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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, IPtower.nl, 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: OhmTV.com; 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, TravelAbout.com.au, 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, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Monday, 4 June 2001
North Baddesley --> Exeter (UK)

Steve woke me up around 8 o'clock this morning (he really had to put his face in front of me and almost scream me awake...) and after a quick shower I had some high-vitamin cerials for breakfast.
Steve had to go to his work, but he can make his hours a little bit flexible. So before we got to his work, he did some shopping at the local supermarket in Romsey (North Baddesley is just too small for one) where he bought the presents for my next host for tonight.

After he showed me his working space at his office (with a poshy Britney Spears calender above his desk!) and decided to take me around into Romsey for a while.

We walked from the office to the Town Square, which was very nice. The buildings are from the 17th century, but I just couldn't see the age as I looked at it. It all seemed to be very peacefull in this village. Walking around the Romsey Abbey nuns were walking their rounds and with a little creek running under and along this little centre it all looked very beautiful.

The tour ended at Steve's office again, where I could do my latest email-check, before he would put me of in the direction of my next destination: Exeter.

He put me off at a small road past the city of Salisbury, with a lot of traffic driving through the green grass hills towards the main road to Exeter. And that's where I had to arrive today: only 100 miles away.

The first ride I got from a man who was proud to be a gun-smith and I defenitely had to report that here. He put me off at the offramp of the A303, heading for Exeter.

After a little walk on this road I stopped over a lorry/truck, who would drive all the way to Exeter.

That was really great, and he was the first truck driver to give me a ride in 33 days of travelling!

We talked about the differences between the European mainland and the British Isle called England, about holidays in Spain and language difficulties, about how Swedish girls seeming to be the most beautiful women on the planet and about travelling the same planet.

With enough to talk about a with some great natural sceneries to see from the windows this 3-hour trip didn't feel like that long at all. The guy put me off right at the first roundabout in Exeter around 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

My host for tonight would be home after 5pm, so I settled myself in the grass in some park and enjoyed some sunbathing for a while. Around 4 I picked up my gear again and headed for the center of the city.

My host for tonight, Robert 'Bob' Harvey, lives in the quarter of Exeter called Pinhoe. And that was pretty hard to find, because the English people just don't put out any information-maps along the road. They just want you to buy a 3 Pounds city map at the petrol station...

So I finally gave Bob a call around 5 and he came over to the centre to pick me up.

When we got at their nice two floor villa, I could have my dirty laundry washed and Bob showed me the family garden. It reached as far as my eyes could see up the hill, probably one football-field long! I just had to walk all the way up and down to understand the size of their back garden!

Bob discovered the internet just a while ago. On BBC Radio 2 he weekly hears some good website and that's how he found my site and invited me over for a day! Thanks to the book The Complete Idiot's Guide to America Online 6.0 Bob is now totally addicted to chatting with online pals.

While he started to cut the chicken and his wife was cooking vegetables for dinner, I checked my emails. I was amazed by an offer I got in today, which had me rearrange all my appointments for this week. If it all works out well, Wednesday will become another life time experience to me. You'll find out soon...

Madley is Bob's 21-year-old daughter, who is going to get married with Phill next year. To save up some money for the wedding, Madley and Phill live together in the same house as Madley's parents.

While we were having dinner Madley came back from her horseriding class and joined us at the table.

With the upcoming UK Elections coming up, I started this little debate about the coming of the Euro as a new European standard currency.

The UK is still not going to join in because its afraid that the country and its people will slightley loose its identity if they will drop down the long lasting Pound.

So it was all about voting for the Labour Party (currently in power with Tony Blair as the prime minister) or the Conservatives (aka the Torries). And the Torries are off course very much agains loosing the Pound in favor of the Euro.

I think my hosts for tonight will be voting for the Torries, which I totally respect. I won't be trying to change the mind, I don't even know this country's politics so good.

After dinner Bob introduced me to his pals in the AOL-chatbox on the internet and I spent some minutes chatting with them about my project. Trying to gain some more invitations from the places those anonymous chatters live.

During the coffee around 9pm it was time to hand over The Gift which Steve Cole had collected in Romsey. Bob was pretty surprised by this unexpected happening and didn't know anything about it. "So we'll have to think about something for tomorrows hosts? Wow, what can that be?". Steve gave him two bottles of real unique Romsey Beer, in a Romsey back with a Romsey tea-towel. My hosts for tonight found it very Romsey at all!

When I decided to write some more reports on the internet and did some phonecalls to prepare for the next Wednesday-happening, Bob came with his present for tomorrows' hosts. It needs batteries to fully operate, is all I can say...

For now on, at 2.05 am, goodnight Exeter!

Ramon.




Follow my tracks on Ludo's map! It's in Dutch, but you'll see a lot!