Tag Archives: hiking

Hiking, Holi and the usual vultures: cycling in Nepal

March 2017

Cycling from Siliguri into Nepal’s bordertown Kakarvitta wasn’t a big ordeal and the crossing went smoothly. Except that I somehow managed to get sick just on the day of our departure. On the next morning I felt even worse and so we decided to stay another day.

When we cycled on I still felt pretty crappy but at least it was flat so not too bad overall. In preparation for Holi we saw lots of color powder sold on the streets.

The next day was an exciting one. As we cycled through the Plains we would get stopped all the time for people to paint our faces.

Later we also got to see an amazing natural spectacle: About 50 huge vultures fought over a water buffalo carcass and really went to town. I had never seen them in action before and it was quite a sight.

Over the course of the day more and more people smeared colors in our faces and it landed pretty much everywhere else, too.

When we stopped at a tiny place for tea and a few guys joined us, I asked one of them about the meaning of the colors. Then followed a lengthy explanation of the rise and fall of different gods and in the end (after about 30 minutes) he still had not mentioned the colors. When I asked about that he said: “Oh well, that was just because they were happy and wanted to celebrate.” So there you have it, as simple as it gets :).

The atmosphere changed a bit during the day unfortunately. While it was loads of fun at first, many of the young guys started drinking heavily.

By mid afternoon we only stopped occasionally and had a few situations where people came to close. Usually there were some of their more sober friends around to keep them at bay but I’m still not a fan of drunk out of control groups. We were pretty happy about our quiet spot to set up the tent and relaxed into the evening.

Passing petrol stations we often saw these long lines. Petrol was scarce at the moment and we would also pass a lot of closed stations.

After a night in Mirchaiya we turned north towards the mountains. Happy to leave the busy plains behind we switched into smaller gears and cycled over the foothills. But alas, this is when I got reminded that my body still hadn’t recovered fully. I started coughing and just couldn’t get enough air for the uphills.

After about 40k none of us was very pleased with the slow going and so we decided to take a lift. In my condition it would take us forever to continue and we didn’t really want to stay put either.

Our goal was Okhaldunga where we would leave the bicycles for a few days and take another shared taxi to Salleri. From here we were planning on hiking for a bit, after all that’s what Nepal is so famous for. And when I saw the roads I was pretty happy about our decision to take a lift. We drove over many landslides and steep rocky dirt roads which would have made for pretty arduous cycling.

Coming from the scorching hot plains we got the first shock when exciting the car in Okhaldhunga: it was freezing cold! Suddenly we couldn’t find our sweater and jacket fast enough and were really happy about our first hot shower in months.

On the next morning we left the bicycles in good hands at our guest house and took a shared taxi to Salleri. The most famous track in this north eastern region of Nepal is the Everest Base  Camp track. We didn’t really have the time to hike for several weeks though. This is why we wanted to do a little loop towards Junbesi to Pikey peak and back to Salleri.


We walked out of Salleri past an advertisement for a Vasectomy Camp and blooming cherry and apple trees.

The first day to Junbesi was a beautiful walk over trails and small dirt roads without traffic.

A Nepalese woman asked where we were going and then joined us. This is when I first noticed that all these trails with their fancy names are not just for hikers but mainly for people commuting between places. Sure there are some roads through the mountains but also many tracks connecting different villages.

Under dark looming clouds and rain we arrived in Junbesi and found a little homestay. As we really enjoyed the hiking we decided to add another day to do a day walk tomorrow.

After  breakfast we set out towards some nearby mountains and walked by monasteries towards the first snow.

Most of the villages on this side had already been repaired after the big 2015 earthquake.

Going higher into the mountains we didn’t have much luck with the weather unfortunately. Clouds came rolling in and snow started to fall. When we saw lightning in the distance we decided to turn around as we were just about to go to a high ridge.

So instead of our intended day loop we walked back and explored the little monastery village on our way.

Back in Junbesi we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at our guest house and later had two hearty bowls of bean soup.

The next day woke us with beautiful sunshine early in the morning and we took the trail towards Pikey peak.

As we went on the sun disappeared and made way for some serious clouds. Again. Snow started to fall all around us and we soon walked in snow and over some icy parts.

We met several walkers coming in our direction and after talking to them we questioned more and more if crossing Pikey Peak at over 4000m was a good idea. A few of them had attempted to summit it earlier that day but said it was totally snowed in and deep crevices around the peak made for a rather dangerous climb.

So when we reached Lamjura La Pass at 3600m we had some tea and Dal Bhat and… decided to stay. And instead of doing the loop we intended we got something else again: insight into what it means to live and work in a small hut perched on the mountain side. With mostly hikers as company or the occasional call through the phone with two sim cards and a satellite channel.

We enjoyed talking to father and daughter (unfortunately I forgot their names) and they enjoyed looking at our pictures on camera and phone. One time, two times, three times. That’s when I really understood that there is not a lot to do for leisure around here. Sure, making tea and food for the occasional hiker but apart from that they seemed happy to have some distraction.

When we heard thunder rumbling once again we knew staying here was the right decision even if it got seriously cold at night. The hut was not heated and wind blew through the wooden house. The damp covers barely provided any warmth which made for a bloody freezing night. Where I grew up people build sturdy houses with well insulated walls to keep the cold out. Here where it gets much colder more time out of the year we stayed in a hut made of one layer of wood with a door that stayed open during the day. The only way to stay warm was to cover yourself in all the clothing and sit next to the oven.

Due to the cold getting up early the next morning was not a problem and we climbed up towards Pikey peak as far as it was safe. Breathing heavily we stomped through snow up above the tree line. The mountain range was impressive but of course we couldn’t see the really high mountains behind.

Coming down we had some breakfast, one last visit to the freezing outdoor toilet and then we were off on our way back.

From Salleri we took a shared taxi back to Okhaldunga where we were reunited with our bicycles. Off we go towards Kathmandu!

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: Kazakhstan

August 2016

I fell head over heels for Kazakhstan right after crossing the border. It was already quite late and getting dark as we were waiting for our shared taxi to fill up. We were sitting at the taxi stop in this tiny village with nothing to do. And ffter the border ordeal we were actually quite hungry. So we looked around and saw a small store. Surely they would have at least some food? We walked in and were in for a big surprise. They didn’t only have some unhealthy snacks from the likes we were used to from small stores in South East Asia. They had real food! Dark rye bread, cheese, a huge jar of pickles and we were set for the evening. I can’t even begin to describe to you how happy I was in that moment. I had felt homesick for a while now and missing familiar food was a part of that. And to actually find that kind of food in a small village in Kazakhstan – well, I sure had not expected that.

Our taxi did eventually fill up and we arrived in Almaty in the middle of the night. In the next few days we reveled in all the fantastic new 7 old food we found. There were supermarkets which had such a great variety of grains and simple ingredients to cook. Close by you could usually find stores selling fruit and vegetables.

And as it was harvest season we really lucked out. Close to the Russian embassy where we applied for our Transit Visa…

…we found this guy…

selling the absolute best strawberries and rasberries I have ever eaten in my entire life. The intensity of this taste goes beyond anything and we would buy kilos and kilos of fruit and not stop before the bag was empty.

While we were waiting for our Transit Visa we got to appreciate the mountains close to Almaty. The city bus nr. 12 will take you to some fantastic hiking opportunities starting from Medeu in about 30 minutes. We went to Peak Furmanov with our new friends Eva and Leo.

At the peak Torsten suggested to take a different route back. Quite eager to linger a bit longer in these beautiful mountains we agreed. We saw the sun and clouds, glaciers and rocks. We walked along the ridge for a while and scrambled down lots of rocky fields.

As we didn’t want to go over a particular steep rocky ridge we went down a different valley and had our work cut out for us. Getting back down was not easy and very steep most of the time. Add that to my fear of heights and falling from high places and I was beyond exhausted way before the end.

We did make it down eventually. And I couldn’t walk for four days after. My legs felt like jelly and would often just give away while walking.

Luckily we did have some time to hang around and our hostel (Essentai Hostel) was a fantastic place to do just that.

When my legs were a bit better we took a cable car to the city hill and enjoyed the sun setting.

Underground train stations often have beautiful ornaments…

And here are some more impressions from above the ground:

Yes, Torsten went for another hike. Not me, I was busy wobbling around slowly.

After about a week we got our Russian Visa and took a bus to Astana.

We stayed with Sigrid and Ben through Trustroots and loved hearing about their life in Astana. They had just moved to a fancy new appartment- wow! Thanks so much for lending us your bicycles – it was amazing to ride around for a bit. And when we got to this river we just had to go for a swim!

Since starting this overland journey two weeks ago I already felt so much better than before. For once I absolutely enjoyed leaving the tropics after about 12 months. I was overjoyed not constantly being sweaty and feeling the effects of a shower last longer than 5 minutes. For the past year we haven’t been able to sleep without a fan and the few nights we tried to camp were rather miserable. I had completely forgotten how relaxing it is for my body to sleep at 20 degrees Celsius or under.

Also, ffter more than a year of cycling it was fantastic being without the constant physical challenge and give my body a longer break for once. I still loved being outside and go for hikes and walks and cycle around for fun. But all at a slightly slower pace for now.

Cycling Coast to Coast in Peninsular Malaysia: Coconuts, Cameron Highlands and Street Art

March 2016


One thing you can be entirely sure of when cycle touring: After a flat stretch – however long it may be – the hills and mountains will always reappear. Always. In our case the hills started maybe a day after we left the East Coast behind. Ever eager to avoid the main road we found a small one and pretty steep one at that.

It’s hard to choose sometimes: The big roads are usually busier but the gradient is gentler. The small roads are quieter and the people tend to be more open and friendly. But if there are hills, the gradient is usually a lot steeper. However exhausting that may be and however much I curse about that sometimes – people like Sambi and his family make choosing the small roads all worth wile:


When we stopped at the road near their property they joined us for our break after giving us some time to relax (very thoughtful and much appreciated). We talked, drank several coconuts and joined forces in getting the hard meat out of the nuts. We laughed, hung out and got heartfelt invites to stay or come back whenever we wanted. Sambi told us that the road we were cycling on had just been paved a while ago and made a big difference for them. He showed us his property with all the coconut trees and the several houses of family all around.


This is why we take the smaller, steeper roads. The people we keep finding there are just something else.


After cycling over a few more (bugger of ) hills we had one long climb to go before we would be up in the mountains, the Cameron Highlands.


p1170522After leaving Kuala Lipis we camped at about 200m at a hospital and started really early for the big climb of about 2000m (including a lot of up and down). To our surprise it was actually quite enjoyable. The gradient was easy, the road big but also with a wide shoulder and there was almost no traffic.

p1170523The morning was absolutely beautiful…


… as was this cicada up close. Here are some more pictures of our ride up:

p1170534 p1170535 p1170537 p1170541 p1170542Going up there are not too many places where you can get water and you need a lot in this climate! But lucky for us there was a lot of water coming down the mountain. Mostly we were sure enough that there was no contamination somewhere above as there was nothing around.  If we weren’t sure we used our Steripen to treat it before drinking.

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Near the top we marvelled at the huge tea plantations and the masses of tourists flocking to them. But the best surprise was definitely the awesome Indian food we found. Cycling uphill makes hungry! Another novelty was the sudden change in climate: As we came closer to the top clouds started to cover the sky and it was suddenly downright cold! Don’t get me wrong – I’m certainly not complaining. What a glorious feeling not to sweat for once.


And then the biggest novelty of all – a real camp site! Due to the hot and humid climate and our scotish tent we hadn’t been camping a lot in the past few months. So we were both eager to tent and have cold nights once again. We found Sungai Pauh Campsite easily and set up our tent in a corner, a bit away from all the school groups.


We met Greg, a very nice teacher whose students had just left and spent the evening talking until midnight. Surprisingly I wasn’t the tiniest bit tired even after all that climbing. Maybe the cold weather?


Strawberries seem to be the big thing in the Highlands which meant that we just had to try some strawberry ice cream. What can you do? The Highlands were originally a place favoured by the British as they appreciated the colder climate. That fascination seems to hold steady until today and is probably also fired by all the produce you can find here: There is a lot of fruit, vegetable and tea growing around here.

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To put it mildly, the Highlands are touristy. Crowded would be a stronger word, especially as our visit coincided with school holidays. But I couldn’t have cared less. We spend so much time outside of touristy places and so much time in nature, that I sometimes relish things like these…


There is really not much a relaxed day with Indian food and cheese cake for dessert can’t fix. When our bodies had recovered from the climb we also did some hiking. There are some pretty good trails where you can once again hike without a guide as they are marked.


In the end we stayed for three days. Mostly because of the climate. As much as we like South East Asia, we both look forward to cycling in less than 30 degrees sometime again.

p1170589Cycling down was also beautiful, especially as the road was closed off in intervalls for construction and we enjoyed a mostly traffic free coasting downhill.

p1170596 p1170603 p1170612My mind was set on reaching Penang in a few days. There we would meet friends of Barbara, our host in Sabah. I was looking forward to that as we hadn’t stayed longer with anyone since Kuantan and I needed to be with friends again.

p1170624 What I didn’t expect was, that I enjoyed both Ipoh and Taiping, the two cities we stayed in between, a lot. Both have interesting architecture – for example old train stations – and a lot of street art.

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And if you’re into strong coffee – we usually liked the coffee in the Chinese run coffee houses the most. Very strong and tasty.


And then it was just one more monstrous cycling day to Penang.


125km, hills, monkeys and our first real wrong turn which added an extra 15k.


But it was still an awesome day of cycling and after leaving these peaceful roads behind…


… we finally saw Pulau Pinang in the distance. More about our awesome week with the fabulous Virginia and Tyrone in a little while!



Cycling Coast to Coast in Peninsular Malaysia: Caves, Hospitality and Taman Negara

March 2016


A beautiful tailwind pushed us on flat and straight road away from the East Coast. In no time we had cycled 80k, sat down for lunch and discussed further options. Torsten wanted to make use of the tailwind and cycle on while I was happy with an easy cycling day and was inclined on stopping and spending the afternoon blogging or reading. This sparked a big discussion on ideal riding days, on decision making, on compromising and needs and wants. Not an easy one but certainly a good one, especially in hindsight.


We did stop for the day, Torsten found a beautiful river and I suggested camping there. Setting the not free standing inner tent up wasn’t exactly easy but it worked in the end :).

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On the next day we cycled past a temple and a cemetery in the early morning and had awesome roti in a small village for second breakfast. Starting early really makes all the difference in this climate. Spontaneously we wrote to a couchsurfing host in Jerantut and asked if we cold stay for the night. He replied almost instantly and invited us to stay. Happy to have a place for the night, we took it easy and then stumbled upon some limestone caves on the way.


We had only about 20k to go, so we followed the sign and wandered around for a couple of hours in some sort of a Natural Park.

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Hiking wasn’t really possible without a guide but we could explore some caves which was very impressive!

p1170408 p1170416p1170423 p1170431 p1170438I absolutely love stumbling upon things like that without doing much planning. So after escaping the worst afternoon heat in the caves we quickly cycled the remaining 20k to Jerantut. We met Mohd, an absolutely awesome guy, who loves travelling and was just on the verge of going to New Zealand for a week. So we talked a lot and exchanged travelling tips. As he had no space to host us at his home at the moment, he brought us to a hostel and insisted on paying for us! We only accepted after he promised us to let us invite him for dinner later. Well, what can I tell you, he broke his promise. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how hospitable people can be!


On the next day we left the bicycles in our hostel and took a bus to Taman Negara. Sure, we could have cycled but going 80k back and forth over a lot of hills didn’t look too inviting.


We weren’t quite sure if we wanted to go to Taman Negara in the first place but given that it is one of the fewer National Parks in Asia where you can go hiking without hiring a guide we went. And I’m so glad we did! The village just before the Park has some good food on offer, the entry fee is really cheap (Entry: 1 Ringgit; Camera fee: 5 Ringgit; Overnight stay in a hide in the jungle: 5 Ringgit) and there are marked trails.You can hire a guide for the longer trails but it’s not compulsory.


We went up Bukit Terisek which only takes a couple of hours but still delivers some stunning views. What was absolutely mind blowing to me was the Canopy Walk though.


To use it you have to pay another 5 Ringgit which is again comparatively cheap and I cannot sing its praises enough: When we arrived it was completely empty which let us completely focus on the magnitude of the trees. For the first time I had an opportunity at grasping the height or the depth of the jungle. There is a whole different world up there which you usually just don’t see!

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Completely amazed and thankful for the experience we left and hiked some more. Eventually we took a bath in a river and arrived at our hide shortly after. The management built the so called hides to give people an opportunity at sleeping in the jungle and wildlife spotting from a vantage point.


Sadly they had just been burning the grass down in front of our hide which really didn’t attract any animals.  After specifically asking which hide would be the best to see animals we were a bit nonplussed. Oh well.


It was still nice to be out in nature. On the next morning we hiked back to the Entrance and decided on a Rest Day in Jerantut. We didn’t really want to start cycling in the middle of the day and Torsten could do with some time for work.

Stay tuned, soon it’s time to cycle up to the Cameron Highlands!

On friends and hiking in Sarawak’s National Parks

January 2016


After 5 months of cycle touring one of my dreams came true: Carina, a long time friend from back home was coming to visit! Very spontaneously she decided to spend her winter holiday in warmer climates and visit us. That was perfect for us as we’re not good long term planners anyway.

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With a bit of logistics involved we decided to spend a few days in Miri with our generous warmshowers host Simon who graciously let us stay in his flat as long as we wanted. There we would meet Carina and go off to hike several National Parks.


Torsten and I both love hiking but we haven’t done a lot of that since starting cycle touring. Quite often it involves a lot of planning and hassle (getting to the trail head, leaving the bikes and the luggage somewhere safe, having to engage a guide, paying a lot of fees for using the trail) and we already do a lot of planning for the cycling part of our journey. So this is why we were quite excited on the chance of actually going hiking again.


After a breakfast of roti we set off towards Lambir Hills National Park. Carina on the bus and we on our bicycles. We had quite the laugh when we managed to cycle into the entrance right as Carina’s bus arrived ;). We settled into our hostel accommodation and then walked towards several waterfalls. One actually had a lake where we could swim!


As it got dark we walked back “home”, cooked dinner and fought a battle against a lot of mosquitoes.


In the next morning Torsten and I hopped on our bicycles once more to cycle the 70k to Niah National Park. When we started it was raining lightly and it continued like that for while. It was the best weather to cycle in a long time and the 70k ride passed quickly. Carina hailed a bus in the meantime and relaxed a bit until we got there. Once again we secured a hostel room and I cannot recommend the accommodation in Sarawak’s National Parks enough! Simple, clean and affordable – what more do you want for a hiking adventure? We had thought about camping before but as Carina didn’t have a tent and it was hot and humid as always we preferred the hostel.


In the afternoon we walked along a perfectly comfortable board walk to the Niah Caves. I wasn’t sure if I would manage a long hike after already having cycled quite a bit in the morning but the trail was really easy. We spotted some colourful centipedes…


… and were blown away by the magnitude of the caves:


My camera is not good enough to take pictures in the dark, so you just have to visit yourself! There are a lot of birds flying around all the time and you see  many constructions and scaffolding for bird nest collectors.


The walk back was a quick one and after that we joined a group from Singapore for a Chinese dinner in Niah. Very delicious!


Previously we had planned to go to the next National Park in the morning but as we talked a bit we came to the conclusion that staying for one more day was good as well. Our accommodation was really beautiful and I already felt that we were going too fast and trying to do to much. So we decided to stay a bit longer. That meant that we would try and go up Bukit Kasut the next day.


And oh, what a hike it was! At first it started out all flat and we were wondering when the climb would begin.


And when it did it really went up up up! The steep slopes in the humid jungle let the sweat drop from our every pores and we took a lot of breaks to drink huge amounts of water.


But it was a lot of fun and the views were absolutely fascinating. Especially given that the elevation was only about 300m high.


After that we somehow got a boat over the river and had a late lunch in Niah. We did some shopping and hitchhiked back to the National Park. Dinner was an amazing set of about 5 home made dishes and we almost finished it all.


The next morning brought a first: Torsten and I would split up to get to Similajau National Park. I wanted to spend the time with Carina and we would therefore try and hitchhike with my bicycle in tow. Torsten would cycle the distance of 110k in the meantime. So he left early in the morning while Carina and I enjoyed a relaxed breakfast and had time to talk and reconnect.


About two hours later we arrived in Similajau National Park, having successfully found two lifts. Due to my bicycle and the two of us it had to be a pick up truck with 5 seats or we would have had to split up. But it was easy enough and our second lift actually drove about 100k out of his way just because he wanted to make sure to get us to the park. We assured him repeatedly that we would be fine but he wouldn’t have any of it. What an amazing guy!


Similajau National Park lies on the beach and so we spent the next two days relaxing at the beach and hiking alongside it. p1150915

We didn’t see any crocodiles (much to my disappointment) but found other fascinating wildlife:


We marvelled at the intensely coloured rivers…


…and had beautiful sunsets.


And then – much too soon – it was time to say good bye again. Carina, thank you so much for visiting us! It was absolutely awesome to share our life with you, to reconnect and to get to know the diversity of Borneo together.



Bike vs. Car in the Blue Mountains

While we are waiting for the rest of our gear in Sydney we decide to explore the area around us for a bit. I want to go hiking because I miss it already and our warmshowers host recommends the Blue Mountains which are just a 2-hour train ride away from Sydney. So we change our daily routine just a tiny bit and get up really early to make the most of the few hours of daylight in the mountains. We hop on our bikes, find the bike compartments in the train and are only slightly puzzled when they look just like a normal entrance area (the one before you get to the seating area). Then we notice the hanging devices in the ceiling where you can hang one bicycle per compartment – good enough!

With a coffee in our hands and home made cinnamon buns for breakfast we thoroughly enjoy the train ride. It slowly meanders through the city outskirts until it reaches the smaller villages in the Blue Mountains. It is a nice feeling finally being on a train again – something I used to do all the time in Germany. So after a while we get off and cycle to the trail head in beautiful sunny weather. Once we are there I ask a family for sunscreen – assuming that it would be a cloudy day I didn’t bring any.


After that we set off to a 3 hour hike (could have done it faster if not for the many many photo stops) on the National Pass Trail which leads over / under / along sandstone cliffs. In the morning the valley was still covered in clouds which was seriously stunning and made me stop for pictures just about every two minutes.



Apart from that the track was easy but really nice and we smelled eucalyptus trees and saw some really colourful parrots!



After returning  to conservation hut we enjoyed a coffee and then cycled on to Katoomba while making several stops along the way. Whilst the train ride was mostly on relatively flat terrain, the bike ride sure was not: Up and down we went and after hiking that sure is exhausting. So we made breaks for buying food and to do one smaller hike to explore the area a bit more. And then on to the Three Sisters which are probably the most famous sandstone formation in the Blue Mountains. They are also accessible by road which is why there are busloads of tourists.



As exhausting as the combination of hiking and cycling was, it still made me realize that I enjoyed it so much more than similar outings in New Zealand with being in a car and stopping every so often to walk between 0 and 30 minutes to look at something. With cycling between things it is the journey that is the main event and not necessarily the things you are cycling towards. On that day in the Blue Mountains I felt every hill, every bit of wind, the sun and the slight overall chill (it is winter after all). I felt my exhaustion going up a hill and the exhilaration of coasting down. I was happy to get off the bike for a while and go on exploring into the bush and then again happy to cycle on. And maybe happiest while settling down in the train towards home, eating huge amounts of food and reminiscing about a wonderful day outside. I am really looking forward to a lot more of that.