The Community Hall

 

It was late afternoon and we had been riding our bikes over unsealed roads into a powerful headwind for most of the day. The wind was far stronger than the weather report had indicated. Along with the wind, we also had to battle the dust. We knew we weren’t going to reach our destination, a town where we had planned to stay the night at a caravan park.

We desperately needed to stop. But we were surrounded by undulating crop land as far as the eye could see. It was autumn and everything was barren and dry. There was nowhere we could pitch our tent and our water was low.  

I was in a bad mood. The grievances piled up.

When we  had arrived in Australia that January, our plan was to leave in March/April, fly to Beijing, and then take the train to North Korea. Now thanks to Covid-19, international travel was impossible and who knew when – and if – the world would ever return to what it once was. I had this uncomfortable feeling that a viral Frankenstein was on the rampage.  Former irritations – e.g., crowded airports, endless cues and long flights – were now reasons for nostalgia.

So here we were, plan B, making the best of our situation by …riding our bikes into a vortex of dust and wind with no water, no prospect of stopping for the night, surrounded on all sides by a great nothingness.   

 Then it appeared in the distance, like a mirage…..

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Size 43

 

I took one of my trekking boots (the right one) to a Dutch shoe repairer before Anya and I left for Austria. The sole looked like it was coming loose at the back.

Unbeknownst to me then, this was the start of a long saga ………..

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Kaleidoscope Part 2

 

 

When night fell, along with the rain and the cold, we had a long day behind us.

We had ventured into a wilderness and got so lost that it was a miracle that we had managed, by great good luck more than anything else, to have found our way back to civilisation. And whilst that word ‘civilisation’ might be open to debate, on that night it was so disarmingly simple: survival.

It loomed up before us, like a mirage: a small railway station in the midst of the mountains of central Romania.

Light in a valley of darkness.

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Kaleidoscope Part 1

 

Travel: there are times when a single day can seem like an eternity. When you´re amazed that so much can be crammed into such a short period of time: so many experiences….

You reach a point where you just want the day to end but when it finally does, peace of mind seems as elusive as ever as a kaleidoscope of images appears before your mind´s eye like a movie with a beginning but no end…..

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