On the European tour I wanted to stay close to the Netherlands, close to my family. I cycled from the Netherlands to Istanbul and back. I did so between May and November 2015.
The photo’s are in the following from the start in the Netherlands to the end in Italy.
I am pretty sure I could have taken this photo in the Netherlands, but I took it a day away from the border with Germany. Wild camping in the Netherlands is difficult as there are very few thick patches of woods without trails going through. Once in Germany it becomes much more easy, yet this is a day away from the Netherlands.
Germany has plenty of good wild camp possibilities, although it can be a manmade forest, like here. It’s almost impossible to be unseen with such even planted trees. Yet it makes a very nice photo when the sun is setting. I played with the lens and got this as a result.
There are good parts of woods to be found in Poland, although many manmade. The setting sun again makes up for another boring plantation: the woods look like they’re on fire!
Staying a while in a bigger town in Czech Republic gave me a welcoming surprise of some sort of festival. It turned out that East European cities in summer have a lot of festivals going on. Upon seeing this man brought my memories back to India somehow.
Maybe because I am an artist, I see lines. In any case, if I do see such a strong linear pattern, especially in ‘nature’, I need to stop. Something like this is only possible in West European countries, although the flows in this particular photo are unlike the flatlands in Europe. I wonder who decided about those few trees?
I was only a few days in Slovakia and as soon as I crossed the border, I felt far from organized Europe. This man and his bicycle are a clear evidence. He waved enthusiastically goodbye while I was not planning on photographing him. But I got him!
I didn’t see much overwhelming spots, or just simple beauty in Hungary, except for Budapest. I am sure there is beauty, as is in every country, but on a bicycle you simply move on, past many spots that will never ever meet the eye. Cycling through is getting a glimpse, can be a mere fleeting experience.
The place where camp was set up. It was a spot I found in a rush as the day came to an end. There were people who would see me walking in a field with the bicycle, especially since the bicycle path was high above on a dike. No one spotted me though. It wasn’t until I squatted down to pee that I saw this beautiful view. Time for a photo!
Romania, there are many things to say about this country. I liked the people. I liked the high factor of (forced) self sustainability of the people. I liked the simplicity of living, although most people probably don’t. I liked the horse carts too, even though it might not be the best way to threat a horse? What a huge differences there are within Europe…
Bulgaria did not catch my attention. It must have been the route I took. On this particular sandy stretch I cycled through sunflower fields. I did not like this unnecessary trail and as a result I wanted to yield one good photo. Not easy as my bicycle doesn’t have a kickstand anymore and the fact that I didn’t want to hold up myself unnecessary long for just a photo. I had to take this photo with my bicycle hold up between my legs, hugging the field. It was worth the unnecessary trail, I think : )
Turkey (into Istanbul)
I tried to make a photo where my cycling partner would cycle past a mosque with in the foreground two tulip glasses filled with chai. Since we were cycling towards Istanbul there was so little beauty to be seen that I dedicated myself to make ‘a picture of the day’. I could not find the right setting so I decided the concrete boardwalk with bathing Turks in the background would do.
Turkey (out of Istanbul)
Suddenly it was wedding season in Istanbul, and so I could place myself behind the official photographer and do my thing. I found this photo special, gentle, as the groom looks like he has never really admired his fiancée so closely, but now she is his wife, he is allowed to ‘open’ her. Like a precious gift, as I hope she will turn out to be. Her look says it all.
While the beachfront hosted many rather poor dressed sunbathers, this man needed fish. He just sat down with the most simple gear and started fishing.
An upside down photo, this way the dog is reflected upon its feet in the pool of rainwater. I tried to perfect the composition but the dog had found a bone and was not willing to cooperate anymore. I think the dog didn’t realize how original the photo of him would have been?!
This country gave many opportunities to camp where I wanted. This was at a beach, far below the sandy track leading all around a pointy outcrop near Durres. I was pretty sure to have the beach for myself that evening. I took a nap but was aroused by soft voices: 1 bride, 1 groom, 1 photographer, 1 boy who threw rose petals and 1 assistant who positioned the bride better… I wanted to join the photographer but decided to keep a low profile.
This is such a fresh photo, not the average image of mountainous Montenegro. The autumn has arrived and to wake up in camp with the sun shining bright, drying the dew and nighttime wetness is a very pleasant start of the slow day.
A pine cone with the ocean in the background. Looks simple but took enormous patience to have it like this. I have not used any photo program to change the photo, this is original. The reflections of the water with its constant vibrating waves gave the pine cone its shakiness. A wide lens opening and maximum zoomed in caused the dots in the background.
This spot was the highest point of Piran. From here it was a steep downhill to get to the backside of the village and go over and up more higher points. The old town is really old and unlike some other old towns, this one feels real and alive. I always admire the tiles on the roof, so differently done than in the Netherlands. Fire baked tiles are the most beautiful to my eyes.
Italy was cold, gloomy and misty in winter. There was hardly any charm to it and the fact that I got negative news about my mom’s cancer -once again- made me decide to go home as quick as I could. Just as I did from Georgie, India and the USA. This time I stayed home, to nurture my dying mom. After 6 months of intensity, the care of a dying mom, I needed solitude. I choose South America…