Biking Australia 2016: Summary, Route, Weather & So On

Biking Australia
Australia is amazing! So much unique flora, fauna, wildlife and also to a certain extent the people culture. The scenic beauty especially the Great Ocean Road (pic above) was so good. And the country/continent is so huge that I have barely explored a bit so there is much room for it to get better. Here is a not-so-quick overview of my time biking Australia,

Cycle distance covered: 300 km

Time spent: 1.5 months (1st Sept – 15th Oct, 2016)

I ended up cycling (& camping) a lot less than I would have wanted and anticipated, I will share the reasons for this in the ensuing post. The upside however was that I ended up staying in AirBnb a lot more. This meant meeting more people, having conversations and making friends. 🙂
(This was my Original Plan)

the weather:

September is the start of Spring season in Australia, so while I had anticipated colder weeks in the beginning I expected it to get warm by mid Sept when I would start cycling. However, it never really got warm in Victoria. Moreover, it rained like crazy and every week there was severe weather warnings released by the MET department.

In 1 and half month I had only 3 days when temperatures were over 15C. Nights were almost always below 10C and a lot of times as low as 3C. There were chances of it dipping to 0C. Too cold for someone from Mumbai who is used to 28C to 36C temperatures. Along with this it would often be windy and rainy.
So basically cold, wind and wet!
Too much.Continue reading

Vegan & Vegetarian Food in Taiwan – Taipei & Countryside 

Taiwan Street Photography - Cabbage baskets

I had asked a couple of other travellers about vegetarian food in Taiwan and they had said it was available. But I was still sceptical because a lot depends on travel style.

For eg: travellers who may have spent 5 days in Taiwan won’t realize some things which are lacking for people who spend longer here (like me). For eg: vegetarian snacking options. After 15 days here I find a problem of snacking options – I don’t seem to have any filling veggie options and have increased eating chocolate. Either I am drinking packs of rice/soy milk (a lot of that!) Or just munching on chocolate. I am sure there is stuff available but I will have to go on an asking/hunting spree.

So here is the good and the bad of vegetarian food in Taiwan,Continue reading

Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail, Taipei 

When I explored the Taipei Google map the Elephant Hiking Trail seemed on the outskirts of the city. But as I rode towards it I found that it is amidst a whole lot of tourist attractions including the skyrise Taipei 101, city hall and Dr Sun Yet San  Memorial.

This hill right by the town is called Elephant mountain due to a protruding section which reminds people of the elephants trunk.

(sorry for the large watermarks. I am writing many of these posts on the road from my mobile, so often don’t realize if the watermark looks too big or if the formatting is off until I sit on a desktop somewhere)


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Biking Australia, Ride 3: Back To Atisha Buddhist Centre (Bad Weather)

It was really tough to take the decision of turning back. I kept wondering if I was chickening out. But I realized one thing very clearly – I don’t have gear for cold and wet climate. That’s all. That was the main reason I turned back.

To give you a synopsis the weather became really wet. It rained – a lot, and the reservoirs, rivers all across Victoria were flooding or close to flooding. Moreover in Inglewoods I saw a rain shower that lasted only for 15 minutes but it was so hard!! Like some sort of cloudburst. It freaked me & that shower brought water into my tent as well, luckily I pulled out my sleeping gear just in time and rushed into the caravan that the motel owners thankfully gave me for no extra cost. I stayed in the caravan for 2-3 days. Part of those days the roads were closed, and no one could say what would happen as this weather was just very unusual for this region!Continue reading

A Month In Modern Day Germany – How Travel Changed My View

When I first started researching Europe for my first solo international trip last year, I looked at many countries France, Spain, Scandinavia…. But Germany wasn’t really a country I considered in particular. Then I zoomed into going on a long distance cycling & camping trip. This brought Germany into my radar. Because it is the best place to start out – keeping in mind the costs and infrastructure both. So Berlin it was! At the end of the trip it turned out to be the one European city I felt I had spent some time in (15 days) and it was awesome.

Before this trip happened, apart from it being some sort of ‘finance powerhouse’ and a hub for Cars – I had no other association with Germany. Except of course the holocaust crap that happened in WW2. And that was my main association with Germany. As I find with so many people at least in my Indian circle – Germany brings thoughts of Hitler, nazi and concentration camps. And here I was planning to cycle and camp in the countryside, solo! God knows how many concentration camp spots I would pass by on my own.Continue reading

Cycling In Australia: Inglewoods, Ride 2

Ready for the ride 🙂

Cycle touring is not that common in Australia and that has one fall out – People keep wishing me safety from traffic because that for them is the biggest danger in this kind of travel I guess. As I entered Inglewoods 40km from Atisha Buddhist Centre, I passed by an old woman. She stopped me to say something and I thought it would be good day wishes etc… In Australia people have Good Day conversations with strangers, it is sweet. But instead she said, “Stay safe from the cars. I am gonna worry for you”.

Yikes, so scary.Continue reading

Australian Visa For Indians (compared to Schengen)

I had my flight from Kochi to Melbourne on 27th Aug, 2016. The Mumbai – Kochi wasn’t booked because I hadn’t gotten my visa yet. It was already 25th Aug. Then on 26th Aug morning I received The Email – with my visa. 🙂

So all is happy and a LOT of last minute packing took place. It was not a good day I must say, because I got stuck in a traffic jam for 3 hours. Yea, the universe has been trying to tell me something.

Now when I relax at my AirBnb home in Melbourne, having delayed my cycling road trip due to cold and flu – I am slowly unraveling the universe’s message or at least trying to piece it together. It seems to be ‘Relax, All iz well’ 😉

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Budapest In 15 Snapshots [Photos]

I have so much to write from my trip to Europe last year. I have just scratched the surface of it. A month and half was a good amount of time to understand their culture to some extent. However, the long distance cycling & camping nature of my trip has also left me quite wordless. So I thought of putting up at least a few picture posts where I can tell some stories via the pictures…. Here is a glimpse of my 5 days in Budapest,

Budapest
A view of the city divided by the River Danube. Pest on the right side and Buda on the left. These two cities were merged to form the Hungarian capital Budapest. 

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