International Travel – Chapter 2
Europe, Africa, and Canada
The plan ...
The ups, downs and over ...
It started with Scotland, and over to Nepal.
The reality ...
It just went a different direction, as all true travel should be... simply an adventure.
A starting point. A base camp. The homeland. The sites of London.
Where to start? How about Bergen. Lovely town. A return visit and just enough to get my feet wet. Across and down to Oslo. Fond memories. A quick change and a northward journey. Into the land of the midnight sun. The Lofoten Islands. Peaceful. Beautiful. Incredible. Up the coast to Nordkapp. Southbound.
Very enjoyable. A weird feeling heading back to the land of sunsets. Helsinki, a fun temporary base of operations.
Old city. Magical. The Soviet era apartment block architecture was never too far away.
A few days in St. Petersburg. Incredible. The Winter Palace was stunning. The Hermitage lit up in the morning sun... one cannot describe.
Stockholm. Sleeping on a ship. Great friends. Happy times. A side order of Göteborg for good measure.
Norway – round 2
Summer transport shutdowns. So beautiful. The last bus of the season. Never tired of the scenery.
Back again they say... Another stop over. Off through the Chunnel.
France – déjà vu
High speed pass across the country. Slowing down to change trains or the border patrol.
The birthplace of a crazy idea. Actually, just the vocalization of that crazy idea that was born years ago. Good friends. Day hiking. Cycling.
Is this like physics, whereby if you end up in the same place you haven't done any work?
Back again. Home base on the European front. Sites to see. Planning to do. Africa booked. Scramble to get organized.
Just the airport at a strange hour in the early morning.
The beginning. A good friend. Homes of Karen Blixen and Joy Adamson. A spot of tea on the porch in the morning by Lake Naivasha and watching the giraffe lumber on by... what else can you really say?
The beginning of the overland trip. A great group.
The Masi Mara. The road is not the road. So much wildlife.
Camping on a roundabout. The source of the Nile. Group decision to venture into a possibly strife ridden part of Africa.
What was a hostile place. Truly amazing people. Skidding on a rain soaked road in the dark.
A firsthand look at the refugee camps as a result of the Rawandan genocide. Hard to understand.
Lava shaping nature.
Mountain Gorillas. A sensation that no words could possibly describe.
A minor detour around Lake Victoria. A mis–turn that took us over a rusty old bridge, until the road just ended in the middle of nothing. Back across the rusty bridge. Whew?
The Serengeti... breaking down, sucking diesel fuel with a beer chaser, watching the Wildebeast, and so many other animals. Ngorongoro Crater, a microcosm of amazing animals.
A slight detour off the truck to the top of Africa at 5895 metres. Breathless, literally. Truly amazing sights and views.
A wild bus ride to Dar es Salaam. How appropriate was it to have The Gods Must Be Crazy as the inflight movie. Say no more. Pushing the pick–up taxi into the gas station... no hesitation, as if we all expected that to happen.
Is this not part of Tanzania? Stone Town. Very cool place. Sunburn. Prison Island. Sunset from Africa House. Can it get any better?
Did we ever leave?
Beach. Stifling heat.
Beach. Christmas. Presents wrapped in banana leaves.
Tracking White Rhinoceros through the bush with twenty people. They're big, but we outnumbered them.
Elephants and more. Okavanaga Delta. A walkabout with the wildlife. Who's stalking whom?
Victoria Falls. Beautiful. Magical. What the heck, I'll. jump off the bridge attached to a bungee cord... 111 metres. New Years.
The end of the overland trip. Saying goodbye to the group of friends after 10 weeks. Surreal.
Another chapter in these travels. Two of us. Driving on the left side. Kruger National Park. Bluff charge by an Elephant. Awesome.
Shut down by a strike. Interesting. The rain storm to end all rainstorms.
South Africa - again
The coast. The ocean. The crocodile warning signs. Never a dull moment. Drakensberg Mountains. Breathtaking.
A day trip through the country. Beautiful people, beautiful place.
South Africa - again (really)
Garden Route. Cango Caves. Pay attention to the sign saying "you need to be able to fit through this space".
Cape Town. Another world. Table Mountain. Unique.
Cape of Good Hope. Is this the end of the world? The shipwrecks. Another beautiful spot.
Wine country. Say no more.
Another organized trip for two weeks. Only five people.
Fish River Canyon. Almost the biggest. Desolate and beautiful. Sossusvlei dunes. A world of contrasts. The Etosha Pan.
South Africa - yet again
The end of five months on this continent. Wow.
Out of Africa. Somebody should make a movie. Athens and out of the airport this time. Only a layover.
Base camp. Change gear.
Just passing through.
Another base camp.
Venice. Getting lost. Milano. Firenzi. The Duomo. The Uffizi. Tuscany. Pisa. Incredible.
Just passing through.
So much to see. So much to do. Biergartens.
Prague. Incredible place. Amazing to explore.
Amsterdam. A place of its own.
Nice is nice.
Passing through the world of the rich.
Why is it that I am always "just passing through"?
Back to base camp.
So much history. Neuschwanstein. Munchen. Koln.
Kleve, visiting my uncle's war grave. No words to say.
Kuekenhof Gardens. Brilliant. Refreshing.
Dare I say "just passing through"?
Basecamp. Pack up for home.
An off–hand comment in Switzerland to a friend. A letter received while in Africa. A reality check and scaled back plan. A cycle trip across part of Canada. Simple.
Up to Tobermory, Manatoulin Island, and on to Sudbury. Train to Jasper. Cycling the Icefield Parkway southbound. A right turn at Lake Louise to head west. That road sign of twenty minutes to the top of Roger's Pass... well, maybe a bit longer on a bike. Then a sweet 25 km downhill. So many other great little spots. All the way through to Whistler.
1600 km in just over three weeks... priceless.
Return to the CV index for T. Mark Collins