I know most people who read this are not interested in vegetables and the thing is, I wasn’t so much either a couple of years ago. Same when I met a Dutch cyclist in Pakistan, I was not interested the slightest bit (a few years prior that I cycled 50.000 kilometers). May I try to inspire you once more, and promised, the next time with a touring story.
Before I can write a story about a kickbike travel, I first need to go on a tour (it’s in the planning). For now, let me allow you to share a very short story about Llama.
Beyond the Drava
The difference with a bicycle to a kickbike is that I can make more kilometers and can reach further out and therefor see ‘far-flung’ beauty in Croatia. That’s where I am heading.
The life of Pi(llow)
The movie I saw on an airplane after the book I red in India. I liked both. My husband did not. But my imagination is big and I love to escape in my own world, so it fitted me. The same with this pillow, this little write up is about the life of this Pi(llow).
A love story
Days of kicking: 9. Total distance: 275 kilometer. Average on a day: 30 kilometer while average speed is about 11 km/per hour. Nights of camping: 10. Average a day spend: € 5,60 (exclusive the new tick tweezer and the food I brought along ).
Clothes laundered in a creek, wet stinky shoes and a damp sleeping bag drying in a fishy corner surrounded by overflowing containers with unwanted-clothing, far removed from the main entrance of Tesco supermarket. I feel too old for it. Like I felt too old, or outgrown, for hostels and bunk beds. The last bunked I shared was in Malaysia; a room without a window, dark as a cell, except when the only female roommate stumbled in at night and left the light on. I must have been 35 years of age. Always been a loner, I disliked these dorms.
Kéktúra: an almost 1200 kilometer long walking trail through the upper part of Hungary. I kick a tiny part. Days of kicking: 3/Days in camp: 2/Average speed: 9/Maximum kilometers in a day: 60
Southwest Balaton Tour
Distance made: 65 kilometer. Average speed: 7.6. Number of nights: 5. Coldest temperature: minus 7.
Every time Geo and I drive in the car with lake Balaton quietly looming in the distance, the low series of mountains sharply contrasting, appearing to be a man-made painting, I feel a strong desire to be on those hills, looking out over the lake and absorbing the unrealistic looking shapes embracing the lake.
Swimming against the current
This is the last post in the Little Dutch Farmer aka Permaculture series! What went before is post 3: Travel & food: a happy marriage (summer 2021). Post 2: The juggling housewife (summer 2021). Post 1: It’s all about food (early spring 2021). The little Dutch farmer shows winter and early spring when we had nothing going yet. A short update from the here and now shows our coming to Hungary.
There were times, when I cycled in Patagonia for example, that I did not look forward to the day. I’d wake up and know it’d be a hard day. A day with cold gripping at my toes, making me colder the further I’d climb towards a snowy pass. There were many days with rain, one day after the other, the only thing visible a black strip of tarmac and not much else. Cold and mist, clouds and wet camp spots. Such days I had to muster myself to see some beauty and to somehow look forward to the day ahead. Just like when I worked, at times I had to find reason why I would look forward to the day coming. I did however always succeed.
The photo below shows me not enjoying Patagonia, all the folowing pictures are of a higher Hungarian enjoyment.
What is the thing with winter camping? I was never into it but when I had to cross Patagonia I could not avoid cold temperatures, snow and frost. Heat reaching to a 50 degrees is not pleasant either but cold starts to sit in the bones and makes stiff. Cold has the easiness to disable pleasure and make the whole trip a grim nonsense ongoing rather than a pleasurable challenge.
Plan: 2 nights camping, 70 kilometer in 2.5 days. Done: 1 night camping, 60 kilometer in 2 days. Average speed: 9 (much pushing through mud). Level of happiness and satisfaction: high.
Travel & food: a happy marriage.
Food. One can not do otherwise than loving Indian street food, in particular the dishes available at truck dhaba’s. The inventiveness of African mom’s is not to dismiss either. They cook up delicious meals with leavy vegetables and home-made palm oil. A delight for a cyclist on sandy roads through the few patches of virgin forest. I vividly remember my breakfast at restaurants lining the streets in Sana’a, though busy with clientele I would eat in quietness. Fresh fish perfectly fried, while goat heads would simmer next to where I sat. In the far away past I would wander the streets of Bangladesh and Pakistan in search of a restaurant mentioned in the Lonely Planet, sometimes it took me hours to find such place, not seldom wandering off forgetting to eat. Though my own prepared sugary tomato paste pasta in the desert was tasty and bread fried in olive oil whether at a soppy wet Patagonian patch, the hostile windy pampa or a sweltering Argentinian yerba mate grove was always good enough. Food mixed up with sand in Mauritania, quick decaying beef in warm sunny Bolivia and constipation enhancing dishes in Paraguay, it all had its charm.
The Juggling Housewife
Cycling the desert, the Atacama in particular, is a state of awareness, a way of living, a manner of being perhaps best comparable to be on a high. The swollen covering of such an opiate is simply all encompassing. Of course, such a state can not last, unless perhaps one sinks into it and finds himself unable to reach the utmost crosspiece of the ladder, instead hovering half way, at best, most of the time.
It’s all about food
I’d like to say I live a slow life. A slow life in the sleepy countryside. We are relatively detached from negative influences and time does not have a play in our lives. A slow life.
Lake Balaton Around Tour
Distance: 332 km. Days: 7. Average distance a day: 47 km. Maximum speed: 56 km per hour. First week of June 2021.
Time for a tour. The mountains in the distance surrounding lake Balaton beckon me. One hill after another passing a shade onto the one following up, the light crisp, the color of the lake a blue I can not describe. The hills are calling out for me for some months now.
The Little Dutch ‘Farmer’
My new experience of a winter in Hungary, for The ‘Farmer’ I feel, was challenging, to say the least. There was no soil to turn over (well… not that I knew of). There were no weeds to discover (well… not that I knew of). There was no comfort for a tour, not even a little one. I tried.
Drava and Deer
Total distance: 170 km. Average speed: 10 km per hour (fully loaded). Days: 6.
My patience paid off: the weather forecast showed more than 7 sunny symbols in a row. It is the second half of February and the temperatures at night still drop below zero. But it ought to be dry, so fires will warm me (and stretching too).
A (failed) Winter Tour
Daytime temperature: zero. Daylight hours: 7 AM to 4.30 PM. Distance: a stunning 13 kilometers.
A short tour in January stretching from east to west at the North Balaton in Hungary is a very plausible plan.
A set-up of any form of transport is important. Not when you are cycling or rolling back and forth to the bakery but when you try to get some distance done, it better be the right set-up for you. We did not had the chance to test any kickbike before we started the journey through the USA. We ordered straight from the Kickbike supplier and that is not the way I’d recommend. When I ordered my bicycle years prior I had it more or less custom made. This is crazily expensive, something I would not recommend either.
A very short update about the Iveco truck which Geo and I fetched from Spain. In times like these, we´d waited for long to get this done. Mobile diary notes with Instagram snapshots on my creative weblog. 5 days of driving an overloaded truck through 5 countries, how´s that on the pshyche of one who passionately dislikes cars?
When cycling had stopped, the full outdoor lifestyle came to a halt as well. Yet desperately wanting to be out in nature there needed to be other outlets. That is not always easy to combine as the mindset has troubles adjusting: from a home base to try grasping that fleeting living-outside-having-no-home lifestyle. It has been some trying and searching, situations regularly and suddenly changed and having a steady base only recently, let’s see what’s in store.
First a taste of Slovakia, a big difference to the absurd neatness and maddening quantity of agriculture in Austria, where I cycled a mere 25 kilometer through. Cycling through a corner of Slovakia goes via a levy surrounded by thick lofty forest. A forest with such an easy access I am tempted to ride right in, if not I have no food. I am cycling for hours without seeing people nor steeples nor villages. When I do see people, I am happily surprised to see they have lost their Czech ‘fearful’ expression.