Holiday at home

September / October 2016

I cannot begin to describe how much our break at home meant to me. After two years of continuous travels I just needed to be in one place for a while. And so, after staying with Torsten’s family in Berlin for a few days, I finally boarded that last train that would bring me to my family.

With what words should I even begin to describe that welcome… Let’s just say, I loved seeing everyone again and for the first days we could not stop talking.

I had anticipated that I would need a lot of time to myself after being with people almost all the time for the past two years. Instead I was delighted to spend as much time with my family as I possibly could. For the first month my parents had a lot of free time as well, so we would enjoy long breakfasts and share our lives once more. So much had happened and we could never catch up entirely but we sure did try.

We also spent a lot of time preparing my sister’s wedding. Being able to help with that and not just hear about it on the phone was the best present for me. The wedding itself was utterly beautiful with all the family and friends being together and seeing so many people again for the first time in two years.

After the wedding my parents and Torsten and I went for a small hike…

… while my new brother in law slept it off :).

We also got to celebrate my father’s 60th birthday together. We hiked up to a hut and stayed there overnight.

What a fantastic way to celebrate a birthday and welcome a new year of life!

As my parents love being in nature we went hiking for a few more times…

After a month of enjoying the company of family I went back to Berlin and we applied for our Russian, Indian and Pakistani Visa. Here are some less than pretty passport pictures:

I also got to visit several of my friends in Bamberg and Rostock, unfortunately I was mostly to busy enjoying the company to take pictures. Here are some impressions from Rostock in autumn though:

As we stayed way longer than originally planned I also got to join my family for All Saints Day which made for a nice if slightly chilly day out with my grandfather.

A few hikes later and we found ourselves saying Goodbye again. I was and am so happy and grateful to have such a wonderful family and friends in my life. Which makes Goodbyes a sad and rather hard affair. One thing was different this time around though. While we didn’t really know how long we would be gone when we left for the first time, we now do have a time frame. We should be back in Germany in spring 2018. That should be halfway realistic considering mileage and seasons and also feels good to us. At some point we want to be closer to friends and family and also live in one place for a while.

going home overland: Ukraine, Poland, HOME

August / September 2016

Arriving in Kiev, Ukraine after a night train from Moscow we first purchased a Simcard to be able to contact our hosts and then sat down for a coffee. That’s when we started noticing that there are a lot of coffee places around. My kind of place!

After taking a few buses to Lana and Alex’ place we had a bit of trouble finding our way in the big apartment complex but made it eventually. Our fantastic hosts who had just come back from a holiday the day before welcomed us warmly into their flat and left us soon after as they had to go to work. That worked well for us as we could get some more sleep in after the night train.

A bit later we went to the nearby supermarket and were again fascinated with all the wonderful fruits and veggies available.

The next day we ventured out to the city and visited a vegan eatery recommended by Lana. Vegano Hooligano has fantastic food!

Afterwards we were content with wandering around, enjoying the sun and counting the millions of coffee places in the city. There sure is a coffee culture here!

Somehow this particular toilet paper was very big last year:


Memorial for victims of the Ukraine conflict:

Ukraine is another one of those countries I had never really considered going to before. But I am so glad we came here and got to experience late summer in this beautiful city.

On the next day, before leaving for Poland, we took a walk with Lana and she showed us some greenery close by.

We didn’t have our swim suits with us but couldn’t resist the water in this awesome summer weather. Oh well, the clothes will dry eventually :).

Later that day we once more boarded a train towards home. This particular one brought us to Kovel, a smaller city near the border to Poland.

We spent a few hours there, walking through a local market and buying honey and all kinds of tea, before boarding a bus to Warsaw.

I was beyond excited at this point. For one, we were almost in Poland and thus almost in Germany. Secondly, we would get to meet our dear friends Natalja and Piotr again. About one year ago we had all stayed at the Canfield’s house in Cairns, Australia, and for a few days we really felt at home with so many cycle tourers around. Sharing this common interest and a life style, we never ran out of stories to tell or activities to do together. Okay by that I mean eating. 😀 Just kidding, we also went for a hike. Anyway, Natalja and Piotr had finished their world tour a while ago and are now settled in Warsaw and we would get to see them again!

For a few days we were in heaven again. They welcomed us with absolutely tasty food and being in Poland we had some high spirited desserts :). We exchanged lots of stories about cycle touring and more importantly about life, about what’s important. We got to meet a group of their fantastic friends which I immediately felt very comfortable with.

We had some more delicious food and Piotr could not believe just how much coffee we can drink. He promised to buy some in bulk next time we are around :).

And we also went for a wee cycle. As N and P live on the outskirts of Warsaw it was really easy to get out of the city and we absolutely enjoyed being on bicycles again.

In the end we could have stayed and wanted to stay much much longer, but our families were waiting just across the border. And thus we boarded our last bus bringing us swiftly to Berlin. And yes, I did get a bit emotional arriving at Schönefeld airport. Suddenly, most people around me spoke German, everything was distinctly familiar and the people I missed the most were so very very close. More on that next time!