Where are we??
feels strange not to drive around every day any more. However we are
still busy with the Green Monster. We clean, dust, arrange, sort, throw
and work almost every day with or in our Green Monster as we have to
get her ready for the shipping to South Africa. Otherwise we enjoy Graz
Go to previous updates
|5th August 2010||Gernot's parents prepared a nice welcome for us - The Big Trip is officially over |
our tour through Scandinavia, the Baltic states and the Hanseatic towns
along the Baltic Sea coast we are back in Germany. Precisely 11,400 km or 48 days after we left them in early June, we
are visiting again our friends Manfred, Gisela and Philipp in Oldenburg
in Lower Saxony and we get a good feeling of being at home (this is our reality within less than 2
|24th July 2010||On
the Big Trip we stayed with our very good longtime family friends Manfred,
Gisela and Philipp in Oldenburg - we will relieve them tomorrow |
zigzagged through Sweden and Finland to successfully avoid the famous
Scandinavian mosquitoes and by doing so we discovered the wonderful
Aland Islands that lie in between the 2 countries. In Sweden we focused
in losing some degrees latitude so we have now some relaxing days in
Finland to enjoy the country and its 1000 or so lakes.
|8th July 2010||Working Finish style: on a quiet lake in summer - what could possibly be nicer than that?|
must be just our impression, but after leaving the North Cape it feels
that we drive downhill all the time. We still continued our journey in
Norway eastwards all the way to the Russian border before we traversed
Finland to reach the Laponian Area in Sweden. Then we headed to the
coast to see what Sweden's beaches have to offer.
|27th June 2010||The Adventure Golf Lorber Family Cup was won by Lenka today but the revenge will come tomorrow|
reason to travel to Honningsvag, which is the northernmost town in the
world, is to see the North Cape. It is the town where all the cruise
liners anchor and it is also a stop for the Norwegian Hurtigruten line
that plies the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes. For us the
Hurtigruten ship came with a great surprise: Gernot's parents visited
us to witness our arrival at the North Cape!!
|21st June 2010||Look who is on board? Could it be? Yes - Gernot's parents on their surprise visit to Honningsvag in Norway|
will be our last night south of the Arctic Circle before reaching the
North Cape. It will also be our last night where the sun just sets for
a small fraction of the day. From tomorrow onwards we will have sun 24
hours a day (when it decides to stop raining). Nevertheless when the
sun will shine, it will be around the clock and we will have the whole
day to enjoy beautiful Norway.
|16th June 2010||The typical Scandinavian cottage is made of wood - and gives you proper protection when the weather is Norwegian (=rain) like today in Mo I Rana |
days ago we entered Denmark. Lenka is one eighth Danish so we need to
explore the whole country thoroughly. It worked fine yesterday - the sun
was shining. Today it rains again and so we were concentrating on Danish
history. We finally called it a day in the north-eastern corner of
the island of Zealand. Sweden lies just 4km away; in between Denmark
and Sweden lies the sea strait of Oeresund.
|7th June 2010||Kronborg
castle in Helsingoer controlled the Oeresund strait for centuries and
was immortalised as Elsinore Castle in Shakespeare's Hamlet |
are back from the British Isles, we toured England and even
mangaged to peek into Scotland and Wales. We hopped onto a ferry
in sunny Ramsgate and arrived in rainy Oostende in Belgium. Since then
we followed the rain (or the rain followed us), but the weather
managed to squeeze in some sunny hours for us in the Netherlands. Let's
hope it's benevolant for the 3 remaining weeks till the North Cape.
|29th May 2010||Oscar's godfather Martin and his wife Bianca are living in Njimegen in The Netherlands - today Martin slowly got Oscar ready for his first school day |
is the largest city we will visit on our trip. We left the Green
Monster on the outskirts and are staying with our friend Anthony and
getting around by public transport. From London we will head north
until the Scottish border and will also make a quick peek into Wales
before we leave the island to travel to Belgium and The Netherlands.
|15th May 2010||Half
of South Africa is living in London so we used the opportunity |
some friends from Port Elizabeth at the Canary Wharf in London
last we hit the castle route along the Loire River in France and are
now totally absorbed by Europen history. On top of that we are greeted
everywhere by pastures and fields full of flowers and blossoming trees.
We will leave now for some harsher environments and will discover the
Bretagne and the Normandie provinces on the French Atlantic coast.
|8th May 2010||Cheverny castle was made famous in the Tintin comic where it is featured as Captain Haddock's Marlinspike Hall |
offered us a great welcome. It has an abundance of lush and colourful
landscapes. We enjoy the scenic drives. It has brought back
memories of our visits to Angola and Mozambique. The weather is still
gloomy and rain greets us every day - much to the dismay of the local
wine farmers. Nevertheless we managed to hit the main sights in a week
and tomorrow we will head back to Spain to explore the north of the
|24th April 2010||Braga is just one of the many beautiful cities in Portugal - and spring greeted us in full force |
days ago it was still deep winter on the mountain passes in the
Pyrenees in Andorra. Then suddently we were transported back to 'summer'
the Costa Daurada in Catalonia/Spain. The water was too cold
to attempt any form of swimming, but nevertheless it was great to be back on the
beach (albeit only for 2 days). We then reached another milestone...one to celebrate: we
crossed the Greenwich Meridian - Ola! Western
|12th April 2010||After almost 50,000km on the Big Trip, the Green Monster crosses into the Western Hemisphere near Valencia in Spain |
we entered France (yesterday) we were only hitting famous names:
Cote D'Azur, Monaco, Nice, Provence. After a short stint on the coast
we plan to see the flowers and fragrances of the Provence before
experiencing some culture around Avignon and Arles. The weather is not
Provence-like at the moment, so we are trying to find comfortable
accomodation to relax.
|30th March 2010||Tourrettes-
sur-Loup is a typical small town set on a hill in the French region of
Provence - the view stretches to the Mediterranean Sea |
Green Monster tackled the windy coastal roads and the medevial cities
of Italy with ease. We by-passed the big cities like Naples, Rome and
Florence, but concentrated on smaller towns and villages, amazing
landscapes and astonishing sights. And we even managed to say a quick
"buon giorno" to tiny San Marino on our way to beautiful Tuscany.
|24th March 2010||The beach of the Thyrrenian Sea at Massa with the famous Carrara mable quarries in the back |
were some hidden gems for us to explore in the mountainous regions of
Macedonia and Albania. The weather improved and when we did descend to
the Mediterranean shore we even had our sunshine back. Upon reaching
Durres in Albania we spontaneous decided to hop on a ferry to Bari in
Italia - and here we are enjoying pizza, pasta, vino and gelati.
|16th March 2010||Matera - an UNESCO world heritage site built on to and into rocks in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata |
Europe has the coldest winter since 20 years - it's definitely true for
Greece. As we crossed the border from Turkey to Greece, the snowfall
Therefore Greece did not show us it's most beautiful side - 2 hours of
sunshine in 4 days - that was it. It gave us well needed time though to
shop, organise, correspond and relax.
|9th March 2010||It
was time to celebrate the Green Monster's birthday. And indeed we celebrated
and she got 4 new tyres in Perea - Thessaloniki's beachy suburb |
in Turkey's interior - Anatolia - it's definitely winter, albeit a mild
one this year. It rains a lot though, but we actually love the rainfall
after passing through the dry regions in Africa and the Middle East. So
we take it slow and enjoy the amazing Turkish hospitability. We visited
natural wonders, historic sites and charming fishing villages on the
|1st March 2010||We came to Fethiye on the Turkish coast of the Aegean Sea to visit it's most famous citizen - Spiderman |
crossed Syria in 6 days, but thanks to wonderful weather we manged to
visit all the highlights of the country. In Syria we reached another
milestone - the Mediterranean Sea and crossed into Turkey close to it.
Turkey is the country where we will cross into Europe and we are very
excited. Nevertheless we will take our time to explore wonderful
Turkey. We currently relaxing in the region of Cappadocia - an unreal
landscape of fairy chimneys.
|20th February 2010||Goreme
lies in the heart of the fascinating region of
Cappadocia; here we stand on the pulpit of a 6th century |
we crossed the border into Jordan we knew that this will be the first
day of the last part of our Big Trip. We were surprised by the cold
weather - nevertheless we enjoy exploring the Jordanese sights and
monuments. Petra was clearly a highlight, the desert and the Dead Sea
were fascinating and Madaba is an excellent place to explore and to
|8th February 2010||Madaba
is known as the "mosaic city" and 1500 year old mosaics can be found
indeed throughout the towns churches and houses |
were stuck more than a week in Qatar to wait for Lenka's visa for the
Emirates. Then we had some more relaxing days with our friends in
Dubai and now we are on another 3 day transit through Saudi Arabia and
arrived in Riyadh this afternoon. From here we will go straight to
Jordan and we expect to arrive in 2 days (due to our short transit visa
we actually have to arrive in Jordan in 2 days) from today.
|30th January 2010||In Saudi Arabia again - here is Lenka in her full Saudi Sunday's best |
January 14th we took an Air Arabia plane from the Emirate of Sharjah in
the United Arab Emirates to Doha in Qatar. We left the Green Monster
again in Dubai - this time for 2 days only. Here we took a nice
hotel in the city center and we are exloring Doha town BY FOOT - a
novelty for us.....
|15th January 2010||The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha - the largest collection of islamic art in the world |
our return to Dubai on December 30th 2009 we are sort of
stationary as we are trying to sort out another transit visa for Saudi
Arabia. We managed though to see all 7 Emirates of the United Arab
Emirates and even did a short peek into Oman. In Dubai we are very
fortunate to stay with a Spanish/Australian/Greek/Mexican family, who
make us feel like at home.
|10th January 2010||With our generous hosts Alberto, Gloria and Anna (from left to right) we are |
enjoying a genuine
South African braai in Dubai
20th December we said Merry Christmas to the Green Monster already as
we left by plane from Dubai to Graz/Austria for a well deserved
Christmas break. We did re-unite with Oscar, who traveled from Addis
Ababa to Graz on November 15th with Gernot's parents. On the evening of
December 29th all 3 of us are leaving Graz again to fly to Dubai to
celebrate New Year's eve with the Green Monster.
|29th December 2009||Nothing nicer than to break the Big Trip with Christmas in Austria|
9 months driving through Africa we experienced a slight culture shock
when we arrived in the United Arab Emirates 4 days ago; however we
overcame it without big problems and immersed ourselves immediately in
|16th December 2009||The brand new Formula 1 race course on Yas Island near Abu Dhabi (the Green Monster did not qualify.....)|
visited the archeological sites in Northern Sudan and returned to
Khartoum to organise our visa for Saudi-Arabia. This takes time as
Khartoum is only slowly starting to roll after the holidays. Friday and
Saturday is weekend here in Sudan - so nothing goes and we keep on
|4th December 2009||The Burjj Inter-|
national Hotel - the new landmark on the Blue Nile in Khartoum
We left Ethiopia eastwards into the still wild and unexlored Republic of Somaliland.
After this adventure we left for the beach in Djibouti and relaxed
whilst snorkelling with whale sharks. Strengthened we made a tour the
force and drove in 3 days all the way from Djibouti City through
Ethiopia until we reached Khartoum in Sudan. The city is busy preparing
for the Feast of Sacrifice or the Eid al-Adha which coincides with
the annual Pilgrimage to Mekka.
|25th November 2009||Khartoum - the Green Monster decided that she wants a new battery and we promptly obliged|
Gernot's parents we explored the amazing Northern Historical Circuit of
Ethiopia. Castles, churches, mountains, valleys and the people left an
everlasting impression on all of us. We are now all on our way back to Addis Ababa - us in the Green Monster - Gernot's parents by plane, because they will have to catch their flight back to Austria.
|12th November 2009||Priests are proud to display the treasures of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela - here an antique cross |
parents arrived on October 23rd. Together we explored Addis Ababa and
went South to the Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes. There we split (the
parents went to discover the tribes of the Omo Valley) and we went to
the beautiful Bale Mountains to see the Ethiopian Wolf at 4000m
altitude. Then we continued to fascinating Harar. Via Addis Ababa we will now continue to Gondar in the North-Western region of Ethiopia where we will meet Gernot's parents again.
|1st November 2009||Jugol - the old city of Harar (an UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a maze of 360 tiny alleys |
Ababa is reached and we picked up Gernot's parents at the airport. They
had a much easier way to reach Addis then us!! We crossed the desert in
Northern Kenya and followed the remote Lake Turkana to reach Ethiopia
where Turkana's main tributary, the Omo river, enters the lake.
|23rd October 2009||Gernot's parents arrive at the airport in Addis Ababa - the welcome commitee is ready|
traveled through Uganda at a very slow pace eventually making it across
the border into Kenya. Here we crossed the equator again to go south to
replenish in Nairobi before the great trek north into Ethiopia.
|11th October 2009||"I had a farm in Africa..." Karen Blixen's farmhouse in Nairobi; made famous by the "Out Of Africa" book/movie|
from Burundi we continued exploring the hills and lakes of the
Albertine Rift Valley around Rwanda and western Uganda and crossed
there the Equator
just north of Queen Elizabeth National Park. We continued to drive
north in this beautiful part of the world and admired the Rwenzori
Mountains and the Kibale Forest before we turned east into
Uganda's busy capital city Kampala.
|29th September 2009||The Kasubi Tombs in Kampala are the burial ground of the Buganda Kings |
In Western Tanzania we
took the beautiful northbound road less travelled and
discovered amazing places such as Kipili and Katavi before we reached
Kigoma. From there we crossed into Burundi being the first car to use
this border crossing since 3 weeks! There we proceeded to the capital
Bujumbura along an amazing road following the shore of Lake Tanganyika.
| 11th September 2009||Bujumbura lies tugged between Burundi's hills and Lake Tanganyika|
successfully serviced the Green Monster in Lilongwe and then took the
inland route straight North where we explored the beautiful Nyika
plateau that lies at 2300m asl. From there we decended the escarpment
down to Lake Malawi which lies at 500m asl. We left Malawi on its
Northernmost border and entered Tanzania where we climbed again up into
the Highlands before descending another time down to lower territory
and into the Ruaha National Park. Then we backtracked to Mbeya,the main town in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
|2nd September 2009||Coffee beans are lying on drying racks at Utengule Coffee Estate in Mbeya|
Lusaka we took the Great North Road and stopped at 2 absolutely
gorgeous places: Mutinondo Wilderness, where Oscar got his first
horseback ride, and Kaphishya Hot Springs. Then we descended the Rift
Valley Escarpment into the Luangwas valley via a breathtaking road. In
Luangwa Valley we visited Luambe National Park as well as South Luangwa
National Park before we proceeded to Malawi's capital city Lilongwe.
|18th August 2009||Lilongwe - we are servicing the Green Monster. Luckily Oscar found an alternative at our guesthouse.|
Western Zambia we visited the remote Liuwa Plains National Park
reachable only along one of the world's worst roads and the more
centrally located Kafue National Park before arriving in the Zambian
capital Lusaka. Here we restocked our supplies, organized some visas
and are getting ready for Lenka's big birthday tomorrow!!!!
|5th August 2009||Cairo Road in Lusaka - a typical African capital city|
We left Livingstone fully stocked and headed to remote Western
Zambia following the Zambezi river
upstream. There we discovered one of the most fascinating waterfalls and river
courses to be seen in Africa before we
continued to the Zambezi floodplains
that just started to dry up.
|29th July 2009||We are crossing the Zambezi by pontoon at Kalangola on our way to Mongu|
was quite a long time without an update. We enjoyed the beach in
Mozambique for some more days and crossed then into Zimbabwe where we
spent a wonderful week in the beautiful Eastern Highlands as well as on
the Zambesi. At Kariba we crossed the dam and entered Zambia. Then we
proceeded to Livingstone, the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls. Here
is the meeting point of the Little and the Big Trip.
|25th July 2009||Oscar and Lenka are challenged by the misty Victoria Falls at Livingstone|
an enjoyable time in the highland and the lowland of Swaziland, we
crossed the border into Mozambique. Here we searched for a quiet,
relaxing beach spot despite the South African school holidays - and
found it in Tofo near Inhambane.
|9th July 2009||After four days of rain in the dry season(!) the sun is back on Tofo Beach|
After our stay in Vereeniging we decided that we froze enough and we
left the Highveld towards Swaziland. Although slightly warmer, it's
still no summer though......
|30th June 2009||We are enjoying the Swazi history at the King Sobhuza II Memorial in Mbabane|
Port Elizabeth we headed straight north and crossed the Orange River at
Aliwal North from Eastern Cape into the Free State Province. Then we
travelled through the Eastern Free State following the Lesotho border
and briefly crossing into Northern Lesotho before driving further north
to cross the Vaal River into Gauteng Province at Vereeniging. Here we
are visiting Lenka's relatives.
|27th June 2009||We
visit the McDermid family (2nd cousins to Lenka) in Vereeniging. Photo
was shortly before the Springbok rugby victory against the British and
the start on June 21st at Cape Agulhas we drove along the coast to
reach Port Elizabeth. Here we visited our nephew Duncan born on June 20th
|22nd June 2009||The newly completed multi-purpose stadium in Port Elizabeth is ready for the soccer worldcup 2010|