I had it on my list for quite some time now, but all those times I needed to travel back from Wellington to Auckland, the train was not scheduled. As it is a scenic train, AKA tourist train, it only runs 3-4 times a week and only once daily. However, on my way back from hiking the Abel Tasman Coast Track, I made it work and booked a ticket for the train ride.
Rangitoto is rugged, raw, dense vegetation covering most, but not all of the sharp edges of the dark lava rock. The very moment you step on Motutapu, the feel is very different: Motutapu is a 15 sqm mass of rolling hills, farmland that is still (better: again) cultivated by the local iwi (Māori tribe), some windswept trees and some fine beaches and bays to go for a swim or to sit and enjoy being away from the world.
Not far into our road trip, we came up with the idea to go to the Adirondack Mountains in the north of New York State to check out some hiking trails. Neither John nor I have ever been there, and now is the time to go eventually!
Having left southern hemisphere winter behind me for several weeks and made it to the US. We planned to go hiking for a week in the Appalachians in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, my partner strained his ankle so badly that we had to bail. Instead, we decided to go on a little road trip. Road trips are a fabulous way to explore, especially the US: there are vast networks of roads, motels, restaurants, and grocery stores to secure the logistical side of such an endeavor, and of course plenty of exciting places to see and visit.
I am very enthusiastic about riding trains. Not the ones with which people commute to work. I am in awe of the long hauls. I have already ticked off the box of riding trains in Russia, Kazakhstan, India, New Zealand, and China. In the U.S., I have crossed the country four times by Amtrak already. Now, with being back in the U.S. for some time and wanting to catch up with friends in Portland and in Idaho, it is the perfect opportunity to close a little gap of the „Empire Builder“ route in the Northwest (between Portland and Sandpoint, ID) and to eventually ride on an Amtrak train in winter.
Vanuatu consists of roundabout 80 islands and is located three hours by plane north of New Zealand, east of Fiji, slightly north of New Caledonia, and west of the northern tip of Australia. Still, somewhere almost forlorn in the blue vastness of the Pacific Ocean. Ten days as an end-of-teaching-for-the-year trip with two colleagues from uni: visiting an active volcano and some snorkeling was on the list.
I have never been travelling with a bike on a plane before. But, hey, there is always a first time. Fortunately, the airport in Tromsø is small and was only 4.5 km from the hostel where I stayed at. So I decided to check it out the day before I will have to fly.
Taking a boat of the classic Hurtigruten also was way out of reach because I always thought it is a posh and therefore expensive way of traveling cruise-ship-style along the Norwegian coast. It is, multi-day packages are expensive, yes, you’d get served reindeer and even whale beef if you want.
The first cherry is me taking a boat of the Hurtigruten which is a Norwegian public coastal route. Boats run either south, from Kirkenes to Bergen or the other way round. In total, it takes a little over a week to cover the whole distance. This route is legendary and a lot of people book the whole package including a cabin and pretty fancy meals. But you can also book harbor-to-harbor tickets without any frills that only cost a fraction of the package price. I boarded the vessel in Vardø, southbound to Honningsvåg.
I generally never thought about birds that much, and I never really cared about bird-watching. Whenever I met other travellers on my way to Vardo, it weren’t cyclists, but bird-watchers. There must be something about birds in that area.