Posts Tagged With: Running

Norway, Viking Roadside Assistance (ADAC) and Norwegian Customs asking for drugs

As we still need to wait a few hours for the ferry to take us from Hirtshals in Danmark to Kristiansand in Norway, we both decide to go for a run – individually though, as I could never keep up with Logan’s speed and distance. While Logan is running towards the town of Hirtshals, I’m running along the beach in the other direction. The weather is cool, windy and sometimes rainy; probably quite good for a run! Soon I’m forced to turn around as there is a small river (or creek) separating the beach. It is too wide to jump, so I’m turning around, running back towards the van. Just as I arrive, Logan also returns from his run and decides to go for a refreshing swim in the Baltic Sea. A few people stare, it is probably rather uncommon for a person to go swimming in this kind of weather.

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It is then soon time to drive over to the ferry terminal. We are one of the first to arrive and one of the last to go on the ferry – of course. Once on the Fjordline Express ferry we get comfortable in the “comfort seats” in the top level and soon daze into a shallow sleep as it’s already past 11:30pm.

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The ferry ride only takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. There were two children on board who would also cry for those two hours and 15 minutes – non-stop!! How very exhausting for everyone on board, also for the toddler himself to cry for over two hours without a break, wow!
I’m glad once we get back to the van and am looking forward to falling asleep very soon… But of course the appearance of our flower-decorated van, the peace sign hanging from the mirror and Logan’s deadlocks lead to the customs officers stopping us to get our van sniffed through by a dog! I was already highly amused about how the cliché of someone with dreadlocks got us into this situation but the creme dela creme was the the question of the officer: You smoke? Marijuana? Cannabis? Logan laughed and responded: Don’t let the hair fool you, I’m not even smoking cigarettes! The disbelief in the officer’s face expression was priceless!

Finally we are able to pull up in one of Kristiansand’s side streets and get some rest.

In the morning we have our first experience with grocery shopping in Norway. All we need is some water but a 5liter bottle of water is over 7€!!! All we end up buying are 4 bottles of bubbly water and instead of still water in a bottle we use the next opportunity at a shell station to top up water and also refill all our water bottles from a tap/hose supplied.

And there is our next problem: When we want to refill diesel, the petrol cap won’t open! No matter how hard we try, it won’t open but instead just makes a clicking noise. We have to call the German road ride assistance (ADAC) who then send us the Norwegian road side assistance “Viking”. It really pays to be a member! After the nice assistant doesn’t seem to have any luck with our petrol cap either, we are being taken to a mechanic who then breaks the lock in the cap. This service didn’t cost us a cent. The only little problem now is that we can’t lock the cap anymore and it isn’t as tight as it should be, so hopefully there won’t be any dirt or sand falling inside the tank until I can replace the cap.

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Finally, by 2pm we are on the road westwards. It has been raining all day today but our first impression of Norway is still a very good one. There are a lot of lakes and fjords everywhere along the south! First we stop at the south cape and take a few snapshots of the lighthouse, before moving on.

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We make it to a place before Flekkefjord where we try our luck fishing again.
We haven’t caught a single fish during all of our Europe trip, I wonder whether that is going to change today! While we are sitting patienly for 3 hours, trying all sorts of bait like fake fish, bread and sausage, “our fish” like to nibble but never bite; while the guy next to us is pulling one fish out after the other. Within 30min he’s got 4 fish and leaves. We keep on trying for a long time but eventually give up as the rain and especially mosquitos become unbearable. Soup for dinner tonight and we’re still smiling of course. But maybe we should consult a fishing expert before our next fishing adventure!

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Dolomites, Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm)


After a nutritious breakfast…

… we leave beautiful Villanders to drive further into the Dolomites, hoping to start a 5 day trek.

Here’s a photo of where about the Dolomites are (the lower white end in Northern Italy).

And our Camping spot with beautiful views over the Dolomites…

On our discovery route, we drive through Kastelruth (or Castelrotto) and get to enjoy fantastic views at the Alpe di Siusi (or Seiser Alm). Kastelruth is a lovely Tyrollean village with mural art on the buildings. During winter this is a snow resort town and during summer the gateway to an adventure land full of activities like mountain climbing, hiking, running or cycling.

  

Driving up to the Seiser Alm, an amazing plateau, we have to discover that there is no way we can possibly spend the night here. Cars are only allowed to a certain point and there is only one car park which is monitored by rangers regularly. We return to the village “Seis” at the bottom of the Seiser Alm and try to gather some information on possible hiking trails for the next days. Here we find out that the refuge huts are still closed and that there is still snow in the higher parts of the hiking trails. Our planned 5-Day walking track will not happen but we are still quite happy to go for a day-trek tomorrow.

For today we decide to just go for a walk from our campsite in Seis to a lake we found on the map.
It is a rather cool but sunny day (with clouds) and I’m struggling with a light headache caused by the cold winds, so I end up wearing a beanie.
We first walk through dense forest and just when I’m reminded of my childhood stories of witches and dwarfs, I discover a large rock in the middle of the woods with a sign telling a myth about a pastor who was once killed here by witches. Soon after, we come to an open alpine pasture with dozens of cows and bulls roaming freely. The cow bells are ringing everywhere and one cow curiously walks right up to me, smelling me and my hand. I think I have never been so close and vulnerable to a cow before but even though we were both slightly afraid of each other, I felt very close to this lovely creature. The soft nose touched my hand and the big eyes looked at me with curiosity. I think I really fell in love with cows and I’m glad that these ones here have such a wonderful live. They all were very active, running around, jumping and moo-ing loudly.

Not far and we arrive at a lake surrounded by forest. We walk around it once and then return to Seis via a different route.

  

     

  

This different route leads us past a restaurant and we can’t resist but follow our noses…

    

So after having filled our stomachs with Schnitzel and fries, Logan got stylish for his run.
Here, a photo of the 2012 sport’s outfit:

Logan actually ended up running all the way up to the Seiser Alm and back, he’s just that crazy guy from Down Under who can’t get enough!

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Sperlonga, Italy

Getting out of Naples is a relief. We make our way up north towards Rome with the intention of finding a nice campsite along the way to recharge our batteries, fill up water and relax for a couple of days.

Spending the first night on a public car park in Sperlonga, Logan is trying to snatch power from a socket underground but the connections don’t fit. He is being caught by some curious Italians; they stop right next to him and just stare but don’t say anything. They stared before, when we had dinner too. They all stare. All the time. It’s very intimidating.

The next morning we drive into Nord-Sud Camp here in Sperlonga, a nice place. We are located only meters from the beach and while Logan follows his urge of running up mountains, I’m taking care of blogging.
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Once he’s back we are going for a lovely stroll on the beach and I’m going for my first swim in the Mediterranean Sea since 2009. It’s very refreshing since the water temperature is still somewhere under 20 degrees but it’s fun!

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Other than that Sperlonga is a pretty dead town at this time of the year. There are not many people here yet but the camping prices have increased from about 10-15 Euros (North and East Italy) to 28-36 Euros (West).

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Monti Sibillini National Park

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The weather has cleared up a little and we hit the road down to Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini. Monte Sibilla is one of over 20 peaks above 2000m and the park is home to over 50 species of mammals, including wolves, porcupines, wild cats and martens. On the way to Montemonaco, our starting point, we decide to go for the 18km Sibillini Traverse, which is said to have breath-taking views. During our 2-hour drive, we get to see spectacular views of the mountain peaks, some of them still covered in snow.
Finally in Montemonaco, we don’t exactly know how to find the “Refugi di Sibilla” , the actual starting point of the walk, as described in the “Hiking in Italy” Lonely Planet.

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We follow the road and a few signs saying “Monti Sibillini National Park” but there are many walks in this National Park. The road leads up a fairly steep Mountain and turns into a gravel road soon after. We zick zack up the mountain and I keep telling myself: “This can’t be it! This is insane!” The cliff next to us drops down a few hundred meters and the Globetrotter is working hard to climb meter by meter. It took about 15-20min but felt like an hour and we finally reach a hut. This is the rifugio! A sign hanging above the closed door reads its name. I take a few deep breaths and sigh in relief that we finally made it. Hungry, we are having a quick lunch and then get our gear on.

With hardly a trek visible, we follow little paths and a few poles stuck in the ground as way finders. We partly ignore the actual path and walk up the steep cliff, making slow progress, as my breath can’t be fast enough to get the oxygen into my brain. Every so often we have to stop but it’s not like we haven’t got an amazing view over Le Marche and even the Adriatic sea in the distance.

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Logan is first on top of the ridge and from his reaction I gather it must be a good view from up there. When I arrive seconds later, the view just blows me  a-w-a-y! I expected a valley with green hills on the other side. Instead we see a steep cliff and massive mountains around it. It felt a bit like standing on the ridge of a volcano and looking into the inside.

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We then walk along the ridge for over an hour, through snow and over rocks and grass; the 360-degree views impressing us all the way. In front of us lies Monte Sibilla, a stunning peak and the one the national park is named after. I’m feeling a little exhausted and we haven’t got much time anymore as the weather changes on the horizon. I know Logan would like to climb it quickly, so I tell him to leave everything with me and run up to the top with his go pro camera. He thinks it’s a great idea and is off a coupe of minutes later. Meanwhile I enjoy the stunning views in every direction and take some panorama photos with my iPhone 4S. There is a steep bit that needs to be climbed via a rope and I lose sight of Logan there. Soon after I see him at the top, both his arms stretched into the air. Then I even hear him! He does a sort of “howl” and I’m surprised how far the sound travels. I’m whistling back. About 15min later he is back at where I waited and we wander back together, cutting down the mountain diagonally to save some time. It is very steep and rocks are lying around everywhere. Walking sidewards makes you tired a bit so I turn on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and jokingly dance down the mountain. Yupp, Logan caught that on camera

and yupp, it will be on YouTube soon!

After probably about an hour, we are back at the van and Logan shouts out: “SHIT FRANNY!!!!” I think, someone must have broken into our van and run after him. “The car lights are still on!” Logan jumps inside and turns them off. I’m thinking this must be a joke!!! The imagination of having to push and roll the van down the zick-zack gravel mountain road turns my stomach upside down. The thought that I might even have to sit inside because only Logan is strong enough to push it makes me especially nervous. Logan jumps in to try and start the engine. While I’m still in panic, I suddenly hear the engine turn on
like nothing ever happened. “WHAT?” I say surprised. How is that possible? We are very lucky and I’m so relieved.
Time to go “home” to Colmurano…

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Categories: Travel Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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