- Portable renewable power technology?
- Review of Goalzero adventure pack - Solar power
- Best tent to buy for Vagabonding
- Were do I come from politicly?
- How to solar power your Tablet
- Solar Vagabond - escape the rat race
- Solar laptop power
- A Year Long Summer
- How to stay for free in a city.
- Bravery - traveling with disability
Review of Goalzero adventure pack - Solar power
UPDATE: they sent a replacement panel and battery pack and am awaiting a bag to send back the old ones so they can test them. Good company.
Nomad 7 (7 watts) Solar Panel and Guide 10 Plus battery pack
This is a high power 5V usb solar charger that works as well as plugging your phone into the wall in good sunlight. With 1 amp of power it will efferently charge all but the latest huge phones such as the note II which it dose struggle a bit at.
An excellent products that I have been using for the last 2 years. In that time with about 9 months of hard use both parts of the set-up have finely failed.
It had been well used in over 7 country’s and over the summer of its failer was used for 6 months In Poland, Slovakia, Crimea before finaliey failing on a 2 month trip to the Canary islands.
The Guide10plus battery pack melted the plastic rappers off a set of Mignon Hybrid NiMH AA 2100mAh battery’s. They were finger burning hot, then with a fresh set of battery’s it gives off pungent white smoke from one of the internal components and dose not charge or function.
The panel failed at the same time, this time the failer was less final. Originally the panel worked fine in a good sunny position it could could charge 3 devises in a day with power to spare.
Now it is lucky to ¼ to half charge a devices in a days good sunshine. I think an internal cable may have broken if goalzero don’t come back with a solution might try to cut the fabric open and examine each join to check this. Both products had exposer to due and some light rain in north Europe in the south Europe the was a lot of fine blowing sand and volcanic dust. The panel had the cover folded back which might have stressed the internal cables? Neither had any “abuse” beyond normal hard use.
To sum up the products are excellent but not indestructible and am now reaching out to the manufacturer golazero to get feedback on what might have coursed both components to fail at the same time. Watch this space for a reply.
Portable renewable power technology?
"The BioLite CampStove, designed for outdoor adventure and emergency preparedness, makes cooking on wood as clean, safe and easy as petroleum fuels while powering electronics off-grid."
I love tec like this, clever idea made real BUT it takes around 5 minutes to boil 1 liter of water and and will take something like 3 hours to charge a smart phone by USB, so you need to boil over 30 liters of water to charge one iphone - thats a lot of tea...
Find out more
How to solar power your Tablet
You need a panel with at least 14W to charge a tablet, the are a lot of them out there, but, they get VERY mixed reviews. I have only used larger or smaller panels so can't vouch for any of these so please do some research before buying.
Here are a sample that fit the speck - click on the image for the ebay link for each
The is no guaranty that a naked USB power lead out of a solar panel will charge your device, to increase the chance of this working you need to buy a USB battery with pass-through. This is just an example, check the speck carefully very few USB battery’s do pass-through charging
This setup would work fine for a large smart phone or any USB powered device. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and feedback real life experience here please.
A Year Long Summer
A Year Long Summer
I spent the summer of 1989 travelling in Ireland. I can't now remember why Ireland? The first step was a lift to Barnsley with my parents to help put up the Exhibition 100 Years of Woman's Banners in the City Art Gallery. Then I hitchhiked through the Lake District stopping for the night in Keswick. In the morning on to Stranraer in Scotland which provided the cheapest route to Ireland with the ferry to Laughrne 30 miles north of Belfast.
Arriving in Laughrne late in the day, I hitchhiked along the coastal road which runs within a few feet of the sea all the way to the North cost. Stopping for the night in a small village called Cushendall, where two of the 3 hotels had been blown to bits and the police station looked like an army fortress, bristling with aerials and surrounded with a high anti rocket fence.
The coast is beautiful and unspoilt, as a result of a IRA campaign dating from the 70's to disrupt tourism and the economy, anything built would be blown up. Well this is what the local tourist guide said when he gave me a lift. Is the Armed struggle on opshern for “liveable” areas. Next day I continued on to White Park Bay and the Giants Causeway which was a bit of a disappointment as I suppose all great tourist sites are. But the cliffs of Benban Head and the empty sea coast made it well worth while.
Hitchhiking to Londonderry I was joined by a friendly Irish man with a very thick accent in Coleraine. Together we got a lift with an English journalist who drove round all the trouble spots with the local Irish man giving a commentary on "Bloody Sunday" and when they blew up that statue and how many times the Post Office had been destroyed and rebuilt. We were stopped at a check point on the edge of the Bog Side with two very unfriendly soldiers pointing rifles at me, and more soldiers with a heavy machine gun pointing at the car with their fingers on the trigger.
They searched the boot and questioned us looking at passports then waved us through. Soldiers with guns in the streets, convoys of armoured landrovers patrolling, road blocks with corrugated iron and rusting barbed wire, concrete fortresses and bombed out buildings with republican murals and graffiti covering, razor wire, rubble, concrete and neglect everywhere. This is all in a country town in the middle of no were, with shopping arcades, counsel estates, little grannies towing bags with wheels on and mothers with hordes of kids, the same as any small English town.
Crossed the border past a security bunker and round heavy ballads in to Southern Ireland on foot. Stopping for the night in Muff a small village just over the border, where I was offered a job as a granny minder in the local hostel. She was an interesting woman remembering the furst trans-atlantic plane landing next to her cottage in her youth, but the dementure repertison was to much for me.
Hitchhiked across to Donegal town, my first glimpse of the west cost of Ireland, then right out to the Atlantic, rugged and deserted, staying just out side the small village of Kilcar, visiting the Celtic tombs and monoliths of Glencolumbkill, with views of a quiet bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Welcomed at the small Independent Hostel which also doubled as the village shop, with a cup of tea and cake open friendliness and curiosity by a wonderful old Irish man, the smell of a peat fire and the chatter of a group of Germans.
After an Irish music session at the local pub I wandered down to the beach at mid night, in the pitch black with no moon, lit only by the stars. Ahead of me I saw what appeared to be a sack blowing in the wind, walking closer I could hear heavy breathing, the black sacking grew a white face and froze, silence apart from the gentle breeze I'd stopped dead in surprise, the vague indistinct sack grew in to two large black shapes with white stripes on their faces, they moved a couple of steps towards me complete with very noisy breathing, then turned and ran crossing the road which shook with their weight, crashing in to an overgrown field and disappearing out of ear shot. Quite a surprise to meat two badgers so close on so dark a night.
Arriving at the beach, first glimpse of phosphorescent waves and sparkling blue specks of light after each wave washing up the beach, which I was later to see regularly from the bow and wake of the boat crossing this oshen. I spent some days exploring the deserted landscape, getting lifts with peat cutters on lonely moors, friendly people on the small roads people who would stop to offer you a lift, even when you weren't hitchhiking. When asking for directions from the children playing by a cottage they stop and look at me with such open curiosity, and timid smiles, giving me directions with bright eyes hidden beneath a curly mop of brown hair.
Hitchhiked round to Sligo arriving at mid day with a strange feeling, after the magical tranquillity and emptiness of Donegal, I felt I'd arrived in sin city rather than a small Irish university town.
I take the inland route to Galway with no memories. Stay in Galway for a few days fantastic thunder storm in the bay lashing rain, lightning crashing across the sky, stood at the end of the pear with electricity skittering along power cables above, with total calm in the harbour swans sailing serenely by, cormorants diving for fish boom.. crash... buckets full of water, clouds in black turmoil bowling out to sea, the storm flees, total silens, crystal clear air, fresh clean world.
Met Alic hitchhiking out of Galway, shown around Oranmore Castle, sit and talk about dolphins over a cup of tea, he invites me back later in the summer, I think may be ? From Oranmore to Kinvara on edge of the Burran where I stayed in a deserted hostel. The next day along the coast to the cliffs of Mourghan a blighted tourist spot if the ever was one. Then inland to Ennis and back to the coast to catch the car ferry over the Shannon, stopping in a small village on the other side for the night. Down to Tralee and around the Ring of Kerry a place of high mountains glens and pure white sandy beaches, sparkling translucent blue sea, it seems more like a tropical paradise, than the Western Atlantic, but no time or inclination to stop.
Through Skibbereen to a small village with a harbour, Baltimore right down in the south west, stayed for a few days in a nice well run German hostel by the sea. Swimming in tidal pools, managing to cut my foot open quite badly, with lots of blood but only superficial the water was so cold I didn't notice until my plimsolls started squelching on the way back to the hostel, prompt first aid.
To Cork looking round the university in the evening I met some Americans, who arrived back at the hostel at 2 in the morning with a bottle of mead and same trout they had been given by a friendly fisherman in a pub, shallow fried trout, delicious soda bread and mead at 3 in the morning, with American stock brokers, the next day a lively free rock concert by the river ley.
Hitchhiked to Rosslare via Waterford which is pretty boring. On the ferry to Fishguard arriving back on ???
In Wales, London and Ollerton for a while. Then back to Galway to take up alics offer, by coach from London a special offer via Holyhead and Dublin. I stayed at Oranmore Castle a tall square blocky stone tower over looking Galway bay with two great halls and numerous bed rooms and dark dank corridors deserted apart for the occasional visitor and me for the summer of 89.
Kearn and constant Crab Catching on the old stone peer
Galway races helicopters and champagne
Parties in the graht hall
Art Gallery construcshern of
While there I travelled to conamary, visiting Achill Island wind swept like the Falklands dolphins jumping in the waves close to the beach. At the most westerly car park in Europe I impressed the locals with a church made of sand with adjacent grave yard. From Oranmore I explored the Burran a weird area of grey limestone hills full of rare plants and ancient Celtic and Christian ruins, a gided tower round deep caves, I am not really in to gided towers.
At the end of summer when the weather started to close in dark and damp I took my leave of alike and Leone, packed my bag and skipped of down the road, thumb in the air, getting a lift with a slightly camp gay vicar for the second time, a couple of propositions and intresing discussions later he dropped me off 1/2 way across Ireland in the town of Athlone, on to Dublin where I stayed for a few days, before returning to Wales. Winter in Britain dident appeal So... head for the Mediterranean, Africa or perhaps the west Indies? where ever my wondering takes me.
Europe going south
From London to Paris by train arriving early dumping my bags in the station lockers and wandering round down to the river Seine, the Louvre, Pompadour Centre and white church on the hill. Sleeping on top of a multi storey car park next to Gare du Norde because the friends I'd hoped to stay with house was full of guests, lack of planning has its disadvantages, wandered in past the security cameras as if I owned the place all the way to the top. Then on to the roof of the service building out of sight, wonderful view over the roof tops, the Eifel Tower and the spot lighted white church on the mount. It was very safe too with police patrols every couple of hours driving round the roof, I'd just sit and peer down at them. Very nice the weather was beautiful so I stayed for two days. Then left Paris to hitchhike to Bordeaux where I had hoped to get involved in the grape picking but totally missed it because of the dry summer and early harvest. Hitchhiked on to Biarritz with a New Zealander. Picnic in a pine forest at mid night with a full moon shining threw the canopy above, sticky frout, wine delicious French food, a warm scented night with chirruping cricits and frogs, soft pine needles. The town is a strange mixture of Victorian English and Southern France with sandy beaches washed clean by rolling Atlantic surf, assorted Australians Skipping over the waves on boards, Gazed apon by languid bronzed models, warm sandy nights.
From Biarritz hitched alone, an English lorry to Lisbon, took a day and a half over the endless Spanish plains the only sights shepherds herding their flocks of mangy sheep and the steeples of the next town. Slept in a beautifully warm aromatic haystack on the way.
No luck finding a boat to anywhere in Lisbon stayed around the area for 10 days checking out the docks and tourist sites, polluted and not very friendly. An overnight train to the Algarve with same friends and a very noisy peasant brass band, travelled to the Atlantic side near Cape Vincent it's wild and beautiful, white sand coves, with the scent of wild herbs pervading the scrubby land scape. Eating figs from the trees, swimming in the surf, lying on the beach. I stayed for a week in a smelly Fort standing on a head land with cliffs plunging in to the sea all around. You can sit and watch the lazy fish evade the fishermen casting their nets from their boats hundreds of feet below.
On to Seville in Spain by thumb, bus, train and finally in a battered Israeli VW camper van which broke down on the outskirts so we had to walk in to town through wide boulevards lined with heverly laden orange trees, over a lazy river to the centre. sitting around looking lost trying to find the information centre I struck up a conversation with on old lady how turned out to be from Gwatermarler she and here children found us a hotel near the old Quarter.
The remains of Moorish architecture, cool very civilised. Got involved in making a film in the towns old quarter, a carnival lots of dry ice, masks, prancing and flying capes. Bussed and hitched to Gibraltar, where it rained, overcast, no where to stay, was almost arrested for inhabiting an abandoned military bunker, saved by a car crash half way down the rock that the police van could not pass so they let us go.
After asking around the Meraner for a week I Found the Danish sailing yacht "Nana" a 42' steel ketch sailing to the Canary Islands and then possibly on to the West Indies, left the next day.
Sailing across the Atlantic.
I sailed on a cold blustery, wet day with Ivor the skipper and Dagmar as deck hand, the last sight of Erourop was Cape St Vincent light house where 3 weeks earlier I'd been swimming and sunning my self with German friends in a secluded rocky cove. Skirted along the coast of Morocco cautiously moving out of sight of land to avoid pirates. Then only the blue and some time grey waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Climbed to the top of the mast on a calm day, fell out of bed and cut my head open on a not so calm night arrived nine days later in Las Palmas Grand Canary not quite sure if I liked this sailing lark!
"Sailing on a boat, what a crazy thing to do, on the way to the Caribbean, going very, very slowly, what a crazy thing to do."
"cooking in a galley with a swaying stove, pots and pans everywhere sauces slurping, water boiling, falling back, falling forward, lurching side wards, what a crazy thing to do!"
In Las Palmas marina for two weeks with friends of the skipper from Denmark sleeping in a hammock swinging from the mast. Las Parlmas is not the most inspiring place giant couculoc and oil slicks in the harbour. silly business in ??? A barbiq at the beach with exploding flombay, hiring a car and exploring the hills and mountains. Swimming in the lake up in the mountains Skinny dipping cool water, warm sun, pine trees, rocks and cactuses.
Friends, the hope fulls looking for a bout, the crew of the Emma.
Sailing to ??? on the uthere side of the Ireland.
Humm... I wont put this bit in yet.
Catch up with the boat at Los Cristanus, Tenerife where we stayed waiting for the right weather, were damaged in a storm, crushed agenst the Qey by a big Mahogany Brazilian scuner, shattered the anchor motor, broken ropes, railing gared and scratched paint work. I was up most of the night sea serching the Irlands for Discarded tires to acked as buffers to stop the "Nanna" being bashed agenst the stone Quay, the wave action was making the bout act like an elevator up down 10' the restraining ropes crowning as they took the strain, and exploding with a bang when not. Five other boats were sunk in the 2 weeks we were there running aground, slipping anchors, being smashed to pieces on the rocks.
While working along the cliffs east of Los Cristanus, spotted a boat sail flapping on the rocks, about 3 miles off hurried down to find an English Sailing Yout the "Yarmouth" impaled on a rock shuddering as each wave crashed around it. At the Sean I found the Spanish Red Cross talking to a German they didn't know if any body was on board and didn't seem to care, the German striped of his clothes clambered on to the boat to see if anybody was still there, Luckily not. the Spanish attitude to disasters ?
We broke down when manoeuvring in the harbour mouth, the gear box fell off the engine! hopelessly trying to get the sail up, the wind blowing us rapidly towards the rocky beach and surten disaster as the land olwase wins even agenst a steel bout, luckily for use we were rescued by a friendly Dutch yacht, who threw a line across and towed us back to the safety of the harbour.
Spanish mechanics... Sitting around doing nothing for 2 weeks.
"Silly moods, swinging from the boom, biting Dagmar, swaying to the music. Staring in to the cats eyes, laying like a dandy, hanging by legs from the mast, drinking gin & tonics with out lemon. Climbing a mountain, volcanic plugs, painted rock and soil hills all worked by man. Heavy German serious and fast, boring and annoying, it makes me, sitting on the wind screen of the cockpit a German on each side, peeling nose, bad jeans, gentle breezes and searing sun, what to cook? Germans complaining about Neil's & Ivor? Ill look for something to do but won't find any thing."
"Germans its like being clubbed alternately on each ear, or both together hooo......!"
Climbed to the top of Picaltider 12,000 feet high well OK not quite to the top! I hitchhiked, they hired a car a minor disagreement? I got to the mountain 2 hours before them. It was freezing! so I gave up, thinking they weren't arriving hitchhiked back 1/2 way round the island in the dark. Good lift, the best of the trip...
Cape Verde and beyond
Motored out from Los Criseans at dusk with a leak pie in the oven a sudden decision there wasn't any wind but a weather fax suggested there was wind about 200 miles further down and the storm might close back in on the Canary Island.
Sailed across the Atlantic with dolphins, wales and lots of flying fish. skirted a massive thunder storm, I would do two 4 hour watches each day steering the boat and keeping an eye on the sails.
Surfing down waves at night, the bout would be lifted by the stern by the 30' hiy waves, she would start to pull off course as the wave built up behind, then surf down the other side as the wave past.
Shooting stars every 10 minutes fireballs streaking across the sky, braking up in to bits then fading away. almost every night.
The Trade winds blow stederly by the time we reach Cape Verda.
The sky at night, sun sets, sunrises fleeing clouds
Thunder and lightning, for a day we scurt a massif thunder storm the sky black all along the Port side.
Other sailing boats at night lit. by lights, and lightning lone sailors, obviously asleep continuing there cores.
A Tanker even throw we have right of way, we get out of the way, they have a terrible turning circle and don't stop at all well.
On a becalmed day we swim no land for 1000 miles in all directions and 3 miles deep, Dive of the emergency box over the side, watch out for the sharks.
Every fuw days we are surrounded by Dolphins swarming in waves jumping and swerving around the bow.
Wales spouting and sailing Qwitly by
Flying fish swarms of, crashing in to the sales and deck at night. and skimming the waves for 100's of yards around the ship, glittering rainbow wings in the day.
dagmar and the vimpire bats.
Very Danish, playing guitars in the cockpit to pass the night watches
Getting a good Sun tan
Bathing and showers with a sun wormed bucket of salty water.
Washing up a bowl of salty water, pealing patatos a bucket of salty water, washing clothes in a bucket of salty water, lots of used for salty water.
Sailing which rope to pull?
"The middle of an oshan, smell of the bout, plastic, fabric and wood, overall damp musty sea smell. sun full above, siting on a cushion in only a tattered cotton shirt, hand resting on the wheel, following the cumpass. Gentle swell, russeling of air in the sale, rigging. Me the bout and empty rolling waves, a small browned Beard gliding in amongst them, skirting round a number of times, before continuing its meandering cores to Africa."
25 day calm crossing
Arriving in Barbados on Christmas Eve. The lights of the irland on the herisern at night, in the morning I wake to find cliffs of a dull coloured island off the Starboard bow and a small home built brightly couled fishing bout, appearing and disaping inamuncst the troughs of the waves. We anchor in a bay with meny other youts, then motor in to the port to redigter with customs and imergraion. Every body falling out
The West Indies
Barbados touristy but friendly stayed for Christmas and the New Year. White sand beaches lined with bread fruit and palm trees, blue sky's and crystal clear water chasing little brightly coloured fish around the pear. After leaving the Nana I stayed in a cheap room behind the beach bar in Bridge Town. sharing it with a friend, one of use paid and the other hid under the bed at any knock at the door. Swam in the sea twice a day got very drunk on free rum at a number of parties.
Travelled round the island by bus. sleeping on a deserted beach for one night, in the morning climbing up a 30'high swaying coconut palm for fresh milk, in the process ripping the bottom out of my only spare pair of trousers! Had planned to walk back to Bridgetown but proved to be too far, got same strange looks getting on the bus with a massive hole in the back side of my grubby trousers with no underpants every body was dressed in their Sunday best, bright printed cotton dresses and straw hats. I had to smile, the only white person on the bus, diaproving but not hostile looks.
No luck finding a safe! bout to continue my travels so imposed on a friend I'd made in Las Palmas, Andrew to take me to Granada in a 31' English Boat Called "Emma", he was doing the ARC race to raise money for disabled sailors on tall ships, introduced them to some strange local foods and drinks Incredibly sea sick all the way.
Granada tropical jungle over growing wood and corrugated iron houses, abundant fruits, flowers and exotic birds. Hitchhiked threw the mountains to the lake at the top of the island and over to the other side through villages, banana plantations, nutmeg trees and jungle an interesting and exceedingly beautiful place. Befriended by two young locals while sipping a cold cola on a street corner, sea moss in a pop bottle with cling film over the top, I was a bit concerned about drinking it, but must keep up appearances. Paddled out over a reef but could not get, back stepped on a deadly black sea urchin two spines in foot it was a native not tourist beach which are usually safer.
Found my old sailing yacht "Nana" anchored in the harbour of the capital St George. reunion with Dagmar, Nils was furious, mad, hum.... The Caribbean is beautiful but dull and expensive so I bought a flight ticket to London with a stop over in Miami. Met up with an old friend Russell who I knew from Barbados on the plane who had tried to persuade me to help pick oranges in Florida, so as my foot seamed to be fine, why not.
Miami yuk..... a soul less vacuum on the bus from the airport only blacks and crippled poverty stricken whites. Well what I saw of it. Found another English man Berny in the hostel at Miami Beach, hired a car, drove north to Orlando to pick oranges. Frost had devastated the Florida orange harvest no work this far up. Found another English man Andy that makes 4 of us we decided to head back south where the frost had not been so severe. Hitchhiked back to Avon Park all met up in the library, shared a Motel room for two between the four of us cooking the food in the middle of the floor on a camping stove. Orange picking the next day for a Mexican boss in the grove all day earned $12 - $8 for a bag so total earnings for 10 hours work $4 then they took some off for tax! Russell has an argument with the Mexicans about the tax and work permits so no more work.
Decided to go to the beach to splash out on our earnings and maybe get a rumoured job doing carpentry? hitchhiked to Fort Pearce losing Russell on the way, met up in the library crashed out on the flat roof of an abandoned gas station by the beach great apart from the mosquitoes and possible alligators, we stayed for 3 days.
Stayed for 2 weeks on a ranch in whotchuler with a friendly college students family who we had met hitchhiking, visited Disney World and generally lived an affluent conservative American life then back to Orlando to find a way to California. We almost gave up before hiring a car. Drove to New Orleans in a brand new top of the rang Hire car, with two girls from South Wales, me, Berny and Andy, we were stopped by the police, $164 speeding fine for doing 70 in a 55 mph zone which we didn't pay Zooming out of the state.
In New Orleans I stayed with same friends I'd made who had rented a house in a very dubious black district, sprinted to the super market so as not to get mugged, gun fire on the streets after dark. Every night out till past 4 in the morning listening and dancing to Jazz, gospel and blues, great blues. Just wandering around Bourbon Street in and out of the clubs and bars watching the people. Sugar fights in side work cafes while drinking cocoa at 3 in the morning. Strippers and police muggings. Stayed for about a week seeing the beginning parade of Marde Gras noisy exuberant, climbed up a lamp post for a better view.
Louisiana to Los Gatos Northern California via New Mexico, Texas and Arizona with a young same what stoned Californian driving a big Oldsmobile, sleeping rolled up in a sleeping bag in the desert, 3 days with one stop in a motel on the way. slept on the floor of his fathers house, then moved on to Sandborn Park. Sanborn Park a large log building built around 1920 for a reclusive Congress man, who disappeared in mysterious circumstances surrounded by tranquil groves of tall redwood trees and a large pond full of fish, ducks and geese. It is built a couple of hundred yards from the San Andreas fault, but survived the June earth quake almost intact losing a gazebo and some crockery. stayed 3 weeks on and off.
Tom's visit and Expense account lasted for 2 weeks staying mostly at Sanborn Park with a visit to ???
San Francisco a couple of days every so often staying at the cheapest and most dubious place, The European Guest House and later at a pretty but fickle French friends apartment. Poverty on the streets.
I visited Santa Cruz to see Borland a computer software company to try and persuade them to licence Personal Assistant a product designed and written by my brother Tom, staying in Santa Cruz youth hostel, they liked me so much? me and bernie ended up doing work exchange in the youth hostel for 4 and 1/2 months. Working on the desk 2 nights a week with Berne an interesting time but I became very restless and bored towards the end.
"Its Monday, I am in Santa Cruz laying in bed watching the people go by out of the window, fell asleep, woken by Berny rummaging in the closet. chunk, down stares Sue, Shola & Berne looking at me
"he's awake" Humm..... Sitting in the kitchen gemola & milk, sit silently, crunching serial MTV and letter writing as slow as usual IT'S SPRING!"
Arranged a Drive Away car from San Jhosa to Mount Kisko New York state The first day we drove all night to get to Las Vegas where we cruised up and down the strip until we found a quiet park to sleep in till midday then looking round the casinos where I gambled away all my worldly wealth 3 and 1/2 Dollars! finishing the day by sneaking in to the Holiday Inn swimming pool, then back to the car and on towards the Grand Canyon Drove across the Hoover Dam, on the hill up the uthere side the Kiwi hit a wooden pallet destroying a front head light, shaking every body up. we limped on to a wind swept camp sight. Everyone froze because we didn't have good enough sleeping bags. the next day we drove on to the Rio Grande picnicking with a friendly scorpion near the edge of a mile long drop. That night we camped at the "Navaho" Indian reservation,
Camping at the Indian Reservation Still Green valley in the middle of a rocky scrubby desert.
Denver the crash in the car park.
Indian cave dwellings in Arizona.
Over the rocky mountains zooming across the Mid West.
Small town America!!!!!?
"Siting on top of a rusting aboundund girder bridge, Beavers playing around rocks bellow, in a narrow wooded valley filed with a wide meandering river, overgrown railway line, will not sleep here tonight, mere is worried, I think why. Driving on in to the night, Dead eyed American bar, all dead in all ways, no hope no diser, the American life-dream, share a weak bear, leaving berny in the car hee... not the holiday camp, on in to the darkness, small roueds lit only by ower head lights, finally a camp site under the trees"
Arrive in New York City the next day.
After dropping the drive away car in Mount Cisco about 50 miles north of New York city me and Bernie hitchhiked back with a crazy guy in a giant American sportcar doing 90 mph car chase scenes in a 55 mph freeway, weaving in and out of the traffic and squealing round stop lights finally dropping us off in a slightly shaken state in the Bronx where we promptly jumped on the subway! Stayed in New York for just over a week visiting all the tourist sites Central Park, Manhattan, Empire State building, Staten Ireland ferry, Statue of Liberty, Greenwich village, china town, few dubious areas. Then a plane from JFK where they all most arrested me as a terrorist as I climbed up to the roof for a better view, flight to London 6 hours on BA very boring.
England Whow... the Qwantness, small homely, plane, tiny to say the lest, Civilised owe very civilised but this impression wears of after a week. Hitchhiking to Wales a day and a half missed my arranged lift with my mother from Greenham Common Peace Camp, so had to hitchhike 250 miles at 6 O' clock in the evening, made it to just past Carmathen before having to stop for the night, in a frendly pub. Signed on the Dole 25/5/90 in Aberystwyth, nothing had changed.
To Ireland, Oranmore Castle, to finish where I'd started over a year ago, full circle. I stayed for 3 weeks arriving in time for Bill Kings 80th birthday party. Back to Wales and on to a job in London. The end of the summer.
Hamish Campbell the travels of (incomplete 20/8/90)
Lived in London over the winter not a Good I dear! a number of jobs paid off my over draft. what next? (27/1/91)
Walk to Japan?
Eastern Europe on a Zloty
Krackov to the Balkans
The Global Walk for a Liveable World from California to Hiroshima Japan, the first stage was in 1989 for 6 months from LA to New York. I had known about them from before they started, when I was in Santa Cruz, but I did not know where or when it would happen. So I drove across America instead of walking and flew back across the Atlantic to London. I found out about the second part from my mother, Thalia as it was announced on the bottom of one of her Ribbon leaflets.
In March 1991 I contacted the organisers in America for information and to offer to help organise the English part, they sent back a letter to say I was the only one to organise the English part. Spent 3 weeks telephoning, writing letters, looking for accommodation in London and en route for 60-100 people, then scaled down to 20-30. They telephoned a week before arriving to say there would only be 2 or 3 walkers. On the day 4 people turned up at the Battersea Peace Pagoda to walk, a big disappointment. 2 weeks to Dover then wave good-bye saying I might meet them in Berlin for the Eastern European part of the March. But it is not really my type of thing, Californians and an earnest young German, out to find them selves and do some good in a self indulgent way.
Set off for Berlin in the middle of ???? to join the walk for a while to see how it went. Terrible hitchhiking out of London as usual, the bus and tube to Greenwich, back and forth on the free ferry to try to find a good place to start hitchhiking, my new Panama hat blown off in a gale, chased down the Thames, wondering around on the pebbles to see if it had been washed up. A lift out to the usual terrible place out on the outskirts of town.
The Experimental Fruit, a long way to Dover.
A cheap day return ticket on the midnight ferry to Ostend. Slept on a bench under the stars, bring back memories of the S/Y Nana and the Atlantic. When leaving the boat wandering down a corridor packing my bag, I was offered a lift by a Turkish/Cypriot driver I had bumped in to, map reading through the low lands to Dan Hage, I was driven to a friend of the drivers home, to sit and drink coffee while they talk in Turkish and look at swords!? The drivers friend gives me a lift to a service station 20 miles along the autobahn.
A number of lifts leaves me lost in a village near Arnhem with a slip road off the motorway but none on, a 5 mile walk through small villages and forests to find the slip road back on to the autobahn. My next lift to the outskirts of Hanover I decide to stay as it was getting dark, but while walking up the slip road I got a lift to Berlin. The driver stops at dusk to show me the old east/west border post. 23 hours non stop from Dover to Berlin with only 1 hour sleep on the ferry humm....... it is the best way I later discovered.
Berlin unification or lack of it.
Dropped off 10 miles out side Berlin at the end of the S-bahn on the East side at about midnight, very unhelpful, insolent staff at the train station, unfriendly insecure East Germans, miss one train because nobody would point out which platform to expect the train on, finally arrive in the centre of East Berlin at 2.00 am in the morning, sit in the station, wander threw the deserted streets to the west, waiting for the tourist offices to open at 8.00 am, try to telephone the numbers I had, but incorrect, no answer, the tourist offices opens, address Kaput, one vaguely right wander around to find another office who find the address which I go to, a large communal house out in the rich leafy suburbs, filled with people and protest groups.
The Walk had left the day before and now was at an unknown address in the east, I am invited to stay. Walk to the Polish Embassy to get a visa, expensive 50 DM and 1/2 an hour wait, I wander back through the trees of the wilderness park around the lakes, I sleep all evening and night, and wake late the next day, look round East Berlin and visited a German friend from Ireland.
The Walk to Poland
Meet up with one of the women from the walk and catch the train to the walk. Walk for 2 days to reach ???? In the village interesting characters, we all sit and lie around on the grass in the village centre eating bananas and ice cream, waiting for the bar to open at 3 with an old lady peering though the curtains of the house across the street. I am invited to go fishing by a very friendly drunk man on a bicycle.
We stop to rest for 2 days by a lake just out side the village, camping on a sandy beach with forest behind swimming, lilies, dragon flies and beavers. Not having a tent at that time I found myself a newly built picnic hut with a thatched roof to sleep in, it was about 1/2 a mile round the lake from the beach where the rest were. Late on the last day we are invited to a party across the lake in a canoe, with local East Germans, wives of the local Russian troops and a large group of children recovering from the radioactivity from Chernobyl. Stayed late sitting round a camp fire singing folk songs and old Beatles numbers and drinking too much vodka. On the way back tired and the worse for drink I decided to sleep out on the sand by the water, rather than walk the 1/2 mile through the forest to my little hut. It was a fine night I unrolled my sleeping bag and slept under the banner I had brought to keep the morning dew off.
Later that night I was 1/2 awaken by a snuffling nose and a damp bristle nose nudging my neck, some thing was trying to get in to my sleeping bag, lay there for a while dreaming, then sat up to see this small round shape bound off across the beach in to the dark trees, humm.. still thinking I was dreaming, I went back to sleep only to be reawaken a 1/4 of an hour later by the same sensation, to see a small wild boar scamper across the sand and in to the shadows.
Staying at the really amazingly good Handicapped Peoples Agricultural Collective in Frankfurt Oder.
Walking over the river
Frankfort-Oder I leave the march and walk over the river to Poland, there are no border guards to stamp my passport visa. I change a little money in a small shop, having no idea of the exchange rates then walk out of town. Poland is much poorer than East Germany. Get a lift to a small run down town and find a place to sleep in a dingy youth hostel. The next day I hitchhike a lift with a middle aged man and a young woman for 50Km or so, they were suspicious at first, I point at the map and tried some English, silence, a misunderstood conversation? When getting out of the car they realised I was a foreigner from the England, wide eyed amazed expressions, they had never met anybody from the West before.
In Poland they have a strange hitchhiking technique, you undulate your arm up and down with your hand flat like a snack. Arriving in Wrocklaw, a dreary run down town, full of rickety clanking trams. A long walk out to the youth hostel with 2 young guides the hostel was closed long ago, walk back, to find the hostel which I had walked past 2 hours before. Problems with the accommodation so decide to buy a tent, spend a day looking around but very limited choice and availability in the stores, nothing that meets my requirements for light weight, afford ability and size. I decide to catch the train to Krakow as I am too lazy to walk out of town and it does not cost much. Meet a young student and an old lady, Catholics, when we arrive in Krakow am invited out to dinner but ended up talking and drinking tea with Polish intellectuals at the university.
Krakow has to be one of the prettiest towns in Europe with a well preserved old centre surrounded by a tree filled park made up of the filled in moat and the walls with many gates and roads cut through, the focus of the centre is a large square over looked by the cathedral, in the middle of which is a large stone covered market, and what can only be described as a wizards tower, very medieval very unreal, like the court yard of arches in the palaces it all looks too insubstantial, at any moment it will all fall upon you, leaving rubble and picturesque ruins. I sit and watch the Poles, watching the Hari Krishna's singing and dancing in the main square.
Hitchhike to Auschwitwz and back for the day with a young Jewish American, along the small roads, the first time he had been hitchhiking we met many friendly and generous people, a good antidote to the railway lines leading to the endless wooden huts and extermination chambers. Each building has an exhibition set up by a country affected by the Nazi genocide. The best was the Romanian told in a straight forward meaning full way, the worst the Czech and Hungarians, which at their time may have been fashionable but had dated to total obscurity and meaninglessness.
The next day I catch the bus to the High Tatra mountains, because it is a Sunday and I think the hitchhiking will not be so good, but looking back, it would have made little difference. Driving towards Zakopane we go up and up in to the foot hills with jagged snow covered mountains ahead, I catch a local bus to Kuznice a small village then walk for 2 hours up a mountain with my rucksack, through Alpine meadows and paths twisting amongst the pine trees.
I stay for 2 days in a mountain lodge made of giant boulders in among small fir trees. In the evening I walked to a lake bare foot along a stone path surrounded by 2,000M high snow capped mountains, paddling in the foot numbingly cold water, snow on the shores the sun sets behind a mountain ridge I race up to a higher level, 2 sun sets in one day, walk back in the gathering dusk to make tea and talk to the young people, go to bed ZZZZzzzz...... only to be wake up late at night by crashing noises and every one muttering and peering out of the window at a bear rummaging in the wood pile.
A good 5 hour walk to Czechoslovakia, through forest down ravines, along ridges with views of steep snow covered rocky mountains rising from the distant forested hills.
"Wild pine trees with a carpet of bilberries, amongst rocks padded with soft moss, streams bubbling around smooth creamy boulders, Crystal clear water icy cold and sweet. Open glades with wild grasses, yellow and white small flowers occasional mauve and blue, the buzz of bees and fluttering butterflies, sweat brings a cloud of distant flies, silences with the occasional crash of fleeing deer or rustling lizard."
Problems at the border because of the lack of a stamp in my passport. Give 2 postcards and some money to an old lady to send, as there was no post box in the border crossing.
The Slovak High Tatras.
Hitch-hike around the mountains to Starry Smockavich a lift with a rather obnoxious "entrepreneur" who spoke no English and kept trying to persuade me to pay exorbitant amounts of money to rent a room, some times it is nice not to understand. Rest in a comfortable very cheap tourist motel for 2 days, look around, go on a fairy tale trip through a forest by tram to a very nice modern! ski/mountain resort. The next day I buy a tent for 2,100 Crowns (£50) and leave for the low Tatras to try it out.
The concrete tower block town
Get a lift with a Dutch couple who take me to the ice caves of ???, then on to Dedinky a small village on a reservoir in the low Tatra mountains. A young woman the only English speaker, get to know the locals stay for 4 days lose on a washing line 1/2 my clothes and have my watch stolen after a birthday party,
A thunder storm and late night party lots of bad rum and a flooded tent.
The People from Holland
"stayed up late with the people from Holland, trying not to drink, paranoia surfaces about the Czhec hosts, I try and calm the situation, Amsterdam is not a place of trust"
As I pass a camp fire.
"am offered goulash and lots of alcohol by the Romanian gypsies on the way to the restaurant. They lay around their camp fire, passed out from to much drink the whole time I am there"
A 1/2 hour chair lift ride up in to the hills to stalk deer through the woods with my camera a bit worried about getting hopelessly lost, spend a morning in a grassy flower strewn glade swamped with butterflies they land in droves on my black jacket to lick the salt off as I lie and snooze amongst the tall grass. Drink lots of tea with syrup in the local pub, very good! wonder around the lake. Walk and hitch hike to the Hungarian border, getting a lift for the last 10Km with a group of Neo-nazis who luckily didn't speak English.
Walked across the border to a new country! Hitch hike 1/2 way to Budapest, I don't know by what route because the driver spoke little English and I had no map! arrive in Budapest early the next day.
"They play lots of 50's music in Hungary, its nice to Zoom along in a plastic Trabant, with a Czech sound alike Jerry Lee Lewis belting out of the stereo"
The driver was very proud of his little Trabant with a new 4 stroke V.W. Polo engine instead of the old smelly 2 stroke, we were speeding along at 110 kph, overtaking all and sundry. I was not allowed to wind down the window because they supposedly fall out at over 100 kph, when a large French Citroen with streamlined slick arrogance cruised by and disappeared in to the distance. The once proud driver, is completely dejected, crestfallen, envy. The spark of consumerism. The effortless arrogance of the west.
Budapest a big city, nice enough, see the citadel on the hill wander around the Ludwig Museum. American born again Christians and Mac Donald's perverting the naive youths outside the main railway station. Lose my passport but luckily it is found. Sitting in a small cafe having eaten a strawberry pastry, fresh cherries and a pear all for under £1 in the centre of Budapest.
"The Eastern Europeans still live in a bullet ridden past, the scars every where, from small villages to great cathedrals, explosive projectiles, how many of them claimed their targets, walking in amongst horror, bright sunlight, German accents fat and complacent not seeing."
"Must get a hat or severe sun burn, new pair of trousers and a shirt, shoes too. my sandals just came unglued will fall to pieces soon as will my slip on Chinese slippers."
"No idea of the date, lost my watch, it makes a lot of difference, good or bad? a difference you fit in much better with the landscape, but miss all the buses, but you are a hitchhiker !"
Caught a train out of Budapest to Szolnok, a hot and frustrating hour trying to find the right bus to the outskirts, I end up on the wrong side of town, but good to wander through the market buy a strange pastry and find the bridge. Over the river after cheese, bread and juice. Wandering along a dual carriage way with big Russian helicopters dropping paratroopers in to the dusty sun shine of a nearby field.
"A couple of lifts leaves me a few towns further on stuck in the middle of no where, the sky is darkening for a storm, big rain drops splash infrequently causing instant puddles. No lift, lightning flashes in the distance, thunder booming, still no lift. walk along the road looking for a place to pitch my tent, all agricultural land. The rain gets heavier, clouds blacken, dusk approaching, a whole stream of cars goes by a lorry slams its brakes on, the car behind braking strongly, I run after it as it rolls to a stop, backpack bouncing, point up the road while clambering in, chuck backpack on top of the engine, mutter something in English, slam the door twice to close it."
Time to get out, the lorry driver and me sit in the cab waiting for a lull in the storm.
"put the tent up badly in a hollow just out side the town of Puspokladany, intermittent rain showers thunder and lightning, only juice and some glucose sweets to eat, cannot leave the tent because of the mosquito's, swatted a big one full of blood biting my neck, no idea what time it is, getting late the sky darkens and lightens with the storm clouds, sleep well with the roof of the tent wet, me dry. walk through the rural part of town, a lift with a Romanian to the border."
Romania for 1/2 an hour.
"In the shade of a truck at the border, waiting for a driver to process his papers he has offered me a lift to Northern Romania, near Transylvania to stay with his family in the mountains, lunch at a Romanian cafe consists of salted cheese vegetables pickled in salt, some white bread rolls and frizzy orange juice in a recycled bottle, the food was not good and the juice had a foul sulphurous smell when opened. I am to pretend to be a business man to avoid having to change $100 at the border, but no luck, tried bribery with Marlborough cigarettes and Western beer but they insisted I need a visa costing £25 and the same problems for Bulgaria, so no chance I only have about £50 left, will go through war torn Yugoslavia instead to Greece."
Walking away from the border post I ask a lift from an English trucker, no problem, a lot of info on hitch hiking lorries, bought me lunch at the Windmill Restaurant where all the Russians were selling their new tyres to Turks for hard currency. A couple of lifts gets me to the White House Restaurant where all the British truckers use to hang out, before heading across Yugoslavia. I stand around talking to the truck drivers and their families, but they are all going in the wrong direction, camp the night by the filling station. No problem getting to the border in the morning.
Waiting at the Hungarian Yugoslav border
"Sitting on the customs table getting strange looks from the passers-by, no luck finding a lorry on the Yugoslav side so wander back, am stopped and questioned by the Hungarian border police but they do not speak any English. A Serbian nationalist chirps in giving me a lecture on the up and coming war with the Croats. Then translates my predicament to the young border guard who discusses it with some colleagues then off to see the boss, they say they will find me a ride, those sitting on the table looking like a criminal, wait for 1/2 of an hour then go to the buffet for a beer and chocolate cake, there is nothing else."
No luck finding a lift to Greece, try tomorrow.
"Camping wild again, is lack of fear or lack of imagination bravery? In a low forest with sandy soil, my socks embedded with burrs and slippers dirty and wet, covered in sweat, feet obnoxious. This camping lark really starts to get to you, accepting the dirtiness. Wild deer wander around, distant barking of dogs, big insects crashing in to the tent, chorus of tweets and twerbals, the humming of crickets and insect wings, always the distant rumbling of cars. I think I've found a limit to my bravery, No further than the distant rumble of civilisation, when I am alone"
"Smelly clothes no money no shoes no company all alone in a foreign land backpack too heavy no Discipline or direction"
English trucks and Yugoslavians. Truckers on the continent have a community, which if you are accepted, will be fed, looked after and transported with great friendliness and ease! The next morning an English truck to Nis, avoiding the Croatian war zone.
The English truckers hate the Yugoslavs and take malicious pleasure in throwing all their trash out of the window and driving viciously at any cars that get in their way. I got a lift with 2 English trucks travelling in convoy to Nis.
"I am dropped off in a hotel en route to Greece, pouring down with rain, earlier hail stones the size of pebbles threatened to break the truck windscreen, so we sheltered under a bridge, with most of the traffic on the motorway."
"A function in the main hall, music and dancing in lines around the tables, lots of food and wine, think of borrowing some but it seems uncouth, they have unfriendly smiles, it is pissing it down with rain out side, new trucks arriving, all foreign and going the wrong direction? may be hard to get away from here, should go and dance but no where to put my bags.
An old friendly prostitute offers me a cigarette in the foyer. I offer her a cookie she accepts. We smile at each other occasionally. A group of tourists ask me were I am from, the women speak good English, people are curious and friendly, they all think the prostitute is my girl friend strange looks, may be they will offer me a lift, no they go to Italy for shopping.
Nasty looks from the Maitre De and the waiters as I sit amongst them to watch the TV news. No smiles, it is getting depressing so I wander around, the rain continues, lassitude sets in, yawns and heavy eye lids. The old woman introduces here self as Gorge and smokes many cigarettes, Turkish coach loads of tourists arrive and leave off shopping in Italy, the rain continues but not as strong.
No not English, they just look it, the rain slows but not stopped, big puddles and lakes, me in my slippers wet feet already. She watches the passers-by and tries her English, another coach party? the time? it starts to get dark, but may be it is the heavy clouds. A truck driver rushes past, keys jangling, she comments on the coffee"
You tend to believe what truck drivers say about Yugoslavia after a while. No lift that night. Hitchhiking is no good on the motorway in the morning a lift for 150km to the middle of no where picking up a young Czech on the way, let off on the side of the motorway, wait for 8 hours, put up tent for a siesta, no lift, all full, going not far or too fast. Most Turkish families going home from Germany for the summer. The sun gets lower, the day cools, I decide to give up on the motorway, and try my luck on a road marked on the Czech map, I have lost mine, walk up the slip road down a slope on to rough tarmac. Talk to some locals who gather around, it is difficult to explain you do not know where you are going or care, just that direction..... no I don't want to catch the bus.
Walk through the new dull dusty village spending the last of my Diners on sweets and nuts, out past a rubbish dump, fields full of sunflowers heads bowed awaiting the sun rise, a military air base with old Soviet fighters amongst the trees, a friendly guard but I don't look to close, military paranoia, civil war, stacks of bombs in piles exposed to the elements, bunkers, holes in the rusty barbed wire, past a shepherd with sheep who nods and says hello, no cars stop, walk in to the next village. Turn off towards where I hope the main road is? a bus zooms past, but no money or inclination to catch it, a car stops, young man looking for his girl friend? Lack of communication, no English, we zooms up and down, he stops to talk to people, chase cars, I think he is looking for some one who speaks English, can only find a French speaker, a cafe owner, I am invited to stay!
"Talked about in Slovak, still nobody smiles, am looked apon by a large stuffed bird with a bow tie, I am not sure how generous Yugoslavs are, We shall see, it is an expensive place, money changes hands all the time. Is he worth holding to ransom or? pass the card around, it is hard to know what they are talking about may be the music out side or politics, it is hard to tell."
“I am very tired even after a siesta, must have got up at 5 or 6? who knows since I lost my watch they do talk about me, are they unfriendly or shy defensive."
Fed well on cheese omelette with bread and tomato and onion salad, very good. The bar is decorated with portraits of dead Revolutionary - Nationalist heroes, stuffed birds and fishing nets a boat in the garden, surrounded by weeping willows, the sun sets as I arrive sit and talk to two old ladies, shook hands be friendly, they leave after a while to return their goats to? A long friendly lecture on dead heroes and the history of Macedonia, it is a shame I understand little of it. Stayed the night at the restaurant a friendly good bye in the morning. Southern Yugoslavia is very pretty the train from Skobje to Bitola was like life 100 years or more ago
"through the mountain passes green and lush, water rushing along clefts beside the track, small plots of maize shaded by trees, out in to valleys wide and dry full of swaying crops disappearing in to the haze, dotted with brightly coloured peasants, up on top of the world, mountains rising up on all sides, through tunnels black and worm with the smell of diesel, past outcrops of rock, old derelict buildings and villages from foreign black and white movies."
"through the mountain passes green and lush, water rushing along clefts beside the track, small plots of maize shaded by trees,
out in to valleys wide and dry, swaying crops disappearing in to the haze, dotted with brightly coloured peasants,
up on top of the world, mountains rising on all sides,
through tunnels black and worm with the smell of diesel, past outcrops of rock, old derelict buildings and villages from foreign black and white movies."
Arriving in Bitola by train, a long lost walk to the camp site, past fat drunken hooligans plotting revolution and ethnic cleansing on a street corner, the camp site is all closed up, no office just a bar, I sit and order a beer it is cheaper than water. With a group of Macedonians talking incomprehensibly. Help myself to a bowl of roasted chickpeas? I am invited to sit at the men's table the only woman sits at a distance table and joins in the conversation by shouting across the room. A shave with a cut throat razor and short hair cut in a barbers shop in the back streets of the old town, very picturesque, churches and mosques together in the centre. No buses or trains so walked-hitchhiked 15 miles to the Greek border, curious looks, not many Westerners.
A long bemused walk. A Lift to Floreana where the banks were all shut so no money. All shops close at 3. Then don't open again, caught me out many a time. A long wait 5-6 hours hiding in the shade of various trees, walking out on to the plain from the town, sun burn sets in, finally a lift to the cross roads Thesolec or Corfu. The wise old man who finally gives me a lift suggests I write "English" with a large black pen on to my journal so as not to be mistaken for an Albanian, many Greeks hate-fear their poorer neighbour, hitchhiking improved no end. At the cross roads, Corfu it is.
A lift to Kastora up in to the mountains, car sick with all the hair pin bends and switch backs, fantastic views of the valleys a long way below patchwork of fields and matchbox houses, with small ancient white walled, red roofed villages nestling in the hollows and on top of pinnacles, shepherds with flocks of goats meandering amongst the slopes and blocking the road along with the occasional land slide or boulder. It would have been one of the highlights of the trip if I hadn't felt like puking up all over the car all the way. Arrive in Kastora late, problem finding some where to stay, put the tent next to the lake.
"I am in the mountains by a lake, sitting in a shaded restaurant out of doors with water lapping a few feet away, have ordered a Greek salad, potatoes and a coke. Surrounded by brown mountains speckled with green, cool breeze blowing off the water, sun burnt nose and arms. White clouds in a blue, hazey mountains sky. I think it is very hot out there, shall not venture out to see. What to do, too hot to climb, swim? what about the water snakes, seen 4 all ready swimming or hiding from old ladies with sharp heels, one in among the reeds with a big silver fish wriggling in its mouth. Giant green frogs with orange webbed feet, lizards of all sorts and many beetles, water mosquitoes, dragonflies, fat ants, running ants, giant ants, grubs and millipedes, fish leaping from the lake at the camp site run by a priest and a pair of pea-cocks strutting and preening."
Priest Gabrial, laying the concrete.
Very hostile plant life, could make it only 1/2 way up a hill, met a few tortoises and beetles, a large polecat keeps running past my open tent!
Water mosquitoes drunk on beer trying to fly upside down in the tavern.
Travelling along the Albanian border
A lift on a flat back Citroen van coasting down a twisting mountain road, the old couple in the front pass 2 worm nectarines out of the side window, juice dribbling down my chin, clinging on to the cab, we coast down from the top of a mountain to a dry river valley, with the company of warm sun and cooling breeze. A good lift, left me at a turn off to their village on a very twisty piece of road.
The fast Mercedes driver and the crash.
Stuck in the mountains, wild succulent sweet strawberries, camp at a deserted Monastery, surounding a anchernt bezentine cherch.
To the sea...
A lift with an old German woman to Igomarnesa, we picnic and sleep on the beach.
Corfu not yet I will explore the cost, Austrian Landrover to Parga picking up a group of Albanian hitchhikers on rout.
Swim from the beach, stay in the camp site, very touristy lots of British and German accents. The Olive groves and rocky bay, sea and sun camping by a deserted beach, swimming, a smoky fire at night.
"sitting in a cafe shaded by grape vines, the chirping of birds and crickets, sun strong out side, dry hills, red roofs, a fort crumbling on a hill overlooking the sea, cool with a gentle worm breeze, pools of sun light dappling the rough concrete floor dotted with friendly dry leaves and cigarette ends.
Greeks chatting, they buy me a drink, are eating meat and omelette, drinking Ouzo, white mixed with water. a small bird searches the floor, the gentle aroma of old cigarettes I could sit all day, no problem, should always speak good English, never pigeon, I think it annoys them too many tourists shouting pigeon.
No problems, if there is ask, they say. a quiet cafe over looking dry hills dotted with green scrub, wind rustling the leaves, flies softly crawling over my legs.
Their bill is lowered, money being forced back in to pockets, arguments amongst friends, much laughter, cigarettes, the meal over, they sit back and relax. Greeks eating me sitting with my book and an ice cold drink in the cool shade."
A long walk to Arilas 15-20 Km along a track though olive groves and scrub, up, down, around hills through a long low valley filled with old Oak trees shading the pebbles of a dried up stream. I set off with nothing to eat, as it would be a 6Km diversion to the nearest village, just 1 1/2 litres of water, luckily there was a plentiful supply of wild pears and unripe figs by the track through the olives and scrub.
Paranoia about the flies they all bite!!! well not really it just seems like it some times especially the giant green eyed ones.
Free camping and a good beach bar, long sandy beaches, small rocky coves and cliffs, the rock sharp and volcanic.
Igomarnesa a dump, the ferry to Corfu
Beautiful scenery good beaches, many tourists, mostly English and German
The Building site
The North is definitely prettier
Corfu town very nice too in parts old very narrow streets impossible to get a car down most of them. water melons from the market, swimming off the old fort. sea urchin spines in both feet, find deserted coves.
Back to England in 3 Days
Left Corfu at 8.30 in the morning after two sleepless nights in the ferry terminal, a mix up on my part about sailing dates, no problems with the customs, sitting on the quay with hundreds of inter- railers all colourful back packs shorts, tanned and sleepy youth. the ship was 1/2 an hour late, nearly empty the Arcadia lines, cheap old boats no free Interail passage, met a young English couple hitchhiking to England back from the far East. Little sleep on the 10 hour crossing to Bari, Italy they were washing the decks, sun very bright. shared my water melon and salad with the English, had a long conversation leaning over the rail with simple-nice?-ignorant American.
The ferry arrived late in the day, a very long walk out of Bari, where the Albanians I had seen along the border would be clubbed and tear gassed in to submission by the Italian Politzie. Camping a long way out of town with the English couple from the boat, in a field full of olive and almond trees. Hitchhiking proved to be hopeless early the next morning a fast slip road with no where to stop, we took a slip road each after an hour they waved good bye and wandered off. I sat on the crash barrier. finally a lift with a young Italian woman who spoke no English to the Payarsh. a siesta for an hour under a tree. then another non English speaker to Northern Italy, Reggio just past Bologna the driver dropped me off on a deserted slip road. Half an hour of smiling at the drivers and waving my English-North sign rewarded me with a lift to Milan with a Car phone sales man who spoke very good English and continuously pontificated on the superiority of all things Italian, I just nodded and agreed naturally. Left at a service station on the outskirts, wandered around, ate the last of my food, a tin of very oily Greek baked beans tut...tut.... tasty! While filling my water bottle, was offered a lift by a young German truck driver to the Swiss border OK.... good conversations about taking old cars to Africa to sell, he was on his way back from Espana we arrived at the Swiss border just in time for it to close... I slept on the canvas top of the articulated lorry, very nice too, left at 5.30 in the morning, with an English truck driver we had invited to dinner the night before because he had no money, I agreed to pay for his diesel and auto strada taxes with my remaining cash and VISA card, 20 hours non stop to London with a free ride on the ferry. We arranged to meet his girl friend at Victoria station, with a cheque and many thanks for getting him back.
In London meny young people sleeping rough in the dirt out side the locked up station, rundown squalor, threatening streets. I was suprised to find that the 29 bus did not leave from here any longer, so a long walk to Trafalgar Square via the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall, many tired party goers sitting around on the National Gallery lawn and talking around the bus stop at Trafalgar Square, sit and eat French chocolate with a bemused expression on my face early that morning I was in Italy with no ticket home. Waited for 1/4 of an hour for the bus, the streets still full of revellers around Leicester Square.
I arrived back at 4 in the morning to Toms empty flat.
(The travels of Hamish Campbell 1991)
THE OLD USSR AND BACK VIA
THE NORTH CAPE
I Started out on an average summer day thinking Moscow, Turkey the Baltic states or perhaps Finland and Sweden. As usual getting out of London proved to be the most difficult part of the trip. The tube train to Greenwich then a lift with a man picking up bricks fallen off a lorry to ??? Then with a teacher to a terrible slip road on the outskirts of London.
Dropped of at the outskirts of Canterbury by a young female French teacher, walk to Bernies a friend from my American trip, his Lada out side. Shall I stay or shall I Go? Off to his juggling class in a church hall, tightrope walking, unicycling, balancing and other pursuits, afterwards to the pub by the sea. He drove me to the ferry at Dover, mid night. A £12 day return to Ostend, I fell asleep on one of the plush settees in the bar, when awaken a number of hours later by a cleaner all the other passengers and cars had long gone, no chance of a lift from the ferry traffic. Trying to hitchhike at the port entrance for a while - nothing. Walk a few miles to the out skirts of Ostend, through a park, past an ornate decorated brick water tower to a roundabout on to the autobahn heading east.
Exhausted from lack of sleep, my zombeyfied progress towards the German border is interrupted by a snooze in a sunny field by an Autobahn lay-by. A couple of London double Decker buses promoting East Enders? going to Budapest, they pull up in to the service station I am trying to escape from, the drivers speak no English, and gives no lift. I am left stuck out side Hanover, camp the night in a field, the long grass beside a forest with the Police station 100 yards away.
I arrive in Berlin the middle of the next day, a lift to the centre with some young friendly East Germans to the usual railway station. But no luck getting in touch with a friend who I had made sand castles with on a Irish beach, and 50DM to stay in the cheapest acomadashern, so a train at dusk to the Polish border with 2 friendly Polish girls who I had met on the platform they were going home for the week end after working illegally in Berlin.
The Polish Border
At the border problems with my visa, well lack of it really. I had asked in London at the Polish embassy about the regerlasherns. they head sead that by then I shouldn't need a visa? So I took there word for it! the border guard, asks to see the visa in my passport I tell him I did not need one, he disagreed off the train to a small bare room with a painting on the wall celebrating the soviet army's liberashern of Poland, the two girls and a boyfriend are ordered to come along to act as interpreters, the phones don't work. Back and forth hello... hello... is there anyone there hello.... in Polish of cores.
Finally after numerous abortive phone calls for informashern and asistens, stamps and forms filled in, 49DM for the visa I paid and received a receipt for 50DM as he had no change. The young people take me to stay at a motel $20 This is getting expensive! I spent more in that day than I would later spend in a week in Rusher!
Hitchhiked out of the town Szczecin a number of lifts in private cars and in the back of a truck. Children selling strawberries all along the road. Stubsk the town with the red brick walls, strawberries and pasta with cream and white sugar. The old men frighteningly out of date 'flares and white synthetic shirt but friendly with memories of London.
The Polish fish farm in the forest, I have put up my tent, the house is like Alicks castle. I stay for a few days in the derelict fish farm in a Polish forest, Freddy Mercury constantly on video, with slasher movies in between. Long walks in the Forest a viset to a poluted lake, the trees scored to havist the resin. Emty holes full of rank weeds, the fish long gorn, the streams poluted to sterial claraty.
Arriving in a small town walking through it to find a castle on a mound containing a good agricultural museum and hotel.
The Solidarity monument, whistle playing late at night, the trip to the beach, over a millon Zeloty of amber buying in the old streets. A visit to Aeroflot, the market to buy chocolate for Russia who no's what I will need, the peaoiul I takew to have meny apenuns generally full of despair and poverty, they say I will find nothing to eat, nothing to biy, no transport, no no they say.
The beach on the Baltic sand and sun.
The bridge over the river? Walk across looking for some where to stop, try hitchhiking for 1/2 an hour at a bus stop in a stiff wind. Walking along the shore of the river, passing cows and fishermen on over grown stone piers. Then in land to a village of large prosperous but run down houses the older ones with ornate wooden carved pillars and sagging gables (amazing they would be in a museum in England), a teen age boy and girl ride by on a bike and promptly crash in to the curb stone because they are watching this stranger rather than where they are going. As I sit and eat an unapertising picnic by the road.
I ask a passer-by where I am and which way it is to the main road, but she cannot or would not answer? Out of the village to a newly built motel and on to the main road. to the border through fields, forests and meny lakes. Walking along small roads lined with trees, few car stop well almost non in fact! and I have no inclination to catch the bus. Country side of lakes and forests small villages and farm houses. Arriving in ??? I spend an hour looking for the non existent Youth hostel, and trying to communicate with the people at the bus station. Out of town to a free camping site by a lake.
It looks like it will tacke me up to 4 dayes to get across the border by car or foot?
The camp site on the lake opposite the monastery. canoeing across the lake, the manager ses for $5 he will find me a plane going to Vilnus??? well why not!!
$25 for the flight to Vilnius.
The old biplane comes in to land on the grass runway out side ???? a visit to the bank to pay, waiting in a newly painted hut, a glass of black tea in a silver holder, I spend the time taking to the customs officer and a young mechanic, a top secret Warsaw pact military map an the wall.
Clamber in to the plane 7 hard seats with thin cushions, 2 other passengers a pilot and co-pilot they seem friendly, the plane swerves and shakes as it takes off, we circle the town banking steeply twice, head off towards Lithuania???
Civilisation is soon left behind, plains doted with farm land and forests criss-crossed by dirt tracks, lakes, flat, it has been flat all the way from London and I am to find the same scenery for thousends of KM's until I reach the hills of Northern Finland and the snow dotted mountains and fjords of Norway.
air sickness sets in!!!! peering out the window.
we swing round over the light industrial area, landing with a phuw bumps at Vilnius air port, peeling paint, row open row of biplanes and small Soviet jets, no problem with the customs, they are very disinterested. The business men from the plane give me a few trolley bus tickets and point me in the derecshern of the center of tone, no local money not a clue where to stay, not a word of the language. I head for the highest point I can find a large classical building on top of a hill overlooking the river and city.
I meet a very snotty student Finding a hotel, The young American CIA men in souts and cella phones.
The large concrete hotel off the bus station SQ 550 Roubles a night, the food is not too good I eat ice cream and suspect pizzas. Resptionist and all all all!!!
"The English speaking resepshernist is tiered and getting irritable as the calls do not get threw, on a hard/soft sofa in the dated grimy lounge, the Porter/door man in synthetic ??? and brown, the hotel door is locked he opens it for eny guests. clouds dark and pale pastel blue sky moving behind the courtens, a large fall out shelter in the back garden, she chafes and goes back to sorting paper, it is a dull meaning less pass time. I am becoming dull and meaningless to.... as if I was ever eny thing else, conversaherns over lunch, American and German lovers, will Thaler and Ian be an ancering machine. tomorrow I go to? two words Rega. 3 middle aged Russian women clamp down the stares and chatter to the door man, he locks the door after them. I sit and wait for the phone conecshern, no wissel to keep me company, only the clang of lifts and the toing and frowning of the resepshernist her mouth with a could sore, eyes with dark bags, but an interesting face and smart jacket. she smiles sweetly but infrequently. more people and a pretty gerl in fake leopard skin, with a man with a champagne bottle. How do you deal with vaporous stupid people, you become one I suppose. The clouds darken and thicken with the night. I ask, she phones, I wait. Bruised eyes short heir, scissors sniping, the door man passes, I sit (as ever) and write."
A long time wandering around the town, to find a group of Austrian modern performance artists, body sacking and pretensions, the creator and host talk at each other, both bored and intolerant of what the other try's to say and play, the words are meaningless. on the library steps the TV center still barricaded agenst Soviet tanks, The bridge over the river blocked by concrete blocks from a nearby building site. The remans of a bert out car in the road.
The tour of the tower of the castle on the mound, it is closed but I am offered a tour by the curator, lots of German invasherns over the last 400? years.
The dilapidated old tone, stucco work crumbling and falling in to the streets
later that everning on the tram to the pagan festival of the "Jones's", I met a student studying English and her young sister. We walked across a motor way and in to the forest looking for the party on the out scurts of tone, most modern soviet tones have large areas of forested parks near to them. But it dsent seam to be happening? find a fun feir the younger sister injoues the rides. back threw the forest and in to the center all the trolley buses have stopped for the night. We found a student party. Jumping over and dancing around the bon fire. Fifties music and modern rap. I provide a bottle of champagne.
The bus to Klaipeda the tired dilapidated drink stop enroute, (can people really live like this) flat agriculture and forests for 300 Km to the sea. Then a local bus to Paraga a model soviet holiday village with the old and new buildings built in amongst the natural pine forest that cover this coast. Wooden walk ways through the sand dunes to the beach.
A single Hotel room for 70p a night, long white sandy beaches, a dilapidated wooden pier with hot sun and cold winds in from the Baltic sea. As the sun goes down people promenade in their best clothes. Discos with soldiers, the segregated male and female nudist beaches, old and young, prudish and boastful.
Hitchhiking out of town to the air port, then to another seaside town and on to the border, concrete and guns pointless nationalism bureaucracy for national identities sake. Border crossings are jury-rigged, construction stalled by corruption and bureaucracy. Britain must be a strange sight for foreigners, how do we keep law and order without the ubiguous machine gun.
At the Lithuanian side of the border I wait for the bus as the hitchhiking is geting unreliabley slow and there is little to see between the towns, The young guards get on the bus, look at my passport, but won't stamp it even though I ask them to, all the old women on the bus have old style Soviet passports.
The bus to Liepaja leaves me at the railway station, Shall I stay or shall I go? It dose't look too interesting and I can't find any body to give me change for the lockers. So I go After a long difficult talk to the information person she smiles and by passes the long queue to get me a ticket, and points me in the direction of the train to Riga. Buy some food at the track side bar, but all meat so a couple of bottles of beer, which are foul so I drink 1/2 of one and give the other to a man asking me for I don't know what? He quickly disappears with the bottle, which I had wanted to keep for the deposit! Probably all of 2p but it seemed a lot at the time.
I whent threw a week with £5 in my pocket, it seamed a lot.
The slow slow train to Riga, with hard seats, forsts a few swamps and numerous stops on route 5 hours of ??? the Rusherns love there children to, across the carrege.
Arrive late in the day looking for a hotel near the railway station a worrying time, dusk approaching, taking to drunken security guards the hotels are all full or perhaps I am not offering the right bribes? To find a hotel without tourist information, the luxuries of the West. The sport hotel is a real dump I don't feel like bribing them to find a room. Walking at night for miles through dark threatening empty streets. In the end I find a place to camp on an Island by the TV centre, me and a bottle champagne only. A hungry tipsy time Hamish the wino!
The next day I find the hotel I had looked for the night before, in an apartment block amuncsed meny others on the outskerts of toun. A complete apartment for 650 roubles a day
The museums, art at your finger tips, old masters in your pockets. The exelent old sovet war museam convertide in to a gallery full of crap modearn Art.
The hair cut disguise for the Russian border, various dubious looking creams, the shave and fiery liquid spashed all over, a 200 rouble tip (an old weeks wage) and off on the train to Moscow across the Latvian-Russian border with out a Visa of cores. Train to Moscow 240 roubles (£1.20) for 1,000 KM in a second class sleeper with the atendunt serving hot black tea and a donated boled sweet in stead of suger. There are four classes on Russian sleeper trains, hard, normal, first, and old communist carriage all red silk, fresh flowers, videos and attendants at beck and call, with caviar and champagne.
The English man with the John Le Carre novel in the red velvet secturn. I sit and talk. food and bear arive. We descuse the problems of finding a hotel in Moscow, it seams insermaunterbal, so an offer of the spare room in his appartment.
The New Russia Moscow
Arrived at Rega stashern, the grass growns over the railway lines, it seams more like a bannaner republic than the old capatel of the Soveat Uounon.
To get from the stashern to the apaetment we stand by the road and try to wave down eny passing car, flagged down an Ambulance, the inside only a shell ingrained with dirt the orderly in filthy white coat, I would hate to need one of these. But there is nothing else, give the driver 150 Rubals. We stop off at the private enterprise market which is full of fruit and vegetables the prices are similar to here, which is extrodeneryly hiy for Russians as there couracy is nearly worthless. I am offered roubles at an exedanly good exchange rate by a too smart looking man in a sout is this for real or the police? I don't change eny money. An intoducturn to Moscow.
Mac Donald's, not too long a queue very clean and over staffed, The young Russians love it.
The apartment, for two people for one expat, no hot water as it was off for repers for that mounth, the aprtment blocks tack it in turn. The kichin is infested with cockrochis, as are all the apartments in Moscow. The British embassy to register as a visitor which is across the river from the Kremlin.
Spend a morning wondearing around the Arbat market street, it is full of intolerant single minded people. The Irish supermarket and pub it is strange to go all this way to find normality. Having a look at the computer in the caseno, the taxei at night how to pronouns the addresses.
The next day casinos, Red square and the Russian girls Olger and ??? A vist to the panted chearches in the Kremlin.
The night club Cosmos $15
Out for a Chinese
The train station and 500 rubaly bribe's to get a first class sleeper to Leningrad (now St Petersburg) the trains are very well made from aluminium and wood, moulded and machined they are very clean and punctuale.
I share my cushet with a drunken Professor, who invits me to stay in his house, I decline, I am tyered of hospitalerty.
With no were to stay, wondear around the Posh and not so Posh Hotels round the Railway stashern, back in to the Stashern to the Inturest office, sit and talk, biy them a western bear from the hardcurancey shop, mack some frends!?
The Hermitage gold and malachite threw out. The ferry trip, down the river with my guide. The shopping, for books and trinkets, Cruiser Aurora closed for the afternoon. A posh restaurant for 500 Roubles, in the after noon a vist to the tanks and missiles in the artillery museum.
The head of naval HQ I politely asked if I could have a look around, the guards just as politely declined.
A ticket to Tallinn leaving late at night, the drunken dubious racaterers share my carriage. I go next door to talk to a friendly poleas men how offers the spare bed in his couchet but I decline as these racketeers are quite frendy and I have little to be stolen. 1/2 of the train journey to Tallinn across the old USSR I am woken as the train stops at the Estonian border a soldier looks through my passport "No Estonian Visa" gets me grumbling out of bed, pack my bags off the train and in to the station, the are 4 Canadians sleeping on the benches how have been there for 4 hours already.
$60 for a visa, what!, $60 for a visa, the Canadians ask for a official piece of paper, he shrugs, $60 for a visa, it can't be $60 in Moscow I was told it was only $10 for a visa, $60 for a visa, the train levies, we sit and try to persuade him, with the guards sitting around, we plead poverty, we plead stupidity, threaten to telephone the embassy but there is no telephone, an hour goes by.
I must point out at this point that the averge Russian watchs so much low grade, violent, crap American videos, that you can imagine the only words of English they understand, you can swear at them all you like, they smile at you, it is communication.
Fuck the bastards! I think giving a wink to the Canadians I walk out the door asking the guard which why it is to Russia, he tries to stop me, saying the next train is in 6 hours, I throw my hands in the air and shout "stupid fucking shit heap of a country" and walk past him shouting "I take a bus-taxi, shit heap of a country" the guards hesitate to stop me, around the railway station, the guards are waiting smirking with the taxi drivers, I walk up "Russia? The border?" They shrug and ignore me. I can hardly stop my self grinning.
I swear loudly and ask how far it is to the border I will walk, they point off down The road and mutter something like 6 miles (they don't even know what a mile is!)
I stride off down the road not daring to look back, round the corner past a cinemascope castle by the river which is the border, when out of sight of the guards I take a side road in to the center of the town passing through a park only pausing to kicking up the debris of shredded roubles that I find, in till I spot a sign post for the capital Tallinn and start to hitchhike, it is 5 o'clock in the morning, the 3rd car stops, the man speaks no English and does not seem to be going any where after a seemingly fruitless exchange of words he motions me to get in and drives me out to the outskirts of the town to a Temporary police station!
The atmosphere is not dangerous just non comprehensible, he goes in side and wakes up a police man, who stumbles out dragging on clothes, with his illuminated traffic batten, the young police man motions me to get in to his car, we drive 10 yards to the road and stop and wait slightly worried I try to strike up a conversation, but no English and no Estonian he gets out and flags down a car containing a young Russian couple a brief discussion while I wait in the car, a lift to some where? they don't seem to speak English and don't seem very communicative either.
An hour or two later I am standing bemused in the early morning streets of Tallinn the capital of Estonia, no visa again! on the tram in to the center.
Very good ice cream. Round the old town, buy some old 1900 century bank notes. a vist to the French destroyer tiyed up agenst the quy (curtasy vist). A few days in a rented mosquito infested apartment. To leve the country, I am held up for 1/2 an hour and must pay $10 for the visa.
Then the sovet hydrofoil to Helsinki. We exelerat awy and the land srinks and disapears as if by magic, only to apear 20 minets later in frount, thread aware way threw the Ilands and forts in to the port large cruse bouts agenst the keys a smile and frendy wave to the customs woman and a 5 minet walk in to the center of Helsinki.
The West is bright big and alive after the sober dereliction of the East
The land of the 24 hour sun
The cheap hotel ($10) in the centre and brecfast in the light house young travellers center, wondering around, Sitting eating falafel's with the displaced street artists from the Middle East in the central shopping centre, they invited me back the next day to see their pictures but I left Helsinki because it was so expensive.
The bus to the out side of Helsinki with pot plants in the forest next to the motorway. On the road to Mikkeli slow Hitchhiking, the trains are very expensive. it tacks me a day to get to Sodankyla where I stop to biye a map, a rice cake and to look round the frendly informashern center.
On to Lapland in the Arctic circle, a sighn by the road and a coffye in a small cafe, then on to Ivalo and Lfjord with the Manager of a Jount Venture Mining company travaling to the Kola peninsuler in a large 4 weel drive car. I am tempted to go! but no Visa agen! on to Banak, and in to Norway.
"Weak sun shine, mist over the river, one side Norway the other Finland, boats drawn up on the pebbles, round and smooth like gem stones, soft rain comes and goes, sitting in the cab of a giant American camping van writing a post card. It is 2 in the morning."
A 300km deture to the North Cape (the most Northan car park in Europ). Wind swept the Artic oshern dull and gray I arive at 1/2 past mide night, to see a fue gleams of sun light on the waves. built in to the cliffs is a rstront and night club "The restaurant at the end of the universe" I meet some English men, we sit at the King of Norways tabeal. Champagne at the end of the world a bottle I had been saving from Tallinn, it was getting heavy.
Stowing away an board a bus to the English Liner the Canberra, but it is not at the big port with the ferry back to the main land, instead a small fishing village. I plotted stowing away for the trip back to England with the OAP's telling them all about my travels in Russia, but it was only 3 days to England, and I hadn't seen much of Norway yet.
So over the inland mountains covered by rock and poor soil occasional low scrub and patches of snow in the shadows to Alta. An American style town at the head of a bay. The tourist office, bank and Russians selling tourist knickknacks, AK47's and young old looking prostitutes in the car park.
The placed reindeer with antlers covered in velvet, blood and mosquitoes.
Down the mountainous fjord strewn coast of Norway, to the Lofoton islands. Harstad the posh doctors house, pine and open space.
A long way to hitchhike, the Islands ferries across fjords and open sea, absolutely stunning fairy tale scenery. The long ferry trip to Bodo, hiding from the conductor.
A long way to Trondheim! The scenic route, I try but NO! LIFTS apart from a nice woman who after me tealing her about my adventures and all the problems getting eny vegerteran food in Rusher and how expensive it is in Norway gives me a large pile of waffles in grease proof paper before turning down a track in to the wilderness.
I stand on the bridge watching the whorl pools whirling bellow, and wait for hours in the cold wet weather for a lift. Walk back to the main road, It is lucky it doesn't get dark! It must be 10 o'clock at night. After a nice 10km walk I get a lift with an Iranian refugee in his little car to the main inland road to Bergen. It is midnight, I buy a litre of milk at a petrol stashern.
A long long way to Bergen AHH!!!! distances in Scandinavia are ridiculous!
Walking up through a mountain range in light rain, mile upon miles of twisting roads, fir trees off both sides climbing the sides of the valley and precariously up the ledges of the mountainsides. Water, elemental, primeval power, I stand unbelieving at the maelstrom, the volume, the noise and mist, You can feel it cutting away at the earth, one wrong step on the slippery rocks and I would be consumed with in a second.
Stop for a picnic by the old gerder bridge over the torrential mountain river, sweet brown cheese and fresh white bread sheltering from the soft rain under a stunted tree on a rock out crop sliding in to the torrent. The churning water is almost like an inviting mist, a thundering cloud drifting by.
A lift to Bergan with a Swedish oil worker in his tired old Mercedes. Over the mountains past glaciers, Green-Blue monsters creeping over the land scape like an organic ooze on freeze frame. Up through a long flat plateau the train tracks covered with a wooden tunnel to keep the snow drifts at bay, a ritual snow fight on top of the highest mountin pass in Europe. Vertical switch backs leading in to an impossibly deep green valley with water cascading down beside the road. The ferry in mist and rain across Sogne fjord.
Camping in Bergan in the park by the sea, Norwegian kareoke in a yupy bar in the docks. The next day in a YHA 1/2 way up a mountin behind the tone. eating rasbys, young boy American storys, rain.
The ferry back to Newcastle England Costs £80, My mony and time have run out, my shoues had fallen to bits, it is time to go home.
Hitchhike back to Cambridge.
"Amber shadows glowing in the sun, Boltic pine kernels 20 Million years old, dust filling perfect cavitys in fossilised Resin, Shadows only, time has robed them of eny substance"
"Amber shadows glowing in the sun, Million year old Pine kernels, But only dust filling perfect cavitys, Shadows only, As time has robed them of eny substance"
"A pine kernel 20 million years old, a shadow only as time has robed it of eny substance. Dust filling a perfect cavity in fossilised Amber. A shadow only."
As I write the above the sun streams in through the tower windows, buffeted on and off by a rain storm. I sit watching the sun set and the clouds go by blue and orange.
The Travels of Hamish Campbell (
In wales looking after Ian, a place at Ruskin College Oxford
What next? Africa the unrales or setaldowen.
a littel time in north africa...
"Hitchhiking, travelling with or without a clue, with or with out a direction, with or with out a desire, travelling"
This is a write up of my travels in Europe, America, the Caribbean and the Old Sovet Block Countries. From 1989 to 1992 the years I left Europe in search of the Europeans. I must apologise for the some times bland itinary, most of this is from my Journal.
Hitchhiking with my mother in her student days.
At the age of 22 A trip to pares, unexpectedly having no fear to sleep bellow the tower, and talk to street ernchins.
Inter railing all around Europe, a taste.
Meny hole in the wall trips around the French borders, to Germany.
A charter flight to the Moorish splendours of a Spanish winter.
The big trip to north Africa lost in the freezing mists of Tuscany, the car going the wrong way on the way to Pisa. American bombers, Libyan corpses.
These all lead up to... build up to...
Bravery - traveling with disability
Story about Elmir Dupere a disabled Canadian guy (having a muscular dystrophy) travelling around the world in a wheelchair. Brave, intelligent and sparkling example that there should not be any boundaries to live the life that you want to.
Film made by http://hamishcampbell.com and MildaDaubare shot on a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 mobile phone.
Create the world you want to see
Solar Vagabond - escape the rat race
You can run IT equipment with renewable energy. Would you like to escape the rat race and move your office to the hart of nature, deep in a old growth forest, camping on a beach. Anywhere the is sun you have a power source.
In this video I take you through how to set-up a basic portable solar set-up to power a laptop. The cost is around £300-400 for a DIY build.
Find out more at http://hamishcampbell.com/gadget
Best tent to buy for Vagabonding
Love this tent, have been useing it for the last 3 years. http://www.rei.com/product/827785/rei-quarter-dome-t2-tent This tent costs around $300 and is about 1/2 the wait and size of a normal 2 person tent.
Here I am in the Polish Rainbow Gathering
How to stay for free in a city.
Simferopol', Crimea, Ukraine.
The hostel I was going to stay in near the railway station was not open. so I had an idea, public transport is very cheap around 20p for a tram or bus ride so looking at my offline map I found a forest near a reservoir close to the edge of town. Got the bus there then walked into the forest till I found a nice space hidden away and pitched my tent for a lovely quirt night sleep. Nicer than a hostel, as the isn’t all the other people making noise and snoring to keep you awake.
In the morning after breakfast next to the water I just get the tram back to the station. But this plan isn’t as perfect as it seams as on the way back I get a different bus which takes me to the wrong part of town then cant find anyone who speaks some English to find the right bus to the station. For buses and trams its good to have a phone with GPS and an offline map to make shore you aren’t going in the completely wrong direction.
Were do I come from politicly?
Thinking were we come from... mainstream bohiminasm, hippy drop-out culture, Greenham, CND, vagabond, labour party, student, squatting culture, protest camp culture, DIY community group organising, undercurrents, internet utopian's, Anti-GM direct action, coupuratewatch, risingtide, indymedia, summit hoping, anti-war direct action, mainstream alt-tv, rescuing/ running a community centre, European social forum/SWP, visionontv, climatecamp, Rebelus Media Confunce, occupation movement...
Solar laptop power
This is a new 32W panel which is more than my older 25W panel, and runs a bigger laptop
Rugged folding 32.2W solar panel. 18 to 20VDC open circuit voltage. Current 2.4A in full sun. Cigarette socket connector. 16" X 10" folded; 14" X 44" unfolded. 1 1/2 inches thick folded. 6 pound 4 oz weight. Eyelets at each corner and at panel middle to allow mounting or suspension with rope or bungee cords. Very durable and rugged. Ripstop camouflage nylon enclosure. Take this panel anywhere. No glass. Advantages over thin film: open circuit voltage 18-22VDC (thin film tends to be 15 to 16VDC, as panel heats in sun or if in hot climates voltage for thin film panels drops and you may not charge efficiently or at all). Also thin panels are much less efficient. Substantially larger area for comparable outputs.
This is a 7AH lead acid battery, it is used as a voltage buffer and as a reservoir of power. The cables are a 240v inverter, AA battery charger, Volt meter.
This is a much bigger laptop (14.1" and i5 proceser) than my usual solar setup, we can eather charger OR power but not both at the same time.