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)
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
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.
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)
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
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
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”.
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’ 😉
I am sitting in my Indigo flight enroute to Kochi from hometown Mumbai. Boarding this flight was a total last minute madness mainly because I was transporting my cycle.
I could have planned it better, so jotting down notes here for next time. Ya, I still have appetite for a next time. My parents were probably traumatized by how close I cut it, but that is OK. Next time I will make it easier for them. 😀
In case you are wondering: I ended up dismantling my bike for the first time just an hour before I had to leave for my flight. Everything could have been smooth as I planned it out in my head but well it wasn’t. The pedal got jammed damn bad so much so that finally I cut a hole in the box and that pedal just poked out. No other way.Continue reading