The Silence Of The Black Hills

There are places as empty as the photos we take of them suggest. Otherworldly landscapes not even locals visit. The trail leading there might be long-forgotten and overgrown. Here, all sound seems to have drained away, even when you listen closely. No wind. No bugs. No rustling in the bushes. There’s a blanket of silence lying over everything. The sound of your feet touching the ground and the rustling of your jacket is soft and clear, making you aware that there is no other soul near or far to hear it. This is what it must feel like to live in a vacuum. Time doesn’t exist and the sun and the stars take turns in watching over you.

We have travelled many miles, hoping to look around a corner and find a new universe. Three old friends, whose lives are so different every day, with their hearts beating in the same rhythm. The second we buckle up in our green little time machine our routine kicks in. How are you what do you dream of which color is real?

We pull over, cook dinner in the sunset and continue driving until we find a lake on the map and brush our teeth in the darkness.

We sleep in a new country, on a road that’s long behind us when locals start commuting the next morning.

We find our pin on the map in real life, park, put on hiking boots, grab our gear, some water and look for a sign that this trail that could be it.

Continue reading The Silence Of The Black Hills

Bohemia – Wolves Don’t Sleep

Sometimes there is nothing holding me back from adventures, but my own thoughts. Luckily, I have friends to help me out in these situations.

 

Monday

Marius is pouring hot water over his holy drip coffee maker.

Marius: “Let’s do something cool this weekend.”
Stephanie: “Okay. But how? Berlin is flat.”
Marius: “Bohemia! It’s wild, it’s romantic and it’s a different country!”
Stephanie: “Sounds great!”
Marius: “We have a plan. I’ll bring the coffee. And the food.”
Stephanie: “I’ll bring everything else. As always.”

Marius performs a ridiculous break dance move on the floor.

 

Saturday

We drive. We park the van, pack our bikes, almost spit out the super strong, super black coffee I make and ride into the forest. We race trams that take people uphill to go hiking.

Stephanie: “Was that a waterfall?”
Marius: “Yes, that was THE waterfall.”
Stephanie: “It’s tiny.”
Marius: “Says you.”

Continue reading Bohemia – Wolves Don’t Sleep

One Week In A Tiny Country

This is how we plan most of our trips: We all want to something amazing. Nobody has an idea or time to research. We don’t plan anything. We get to a country half around the globe with hardly any local knowledge at all. And somehow we manage to make it a memorable adventure.

This time it was different. Lutz proposed to not drive as far this time, to skip the ever amazing Dolomites and take the risk of trying something new – with local knowledge. A vacation in a tiny country that a lot of people have never even heard of? Let’s go.

Liechtenstein (5 von 275)

Jesper flew to Berlin, we drove down to Frankfurt, threw Jenni into the van, met Lutz near Lake Constance, went budget food shopping (no meals at huts, no eating out, that’s our deal) and a little later we were sitting at Markus’ table with his family, enjoying pasta and home made pesto. Markus Büchel is a local rider and known for organizing ELSBET, a wicked mountain unicycling convention with shuttles up to the mountain and incredibly good downhill trails that attracts riders from all over the world to come to Liechtenstein. Markus gave us a stack of maps, marked some trails and none of us listend to his directions for good camping spots well enough.

We found it anyhow. And it was one very okay spot.

Liechtenstein (14 von 275)

In the morning, we made pancakes for an hour.

Liechtenstein (19 von 275) Liechtenstein (18 von 275)

Then we started hour two peak tour.

Liechtenstein (22 von 275) Liechtenstein (33 von 275) Continue reading One Week In A Tiny Country

A World Of Words

Whenever I told people I have a pen pal, they started laughing. What do you mean, real letters? To a person you don’t acutally know? Yes, real letters. Or rather, electronic messages, written in classic letter style. Did we plan this? No. We didn’t even know each other.

IMG_2350 IMG_2356

The day after we met, André took a plane to South America, to go on a year-long bicycle trip. That was also the day we started writing. Have a good trip. Happy birthday. What is it like to live in a tent? And somehow, it never stopped.

IMG_2364 IMG_2372 IMG_2400 IMG_2390 IMG_2414

With no common experiences to look back on, there’s a whole world to be created with words. So we put what we saw into words, wrote about the colors, flavors and the smell of the air around us. The sounds outside our windows and tents. Moments that made us feel whole, encounters that made us think. Meanwhile, months passed and our lives and adventures continued.

IMG_2425 IMG_2430 Continue reading A World Of Words

Strangers in Patagonia

When you consider going on a trip with a person you barely know, some people might call you crazy. But they do that all the time, so you are safe to ignore it. Once you booked a flight (“Sure, you can just transfer the money for an overseas flight later.”) and shared detailed packing lists (including the weight of your underwear) you might get an idea of what you have gotten yourself into: Three weeks of backpacking, sleeping in a lightweight (read: tiny) tent, navigating through the wild, all with a good dose of body odor after days of hiking without a shower.

IMG_0234So you stuff an extra merino shirt in the pack and think: “This could work. Or go terribly wrong.” How many of your friends would you like to spend three weeks with, side by side, every hour of the day? Exactly.

JSF-7444

One good advice is not to listen to your travel mate’s friend’s, when they tell you all the stories about him. But it’s okay to borrow a flask and fill it with whiskey, just in case “He barely talks” turns out to be true. When the day comes, you board a big plane. Then a smaller propeller machine. When you exit the tiny backcountry airport and set your backpack on foreign ground to wait for the bus, the air is filled with the spicy smell of unfamiliar herbs, underlining how far you are away from home.

IMG_0230 Once you made it to town, the ranger tells you, that there’s too much snow to do the traverse. You play your game, asking concerned, detailed questions and notice your travel mate does, too. The second you step out of the building, you look at each other and know without saying: The heck with it. We’ll give it a try.

IMG_0236 IMG_0237JSF-7458_59_60 IMG_0244 IMG_0256 Continue reading Strangers in Patagonia