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Arisaig Highland Games

We had to book a camping site in advance because of the popularity of these games and got lucky to get a perfect spot at the Silversands Campsite near the beach.

The next day we went to the Highland Games just across the street. Next to their bus, a group of bagpipers were practising and the sound of bagpipes were ever present during the festival.

There are various competitions. With judges observing from their little wooden shacks.

The seriousness was hilarious especially at the pipe competition. Starting with the tuning, this gentleman was taking during the whole process which took about fifteen minutes of marching up and down this wooden plank.

The highlight was surely “Tossing the Cabar”. This trunk has to be lifted, and then thrown as to let it make a half turn before it has to fall from that twelve o’clock position away from the thrower. Most competitors had a hard time even lifting the cabar, let alone running with it while keeping the balance and only one competitor was able to make a successful throw at the end.

These heavyweight events were clearly not for everyone. But there was enough going on, so everyone could join. Track & Field events were suited for the youngest and the oldest amongst the crowd. Running events were completed in sporty outfits as well as costumes. The barrel race was a lot of fun even to watch as almost every team stumbled or had a hilarious crash at least once. The final competition was the high jump. This kid was nothing short of amazing and was demonstrating that the effects of gravity are relative.

It was a full day. The next day we spent chilling at the beach and even when for a swim and watching the sun go down.

The next day we would have a sort cycle the town of Arisaig from where the Western Highland Line would take us up to Rannoch Moor.

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The ride along the eastern coastline north of Campbeltown is amazing, though hilly at times. We pitched our tent just next to the Arran ferry at the beach near Claonaig. I hadn’t heard about the isle before but it looked inviting.

The water was also inviting and we didn’t mind the cold temperature too much.

We made our way to Tarbert, which has a bit of an odd history.

There was a festival in town and we had a bit of a chat with this guy until he was asked by a little girl why he was so tall, as if there was something suspiciously wrong.

On a long cycling trip, one has to make sure to stretch. A pretty backdrop to do so is easy to find in these parts.

We still came past the odd castle in forgotton places like here Carnasserie Castle.

We wildcamped for three nights in a row but we stayed in places that let us wash up at the end of the day in the ocean or in a nearby river.

We still felt quiet fresh when we rolled into Oban from where we took the ferry to the Outer Hebrides.

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Leitrim cycling festival

Just a small note in one of the cycling groups was enough to make the decision to adjust our plans to make it to the small village of Manorhamilton.

In the evening we went to a presentation of two travellers before retiring to our tents early.

The next day we all made our way to the castle cafe where various events were going on.

The knotted chords played and sang on and off during the the afternoon.

Tattoos were given out to the hardest amongst the group.

Part of the people gathered then went off for a small round in the hills.

One inventor brought his Scary Go-Round. It was hard work getting this thing up to speed, but it was worth the fun.

In the late afternoon we started our tour to Drumahaire past Doon Lough.

There we sat up camp again before heading to the Crossroads. An Irish tradition around the solstice. A gathering on a crossroad with music and dancing. Every brings some food and drink and a fire is lit and the dancing and singing goes on until late.

There was a Breakfast cook up the next morning. Typically Irish and heavy.

Luckily there was a pause until we hit the local demo strech of the Greenway. We used the time in between to get our bicycles and ourselves decorated for the occasion.

There were judges along that stretch, electing the most beautiful customers, a guy sitting way up a tree playing his trombone and lots of food when we arrived at a cottage at the end of the Greenway. The “Old Market Street Swing Band” was playing and mking this a most wonderful afternoon.

For two songs, Andrea was invited to sing which you can see and listen to if you follow this link:

Old Market Swing Band & Andrea Passerini

The two people without whom this event wouldn’t have been possible are Laura and Ciarán from crank & cog.

After saying goodbye, we cycled from the festival to Sligo with our attire still donned.

Our time in Ireland is drawing to an end, but with such memories, one feels having really got to know a bit the country and its people.

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We had received a recommendation for a hostel which is quickly becoming the cyclist hangout in town: the Huayra Sanipi. It turned out to be a stroke of luck and soon all plans to reach Mendoza until christmas were forgotton.

Five kilometers from town starts a trek to a series of waterfalls along a steep valley. The idea was to visit some of them, but in the end, when we reached a pool and the sun was blazing down on us, we decided to have a swim instead.


Once again i met fellow cyclists Maggie and Bryan, whom i met now i think for the fourth time during this trip. You can read Maggie’s account of the time during christmas here.

Cafayate is famous for its wine. Some of the bodegas are within walking distance from the hostel and so we went to some tastings.


‘Nanny’ is one of the winegrowers who produces with strict ecological norms. Their patio, which we visited during the short tour through the premises, is one of the nicest in town.


The hostel displays the spirit of its guests, who left all sorts of paintings and notes on the walls.


Camping under the vines was as good as it gets. The first grapes were getting ripe during our stay, and especially bryan was lured out of his hammock from time to time to grab some.


Goat cheese became a favourite for lunchtime in northern Argentina and when we heard about a goat farm not far from town, it was just a matter of time until we paid them a visit to taste their cheese. A small tour explained the process of making cheese and took us through their farm, before tasting some variations with different herbs and we left happily with a piece of flavoured goat cheese in our bags.

One of the best things about the Huayra was the communal dinners every evening, or rather every night, as it would hardly start anytime before ten. Especially on our first evening this was a challenge as sleepiness and hunger were battling against each other. But after a day or two it became normal. And with the adjustment to local habits, mainly taking a siesta in the afternoon, we were soon embracing this way of life (photo by Alvaro).


Here with Christian and Pepo, the two owners, who are investing heart and soul into this place. On one of these occasions, rather at the beginning of our stay, i foolheartedly agreed to prepare the next dinner. That night we were only eight people sharing the dinner table, but towards christmas, more and more people arrived, and the next evening, our number had doubled. So i was in the kitchen for four hours preparing ‘Käsespätzle’, a dish i had prepared before but never from scratch with making the dough for the ‘pasta’ myself. Luckily, a girl from south tyrol helped out with her experience without which this would have certainly ended in disaster. It turned out great, the wood fired oven in the garden adding a flavour that went well with this hearty dish, and even though it looked like you could feed a peloton of cyclists with it, there was just enough for everybody.

One evening we went out to the ‘el ombu’ restaurant, where Andrea, a talented singer from Rosario and also guest of the hostel, was playing a concert.


We arrived with everybody from the hostel during the concert, almost doubled the number of the audience and hopefully gave some moral support.

For christmas we prepared an asado, the argentinian version of a barbeque, which is never just about the food but also a social event. In a country famous for its meat, we also put sufficient veggies on the grill.


The atospehere was like “en casa”. The temperatures stayed pleasant throughout the night and so we had, also because there was not enough room inside as our number had grown to around thirty, the dinner on christmas eve in the garden.


After which Pepo Clause was arriving with the gifts.


And after so much work, he stayed a while to have a proper rest with a small bottle of christmas spirit.


After christmas most people left town. Here a last goodbye with most members of the family.


And we also got ourselves ready to leave that cozy place and say our goodbyes to people with whom we had shared an amazing time.

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Xela otra vez

The bus arrived sometime in the evening and i spent the rest of the night looking for an accommodation, as the school i lived in the last time didn’t have any free rooms available. It took a while longer as a couple of places i visited were either full, too expensive or had no secure place for the bicycle to offer. The lady of one of the guesthouses was kind enough, after she had no room to offer me herself, to walk me to a nearby place of a friend of hers and on the way i was glad to see that the two weeks away from spanish lessons were a rather welcome break and my mind was able to use what  i had learned now more freely. On my second day there i was following some stairs and found myself on the roof terrace that from then on became my regular spot to study or play the guitar.


I continued with my spanish classes and had some time to repeat the grammar of my past classes. One day some students stopped by at our school and invited us for a trip to a nearby cooperative of mayan women who weave cloths, dresses and accessories which they sell in their shop. The project of the students was to write a business plan and to help the cooperative with their sales. We were invited as a sort of test audience of target customers to see what products we liked and what we would like to see improved. As part of the trip there was also a demonstration of the traditional weaving process,


as well as a tour through the history of indigenous clothing culture which two of our older students were more than happy to pose for as models.


The lady on the left is one of the women who helped starting the cooperative around forty years ago.

The first time i stayed in Xela, the soccer league had a break but now the first games with the Superchivos, Xela’s soccer team, were on again and so we checked out the atmosphere of a latin american stadium.


Fireworks and bengal lights are still allowed in the stadiums and the “fanaticos” were making good use of them. The morale was a bit low after an “auto goal” and a 0:2 deficit, but was getting better after the Superchivos leveled the score and had a couple of great chances to score another goal within the last ten minutes of the game. In the end the tie seemed pretty good to us, but the hardcore fans were still a bit disappointed and i could have picked up enough curse words in spanish to last me for years.

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world buskers festival

as central christchurch was still off limits after the earthquakes, the world buskers festival was happening in hagley park this year. which took away the street feeling of the performances but had the advantage that the audience could easily switch between the different stages. the shows included comedy, theater, stunts, acrobatics, music and more.

one of the highlights was peter mielniczek. his show being to spin plates on sticks on a rack while he tries to run a big loop around the audience before returning on stage and catching the plates before they’re falling to the ground. the stunt itself was a nice finish but it was the built-up which was hilarious.

hilby the skinny german juggling boy won the critics’ choice award while he proved to the world that you can be german and funny. here while he’s not only balancing one sword on top of the other but also spins the one on top.

there were a couple a venues besides the buskers park for some evening entertainment. one was the comedy hour at the casino with javier jarquin, the card ninja who won the critics’ choice award for best act from new zealand. the grand finale of his show was the card meets watermelon trick. he was throwing a card that hard at the fruit that he managed to make a card stick in it. he needed about twenty tries and as we were sitting to the side of the stage, some of his misses came flying towards us at incredible speed and i could understand why he asked his volunteers to wear safety glasses on stage.

there was another show on at midnight and we had an hour to kill before that. shouldn’t be too difficult in a casino, eh? well, casinos are not what i once expected. there is little entertainment in gambling, especially if you watch other people gamble and there is for sure no glamour. we managed to win a small sum at a one-armed bandit. but this machine didn’t even have a lever which was one disappointment too many. by then it was still half an hour before the show and we rather went to the bar.

asher treleaven was a good host for the midnight carnivale, which included a stunt show, a contortionist and by the time gypsy wood entered the stage with her burlesque show, the grand cafe of the casino went mad.

i am writing from wanaka and had a wonderful week travelling with four other cyclist over lake pukaki and the lindis pass. four weeks from now i’ll fly to paris and will cycle from there to berlin where i probably arrive in time for my birthday. i hope to see you there, in paris or somewhere in between!


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trip north

after leaving magaret river we went to perth, fixed the exhaust of the truck on the way and crashed at katie’s place, a common friend of ben and ian from the sunshine coast. i had a lovely night out in freo once more and on the next morning we set out along the coastline to the north. with us now were laura and sarah, two girls from france travelling in ian’s truck. the first night we camped surrounded by sand dunes just some kilometers after the pinnacles. so inviting to lounge there at sunset.

we continued along the coast and i tried out surfing for the first time. the waves where a little to big for me and so i focused on getting a feel for the board. we stopped in kalbarri for some more surfing and had a look at the gorges on our way back to the coastal highway.

here’s the whole crew. ian, me, ben, laura and sarah.

we cruised along with ‘the national’, ‘custom kings’ or ‘paul dempsey’ on the stereo until we reached shark bay. there we went on a boat trip for the first time. i caught my first fish but i threw it back in the water. after a couple of days we continued to carnarvon where we stayed the night to be there for ANZAC day and the dawn service.

after breakfast we continued 50km inland to a place called rocky pool. the light after sunset was beautiful as were the reflections in the water.

i played some songs as we were sitting around the campfire that night, in the morning we had some water acrobatics performed by laura and ian,

and in the morning we covered ourselves with clay sarah found along the river.

never mind if it was the detoxing or the fun we had, we felt good afterwards. we went back to carnarvon to get supplies as we were planning on spending some weeks away from any possibility to restock. next stop: red bluff.

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car – free day

every second sunday one major street in jakarta is closed for motorized traffic. we started early at five in the morning. getting up at four, some coffee in the lobby, loading up the truck with equipment and merchandise and then cycling to the city centre. the area was closed for cars from six in the morning and it slowly filled up with pedestrians and cyclists.

everyone who wished and some who didn’t were painted in the indonesian colours.

there were all sort of groups with cruisers, fixed, high rides and one of javanese gentleman in traditional outfits with their trusty steeds.

after i got over the tiredness i went for a ride around the many stalls and stages. a relaxed atmosphere and truly open to everyone. once again a display of how broad the variety of people riding cycles is. go, go, go!!

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friday night ride

we started with a small group from b2w and met with other cyclists at a central building.

more and more cyclists joined, mostly decorated with blinking lights. the motto was ‘kelap kelips’ and almost everyone was illuminated like a christmas tree.

photographers on the way took pictures of the event.

drivers seemed to be already used to this weekly parade and with all that blinking lights we could be seen for miles. after the ride we met up at b2w where the evening went on with a tombola and refreshments for the riders.

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another blog, this time in german. the guys from have their own ways to get over or fuel their wanderlust. usually inventions and all sorts of clever ideas are presented on their blog, but excited about being present at the worldcup in south africa, the travel bug won over and so as a small exception you can find a post about this blog here.

my album will hopefully soon be available in their shop of inventions:

erfinderladen in berlin.

so if you have any clever ideas yourself, like let’s say a football which isn’t round or socks for chair legs… pay a visit to their shop first to make sure it is not already for sale there.

i wish you a wonderful trip and a joyful experience in south africa!