Posts Tagged With: History

Sightseeing in Dublin – 27 May 2018

I woke up feeling much better after a pretty solid sleep. One problem with the hotel is it has air con but it is controlled centrally by the hotel, and the room is constantly too hot. Fortunately solved by opening the windows and thankfully the room is at the back of the hotel so there was no noise.

Off downstairs for breakfast which was a pretty standard buffet. Irish Tea is really good, will look for it when I get home. Then it was time to meet Shellbe, Michele and Tony for a day of site seeing.

There are 4,749 million people in Ireland of which 1,345 million live in a Dublin, which makes it a pretty busy city. The Dublin Hop On Hop Off bus departs right outside the hotel, stop number one!

First on the list we wanted to get to the Guinness brewery before it got too crowded. We got there just after 10 and because our hop on hop off pass includes a number of attractions we didn’t have to wait in the queue. Pretty amazing place, it is Dublin’s number one tourist attraction. Arthur Guinness was brewing ale in Lexlip County Kildare. In 1759 he signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum to lease 50 acres in St James Gate, which is where Guinness Brewery is today. Arthur and his wife Olivia had 21 children of which only 10 survived to adulthood. This was a bigger then expected percentage for the time, but pretty sad to think about.

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The brewery started brewing dark ale which was named Porters as it was well liked by the hospital porters, but over time it became known just as Guinness Stout. The Guinness brewery is the largest producer of stout in the world with 1.2 million barrels per annum.

The visitor center is huge, it is 7 stories high, and as you go through you learn the history of the place. The bottles have a harp on them which is an Irish symbol and at the brewery there is a virtual harp that you can play.

One section had old ads and one I found amusing was one that said “A woman needs a man as much as a fish needs a bicycle” and there was a statue of a fish cycling. Not sure what the advertising gimmick was but made me laugh.

As part of the tour you get to do a tasting and they run through the proper way to drink a Guinness – you are meant to gulp Guinness not sip it. If you sip it, it has a bitter taste, you are meant to drink a glass in 4 gulps. At the end of the tour you get up to the 7th floor and you get a pint of Guinness to drink while you can enjoy the 360 degree view of Dublin. I certainly didn’t manage to drink my pint in 4 gulps, was more like 10, but certainly enjoyed it more than previously gulping instead of sipping it. I was pleased we had got here early as there were long queues outside when we left.

Next stop the Jameson’s whiskey distillery, also not too crowded, we only had to wait about 15 minutes before we could go on a tour. In 1725 England put a tax on malted barley to pay for a war against France. Jameson started using in-malted barley, which the population came to prefer and still uses some un-malted barley today.

 

The tour guide was very enthusiastic about the product, and we ended up with a tasting where we tried a Scottish whiskey, an America whiskey, and Jameson’s whiskey. The Jameson’s was far nicer. The tour guide said it’s because Jameson’s is distilled 3 times, versus Scottish twice and American once. Not sure if they used an expensive Jameson and a cheap Scottish and America whiskey . . .

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Back on the bus again, we went past Dawson’s bar, the smallest bar in Ireland with a capacity of 40 people. The tour drivers have a running commentary on various places of significance, plus their own points of view. One tour driver noted that if Bono from U2 went to the Dawson bar, the capacity would be one given the size of his ego, and another asked us “How can you tell the difference between Bono and God? God has never thought he was Bono”, so clearly Bono is not appreciated in his home country.

We then went past a big sports stadium called Croke Park which is the historic home of Gaelic football. A couple of minutes later while we were driving along Shellbe pointed out a seagull who was eating a pigeon! I didn’t know they ate other birds! Shellbe later wished she hadn’t pointed it out, especially the third or so time I bought it up again that day.

We got off the bus to go to Christ Cathedral but we couldn’t go in straight away as the Sunday church service hadn’t finished. We went to a bar and had a beer. I had a Kinnegar Devils Backbone Amber Ale was quite nice. We got back to find we could go in to the Cathedral, but the 12 century crypt, which was why we had come here, was closed all day. We had a look around, it was a Church – nice stained glass windows but not much else of note. It’s claim to fame apart from the Crypt is that it’s the oldest building in Dublin.

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Time to head back to the city and think about something to eat. We didn’t really have much of a plan and for four of us jet lag was starting to reappear, so we settled on going to J W Sweetman Craft Brewery again, this time to eat. It was certainly much quieter than the previous evening. We got a table and ordered a range of pub food.

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Michele, Tony, Shellbe and I got the beer battered fish and chips which was cod and fries with mushy peas, was pretty average. I had a Hop 13 larger also brewed by Guinness. Brett got the Irish stew, which was delicious – tender and full of flavour. I had stayed away from Irish stew as an option having had some pretty unpleasant versions in the past but clearly a different dish here in its own country.

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Then it was time to head back to the hotel. Lots of homeless begging, lots of them late teens to late 20s. The unemployment rate in Ireland is the lowest it has been for years at 6.2% but the youth unemployment rate is still 12%. The young lady beggar from the dairy asked for more money to get home, but she got a reasonable amount yesterday from Brett, so didn’t give her anymore, instead donated to a couple of musicians.

Tomorrow we have the trip riders meeting, moving hotels, and then catching up with Shellbe.

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Day 25: Rest day in Cologne (27 June)

We had breakfast at the hotel, then the next step was the ongoing need to get laundry done.

When we got into the lift after breakfast, Gergo (the tour leader) jumped in and started having a chat to us about going the wrong way yesterday morning. Ezster (his wife) who was the sweep had caught up to us, and she must have mentioned it to him. Gergo spoke to us like we were about 12 years old so I walked off while he was talking.

Next thing we get an email from him, copied to Miles in the head office in TDA, telling us again why we were wrong and telling us how to navigate! Very frustrating as it’s the first time Gergo has spoken to me since the day I arrived, and it’s to tell me off! And he was totally oblivious that actually the flagging was wrong, and at least half the riders had made the same two wrong turns as us. After awhile I decided to just ignore it.  As in the words of Henry Gold, founder/owner of TDA, “getting lost is half the fun”.

After doing the laundry we had a couple of pizza pieces for lunch. Brett was not feeling very well, upset stomach, so he had a nap and I caught up on a couple of days with the blog.

Later the afternoon we went for walk and were amused to see a statue in square with her arm and hand open, holding a bottle of beer.

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Statue in the Old Market

Then we went to see the Cologne Cathedral which is Roman Catholic and is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne. The height of the building is 157.4 meters, which makes it the 4th highest church building in the world. It covers 8,000 square meters and can hold over 20,000 people. The two massive towers were completed in 1880c.

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Cologne Cathedral

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Cologne Cathedral

The cornerstone of the present day Gothic cathedral was laid at the Feast of Assumption of Mary, 15 August 1248. The previous building was deemed not impressive enough to hold the bones of the three wise men (Magi) and were brought to Cologne in 1164 by Archbishop Rainald of Dassel from Milan, after the latter city was conquered in 1164. In 1,200 these remains were placed in a golden Shrine. Because of these remains, the Cathedral is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Europe.

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Cologne Cathedral

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Cologne Cathedral

Outside the cathedral there were a number of beggars, I gave one a few euros and every time she saw me in the square after that she blew me a kiss. There was a man busking with an amazing voice singing opera, that we listened to for awhile also.

There were a number of cruise ships at the docks including the Ms Emily Bronte (from yesterday) and the Viking Vidar. The Viking Vidar goes from Budapest to Amsterdam.

We had dinner at a Lebanese restaurant called Beirut, with John W. We got a set menu and we could not believe it – we got about 20 starters (hummus, meatballs, rice, salad, chicken etc)  but thankfully only a platter of main, and a small honey pastry dessert.

Afterwards we decided to go to the hotel bar. Um 3 drinks later, I may regret this in the morning.

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Riverside

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Day 18: Munich to Dillingen an der Donau

We had 120 km to ride, with 577 meters up and 690 meters down

We have one new rider who joined us in Munich – Catrina – who has come to ride the last section with her husband Peter M, who has done the whole ride. Peter has done one other and Catrina did a section. They are from Seattle and have two children. Peter is an ED doc (he examined my wrist) and Catrina is a pathologist. Catrina is riding a bike she bought here and has not ridden it before.

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Peter and Catrina

To start off today was the dreaded convoy, for 14 km. We did not leave the hotel until 8:20am and it was after 9:30am before we were free to ride off by ourselves.

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Convoy out of Munich

Lots of bikers commuting to work, lots of them parents with babies and toddlers in carriages, front and back seats.

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Frustrating I had a message from the the blog editor just as I was leaving, to say she had never received the blog for 12 June, but she did get my short version of the notes I jot down in the iPad at the end of each day.  No record in my sent box, very annoying as I remember doing it, it had quite a lot of detail. Never mind I will have to do again. Nowhere near as frustrating as in Bolivia where I lost 10 days worth, that were sent and disappeared into the ether, also with no trace in my sent mail.

About 30 km out of Munich, we came to Dachau concentration camp memorial garden. This was the first of the concentration camps and the model for later camps. Overall 200,000 people (Jews, political prisoners, and other so called ‘undesirables’)  were detained here from as early as 1933, and 40,000 died.

Today we are mainly on bike paths. I was looking forward to getting onto bike paths and away from the traffic, however they were frustrating as within the space of 10 k you can change paths 5 times, and it was starting to feel like a navigating challenge rather than a bike challenge.

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Bike path Altomunster

During the day we rode through many fields of crops, through farmland, and through shady forest areas. We also crossed the Danube River (which I did not notice at the time as it was only a stream).

25 km from the end of the ride we had a thunderstorm, huge drops of rain pelleted down, but it was so hot it was a relief.

The traffic here is such that they are happy to stop and give you the right of way, even when it isn’t yours, they even stop on the highway when they can see you are struggling to cross. No tooting or monstering you from behind (sitting right on your back tyre almost).

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BMW headquarters

When we got to the hotel we were a bit underwhelmed by the exterior, not helped by the scaffolding as it was being painted. It was a tired old place, but the staff were friendly and it was clean.

Dinner was delayed as one of the riders was not in. It turned out it had taken Peter and his wife until 4pm to get to lunch (65 k) and then Catrina got the lunch truck, and Peter continued from there. It was just after 7pm when he got in – a long day!

Dinner was potato and ham soup, crumbed Pork with croquettes and sauce, and dessert was Ice cream Sundaes. We had dinner with John, and mine was washed down with copious glasses of cold sparkling  water.

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Aichach

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Aichach

We had a balcony, but it looked out to a yard and was too hot to go out into. No aircon again, and once again very hot trying to get to sleep. Plus there was quite a lot of noise – it sounded like people jumping on the floor or banging on the walls. Once I fell asleep, I slept quite well.

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Hotel Dillinger Hof balcony

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Day 10: Trieste to Maniago

123 km: 800 meters up and 430 down

This is the start of another four day section, and this was the easiest of the four days.

Instead of having to take notes from a whiteboard like previous trips, this trip we get them passed out in their already printed version. Some riders pour over them, highlighting certain bits, others – like me – shove them in their pocket to be taken out if needed if there is confusion about which way to go.

We started at 8am with a convoy, which was meant to be for 4 km but after 1.5 km most of the convoy was out of sight due to having to stop at the lights. As Gergo doesn’t flag or give notes for the convoy to ensure riders don’t go off on the their own, it was just by good luck and guessing that we managed to stay on the right track.

The first 18 km was along along the coast, then we turned inward and took the last view of the Adriatic Sea (the top of the Mediterranean). The next time we see the sea we will be in the Netherlands.

We went through a town called Palmanova, which is an excellent example of a star fort from the Renaissance. This was built by the Venetians in 1593. The whole town is walled, and there are only entrances/exits through the walls.

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An aerial view of Palmonova (picture source)

This is also where the Trans Europa ride we did in 2012 intersects with this ride, the Oydessy. In 2012, we came through here on the way to Venice.

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Walled town of Palmanova, inside the south gate

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Cathedral in Palmanova square

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North-west gate out of Palmanova, onwards to Amsterdam

There was a big market in the square with lots of stalls selling food, clothes, cooking ware, and lots of fresh flowers.

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Market square inside Palmanova

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Through the palace gate to the Villa Manin

Where we stopped for lunch there was a man trimming his hedge who was chatting away to all the riders, and telling to make sure that they stopped in the next town Mortegliano to see the biggest bell tower in Europe.

 

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The locals reckon this is the tallest bell tower in Europe, Mortegliano.

One of the TDA staff Ozgur had made homemade lemonade for lunch, which was very thirst quenching. It’s made from lemonade, honey, water and soda water.

 

In the afternoon the breeze from most of morning was replaced by beating sun, it was 35 degrees C and felt hotter.

There were lots of very long straights, broken up with interesting small towns. All the town were deserted and the shops were shut as it was siesta time.

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Beautiful riding today through the agricultural flat lands north of Venice.

Whilst going around a roundabout I was bit/stung by bug (through my riding top!). I wasn’t sure what it was, but took an antihistamine just in case it was a bee or a wasp. Luckily I did, as later that night when I had a look I had a big welt.

The last twenty km of the day seemed to go on and on, a bit of an uphill gradient, and into a bit of head wind.

Although we were riding towards the Dolomites, because of the heat haze we did not get a view of them until about 8 km before the end of the ride, where they slowly started to appear through the haze.

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Approaching Maniago and the end of the flatlands. Next 3 days climbing up to Passo del Brennero and entering Austria 🇦🇹

We got to the hotel at 5pm and found out dinner would not be until 8pm. To start off with I could not find my bag anywhere. I looked through the bags twice, and was starting to get really worried. I then went through the bags again, bag by bag. I had never noticed until now that my red bag is actually half black. The bottom half is black and it was upside down. Relieved, I went off to the room to get cleaned up.

The hotel room had a nice big bath so I had a relaxing soak and then I intended to have a quick nap, but ended up sleeping for two hours. I was more tired than I would have expected, as not much climbing, but we had had 9 hours in the sun and although there was not much climbing there was no real downhill, so we were constantly peddling all day.

Dinner was tomato pasta, grilled pork and potato, vanilla ice cream, washed down with sparkling water.  I had dinner with Brett, Miriam, Tom and Cathy.

Introducing

Tom and Miriam, retired they live in New York, and have 3 sons and one grandson. No pets. This is their 4th TDA tour. Miriam was a lawyer and then taught law, and Tom was an engineer.

Cathy is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She lives with her partner Peggy (who doesn’t like bike touring, so is not on the trip). They have no children and have a German short haired pointer. Cathy has done 2 previous TDA rides and is an ED doctor.

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Tom and Miriam on the left, Cathy on the right

Tomorrow is going to be a big day, 130 km and 2600 meters climbing and I am feeling a bit daunted. We are going to be climbing through the Dolomites.

The Dolomites are the mountain range located in north-eastern Italy, and form part of the Southern Limestone alps. The Dolomites are also known by the name The Pale Mountains, they take this name from the carbonate rock dolomite. The rock was named for the 18th century French mineralogist Deodat Gratel de Dolomieu (1750 to 1801) who was the first to describe the mineral.

The Dolomites are renown for skiing, mountain climbing, cycling, and BASE jumping.

The first week in July is the Maratona dles Dolomites, where in a single day, road bikers climb all 7 mountain passes.

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Day 1: Sarajevo to Mostar – 132km

132 km today: 1,100 up and 1,500 down.

I was very relieved when I woke up to find out that it was 1,100 metres climbing, not 2,000 meters.

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Today’s whiteboard (Editor’s note: Just casually a mention of landmines!! Kaye neglected to mention that part) 

To start it was a convoy for the first 15 km out of town. We rode right along Snipers Alley almost all the way to the airport. It was quite sobering to think that just over 20 years ago there were snipers targeting this area.

In the morning it was quite cool, but by 10 am it was sweltering. I had not done enough training, but two weeks before I left I had comfortably climbed Makara Hill at home, which is over 2 km with a reasonable gradient. So 30 km into the ride I was surprised to find I was struggling to get up a 4% gradient. First off I thought I must be dehydrated so I drank more water. Then I had to get off a couple of times.

Finally I got to the top and started down quite a steep decline. Halfway down I stopped to let my rims cool down (rims can get hot enough to pop your tyre with rim brakes). At this stage I became aware of my heart rate being unusually fast. The next 20 km to lunch was pretty much all downhill so I decided to keep going to lunch.

After sitting for about 10 minutes at lunch I took my pulse, it was 140 with some ectopic (extra) beats (a normal heart rate is 60 – 100). One of the other riders Kerry is a nurse so I asked her to check my pulse, she was concerned, then it turns out her husband Antony is a cardiologist, so she got him to check too.  He said my pulse wasn’t usual, but hopefully would correct itself, but no riding until my pulse was normal. So on day one (!!!) it was into the lunch truck for me.

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Overlooking the dam at Ostrozac before lunch

The ride after lunch was pretty scenic, stunning green lake and pancake mountains, but also contained a number of the numerous tunnels in this and the first section of the ride,  some short, some long, some well lit, and some in total darkness. The worst one today was 600 meters unlit with the road surface uneven.  To add to this, the traffic was heavy and there was very little shoulder.

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Afternoon along the gorge, more tunnels and river reflections

The Bosnian war also affected Mostar. Mostar is a world heritage site because of the 15 and 16 century architecture. Of most note the Mostar bridge, which was once the biggest man-made arch in the world. This bridge and many other buildings were destroyed in the conflict, but the Mostar bridge has been completely rebuilt. Link: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/946

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Photo credit: http://www.travelmint.com/destinations/mostar-bridge.asp

I am still not used to the novelty of all hotels. No tent to put when you arrive in camp, plus all the dinners are in a restaurant.

My room is tiny, just enough space for a bed and a couple of bags, but it has an ensuite, you can stand up inside it, and it doesn’t have to be packed up in the morning! Antony checked my pulse again when I arrived, it was down to 90 so heading in the right direction.

Dinner was at 7 in the restaurant. It started with a salad, then a chicken and noodle soup, followed by a meat platter with potato. Plus a dessert that I didn’t eat, which was a date pudding smothered in honey, it looked nice but I was full.

Strictly water for dinner tonight for me: no alcohol, coffee, or tea, or any other stimulant. I’m thinking it was possibly the really strong cup of coffee I had this morning that was the culprit for my increased heart rate.

Off to bed and asleep by 9. I slept really well until 6 am, so am getting adjusted to the time change.

Addition to day:
My pulse was back to a normal resting 60 beats a minute when I woke up, and I rode all day without a problem. I plan stay away from really strong coffee in future.

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Sarajevo Cathedral of Jesus’ Sacred Heart (Editor’s note: I think this was supposed to go with yesterday’s post. My bad).

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Day 2 in Sarajevo, Bosnia

I woke up this morning feeling much better. After breakfast I spent some time sorting out my bags and catching up with the blog.

At 10am was a compulsory new riders meeting. A bit painful when you have done a number of rides already. Then it was bike checks to ensure all our bikes are in good working order. After that we had the rest of the day to ourselves.

I was interested in getting to understand a bit more of the history of Sarajevo, especially the siege that lasted from April 1992 to February 1996. Plus I wanted to go and see the tunnel. We booked a tour to go and see the tunnel, meeting in town at 2pm. While we were waiting we had a look around the old town and had some lunch.

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Sarajevo Old Town

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Sarajevo

Background info:
There are a number of complex reasons and background history to the war, but in summary the war started because the Serbs and the Croats living in Bosnia wanted to divide it amongst themselves. The Bosnian population is predominantly made up of Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims).
The overall death toll on all sides of the war was 10,000.
There were atrocities on all sides, including genocide and the Srebrenica massacre where 8,500 men and boys were slaughtered.

The siege of Sarajevo lasted 3 and half years, the city had no power, was running out of food, and no heating with winters that reach up to minus 20 degree C.

3 of the 4 hillsides were held by enemy forces . The 4th hill side could only be gotten to by across the airport, which was controlled by the UN. Crossing there the snipers would shoot at anyone they saw.

There were 10,000 people, killed 1,400 of them children, in the siege of Sarajevo. The snipers on the hillside would shoot anything that moved in the city, and on average 300 shells were fired at the city daily. Over 20 years later there are shell holes in numerous buildings, and many ruined buildings still waiting destruction or repair. The main route through the city was known as sniper alley.

Coming into Sarajevo, still plenty of evidence of the siege (Photo credit: Brett’s Facebook page)

A tunnel was built under the airport to the hillside. This tunnel was also referred to as the tunnel of hope. It was constructed from March to June 1993. The tunnel was dug 24 hours a day, in shifts of 8 hours each. 2,800 square meters of dirt had to be disposed of in such a way that it was not noticed by the Serbs up on the hillside.

The tunnel was referred to as the Trojan horse of Bosnia. It allowed food, guns and medical supplies to be bought in. Also a pipeline of oil and electricity. There were over a million trips. Each journey took two hours, and the height of the tunnel meant the majority of people could not stand up straight in it.

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Sarajevo Tunnel House

The tour guide gave the history of the siege and the tunnel. Most of the tunnel is now collapsed, but we got to go in a 20 metre section that still exists. I had to stoop, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be in it for two hours, laden down with stuff.

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Inside the Sarajevo Tunnel

After the tour Brett and I stopped and had a cold beer, and we shared a Bosnian sandwich, which is bread with a selection of meat, cheese, and coleslaw. It was very nice.

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Sarajevo beer o clock

Back at the hotel I was feeling very tired, so had a nap for a couple of hours. Then we walked to a couple of restaurants, but we had not realised Ramadan had finished and it was the start of 3 days feasting, so they were all booked. Instead we stopped at a small supermarket and bought some stuff for a picnic back at the hotel.

After packing the bag, it was time for an early night. I am feeling a bit intimidated by the thought of riding 135km, with 2000 meters climbing, tomorrow.

Links from Kaye about the Seige:

https://owlcation.com/humanities/The-Siege-of-Sarajevo
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarajevo_Tunnel

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Day 8: Monday 21 Nov, Kurpipapango to Napier

Today 810 meters climbing and 1,300 down and only 82km to Napier, with the next day being a rest day. Sounds good, the only drawback is the 10km of uphill first up.

My legs felt ok when I first got onto the bike, so 900m of shingle up to the main road then 500 meters until a big steep hill. To my shame I was off my bike and pushing less than 2km into the ride. I was hoping the whole 10km was not as steep, as other wise I would take over 3 hours to get 10km. Thankfully the gradient decreased so I got back on my bike and did not have to push my bike again for the rest of the day.

There were lots of steep bits but lots of dips too, so if you got a really good run up them most of the time you could get to the top in the big gear. A few I still had to push. It was lovely and warm, with blue sky and great views.

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View of Hawkes Bay

Before I knew it the lunch truck was in sight at 61km. The mood of the other riders was as jovial as mine. Only 21 km to ride and at the most 100 meters of climbing to go.

Back on the road again, 5km along a bike trail then onto the main road heading into the city. It was not too busy as it was only 12:30 pm.

We were staying at Bk Fountain Court Motel, nice rooms, comfy bed and a bath 😀. This time there was only one washing machine and it was only open 1pm to 8pm, so I decided to wait till tomorrow and go down town to do my laundry when I go out to have breakfast.

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Tony outside our motel (Photo credit: Michele’s Facebook page)

After a shower I set off down town with Brett, Michele and Tony for a cold beer. We went to a lovely old hotel called The Emporium Eatery and Bar, which is part of the Art Deco Masonic Hotel. It was built in 1861, destroyed by fire, rebuilt, destroyed by the 1931 earthquake, then rebuilt.

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Kaye’s Great Gatsby entrance at the  Masonic Hotel Napier

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Emporium Cafe & Bar Napier

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Emporium Cafe & Bar Napier

We had cold beer, and a pizza and chips to share. Sitting out on the Napier esplanade in the warm afternoon sun was great, there was no wind.

 

We googled a number of places for dinner but most of them were closed on Monday. We decided to go to a place in the old Napier port called The Thirsty Whale, which had good reviews. However we were not keen to walk there as it was over 5km away and I felt I had done enough exercise for the day. So we decided to get a taxi.

We flagged one down in the street, what a miserable chap he was! He was Norwegian and had been here for a couple of years, and did not much like New Zealand or Napier. When asked what bought him here he said ‘A plane’.

Anyway, he reckons New Zealand houses are shit, and the people in Napier are small minded. I was tempted to ask him why he was still here. When we got to the Restaurant I told him to keep the change, that worried him as well. Tony got his card off him as we would want a taxi to go back.

We got a great table on the deck at the restaurant. To start we shared a bottle of Hãhã Sparkling Brut with the Parmesan bread. Then we had an Ash Ridge Sauvignon Blanc with our meals. I had a very nice version burger.

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Napier old harbour – Thirsty Whale

We asked the people in the restaurant to call us a taxi as we did not want the happy Norwegian – well guess who turned up. Unfortunately Michelle and I got the giggles.
He was less happy, nearly drove out in front of a couple of cars whilst sharing more of his views on Napier and the people. Apparently the people here have nothing better to do than turn the street signs round the wrong way! Really will watch out for that.

Back to the motel and in bed by 8:30pm, yay a rest day tomorrow. At midday 8 of us are off on a wine trip.

https://www.relive.cc/view/781135935

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Mon 21 Napier

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 65/164: Rest day in Nazca

I have organized to go flying over the Nazca lines today. I am starting to regret this, thinking of small planes and motion sickness. However the only way to see them is in the air.

These lines were built over hundreds of years and anthropologists are still trying to work out the reasoning behind them. There are lines that are pictures of hummingbirds, whales, families, and an astronaut (or as one line of thought goes – an alien). There are other lines that are geometrical shapes and then lines straight and diagonal that line them up. This is really impressive having been done from the ground over hundreds of miles.

The lines were plotted by the line creators, who put stakes in the ground and then joined them with string. Then other workers came and cleared the stones and a layer of dirt. The stones were placed at the outside of the lines which helped protect them from the wind. The language of these people has gone but the lines remain.

Also as they were dependent on water, they suffered drought and practiced human sacrifice. This is not yet fully understood whether it was people from other tribes or from within their own. Also they discovered they could get water deep below the surface of the desert and created huge wells with steps in a circle going down. They also built quite sophisticated irrigation systems for their crops.

With flying in mind, I had a plain breakfast of rolls and tea. (Editor’s note: Love the seamless change of topic here 🙂

A group of us were picked up at the hotel at 8:30am  to go to the airport, once again in a beat up old car.

When we arrived at the airport we had to pay departure tax of $20 sole, and watch a video about the history of the lines. Then set off for the 55 minute flight!

I had my camera with me but only managed to take about three photos, as every time I looked down and tried to focus the camera the motion sickness started to creep in.

It did not help that the plane was a six seater and the pilot was showing passengers on both sides of the plane each of the lines, so lot of banking and rolling.

The lines were amazing and I am really pleased I saw them. It was also great to see the vastness of the desert, and see the road we had rode in on. I managed to keep the motion sickness at bay whilst on the plane, but had the bag on my knee just in case!

Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines

Nazca lines

Nazca lines

The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird

Nazca lines

Nazca lines

The very small plane

The very small plane

I got back onto the ground and was waiting to be picked up, when I was still feeling very queasy and then lost my breakfast into a garden. Probably just as well, as would not have been good if it had been in the driver’s car.

I had taken my broken glasses with me as figured it would be easier to ask where to go for new ones. I showed the driver, he nodded and smiled and took me to a shop in town, which turned out to be an optician. Luckily I managed to convey that I just needed them for reading, and got two pairs for $20 sole each. The spare pair is now in a case. I will still need to get more so am keeping a look out for a street vendor.

After this I was hungry having lost breakfast. I had a sandwich, then off to the supermarket for supplies and back to the hotel. I ended up having to get Ponds moisturizer as it was the only one that I was sure was actually moisturizer.

I spent the afternoon sending photos, which was really frustrating as the Internet was really slow, and going through my gear. I am having lots of problems trying to shut my day bag, so was trying to take stuff out plus put more warm clothes in. Net result was I got the warm clothes in and some stuff out, and it is still just as hard to shut.

I decided to have dinner at the hotel rather than go into town again. Out of curiosity I chose pork steak, which ended up being like schnitzel but not crumbed, rice, an egg, and my favourite: plantain – oh well, I had a good meal last night.

Then an early night as we have a big day tomorrow – 90 kilometres, all uphill climbing from 400 meters to 3,200 meters!

A whole pile of lines and trapezoids (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

A whole pile of lines and trapezoids (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

The Astronaut (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

The Astronaut (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

This is a general shot of the valley.  Lots of agriculture and a dry river.  A lot of the lines have been affected by water flows, whenever it happens  (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

This is a general shot of the valley. Lots of agriculture and a dry river. A lot of the lines have been affected by water flows, whenever it happens (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

nazca lines

nazca lines2

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