Next Stop Siem Reap
It's been eleven years since Janos and I rode our bicycles here. In 2008 we started the Cambodia leg of our trip at the border in Sisophon, before the road to Siem Reap was paved. It was a washboard buried in red dust. After a day of that we got a bus. I'm glad we were that adventurous, I certainly wouldn't do it now. I can no longer imagine it.
This time we flew to Siem Reap from Bangkok. In the past decade Siem Reap has changed - as was to be expected. More tourists, more motorized vehicles, more noise. We are glad not to be here by bike.
We are taking a tuktuk to the temple ruins, which are what we came here for. I have a weakness for these vestiges of the past, I don't get tired of them. Some say if you've seen one, you've seen them all. I could wander all day - if it weren't so hot.
I'm keeping the blog posts short. I don't like processing my pictures or writing on the small laptop that Janos and I are sharing. So here are just a few random shots from our time here so far.
First Stop Bangkok
Returning to Bangkok where I have been several times: The first time was in 1965, with two toddlers, when my husband was teaching at Chulalongkorn University. Those two years made an indellible impression on me. Above all the sensory memories have hardly faded. Like a time machine, the heat, the smells of the street, the melody of the language, the flavors of the food - everything that the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue perceive - transport me back in time.
Years later I returned alone as a backpacker, and many years after that Janos and I came and toured in Thailand by bike.
Here we are again in Bangkok, Janos and me, without our bikes. We'll spend a few days here, just walking around, adjusting to the heat and the time change, absorbing the atmosphere and wielding our cameras or smart phones. (For my blog my smart phone will be more convenient.)
Now for some pictures
September 20, 2019
I have been neglecting my blog, it's been over two months since my last entry. But now I again feel the need for writing here. This is where I write for myself, post the pictures I like, this is where I think the least about what might please others or meet some standards defining what is good photography or an interesting narrative. I am in my own living room. It is very liberating to get rid of the censors, both in the world around me and in myself. Also very difficult, but I can try.
Yesterday we had another absolutely gorgeous September day, can't really call it autumn yet since everything still looks green and the sun is strong, but it's getting there. I rode my bike aways along the Würm. It's a wonderful path along the little river as it meanders on its way to Munich and beyond. I'm usually looking for a photo with my bicycle in it. I think I have even become a bit too fixated on this project of getting 180 rides that are documented with a decent picture of my bike. That explanation just in case you are wondering why my bike is in every single picture! Maybe it's time to take a few more pictures without a bicycle.
I didn't continue too far along the Würm before turning back. I spotted a cyclist taking a little path that I hadn't noticed before and thought I should have a look. It was a stony uphill ride, leaving the Würm valley. I encountered a few kids walking their dogs and a man walking back from the local farm with his bag full of fresh eggs and potatoes! Yes, walking through the woods to shop at the local farm - how idyllic is that! I am also happy to see the children out on their own in the woods, no chaperones needed. It reminds me of where I grew up in New Jersey - it was a dead end street in a reservation. I knew all my neighbors on the street and my playground was the woods behind the house.
Once on top of the hill I turned left on the trail leading back to Gauting. It soon intersected with a familiar road back down the hill to the river, a road with asphalt but no cars. This must be a shortcut through the woods for some parents when picking their children up from school. I saw several kids with their schoolbags and moms, all on their bikes, flying down the hill. While I dallied with my camera, a man with a bulging bag in his hand came by. I assumed he had been mushroom hunting and I was right. He proudly showed me a beautiful porcino or yellow boletus, one of many that he had found not far from the road.
I had my tripod with me and made a few selfies. My original plan had been to get some pictures of myself while I rode by the camera. I had seen some inspiring examples on this on Flickr and wanted to give it a try. It turned out to be not so easy and I settled for a simpler version.
Altogether it was a short loop along the river, up the hill and down again, but with much diversity. A happy outing.
Tuesday July 9, 2019
Another Tuesday afternoon with splendid weather for the weekly ride with the bicycle club. Two o'clock and eight cycists were ready to roll, Sebastian leading the way. Today's theme was wild plants, flowers or so-called weeds, that grow on the wayside where crops are planted or in the woods. Although I can't recite the names of all the interesting specimens Sebastian introduced us to, I was more than impressed at his extensive botanical knowledge. Not only could he name in German and Latin just about anything that was growing, but he also knew if it was edible, had medicinal properties, was a pest or a boon for farmers, what kind of soil and conditions it indicated - and so much more.
The ride itself was short, I think 25 km altogether, and at the end of the ride we stopped at the Kraillinger Brauerei, an old and traditional beer garden, for a chat and something to drink before we headed home.
And now for a few pictures
Tuesday June 25, 2019
It felt like anything but glacial on the day we joined the local chapter of the ADFC or German Biycle Club for their weekly Tuesday afternoon ride. The blazing sun brought the temperatures up to a sweltering 32°C/90°F. Nevertheless, nine brave cyclists showed up for the outing. The program was to investigate some glacial erratics that had been dug up in the course of construction for a new highway near Starnberg, a ride of altogether 30 km.
I was familiar with the German word for glacial erratic, findling, but glacial erratic had not yet found its way into my English vocabulary. Here is the lowdown: A glacial erratic is a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests. Erratics are carried by glacial ice, often over distances of hundreds of kilometres and mark the path of prehistoric glacier movement. Their lithographic origin can be traced to the parent bedrock, allowing for confirmation of the ice flow route. Erratics can range in size from pebbles to large boulders. *Wikipedia
Although Janos and I have already discovered many good bike paths in the area on our own, today's ride with the bicycle club expanded our repertory with some interesting bike paths that we will want to cycle again in the future. Our group leader, Sebastian, was well informed and stopped here and there to fill us in on some interesting details about the landscape and local architecture. He also seems to know the trails around here like the palm of his hand. The pace was just right and about half of the group were riding e-bikes, and since it was a week day afternoon it wasn't surprising that most of the participants were retirees. We first followed a dedicated bike path along a road out of Gauting to the west, then turned south on dirt paths between fields to the villages Unterbrunn and Oberbrunn. Then on to the site of the glacial erratics.
No ride is complete without a coffee stop. We stopped at Rieden where the golf course there has a cafe-restaurant open to the public, you don't have to be a golfer to take a seat, have a refreshment and enjoy a sensational view of the Alps.
From there we cycled back to Gauting on paths through the forest that were familiar to us. Altogether a very enjoyable day.