What I like about Australia…?
… And I have great news…
A brand new visa and a brand new Multicycle bicycle.
To get those I took a little trip back to Europe where I got the chance to meet my two brand new nephews.
Tieme just suffered a bout of chickenpox when I met him. But that didn’t stop him smiling…
My niece was only a few months old last time I saw her, now she walks, talks & wears glasses.
They’re gorgeous and (obviously) very cute.
It’s great being their aunty, so I can come, give presents, spend time with them, and then go, get on my bicycle and be free
Also good about having two recently pregnant sisters was the fact I might finally be able to use their clothes, but as I discovered, the only clothes I could squeeze into were my sisters maternity pants. This didn’t make me happy so I opted for my own old rags that are still lying around.
What to expect after two years in the land of steak and beer…
Better get some exercise I figured.
So I got on my bike and rode around the country to visit various friends and relatives.
First up were my grandparents, they don’t mind a bike ride themselves. So the three of us set off on a little trip around their home town of Lelystad. Nothing major you might say. But my grandma is 83, granddad 86.
I visited Friedel & Andrew along the way. A Canadian couple who, for the moment, settled in the Hague. They cycled together through a million different countries (approximately) and keep an excellent website with all answers on any question you could ever possibly have about bike travel, and more.
I stopped off at Lars’s place. He just happened to have come back from a bike ride to South Africa. Before that he rode from Holland to Australia, leaving just a little later then I did. Yes, I’m not very fast…
Lars likes his cat.
I convinced mum and dad to go for a little ride to visit some relatives… or now I think about it, they might’ve been the ones convincing me.
85km against the wind later we arrived at my aunt and uncle, with who we happily continued riding bicycles.
I enjoyed checking out my country and seeing how we live here. It is different anywhere in the world but only after being away for ever did I start to find it interesting.
So I made some living-room pictures to give you an idea…
mum and dad
Dimmen & Judith’s
Tired of cycling against wind I thought of something else to do so I rang a friend and borrowed my uncle’s canoe.
We set off along a busy river and got attacked by a hail-storm. I did wonder for a brief moment if it would be wise to be on the water in a metal (aluminium) canoe while thunder and lightning smashed around us. But then I realized there’s very little we could do so I enjoyed the storm and made sure we wouldn’t sink by scooping the water out and trying to cover up with a sail. That worked.
And before long we were on our merry way into smaller creeks and streams where, exactly this weekend, the rest of the Netherlands decided to go sailing/canoeing/’punteren‘ as well…
We watched them while having a beer.
A few girls I used to work with happened to be in Europe at the moment. So we decided to catch up in Madrid and have a Sangria.
While in Spain we thought it be a good idea to see a bullfight. Not that any of us was particularly interested in seeing a bullfight but we did think it might be a good idea to see what it’s all about before judging… The arena was beautiful! But I think all three of us were rather happy to be far away from the actual ring. I was sure about this when my friends left the ring crying after the first bull was murdered…
I did find it interesting how, after a fight the bullfighter goes around the ring and people toss all sort of stuff at him. Not gifts, because he trows it straight back at them. I guess it might be for luck. Mostly hats, jackets, sunglasses but also a live chicken!
Apparently AC/DC played in this arena in 1996. I would’ve preferred to see that. But I can’t say this wasn’t an interesting experience…
So after two months cruising around Europe, catching up with old friends & family I got back on a plane and I will once again start following the red gravel roads in the wonderful land of Oz. Maybe I’ll find the wicked witch of the west, heading that way. If not a brain…(nah), heart… (ehm), courage… (maybe)… Let’s see what I find along the way this time
I still find it a little sad to be able to cover the same distance in 24 hours that took me four years on a bicycle. But I guess with my life-style this is just going to be The Way It Is…