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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO,, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria:; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders,, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air,, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Monday, 18 March 2002
Raby, Sydney --> Erina, Central Coast, Australia

Today I had to make a long distance, probably the longest until now. From Raby I had to cross through Sydney again and make my way to the little town Erina, on the Central Coast, north of Sydney – where my new hostess took me out for dinner in a restaurant.

As Ron Roos had to work early today, Ellen let me sleep in as she had to babysit the neighbour’s daughter at home. She prepared me a bacon and eggs sandwich and while she was ironing and watching a costume drama on TV, I packed my back again.

Outside the temperature had risen up to 35 degrees and it wasn’t noon yet. The sun was shining bright and it would have been a strange idea to go for a simple walk through the area. I would melt a the front door of the house, as I still have to get used to this heat – as I come from a country where the average temperature is 17 degrees.

Before I left, I drank enough water and Ellen helped me out with a good hot lasagne lunch. And to prevent me from hitchhiking, Ron and Ellen had arranged me a train ticket to take me up to my meeting place in the centre of Sydney. I said goodbye to Ellen. For her Thai neighbour it was a pleasure to drop me off at the Minto (town) train station a few miles away.

At 3pm I arrived at Town Hall station in Sydney and spoke with my next hostess Jo Neller from Erina. She had to work today, but would leave early, pick me up and take me along to the north by train.

It was quite a train ride. I guess it was over an hour and for me it was very enjoyable because the enormous contrasts with the urban city and the nature surrounding it.

But Jo makes this distance twice a day as she works at the government company WorkCover. Within six months this company would move to Gosford, which will be just around the corner from Erina. “I’ll just have to go by train almost 3 hours a day, but within six months it will all be over.”

Jo, a 32-year-old divorcé with two children, had invited me after seeing me on Channel 9 last week. Her friends sometimes find her too ‘open’, as she opens her door for a lot of people. “I think that’s my background. I’ve got a Croatian father and a Hungarian mother and there in Europe it’s pretty usual to be very open and inviting for guests” she told me.

When we arrived at the Gosford train station, a photographer made some photos of us for the Central Coast Express Advocate, the local weekly newspaper – and then we headed off towards Erina by car.

Jo lives in a humble house (“Don’t look at the mess, I am reconstructing!” – “Which mess?”) and has a pool in the back garden. For the coming two days, her children are with her ex-husband. I saw an empty doghouse in the yard and assumed that the dog went along with the children.

I dropped my stuff and had a quick drink (remember, it was still very hot for me!) before Jo took me to have dinner in a Thai restaurant. We were almost sitting outside the restaurant, on a roofed terrace and it was delightful to just sit there and feel the warm breezes pass me by.

We got back home around 10.30pm and had a few more drinks at home while zapping pass the boring channels of Australian television.

I took some time alone with my laptop, doing some email processing and writing reports. Jo had gone to bed, as she is a working lady and has to wake up early next morning. Me too, by the way, but I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

Goodnight Erina!