Alle Beiträge von Addy

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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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25.12.2019 Christmas with friends. Our plans for Christmas developed quite spontaneously, and were mostly influenced by the bigger master plan we are following right now: Travelling up north to attend a scout camp near Hamilton.  In our transfer car, we left Christchurch and first drove to Kaikoura, a peninsula on the east coast that is well worth visiting for its landscape, wildlife and vegetation. We went for a very windy walk around the tip and were impressed by the austere but beautiful rocky beach, parts of which only surfaced in a 2016 earthquake, and seal colonies in very close proximity to the footpath. The next day was mostly filled by the ferry journey back to the North Island, and after a night on its west coast we drove further north, as we had arranged a Christmas reunion: On a remote campsite just outside Tongariro National Park we met up with Nicole, a friend and fellow scout leader from our hometown, and her travel companion Nadja. Together they are touring around the country in their green campervan. They brought two more German girls, Jule and Katharina, so we were six people to do the spectacular Tongariro Crossing hike together on 23rd December. What a breathtaking and fun experience! On Christmas Eve, it was just Nici, Nadja and the two of us, and we went on a nice short walk along Lake Taupo before having a cosy and yummy evening meal with German Christmas cake and mulled wine. We loved it, although this was not exactly in line with the Kiwi way of celebrating Christmas, which is more about barbecues, trips to the beach and other kinds of summer fun on 25th. In the end, however, it all comes down to having a good time with family and friends, no matter which end of the world. #scoutbound #neuseeland #nz #newzealand #tongariro #tongarirocrossing #kaikoura #christmas #friends #wine #departmentofconservation #seals #camping #laketaupo #warmshowers #scouts #dpsg

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20.12.2019 Bye-bye bicycles. Cycling through the residential red zone of Christchurch to access the city centre felt eerie and unreal, because hedgerows and defunct power lines reminded us that ten years ago this huge green area was a living neighbourhood. After the 2011 earthquake this zone is not habitable anymore because living there became too dangerous when the ground sunk, and so all homes were removed. This must have been an extremely difficult time for the former residents, and even today Christchurch's city centre is still very different from any other place we have seen before, with big empty spaces, ancient buildings still in danger of collapsing, and temporary solutions mixed with very modern architecture. We are staying with Angela and Derek, two cyclists from the UK living in Christchurch since four years ago. They are preparing for the Christmas holidays and a kayak trip in the south of the South Island. Luckily there has been some time for chats and shared dinners anyway, and they have told us more about their new home city. They will leave the city this afternoon, and we are going to do so this morning – however, not on our bikes as usual, but in a car. A car? Yes! We got the chance to take part in New Zealand's 22nd Scout Jamboree, a big camp which is taking place in Hamilton, on the North Island, at the turn of the year. Therefore we booked a transfer car to head north again. A transfer or return car is a rental car which has to be taken from one place to another, and now that we have signed up for the job, we can basically use the car for free for a couple of days. Yesterday we stored the bikes at Lyn's place in Christchurch. We got to know her on the North Island, when we spent the night in the same place as a bigger group of local cyclists. We told them about our plans and Lyn kindly offered us to take care of our bikes for a few weeks. We have to take the car to Auckland by 26th December, so we will spend Christmas somewhere 'on the road'. We are looking forward to this new adventure, but we will for sure also miss our bikes, and cycling. #scoutbound #nz #newzealand #neuseeland #christchurch #warmshowers #scouts #dpsg #worldbycycling

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17.12.2019 Live and let live. On our way to Christchurch we have come through some truly remarkable places. In Springs Junction we stayed with Robyn and Peter, who live in an off-grid house with a rain water tank, a compost toilet and solar panels on the roof, and who manage to convey the impression that adopting an environmentally conscious and sustainable lifestyle is not a huge challenge, but simply the most natural thing to do.  Our two hosts suggested staying a second night and joining them on a bushwalk to help with a job they do on a voluntary basis for the Department of Conservation: They regularly check over 400 traps and empty, repair and bait them. This means walking many kilometers in the bush – all year round, and in all weathers – and it evidently also means killing animals. However, minimizing the numbers of harmful predators such as rats and possums is a necessary measure to protect native birds and help them survive. So of course we agreed to become trappers for one day and carried new traps up towards Lake Daniells, where we were rewarded with a nice view, sandwiches and a swim. Two days later we reached Hanmer Springs, a small town that attracts both locals and tourists with its hot springs and open-air thermal pools. And after all the hiking and trapping, the conquest of Lewis Pass and a night at a simple DoC campsite, we decided we deserved another rest day and a bit of dolce vita in the hot pools. Yesterday evening we arrived in Waipara, for a final stop before Christchurch, and here we are staying at a place with several vintage railway wagons withdrawn from service a long time ago. However, they now live a second life as hotel rooms, and we totally enjoyed the experience of sleeping in such an exceptional location, plus waking up to freshly baked bread this morning. Oh, what a life! #scoutbound #neuseeland #newzealand #nz #springsjunction #lakedaniells #lewispass #departmentofconservationnz #doc #hanmersprings #trains #waipara #warmshowers #scouts #dpsg #worldbycycling

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11.12.2019 The power of nature. On our trip we are repeatedly reminded that as an island nation on the edges of two tectonic plates, New Zealand is prone to freaky weather and natural hazards. Luckily, we were about 700 km south of Whakaari/White Island when the volcano erupted on Monday, and are not affected by the disaster in any other way than emotionally, feeling sympathy for the people and families concerned. Nature has been showing its whims to us too, and has made us change plans quite a bit in the past few days. Spending the weekend in Nelson to wait for an unpleasant mix of rains, hail and thunderstorms to pass, we heard that much of the west coast might not be accessible for weeks on end because of flooding and landslides. Our intention had always been to cycle south and towards the other coast, in the east. When we learned that the Rainbow Trail is closed for the time being because of a large land slip, we decided to take the Great Taste and the Golden Downs trails to St. Arnaud anyway and then continue to Murchison, accepting that we would have to follow highways instead of taking a quiet and more scenic trail. In the end we left the busy road on a detour to Lake Rotoroa, which had evidently burst its banks and flooded the shore. In Murchison we had to come up with a new plan again, as we wanted to leave via the Maruia Saddle Road but this trail is closed, too. So here we go again, cycling along hardly stunning, but at least sunny and unexpectedly quiet highways, towards Christchurch. On a positive note, experiences like camping next to beautiful Lake Rotoiti remind us that nature, this sublime and awe-inspiring thing, also has it in its power to take our breath away with stunning views. #scoutbound #neuseeland #nz #newzealand #nelson #murchison #nelsonlakes #christmas #christmastree #landslide #saintarnaud #flooding #warmshowers #scouts #dpsg #worldbycycling

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