Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Vacation" at Rudi

Finally at Rudi (August 8th), where we originally wanted to have some sort of vacation or at least take it much more easier... Well Wolfi's list of repairs and must-do's had grown quite long and the hope of vacation vanished at the moment we arrived!
Arrival at Rudi and girls felt at home right away.
We got nice room from upstairs. My bed on the left and Wolfi's place in the corner :D

Wolfi started with his "body repairs". He needed some dental work and found a dentist nearby. After telling about our journey, the dentist surprised him with a "no charges at all"! In fact he even x-rayed the teeth to see whether there are other deficiencies and he found one potential trouble maker and this was also fixed.

Huge thanks to Dr. M.B. at this point. As he experienced a good deed in his life and carried it on, we will do our best on carrying it further as well! One thing done.

Next was some small things with the Suzi...

Ralph came over to have a "Benzingespräch" and I was rather sceptical about the things they suggested... (photo by Rudi)

Ralph explaining how they were done with his V-Strom. (photo by Rudi)
And the work starts - installing Scottoiler and changing the brake lines.

Shortly after Cornwall Wolfi's POV HD helmet camera went broken. Somehow the camera main unit did not find anymore the camera head. That's what it is with cables and connectors. It seems a connector pin is broken (Wolfi did buy the camera about 13 months ago and so no more warranty and no mercy to open the housing).
Wolfi investigating the helmet camera.
Work continues with the SilberWolf...
The overflow tube was somehow stuck - unbelievable amount of dirt came out
Wolfi's Garmin GPS had served well on many trips, in extreme temperatures from cold (-33C) and heat (+42C) and traveled the world with us already earlier. No wonder the DC connector totally disintegrated at some time. Instead of throwing unused stuff away when we left Finland, he did give things to friends for their usage. Lucky us Ari did not really need the other power cable and he was so kind and send it to us in Germany. Thanks a lot Ari, it saved us a lot of money!
Broken GPS power connector

I took the time at Rudi a bit more easier... My main idea was to go training with the local karate club, but unfortunately they were on vacation the whole time. So I just had trainings by myself, had some fun with Rudi's trampoline (good exercise for stomach muscles!) and especially enjoyed the beautiful and almost never ending forests nearby! I had plenty of good runs with my fabulous Vibram five finger shoes :) Those shoes are really one of the best buys ever, I highly recommend to everyone! Of course I helped Wolfi occasionally, but mostly I was just on his way... So kitchen was again the thing that kept me rather busy and boy did I do some fantastic goodies again! :D
Enjoying the hot summer and nice little garden :) (photo by Rudi)

Magnificent forests in Altenkessel! Finally this Finn could properly breath again :)
Saarland is very religious area and there are churches almost around every corner and they also make them selves noticed constantly! At Rudi we could enjoy the extremely loud "bling-blong" every 15 minutes 24/7!!! So no hope to get proper sleep either and that was also one of the things we were heavily looking forward to :( Well I guess just have to get used to it, because most likely it just gets worse the more souther we go...
Even in the middle of the forest there's always "help" around the corner :D
Delicious blackberries were just in season and on our walks we had often stomachs full of them!
Berry stealer :D
We also had some time to visit "almost" family like Usch, to whom I made the very successful cake and cookies.
Usch, me and Wolfi in Völklingen.
Lyra made instantly friends with the neighbour boy from Usch.
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Almost every day we enjoyed some healthy and delicious smoothies, which even Rudi started to like! Thanks to Rudi's enormous mint bushes, we got also plenty of healthy greens into the drinks :)

Green: 2 bananas, 2 pears, huge bunch of fresh mint.

Yellow: 1 banana, 1 orange, 3 peaches, coconut milk.

Following the slogan from Saarland "Hauptsach gudd gess" we had one evening a really delicious meal of vegan burgers, garlic potatoes, salad and beer :)
Happy men with their delicious vegan burgers! :D

~ Ilta

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Colours of Scotland

I love colours and wild nature, so here are pictures of some of the views I really enjoyed in Scotland. These always make me smile :)

I don't know the names of all the plants, so feel free to comment!
Orange Hawkweed at Kinloch Rannoch
Sea life at the coast of Malaig. Those red "flowers" were totally hypnotising!
Foxglove and a bee at Fort William. One of my favorite flowers, especially because of the beautiful bees they attract :)
Spooky "fairytale" forest at Isle of Skye.
Hanging water drops are always something magical to me :)
Some sort of lichens at Isle of Skye.
Yellow beauties at Dunnet Head.
Cottongrass field at Dunnet Head.
So soft and delicate.
Common Self-heal (?) at Dunnet Head.
Little white beauties and soft mosses at Dunnet Head.
Heathers at Cow Hill, Fort William.
Silvery cones at one cut down forest area.
Amazing Rhododendron bushes, trees and forests in many places! These I've been adoring my whole life :) Miss my own little ones back in Finland. Unfortunately I was always too amazed by these and forgot to take proper pictures...
Kelps at Isle of Skye.
These kelps looked amazing and totally hypnotising in the waves!

~ Ilta

Monday, August 26, 2013

UK in Hindsight

We thought to summarize our visit to the UK since we spent there 8 weeks and rode about 5500km.

Our track in UK

Our track in Scotland

Going to UK and coming back to Europe

First of all - the traveling to and from UK. We checked ferries and the train. In the end we went with DFDS from Calais to Dover. It is an 1.5h journey, the fastest ferry connection we could get (Dunkerque-Dover is about 2h). The sidecar costed with the three dogs 109GBP, the solobike 29GBP. We could not do the booking online since the program did not allow the combination of sidecar and travelling with pets. Instead we used the phone and later internet chat. The train would have been much more expensive as the sidecar is charged like a car and at that time they charged 30GBP/dog! The journey was swift and smooth. The only bad thing was that in the car deck there were horrible noises and the car alarms went on regularly (what we could hear during boarding and embarkation). Our girls got a thorough check at the check-in e.g., chip numbers, vaccinations. The arrival in UK was very easy and a few minutes later we were good to go.

On the way out of UK we decided to go again with DFDS. It was the cheapest as dogs traveled for free when going out of the UK and the sidecar cost "only" 34GBP. Nobody checked the dogs when we checked-in - we got our sticker "pets in vehicle" and that was it. There was also no customs check on the French border for us.

Biking in UK

Left-side traffic was not a problem anymore for us since we've been motorbiking already in AUS and NZ. England was totally boring from riding point of view. Roundabout after roundabout after village after village and some more roundabouts besides fields full of sheep... So it's either very slow average speed or highway/motorway. In both cases you don't get to enjoy too much scenery because the small streets have up to 4m high bush-fences on both sides of the street (often felt like riding in a tube/channel) and highways are typically anyway boring.

Small streets in Scotland were much more enjoyable. We rode along coastlines, at the edges of lochs and through the highlands. The streets are curvy, only a few roundabouts and single track traffic is good for increasing your adrenalin levels. The sad part was that typically the street was fenced at both sides with barb wires to keep the sheep and cattle on their fields. This made it difficult to find a nice green and spacy spot for a break. The standard rest place on the road is right besides the road (like an emergency lane) with no green and no space around. Even opening your car door appears dangerous when other trucks pass by with 50mph. We found only a few of our kind of resting places yet still not as good compared to middle European or Finnish culture. We speculated whether the typical UK driver has a rest only in a pub? :)

We were shocked to see how badly the surroundings of important street signs were taken care of! Too often hidden by bushes and branches, and Wolfi had quite some trouble to navigate. Haven't experienced such in any other country so far.

Dogs in UK

Ilta though UK would be very friendly towards dogs (and other pets) because of  all the RSPCS etc. -programs shown in Finland. Unfortunately she got a bit disappointed... First of all there is huge amount of "No Dog Poop"-signs everywhere (with fines up to 1000GBP!), but then the streets, parks, forests and beaches are full of human waste! (with no fine?) So the dogs really aren't the biggest problem, but for some reason people are just heavily focused on them... this was somehow bit sad :( Naturally we cleaned after our dogs and ourselves, because it's the responsible thing to do!!!

Finding dog friendly accommodations can be very difficult and we don't recommend to do it after a long ride and extremely tired! :D You will just loose your nerves! So first of all many places don't take dog customers at all and if they do the costs might be very high and ridiculous like 20 GBP/dog/night! Unbelievable! We understand that one has to pay the final cleaning, but what is this nightly payment about?! At least we haven't got daily service when being in one place for several days, because of the dogs in the room! These things aren't specific to UK, but the prices were the highest we've seen so far.
Luckily there has been some very nice people whose hearts have melted when they saw our cute little poodles and gave us accommodation even though dogs were not allowed. Well our girls are behaving very nicely, don't bark for nothing, don't chew furniture and don't stink nor shed any hair! (advertisement for future :))

Camping wild in Scotland

Compared to Scandinavia camping wild in Scotland is totally overrated and almost impossible! The streets are almost completely fenced because of the cattle and sheep and therefore it's very hard for a biker to get aside from the street to somewhere bit more peaceful and nicer place. There's also no "sideways" leading away from the main street, like tractor paths or then those are also fenced and behind a locked gate. For example in Scandinavia and Baltic countries you find those little paths rather easily. These are of course no problems if you travel with bicycle or by foot. Few times we did find rather nice looking fields or river sides without any fences, but then they were full of sheep or their droppings and that isn't too appealing to us...

Vegan in Britain

To be vegan in Britain is rather simple. Bigger cities have plenty of vegan/vegetarian restaurants and shops. The biggest store chains have pretty nice "Free From"-sections, which have also plenty of vegan foods and goodies.

Just the problem for us was that we eat rather healthy vegan food! Mostly raw and other vice sugar/fat/gluten-free. This sort of healthy vegan restaurants we didn't find too many and anyway because of the dogs it's not too easy for us to go out to eat...

For Ilta the biggest disgust was how almost all the veggies and fruits are packed in plastic, especially the organic ones!!! So to find loose organic veggies and fruits was almost impossible. Very sad and non-ecological! In Finland and in middle Europe it's very easy to find seasonal markets to get fresh and loose veggies, but unfortunately this sort of thing we only found in the few Whole Foods markets in Britain. Either that sort of culture is very small in Britain or the markets are very well hidden from normal tourists..?

Nature/scenery in UK

The main reason why we went to Britain and especially to Scotland was because of the "famous" landscapes. We had heard plenty of praising words from other bikers and seen beautiful pictures in films and TV-programs. Unfortunately we have to admit that we got heavily disappointed! Yes, Scotland has some very spectacular mountains, lochs, seasides and "must-do"-tourist attractions. The things is just, that as an ethical vegan many of the scenes lost their spectacularness very quickly, because we know why they look the way they do... For example the mountains look so cool and barren because humans have cut down the forests to make space for horrible amount of sheep! So in the end we just saw plenty of raped nature and it made us very sad :( Not to mention what eventually happens to those millions of sheep!

Of course one always compares things to what one has had or experienced earlier and we've already been biking in Lappland, Alps, Australia and New Zealand. Compared to those places Scotland wasn't anything special. Ilta thinks even Lappland is ten times better place to go biking, because of all the great sand streets and truly wild unfenced nature!

England didn't have much nice views for us at all. Plenty of cut down forests, fields, towns, high bush fences and very strange national parks... We drove through many national parks and still don't understand with what criteria they got the name? All the parks looked exactly the same as the rest of the country side: cut down forests and plenty of farms with huge amount of sheep and cattle. We just didn't understand this! Maybe someone can explain us what is the big difference between normal countryside and national park in Britain..?

The cliffs of Cornwall are cool and the waves against them great, just like seen for example in one of Ilta's favorite TV-shows "Wycliffe" :) Only they don't show too much what is behind your back when you look out to the sea... that is of course fields after fields with sheep and cattle! What a disappointment :(

These opinions and experiences are of course from the motorbikers' point of view. As a hiker or mountain biker you might get to experience much more really wild nature and cool scenery...

if you love city life, greasy food, fields and sheep, as well as to travel from pub to pub - UK will be most likely for you. If you are a truly ethical vegan, you might want to adjust your expectations...

~ Ilta & Wolfi

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hyvää Syntymäpäivää Mummulle!!!

Tein sinulle eilen kakun! :) Tai siis lähinnä sinua ajatellen, kun en valitettavasti voinut sitä postiin laittaa. Minä, Wolfi ja Rudi voidaan kuitenkin hymyissä suin vakuuttaa, että mielettömän hyvää oli ja olisi varmasti sinullekin maistunut :D Lähes yhdellä istumalla hävisi koko kakku!

Jos et ole siis viikonlopulle mitään herkkuja vielä leiponut, niin tässä ehdottomasti kokeilemisen arvoinen resepti, mikä ei myöskään vahingoita ketään elollisia :) Mahdollisimman terveellisesti kun yritän leipoa, niin tuli taas gluteeniton tehtyä. Voit kuitenkin oikein hyvin käyttää tavallisia vehnäjauhoja ja jättää No Egg-jauheen pois, ehkä maitoakin riittää silloin vähän pienempi määrä. Agavenektarin tilalle käy normaali vaalea siirappi. Mustikoiden sijaan voit tietenkin käyttää mitä vain kauden marjoista! Itseasiassa oli alkuun tarkoitus tehdä karhunvatukkakakku, koska metsät ovat täällä niitä täynnä, mutta jostain kumman syystä kaikki meni heti omaan suuhun ja yhtään ei kulkeutunut mukaan keittiöön :D Niin ja suosittelen tekemään matalan version, jos käytät tuota soijavanukasta, sillä saattaa aiheuttaa valumisreaktion... mutta ei se ulkonäkö olekaan tärkein asia, vaan se MAKU!

Vietähän mukava ja herkullinen syntymäpäivä, sekä muista ottaa rennosti ja nauttia luonnon ihmeistä! :)

  • 5 dl gluteenitonta jauhoseosta
  • 1 rkl No Egg-jauhetta
  • 1 tl leivinjauhetta
  • 1 tl ruokasoodaa
  • 2.5 dl soija-riisimaitoa (tai muuta kasvimaitoa)
  • 2 dl vaniljasoijajugurttia (tai esim. mustikan makuista)
  • 1 dl agavenektaria
  • 3 rkl auringonkukkaöljyä (kaikki kasviöljyt käy)
  • 2 tl vaniljauutetta (tai vaniljajauhetta)
  • 400 g mustikoita
  • 525 g vaniljasoijavanukasta (tai soijavispiä, joka on jämäkämpää)
Käyttämäni ainekset.

Sekoita kuivat aineet keskenään ja lisää yhteensekoitetut kosteat aineet. Sekoita sileäksi taikinaksi, mutta älä vaivaa liikaa. Kääntele puolet mustikoista taikinan sekaan ja kaada leivitettyyn kakku-/piirakkavuokaan. Paista 175 asteessa 30-60 minuuttia, riippuen vuuan koosta (itsellä kesti 60min, koska oli tosi korkea ja paksu vuoka). Anna jäähtyä kunnolla! Halkaise ja laita väliin puolet vanukkaasta. Kuorruta kakku lopulla vanukkaalla ja mustikoilla. Nauti hyvässsä seurassa :)

Halauksin Satu <3

Synttärionnittelut myös Wolfilta ja tytöiltä! Kuva tämän päivän metsäseikkailulta ja maha tuli taas täyteen karhunvatukoita :)

P.S. This post was birthday present for my grandma, that's why it's written in Finnish.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gluten Free Goodies

Yesterday we visited Wolfi's "auntie" Usch and because I don't like to visit people without bringing something with me, it meant that last Sunday was a heavy baking day!

I love chocolate and coconut (which many of you might know by now), so this is what I came up with... Hope you enjoy as much as we did! :D

Chocolate Cake (some kind of modification of this recipe)
makes 1 big cake
  • 2 dl gluten free flour mix (mine contained rice, corn, millet, guar gum and xanthan)
  • 2 dl rolled oats
  • 2 dl cacao powder
  • 4 dl coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp No Egg powder (this might not be needed, but I have it still, so I use it till the end :))
  • 2 tsp baking powder (contains baking soda)
  • 4 dl coconut milk
  • 1 dl melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Mix all the dry ingredients together and add in the wet. Stir quickly together and pour the dough into an oiled cake form. Bake in 175C degree oven for about an hour (depends how deep dish you have). Let cool down properly before taking out of the form or cutting into peaces. The texture of the cake is a bit like mudcake or brownie, so you can also bake it in a brownie form. Serve for example with coconut cream sweetened with maple syrup and flavored with vanilla, perfect combination!

Hazelnut Raisin Cookies
makes about 18 cookies
Totally addictive cookies! These vanished almost instantly :D
  • 5 dl oat flours
  • 3 dl raisins
  • 2.5 dl chopped hazelnuts
  • 1.5 dl coconut sugar
  • 1 dl rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp No Egg powder (might not be needed)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder (contains baking soda)
  • 1.5 dl coconut milk
  • 1 dl maple syrup
  • 0.5 dl coconut oil
Mix all the dry ingredients together and add in the wet. Stir quickly together and let set in fridge for about 30 minutes. Scoop big spoonfuls on to a baking sheet and bake in 200C degree oven for about 10 minutes. Let cool down before moving away from the sheet. Tip: enjoy with cold soy-rice milk, delicious! :P

The ingredients I used. Just raisins, hazelnuts and maple syrup missing from the picture.

~ Ilta

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cornwall (UK) - Saarland (Germany)

We left the St. Buryan's camping place to see the other "Land's End". After we saw, that we should pay for parking, we were so turned off... another tourist thing. We said to ourselves "Enough of this", turned around and hit the road.

We were looking for some accommodation around Exeter and after a 2h search we gave up and went to Crealy Meadows campsite for one night before we hit Southampton. Camping for one night is not our favourite. Well it was a deluxe campsite, which might be beautiful in 10-15 years once the trees have grown to a meaningful size ;)

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Another healthy and delicious lunch
We saw Stonehenge - "been there done that" ;)

The next two nights we spend in Southampton and we reserved a full day to visit the Beaulieu Motor Museum. Plenty of 007 and Top Gear stuff - it was great :)

Fascinating mechanical design

Royal Enfield Quadricycle 1900 Great Britain

This is the famous Ford Model T - at least in UK, they had colours, other then black :)
Aston Martin - slightly used by 007
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BMW R1200C - Bond escaping the bad guys in Tomorrow Never Dies
BAT 5/6hp and wicker sidecar 1913 Great Britain
OMG... :D
A "typical" Top Gear vehicle
Jeremy Clarkson rode the Vespa 1000miles across Vietnam in eight days
We rode from Southampton to Altenkessel within a few days, riding mostly highways and increasing our country count by one as we rode through Luxembourg :D

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Evening walk at the beach in Margate (last night in UK)
Our fruit lover waiting for a piece of apple :D
We were totally exhausted and felt that we really need a "vacation". Road life can be tough. We knew that we will stay for almost two weeks at Rudi who lives nearby Wolfi's old home. So it felt like going home and it was really something to look forward to.

~ Wolfi