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During my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 12 June 2001
Horrabridge --> Bristol (UK)

About: Being the special guest at a primary school assembly, enjoy the nature of the Dartmoor National Park and hitching up North to Bristol with a lot of talking and a lot of middle fingers...
As you can read in yesterdays’ report, I had a nice problem after I deleted my floppy disk – containing all the pictures – and I tried over one hour to undelete them. So imagine me going to the bed around 2.30 in the morning.

At 7am Andy woke me up to say he read my report already and he told me he has the undelete-program on a separate floppy. So I started to try to undelete the files again, but the program just won’t work with Andy’s Windows Millennium Edition.

Emily screamed goodbye when I had a shower and after Tricia gave me a sandwich with ham and cheese for breakfast (more typical Dutch) and put Jamie on his breakfast, she said goodbye to go to her work.

There I noticed Jamie could not say a word at all. “He usually wakes up alive around 11 o’clock,” Andy told me. So I put up funny faces, took pictures of him, but he just chewed on his bread and looked at me with half-open eyes. Very funny to look at.

Andy loaded my backpack in the car and brought Jamie and me to the Horrabridge Primary Community School, where Jamie got to his class and where Andy introduced me to the Principle of the school.

As this was a good friend of Andy, Andy already set up this meeting for me yesterday.

Every school has to have an assembly in the morning, lead by the principle, as the British law states. And it is supposed to be something religious, but that doesn’t happen anymore. And during this assemble - with all the schoolchildren sitting in the gym hall - the principle introduced me to all the pupils as the famous person who is travelling all over the world for free thanks to his website.

So there I sat telling my part of the story and telling the kids about the countries I have already visited (you should have seen those open mouths) and all the countries I will visit later.

Fingers shot up in the air, and everybody tried the have the most present finger, to get to ask me a question. ‘Have you travelled before?’ (Yes,…), ‘How do you go home everyday?’ (I can’t…), ‘Will you hitchhike on elephants?’ and many other questions were fired at me.

When the principle ended up the conversation I said goodbye and got a Goodbye!!! from all those kids who will tell their parents to visit this website and that they have met this guy!

In the same gym hall a reporter of the local Times was ready to have a short interview with me and he also made a picture outside of the school with a couple of children and me.

After this nice experience Andy took me up to show me the actual beauty of the Dartmoor National Park, starting just outside of Horrabridge.

Just getting to the park is almost scary, because all the roads are so narrow that another car almost can’t pass you if you are there. So what happens if you meet car going the other way, the British just dive their car into the stone hedges and wait for the first person to make a move. And man! That can take a while…

Andy parked his car below one of the ten big hills in the Dartmoor NP and we walked all the way up. And that’s really sensational. Wild horses were walking and grazing just a few steps away from me and when I stood upon a big pile of rocks I had the most beautiful view I had ever seen in England.

And next to some birds, no other sounds were to be heard. This was 100% pure nature. Far, far away, I see the only car driving around in this park, but hearing nothing. And the weather was perfect.

I just wanted to stay or leave a part of me there.
(Imagine Phill Collins’ Another day in paradise as a soundtrack).

But around noon it got time to be dropped off at the side of the road again. Andy put me off along the little village End Mill, near the highway East of Plymouth, where I could easily catch a ride to Bristol – as he told me, even as it was some 90 miles away…

And he was right. Within 30 minutes I got a ride from this older man who transports televisions, stereo and hi-fi-sets for Currys and Dixons. He was a very nice man and when he found out I was from Holland and just travelling through the UK, he started to talk.

30 Minutes later my eyes closed automatically. Partly because of the lack of sleep and partly of the bright sun and the same view for a long while in that car – but this man kept on talking.

It’s funny to find out that I have learned the local history of the Devon County in two days. And he just added the last bits to it.

I am heading up North now, up to Scotland and hopefully I’ll make a stop to Ireland. But I skipped the south-western part of England, the county Cornwall, known for the history about King Arthur and his Round Table. Maybe I’ll get there any time later…

But this man just kept on talking! I couldn’t get a word in between his sentences and when he finished a subject he made a nice jump to another, like a teacher would do during his lectures…

After two minor exhausting hours of listening we arrived at a service station near Bristol, where he treated me on a cup of coffee – while keeping on talking.

I just could not understand anymore if he was still talking about the economic periods of England between the first and the second World War (while using his UK road map to point out different counties) or if he had already started about the de-colonisation started off by European countries…

Pfff, thank God for coffee!

I thanked Mr. Talkman for his ride when he left to go to another direction and I sat down in the grass. I really needed a mind-off-anything-break. I don’t mind people talk at me so much, but what they mostly don’t understand is that it will still be English for me – my second language. It’s not that I am constantly translating the words, but it does take some energy to keep all the attention at the right place.

But I just can’t be rude and ask people to stop talking, it sometimes even is very interesting! Combine this with all the impressions I get to see every day (buildings, views, people) and my daily reporting you’ll understand where my tiredness could come from…

So two hours later I woke up, still sitting in the grass with my backpack and me leaning against a tree, in the shadow. With sleepy eyes I opened the lunch box, which Andy and Tricia made for me on the road and -wow!- was that surprising. I thought it were sandwiches only, but it was packed with sandwiches, chips, raisins, candy bars, fruit and even cranberry-yoghurt! So that ended up as a picnic in the park!

When I was finished and totally awake again, I got back to the road to find a ride to Clifton, this certain area in the city of Bristol, where my host for today would live.

It could be the English mentality of people in this area, but how comes that almost EVERYBODY who passes me while I am hitchhiking puts up their middle finger?

I mean, youngsters and kids can easily do it for fun, but this time even old grey man and elderly women poked up the finger – does it mean something else or was I just trying to get a hitch in the wrong neighbourhood? I was about to give them the full monty as they would all continue this all!

I finally got a ride by a Spanish guy named Ramón (hey!) and who dropped his university in Spain to study English in the UK. He follows classes, works in different jobs and travels a lot through England, he said.

More couldn’t be said as he put on a tape with hip Spanish music and turned the volume up. As he sung out loud, he would tell me the next Spanish sentence so I could join his singing.

If somebody has seen two lunatics driving in a car into Clifton, Bristol, waving their arms from side to side while singing [I]Don’t worry, Be happy in Spanish [/I]– that was me…

Ramón dropped me off on Queens Road, the centre of Clifton, right were my host for tonight would live. Around 5pm I gave him, Adam Lewis (18), a call with my phone. He was on his way from his work to his home and we met each other some 30 minutes later.

We walked to his little flat on the first floor of an apartment complex where he lived with his flatmate.

He had invited me late-March as he saw an article about my project on the And he thought it must be a fun idea to have me over.

But he didn’t actually had plans for tonight, which I didn’t mind at all.

A friend in the Netherlands had told me that Bristol is very popular because there the trip-hop music was founded by music bands like Massive (former Massive Attack) and Portishead.

But Adam didn’t know anything about them. He has been living in Bristol for two years now and is originally Welsh (from Wales, UK). After he finished his high school there, he started to work. Currently he is a web developer for Inty, a business to business networking provider, and he takes care of five company websites right now.

When I looked into his DVD-collection, we decided to play a movie tonight and have Chinese food ordered for delivery. It all sounded to good to me, just hanging on a couch and totally doing not much…

The Chinese food was pretty good and filled up pretty well and the movie was Snatch. This is a real good movie, especially if you want to see Brad Pitt try to speak with an Irish accent as a Gipsy boxer!

When the movie was finished Adam made his computer functional so I could work on it. At that time I also handed over The Gift that Andy Stewart from Horrabridge passed over to this next host: over twenty-four hours of Andy’s favourite music as MP3-files on two compact discs!

As I now write this report and Andy makes up the beds, it just 11pm, but it feels like 2am at night for me.

My visit to Bristol will stay this short, tomorrow I’ll hop to another country again!

Goodnight England!


The Brazilian newspaper Notícias Populares about this project today:
'Cara de Pau - Homem cria site e viaja de graça pelo mundo'
(Shameless - Man creates web site and travels the world for free)

The Map

Follow my tracks on Ludo's map of my travelling so far!
>> Click here<<