In June I visited friends and family in the Netherlands. To do this on a budget I decided to get my bicycle operational again.
Cycling in the Netherlands.
I rode 10 kilometres through Germany which I thought was quite enough. It took me through the Reichswald where Otto III, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was born. His mother, Theophana, daughter of the Byzantine emperor, was married to Otto III and gave birth to the future emperor when she travelled through the forest. It wasn’t quite Constantinople, but it had to do.
The infrastructure for cycling in the Netherlands is superb. From there it is all downhill.
This blog post will be short due to shortages of electricity and wifi… Only 3% left. Got to go!
Next entry will be from England where I am cycling at the moment.
In Istanbul I bought a cardboard box and took apart my bicycle. It wasn’t easy to fit everything in the box, but in the end I managed. To transport the panniers, I bought a big floppy bag that would suffice to get my belongings back to Holland. Up till now I have had many questions regarding the weight I was carrying and I never knew an answer to those as I’d never taken the trouble to weigh all my baggage. When I was checking in, I was a bit anxious about the weight as my ticket gave me an allowance of 25 kilograms plus 8 kilograms of hand baggage. To be prepared I had brought small bag in which I could reallocate some items so as to take maximum advantage of my allotment. When I put the big bag on the scales I was somewhat surprised to learn that everything I owned (with the sole exception of the bicycle and the clothes I wore) weighed less than 20 kg…
After arriving at Schiphol airport, I colleccted my bicycle from the odd size bagage handling sytem and managed to get it on an airport trolley. The cardboard box was close to falling apart and I needed help from a custom officer to tape the box up in order to avert scattering the arrival hall with bicycle parts.
It was wonderful to be two days in the Netherlands to visit family and friends before I flew to Nepal. Even though it was November, it was still beautifully green and I deeply enjoyed the autumnal smells… It rained a lot however, and with my batteries recharged, I was eager to get back to the airport to travel to warmer environs.
Teddy bear in Doha’s Hamad International Airport
In Qatar I had a long layover and when strolling around the new Hamad International Airport, I found a huge sculpture of a teddy bear which had his head stuck in a big table lamp. It was made by the New York based Swiss artist Urs Fisher and was bought by a member of Qatar’s royal family for 6,8 million dollars. If that sounds like a lot of money, bear in mind (pun intended) that the new airport was built at a cost of 15,5 billion dollars…
It is made of bronze, weighs close to 20 tons, is 7 metres high and is suitably ugly for a modern international airport.
After another uneventful flight I arrived safely at the mayhem of what is otherwise known as Kathmandu International Airport.