Itinerary August 23, 2017 to July 7 2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Final Post: Back Home

It was a great adventure:
   14 countries
   10.5 months
   60,000 air miles
   36 flights
   8 crossings of the equator
   3000 bike miles

We're a bit sad that it's over, but happy to be home. Everyone asks what our favorite place was? We truly can't pick one. How do you compare a South Pacific island, the Himalayas, and an African safari?

We've been so lucky: no accidents or injuries, we never got sick from the food, no lost baggage, no cancelled flights, all lodgings were at least OK, and our tenants left the house in great shape. We had no really bad experiences.

Finally, the trip brought home to us that it's a big world. We saw a lot, but there are so many places we'd still like to see. Maybe we'll do it again some day?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

One More Flight


I do not know how to describe how we feel now that we are headed home. We definitely look forward to seeing everyone again. I want to make sure the basement doesn’t get moldy as the house has been empty for awhile. But had we planned to be somewhere else now, we would be eager to go to that place. Meaning, we are not home sick yet. It will be nice to get back on the bikes as we barely have ridden since April, and it definitely is nice to know we like our bike routes at home. The fact we have pulled this whole trip off is pretty amazing in itself, and we appreciate the efforts of SO many friends who made it possible!!
Unfortunately we haven’t yet found a concise way to summarize our experiences is so many different parts of the world, but Craig is getting better!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Finland and Stockholm

Seems we started Our Big Adventure, and will finish it, by visiting friends, and getting guided bike tours.
Already in South Africa we had fun with Bev&Chris and their extended family, including the next generation. It’s fun to hear what young people are up to.
Here in Finland, Irmeli had gathered 10/20 class mates to celebrate 40 years as PTs. I am happy I don’t feel as old as this means I am.

Link to Finland & Stockholm

Friday, June 15, 2018

South Africa 2

We are now at Madikwe, a game preserve north of Johannesburg, on the border with Botswana, with Bev&Chris, and their family and friends. Craig and I are very thankful to our friends for all their African travel suggestions, help, and the invitation to join them here. We had wanted to plan some type of safari, but the commercial ones are super expensive. Through their connections, we learned of the places we went to in Namibia, and we all got a special deal, in a beautiful big lodge here. Craig & I have our own large room, and e.g an outdoor shower, where you can listen to exotic birds, loud baboons, or trumpeting elephants while enjoying warm water!

Link to 2nd safari. Now in South Africa

Craig’s videos:
Bull elephant in must
Lion stalking Cheetah
White Rhinos
Lion brothers at poached Rhino

Thursday, June 14, 2018

South Africa 1

South Africa

Am hoping we can publish our 2 posts from here before we leave - we are at the airport in Johannesburg, on our way to Finland. Haven’t had regular enough internet connections since we arrived in Africa a few weeks ago.

From high mountains & altitude problems, to dry desert with wild animals up close, to a stormy coast where many ships have perished. Before the last part, we have enjoyed local info and expertise staying with Bev’s sister Jenny, and her partner Roy, outside of Cape Town. And more visiting with friends here, and then in a totally different setting, Finland, is coming up. A lot of contrast, which probably is why we don’t feel any need to go home soon, even though we are looking forward to catching up with our friends there in a few weeks.

Link to South Africa 1

Sunday, May 27, 2018


After spring comes fall, and after fall comes summer. We have now crossed the Equator 7 times, and have one more crossing when we fly to Finland in a few weeks.

Namibia - ‘Africa Light’ per some blogs I read last summer.

An independent nation only since the 1990’s. A decent road network, and one of, if not the most, popular tourist destination in Africa in 2016. Friends Bev&Chris had recommended we consider coming here, so we decided to rent a car, and drive to Etosha National Park. To view the wildlife.
Politically, Namibia seems to be better managed than many another country in Africa.

Link to Namibia pictures

Craig’s videos:
Elephant in Etosha
Lion encounter in Etosha
Leopard in Okonjima

Friday, May 18, 2018

Good Bye India

Just published the trek write up, so this is the 2nd post for today.

Craig wrote in an earlier post that this whole trip of ours did not feel like a vacation at all. We have usually had quite a bit of time, and no set agenda until we arrived in Bhutan. There, and here, we came with a goal of doing certain treks, for which we hired guides.

Link to 4 more India pictures
Taj Mahal pictures
Agra Red Fort pictures

Our Markha Valley Trek, 7 days.

Our guide, Jigmet, met us at the hotel, and we drove some 30 min. to the outskirts of Leh, where we met the rest of our crew.
Tewang, was in charge of his 4 mules and 1 horse, which carried all the camping gear, a gas bottle for cooking, our 2 duffels, food staples for us and the animals etc. He always hums, and at times sings for the animals. A mule can carry 45kg, and the horse 65kg.
Gyalpo, a young father, was our cook - a phenomenal such, and we had the best camp food we have ever had. Despite what clearly were difficult conditions, he kept us healthy, full, and impressed with his variety of dishes. He also cooks at home.
Andu, the youngest, assisted all the others, and is a super hard worker, and a very cute 20-year-old, who is finishing some exam, and then hopes to get into college in Leh.

Link to the pictures from our trek

Craig added a link to his photo spheres after the text

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Leh, Ladakh

Leh is the main town in Ladakh, which is a part of the state of Jammu-Kashmir, in India. Altitude: 11 500’ (3500 m).
I don’t think we had heard of this area until friends George&Lynell, and Carolyn &Tom told us about their beautiful Markha Valley Trek a few years ago. So we came here, as we like recommendations from friends, it is close to Bhutan, and the timing was perfect considering our next destination.

Link to Leh, Ladakh

Monday, May 7, 2018

Good Bye and Kadincche, Bhutan!

The Punakha Dzong

 Punakha - they grow barley, wheat etc.  later also rice

After we returned from Haa, we drove to Punakha, which is the province immediately east of Thimphu. Tsewang had already last summer suggested we include this in our itinerary, but we didn’t as you pay a high daily rate to come to Bhutan. We had prioritized the trek. Coming here after all, is probably the only positive in Craig’s mind, after abandoning the trek.

Our last few days in Bhutan

Craig has attached a link at the end, with 360 degree pictures he discovered he can take on his phone.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Our Aborted Trek

Making cheese


ing butter

The positive:
- we have recovered fully from mild altitude sickness.
- we got the symptoms on the training hike in the Haa Valley. Better then, than at the first night’s camp of the trek, in the clouds and cold rain. The training hike trail would have been on the 1st day of the usual trek, but the itinerary had been changed, so we returned down the way we went up (see below)
- we are uninjured after both the hike on a treacherous, steep trail, and the drive to/from the start of it. An SUV is definitely helpful as all but the main roads are unpaved, with many very large potholes. The road was only one lane wide, the downhill driver yields to the car going up, and people try to allow each other to pass as best they can. You share the road with trucks, road workers, cattle, rocks, and dug up areas. Due to the rain there was slippery mud. And the drop offs are super steep, and the sharp curves pretty much constant.
- we got to see the beautiful Punakha Dzong (Craig says the most beautiful temple of our entire trip), which had not been on our itinerary had we completed the trek.

Link to the Haa Valley