View this post on Instagram

30.10.2019 One day in Taipei. We had known, from the day we booked our flights to New Zealand, that we would have an 18-hour stopover in Taipei, but when we set foot on Taiwanese ground this morning we had no idea about what would expect us outside the airport doors. We ventured out into the city, first taking a bus to the wrong railway station and then a train to the right one. This detour was due to a little mix-up of place names and our own fault, but turned out to be a blessing in disguise: It took us off the beaten track and among locals and thus totally enriched our experience. Having finally arrived in the heart of the capital, we strolled through the streets, taking in bits of the hustle and bustle of this Asian megapolis – featuring busy crossroads, a myriad of blinking lights, food stalls and night markets, incredibly long lines of parked motor scooters, beautiful temples with koi ponds, pagodas and skyscrapers. We enjoyed people's friendliness and some tasty food and were impressed with the low fares and punctuality of the public transport system and the fact that extremely helpful translations into English are practically everywhere, for example on road signs and in train stations. In many ways, we perceived things in Taiwan to be cleverer, more technically advanced and also tidier than in Germany and other European countries – while at the same time, street markets can be smelly and chaotic, air pollution is high and many little streets and housing blocks seem to be rather underdeveloped and poor. With all its contrasts, fascinating spots, exotic smells and sounds, Taipei has definitely left an impression on us, and this thrilling day has felt like an invitation to come back and to visit more cities and places in Asia in the future.

A post shared by scoutbound (@scoutbound.de) on

View this post on Instagram

28.10.2019 Outbound again.  October is almost over now – and wow, what an intense time these past few weeks have been. When we were home, we invited friends and family over or visited grandparents, cousins and baby nieces living close by to catch up with everybody. When we were away from home, we spent four awesome days with fellow adult scouts in the Ruhr area or travelled to the very south of Germany, near Lake Constance, to take the tandem bike Addy used for his previous trip (see @tour4life ) back to its owner. And October is of course the time of our region's most important (and probably the world's greatest) fair, called Muswiese, which we attended and enjoyed for a full five days. In between all these fun events, we were quite busy with our various vehicles: Pino, the tandem, needed a significant makeover before we could return it. Eva's bike was finally given a name, Elfi, and our car was sold off after 18 years of (mostly) valuable service to the family.  Addy's Alter Falter arrived by post from Croatia after only a week and had to be reassembled and pepped up with a few replacement parts. And when, a few days ago, we were finally done with all the reassembling and maintenance, we started to take Elfi and Alter Falter apart and box them once again. The reason why we are packing our bags and bike boxes again, why we have tried our luck once more and sent off about 20 kg of camping gear and clothes by post, and why we will not need a car in the next few months, is of course our upcoming trip: In a few hours we are going to set off on a three-day journey to New Zealand, leaving from Frankfurt on Tuesday, spending Wednesday on a stopover in Taipei and finally arriving in Auckland on Thursday. We are extremely excited to be heading out again, and this time for several months in a row, and already looking forward to providing you with pictures and updates from Kiwiland and the places we will visit thereafter. #scoutbound #muswiese #dpsgbezirkhohenlohe #tour4life #tandem #hasebikes #taiwan #taipei #auckland #newzealand #warmshowers #couchsurfing #scouts #dpsg #velo #tour #cycling #camping #biketouring #cyclinglife #adventure #lessborderslessvisa

A post shared by scoutbound (@scoutbound.de) on

View this post on Instagram

29.09.2019 Trip's end.  No, we are not proud of this flight back home, as we know about its negative ecological impact. We are willing to avoid travelling by plane where possible, but with two bikes there was no reasonable alternative and our time schedule for October and some signs of fatigue on the part of our bikes do not allow for any detours right now. Our final stop on the island of Pag was Povljana, where we visited Durda. She is 77 years old and a long-time friend of Addy's mum and the entire family. She lives on Pag during the summer and will soon go to Zagreb for the winter – and she is an excellent host and cook. We have been to this place before – in Addy's case, many times. His family has come to the town on summer trips for more than 30 years, and they have witnessed Povljana's evolution from a tiny coastal village into a tourist destination which is much more confusing, commercial and anonymous today, but still very laid-back and charming. Two days ago we crossed the bridge that connects Pag to the mainland and cycled on to Zadar, our final destination. Apart from (re-)discovering this town so rich in history and architecture and enjoying our final meal, final drinks and final ice cream, we had one very important job to do: Disassembling and packing up our bikes for their journey home. Tonight, we are goingt to fly back to Germany. After 2100 kilometres, our trip ends here and today, but our updates will not. There will be more stories to share in October, and in a few weeks time we will set out on a new adventure. Thank you to all those people who have become part of this one, who have hosted or assisted us along the way or followed us from home or somewhere else out there. #scoutbound #croatia #hrvatska #adriaticcoast #adriaticsea #pag #zadar #islandhopping #warmshowers #couchsurfing #europe #europeanunion #tour #balkan #scouts #dpsg #cycling #bike #velo #camping #biketouring #cyclinglife #cyclinglover #touringlife #adventure #lessborderslessvisa

A post shared by scoutbound (@scoutbound.de) on

View this post on Instagram

25.09.2019 Island hopping. It was clear that from Senj, where we arrived at the coast, our journey would take us south, towards Zadar. Technically, there is the option to follow a scenic road running all along the coast which is part of the EuroVelo network of cycling routes. However, this coastal road is so utterly busy with cars, lorries and recreational vehicles that it is simply not enjoyable and potentially dangerous to cycle there. To avoid this route, we decided to better travel south via some islands.  To do so, we had to follow the coastal road northbound for a bit before accessing the island of Krk on a bridge. We crossed the island and the next day we took a car ferry to Rab, where we stayed for two nights to hide out from thunderstorms and heavy rains. Yesterday morning, we carried on by a tiny ferry boat which officially has a maximum capacity of twelve passengers and seven bikes, but on that day took eight bikes and about sixteen people plus a dog to the neighbouring island of Pag. All three islands offer an interesting mixture of rocky and barren ridges that could pass as lunar landscapes on the one hand and fertile gardens full of fig, pomegranate and olive trees on the other hand. They are not as flat as the German islands, so cycling between their picturesque little port towns means climbing from sea level to several hundred meters of altitude a couple of times a day. To be sure, these sometimes steep climbs come with rewarding views. Our first night on Pag, we were hosted by Jan Tin from Slovenia, whose family owns a holiday home near Novalja and who happens to be a scout just like us. Thanks again for sharing the house, some meals and your countless stunning travel stories with us. At the moment we are in the town of Pag, where we have just fixed the first flat tire of our tour. Tonight we will reach Povljana and be accommodated by a friend of Addy's family. #scoutbound #croatia #hrvatska #adriaticcoast #adriaticsea #krk #rab #pag #islandhopping #warmshowers #couchsurfing #europe #europeanunion #tour #balkan #scouts #dpsg #cycling #bike #velo #camping #biketouring #cyclinglife #cyclinglover #touringlife #adventure #lessborderslessvisa

A post shared by scoutbound (@scoutbound.de) on

View this post on Instagram

20.09.2019 In the Croatian hinterland. Three days ago we left Zagreb and pedalled on through the rural area south of it, along and across several rivers and into the Dinaric Alps. This mountain range is not as well-known and not nearly as high as THE Alps, but comes with a few challenging climbs and serpentines as well as nice views. We chose this route to the coast because it allowed for a short visit to Addy's great aunt Kata. She and her son live on a small farm in Krispolje, and although she is an 84-year-old lady by now, she still runs the house and loves having guests and cooking for them. It had been raining for most of the day when we arrived at her place, so we were quite wet and cold, but Kata took care of this. Apart from Kata's hospitality and her very tasty dishes, we enjoyed a short trip to the castle ruins of Brinje and also visited the grave of Addy's grandma Anka, who was Kata's sister. Leaving Krispolje this morning felt like leaving a warm nest, but we were also eager to reach our next destination: The seaside. We reached the coast in Senj this afternoon and were greeted by strong winds, but it still feels good to cycle along the Adriatic Sea now and plan the next stage of our trip, which will take us to a few Croatian islands. #scoutbound #croatia #hrvatska #karlovac #tounj #tounjbridge #brinje #adriaticcoast #adriaticsea #senj #josephina #europeanunion #warmshowers #europe #tour #balkan #scouts #dpsg #cycling #bike #velo #camping #biketouring #cyclinglife #cyclinglover #touringlife #adventure #lessborderslessvisa

A post shared by scoutbound (@scoutbound.de) on

View this post on Instagram

16.09.2019 Zagreb. We arrived in Zagreb two days ago and we've been having a blast here. It started off with a night at Goran's place in the southern part of the city. The next morning he and his charming girlfriend Andrea from Ljubljana took us on a stroll through the city centre and showed us a few tourist hotspots and, more importantly, their favorite and lesser known places like the market, the city's oldest pub (where we had a glass of gemist aka spritzer aka Weinschorle) and underground walkways from WW II. Goran was the first one to make us aware of the bombings the Croatian capital suffered from as recently as 25 years ago, during the Homeland War that was launched when Croatians decided to leave communist Yugoslavia. We learned more about these events during a thematic guided tour and still find it hard to grasp that, between 1991 and 1995, when we were little kids and – except for the absence of online media – our German reality was not immensely different from that of today's kids, our Croatian peers had to hide in air-raid shelters and lost family members in a bloody war happening at their doorstep. Today Zagreb's streets, parks, bars and restaurants buzz with locals and tourists alike, as if to celebrate this newly-found peace. Yesterday evening we met Addy's sister, mother and a friend for dinner. They had spent a holiday at the seaside and were on their way back to Germany. Addy's mum Vesna is Croatian and often visits friends and family here, and so will we in the next few days. Today we are leaving Zagreb, heading towards the mountains south of Karlovac. We have about two more weeks to spend here, so our Croatian adventure will continue. #scoutbound #croatia #hrvatska #zagreb #europeanunion #warmshowers #europe #tour #balkan #scouts #dpsg #cycling #bike #velo #camping #touringlife #adventure #lessborderslessvisa

A post shared by scoutbound (@scoutbound.de) on

View this post on Instagram

13.09.2019 Viszlat Hungary.  The final stretch of our stay in Hungary offered us flat and comfortable bike paths and roads. We followed them along Lake Balaton to Heviz, a small town with a natural source of thermal water. There is a lake where, all year round, guests can swim in warm water which is supposed to have strong healing powers, as well as a shomewhat hidden warm river where swimmers can probably get the same effects for free and enjoy a more private and magical atmosphere. The next day we cycled on to Letenye, where we spent our last Forints on pizza and a night at a guesthouse. Yesterday morning, just a few kilometres south of Letenye, we finally said viszlat (goodbye) to the country of Hungary and crossed the border to Croatia. This was the first time that we actually had to show our identity cards to two border officials and wait for a barrier to be opened before we could pass. Later we realized that this was because although Croatia has been a member of the European Union since 2013, it is not part of the Schengen area. Our first destination in Croatia was the town of Krizevci, where we had the chance to meet Croatian scouts. It was Maja who welcomed us and together with her sister, her best friend and some other scouts introduced us to the town and their scouting experience. Thank you once again to our adorable hosts. Today we are moving on over green hills and through tiny villages and planning to arrive in Zagreb, the Croatian capital, in the evening. #scoutbound #croatia #hrvatska #zagreb #europeanunion #schengen #krizevci #hungary #balaton #bázakerettye #heviz #warmshowers #europe #tour #balkan #scouts #dpsg #cycling #bike #velo #camping #biketouring #cyclinglife #cyclinglover #touringlife #adventure #lessborderslessvisa

A post shared by scoutbound (@scoutbound.de) on

View this post on Instagram

10.09.2019 The little things. During our trip, it is often the little things that make us happy. The feeling of pedalling up a steep hill and finally reaching the peak, smiling at each other in Addy's rear-view mirror, having a good meal and some beer after a long day on the road, realising that the food we ordered with improvised sign language and lots of guesswork is actually exceptionally good, discovering that the campground comes with a sauna, seeing the sun dry our moist camping gear, the man who filled us our water bottles in his garden because the public fountain was 'kaputt', and Alexander, who spontaneously described his plans for an electronic music festival on his grounds in great detail as we passed by, or walking uphill through vineyards to have breakfast in the sunrise. Sometimes, little things turn into great, magical moments, like the night we arrived in Szekesfehervar and were welcomed by Maria and Eszter, two wonderful sisters. They are scouts like us and we had contacted their local group shortly before. The two girls were ready to spend some time with us and show us their town, and they turned out to be brilliant guides and conversationalists. We learned many things about the town's rich history, and the Hungarian language, which we're not giving up on!  The sisters also recommended a visit to Veszprem, another pretty little spot near Balaton lake, with a remarkable old town and castle on a rock right in the middle of it. Thanks again for everything, Maria and Eszter. We're cycling on along the shores of the lake and will reach the thermal bath of Heviz later this day. #scoutbound #hungary #balaton #badacsony #heviz #szekesfehervar #veszprem #langos #warmshowers #europe #tour #balkan #scouts #dpsg #cycling #bike #velo #camping #biketouring #cyclinglife #cyclinglover #touringlife #adventure #lessborderslessvisa

A post shared by scoutbound (@scoutbound.de) on

View this post on Instagram

07.09.2019 Hungarian, Buda and Pest. In Czech Republic and Slovakia, we were able to figure out the meaning of some words and pick up a few expressions (our favourite one being 'Ahoj!' for 'Hello!'), but neither these tiny bits of vocab nor the foreign languages that we speak are of much help when it comes to understanding Hungarian. This language is not related to any other European language – there might be a link to Finnish, but experts disagree on this question – and so there are not many transparent words and it is hard for us to read road signs, menus or websites. It must be a difficult language to learn, but it is probably also hard for Hungarians to study foreign languages. Luckily, many young people here speak English well, and so somebody could tell us that the reason for Hungary's linguistic island position is the fact that the first Hungarians once arrived as nomads from Asia and thus imported a totally new language. The past few days we spent our time in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. It's a really beautiful and interesting city that bears traces of Slavic, Roman, Turkish, Soviet and Austrian influence. However, after visiting Vienna, Bratislava and now Budapest within a short time we are a little bit tired of big cities and are eager to cycle down to Balaton and along the lake. #scoutbound #budapest #buda #pest #hungary #turkish #slavic #vienna #bratislava #communism #donau #danube #austria #bohemia #warmshowers #europe #tour #balkan #scouts #dpsg #cycling #bike #velo #camping #biketouring #cyclinglife #cyclinglover #touringlife #adventure #lessborderslessvisa

A post shared by scoutbound (@scoutbound.de) on