Destiny and a new set of wheels....
Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
86Trip End Ongoing
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Traveling through Africa, Malawi to be exact, we met a lovely German couple, Markus and Anne, they were doing a similar trip to us…….4 months from South Africa to Kenya. We met them on three separate occasions, each totally unplanned. The first time we met was at the base of Mt Mulange.....they had just climbed and we were about to, we saw them talking with their guide, we wanted to know all about it, we picked their brains about how, when and with whom to do the climb...we talked and then without knowing anything about them we parted company each heading our separate ways.
A week later we arrive at a camp site at Cape McClear, the bottom of Lake Malawi.....and guess who's there....that's right Markus and Anne, soon we know their names and a few details about their trip....where they are from, where they had been so far, etc
A week and a half later we settle into our camp site at Chitimba (northern end of lake Malawi), we decide to take a stroll around the local area.....guess who we bump into....that’s right Markus and Anne...they are camping where we are, we take some time to chat, catch up and make a plan to take the bus together the next day....both on our way to Tanzania. The following morning it's a crazy torrential rain storm, we pack up our tents with speed and spend the next hour or two taking shelter in the camp ground bar, and get to know each other a little more. Rain gone now, we take a strange bus trip together....strange cause there are no people on board....totally empty except for us and our packs (unheard of in Africa)....roads really wet and driver enjoying the light load getting a bit more speed out of the bus.....great….but we make it!
At our destination we depart hastily, it's raining again, Markus scribbles his e-mail on a little bit of paper.......see you in Germany some time.....little did they know that we had every intention of taking them up on their offer
Half way through our travels in Italy, we decide Germany is the next destination, yes we will buy bikes there before heading further north. We couldn’t think of a better place than Berlin…turns out we were right. There are bikes everywhere, as well as great shops and lots of delightful passionate bike people (tell you about the bikes next). We email all our German friends in the hope of meeting up……maybe some tips etc but we can’t read the scribbled email of our friends Markus and Anne…sorry Markus, we don’t know if it’s a v or an r…….we try a few different combination…..but no good……..hmmm.oh well, they don’t live in Berlin anyway, so we plan to try and get in touch with them later.
On our third night in Berlin, about 7.30, we jump up and race out of the house, we need to get to the bike shop before closing time and pay the final instalment on our bikes, it could probably wait till tomorrow but we think it’s probably a good idea to get out of the house. After doing our business at the bike shop we choose a different subway station to make our way back home, we get to our stop, walk off the train and guess who’s standing there……..you guessed it - Markus and Anne, here for a weekend in Berlin for the first time in 2 years……and staying just a few hundred metres down the road from us
It wasn’t long before we had an e-mail asking us to dinner. Markus and Anne very generously took us out for a German meal…..schnitzel, spatzle, pflammkuchen (german pizza), bier………it was so good to see them again and catch up on all their news……the most exciting being that Anne is preganant and has the beginnings of a baby bump………it was a magical evening.
I’m not sure we believe in destiny but maybe we should start!
So yes, we are in Berlin….and YES we now have bikes, and YES we are very excited!!!
There are about 400 bike shops in Berlin and we only visited two before making a decision, we felt guilty enough to have to say no to just one shop after they spent hours talking us through all the options, the thought of visiting more shops was too much
(Alex's note: Actually Jason is twisting the story at my expense - at short notice we didn't have any choice on the colours, and mothers please note that all items have red and white reflectors on them so are very safe.)
So we had a very enjoyable, non-touristy week in Berlin, staying in a warehouse apartment in the so hip it's still quite seedy suburb of Neukolln
After Berlin we take the plane to Stockholm, we are staying on a berry farm for a few weeks, we then take the ferry home to Estonia (home for me anyway)…….even though I can’t speak the language nor have ever been there….I still like to think of it as home. Just outside of Talinn we will stay with an Estonian family helping with the building of their house…….. Then we start to ride, we think through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, maybe ducking quickly back to Tuscany for house sitting, then back to Poland for a wedding…..not ours, but some Polish friends we also met in Africa……..yes their e-mail works, we took a little more care with that one.