Tag Archives: Freedom

The Rolling Hills of Estonia

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What we find exotic abroad may be what we hunger for in vain at home (Alain de Botton). So at the end of October, I left my hometown for the Baltic country known as Estonia. I was searching for a ‘winter’ region to meet winter circumstances. I packed my bike, my camping stuff including a tent and a thermos, and more socks than usual for a trip of one week. I first enjoyed the capital Tallinn with all it included. I experienced sophisticated open-minded people, excellent food and Italian-quality coffees. I came across beautiful Nordic houses and old temporary housing blocks of Russian design, and saw many remnants of historical suppression. Nevertheless, the Estonian mentality is another thing. This Nordic tribe people make something of their self-sufficient lives and their proud country! They have truly impressed me!

It was then time to head out. The wind took me to the Lahemaa National Park, where encountering the Eurasian Elks made my day perfect. And yeah, it did rain the whole day! Probably the reason why I was the only guest in the huge guesthouse in Loksa. The touristic season was long gone. Turning south was turning into fierce Estonian headwind for many many hours to come. I was so dead that I couldn’t make my tent my home and treated myself with an apartment in Tartu. However, after many hours of wind blowing straight into my nostrils accompanied with all kinds of rain, I saw the sun for few minutes at the end of the daylight, which is like very early in the afternoon there! It was one of the finest things I saw that day! One night, I stayed in this so-cool farm in the middle of nowhere. Never seen such a lively organic farm with marvelous people (and two playful kittens)! Perfect stuff for fairy tales)! Just living the dream! Check them out if you’re around (or here or find something else on WOOFF)! My last days were filled drying up in the southern county of Põlvamaa, bordering Russia. I really enjoyed wandering around in the Meenikunno Bog with cranberries floating on top of the peat along the hiking trail. The Pavlova dessert was one of the best aftertastes of this short cycling stay in a fabulous ‘exotic’ country.

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The Planted Seed: Quest for Freedom

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In 1995, adventurous Göran Kropp left his hometown in Sweden heading for Mount Everest. On a bike! The following year in April, he arrived in Nepal. His second attempt in May to conquer Everest solo and without supplementary oxygen was successful. Very very crazy guy! I absorbed this tale when I was a bit younger than now with admiration and disbelief, and I always thought this couldn’t be a human journey. Anyway, the seed was planted… In 2013, I wanted to cycle to Mount Elbrus and ascend it, but due to safety issues in the Caucasus I changed my plans for that year. This summer, I’ll try to do my Kroppedian approach of a three weeks off. I’ll attempt to cycle on my Thorn from my hometown in the Netherlands to Chamonix in the French Alps. Chamonix is the French gateway to the highest summits of Western Europe. From there on, I’ll join a group of eight enthusiasts to first ascend the Gran Paradiso in Italy followed by the climb of the Mont Blanc from the French side. Although this trip is small and done in my own way, it still reminds me a lot of this crazy Swede… In one week, I’ll leave! So much life and freedom to look forward to! I could talk for hours about the subject of freedom and the mind (that’s for a guy like me not more than few long minutes), but let’s not talk and waste time, just watch this video from Get Out There Productions and you will know me so much better…

Enjoy summer time!!!