Thursday, December 2, 2010

Life in a kayak and a monastery

New Norcia Guesthouse Entrance
After all the misery on the Hume and Hovell I flew into Melbourne to have a couple of relaxing days. But my couchsurfing host kept me busy till 1 am with all sorts of business questions - and lots of trail talk as well. In exchange for all my good business advice I had free internet access and he put me in contact with another ultralight freak like myself, Franco. I have seen his posts on backpackinglight.com for years and was thrilled to meet him in person.

So one sunny afternoon I made my way to Franco - and stayed there for more than 4 hours talking ultralight tents. Or as Franco's wife put it: "You two go outside and play!" And this is what we did: We set up several tents and compared them thoroughly in Franco's backyard.

In the end I did not see anything in Melbourne but my couchsurfing host's apartment and Franco's backyard, but that did not really matter as I had been in Melbourne before. Eventually I flew on to Perth, which was a real breeze without dragging a bicycle in a bike box along.

I stayed with another couchsurfing host, Prudie, in Perth. This world is so small... Prudie, had been recommended to me by my German friend Rita, because Prudie had visited Rita in Frankfurt just a couple of months before. Prudie is a German and French teacher and therefore I could not only speak German again, but also learned a lot of new expressions.

Alan, my paddling teacher
In Perth I was met by Alan. You might remember him - I have met him in January 2009 while cycling in Western Australia and we have always stayed in contact. Alan is a great paddler and had agreed to give me some paddling lessons while I was in WA. If I proved totally useless for paddling, we would just go snorkeling instead. Well, I did not go snorkeling once and we spent 4 days falling in and out of a kayak (called wet exit and entry). That means I was falling in and out of the kayak whereas Alan was just giving advice while I was exhausting myself. After 4 days I managed to get back into my kayak in less than 3 minutes and also I will never win a prize for grace and elegance I get the job done - and that is all that counts. I even managed to steer around an obstacle course without embarrassing myself too much. Alan declared me fit for further paddling adventures on my own and while he left to get back to work I headed to a monastery!

New Norcia church

Yes, that is right - I spend a couple of days in a monastery called New Norcia. I took the bus there that dropped my basically in the middle of nowhere. The only thing there is a huge Benedictine monastery - and I felt like in Southern Spain (this is were the monks had originally come from). The only thing to do there was to eat and sleep. The food was excellent and they even served wine with it!!! I slept in a bed again and even had air condition in the room. So much luxury.... I really needed this break after all the problems on my various trails.

But after two days I headed off to a trail again: Bibbulmun Track revisited!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that you have qualified to kayak alone will you be taking on the River Murray? Water is flowing for the first time in many years so the timing could be right.
D