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Getting Paid to Pick Apples

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We’re in Germany. We made it out is Stiffserland alive. Merv has been slave driving us the past week as he luckily found work up near Cologne picking apples for 2 months. We were really really far south (500km away) when we got the news and ever since we’ve been following the river Rhein like two bats out of hell. We’ve to be there by Saturday and I do declare we might just make it!

Mervs half a binocular

Mervs half a binocular

We were in a flea market and Merv bought half a binocular. It was €10 and he haggled it up to €13. I’m teaching him…. Anyway we both got some weird eye thing from it and Merv looked like he got beat up and I looked like I was crying. We are trying to cure ourselves before we land up at the apple farm. They’ll take one look at us and run.

Merv got an ex- army jacket for €7 and so now we are sitting under an army tarp, with the half a binocular and the army jacket eating army rations (well, green chillie curry)

Germany is class. They charge you extra when you buy water or beer and then you return the bottles in a machine in the supermarket and get the money back. It’s all well and good but yesterday we came across this one guy. He had 3 crates ready to be loaded into the machine but OH NO! There were 3 cans on the conveyor belt. He just stood there and rang the help button. A girl came out and he explain his predicament. Merv and I just laughed at how he stood there until she moved the cans away. Wow!

 

We’ve had some nice camp spots so far and seen a few lovely things!

 

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A thousand kilometres for a thousand memories

Merv: We have finished the 1000 km dedicated to Tadhg Sexton. He’s been in our minds both day and night. He will be really missed and never forgotten.

 

  Hear your song
I can’t believe you’re gone from this world
I can’t believe your song won’t be heard

Across the field you once did stride
With your fishing rod by your side

Down to green island to fish off the rock
Sometimes pull in a big fat pollock

Fishing all day for mackerel and eel
Or down to white strand to get hooks caught in seaweed

We’d camp under the stars and cook our meal
With a pile of wet wood and a can of beer

The times we had ill keep in a locket
Like when you walked around with pears in your pocket

Camping in Wales up at Steve handy’s junk yard
Laying out on the slate spit watching shooting stars

Oh those memories won’t be forgot
Or those curries so spicy and hot

A friend you were but more of a brother
You were one of a kind there’ll be no other

We will meet you again on another plane
And on that day we’ll hear your song again.

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Stiffserland

 

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So the legs healed and we set off from Jamie’s and Jule’s toward Switzerland.

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If you guys are reading this we want to thank you soooooo much for the great time we had. Can’t beLieve it was actually a week! You made us feel really welcome. We miss Griff most of all and hope you guys managed to get to the land of the dragons.

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So we landed in Switzerland and went to our first supermarket to check out the prices. It was not open so we sat outside having lunch when someone came up to us and said: make sure you use the bin after you! Like yeah….

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so the two goons wherein the shop paying for their food when goon 1 handed over some € cash money flow and goon 2 smiled at the cashier. He promptly informed is that you can only pay in frankincense in Switzerland or euro notes. Shocked! How were we supposed to know that the currency changes! Money is pretty awesome though. They have half cents here.

Merv: our first day in Switzerland was turning out to be good. We realised we needed real money, the views were amazing,

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and after a morning of climbing up hills it all went flat as we were cycling from the mountains to the edge of lake Geneva. Some big dirty clouds were coming in and we heard some thunder rumble.

 

Dirty clouds

Dirty clouds

The lake side was really populated but over an inlet we went and found a bird watching area. There there was a three story wooden building for watching the birds. So as the lightening, thunder and the wind picked up something rotten we hauled our stuff up the three flights of stairs and set up camp.

Forbidden camp

Forbidden camp

Not a tarp but a jaytarp

Not a tarp but a jaytarp

 

It was so windy the building was rocking but it was class.

 

In the morning we were nearly packed up 8 30 when two police officers walk up and ask if we stayed there.

 

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No we said we were just getting out of the rain which had started again. It was good because there was a abandoned bike left there so we averted their attention to that saying it was probably stolen and left there.

Number plate

Number plate

Oh ya all the bikes here have a registration plate on them so they could identify it easily. So we finished packing and got the hell out of there.

Merv wasn't allowed inside

Merv wasn’t allowed inside

 

Half way there

Exploring the alps

So we’re in Chamonix in the Alps. It’s been an awesome ride to get here and it’s so great to catch up with an old friend, and to have running hot water. Jay and jules lent us some gear so we could walk up to a refuge 2700m high left of mint blanc to camp beside a glacier. We set off in the morning and got a lift to the start of the walk with jules.

First station

First station

There is the option to get a ski lift up the first section but that would be cheating. The walk up was fantastic with stunning views and we also met a Northern Irish group hiking up to traverse across the glacier.

Lunch views

Lunch views

 

The leader told us where we could camp up there as there is no grass.

 

Campsite

Campsite

We arrived earlier than expected so we. Set up camp and left the heavy bad behind to scramble around on the glacier and rocks.they have to bring everything up to the restaurant/refuge by helicopter. Here it is after dropping off some barrels of gas and bringing some stuff away.

Restaurant transport

Restaurant transport

 

after dinner we sat up to watch the sun set and as the big black clouds rolled in we thought it best to climb in the tent. Luckily the storm didn’t hit us and we had a lovely calm night. We got up at six as to get down off the mountain before the promised rain came in at around lunch time.

Early start

Early start

we took a different route down which was really steep because it was on top of a ridge that descended pretty quickly. Because of cycling for a week with no day off, the mountain bike ride and the walk our legs were pretty beat. Then the harsh down hill our legs are now beat  so much it hurts to stand. So now we’re taking it easy for a few days to recover.

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1000km Dedicated to Tadhg

 

We have reached the 5000km mark and the next 1000km is dedicated to Tadhg who recently passed away and who will be in our thoughts for a long time to come.

 

Small Ceremony for Tadhg

Small Ceremony for Tadhg

We’ve left the Dordogne region for the mountains, entering the Alps through the Vercors National park which had some spectacular views. Gorges,

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high hills looking onto valleys and mountains roads that wound down with mega S bends that would put the cork screw hill in Ireland to shame.

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We’re now enjoying a few days with Jamie and Jules up in Chamonix. They’ve lent us 2 mountain bikes and we’re going to go cycle a cross country route (as a day off) but we have no bags so I suppose it can be counted as rest.

Mont Blanc, view from J & J's

Mont Blanc, view from J & J’s

Tomorrow the. We are going to climb up the Mountain towards a glacier. There’s a refuge up there but Merv refuses to acknowledge this and still comes packing the tent.
That’s also a day off but we won’t have any bikes so I suppose you could count that as rest.

From the porch of Jamie and Jules’ you can see Mont Blanc and all of its splendour. There’s snow up there and it’s baking hot down here. MADNESS!

Merv and Jay

Merv and Jay