Once upon a time in the wonderful district
of Dithmarschen was born a wonderful girl-child and had a wonderful
childhood in (the obviously wonderful) Dieksanderkoog, centre of
the known Universe. After a couple of decades and a bit though the
wonders of Schleswig-Holstein proved to be not wonderful enough,
and the girl headed out to experience the big wide wild world, naive
as she was, to discover lands and people and to survive many adventures.
Well, naivety went quickly when she discovered that she wasn’t
the only one out there with a backpack; in fact there were hundreds,
thousands, tens of thousands like her: wearing solid trekking boots
(in which you would never be seen dead at home), an overstuffed
backpack, a small daypack dangling in front of the stomach (giving
the brave traveller the look of some weird kind of pregnant insect),
eyes glued onto the next exciting item of the "Lonely Planet"
itinerary (the "Rough Guide" not being so popular then).
Since then another decade has passed. I’ve
lived in Germany, a few years in the UK, and now I’m in India.
I’m again wearing solid trekking boots (another pair though),
my daypack can still sometimes be found in front of my stomach and
I even sometimes have a look at the so loathed "Lonely Planet".
Nothing has changed much.
By the way: Dithmarschen is a quite pleasant
(wonderful is stretching it a bit) area in the North of Germany.
If you ever happen to go there, try the local speciality "Dithmarscher
Kloesse" – hmmm, yummy!
I was born blessed with a Father in the airline
business, an endless source of cheap air tickets to far away places
from a very early age. These trips instilled a lifelong love of
From an early age, many small but influential
incidents instilled in me a deep desire to visit India; from a story
read at school when I was a child, to a drunken plan hatched in
a pub to ride overland from India on an Enfield.
It took me some time to get to India, but in
1993, I arrived in Delhi with a Mountain bike and a magazine article
about cycling from Manali in Himachal Pradesh to Kashmir via Ladakh.
My first thoughts, as I cycled (wobbling) into the insane mass of
metal, dust and blaring horns at Faridabad that is the main road
to Agra was; "I've come on holiday by mistake". 11 punctures,
203km, a thousand chai and a lot of near misses later I reached
Agra and decided my "mistake" was the best one I had ever
In everything, India is a place of extremes
and visitors either love it or loath it; I found it a place that
seemed in many ways more comprehensible and instinctive than the
one I was brought up in. It is always difficult to explain India
to others who have never been here, but the obsession itself was
best expressed by the master of quotes, Samuel Langhorn Clemens;
|(India): "The One land
that all men desire to see and having seen once, by even a glimpse,
would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest
of the globe combined."
- Mark Twain, Author. 1835-1910