Posts Tagged With: cold

Hirtshals, Denmark

Finally we can enjoy breakfast outdoors in the sun! Logan sets up chairs and table behind the van (and sheltered from the wind) while I’m cooking up some porridge.
Some rabbits hopple through the grass, one time even only a couple of metres infront of us.
We are taking our time. Logan plays some guitar in the sun before we are leaving around midday.
Of course we had to take a wrong turn very soon and didn’t realise for another 30min. Doesn’t matter, we’re not in a hurry; our biggest challenge is to find a water tab so we can finally fill up our dry water tank! None of the following three petrol stations seems to have a tab and the fourth one has one but it isn’t working. I’ve had enough, grab the watering can and fill up a few liters. Logan is slightly embarrassed but we drive around and find another watering can and a bucket full of water. I pour both contents into the tank as well! That should last us a few more days, even though there seems to be some detergent in the water as it got a little foamy when I poured it in. So we better don’t use it to brush our teeth with it.

Arriving in Hirtshals, we park in town, go for a walk through the shopping street and along the port and eventually park on the sandy beach, which is hard enough from all the rain so we won’t get bogged.

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A walk along the windy beach helps us stretch our legs before getting settled for bed.

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In the morning we decide to go and visit the WWII bunkers near the lighthouse here in Hirtshals.
During war, the German occupation forces built 7500 bunkers in Danmark. These bunkers were the largest construction project in Danish history. The 6000 bunkers along the Danish Coastline were a part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, stretching from the border between Spain and France in the south, to the North Cape in Norway.

The bunker museum Hirtshals consists of 54 excavated bunkers along with many gun, mortar and machine gun emplacements. There are also radar and searchlight installations. In All, the area consists of 70 different locations, connected by 3.5km of trenches.

The following are photos I have taken of the bunkers and trenches and put a war-themed photo filter on top.

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And here are a couple of photos of the bunkers without any filters:
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Now we are patiently waiting for our ferry to Norway tonight!

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Lago di Scanno

It has been raining all night and I’m so glad we were able to heat the van. There is a new layer of snow only a couple of hundred meters above us.

We quickly unplug electricity and re-connect the hot dog van. Then we make our way up the 25km road to Campo Imperatore, a hotel in which Mussolini was held captive and then freed by Hitler’s SS in 1943.

After only a few minutes we get to a closed boom gate.

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Now the only way to Corno Grande is by foot up the steep snow-covered mountain. Logan seriously considers this option but I remind him that it’s probably quite nasty up there, not to mention the danger involved (which he doesn’t want to hear about). A bit disappointed we leave Fonte Cerretto and head towards another lake: Lago di Scanno. A scenic drive through the mountains and a clearing sky lift up the mood quickly.

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I found a campsite on the lake called “Camping i Lupi” or “wolves camp” supposed to be open year-round. Upon arrival we can’t find anyone, no receptionist nor any guests. Of course! So I call the number provided and hope for the person to speak English and surprisingly, she does! I’m being told that the “guard” is in Scanno with his family and will be at the campsite within 15 minutes, so we just wait.

I read 8Euros for campervan per night and when we’re being told it’s 21 Euros, we are quite shocked. 21?? So he explains (in Italian) that it’s 8 Euros for the Campervan and 6,50 Euros per person per night. Aha! Oh well, we need a place to stay and I was already looking forward to a warm shower and heating. We pick a place right on the edge of the plateau with a nice view over the lake and over to a hilltop village.

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I then grab my towel and toiletry bag and run up to the showers. I can hardly wait to jump under the warm water, as pretty much all my showers so far have been ice cold. I turn on the tap and wait for the water to get warmer. And I wait. And wait… and wait… ! It doesn’t get warm. It’s not ice cold but it’s also nowhere near warm!!! Did we just pay 21 Euros for this? I’m so angry. I hurry to get clean quickly and jump out, looking forward to blow-drying my hair, as my head is cold now. Electricity in the bathrooms doesn’t work either. You just got to be kidding!!! I run down to the van and blow dry myself warm for ages.

Logan wants to go for a bike ride around the lake but since I just had my shower and I know he likes to ride really fast, I think it’s best to let him ride by himself.

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While he’s out, I hand-wash all the laundry in the bathroom. It’s taking me a long time and I’m hoping for Logan to come back soon to help me out. A couple of hours later, I’m still washing clothes, he walks into the women’s bathrooms (no worries, no one else is here anyway) and I smell alcohol and cigarette smoke. “What have you been up to?” His tongue heavy, he says: “I have a plan for us tomorrow!” and it dawns on me. “You and I are invited for Spaghetti tomorrow somewhere! I met some Italians and they are going to take us four wheel driving!”

Hang on?! I have been going on about Italians and their insane driving and now Logan wants me to jump into a car with strangers to go 4WD-ing? No no no no! I’m feeling very uncomfortable with this but Logan says, they are coming to pick us up tomorrow at 11am. Logan has little understanding for my worries and celebrates his accomplishment outside by himself.

Not really knowing who these people are and where we are going tomorrow, I have trouble sleeping…

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Free camping with electricity? You’re dreaming…

Day 8 (by Francy)

Today is a windy, rainy day, so we take advantage of the fact that we can stay at the campsite until late afternoon. While I’m being productive with the blog, Logan is reading Bear Gryll’s Autobiography “Mud Sweat and Tears”. We are charging our various batteries and around 5pm head off to a free campsite in Classe, near Ravenna, that is supposed to have electricity. It would be a bonus, I think, but we will see. About an hour later we find Classe and the many campervans parked up near the Basilika (church). Unfortunately the toilets are locked and we can’t find electricity anywhere. Looking at the other mobile homes: they aren’t connected to any energy source either. Hm! We are a little disappointed about this rather average looking car park and the non-present facilities but since it’s getting dark soon, we just cook up dinner, close the blinds and watch a movie on the charged laptop while falling asleep.

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Paragliding the Alps

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26/01/12

Australia Day!
This morning the valley is covered in thick fog but the top of the mountains are clear and blue. The forecast for tomorrow, Logan’s birthday, is cloudy with snow so someone might get his birthday present a day early. Well technically Logan will glide into his birthday since Australia is 8 hours ahead. Explanation following!

So we start off our day at St. Johann skiing/snowboarding and Logan has got no idea of my little birthday surprise. After 3 hours racing on blue, red and even black ski tracks, I tell Logan, we should go down to get the camera. At the car I tell him, I got bad news. We can’t go snowboarding anymore. And the second bad news: Tomorrow is bad weather. Logi looks at me all shocked and shakes his head: “No no no no! We are going back boarding now!!” “No we are not, because you will be paragliding in one hour!” “No!?!”  I smile and say “Yes” Logan: “No?!? Really??” “Yes!!” Now someone is happy and excited but first we need to make sure to fill our tummies with some food. At 2pm we are meeting Hervé from the Mountain High Adventure Centre at the Max Pub. There are country flags at the end of the ski track and we spot the Australian flag and behind it a house with a roof full of snow. An interesting image!
The conditions are perfect, the sun is out and there is no wind. Hervé gives Logan a big bag while he carries one himself and they make their way to the St. Johann gondola.
I’m waiting for them down the bottom and after about half an hour I see them gliding down the mountain. When they come closer I can hear Logan cheering while they are doing aero acrobatics and just a few minutes later two happy faces are landing in the deep puffy snow.

We are going back to the car and make our way back to the Mountain High Chalet to look at the footage and rest before going down for dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

27/01/12

Since Logan has already received his birthday present yesterday and our ski passes have run out, we start the day slowly with some work on our footage before we head out to Kirchberg and Kitzbühel around noon.
We have a browse through the towns and meet my great cousin at a pub in Kitzbühel. We actually have never met before and two years ago I didn’t even know she would exist, so it was really nice to meet her!

Kitzbühel is an interesting town. The high society is here and as we found out, Arnold Schwarzenegger was here only two days ago. We see women with expensive fur coats, Botox in their skin, fake lips and other body parts; most of them being over 50 and trying to look like 20. Then there is the rich youth scene and the gold-necklace men scene. Not worth going into detail but it is quite funny to watch.
After 4 hours of après skiing, we went back to our chalet, having missed out on our nice three-course meal and Logan clearly still in drinking mood. You only turn 33 once, don’t ya?! After another hour I went to bed and didn’t find Logan next to me until 4am.  God knows whom he was talking to or what he was talking about, we will never find out. Meister Jäger made sure he lost all his memories.

New year, new start!

 

28/01/12

Unfortunately it’s time to check out of our much loved Mountain High chalet and we would like to officially thank our hosts Hervé and Stephanie, the barmaid and the chef for looking after us so well and answering any questions we had. Also thanks to Hervé as the pilot of “Mountain High airlines” for giving Logan a once in a lifetime experience of paragliding over the Alpes.

Logan and I would have liked to extend our stay in Kirchdorf or anywhere else around the area but since holidays are about to start, every guesthouse seems to be booked out.
We are happy and grateful for this awesome week of powder fun and make our way back home to Magdeburg just to find out that the rest of Germany is also covered in snow. Yeeeeewww!!!

 

www.mountain-high.at

 

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Malerweg Day 4

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Malerweg
Day 4

By Logan Foote

What a night!!! I knew I was in an exposed location but didn’t really have much of a choice yesterday. Every other spot that was sheltered was waterlogged or too steep.

The temperature dropped well below 0 and the wind was so strong. Perched up on the edge on a U-shaped plateau, the sound of the wind howling through the trees was intense. I could hear the massive wind gusts approaching from one end of the cliff top, heading in my direction like a freight train on steroids and then continuing on past me. . At times I had to hold my little tent together as I feared it would buckle under the stress.

I then started to hear the sound of either raindrops or ice being pelted against my tent. I tried to sleep but not much was to be had. At one stage I dosed off only to be awoken by the tent collapsing onto my head. I couldn’t understand this because the wind was not gusting at the particular time. Other thoughts of a branch, an animal or person ran through my mind in that split second as I awoke. I realised no one else in their right mind would be up here at this time and in this weather. I pushed back against the tent before grabbing my torch to inspect what was going on.

Upon opening the zipper I quickly released that it was not raining during the night but snowing. The snow had built up around my tent and due to the weight made it partially collapse.

I arose from my tent around sunrise to be confronted by a completely different landscape. The supposed mild winter had taken a turn and now a new set of challenges lay in front of me. The main one being: Could I still follow the track? It would be easy to take a wrong turn and be wondering around these rocky mountain cliffs and forests with almost no food left. After studying the map I weighed up my options. I could see another track that lead down to the river and a little village but was not sure exactly where it started in relation to my position.

After packing up my tent and dealing with the unpleasant business of a sudden bowl problem in the snow I was ready to go. The track was very hard to follow. At times I was guessing which direction to walk and with very steep cliffs all around me that were now covered in snow, now was not the time to be complaisant. I came across what looked like a small person’s footprint that seemed to be following the track. I knew that it had to be some kind of animal but no idea what. At times when I didn’t know which direction to walk, I followed these little footprints. I think if they were not there it would’ve been much harder to keep on the track and make it down safely to lower altitude.

I was very relieved when I managed to find the other track that lead to the river. So with that, I then decided that the wise thing to do would be to not continue along the Malerweg. The next two stages were through similar terrain with steep rocky cliffs, gorges and the unknown. My luck on the food front was not any better. The map only showed the odd little village along the way and a very low chance of a shop. I contemplated cutting across the river and linking up with another section of the trail but decided against it once I couldn’t find a bridge. I rang Francy when I had reception and filled her in. She offered to drive the 3 hr trip down to pick me up, which gave me time to walk the last 12km to the village “Bad Schandau”. I dragged myself into town searching for two things high on my list. Lip balm, as my lips were in bad shape and food. I was in luck. Once my lips were given relief I found a café and even though I hadn’t really eaten much over the past four days and was not really hungry I ordered a hot chocolate, salad roll and a donut. Awesome. I’m not sure what the locals thought of me or where I had come from but I didn’t care.

Francy eventually arrived, greeting me with a big smile and suggestion that I take a shower ASAP.

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Malerweg Day 3

Malerweg
Day 3

by Logan Foote

Today was another hard days walking. I left camp heading down hill only to walk straight back up the other side where a small village “Waitzdorf” was located.

That’s how this journey is: up-down, up-down and then up again. If I didn’t have my bag I think could run it in just a few days but with all my gear it’s a different story.

My mission today was to try and find supplies. NO LUCK. None of these little villages/settlements have any stores to get supplies. The closest I found was a florist. I was excited spotting a shop sign and eagerly approached in the pouring rain only to be disappointed as I peered through the window to see just flowers.

I have passed a few local restaurants featuring pictures of outdoor gatherings, music, food and wine. Unfortunately this is only in summer time. Nothing’s open this time of the year, because which idiot would be out here trekking in winter? Oh, that’s right, ME!!!

That’s why I’m here. Summer is too far away. I love it when things are hard, the weather is wet, cold and windy and I’m struggling up and down these forest trails.

Leaving my disappointment behind I grab my last chocolate bar from my bag and head back into the forest once again.

Along the way I stop for a bit of filming before passing through Altendorf with, that’s right, NO store. I eventually come across the only tram operating in the national park “The Kirnitzschtalbahn” which runs through the best-known valley of the Elbe mountain range. In the valley was a large camping area with several amenities and more signs of food. Yet again no food to be had, however what I did utilize was their bathroom. I quietly snuck into a clean, even heated toilet. My last toilet was not so posh: a late night squat in a cold forest.

Once I had committed the perfect crime, I took what I thought was a short cut, which didn’t seem to be very short. The sign was in German and it must have said “the steepest, longest way possible”. I reached the plateau and continued along the cliffs until I had to choose a spot to camp. I didn’t want to camp this high up but had no choice as it was close to sunset.

I’m sitting here perched on the edge of the cliff with awesome views down to the valley, river and snowy mountaintops in the distance. I’m getting low on food now so I’m eating my last slices of dark bread with salami. I normally can eat and do eat a lot but the last few days I have only been eating because I have to. I’m just lucky I brought some food with me and that there are fresh water streams around. I can’t seem to drink enough.

Its dark now, time to retreat to the tent.

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20-22/12/11 Potsdam and Berlin

Berlin, the capital of Germany also seems to be the capital of history. Logan has been looking forward to seeing Berlin for a long time and is quite excited to finally retrace Hitler’s foot steps and the former Berlin wall that separated all of Germany.

On our way to Berlin we stopped in Potsdam at a castle called “Sanssouci” meaning “without worry”. The castle was built in 1745-47 by Friedrich the great and later extended by Friedrich Wilhelm IV. It is surrounded by a large park with many more castles and rococo-style buildings.

Winter is making it a challenge to enjoy the beauty of the castle. Cold temperatures, showers and wind ensure our visit will only be a short one and even daylight says good bye at 4pm.

In Berlin we are checking into our hotel and decide to explore the capital’s popular nightlife. With a Berlin Welcome Card (16,90€) we can use public transport without any extra costs and get concession prices at tourist attractions like museums or the sightseeing buses. Thinking that Berlin Mitte (centre) should have some bars, we get off the subway there and find ourselves in the middle of a long shopping street, all shops closed obviously. Just a few metres away we discover a Christmas Market beautifully lit up in warm lights and stalls with food and drinks everywhere. It is a lot more crowded here than in Magdeburg or Braunschweig, even though we had to pay 1€ entry fee. I assume this helps to keep the homeless out which there are a lot of in Berlin and they ask for money everywhere.

Luckily I looked up a few bars before leaving the hotel and found one that I optically liked quite a lot. I convinced Logan to check out “Kitty Cheng” so we walk along cold Berlin streets for 20 minutes until we arrive at the bar. Inside I’m a bit surprised that we are the only people in here but soon realise it’s only 8:55pm and the bar doesn’t actually open until 9pm. The very friendly staff are serving us promptly. I’m having Champagne and Logan Rum and Coke. Not knowing the prices, we order the bill after two drinks each out of precaution, only to find out that Logan’s drink was 8€ per glass. A bit steep considering that alcohol is quite cheap in Germany. My champagne was 4€ a glass but Logan changed over to beer. The bar slowly filled up, a DJ started to play some really good music and we sat there until the early morning hours, enjoying the stylish atmosphere of a Berlin scene bar.


Quarter to 10am we frantically jump out of bed, Logan barefoot, to the hotel restaurant: Don’t miss out on breakfast !!!
Lucky Logan checked his phone in the morning, finding out by accident that it was 10 already.

The buffet was great and reinvigorated we made our way to Berlin’s most popular shopping street: The Kurfürstendamm. Shopping: Logan’s favourite part, but it’s Christmas in three days, so no way around some shopping today! It only takes about 30 minutes and we got what we wanted and even Logan said: “Wow, that wasn’t too bad.”

Thick rainclouds are hanging above us and we don’t really feel like sightseeing today. The DDR museum is a great and entertaining way to end our day. On more information about the DDR /

GDR and the separation of Germany until 1989 click here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Germany

On Day 3 we went on a City Bus Sightseeing Tour and got off at Potsdamer Platz where part of the wall is still displayed and DDR visa / stamps for your real passport can be collected. While this may be funny, I hope that everyone keeps in mind the terrible history of people having died at the border. I wonder if people would get the swastika stamped into their passport too? Is this really a difference?
We also drive past Checkpoint Charlie, the TV tower, the Reichstag and the statue of victory.
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02-03/12/11 London Sightseeing

5AM ! Great! Good morning time difference and thank you for waking us. It is still dark outside and we feel like it’s midday. I turn on the laptop and catch up on a few blog entries while Logan is watching a movie on his iPhone.

Two hours later it is still dark but Kian and Jane, our hosts, are heading out for work, so we can now officially get up too.
Fortunately Logan feels much better today, so we make our way from Camden to Trafalgar Square and book ourselves onto a sightseeing bus tour.

So here we go: past Oxford Street, the National Gallery, Big Ben and the Parliament, the London Eye, Covent Garden, London Bridge, London Dungeon, the Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and many more. Near tower of London we get onto a ferry and finally get the opportunity to warm up a little. The hot chocolate and 20minutes inside are just enough to help me stop shivering. At the end of our ferry ride, we get out near Big Ben and are being held back by these east Europeans dressed up as the queen or Captain Jack Sparrow. They want us to take photos with them but don’t understand that we haven’t got any coins on us. I know that behind that smiling queen mask is a very angry east European guy but we really don’t have any money on us nor did we want to get into this situation anyway. Woups.

Logan has the great idea to sit on top of the bus again: in the outside! May I just mention once more: it is December, a very very cold time in Europe! The wind is blowing through my beanie and I don’t know how to hide from the icy cold wind that is blowing around us. I know this will be the end of my 2 years flue-free time. Logan doesn’t believe me – yet.

After a long, interesting and exhausting day, Logan and I try to heat up with a hot chocolate in a cafe at Trafalgar square. Back at Kian’s and Jane’s place, we are so tired, we stay home while they go out on their Friday night. We are feeling rude but the jet lag gets us once again and we pass out very quickly.

Saturday morning, 5AM. Oh no, this seems like we will never get out of this doom loop. Three hours later it looks like our planet is slowly turning towards the sun – unfortunately with a thick layer of clouds inbetween us and the warming star. We are trying to quietly have a shower, which turns out to be a bit of a mission in the old London unit. The doors and floor are squeaky and I feel a bit bad for being noisy at 8am on a Saturday morning. Logan heads out to get our hosts a little thank-you present and then we quietly leave around 9AM. Our plane will be leaving midday, so we haven’t got much time to waste.
We are heading straight back to Victoria train station, pick up our bags, and keep going to London Heathrow airport. I’m excited to see mum and dad finally after over one year, excited to return home the first time after two years and I’m glad we finally don’t need to carry around our 60kg of luggage anymore…

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