Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Had a tick surgically removed from my armpit last Monday morning. It had been there for some time without me noticing it until it grew big. It was my first and a really obese one, huge (4 - 5 mm).
Now I'll have to take a strong antibiotic for 4 weeks.  Hopefully that'll be it then.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Macksville to Pacific Palms

In order to avoid the pacific highway and have nicer and quieter roads to cycle on we had planned to go a bit inland. But we soon experienced again that, especially inland, every day would be a mountain stage. It is so hilly, so undulating, that after a day in which you haven't gained any height at all, you appear to have climbed many hundereds of meters. For instance, from Bellingen we tried a route a bit inland. After app. 10 k the road appeared to have ruined by a storm some years ago and we had to return to the highway. It was a 22 k detour and we stayed on the the same altitude, never higher than 60 meters above sea level. Still we had climbed more than 600 meters. Imagine this and the loaded bikes.
There was a moment that we decided to avoid mountains for a while. That's why we are now following a route very close to the coast. Sometimes we are on the Pacific Highway, which is 4-lane now. Apart from the noise (not too bad) the riding on this road has been good. Rear wind, perfect bitumen and low hills. Temperatures have been high, but so was our speed. So far so good. We are in Pacific Palms now on a clean and silent caravan park and we still have 3 or 4 days to go before we will reach Palm Beach. Or Palmie as our Warmshowers-friends seem to call it.
The caravan park is so quiet that a kookaburra is sitting 2 meters from our tent and even on my bike!

Bellingen to a yellow and black pole

For a moment or two I thought that we were going to repeat last year's scenario. We were riding on a cycle lane, separated from the highway. Luxury. In order to prevent cars from using the lane there were poles put in the middle at some places. After having passed several of them Eveline smashed into one and crashed on the pavenment. Initially it didn't look good at all. She had much pain in the lower back and in her upper left leg. Couldn't stand at all. A man who lived there had called 000, and so an ambulance and a police car arrived at the scene. By that time Eveline could more or less stand again. The medics and the police officers were very professional and service oriented. After a check they were confident no bones were broken. Relief. In the end they decided that they'd better take Eveline to the caravan park in Macksville that we had in mind, another 10 k. The police car took her bike, which had hardly any damage. I raced behind them and found Eveline waiting for me at the caravan park, still a bit shaky, but alright.
We rented a cabin, she was too stiff and too sore to go in a tent that night. The receptionist of the park offered to take us to the shopping centre, as we still had to buy our food etc. Such a friendly gesture, it took at least 45 minutes going up and down, but she simply did it and wanted nothing in return. Would we find this in Europe? I wonder. In the end we had a nice and comfortable night in this park.
The next day Eveline appeared to be able to ride her bike again and after a couple of days it was all over and almost forgotten.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Found in a Macksville bottle shop:

Breda used to have a breweries for centuries. The last one was closed not so many years ago, Breda bier was one of the last brands they made. The beer in this picture was specially brewed to raise money for the (everlasting) restoration of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe kerk, the over 600 year old gothic cathedral in the centre of our city. You see the 96 meter high church tower in the image on the can. 
And this I find in a small town in Australia. Amazing!

Bellingen and BBQ-Jazz

After the Rappville experience we got very wet in the morning and dry again during the second half of the day. We stayed on a Caravan Park in South Grafton, continued to another one in Coffs Harbour, on the coast where they have a giant banana. They seem to like big things here.

Then we continued to Bellingen. It's not so far south of Coffs Harbour and some 11 kms inland. We were told many times to go there. It was supposed to be historic, calm and an old hippie place. We were not disappointed. There were buildings from almost a century ago, it was beautiful, it had a small museum and it was calm indeed. As we had been riding for over a week and every day had been a mountain stage with endless ups and downs we decided to have a day off there. It was raining when we arrived, so we took the Diggers Tavern as our domicile.
The day was spent by defining the route for the coming week, where to ride, where to stay and when to arrive at the gates of Sydney, as we have an appointment there. Eveline made a walk to the old butter factory, we had a leisurely lunch together and so on.
In the evening we had a choice: a blues band was playing in our tavern, a jazz band in the federal hotel, the old pub. We decided for the latter, wasn't difficult.
It was great. We had our food and drinks on the veranda and at 19.00 hrs the Roger Burke Quartet started to play. We had a fantastic evening, the band, saxophone, guitar, bass and drums, was wonderful. The musicians were really communicating with each other, they lived through their instruments. The audience was never bigger than 15 or 20, there were some guest players and singers, marvoullous. A thing to remember from our many travels.
If you would like to know more about the RBQ (not BBQ) Jazz band, click here and go to their website, with a demo.

Magpie again

There was a nice and comic reaction on our blog named “Every day”. In this blog we related once more about the continous attacks by violent and mean magpies. In the reaction a couple of links were included to videos that show how some students experimentally try out what methods of defence against magpie-attacks are effective. One of these videos is included on our website. Just click on the “Videos” button on the right to go to our video page and watch it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A night in a pub

We have developed a liking for those traditional Australian pubs. They have a special atmosphere, not so easy to compare with any European venue. Very often they are a hotel as well, and often they have the same name: The Commercial Hotel. Now it happens that somewhere in the nowhereland between Casino and Grafton there is one. In the tiny little hamlet of Rappville. We think that the only reason it's there is the railway, that must have had a station over there. Nowadays only a couple of trains pass there, mostly at night. The pub was built in 1911 and is still very much in original state, and condition. Paul, our host in Kyogle, found their telephone number and we booked a room. Good, for the distance between the towns is over 100 kms and nothing in between than Rappville. We had to make a 7 kms detour to get there. We didn't regret it for several reasons. We were the only boarders and as far as we saw only three guests visited the pub in the evening. The owner was recovering from a stroke, his wife ran the business. Therefore there was no cooked breakfast. And as for dinner, we were lucky that it was Saturday, since they only serve dinners in the weekend. The beer and the wine were good, the steak also and so was our room. A high spacious room with a fine queen-size bed. The bathroom was basic and the toilet likewise. Only one of those available for all 4 or 5 rooms. We were most lucky to be there because in the evening and night a severe storm came over and a huge amount of rain and hail fell. Didn't harm us in our warm historic and cosy bed. In the morning we made us our coffee and toasts ourselves and, without having seen a single soul, we sneaked out and took off for Grafton, still 85 kms to go. After 5 minutes the rain started to last until midday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

New South Wales

Today we passed the border between Queensland and New South Wales. We had left Brisbane via Ipswich towards the south and spent a quiet night on the show grounds of Boonah. After that we rode on to Rathdowney, a town of just a couple of houses, a pub and show grounds. All the time we had admirable scenery and undulating quiet roads. From Rathdowney we only rode 19 kms to Andrew Drynan Park, a campground along the Lion's road leading to the border. There were only two small tents there, ours and one belonging to a German couple on motorbikes (traveling round the world). There were only some toilets and a creek. BYO water (BYO=bring your own). So we carried 6 extra liters of water, altogether almost 9. A very nice and quiet day.
The next day we had to go to the border, a pass at only 366 alt. just 4 kms further. Slopes of 19%. We had to walk and push our bikes up for over a kilometer. The border was just a gate and some signs. There are more differences between the Australian states then we as Europeans would think. For one thing, we had to put our watches one hour ahead. So we are now 10 hours ahead of the Netherlands.
It took us 2000 kms of pedaling to get in this new state. We descended through a beautiful green valley to Kyogle, where we are now staying with Paul, Elizabeth and their sons Ruben and Isaac and little daughter Olivia.

Things happen

As you will have noticed the design of the blog has changed. I did this myself, but not on purpose. Must have overlooked something, clicked on the wrong button and the old design was replaced. Also gone are the links in the right column. I will try to restore it asap, since I don't like it the way it looks now. Am not sure if I remember how it all works though.

Then both our much appreciated Monarch chairs got broken. The first one two days ago, the other one yesterday. Amazing, so immediately after each other. The design of these chairs is such that there is a lot of tension on the tubes that hold the canvas seat in its shape. On both chairs one tube snapped at a connection point with another tube. I managed to make one whole chair by using a tube from the other one. But we feel very deprived now, not being able to sit properly when camping. I'm already in touch with Alite, the Californian maker of the chairs and they are suggesting a solution that I'm not yet happy with. We keep working on it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Every day

When we're riding it happens every day. It has to do with the breeding season. Some of the males are loaded with testosteron and they become extremely territorial. It seems that their testes grow enormously, though they will still have a diameter of less than 1 cm. For a bird that should be a lot though. I'm talking of the magpie. Don't think of the European species with the same name. The only likeness is the black and white colouring. And maybe the size. Their silhouet though, and their flight are completely different.
They come from behind, sometimes shrieking, sometimes by complete surprise. They swoop over your head and scratch the helmet, compulsary here fortunately, or even your ears or neck.
You cannot do much about it, they will attack walkers and cyclists. Some cyclists have a number of cable ties (tie wraps) fixed on their helmets, with the ends up in the air. It seems to help, but I don't want to be seen like that. People say that you should stick images of eyes on the helmet, that would make them stay away. I have not seen many shops in Queensland so far that I suspect would be selling such stuff. So we ride totally unprotected and when it happens we wave our hands above our heads and hope the best of it. I even tried once to explain that I have a visa, pay my taxes in time and thus that I'm fully entitled to be there, but they don't seem to be interested. Until now nothing serious has happened.
Yesterday though, we were close to Boonah, we were vigorously attacked. This was a serious one. It hit Eveline on the helmet and it managed to scratch my right ear. Klerevogel! When all this happened a young woman on a bike (an exception as such) came towards us from the opposite direction. She saw it all and she was laughing. She waved at us from the other side of the road and shouted: “He attacks me every day!”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The beach wedding that wasn't on the beach

On Friday we cycled to South Brisbane station and there we took a train to Lota, the suburb where Tim and Angela live. They were going to marry on the beach of Coochiemudlo island (shoes optional). Tim owns a 40-foot sailing yacht and he had asked us to come to their house and to sail with him from the marina near it to the island.
Brisbane weather is very steady and always nice, warm and calm. But not this weekend. We sailed out and it was not long before I became seasick. There was a much stronger wind than expected, the boat was leaning over strongly, the sea was rough. Eveline had no problem. After a good three hours I was glad to be allowed in the dingi first to go on the beach.
On the island a number of wedding guests had already arrived, coming from various places in the country. We were staying with Michael and Shannon, a cousin of the bride, in the house they had rented for a week. Staying with them was very pleasant, we got on very well and we talked for hours and hours.
On Saturday it rained almost all day. On Sunday there was such a hard wind that the ceremony had to be held inside, in the small community hall on the island. A pity, but the wedding ceremony and the party afterwards didn't suffer from it. It went on till late in the evening.
The next day the sun was shining, the sea was calm and the boat trip home was agreeable. We pitched our tent in the garden and on Tuesday morning we said goodbye and took off. On our own again after a whole week. We travelled by train back to Ipswich in the western parts of Brisbane and from there we rode a good 50 k south through beautiful scenery to Boonah. A quiet country town with a quiet campsite on the showgrounds. We are travelling again.


is a big city, 2.6 million inhabitants. The central business district (CBD) has highrise buildings, the rest of the city consists of single two story houses on their own plot of land. As a consequence the city is spread out over a vast area, like most Australian cities are. There is space enough, so suburbia is enormous. On the seaside it's flat, the norhtern and western parts are very hilly, with uncyclable steep hills.
We found it a pleasant city, busy shopping streets, only for pedestrians and nicely laid out, some beautiful old buildings, nice parks,  a botanic garden, several university campuses, several modern art musea in beautiful modern architecture and a lively and busy atmosphere. With Gilbert we cycled the so-called Brisbane Loop, a cycle route that goes along the Brisbane river on both sides, with some spectacular views and dito constructions over the water.
Emma and Gilbert also took us up the look out point on Mount Coot-tha, not far from their home, where we enjoyed the sunset over the city with a beer in our hands. With Emma and Gilbert's home as our base we enjoyed our 4-day visit.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Witta to Brisbane

Having said goodbye to Daveid and Sue we rode 11 kms to Maleny, where we enjoyed a coffee. That is: a long black for me (an Italian would call it café americano) and a café latte for Eveline. They cannot pronounce it correctly, they call it “lattey” or something, but mostly it is correctly made and the taste is perfect.
Then we continued south to Woodford through wonderful sceneries with wide views and some stangely shaped mountains. In Woodford we had our lunch break, there was nothing in between. Woodford sits on the most northern point of Lake Somerset, an artificial reservoir that lies just above another one, Lake Wivenhoe. We rode on till Kilcoy, where after 76 kms we pitched our tent on a small rest area next to the little town. Toilet ans hot shower open for all public, pub and some shops at app. 100 mtrs. A beautiful riding day.
The next day we did some 54 kms along Lake Somerset, nice weather and environment, up and down all the time though. In Esk we camped at a beautiful and well equipped caravan park. It happened that a caravan club from Brisbane gathered there that day. Some of them were very interested in us and one of them bestowed us with a number of maps of New South Wales. He had them for free, he said, and since we have had difficulty with finding maps until now, this was very handy.
Next stage was Ipswich, the most western suburb of Brisbane. Big city environment. We stayed in a lousy caravan park and the next day we got on a train to the centre of Brisbane. We got of two station before the real centre (CBD) at Auchenflower station and ten minutes later we were at the house of Emma and Gilbert, who would be our hosts for the next 4 nights.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wifi again!

We're in Brisbane. More about how we got here later. We are staying with Emma and Gilbert, our Warmshowers-hosts. Very agreeable.
Since we have wifi now I've been able to upload photos ( one album per month) and some short videos as well. If interested use the links in the column on the right.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


From Gympie we continued our ride south. The scenery stayed beautiful. Hilly, green, cattle in the pastures, jacarandas, birds. The contrast with the coastal area is big. First to Kenilworth, where we camped at the local Showgrounds. This is an area, this time owned by volunteers, often by the town council, where there are sports grounds and facilities, a community hall, a swimming pool and the like. Sometimes they advertise these showgrounds as campsites. There are toilets and warm and cold showers, that's it. The town (very small) was close, there were some shops and a pub.
From there we rode up a range to a height of 460 meters to an area called Witta, 11 kms north of Maleny. There we were expected in a very beautiful big queenslander house, or maybe mansion is a better word. This house, seated on a big property at the end of a dirt road belongs to David and Sue. The latter is the sister of Jen, who was our host a good 3 weeks ago in Atherton. She suggested us going there. The region is very pretty, the house overlooked a valley. David and Sue call their house a farm. A large portion of land belongs to it. Mainly paddocks, meadows for cattle. They are (semi) retired and bought the property not so long ago. It had been left empty and unused for three years. Now they are working hard to bring the overgrown paddocks back in order and they think they might have some 50 cattle in the the end. We saw the results so far and it was their own paradise. Here we also stayed two nights and had a lovely stay with a breakfast in Maleny, a walk over the property and nice evenings together.
Melany used to be a hippie-town. Still you can see women in colourfull skirts and leggings and the atmosphere is relaxed, calm and nice.

By the way: the last posts have been upladed using the personal hotpsot function of our smartphone. Works pretty well, not slow at all. Uploading pictures will cost too many MBs, will be done when there is wifi.


is a town a bit inland, half a day's ride from Tin Can Bay. The coastal area is flat and has a sandy soil, which is very poor and nearly all that is grown there is pine trees. Some kilometers before Gympie this changed. It became hilly and the flora became very diverse. Reason for this is that we entered a former volcanic area, so a much richer soil. Many jacaranda trees here and, we're lucky to be here just now, all in full bloom. From a crest looking on Gympie gives a wonderful panorama of wooded hills with houses and everywhere the purple crowns of the jacaranda. A magnificent view.
We arrived pretty early at our WarmShowers address. The house belonged to Andy and his wife Clair and their two young children, Rosie of 4 years and Hamish of 4 months. They live in an old Queenslander house which they have very nicely modernised. We stayed two nights and enjoyed it greatly. We should especially mention the very observant and inquisitive Rosie, who contributed a lot to our conversations and made our stay the more interesting and enjoyable. Another wonderful WarmShowers experience.