And we’re off!

Holy moly, can’t actually believe that it’s finally come around! We had a great send off at the Crown on Saturday night, a huge thanks to The Mojo Mechanics who donated all the proceeds of the gig to Annie’s Challenge!

Saying goodbye to the family at Harwich was a tough one, although filled with hope!

But, we’re off to a flyer, we’ve managed to put about 20 miles between us and Hook of Holland! We’ve hit Rotterdam and after refuelling with a big lunch of omelette and chips we’re ready to kick on!

We haven’t been blessed with the finest of weather and last night was a little damp… But spirits are high and we’re excited as to what Holland has to offer! Although the idea of no shower until Cologne isn’t filling myself and Henry with much joy…

We’ve uploaded our first Vlog of the walk, exciting!¬†https://youtu.be/if6ZUp-NlGA

We’ll be doing as many of this to show everyone ¬†what we’re up to!

More importantly please please remember why we’re doing this and keep donating, it makes it all worth it!

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A new challenge awaits..

 

As we draw ever closer to the Georgian border, we are faced with new challenges, which will certainly pose new problems.
Turkey has been a relatively easy country in regards to the people, there has been no evidence of any political issues or any threat from groups such as ISIL who have caused so many issues for the Turks. Camping and walking has been easy and with only one issue involving police and the odd gun shot here and there, we’ve not been given any bother whilst sleeping out under the stars.
Georgia, however is a different proposition. We are lucky enough to be working with a risk analyst firm back in the U.K., and having received their latest report on Georgia it seems that crime is high, especially along the route that we’ll be taking. We seriously questioned whether we should go through Georgia, but after out weighing the cons with the pros, we decided to take the route. I know, that if we hadn’t decided to go through Georgia, we would regret it in the future and whilst there are threats to worry about, you can’t worry, because wherever you go in the world, there will always be people who want to do you harm, but we like to think that there are more people who want to do us good

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P.s if anyone who is reading this is Georgian, please please get in touch!

I’ve acquired some pets…

I’m aware, that this is particularly vile, but I feel as if I should probably share it (it’s Sam btw).. 3/4 nights ago when we last slept in a hotel, I decided to get my sleeping bag out for some extra warmth. Now, this hotel was, let’s say, a fairly low budget one; cold showers, no heating, scratchy sheets and apparently, bed bugs.
Having got my sleeping bed out, it appears that it is now infested with something that enjoys biting me, an awful lot. I’ve got marks on my feet, my ankles, my torso and my arms and they itch like hell! I don’t really know what to do, the bites are driving me mad and actually a little bit sore.
Our next stop is scheduled in a couple of nights time, at a relatively nice hotel, so I presume they’ll do laundry and will be able to wash my sleeping bag. Will washing it get rid of any nasty bugs? Heaven knows, all I know is that I’m itchy and sore and it’s just another problem I really really don’t need..
Oh well at least someone’s getting a good meal tonight (me being the meal and the creatures having a jolly good feed..)

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P.S, we’re wet at cold again and are DEFINITELY trespassing on someone’s land.
PPS. On last pair of dry socks.

Could do with a cup of tea..

I’m sat here, in my hammock writing this entry with a definite shiver on. We’ve had a 29-30 km day today, so nothing out of the ordinary, but at about 3 pm when we set off after a nice restful lunch break, it began to rain, again. Shock. Horror. Honestly, I thought Turkey was meant to be a warm country, I know that it’s autumn, but still, rain? Shivering? Hello hyperthermia.. Both of our jackets are soaked, and normally we’d sleep in them but that can’t be done, so I’ve had to delve deep into the depths of my rucksack to find multiple layers, to keep me from dying. Maybe I’m being dramatic? Did I tell you that we had a loaf of bread for supper? Although it all sounds rather tough now, the walking itself, just seems to fly by. It hurts, yeah sure, but we’ve got our routine, a system. It makes it easier to deal with, up at 7- 7:15 away from camp 8 am latest, so not the most anti social start time especially after going to bed at 7 pm, apparently that’s what you do when you camp..
Might I add, that our campsites aren’t the most glamorous set ups in the world. We’ve pitched up behind what I think might be a building caravan where the workers have their tea and just beyond that the equivalent to the A12. We had found a lovely campsite about half an hour before this one, but a gentleman strongly advised us not to sleep there for three reasons, murderers, robbers and the third? Well. Maybe that’s a little unsavoury to be posting on here, but you get the idea.. Anyways, time to curl up and try and stay warm, enjoy your beds!

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On the road again

So here we are, off on another tough stint after a couple of days rest. On the three occasions we’ve had people come out and visit us, it’s been great. There is however a downfall. You get back into the swing of ‘normal’ life, you kind of forget that you’re going to have to go back to sleeping in a forest, eat bread for dinner and walk 30 + km a day. It’s tough, but having said that, we’ve kinda got used to it.
After a few days rest and a road trip down to Cappadocia with my Father (Sam’s) it’s back on the road. I must add though, Cappadocia is one of the most beautiful places, I’ve ever been to. Our first morning consisted of a 4:30 am wake up call to go and see the stunning hot air balloons rise above the gorges of Cappadocia, it really was an incredible sight. Cappadocia is a maze of caves and underground cities that were inhabited by all sorts of people. We even got to stay in a cave hotel, (it was a lot comfier than it sounds, there was a bath…) but nonetheless it was a cave!
After exploring the sights and catching up with news from home, next thing we knew it was time for my father to go home! Three days rest was plenty, and our feet were given a bit of respite.
Our next stop, Rize. A solid three week walk away from where we are now, we’ll hit the town of Samsun in a couple of days, where we’ll probably take a night in a hotel, to reorganise and regroup (and most likely dry out all of our kit, rain seems to follow us). It’s crazy to think that we’ll arrive in Georgia in under a months time, although the days are long and tough, the time spent on the whole, goes so very quickly. Time flies when you’re having fun? Pah! Yeah right…

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Plugging away..

It turns out that walking in the rain, is probably one of the most soul destroying things that you can do, especially when all you have to look forward to is setting up a camp, in the rain.
We’re in the middle of a pretty savage 8 day stint at the moment, involving 40 km days, so we can get to Sinop for Monday. I’m not sure as to where we are now, but what I do know is that the weather is treacherous. It’s cold, windy and wet. Last night was dire, so dire in fact that tonight we’ve had to find a hotel in order to dry kit. Poor Henry had a pretty vile night, the rain started at about 4 am, and to say it was relentless is an understatement, I managed to curl up into the foetal position and stay dry (ish). But Henry’s sleeping bag was completely soaked through, luckily the kit in our bags managed to stay dry.
As we were walking today, the rain was coming in on us on an angle, hitting us with some pace, it was just so cold! You get to the point, where you can just laugh, after that you get to the point where you’re a little angry. After that, who knows, madness perhaps.
Right now, we’re sat drinking tea eating chocolate cakes and Baklava, healing our minds with sugar and additives.
When we arrive in Sinop, we’ll have a visitor, my Father! He’s coming out for a week or so, we’ll take a few days off and go down to the beautiful Capadoccia, I’m fully expecting multiple history lessons from Mike (father) who seems to know everything about everything.
When he goes home, we’ll then be back on the road again, and actually, we won’t be in Turkey for much longer! Another 3-4 weeks and we should be hitting Georgia! Exciting times! Georgia into Azerbaijan, then a flight down to Chennai! We’re slowly but surely getting there, and the donations continue to come in which is great! Please carry on watching our vlogs, and keeping up to date on social media! http://www.kathmandu-it and Kathmandu-it (on FaceBook)

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Where does the time go?

Seriously though, where does the time go? Looking back over the blogs, it’s pretty much been a year since we started planning ‘Kathmandu-it’. I remember sitting in my kitchen, with tea and biscuits going over countless ideas with Henry; routes, kit, sponsors.. In that moment you don’t really think as to what it’s going to be like when you’re actually doing it.. I was so naive as to what the expedition was going to do to me, I think Henry was too. Mentally, we’re as used to it as we can be, physically, it’s as tough as ever. We tend to do 2/3 week stints before a proper rest, no matter how fit, how strong or how tough you are, this routine is going to cause problems in some shape or form, mainly in the form of aching bones.

Since the last blog, we have seen and experienced so much, straight after writing that blog, we set off into the mountains, which if you’ve been watching our blogs you’ll know was a pretty horrific few days, although we did make a few friends, Pablo and a crazy shepheard…

We ventured through Bulgaria, which was eye opening in many respects, from poverty to holiday destinations it was a place of many contrasts. We’ve continued to sleep in strange places, meet new faces and live receive incredible generosity, too many for me too reel off on here.

And where are we now? We find ourselves on the Black Sea, Turkey. We’ve passed through Istanbul, which was probably one of the most beautiful and vibrant places I’ve ever been too. From the Grand Bazaar to the Hagia Sophia, it’s somewhere which I could go back to over and over again. Whilst in Istanbul we had to invest in new boots, which, to say the least have been causing issues… Blisters galore! Both of us have also been hit with some pretty grim sickness, violent you might say..

It’s been a while since we haven’t had a day of walking, on Friday we’re looking forward to three days off at a hotel in the beautiful town of Amasra, sun, sea and a whole lot old of sleeping!

Although, we’re tired, smelly and aching there is one thing that keeps us going, the hospitality and generosity of people. We’ve especially noticed the Turkish hospitality and friendliness, walking along the street, we’re always being offered tea, coffee or people just stopping us to ask our names and where are from..It tends to lead to a lot of miming though, our Turkish is not good…

Right, we have to go and walk! Another 50 odd kilometres and we’all be at our hotel for a nice long rest and maybe a beer… Remember, keep checking out our Facebook Kathmandu-it where you can see vlogs, pictures and updates! More importantly, please donate! http://www.annieschallenge.org

 

xxx

 

Europe is almost at an end..

Firstly, you must be thinking, how rubbish are these guys at keeping blogs? Yes, yes we are. I dare you though, to walk across Europe and stay disciplined, trust me it’s harder than it looks..I sit here at the foot of Romanian mountains outside of a small village called Borlova, looking forward to some traditional Romanian soup and other delights. There’s one thing that I never expected to say, that Romania and its people is/are beautiful. We’ve been shown nothing but kindness and generosity whilst we’ve been here, from being invited into family homes to a guided tour around Timisoara (with beer), it’s been an incredible experience, we’ll miss this place for sure… Although, we’ve got the prospect of two days in the mountains starting… This afternoon. Joy. Did someone mention something about bears? Yeah there are bears here. Not so cuddly though.

It is true that we love Romania, and Bulgaria will be great as well but we cannot wait to hit Turkey, it marks a huge achievement for us, we will have walked the entire length of Europe. But it’s another change, in culture, especially in Hungary and Romania, we’ve seen many changes in culture, from horse carts still being used for work to boarder line poverty in some places. Turkey, Iran, India are going to provide something completely different however, something we can’t wait for.

So, I promise to try and do this more often, I really do, but if I don’t with hold this promise check out our Facebook, where we have vlogs! That way you can see our lovely faces… One more thing, go to Romania! You will not be disappointed!

 

Peace x

Long time no speak but we have made it to Austria!

One of the hardest things about this trip is keeping up to date with; diaries, social media and blogs. The last thing after a long day of walking is to sit down and use your brain. Sleep is the only thing that either of us want to do when we’ve set up camp. So apologies to our avid blog readers, about the lack of reading material.
So, here we are! We’ve arrived into Austria! After a month long trek in Germany, passing through cities such as Cologne, Frankfurt and Nuremburg, we have finally conquered one of the biggest countries in Europe, and it feels great!
We are now resting in Linz, where we have rented an apartment for a couple of days, so we can refuel, sleep and wash. Wash being the main benefit. We’re lucky enough to have a couple of visitors as well; Kitty (Henry’s sister) and Lucy (friend of kitty) to come and keep the spirits high!
Next stop? Vienna! We think it’ll take about 6 days to get to, where we’ll then take another couple of days and then on to Budapest! It’s amazing how quickly this is all going, although the days are long and hard, the weeks seem to be flying by!
We’ve really got into a rhythm of walking now, the first couple of weeks were so tough, but physically we’ve got used to what it feels like to walk 20+ miles every day! What we haven’t got used to though, is the lack of shower.. Every time we stop in a city all we can ever think about is taking a shower; to all of those back home please, please be thankful of both shower gel and hot water!
I can’t promise you when the next blog will be, but in the meantime keep watching our vlogs, keep up to date with our Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram! Oh yeah, more importantly, keep donating!
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Cologne! We made it, just!

imageWow, it’s been a while since we blogged, we have so much to keep track of! So here we are sat in a small cafe in Cologne psyching ourselves up for another stage of the walk, Cologne to Frankfurt. The last week has been painful, our bodies are starting to get used to it, but we do hurt! Just quickly, anyone who thinks this is a holiday or a trip, it isn’t, it really really isn’t!
Anyway, like I said this week has been pretty strenuous, we’ve had all sorts of weather; thunder storms, rain and sweltering heat! All in the space of a week! We’ve slept in a barn, we’ve been invited to someone’s home and we’ve slept next to a train track, it really has been an adventure! We hope to arrive in Frankfurt in the next 6 days or so, where we’ll hold up for a night and take aim to Nuremburg! We’ve decided that we should probably learn some German, neither of us know an awful lot… Like none…
So far so good in camp, we’ve met some cracking people and our spirits are high! The only thing, the heat.. It’s starting to get reeeeally hot now, that does not help chafing..
We’ve been super slack on the blogs, we’ll try to do at least two or three a week, along with the vlogs! Keep sharing, keep spreading the word! Until next time! X