Alle Beiträge von Addy

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29.07.2020 Final sprint on the coast. While our homeland cycling adventure is far from being over, our days near the coast are drawing to an end and we are going to turn inland soon. And maybe the area has some sort of secret plan to leave a very good and long-lasting final impression on us – by all means, these past few days have been full of special experiences. After leaving Rostock, we pedalled through the pretty seaside resorts of Heiligendamm, Kühlungsborn and Rerik, catching glimpses of the narrow-gauge steam train 'Molly' that takes tourists from the station in Bad Doberan to the coast. We spontaneously stopped to visit the old windmill of Stove, which was fully operational until a small accident occurred in 2019. However, the volunteers running the mill and giving highly informative guided tours of it are confident that they will have the funds to have the problem fixed in the near future. We paid a brief visit to the city of Wismar and cycled on to Travemünde, where we took a ferry and then hurried on to Bad Schwartau to meet Meike and Sammy, who had literally just come back from a midsummer regatta to the northernmost point of the Baltic Sea. It took their little sailing yacht Kostbar almost two weeks to take them all the way up there, but they made it just in time, as the last crew to finish, and won a special prize for the smallest boat. What a cool experience to meet them and to spend one night on board the award-winning boat, if only in the marina. From Bad Schwartau, home of a jam brand known all over the country, it is only a few kilometres to Lübeck, where we embraced the opportunity to visit a big museum dedicated to the history of the Hanseatic League. Having been to Stralsund, Rostock and Wismar before, we had seen how their old city centres, impressive red brick storage buildings and splendid merchants' houses testify to former power and prosperity, but we did not have any detailed information on the nature and history of the League. The museum, however, definitely did fill us in! #scoutbound #cycling #worldbycycling #bikes #windmill #windmühle #stove #molli #wismar #lübeck #schwartau #badschwartau #hansemuseum #midsummersail #holstentor

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26.07.2020 Ports and boats. Instead of taking another ferry, we left the island of Rügen via the bridge that connects the island to the city of Stralsund. We strolled through the pretty harbour area and spontaneously decided to visit Gorch Fock, a three-mast ship no longer fit to sail the seas, but anchored right there as a museum vessel. While 'Gorch Fock' is a household name in Germany, some people might ignore that it is actually shared by two large sailing training ships, and that the older one has a really intriguing history and is said to have been 'reborn' twice in its course. Built in 1933, she was deliberately sunk by the German Navy in 1945, but retrieved from the bottom of the sea two years later to be given to the Soviet Union in the context of war reparations. What a special experience to walk the decks and interior of this old lady! Our next destination was Rostock, another hanseatic port city, where we stayed in a shared flat located in a spacious urban villa. We were hosted by Willy, who is an expert in nautical science but now commits himself to political activism and creative projects. He is an extremely sociable and helpful person, so thanks to him we did not only get to know his lovely partner and various cohabitants, but also four more cyclists passing through the city. Willy says that within a single year, he is easily contacted by about 100 travelling strangers in need of a place to sleep, and that he is dedicated to finding a solution for everyone, even when he is not home or his place is already fully 'booked'. The best place for boat spotters is Warnemünde, Rostock's seaside district, a picturesque little place that we visited yesterday afternoon. We were there when we learned that Meike, the friend we made during our New Zealand sailing adventure, would soon arrive in Lübeck, yet another port city, by boat. And coincidentally, this is where we are going next! #scoutbound #stralsund #gorchfock #ozeaneum #warnemünde #lighthouse #leuchtturm #igapark #warmshowers #traditionsschiffdresden #rostocker #rostock #pornobrunnen #bier #mecklenburgvorpommern #mv #germany

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11.06.2020 Four days, four states. Germany is made up of 16 federal states, six of which are often called the 'new' ones because they only became part of the Federal Republic when the two German states were united in 1990. As it is technically possible to drive through the entire country in a single day, travellers can visit different federal states within a very short time. By bike, we have managed to go from Baden-Wuerttemberg to Bavaria, Hesse and Thuringia in just the past four days, with Thuringia being the first one of the 'new' or formerly communist states which we want to visit in the upcoming weeks. Where Hesse adjoins Thuringia, we came across Point Alpha memorial site, where preserved watchtowers and other historical structures bear witness to the time when there was an inner German border. These days, state borders are merely marked by roadsigns, but you will notice that dialects and gastronomic specialities change when you enter a different state, and ALDI South becomes ALDI North at some point. Due to federalism, we have 16 different school systems, so sometimes people living in the same small country do not know what exactly a student from further north or south is talking about when they say what kind of school they attend. Public holidays also vary. This morning, we started the fourth day of our journey in Fulda in Hesse, and had anticipated that they would be celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi today. Knowing that all shops and supermarkets would be closed, we went for some groceries the night before – only to learn that in Berka/Werra in Thuringia, where we arrived this evening, it is not a holiday at all, and that we can well go to the shops here. Coronavirus regulations are also different in each state, so while we have been fine in most places, we had some trouble finding accommodation in Bavaria, where some campsites and, much to our regret, an interesting scout-run castle which is also a hostel were still closed when we passed through. #scoutbound #cycling #worldbycycling #dpsg #vcp #rieneck #montekali #kalimanjaro #fronleichnam #pointalpha #hausaufdergrenze #fulda #berkawerra

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19.04.2020 From lockdown to quarantine. We are back home, and it has been almost a week since we arrived. What felt rather surreal in the beginning is now the new normal: We can follow the development of the global pandemic from the shelter of our own home – and, by the way, from there only. Due to a policy introduced only recently in our federal state, we have to stay home 24/7 for two weeks after our arrival. It is very similar to what we did in New Zealand before leaving, minus the occasional trips to the supermarket or around the block that we could go on once in a while, because now we are supposed to isolate ourselves at home at all times. Thank God there are friends and family members nearby to leave groceries and puzzles on the stairs outside our flat. Or the occasional bunch of flowers and cake, for it was Addy's birthday only two days after our  return. We would have loved to celebrate it in New Zealand, somewhere on the road – but we made it an okay day anyway. We really miss Paul's garden, as the weather is upsettingly perfect right now but we can only enjoy the warm spring sun from our tiny balcony. There are many not-terribly-exciting things to do in the study, like paperwork and general decluttering, and we also fill our days with phone and video calls, some indoor yoga and, of course, cooking. We turned our bathroom into a hairdresser's for an afternoon, and there is of course our bike workshop in the basement. Elfi and Alter Falter have been reassembled, and are now dreaming of better times, or an exciting future trip to the supermarket maybe. #scoutbound #schrozberg #quarantine #cycling #covid_19 #corona #stayhome

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07.04.2020 Big decisions. We are in week two of New Zealand's national lockdown. It is not much different from the first one, except that Paul has started to take us for short walks through the neighbourhood. We can go outside as long as we stay away from other people, do not stray too far from home and do not put our safety at risk. The walks are really interesting because as an architect, a true native of Christchurch and a witness of the earthquakes 10 years ago, Paul knows a thing or two about the city. We are trying to keep up with the news, the numbers, the situation at home in Germany. It is interesting to see how the NZ government has swiftly and consistently put the entire country, i.e. four million citizens and thousands of visitors, under complete lockdown, while in Germany all federal states want to have a say in this and there is no uniform stay-at-home order or travel ban in effect. However, how Germany deals with the crisis may soon become really relevant to us. Meanwhile we have come to realise that this global state of emergency and its aftereffects will probably last longer than just a few weeks, both in Europe and here. Our original plan, travelling on to North America at the end of April, is going out the window. Even if it was allowed, it would feel wrong to start cycle-touring New Zealand again right after lockdown, and it will definitely be cold out there. We are okay here, but could make even more of our free time if we spent it at our own place. And we might not get home easily if we do not go now. So four days ago, we signed up for the newly resumed German repatriation programme. It is not easy to leave New Zealand and abandon our travel plans just like that, but these are exceptional times, we are really not in a position to complain, and we truly stay positive. #scoutbound #nz #newzealand #christchurch #lockdown #stayhome #covid_19 #uniteagainstcovid19 #corona #repatriation

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25.03.2020 Refuge in Christchurch. With New Zealand moving into national lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we essentially had to choose between cutting our journey short and trying to make a hasty departure for Germany, or finding a place here where we could stay put for at least four weeks. While essential businesses like supermarkets are staying open, from midnight today and for four weeks or more most places are going to be closed and everyone is supposed to stay at home and avoid physical contact with anyone outside that social bubble.  For several reasons, trying to catch a flight (or rather, several connecting flights) back to Germany was never really an option. Instead, we decided not to leave and find shelter here. Luckily, we got plenty of helpful response to our urgent request for a place to stay – several scout groups offered us their campground facilities, and Paul, our scout friend from Christchurch, invited us to stay with him. We gladly accepted, and only needed to figure out how to travel 600 kilometres north (and, as a nice side-effect, into warmer climate – it is autumn now and it was getting quite chilly around Invercargill) and ideally take our bikes with us. Only one solution seemed truly feasible: We decided against flying or taking a bus, but managed to find one of the last operating car rental companies and hired a car. Before loading it with our bikes and bags, we quickly drove down to Bluff yesterday. We had actually been looking forward to cycling down the last 22 km to the southernmost town of the island, but unfortunately our priorities have changed now. Today we are driving up to what will be our home for the next few weeks. Shouts to our fellow cyclists Clarisse and Adrien, who have just done exactly the same – rented a car and driven up to Christchurch, and Marie from our hometown, who wanted to fly back to Germany yesterday but will also have to stay in Christchurch for a bit longer. It is a pity we cannot meet in person right now, but as for everyone, it is good to know that we are all in this together. #scoutbound #newzealand #nz #corona #covid_19 #bluff #invercargill #cycling #stirlingpoint #stayhome

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08.02.2020 Thank God, it's raining. Rainy days in Australia! What a change after two weeks of sunshine, straw hats, sweat and swimwear. And what bad luck for Port Macquarie, a town we got to know in mostly wet and dreary weather, as if it were not already difficult enough for a little place like this to stand out against other destinations on our way, such as Brisbane and Sydney. But for several reasons, we had a fabulous time there. One reason was the sociable and chatty atmosphere at the little hostel where we stayed – and apart from the friendly staff, it was maybe also the rain outside that created a sense of community within. However, the weather still allowed for an exploration of the town's most important attractions: We followed the scenic coastal walk along Port Mac's nine beaches and up to the little lighthouse, and visited the local koala hospital. Although it is no longer legal to hunt them for their fur, koalas are on the verge of becoming an endangered species due to deforestation, fires, motor vehicle accidents, dog bites and contagious disease. These days the number of patients at this specialised clinic is at an all-time high because of this summer's extreme bushfires, which are still not fully contained but will hopefully be easier to battle now that it is raining. And finally, we had the chance to meet the Venturers of the local Sea Scout group, who invited us to join them for a scavenger hunt and see their scout hall and boat shed. And the next day, their leader Daniel and his wife went out of their way and showed us the green surroundings of the town by car. Admittedly, the view from North Brother Mountain would have been a lot better in dry weather, but it was most fascinating to see Daniel's workplace: a tiny rural primary school with 26 students, two classrooms, a vegetable garden, animals like pigs and chicken, as well as a 3D printer! #scoutbound #austalia #australien #scouts #seascouts #dpsg #portmacquarie #coastalwalk #lighthouse #koala #koalahospital #school #oldschool #toocoolforschool

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26.01.2020 Australia Day.  On our last day of sailing, Panta's captain Micha dropped us off in a remote bay on Tawharanui Peninsula. We made our way across rocks and private property to a small road and then embarked on a short hitchhiking adventure, destination Auckland. Luckily, friendly and helpful Kiwis are never hard to find, so about two hours and three rides later we reached the city and stayed there for one last night in New Zealand.  Catching a flight out of the country at this point felt very odd and way too early. However, our three-month visitor visas were about to expire, so we had to leave, and having travelled all the way to the other side of the planet, we thought we might as well visit Australia for about a month, and then go back. Our arrival in Brisbane coincided with Australia Day, so we were greeted by jolly Aussies in fancy hats and shirts, by street parties, live music and fireworks. The highlight of the Story Bridge street party was a series of cockroach races, where people gathered to bet on which (real, living) cockroaches would be the fastest ones to crawl from centre to edge in some sort of circular boxing ring. However, while attendees were busy coming up with hilarious names for the tiny athletes and at best enjoying a brief moment of glory on the winners' podium, other Australians did not feel like celebrating at all: Indigenous Australians took to the streets in several cities to voice their concerns about Australia Day. The birth of today's nation, marked by the arrival of British colonists in 1788, can only be called a glorious thing from a non-native point of view, and so 26th January is alternatively referred to as Invasion Day. Colonisation marked a decisive turning point in both New Zealand and Australian history, and we are eager to learn more about how things evolved and are dealt with in Oz today. #scoutbound #austalia #australien #brisbane #australiaday #invasionday #storybridgehotel #bagpipes #storybridge #cockroach #cockroachraces #cockroachrace #fireworks #southbank #scouts #scoutplace #dpsg

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02.01.2020 4500 scouts.  We are starting off the new decade at the National Scout Jamboree, a big 10-day camp for 10- to 14-year-olds. Counting all Scouts, their troop leaders, older scouts helping out, international guests and staff, we are about 4500 people here at Mystery Creek, near Hamilton airport. We learned about the event right after arriving in New Zealand, thought this could be an awesome experience, and decided to get a job and participate as staff rather than mere visitors from overseas. So now we are part of the catering team and spend much of our time at the food hub. This is where food is distributed to all kids and leaders, following a clear-cut plan. They camp in about 80 groups of up to 40 people, and twice a day each group sends a few kids and adults to our warehouse, where they fill their trolleys with everything they need to feed their troops. We are really intrigued to learn about the logistics behind the scenes of such a big camp, and apart from doing warehouse duty, we are busy getting to know new people from New Zealand, Australia, Oceania and other places, learning about how scouting is done at the other end of the world, and testing the fun activities the kids are offered here. On New Years Eve, we had a bit of team shenanigans with hockey in our food warehouse, and then went to the central Jamboree party for music, dancing and the countdown. Now we can say that we were among the very first people to welcome 2020, here in the first time zone, 12 hours ahead of Germany. Happy New Year! #scoutbound #newzealand #nz #neuseeland #jamboree #mystery #mystery2020 #mystery2019 #scoutsnz #nz22 #warmshowers #dpsg #scouts

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