Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Moonwalking - Adventure 235

Today, the rain had just finished its toll on the path, leaving us with nothing but mud and puddles that we had to navigate through to get to the next number. But it wasn’t too much trouble for our sturdy walking shoes and our high spirits.

The view alternated between forest and open plain, and the majority of the passage was the opposite direction of what we had walked last adventure. A polite complaint to the organiser of the walks (*ahem* Tonio *ahem*). Throughout the adventure we remembered different things at different times. Let me explain. When I recalled a broken branch or a view, Tonio wouldn't know what I was talking about and vice versa. We both remembered different elements of the adventure and managed to piece it together.

Animals of the day: sheep. We attempted to communicate with them by speaking their language, and surprisingly, we did get a few replies from the sheep. The whole time I was thinking about the awkward situation we’d be in if another couple of hikers came up behind us and watched as we spoke
to the sheep. Thank goodness that didn’t happen.

As we squelched along through the mud we came across some interesting photos. Tonio seems to be obsessed with moss on branches as that seemed to be the theme of his photos, along with trees that are alone in an open field, because he uses them as a metaphor as lone beings with their own different opinion in life, not being protected by the shield of the forest. Anyway, here are the pictures we took:


This adventure was a lengthy 7 km, one reason being that the day before we had stuffed ourselves at Wok Dynasty (an all-you-can-eat buffet) and Tonio is keeping a new year resolution of one hour of walking a day. Well it isn’t really a new year resolution, according to him, but a mere coincidence
that he started this routine on the 28th December, just before new year. This along with all his other routines, like eating an apple/orange/both every day, a Dutch lesson a day, etc.

Even though the walk was 7 km, it seems like much shorter now as I don’t have much to say compared to a normal adventure. And yet, I’m sure that I’ve missed one or two things that Tonio will mention in his side of the blog. But that didn’t stop me from dashing to the car because my legs still
felt like jelly after the walk. We then drove home and lived happily for the rest of the day.

Did you enjoy our moonwalk? If so, make sure to join us on our next one. Also, make sure to check out Tonio’s blog called The Wanderer. But for now, Au revoir!


[by Tonio]:

We kicked off the 2020s early enough with our first adventure of the year. A pleasant 7 km loop in mostly muddy conditions. No cars in much of the way, something that I did appreciate, although there were a few parts where we had to give way to car drivers who were in a mad rush to reach their destination. Their cars are so uncomfortable that they wish to reduce as much as possible the time spent driving them.

I'll just mention my favourites among the pictures that I took today.

The favourite: the lone tree. I waxed philosophical over this, and told Gianluca that trees standing alone remind me of people who don't go along with the flow in their opinions, rather than seeking the security in numbers by holding a mainstream view. Gianluca pointed out that being alone you don't have competition, which is true enough.

I don't normally take close-up pictures. This broken log that was covered in moss, however, caught my attention.

I notice that all my favourite pictures involve trees in various stages of life or death. To prove my point, a picture that does not involve a tree didn't turn out well: a 'delfie' of us two.

A delfie is a selfie using a shadow, originating from 'dell', which in Maltese means a shadow. Gianluca objected even here, claiming that 'dell' in Maltese referes to the shade, not to a shadow.

But my worst attempt at wit of the day was still to come. This was my own definition of the circumference of a bicycle as... (sorry about this) bi R squared. The joke wasn't even mathematically correct, as pi R squared gives the area of a circle, not the circumference.

I wonder how Gianluca puts up with me.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Albania... V2 (Adventure 226)

Today, like in Albania, which Tonio visited (see The Wanderer) we passed through an array of animals.

Our first encounter was with two goats (or at least we thought they were goats) but, as most goats do, they ignored us and seemed a lot more focused on their lunch, A.K.A grass. We attempted to converse with them, but it was just like a one sided conversation.

We passed through a cemetery and straight into our second encounter, this time with two horses. Contrary to the previous meeting, we made small talk as I lined up a photo with Tonio and the church in the background. Much more polite company if you ask me. In fact, calling somebody a goat in Maltese is an insult (bodbod) however, in English, G.O.A.T. stands for Greatest Of All Time, so take your pick.

Today seemed like a summary of our last ten adventures all packed into one. We weaved through a number of narrow passages, animals, fields, and also a fair share of moonwalking [Tonio: walking through mud]. At one point, a puddle so large that it could also be called a lake, was just hanging out and waiting for us to find a way to cross it. I could almost hear it laughing us as we squelched through the muddy water (or watery mud, both would work). Tonio tried for a dignified march towards the end, but failed miserably as we slipped and slid towards solid ground.

Another group of animals we met, during a narrow passage, was a herd of sheep, and Tonio made a speech of the day’s beauty and how the sheep should fully appreciate it (passage taken from mass) and we strolled on.

This coming conversation was in fact from the last adventure, and I had forgotten to mention it, but it was on the same road towards the end of both adventures: Tonio brought up a valid point that cars shouldn’t have been mass produced; what could have replaced them could have been small scooters that took up a lot less space and wasted less gas or electricity. These days, the majority of cars being driven has one or two people inside, but each car contains enough space for at least 5 people. Scooters should be mass produced instead of cars, which would still be produced, but only in cases for groups of people that all need to be transported from one place to another. I had never thought of it, but it is actually quite a waste of gas.

Eventually, we revisited the goats, walked back into the car and drove home. Did you enjoy this animal filled adventure? If you have, then make sure to join us on the next one. Also, make sure to check out Tonio's blog called The Wanderer. But for now, ciao!



[by Tonio]:

We covered a good bunch of numbers today, effectively 'winding up' Sint-Agatha Rode.

After the usual headache for parking, we set off on the same yet unfinished road to the starting point at number 226. Thankfully, straight into a country path which was inaccessible for cars.

We met a couple of nice chaps who were having their lunch.

One of them became curious after I engaged in conversation. He listened to me, but had nothing to say. The strong and silent type.

As usual, we saw a good variety of animals: horses, dogs, sheep, even what looked very much like a group of swans in a field in the distance. The sheep were too busy having their lunch to take any notice of us.

We discussed astronomical matters for a while. The Doppler effect, shifting of absorption lines on light spectra of stars moving away from us, such technical stuff. A bit closer to home and less complicated... the sun being just a bit visible behind thin clouds and my lucky episode a few years ago when due to just the right amount of thin cloud cover I was able to watch and take pictures of a near-total eclipse of the sun without any light filter whatsoever.

This time, we had a non-eclipse. You could call it a full sun.

We walked through different types of path. I'll begin by mentioning the worst bits. The paved roads, with cars whooshing by, their drivers intent on saving two seconds on their time of arrival as if their very lives depended on it. Tons of metal endangering life and limb of pedestrians. I remarked that I would be writing to complain to 'the manager' of the Zuid Dijleland network about this.

Overall, however, our walk was through much more pleasant passageways.

Wide open plains:

Gianluca's favourite, narrow paths:

But also some less pleasant, muddy and almost impossible bits. This was part of our route, too, and another reason why I should write to 'the manager' to complain. We actually managed to walk through the bog without getting our socks wet. It's a great advert for our shoes:

From time to time, autumn would reveal itself to us in all its glorious splendour:


As usual, we had a really enjoyable walk together. Thank you, Gianluca, for the barrage of observations and questions.

Tonio, taking one of the pictures featured above

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Long time no walk: Adventure No. 225

Today, we had our first adventure in over 6 months. It’s been a long while, and I hope that they start getting more consistent again this winter.

We started off walking to 225, and we decided to take a different approach to our photo of the number 225. We attempted a selfie, to get more modern, with the times per se. Unfortunately, Tonio didn’t know how to focus on the “take photo” button, without his own face focusing, and the outcome came like this: 

We set off on a familiar setting, in the setting where the first time we’d gone here, Tonio made a joke about the “black sheep of the family”. We then surprisingly broke off to a new place we hadn’t recognised as a path we’d been on before. The trees surrounding us reminded me of the countless number of trees that bent over and made the passageway look like a tunnel. The trees suddenly opened into a field and I suggested we take a video. This is how it turned out: 

And all the while we were debating on where we should go for Christmas and Easter holidays. We weren’t sure whether to go to a Yugoslav country or a more Italian/Spanish style country, with beaches as well as mountains. I was content with Croatia, seemingly between the two. Toscana, a region in middle/north Italy was also a possibility.

However, apart from those things, we had one of those unusually usual days [Tonio: very often our walks have a special 'different' feel. This one was one of the most 'average' of them all]. The weather was quite sunny, complementing the golden-brown farms and the also golden-brown leaves in the forests. The ground however, was more towards the muddy and wet side, giving my new walking shoes a good challenge. The walking shoes, however, prevailed; in fact, they ended up quite clean under the circumstances, like the occasional moonwalking we had to go through.

In the end, we walked back to the car. Did you enjoy this pleasant unusually usual walk? If you have, make sure to join us on our next one. Also, make sure to check out Tonio’s blog called The Wanderer. But for now, adios amigos! 


[by Tonio]:

It was a glorious day of sunshine this November Sunday. Before we set off from No. 225, on the road leading from Terlanen (Overijse) to Sint-Agatha Rode, I decided to get into the traditional photo at the beginning of our walk.

Our loop today was longer than usual, according to the map about 7 km in length, but it felt like it was more than that. Although the start was from a point where we have now been several times, we went on a loop where we had never been before. Except for the inevitable cars whooshing by in some short bits that were not closed to traffic, it was mostly peaceful and calm, even almost silent in some spots, which is quite unusual outside in the middle of the day in these noisy modern times.

Here, for example, you could actually hear the sheep munching away to their hearts' content. It was an image of such serenity.

Or here, where Gianluca suggested that I do a 360 degree video panorama, the silence spoilt this time by my voice and by a passing airplane.

It was, indeed, a beautiful walk. We covered numbers 225 - 262 - 256 - 255 - 236 - 235 - 226 - 225 on the old Zuid Dijleland network map.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Déja Vu - Adventure 224

Today, we had a strange adventure, to say the least. Throughout the adventure I kept thinking I was remembering things.
Let me explain. Because we've already been in quite a few adventures already (over 100 in total) and we're using the same map of Dijleland, the adventures we make may go through places we'd already been in. Those places may have been recently or a long time ago. For example, a few adventures ago, at the early 200s, we walked the exact same route we had walked in another adventure, but there were differences. The first difference was the fact that we were walking in the opposite direction, and the second being that in the earlier adventure, the walk had been covered in snow, but in the later adventure it was all sunny and nice. It was interesting to compare the pictures we took with and without snow.
But unfortunately, if the place we had been in was a long time ago, we would only be left with a feeling of déja vu as we walk by what could or could not be a place we had already walked.
And it was that déja vu feeling that I had, like a bell ringing at the back of by head, but the sound of the ringing was so far away I couldn’t tell if I’d heard it or not.
Animals of the day: sheep, horses and cows. The animals in the neighbourhood seemed to be very sophisticated as the cows seemed to be very good at small talk, the horses greeted us with pleasure and the sheep had a mannerly conversation with Tonio. But for the two lots of sheep, as soon as I spoke they tended to lose interest or respect in us; but I couldn’t tell which. And as we wound around in the plentiful narrow passages, we were gladly accompanied by the many animals around us. We even looked into more detail at the plants and insects as I spotted a yellow spotted spider, a sponge coloured spider, a bronze-coloured beetle and about 100 or more flies... which, to be honest, was 100 more than we wanted disturbing us.

But at last, we made it back to the car, jumped in and headed home... did you enjoy this animal, plant and memory filled adventure? If you have, then make sure to join us on our next trip. Also, make sure to check out Tonio's blog called the Wanderer. Until next time!


[by Tonio]:

Today's walk started off like the other time, through roads with too many cars and also, on this occasion, cyclists whizzing by. This was also due to traffic being diverted to the secondary road where we were walking, because of roadworks on the main access to Sint-Agatha Rode.

Bit by bit, however, it became more rural and calm. We encountered various animals, mostly cows, sheep and horses. I had a, sort of, meaningful conversation with a sheep. She more or less repeated her same argument, while I tried to be a bit more elaborate in my remarks. But maybe they're not familiar with the Maltese language. This flock of sheep had been sheltering inside a shed and I gave them my standard greeting: "Insellmilkom!" Literally, "Greetings to you". In Malta, for some reason, it's only used on the radio and on TV. And by myself. My new-found friends the sheep took this to mean that they should go out into the field to graze, which they immediately set out to do.

Sheep will be sheep...

Further on, our route took us into a path next to a waterway. Gianluca was quite certain that we had already walked here. I'm not so sure myself. It was certainly picturesque. I was about to write "pleasant", but there was another species of animal present in abundant numbers, that I didn't mention above. One of the most successful multicellular forms of animal life on earth, as I pointed out to Gianluca: mosquitoes. You get them when you're close to any body of water if the temperature is not too cold. Lucky Icelanders. No mosquitoes can survive up there.

Still, mosquitoes or not, this whole "Adventures in Dijleland" idea was one of the best I've ever had. Yet again, it was an interesting and a lovely couple of hours with Gianluca and, as always, a means to take some pretty pictures.

I'm looking forward to the next one.