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--- News and reports ---

 

Nr.XIV: USA, EUROPE

27.12.2011 (Los Angeles) - 20.05.2012 (Graz)

 

 

20.05.2012, Graz (Austria): After a good night’s sleep and a yummy breakfast we start our last day of cycling with some friends. The "Mur Valley Cycle Trail" leads through beautiful landscape and the weather shows its sunniest side. In the town of Mixnitz our group gets bigger. Friends, family and fans say hello to us and together we push the pedals towards Graz. In Frohnleiten more fellow cyclists are awaiting us and we are welcomed by Mayor Johann Usser and Sport-consultant Jürgen Jaritz, before everyone is invited to a generous lunch buffet in the Café Aufschlager in the middle of town. A big "thank you" to the city of Frohnleiten for making this stop so pleasant! With approximately 55 other cyclists we start our last kilometres in the early afternoon. We cycle along the river Mur, through forests and meadows full of flowers. Close to the town of Stübing our bicycle computer shows 87.000 kilometres and shortly before Graz Philipp repairs a last flat tyre – not his own, but one of a fellow cyclist :-)

At 16:20 we reach the main square of Graz and cycle through a guard of honour consisting of bicycles, cyclists, balloons and smiling faces. Around 100 people have come, in order to be here with us on our last meters. The bicycle computer stops at 87.020 kilometres (see superlatives). Journalists take pictures, film and interview us. Family, friends and fans hug us and tell us their congratulations. City councillor Gerhard Rüsch and chairwoman Christina Jahn welcome us and invite us all into the city hall. They give quite touching speeches and after that a buffet awaits everyone. Thank you very much!

In the evening we continue our celebrations with friends and family in a pub, where we listen to cycling songs and show some pictures. The "Steiermärkische Sparkasse" provides us with an evening buffet (Thank you!) and we enjoy some beer with it. Later at night we fall into bed...

Here it is time to say "Thank you!" to ARGUS (consortium for environment-friendly urban-traffic) and especially to our friend Wolfgang Wehap, who had organised our home-coming so perfectly. It was an unforgettable day for us (in many ways). Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Thanks also to Johannes Muhr, who prepared all the balloons on the main square before our arrival.

We are very happy that so many people have joined our last kilometres home on our trip around the world. "Thank you" to everyone, who has cycled with us and to everyone, who welcomed us in Graz.

A big "thank you" to the people all around the world, who we happened to meet, who smiled at us, who cooked for us and/or provided a bed or a place to camp and who contributed in a lot of different ways an enormously important part to our journey.

Last but not least we want to thank our sponsors, Radsport Kotnik, Grazer Wechselseitige Versicherung and Northland Professional (see partners), who supported us for all these years.

This winter we want to rework our world tour. We intend to write a book and prepare a multimedia show. But before all that - this summer we will again work in Svalbard and Greenland as expedition leaders on small vessels in order to explore the High Arctic – so we are not really settled yet ;-)

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

  

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  


19.05.2012, Leoben (Austria): With a big breakfast in our stomach we start this sunny day cycling south. The "Präbichl" (1227 meters high) is our last mountain pass, before reaching the "Mur Valley Cycle Trail". In the afternoon we get to Leoben and are welcomed by Manuela Machner (Tourism- and Citymanagement), Susanne Leitner-Böchzelt (Manager of the art-exhibition hall) and Klaus Hödl (Sport-consultant) at the exhibition "Radkult". They give us a special tour through the building and we admire all the wonderful historic bicycles. A big "thank you" to the city of Leoben for welcoming us and inviting us for a good dinner and the stay in the nice Hotel Falkensteiner.

 

  

 

 

 

  


18.05.2012, Kirchenlandl (Austria): We leave Kufstein and cycle through beautiful springtime Austria eastwards. The mountain tops are still covered with snow and glitter in the sun; the meadows are full of flowers. But between the towns of Saalfelden and Schladming we experience a low pressure system and have to face a day cycling in sleet. After that the sun comes back and the weather is gorgeous. We visit friends and many people that we have not seen for a long time. Mostly there are separate cycling trails, which we enjoy a lot. We follow the Enns valley, make our way through the "Gesäuse" and eventually stay overnight in a typical Austrian countryside "Gasthof" in the village of Kirchenlandl. Now it is not very far any more to our home town...

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  


13.05.2012, Kufstein (Austria): We are leaving Le Puy en Velay and just like the whole way through France we cycle through hilly areas with rainy and cold weather. Pretty soon we are in Switzerland and eventually we get some sunshine. Karin, a friend from Austria, accompanies us for a few days in the Swiss "Mittelland". We are fascinated by the very good cycle trail network on the whole stretch from Geneve to Lake Constanz. Everywhere there are separate trails for cyclists or roads with very little traffic – fantastic! Spring is in full bloom here, the villages very neat, people are friendly and the bicycle is a very common means of transport. The trails are full with cyclists who are training or just cruising in a weekend-mood. A highlight for us is the "Slow-Up" around Lake Murten. On a specific Sunday in spring the roads around the lake are closed and only open for cyclists, inline skating and walking. No motorised traffic allowed! A few thousand people are on their wheels and it is quite a folk fair! (http://www.slowup.ch/d/index.html ). Our second night in Switzerland we spend camping in a small forest. The sound of shooting spoils our breakfast the next morning and we immediately flee from this location. Maybe we should have taken the sign of a "shooting training area" nearby more seriously? Other nights we are invited by www.warmshowers.org -folks or by someone in the street. Some friends of ours live "on the way" and we are happy to share some evenings with these "old friends". Another good thing is that they spoil us with yummy Raclette, plates full of Swiss cheese, salads and pasta… Karin’s time with us goes far too quickly and it is already time for her to fly back to work. We cycle across the Rhine to Austria in Lustenau on the 4th of May (see list of countries). In Switzerland we had chosen a fairly flat route, but now some mountains are waiting for us. Some bad weather traps us in the Montafon area, so we spend a rainy day with Anita and Stefan in their cosy house above 1000 meters. The next day it is sunny again and we push our bikes up and over a small pass (1500 meters) and down on the other side on a forest road with plenty of snow! Then we cycle over the Arlbergpass (1800 meters). In Tirol it looks like on a picture post card: green meadows, flowers and high mountains with snow on top. We visit a couple of friends in Innsbruck and celebrate our "five and a half years on bicycle" and our return to Austria (see the creative page). Gerhard, Paul and Sigi cycle with us for a sunny day along the Inn-valley-route. Eventually we reach Kufstein, where we get to know our wonderful niece Nora, and where we spend a few relaxing days with her and her parents Patrick and Christina :-)

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 


 

22.04.2012, Le Puy en Velay (France): We leave Pamplona behind and head towards the Pyrenees, which we will never see. Fog, rain and cold accompany us during our crossing of the mountains between Spain and France. Back at lower altitude the weather turns better for a short while. Like the cliché everyone has from France, people walk around with a baguette under their arm, drive small French cars on small French roads and the cheese smells heavenwards. We are in France! The weather again turns bad and it rains and snows in turns depending on which altitude we are. We are still following the Camino de Santiago on more or less traffic free roads through hill country. Medieval villages cling to steep rock walls or throne on prominent hills. We buy smelly cheese and put a baguette under the arm. Then we look for shelter by the extended roof of a church and eat lunch protected from rain and snow. Sometimes the sun shines for a moment, but that has been a very rare spectacle of the French sky so far. Our route leads us across the "Massif Central", where we several times pedal up to 1400 meters of altitude. Meanwhile it rains in the valleys, it snow-rains along the way and it snows on us from 1000 meters of altitude and further up. Yes, it is spring time in France!? Despite the bad weather we keep camping – alone in the forest, on closed campgrounds, at a farm beside the stable, in the garden of a pilgrim`s guesthouse and in the cloister of a convent. Eventually we reach Le Puy en Velay, the French starting point of the Camino de Santiago. Here it is time for us to stop, take a day off in this nice town and plan our last month on the bicycles as we want to be back in Graz on the 20th of May.

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  


11.04.2012, Pamplona (Spanien): We are leaving Santiago de Compostela and roll along the main pilgrim route eastwards. As we are travelling against the "main current", every day we see lots of pilgrims on foot or by bicycle. It is "Semana Santa", the week before Easter, and all Spanish people seem to be on the way to Santiago. But the more east we get, the less pilgrims we meet. The school classes and short-distance-hikers do not go that far, instead we meet long-distance-hikers, who walk since months from all sorts of countries. So far we had been lucky with the weather, now that changes and it gets miserable. When we cycle over two passes (both just over 1400 metres), it rains and snows on us and we curse the day, when we sent home our gloves. We stop in the city of León, where we buy gloves and visit some Easter processions. They consist of brass bands and men and women with pointy dwarf-hoods, who carry wooden Stations of the Cross through the alleys. A fascinating sight! On the one hand Easter is full of churchy processions; on the other hand the same and/or other people drink endlessly into the nights. Our "parties" usually end around 22:00, when the light is turned off in most pilgrims’ hostels. We overnight in huge snoring halls with up to 50 people in one room, in four-bed snoring rooms, in separate snoring bunks or camp somewhere hidden in the nature and listen to the soft snoring of the bats. Then we cycle through the Meseta, a relatively flat highland. We pass many towns, which are dominated by their big Romanesque churches. Public holiday follows after public holiday and so in holy Spain every shop is closed. Even when there is no holiday, nobody opens his shop before 10:00. From 12:00 to 16:00 it is lunchtime and everything is closed again – also the tourist information sticks to this schedule! They only open for "late-arrivers", so you better do not need information before 16:00. We come through the nice town of Burgos and are fascinated by the wonderful cathedral. Then we are back in hill country and rainy weather, when we reach Pamplona. This is our last half-day-off before crossing over the Pyrenees to France tomorrow...

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  


31.03.2012, Santiago de Compostela (Spain): We leave Lisbon with a small ferry across the Rio Tejo and try to travel on small roads. But not before Golega can we escape the heavy traffic, when we turn into hill country – on a wonderful way through the countryside. Small towns and villages are idyllic and pretty. Just coming from the US we are astonished about the variety in small areas and the cultural richness. Then we turn towards the coast, where it is quiet and most businesses are still closed, as it is not yet the season for tourists. On small roads again we reach Porto and from there we struggle over cobbles and scenic forest roads further north – always in sunshine. As official pilgrims (with a pilgrim’s pass) we follow the Portuguese part of the "Camino de Santiago". Sometimes we camp, other times, when we are in towns, we ask for a place to stay/camp. Then we end up staying at the fire brigade, where we get a comfortable "lecture room" to ourselves. Another time we end up staying in a sports hall. This place we have to share for the night with about sixty youngsters – and yes, it was as noisy as it sounds. We have not stayed in a real pilgrim’s refuge yet, but that will change in the next few days, because we want to follow the "Camino de Santiago" further through Spain and partly through France. Yesterday we reached Santiago. It is a very beautiful town and there are lots of pilgrims – a very pleasant casual ambience...

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

 


21.03.2012, Lisbon (Portugal): A long flight takes us from Miami to Lisbon. In the middle of town we move into a nice hostel room themed "Picasso". We get over the jet-lag, stroll around the picturesque old city centre, decide our route through Europe, work on the bicycles and meet Swiss cyclists in town (see cyclists we met). After a couple of days we start cycling north along the Portuguese part of the "Camino de Santiago"...

 

  

 

 


17.03.2012, Fort Lauderdale (Florida - USA): From St. Augustine we follow the coast of Florida southwards, mainly on the scenic road A1A. Here it is CHIC – huge villas, well-trimmed park-like gardens, swimming pools, polished sports cars. Here it is densely POPULATED – high-rises of apartments, where the "snowbirds" spend the winters (retired people of the north of the US or Canada). But here it is also WILD – dense bush land, windswept palm trees, endless empty sandy beaches running from a rough sea. Headwinds challenge us on the way south; nonetheless it is a good feeling cycling by the coast. We spend the night at different places, e.g. at a park ranger’s house in a State Park, in a house that is actually a construction site, in a catamaran, in a big villa with its own jetty, in a home-brewery and we camp in someone’s backyard. It is good fun getting to know so many different people and the American hospitality is amazing. Eventually we reach our aim – Fort Lauderdale in the Miami metropolitan area, where our friends Alan and Elise are expecting us. We step off our bicycles and suddenly find ourselves "holiday-ing". Alan and Elise show us around in Florida’s South. Via air-boat we explore the Everglades, where we spot some alligators. Via water-taxi we chug through the canals of Fort Lauderdale, the Venice of the US. Here the richest of the richest own enormous villas and park their yachts right in front of them in the canals. Via car all four of us take a trip down to "The Keys", where we stay overnight in beautiful Key West, the southernmost town of the USA, where Ernest Hemingway lived, wrote and drank. In the end of our "Holiday in Florida" we walk through the Art Deco District of Miami’s South Beach and admire the pastel coloured houses of the 50ties and 60ties. Besides that we have a look at the beach, where all the beautiful ones lie in the sun. A big THANK YOU to Elise and Alan – they turned our last days in the US into a wonderful time! Time flies when you are having fun – so we have to pack up again and get ready to leave. From Miami we board a plane to Europe, Portugal, from where we will start the last leg of our epic voyage, heading back to Austria...

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  


07.03.2012, St. Augustine (Florida - USA): From New Orleans we cycle eastwards and follow more or less the coastline. The short stretches of coast in Mississippi and Alabama are called "redneck-toaster". Well, we do not find it very different to anywhere else – "friendly" warning signs at gates (do not enter!) and we are still deep in the poor part of America. Here plastic sheets are used instead of window glass and garbage piles up in front of the houses/huts. But here at the Gulf of Mexico for the first time (since the west coast) we pedal along sandy beaches. Towns become nicer and nicer, traffic denser and slowly but surely we are entering a richer part of America. The land is flat and swampy around us. Once again we meet other cyclists (see cyclists we met) and roll together with Bob from Alaska through beautiful forest. For the night we stop at some nice campgrounds and we are hosted by lovely warmshowers-people that we contact via the warmshowers.org website. Suddenly we reach St. Augustine and the Atlantic Coast – after pedalling 5.200 kilometres since we left Los Angeles two month ago. Saint Augustine is the oldest town of the USA (founded in 1565) and therefore has a beautiful European-like historic city centre and a pedestrian area. We haven’t seen so many people walking, since we left the Californian coast...

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  


21.02.2012, New Orleans "Mardi Gras" (Louisiana - USA): At sunrise we start riding in Baton Rouge, Mark joins us for the first kilometers. It is a long way – 150 km – to New Orleans. Today we are lucky with the wind as it blows from behind. Big roads lead through ugly industrial areas before we finally find a cycle path along the Mississippi River that goes right into New Orleans. Beautiful old houses and shady alleys impress us on our way to our hosts Gilly and Mark, who are friends of friends of ours... They welcome us in their nicely renovated wooden house. But New Orleans is not just nice because of its colonial and cozy flair... it is carneval time right now, „Mardi Gras“ as it is called here. The city is full of events, parties, people in masks and holiday mood. Since already two weeks (!) parades are held, balls, concerts and parties. On Monday and Fat Tuesday we go into town amidst the crowds. We listen to a music festival (jazz, blues, rap,...) with several stages by the river and enjoy the atmosphere. Later on there is fireworks, before we head into another area, in order to catch one of the night parades. Thousands of people are in the streets. Everybody watches the nicely decorated carts and brass bands passing by. Those carts are all a piece of art! People in masks sit or stand on the carts and throw beads, soft toys and other plastic things into the audience. The atmosphere and energy in those crowds is unique! There are two to six parades daily – incredible. On Fat Tuesday we go to another parade, this time in daylight. It is a real fair! Families "reside" with their picnic chairs and bbqs beside the roads, where the parades go by. Most people wear a costume of some sort. More than six hours (!) we watch the "Krewe of Zulu" marching and driving down the street. They throw masses of beads into the crowds and we catch some too! Later on we head into the "French Quarter" of the city. This district is wild – everybody dances in the street, drinks and dressed up people pose for pictures. Everybody in New Orleans seems to participate in the carneval. Although some conservative church people demonstrate with nasty posters saying "Homo Sex is a Sin", "The Wicked Shall be Turned Into Hell" and "Jesus Hates Mardi Gras", everybody is peaceful and even those church people seem to be tolerated. They are also part of "Mardi Gras" every year. All in all we experience unforgettable days in crazy, beautiful and incomparable New Orleans!

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  


18.02.2012, Baton Rouge (Louisiana - USA): From Canyon Lake it just takes a day until we get to Austin, the capital of Texas. Our host Shaun (warmshowers.org) introduces us to the city. We go to a LP shop and listen to a concert there, buy pizza at a trailer (which is typical for here – to buy trailer food), walk through the city in rain and buy food at a supermarket that sells organic products. Austin is the birthplace of "Wholefoods" supermarket chain and going there is an experience. Our panniers are stuffed with a lot of good food and heavily loaded we leave the young and different city of Austin. Leaving the city we are back in the redneck-countryside of Texas. Big pick up trucks are the norm, many towns seem to be poor and people have weird slogans on their walls and fences: "stay out", "god bless America", "if you steal, I will kill", well... People we meet have hobbies like driving around at night in their 4x4 vehicles, drunk, in order to shoot raccoons and wild pigs – just for fun, of course. It is an interesting stretch of America, that we pass; something you do not even know from movies. People live in trailers, mobile homes and car wrecks. They burn their garbage in their yard or just pile it up in front of their home – not a beautiful sight. It is shocking to see so much poverty right here in "God’s own country". We camp a lot, stay in cheap motels when it rains and make use of the „warmshowers-network“. So once again we get an insight into different social classes and enjoy great hospitality everywhere we go. Our route takes us around Houston in the north and leads into dense forrests. Rain clouds and head winds accompany us most of the way. Other touring cyclists "fly" towards us and we stop for a chat (see cyclists we met). Roads are small and narrow until we reach the area of Baton Rouge. Here we stay with the extraordinary hospitable Mark, a bicycle freak and activist in a very positive way. We stay for a day and wait out a rainstorm. It is refreshing and delightful to hang out with Mark, because we share a lot of the same opinions and enjoy good conversations.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 


03.02.2012, Canyon Lake (Texas - USA): We are rolling out of El Paso and are immediately back in the dry semi-desert of Texas. Roads are straight and long, the small towns on the way dodgy and bleak. The undulating landscape is full of spiky bush and cacti – as far as you can see. Had we just done a few thousand kilometres without a single flat, now we get plenty. Constantly we need to pull thorns out of our tires and patch the inner tubes. Free camping is made impossible by all the fences that line the roads. We have to stay at campgrounds, in cheap motels and sometimes we can stay with people in their big beautiful houses, or grubby ones, where we rather put up our inner tent (as the carpeted floor is so "used"). After a town called Van Horn we turn into the Davis Mountains. Twenty percent chance of rain is predicted, we exploit 100 percent of it and cycle in thick snowfall the whole day long. As it is freezing cold and the road slippery, we think back of October 2006, when we started our journey in Scandinavia (see Europe). We stay overnight close to the McDonald Observatory, where John gives us a tour of the site and we can warm up again. The sun is out the next day and as soon as we leave the mountains, we are back in dry desert area and the snowfall is forgotten. We meet other cyclists on our way (see cyclists we met) against head winds towards Del Rio. Through a "fried cloud" (deep fat fryer smell) we roll past numerous fast food chains and think this must be America’s most ugly town. Here we find cliché America: big fat cars, big fat people, huge supermarkets (too big for us) – and no one bicycles or walks. Happy to leave town after one night, it gets better and greener. We are suddenly out of the desert. Trees line the road and there is more and more green grass. The influence of the Gulf of Mexico is not only noticeable on the ground, but also shows up in the sky. In the mornings it is foggy, in the early afternoon thunderstorms form and therefore we have to pedal through heavy rain more often than we would like to. Our route leads through the "hill country" of Texas, which means hard work. It is so hilly, that it is possible to reach one of the maximum cycling speeds of the trip with 76.60 km/h (see superlatives). At Canyon Lake we take a rest day, invited by Joe and Ellen, who host us like family in their beautiful home with a wonderful view of the surrounding forested hills.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  


22.01.2012, El Paso (Texas - USA): It is a long way out of Phoenix, plenty of residential areas to cross. But suddenly we are back in the desert. Different types of cacti and small spiky bush dominate the scene. Our route leads us over hills and wide plains, before we reach the mountains just after the town of Safford. Our days are filled with long climbs and great views. So far we had just cycled in sunshine, but now we get some heavy rain. It comes overnight, when we camp at a rest area beside the road. The following day we have to climb a pass. It is cold, windy, foggy and wet for the whole day – not our favourite day. But shortly after the weather improves and is "normal" again, which means sunny. There are 300 sunny days per year in this area. Nonetheless the higher we get, the colder it becomes. During the night temperatures drop several degrees below zero and even during the day temperatures climb just slowly. As soon as the sun goes down, negative temperatures become the standard. The road through the mountains is very scenic and free of traffic. We climb passes and enjoy flying down on their other side. In the higher regions pine trees grow and it smells wonderfully. Deer and wild pigs roam the forest. From the few passing cars – hands stick out and wave friendly. Once again we run into great people that host us, cook for us hungry cyclists and let us get dry and warm in front of their open fire places. We climb the Emery Pass, which is with its 2,502 meters the highest one of our across-the-USA stretch. From up there we get great views towards the east, where we are going. Once we have rolled down the winding road, we are back in treeless, dry steppe country. We progress quickly through flat land, while seeing cattle farming, cotton fields and orchards of pecan trees. The latter provide good wind shade in the otherwise treeless region. After a lot of days cycling through the countryside, we reach a city: El Paso at the Mexican border. We stop at Kalama and Charley’s colourful place for a day, enjoy their hospitality, work on our website and plan the next leg of our route...

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  


11.01.2012, Phoenix (Arizona - USA): In Los Angeles we slide quietly and comfy into the New Year, as we are celebrating with four "fresh parents", who are all short of sleep. Then it is time to start cycling again. For the first time in the "history of our big journey" (since 2006) we cycle the same stretch for a day. This is from L.A. along the coast to the town of Carlsbad, where we (as two years ago on our way from Alaska to Patagonia) stay again with Steve and his family and are welcomed as "old friends" and fed like kings. After that we turn east and go on new trails across many big hills and few little towns such as Julian and Pine Valley. We reach pretty dry steppe-like countryside and enjoy blue skies every day. During the nights it becomes freezing cold, but during daytime it is warmer and comfortable for cycling, although we never go short-sleeved after leaving the coast. Suddenly cotton fields line the roads. Villages seem half empty and forgotten, in other places new housing is being built, where retired people move from the North of the country to the South. A lot of towns are in Mexican hands, as we are cycling close to the border. Signs are in Spanish and everybody speaks Spanish. We imagine the deserts of California and Arizona pretty lonesome, but that is not the case. Colonies of caravans and mobile homes are spreading over the landscape. The "Snowbirds" have landed. These are retired people that follow the sun and the warmth south in winter and go back north in late spring. We wonder what they do down here and how they kill their time? Besides that we wonder about some leisure activities: people drive with ATVs and other small cross-country vehicles on "our" dirt roads and the few sand dunes of the country – with amazing endurance. You do not see anyone on foot or cycling. But everybody, who we meet, is friendly and we enjoy the hospitality of the USA. Through the warmshowers.org website (cyclists host cyclists) we get to know numerous friendly and open minded people, who have nothing in common with the cliché American. We camp beside the road behind bush and under the stars, on campsites with "Snowbirds" and at a fire station. We sleep in a room behind a fish and tackle shop, at the house of a border official, in the house of cat-lovers close to their cat toilet... Whatever social class we meet – the friendliness, with which we are accepted, is always the same. Eventually we reach Phoenix, the first real city since L.A. At Tracy’s and Jan’s place we take a rest day in the large city and have a look around...

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  


31.12.2011, Los Angeles (California - USA): In the morning of the 24th of December we celebrate Philipp’s birthday together with M@x (www.x-sound.at) in Ho Chi Minh City, later on that day Christmas. Christmas in Vietnam’s biggest city is different indeed. Everywhere speakers are blasting American Christmas Songs through the streets loudly – with a touch of Asian rhythm. Decorated plastic trees are also everywhere and amazingly ugly. The later the night, the more motorcycles fill the streets. Whole families sit on them on their way into/through the city center. Kids wear Santa Claus Costumes and snack on candyfloss and roasted insects. All the exhaust from the motorcycles and all the noise in the streets create not exactly a "Christmas-atmosphere" for us. It is more a "shrill night" than a silent night. When we have seen enough, we go to a restaurant and have a Christmas-Pizza, which is almost becoming our travel-tradition now. On the next day the Christmas-Spook is over and we pack up. We change the continent again and fly to Los Angeles with a stop in Seoul. As two years ago we are staying with our friends Marlies and Setso, who have a bigger family now: baby Milo is here since nine weeks. We enjoy sleeping without ear plugs (the baby does not scream loud enough), the clear air, the beaches, the sea and the neat city. We will celebrate New Year’s Eve with the Metodi’s, before starting to cycle east to Miami...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 


  

   

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