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Thu, 30 Oct 2008 England to Romania

July 1, 2009

I have been away now 2 weeks. In my usual fashion I have been doing things at such a pace I have not had time to write an update! Still, I am learning to slow down and take more time over things so I hope to get better at doing this!

So far I have been in transit over Belgium (flat) eaten bratwurst in Germany, mistaken my first view of the snow topped mountains upon arrival in Switzerland at night for clouds and that was only the first day! I have since been up and down several mountains by train, bike and foot have seen many spectacular scenes, ever changing as I go eastward. I’ve been on many different types of trains from 250km/h speedsters to stop-at-every-station-there-is all day epics and super-shiny tourist scenery trains to “been in service every day for the last 30 years and probably still have a bit of dirt from each of those days” trains. I have put together and taken apart my bicycle on Austrian platforms, outside Budapest International station (to the astonishment of local taxi drivers) and as the sun rose in Arad, Romania after my night train whilst trying to avoid shifty illegal taxi drivers and stray dogs that I feared wanted a chew of my leg for breakfast. I have met many interesting people, from grumpy non-English speaking chain-smoking Hungarian train guards to friendly fellow travellers and accommodation hosts! So despite not being able to continue my original challenge to cycle the UK for Robin Hood ministries and then to attempt the cycle also from the UK to their project in Romania, I have still made for myself a considerable challenge of taking the bicycle with me (though I did wonder why after day 1, lots of hauling a 35kg very bulky bike bag plus peripheries on and off trains with not enough sleep).

Already there have been so many experiences, many places I would need to return to because there was not enough time to really understand each place. Still, I had already decided that I would concentrate on a few places on my first leg – Switzerland and Romania as it was my original idea to make the cycle journey go via Switzerland even though it isn’t exactly as the crow flies to Romania!

Tomorrow I will be visiting an orphanage that my host (found via the Couchsurfing.org website) is working at and then I will be moving on to visit the Robin Hood supported Way of Joy project that helps the homeless in Iasi (said Yash) that I have visited twice already and inspired me through the work that it does. I do want to plug the project because it does so much to help the people to break out of the cycle of poverty by various practical means that give them a way forward and a friendly support that gives the people the hope they need to motivate them too. Some of the projects they run are: child sponsorship-money goes towards clothes and school equipment enabling the outcast to stay in school and receive the education they need. The Dobrovat Centre – a multi-purpose centre to be used to bring about positive change to people in the district of Iasi through education, training and entrepreneurial empowerment, the list goes on. You can see more of the projects and mission statements at http://www.robinhoodministries.org/projects/index.php?cid=5

If you would consider supporting the project in any little way or a more long term basis, that would mean a lot to me, Robin Hood ministries and all who will benefit. You can do this by giving online at http://www.justgiving.com/helenscyclingchallenge or you can give a Christmas “gift with a difference” via their website or their office.

This is me signing out of update no. 1. Click on the links below to my photograph albums

Albums (3) By the way, you do not need to be a member of Facebook to view these albums

1 – http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=172404&id=847665248&l=88703f5fda

2 – http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=174704&id=847665248&l=d72539ac45

3 – http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=175258&id=847665248&l=3b3e103e43

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