Sunday, July 28, 2013

Our remaining route through England - tips welcome

Our days in the UK are counted. We will ride from Sheffield towards Cornwall and continue to Dover - a little less than 1000miles. We welcome you to give us some tips on nature attractions (no city stuff please) as well as raw-food places and low budget (dog-friendly) accommodations.

Stonehenge and the Beaulieu National Motor Museum are already on our list.

The picture shows our approximate route.

~ Wolfi

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scotland: St. Monans to Stirling

After fixing my bike in Perth we headed towards St. Andrew in the east coast. Mainly because I wanted to see the beach which was used in the film 'Chariots of Fire' and also wanted to do kind of re-enact of the opening scene... just for fun! :D The idea of camping in St. Andrews didn't really work out 'cos everything was already fully booked or didn't allow tents (what's the thing with this everywhere???). So we had to  go a bit further along the coast to St. Monans, where we luckily found a pretty nice camp site for three nights.

But by humans must be ok... at least it looks like that everywhere!!! How about just "No Littering" -signs for a change?! (a sign on one of the camp sites wall, which didn't like tents either)

Wolfi's evening beer, while watching the local football club practice opposite of our pitch :)

Of course not! See the interesting phone line distribution...
 Kids playground nearby. Have to start practice the roundabouts early enough! :D

Beautiful and mellow evenings.

Relaxing (and some running) at the St. Andrews beach. Very HOT day!
A bit too hot for girls, but at least Ulpu was smart to go to shade :)
Healthy lunch at the beach, yummy!!!

After the beach we visited the "Scotland's best kept secret". We saw those signs when we drove to St. Monans two days earlier and of course got interested to know what is it all about...
A military bunker built after the first atomic bomb and used during the cold war...


Interesting vehicle for handicaps :D

Darn - we left them all at home!
Old times messaging center.
Radio broadcast control room - full of "old", but very interesting technology.

35mm portable movie projector. Besides the radio room the only really interesting objects for a movie geek in this museum!

These old telefax machines brought back good old memories to Wolfi... (is he really that old?! :D)

And of course there were plenty of all sorts of guns.

The German collection room full of WW2 and DDR items.

Wolfi - "Connecting People".

We drove to Stirling via Bo'ness because of the motor museum there full of James Bond memorabilia. I didn't realize the place until after we'd already left Falkirk and was really disappointed :( Wolfi wasn't too eager to make a such divert, but after the (boring) visit to the Bunker this was easy to justify ;) I needed to have some interesting fun as well! and in the end Wolfi liked the place a lot, which I knew he would :)
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Bo'ness Motor Museum

Finally got my arms around James Bond ;) He doesn't really look like any of the six, but I decided he's George Lazenby 'cos "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is one of my big favorites.

Wolfi playing with the rocket launcher from "Tomorrow Never Dies".

Lotus Esprit from "The Spy Who Loved Me".

Wolfi got spooked by the Harry Potter spider!

Sweet motorbiker :)

Finally in Stirling (or nearby?) at the Witches Craig camping place, where we stayed for five nights. Mostly just relaxing, sunbathing (I finally got some nice color :)) and catching up with the internet stuff... Very nice place besides a beautiful forest and great hills to exercise. Only minuses were the noisy street close by and too far away located toilets! (and the bugging neighborhood kids!) We also learned from the locals how to possess a campsite table for our own use :D It was really entertaining to watch how those tables traveled around the place...

Our home: bedroom, kitchen, lounge, closets & cupboards... Nothing's missing! :)

These boys were the number one fans of our girls (and our chairs)!

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The other one had to leave after two days, but this one stayed until very end! Girls did get a bit fed up as well...

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The hills behind the camping place. We had great exercise there every day!

View from the top.

Day trip to the Doune Castle, which was heavily used for example in the Monty Python's Holy Grail -film. That was a very interesting and hilarious trip and especially Terry Jones's audio guide was great fun!
The Doune Castle

Located on a pretty cool hill and between rivers.

Huge fireplace in the kitchen!

Spot a street sign?


We have really been amazed throughout our journey in Britain, that how badly the trees and bushes are taken care of in front of street signs and quite often extremely important ones!!!  
One day on our walk up on the hills we met these fellows really close by. Could have easily pet them, but they had a young calf with and we had to be careful that girls don't make them angry... so we kindly changed our route :)

So beautiful and peaceful creatures.

Our lovely neighbors.

Our first ice cream (vanilla soya ice cream) of the summer! Especially Wolfi had been anxiously waiting for this! Enjoyed with christmassy apple cake -> perfect combination.

At the last morning I suddenly saw these sweet fellows having breakfast just behind our tent, and they were "together" for a very long time! What a lovely cheer up :)

We left the camping place just before the expected thunder storm hit and had a wet journey back to England via delicious shopping in the Glasgow's Whole Foods...


Monday, July 22, 2013

Camping foods

...the healthy versions :) More or less according to the 80/10/10 diet. These sort of foods we've (even Wolfi!!!) been having mostly on our trip. Extremely easy and quick to do and so much healthier than 'normal' camping foods! Even if you're not into raw foods I still recommend to try especially on a hot summer day, so much lighter and no need to sweat in kitchen or in front of a grill... ;)

I prefer this with medjool dates, but just didn't have picture of such portion now...
Breakfast fruit bowl (for one)
  • 3 (pink) grapefruits
  • 4 bananas
  • 10 medjool dates or 0.5 dl raisins
Peal and chop the grapefruits and bananas and mix together with chopped dates. Enjoy! (I'm totally addicted to the combination of grapefruits and bananas, absolutely delicious!!!)

Not a beautiful picture, but extremely delicious!!!
Lunch bananas with fruity sauce (for two)
  • 8 bananas
  • 4 + 2  persimmons
  • 1 very ripe pear
Peal and chop the bananas and 4 persimmons into bowls. Peal the pear and the remaining persimmons, put to a mixer and mix until smooth sauce. Pour the sauce over the chopped bananas and persimmons and enjoy! :)

Appetizer soup (for one)
  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • BIG handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic
Wash and chop the tomatoes,  celery and basil and place into a mixer. Peal and chop the garlic clove and add with the rest of the ingredients. Mix high until smooth soup and enjoy instantly by drinking straight from the mixing cup :)

I just LOVE this sauce with asparagus! :)
Asparagus salad with lemon sauce (for two)
  • Lettuce
  • Big punch of baby leaf spinach
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 2 spring onions
  • 12 stalks of asparagus
  • 1 dl cashews
  • 1 dl pealed hemp seeds
  • 1 lemon (cut skinless and seeds removed)
  • (black pepper)
  • water
Wash the lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions and asparagus. Chop the tomatoes and onions into desired size. Cut the hard ends of the asparagus away, cut the rest into bite size pieces and boil in water for 5 minutes. (Asparagus can also be eaten raw, but I haven't got used to it yet. One step at a time...) Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl.
Put the cashews, hemp seeds and lemon into a mixer and mix until smooth. Add desired amount of water to get nice salad dressing (I like mine rather thick) and spice with black pepper if wanted. Pour over the salad and enjoy instantly!

~ Ilta

Luxury cooking

... in Fort William, where I had the great pleasure of enjoying a proper kitchen after a long break!

Here are some of my favorites. All recipes are for two persons. For the sweet potatoes and the chocolate mousse I used one 400ml can of coconut milk, which I let stand in fridge for few hours and then gently separated the cream from the water.
Smashed sweet potatoes and garlic 'Gebratenes' served with rucola, tomatoes and basmati rice.

Smashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 big sweet potato
  • 1 dl coconut water
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • hint of salt
Peal and chop the sweet potato and boil soft in the coconut water. Smash into smooth puree and spice with the curry powder and salt. (This was Wolfi's ultimate favorite!)

Garlic Gebratenes
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 zucchini
  • coconut oil (or other veggie oil)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • black pepper & salt
Peal and slice the garlic cloves, wash and chop the aubergine and zucchini. Put to a frying pan and bake in coconut oil until soft and the extra liquids (from zucchini and aubergine) have evaporated. Spice with oregano, basil, black pepper and with a hint of salt.

Chocolate mousse isn't too photogenic....
Chocolate prune mousse
  • 3 dl coconut cream
  • 10 soft (organic and sun dried) prunes
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
Put all ingredients into a mixer and mix high until smooth. Pour into cups and let set in fridge at least an hour before serving.

~ Ilta

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fort William cont'd ...

It was good that we wanted to stay so long in Fort William as we needed to solve a few major issues. The first one was that the credit card company was so kind and closed my card due to "suspicious activities" and even after a long phone call with my bank it was not possible to re-open the card. Instead I needed a new one. Without credit card it is often not possible to do e.g. motel/room reservations and thus it was essential to us to get a new one quickly. That is normally not so difficult and only takes a few days, unless you happen to travel around the world ;)
Lucky us, we could now offer a temporary address where we would stay long enough so that the new card can be shipped. That was one reason to wait, stay foot and hope that the letter arrives before we need to depart.

The next major issue was the problem with Skippy's bike. During the normal chain maintenance I noticed that the brand new Hyperpro rear shock was leaking. I made a test sitting on the bike and for sure the oil was gone in the suspension. Milady only commented that there was a "klong" once in a while (she thought they came from the sidecases) ;)

Broken Hyperpro shock
So I emailed and called Hyperpro and they agreed to send the required spare parts, so we can get the shock fixed in the next bigger town. We had several options where to go (all about 100miles away) and the second company I called did repair shocks and they also had time. Great, now it was all about waiting for the spares to arrive.

Skippy's bike needed also an oil change - our first real regular maintenance. At this point, I would like to say BIG THANX to Kenny - our host. He let me use his garage to change the oil and was even nice to collect and recycle the old oil. That was more then I hoped for and the maintenance work was done in no time. I also cleaned the Scotts oil filter, since the extra work is marginal and the opinions on how often to clean those re-usable oil filters vary.

Besides relaxing, enjoying life in Kenny´s great log cabin (it really felt almost like home - only Sauna was missing) and waiting for the mail (thanx again Kenny for this favor and for acting as our temp mail address as we also ordered some vegan dog food and needed a shipping address). There are plenty of things to see and do in Fort William.

The next day we decided to experience the steam train ride on the Jacobite from Fort William and Mallaig. We followed the (smoke) smells of the Hogwarts Express and rode over the Glenfinnan Viaduct - known to all Harry Potter fans. The landscape was really beautiful and this time, I could sit back, relax and take some clips compared to when riding the bike. We had a small walk in Mallaig and we got ourselves a few books from the local second hand book shop.

Getting ready for departure

Break at Glenfinnan
I love those kind of "smart" signs :)

55t snowplough rebuilt from a former V2 locomotive tender

View from the train ride
Glenfinnan Viaduct
Skippy inspecting wild life in Mallaig
Beautiful flower in the water
Me looking "ahead"
The following day we made a hike to Nevis gorge and Steall Falls. The gorge was magnificient with all its huge (and I mean HUGE) rocks and the potholes washed out by the currents over the time. On the pictures the gorge looked like a miniatur model as I was not able to capture the dimensions and the depths of the gorge. It was late afternoon and we were almost alone on Steall Falls. Great opportunity to take a few more special pics of my beloved better half.

Steall Falls nearby Ben Nevis, Fort William
Too strong currents for our little dogs to cross by themselves

The "kiddo" also could not resists to climb the steel rope even though I would say it was easier to walk through the river :D

Wolfi leading the way
It was Friday the 12th of July and we reserved our last day for packing, last laundry and finally I had the right energy and motivation to do a little nordic walking - after over 6000km, I could use my hiking sticks :D

Next day we left this great place with a little sorrow...

Skippy swimming in Loch Ness - no monster appeared ;)
The beauty and the comfort came with a high price for us low budget travellers. It was clear to us that the following days we would need to go camping. As we learned earlier, the strange thing about camping is that our dogs might cost extra and in the end the difference to a motel or to a B&B compared to camping with three dogs might be marginal. Anyway, camping is was and the camping places we tried out were fully booked, and the many other sites were only for caravans. At some point we got enough and decided to go into the wild. We found a resting place besides a river with a decent spot. There was a table and a trash bin on which we could find the "rules" for camping in the wild.

Camping in the wild
Tentsite with a view to the river

Know the code
Well, it turned out that the traffic was more then expected and we found unbelievable trash in the water.  Besides all sorts of metal objects, cables, I diged out what looked like a motor from a washing-machine and a blinker for fishing (not very nice if you step into one).

Unbelievable trash in the river
All the sudden a deer came to inspect the river
Our "neighbour" opposite of the street
On top of that there was a warning sign that the river level might change rapidly due to the hydro power station. That all reduced our desire to go for a good swim. Since we also saw and learned that resting places appear to be used heavily as human toilet (BTW, never seen a fine for that, only dog fouling is forbidden!) and the heavy and sudden noises throughout the night, we did not feel like staying more then needed.

It was now Monday morning. We got up early, packed our stuff and headed towards Perth to get Skippy's bike fixed. We found the place easily and after a short talk, I started to take out the rear shock. The mechanic got right away to it and we went off for a nice picnic lunch in King's park enjoying strawberries, rasberries and some indian food. The repaired shock went quickly back into the bike. As I was crawling on the floor tying up all th bolts, Skippy was so kind and provided me with our rainbow umbrella some shade. A pity we do not have a picture of this :D

Wolfi packing up his toolbox after the repair
Girls were hot and bored ...
Skippy had a chance to sit her "Nessie" onto the topcase
We were ok to continue and headed off to St. Andrews.

~ Wolfi