tamil Nadu

Day 8: How high can Munnar be?!

After the madness of yesterdays intense climbing, I passed out early and slept until 8 am – about 10 hours straight!  Then I had a proper big sit down breakfast for once involving some kind of Indian curry and rice rolled into a tube shape that cost about £1, which is a bit over my budget but I felt like spoiling myself.


The hotel owner explained that the “closed road” I took yesterday IS actually closed, but only just before Munnar! Guess I should have listened to it after all, as now I had to backtrack quite far. With this new information and after examining the incredibly complex route out of Munnar to the coast I decided I would get a bus from there to Kochi, otherwise, it’s going to take days and I was already behind schedule.

Bison Valley

Along the way, I realised that I had accidentally taken the key to my hotel room with me, but by that point, I was way down in the valley and there was no way I was cycling back up. Fortunately, they had my number so after about an hour they called asking about it. I offered to post it back but they told me just to leave it at a local shop and they will collect it – they were very nice and understanding about it.

I continued along some really beautiful roads flanking a river for a few kilometres and then the uphills started again. For some reason, the elevation lines on Google Maps are not accurate because it indicated a lot of downhill to Munnar but it was basically uphill all the way.  I stopped about five times for tea or coffee and about twenty times to take photos of the endless beautiful tea plantations, so by the time I got to Munnar it was already 3 pm.

Bus to Kochi

I briefly considered staying the night but it looked pretty dead except for rich French tourists, so I found a local bus that was willing to strap my bike on the roof and take me to Kochi for Rs200 (about £1.20).  The bus trip was quite nice and comfortable – they don’t have closed windows just holes you can lean out of and get a nice cooling breeze. Unfortunately, it did take about 5 hours so I only got to Kochi at 8 pm.  It also dropped me in the ass-end of nowhere miles from Kochi beach so I had to cycle 12km’s on the dark busy roads to a hostel on the beach.

I was hoping to grab a cold beer since it’s been a week since I’ve drunk anything and I’m taking the day off tomorrow, but the only places still open were super expensive hotel bars (Rs250), so I just had a coffee and called it a night. I’ll get a Rs100 beer from the wine shop tomorrow… and then, starting Wednesday, a mad race to Goa to make it for the weekend!

Cycled: 36km

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Day 9 – Kochi Killed my Laptop

I didn’t do any cycling today just relaxed around Maritime Hostel with some of the other guests and rested my legs. Kochi has an area called Fort Kochi which is popular with tourists for some reason but in reality, there isn’t much to it. It has a quaint village feel to it which is nice but at the same time expensive compared with the rest of India. I briefly walked around exploring with an English guy looking for somewhere with decent wifi but we couldn’t find anything faster than the hostel, which was very slow.

Maritime Hostel

Strangely, on the return to the hostel, my laptop stopped working. No matter what I tried to do it wouldn’t switch on! Eventually, I decided to let it rest for a few days and went out to look for a bottle store to buy beer. Unfortunately, everything was closed due to some or other holiday, so I got some fried chicken instead to drown my sorrows and then headed back to the hostel. I was planning to meet up that evening with an Indian guy I had met on the road the previous day but he must have been busy as he didn’t end up coming, so I just wandered around the docks and beachfront on my own and bought something called a Mud Coffee, which is like a crazy chocolate ice-cream-milkshake-coffee combination thing. It was pretty awesome, to be honest.

Back at the hostel, I got chatting to an Argentinian girl who was born in Germany but now lives in Isreal. She was travelling to South East Asia, where I had recently been, and had just come from Goa, so we chatted for awhile about various travel related things before I headed off to bed.

 

India Day 10: The Kerala Coastline

I headed off about 8 am after the free hostel breakfast and cycled around the bay because the ferry wouldn’t let me take my bike on it – so that added an unnecessary 20 km’s to my trip. Then I followed some very wet and sandy roads along the beachfront for a while in an area they call the backwaters. At one point the road was literally just a beach!

I stopped for a swim around 11 am as it was already boiling hot and I was covered in sweat – it’s definitely more humid on the coast! The beaches around this area are completely deserted and very beautiful, and I can only guess they aren’t more overrun by hotels and tourists because the area must flood a lot during monsoon season.

I stopped after about 70km for lunch of some samosas and fruit for around Rs30 (33p) and then had to catch a short ferry across a river mouth that cost Rs4 (about 5p). The locals on the ferry were very interested in my bicycle and we chatted about my trip. They all found it very odd that someone would travel by bicycle when motorbikes are so cheap, which certainly feels true after 100 km’s on a loaded bike!

I had another swim about 3 pm at a small beach and then headed inland onto the main motorway so I could cover some ground before sunset. I was planning to stop at a town called Ponanni but it turned out to be really tiny and didn’t have any accommodation, so I had to continue on in the dark for two hours! I was hoping to find a quiet dark spot to camp but there were just buildings and people everywhere!  I kept seeing signs for ‘Hotels’ but when I stopped to ask about rooms it turned out they were just restaurants, not hotels. Apparently, in this part of India, a restaurant is called a ‘hotel’!?

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Finally, at about 8:30 pm I reached a town called Tirur, which looked a bit more like it might have an actual hotel, possibly even with rooms! After looking around for a bit I finally found a dirty backstreet motel near the train station with a room for Rs650 (£7). It was a bit more than I’d usually spend but I didn’t have much choice – I had already cycled 141km and I was exhausted!


I had a quick, cheap dinner at a nearby restaurant, then got some snacks and watched a bit of Netflix before crashing out for the night.


India Day 11: Kannur

I left my rubbish hotel room early and cycled north towards Goa. I stopped a few times for food and drink and to catch another ferry but mostly just pushed on through all day to a town called Kannur, which turned out to be surprisingly big and even a bit touristy. Upon arrival, I found the train station and a nearby hotel which actually had two other travellers in it – the first I’d seen since Kochi.

That evening I walked around exploring the town and looking for beer but didn’t find any. I also priced some phones because I desperately need a new one, and almost bought a Samsung J7 for 10,000 rupees but didn’t have cash at the time. I eventually ended up just getting some snacks and watching more Netflix in the hotel room before sleeping early.

(That time is obviously for a car, not bicycle)

 

India Day 12: To Goa

For some reason, I was in a hurry to get to Goa and felt that cycling these roads would just be more of the same for days, so I went to the train station and found a train that was going to the main Goa station within the hour. I checked in my bike to the parcel carriage and then bought a ticket and got some snacks for the journey.

I only had a normal ticket so was expecting to be crushed into the carriage like before, but when I got on there were quite a few seats empty. I sat in one but within a few minutes somebody told me it was their seat, so I moved to another only to be told the same. I realised I must be in the pre-booked seating carriage, so I went and sat in the passageway against a door, trying to be as out-of-the-way as possible. However, within a few minutes, a conductor came and told me I had to move. He looked at my ticket and explained I was in the wrong carriage and either had to walk right to the back of the train to the crush area, or I could pay about Rs200 extra (about £2.30) and get a seat.  I was initially annoyed to have to pay extra but on reflection, it was way better than standing again the crush area again for 6 hours, and I was actually really lucky some seats were empty as usually the trains are fully booked.

As a result, my journey was quite comfortable and for most of the journey I had an entire sleeper bed to myself (They book some of the sleeper beds out as seats so sometimes there are four people to a bed and sometimes it’s completely empty).  I put in my headphones, ate snacks and stared out the window for most of the journey.

Upon arrival in Goa, I collected my bike and headed off on the 10km ride to the only nearby hostel called River’s Edge. On the way, I saw a bottle store so stopped and bought two big 650ml beers for an amazing Rs150 (less than £2). The hostel was amazing, more like a fancy hotel – with swimming pool and all –  and not even expensive at only Rs600 a night.  The only problem is that it’s far from the main area of Goa, so the next day I would head to the coast.

I sat by the pool and enjoyed my first beer in about 2 weeks, reminiscing on the trip and looking forward to some relaxing time in Goa…

 

Island Life – A Cambodian Odyssey

Dystopian Days

The initial part of my week on the Cambodian coastline was one of relative solitude amongst an array of characters which tested my own self-doubts and my disturbing relationship I have with my own age.  I found myself somewhat lost amongst many young people who themselves were far more lost than me, in a strange beach hostel made of wood and bamboo.  It was the beginning of spring and the weather was as tumultuous as my own thoughts, lashing furiously between bright sun and thunderous storms.
Paradise Lost comes to mind – so much sadness and confusion in a place so beautiful, where all they had to live off were the likes of the Instagram snaps their friends back home no doubt clicked in jealousy, unaware of the longing in the eyes of those posting them.  On the first night I went to a ‘jungle party’ which was actually fairly decent and continued until sunrise, but other than that I spent the majority of my time here with everybody else silently watching an unending stream of movies on the large communal screen, ignoring the beauty that surrounded us.  I swam a few times and played Volleyball once, but essentially did little else.

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Run to the Islands

My escape came in part from an unpaid debt which I still fear reprisal for should I ever return to this odd, quiet piece of beach south of Sihanoukville.  I stayed for three days sleeping on their sofa, but never checked in or paid for their hospitality, and on the last day after a boat trip I collected my bag and walked off down the beach without paying my tab.(that’s not entirely true, the boat trip was overpriced and we were promised free booze which never materialised, plus I did look for the guy to pay but he had disappeared and I had places to go)

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I crashed that night on another sofa at a more welcoming bar further up the beach where I had stayed briefly before and befriended the bar staff. For this free-loading, I was, at least, granted permission. At sunrise, I fled north to Sihanoukville and caught a ferry to a random island called Koh Rong Samloem, upon which I met a friendly young man who was completely broke and going to work as a volunteer at a diving centre so that he could learn to dive. He gave me tips on where to find volunteer work should I ever have the desire to work for free.

Wild Wanderings

For some reason, no doubt influenced by the abject confusion of the past three days I ended up at the most awful westernised tourist trap of a hostel on a remote part of the island, and once again decided checking-in was for suckers.

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However, before I had time to find an abandoned hammock to crash in I met three Norwegians who had been drinking for two days straight and I instantly agreed to join them on an aimless trek through the jungle in search of greener pastures.  We departed for our epic quest on a rickety fishing boat to the other side of the bay, unfortunately during which time the exceptionally inebriated Vikings decided this was all too much for them and asked the fisherman to take them to a ferry port so they could return to somewhere with electricity and running water.
I was far too sober to make such rational decisions and decided to continue on alone into the wild.  The wild turned out to be a ten-minute walk through some palm trees to a small town literally a stone’s throw from where we were.  Did I mention it’s a really small island?  It’s really small.

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Constance

I wandered along the beach of this tiny village until I came to an attractive looking bar/hostel appropriately called Chill Bar – so chill that all the staff were passed out and one of the more regular customers was running things.  Constance* had been coming to this tiny place on this tiny island for two weeks a year for the past five years as a means to escape the mind-numbing routine of daily life back in some forgotten town in middle England.
She didn’t need to tell me it was her last night there and she was flying home tomorrow – I could have guessed from the sadness and longing in her eyes, a pleading almost, to give her a reason to stay.  Tie me to this bar, those eyes screamed…. make me miss my flight!  I didn’t understand what she was going back for, she had already served me three drinks while telling me her story – she had a perfectly good job here.
We ended up getting raucously drunk off the free booze of the unattended bar, walked to the tip of the island to watch the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen, got somewhat intimate in the ocean together and then hung out at the bar again for a bit before heading back to her room.  Unfortunately, she was sharing her room with a friend so I couldn’t actually sleep there, but luckily found a hammock on the beach after her friend came home.  Free booze and accommodation in Cambodia were working out great for me so far!

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Broken Boats

The next day, despite my insistence that she was making the wrong decision, Constance left that gorgeous piece of paradise to return to another island – albeit a cold, wet, muddy one on the other side of the world.  I remained and spent the rest of the day alone on that quiet beach contemplating life and drinking (sadly not free) beer until a boat arrived and I stumbled upon it, completely unaware of what incredible adventures awaited me.

Shortly after leaving the island I discovered this boat was heading back to the mainland, however after suffering engine troubles it had to re-route to the nearby island of Koh Rong (the big brother of Koh Rong Samloem – Samloem presumably meaning “small or “south” due to it being south of the main island.)

I didn’t actually have any intention of spending another day on the islands due to limited time and a desire to visit the temples of Angkor Wat before having to leave Cambodia, but as I sat in the boat at the jetty staring at an inviting looking bar up on a hill something made me decide to get off here.  So I impulsively left the boat and stepped onto the pristine white sands of Koh Rong, very short on cash and unsure whether one could actually draw money on an island with very little infrastructure.

Scottish Surprise

Strolling down the beach wondering what this all means, who do I bump into but those two crazy Scots lads from the slow boat in Laos!  We had a few beers, chatted about what we had respectively been doing the past month or so and they invited me to join them on a pub crawl they were doing that evening.  It started at the bar high up on the hill where we were serendipitously forced to leave our shirts since it was required for all attendees to wear the official pub crawl vest for the event.
The pub crawl itself was quite fun – I was in a very upbeat mood, got involved in a lot of the games, won a bottle of vodka, shared it among everyone, drank most of it myself, and eventually passed out in a hammock on the balcony of the final bar.

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Destiny

In the morning I wandered back up to the first bar to fetch my shirt and decided to stay for one drink.  I got chatting to some of the staff and developed a certain rapport with a very beautiful, six foot tall Eastern European girl by the name of Destiny*.  We continued to drink and chat as the day wore on and I soon realised I wouldn’t be leaving the island that day.
As evening descended and her shift ended, we decided to go for some dinner together during which she agreed to go night swimming with me.  She led me by the hand to a secluded beach far on the other end of the island where she told me she wanted to skinny dip since she had never done so before.  After getting naked we swam out into the ocean where she showed me an area full of luminescent plankton that shimmered and shone with each disturbance.  We floated on our backs below the exceptionally dense milky way and marvelled as the plankton outlined our every movement in bright blue sparkles.

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Destiny had initially come to Koh Rong for only a week, but not letting herself be controlled by the constraints of a schedule like Constance, had decided to stay and take a job at the bar up on the hill where she had been working now for six weeks.  Of course, she was five years younger than Constance and so less likely to be bogged down in a career, but then again I was five years older than Constance and I still think ‘career’ is what a car does when it goes off the road.  At least that’s certainly what my career’s doing.

Out of most of the people I’ve met travelling, I found I very closely relate to Destiny – neither of us wants stability or structure in our lives, but we are also not carefree enough to not work at all, knowing that we need money to travel and do the things we want.  I spent that night with her and we discovered we have very similar tastes in music, people and ideas about life.  She convinced me to stay one more night and go with her to the jungle party on the mainland that happens weekly every Wednesday, near to the beach hostel where I had taken liberties with my accommodation.

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Reluctant Return

I was wary of returning too close to the scene of my deceptive behaviour, so we headed first to the relative safety of the friendly bar that had allowed me freeboard previously, and I booked us a bungalow for the night.  (I figured I should pay for accommodation at least once this week). We chilled there for a few hours drinking, eating and listening to the awesome DJ in the bar. Around midnight we eventually headed to the jungle party and danced until morning when it started to rain, and then danced even more.
It didn’t occur to me at the time but this would be my final night in Cambodia, and in essence the final night of my entire trip.  Fittingly, throughout the night I kept bumping into many of the characters I had met along the way, some people who I had not seen since Thailand, months before.  All in all, I was reunited with about twenty friends, many of whom I never thought I would see again.

Eventually, quite a few hours after sunrise, saturated both inside and out, we headed home.  During the past few days we had become extraordinarily close considering such a small time span, but sadly neither of our mental states were in a clear place at that time so our goodbyes were fumbled and misspoken, and as I climbed on that night bus to Bangkok and Destiny boarded her ferry back to the island, I felt that ever familiar twinge of regret in my heart, like maybe leaving wasn’t the best idea.

But alas, I had places to be and as destiny would have it we saw each again not long after.


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Bangkok Bus

Fortunately, I fell asleep almost instantly on the night bus and slept until the Thai border, where we trudged through the usual customs procedures and then got stranded on some steps outside a KFC awaiting our connecting bus to the Thai capital.  And there I found Freedom*.
As is commonly the case with those who should be given attention, I initially didn’t pay much heed to Freedom’s story of lost love and her quest to rekindle it.  However, during our inexplicably long journey to Bangkok, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the honest and genuine innocence of her story.
She had met a man on the muddy island of tea drinkers months before and developed a connection so strong in the space of only an hour that it drew him to come visit her for a week all the way in Northern Thailand.  During this time their passion for each other had deepened greatly, so much so that when he eventually had to go home she had resolved to hitch-hike across the world to go be with him – a resolution not wavered by the fact that by the time I met her he had already told her he was with another woman (yet still wanted to be with her).

The absurd irrationality of such a commitment was matched only by her truly authentic believe that what they had was worth fighting for.  However despite such trivial matters of the heart, what struck me as interesting about Freedom was the ability to entertain such fleeting and fancy-free ideas, unburdened by commitments or bothersome details such as money and work.  I didn’t outright ask, but her never-ending ability to bum cigarettes in a country where they only cost $1 a pack indicated to me that she may not be particularly well off in the financial department.  I may have been wrong but either way, it was impressive to have such a free-spirited approach to life, especially considering the story she told me about her upbringing, which was scary to say the least.


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Emotional End

Eventually, we arrived back to Bangkok where my trip began, and as clichéd as it is to say I did actually feel like a very different person.  I suppose being back in a familiar environment helps to accentuate the changes in your behaviour and reactions.  I found myself to be more calm and relaxed, more aware of the locals and people around me, and far less preoccupied with myself.  Freedom and her friends had also begun their trip here, so we had to indulge in the ritual of going to Khao San Road for one final party, even though we were all actually continuing our travels but in different ways.
During the night Freedom and I became quite close and in the morning she commented on how I had helped her deal with some anxiety she was struggling with regarding her man back in the UK, which was interesting considering I felt she had helped me deal with similar feelings.  We made vague plans to possibly meet up again a week later in Southern Thailand, but during the week we lost contact and I decided rather to return to Vietnam and meet up with Destiny again, who was continuing her travels there.

And so my loop of South East Asia came to an end with one of the most intense, emotional and crazy weeks of my life.  What have I learnt during this trip?  I don’t know, but it was awesome.  Mostly I discovered that travelling is not about where you go, it’s about who you meet.  And damn, I met some amazing people…

*names have been changed for dramatic effect.
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Cycling to Amsterdam

 

I decided to make use of the four day Easter holiday weekend and cycle from London to Amsterdam.  However, since I was leaving directly after work on Thursday evening and didn’t want to cycle dangerous British roads in the dark, I got a train to Dover and made it just in time to catch the midnight ferry to Dunkirk.  This however, proved to be a mistake, as, due to the length of the journey and the hour time difference, I arrived in Dunkirk at 3am.  Predictably the hostel I had booked gave up waiting for me and locked up, so I had no choice but to either keep cycling and hope to find somewhere open, or sleep outdoors in the rain with the refugees.

I cycled on for the next two hours through rainy traffic and refugee camps until eventually at five am I was lucky enough to find another hostel, the lovely owner of which took me in and gave me my own private room for the night/morning.  I knew I had to make it 150km’s the next day through Belgium to Breskens in the Netherlands if I wanted to catch the last ferry to Vlissengen, so I didn’t have the luxury of sleeping in late.  I grabbed five hours sleep and was up at 10am, had a quick (free) breakfast and was back on the road.

Riding along the beach in Belgium

The day went fairly smoothly for the first few hours – it was nice and sunny and I dried out my wet clothes by hanging them off my bike as I rode. Initially I felt I was making good time, but after a number of stops for photographs, lunch and exploring I realised at 5pm I was going to have to hurry to make the 9pm ferry!  I abandoned the slow moving beach roads and got onto the main road for a few hours of hard pedalling.  I whisked through Belgium fairly quickly and then just after entering the Netherlands developed a rather serious pain in my left Achilles tendon.  I tried adjusting my foot to accommodate it but I couldn’t really slow down or rest so I had to push through, despite the pain worsening.  Luckily I made it to the ferry in time, but I was seriously worried about whether I could continue the next day.

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I spent that evening in quite a nice hostel in Vlissengen, and being that it was a seemingly quiet deserted town I thought nothing of leaving my bike locked up outside on the street.  Bad idea…. but more of that later.

Anyway this hostel had been left in the care of a very young lad from somewhere or other who was travelling and needed work, and the owner was busy that night DJ’ing at a club in town.  Luckily the hostel only had one or two other guests who were already in bed, so he decided he would come with me for a few drinks at an Irish pub down the road, where we chatted about our respective travels and had a few beers.  He was a nice enough chap but clearly didn’t know anything about how the hostel worked, and forgot to take any payment from me before I left the next morning!  (the owner, luckily for him, had my email and tracked me down for payment a few days later).

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My bike with stolen seat

Upon returning to my bike I found my seat missing – the whole seat-post and saddle as well as my saddlebag with all my tools and puncture kit!  Coupled with the somewhat better but still sore pain in my Achilles tendon this was not good news.  I hummed-and-harred about what to do for awhile until eventually deciding to push on through, standing up to pedal until I found a bike shop.

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New seat and ready to go

Fortunately this was exactly what my Achilles tendon needed, as the change in foot position while standing took the pressure off it and I went along quite well and full of renewed energy for the next hour until I reached a town with a fairly big bike shop.  There a very helpful bike mechanic found me a cheap, used seat-post and saddle and I was on my way again, only €30 poorer.

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The route along the dykes

I continued on along a route I’ve been wanting to cycle for many years, along the Dutch dyke system that holds back the ocean south of Rotterdam and The Hague and connects many small islands and outcropping bits of land.  It’s an incredibly interesting landscape and the huge, modern mechanical dykes are amazing to see up close.

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great that day, and with the combination of a headwind, my sore Achilles tendon and the delays of buying a new seat it didn’t look like I would make it to Amsterdam that evening as planned. However I still had a good time exploring the dykes and cycling the tiny little villages on the many islands along the route.  The cycle infrastructure in the Netherlands is incredible, and is maintained equally if not better than the roads.

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A typical Dutch dyke bridge

There is a seperate, dedicated bicycle lane next to every single street, no matter where you go.  In many places it even goes under or over the road when crossing, so for the most part you need never be involved with or worry about vehicular traffic.  Despite this I still managed to accidentally cycle onto the freeway at one point, and had to get off and walk back along the grass verge to the normal road.  The truckers driving past in their massive 18-wheelers found this rather amusing.

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Rotterdam

I stopped for lunch in a great little seafood restaurant in the docks of a small village and had a well deserved beer with calamari and chips.  By the time I got to Rotterdam it was already 6pm and I was exhausted, so I had to choose to spend a night in Rotterdam and continue the next day, or get the train to Amsterdam and spend the night there.

I decided to go with the latter as I knew Amsterdam better and figured I would have a good Saturday night there.  I almost got in trouble on the train as I didn’t put my bike in the correct section, but luckily the conductors are understanding of foreigners and let me off.

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Amsterdam

So I finally arrived in Amsterdam, and although I didn’t quite cycle all the way I had a great trip and overcame many obstacles.  That night I made some friends in The Flying Pig hostel, drank an entire pitcher of beer and multiple tequila’s, explored a bit of the red light district and then we went out to a techno club until 4am.  The next afternoon, slightly hungover, I packed up my bike into a box kindly donated by a local bike shop, and headed off to the airport to fly back home to London.

I hope to do this trip again some time, however I would spread it over 3 days and go via Bruges.

 

 

Croatia: Split, Hvar and Plitvice


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In July 2010 six friends and I decided to go to Croatia for two weeks – exploring Hvar, Split, Plitvice and ending up at a music festival called ‘Stop Making Sense’.


Split

Some of us flew into Split together on Easyjet and met some of the others there. The first night we just had dinner, explored the small town and hung out by the ocean side – drinking and messing around in some old forts and railroad tracks.


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Hvar

In the morning we had to get up fairly early and get a ferry to the island of Hvar where we were camping for the night. The ferry took about 2 hours, during which time we relaxed on the deck tanning and drinking beer. We arrived and took a taxi to the far end of the island where we found our campsite.

One couple had booked a pre-made tent with beds, electrical point and even a fridge. The rest of set up some tents that we had brought with, although I didn’t even have a tent so I just slept in the foyer area of the others pre-made tent.


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That evening we got a taxi to the main Hvar town and had the most amazing seafood, and when I came back from the toilet everyone played a trick on me saying we had ordered shots of some crazy strong Croatian alcohol which I was scared to drink, but it turned out it was just a shot of water!


The following day we went swimming in the nearby bay and explored the island around the campsite. It was strangely very quiet around where we were, with not many people around, which was odd for high season.

Bol and Brac

The town of Bol on the nearby island of Brac was our next destination and found our apartment that we had rented for the night. Then the few of us that had licenses hired some scooters and drove around the island for a bit, before coming back and taking some of the others out on the back of the scooters.


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We chilled on Zlatni Rat beach for a bit before getting another ferry back to the mainland, where we spent the night before hiring a car in the morning and starting the drive up to Plitvice National park.

Plitvice

It was a bit further than I thought and took us most of the morning and past lunch, so, unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time to see the park which is huge! We rushed through and took as many photos as we could of the beautiful turquoise waterfalls. It really does look like something out of the garden of Eden!

Festival

Around 6 pm we had to leave and did the short one hour drive to Petrcane where the festival was, and then dropped the hire car off at Zadar airport. We all had booked into the hotel that also served as the site for the festival, except one other couple that had their own small apartment nearby.

I don’t remember exact details of the festival but we had some amazing sunset boat parties with DJ’s like Robodello, and at one point I went swimming at midnight which was freezing but fun.