Flowers and Pumpkins in Singapore

I went to Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. The Flower Dome is a huge greenhouse showcasing plants from dry Mediterranean climates including from Australia, Europe, South Africa and South America. I knew this would be something special when I walked in and saw this beautiful horse-drawn stagecoach.I loved the Australian section. It made me feel so much at home. Especially when I...
More

Frederiksborg Castle

I cycled to Frederiksborg castle in Hillerod, Denmark. The castle is spread over three islands in a large lake and is quite imposing with high solid brick walls around a series of courtyards. One section of the stables has been converted to an art conservation office, old furniture is conserved in another area.Inside the castle, there was one room after another, dozens of rooms...
More

Rune Stones That Last Forever and Photos That Don’t

I headed to Rök in southern Sweden to see the rune stone which has the longest inscription of any rune stone in the world. Runes were a written alphabet created by the people of Scandinavia, the Vikings. Only a very few people in those days were educated enough to read and write runes.This rune stone was created about 1,000 years ago and is a memorial stone set up by a man...
More

Two Ladies of Vadstena

Today was a day of culture. I'm in Vadstena in southern Sweden. I would have toured the monastery which is here anyway but there is a very strong wind which is making it very difficult to cycle so I decided to spend the full day here, see both the monastery and the castle and leave tomorrow instead. I discovered the fascinating stories of two women of Vadstena. Neither was born...
More

Göta Canal

I followed the Göta Canal for two days from Söderköping to Borenberg, staying overnight at Linköping. A very late start (11.30 am) saw me head for the shops for urgently needed groceries. I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet the bike was travelling. I had oiled the chain the previous day so there was no rasping or grinding at all, just the quiet whisper of tyres on bitu...
More

Grisslehamn to Söderköping – six days of cycling

In the past six days I've cycled from Grisslehamn to Söderköping, stopping overnight at Norrtälje, Vaxholm, Södertälje, Trosa and Nyköping.Keen to get out of the Åland Islands and move into Sweden, I took an early morning ferry to Grisslehamn. The trip took 1 ¾ hours and cost a whole 7.50€. At that price, the trip was marginally more expensive than breakfast and cheap...
More

Across the Åland Islands – Part 2

At the bridge near Godby, I was interested in the three flags flying at the café – Swedish, Ålandic and Norwegian. The Ålandic flag has a red cross over a yellow cross on a blue background. I saw these colours quite often being used in different ways. The flag at the cafe had prime position, reflecting the locals’ insistence on the Åland Islands being as independent as possible...
More

Across the Åland Islands – Part 1

The ferry timetables in the Åland Islands are not very cyclist friendly. They seem to go very early in the morning, once in the afternoon and late in the evening. Given that the camp grounds are often 10 km or more from the ferry terminal, it makes catching the early or late ferries very difficult. I can see I could very easily waste a lot of time here.Knowing that the only con...
More

A day cycling in Finland.

Today was one of those days – it started off quite ordinary but soon changed into absolutely perfect.I had a rough night. It was quite windy, the tent was flapping and carrying on but I fell asleep anyway only to be woken at 2am by someone tugging at my guy ropes and banging on the tent pegs with a rock. I don’t know who it was but I suppose I should be grateful. I was woken ag...
More

Malborg Castle near Gdansk

Malbork Castle is the biggest brick castle in the world. Are there are any bigger stone castles? I took a free English language tour with a very knowledgeable guide. He explained the entrance fee was so cheap, only eight zloty, because it was a Monday, the castle workers’ day off and many parts of the castle were not open – !Anyway, way back in the 13th century, the Monks/Knigh...
More

A day in Gdansk

I found my way into the centre of Gdansk, to the main street, the Dluga and the main market square, the Dlugi Targ. The whole street is lined with one beautiful building after another. Many of the buildings are quite narrow but they all have the most amazingly detailed decorations, statuary or murals. I had to pinch myself and tell myself that it’s all been rebuilt since t...
More

Swinousjie to Miedzywodzie

Now that we’re in Poland, I need to get to grips with Polish names. They seem to have a love affair with the letter ‘z’ and ‘zy’ combinations, for example ‘Szczecin’ and ‘Szczecinski’.We have to follow a new set of signs too. Our route is called the R10.Today we cycled from Swinoujście to Miedzyzdroje and from there to Miedzywodzie. The first part of the route to Miedzyzdroje w...
More

A Useless Street in Stralsund

We spent the day catching up on washing and other boring tasks. While studying the map of Stralsund I could see how the street names refer to important concepts or people in the town with history and geography interwoven in everyday use. Mönchstr. Jacobichorstr. and Klosterstr. refer to the various historical religious places. Bechermacherstr. is the street of the cup makers. P...
More

Stralsund and Greifswald 2

The bicycle route from Stralsund to Greifswald is 20 km of heritage protected cobblestone road, something we’re fairly keen to avoid as cobblestone, despite its beauty, is dreadfully on both my bike and on my equanimity.  We’re so comfortable in our accommodation in Stralsund that we decided to take the train to Greifswald and make it a day-trip.We took our bikes too so th...
More

Stralsund and Greifswald 1

Anne-Rose organised accommodation for us in the local sports centre. As well as the usual basketball courts and soccer field, there are five guest rooms above the canteen/bar. Our showers and toilet are those used by the general public. Our room is spacious, with two sets of bunks, a small table, four chairs, two wardrobes and lots of spare space. It’s also warm and dry! Luxury...
More

Wismar to Stralsund

On leaving Wismar, we decided to try following Google Maps to get to Kahlenberg where we planned to stay the night with relatives. Google Maps took us the most direct route – through a suburb of gardens, along a very bumpy cobblestone street which gradually degenerated into a dirt and rock laneway, past a farmhouse and into the woods where the laneway became a narrow, mudd...
More

Lübeck to Wismar

I set off with Anne-Rose on our tour along the Baltic Coast towards Gdansk. She wants to travel along the coastline and enjoy the beach. I want to see the Hanseatic cities so this trip suits us both quite well.We cycled to the Herrentunnel which goes under the Trave. Cyclists and walkers aren’t allowed in this tunnel so there’s a bus which took us through at no cost. In Travemü...
More

Lübeck – Three Stories

A venerable old city like Lübeck has to have a treasure trove of stories hidden in her alleyways and brickwork, stories which delight and fascinate tourists and locals alike, stories which link the reader to the past and bring those bygone days to life.Merchants Under Attack:In the Schiffergesellschaft there is an alcove in the wall which displays an old rifle, a sword and a ca...
More

Lübeck – The Schiffergesellschaft

Anne-Rose and I went to the Schiffergesellschaft, a very old and atmospheric restaurant in the central old part of Lübeck.This site was first mentioned in writing in 1229, almost 800 years ago, but the current building dates from 1538 when it was built as part of a much larger complex.On the 26. December, 1401 a guild, the Schiffergesellschaft, was established to ‘aid and comfo...
More