For years (12 years of Karate, 5 years of Ju-Jitsu) Japanese martial arts have been a huge part of my life. Even though injuries have prevented me from continuing for some time now, a lot of the philosophy and attitudes engrained in these martial arts will stay with me for the rest of my life. A visit to the ‘mother land’ of these arts was something that I had been thinking about for over 15 years. Apart from martial arts I also developed a great interest in the history of the country especially the Samurai era and the war in the Pacific. Moreover it’s Asia, my favourite part of the world! Still somehow after nearly 15 years of travel, I never made it to the ‘land of the rising sun’. There were three important reasons for that. All of which now prove to be very wrong. As I know that a lot of people have the same reservations, I decided to do some ‘Japan myth busting’ because it would be a real pity to miss out on this great destination because of these myths.
It’s one of the phrases I’ve heard the most since my arrival on Belgian soil. It’s a really tough request because where do I start…Those 8 months on the road have passed in what seemed like a blink of an eye. But on the other hand we have seen and done so much that our first week in Africa in October seems ages ago. We would like to use this last post of this trip to look back at some of the many highs of the past 8 months and talk a bit about a number of things that have really struck us. Continue reading
As we arrived in Tahiti, I realized this the furthest I have ever been away from home. It is actually about as far away as one can get from Europe. If we fly any further westward we will be closing in on Belgium from the east. So why would anybody want to travel that far to visit some small islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? I suggest you google ‘Bora Bora’ and choose ‘images’. A number of gorgeous pictures of a lush green island surrounded by a lagoon in all diffent shades of blue; from turquoise, over indigo to navy blue. It does look like paradise doesn’t it? Most budget travellers that come here only spent a couple of days on the main Island of Tahiti and or the neighbouring Mo’orea, tick the box for ‘French Polynesia’ on their ‘travel CV’ and quickly hop back on a plane that will take them to either New Zealand, Australia or Chile/Easter Island. Why this rush? This has all to do with the reputation of French Polynesia of being a ‘high end’, ‘super expensive’ destination.
First things first: all our best wishes for 2013 to our loyal followers. I’m not the biggest fan of big New Year parties. Except for a couple of memorable parties during my student times these parties usually turn out to be a bit of a let-down, much ado about nothing. But a year must end someday and we wanted to be in a ‘special place’ for this trip. I guess the most famous places to be for New Year are Sydney, London, Berlin, New York and Rio de Janeiro. 6 years ago I was in Australia for New Year but on purpose avoided all the craziness (and high prices) of the party in Sydney and spent the night with friends in the middle of nowhere in the Australian bush. Although we had a great time, I regretted not having been in Sydney when I saw the fireworks on TV afterwards. So this time I wanted to be in the middle of the action. Continue reading
The Tazara train line is a bit of an icon for ‘train aficionados’. It was built by the Chinese under Mao at the time disastrous cultural revolution. As a demonstration of ‘international solidarity’ and in support of the ‘independent socialistic republic of Tanzania’, the Chinese built a railway line across Tanzania and way into Zambia. Continue reading
After the cold adventures on Mt K we were happy to descend into a warmer climate. And boy did we get what we wished for! The 8 hour bus ride from Moshi to Dar Es Salaam was a killer. The ‘full comfort’ bus did not have any A/C so we basically got cooked and grilled. On the few stretches with not too much dust the windows could be opened which then felt like we were being blown dry with gigantic hairdryer. We had been sitting down for 8 hours but were still completely exhausted when we arrived in Dar Es Salaam.
Here we go again! My third long trip since 2001. I guess you can call me a ‘habitual offender’. The seed of this trip was actually planted during my last trip. As some of you know, in 2006, I was forced to cut my ‘round the world trip’ short due to serious Illness. As I’m not a fan of unfinished business it was written in the stars that I would someday make another attempt to ‘circumvent our planet’. Continue reading