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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.

Monday, 16 July 2001
--> Forbes by Alford, Scotland (UK)

Another day with the Tissen Family in Forbes, experiencing hot summer sun followed by extreme rainfall and thunderstorms... Oh man, it's difficult to write a report when the power cuts off!
Jos would be working at home today and Annemarie would let me sleep in as long as I want to. So after last week of several personal difficulties, I really needed the break of an extra day in Forbes.

Some people say I should change the name of this project in Let-Me-Stay-For-A-Day-Or-Two, but that’s totally not the meaning of this project. The only thing I ask in this project is a meal and a place to sleep, in return I report about that. But if anybody offers me more, why refuse it if I could actually need it?

Personally, I don’t see a problem. I will still keep on travelling…

After a nice sleep in and a shower, I could easily wait for lunchtime as Annemarie made me some Dutch coffee and logged me on to the Internet.

The extra day was also necessary as I was a few reports behind. Take that with the possibility of (finally) answering emails to people, online discussing with my backup team and contacting future hosts in Scotland and England and you have me working for quite a day.

Before noon, Annemarie could easily do some gardeningas the kids played around, but when the end of the afternoon came nearer, so did the dark clouds. They crawled up from the horizon and I could just see the rain getting closer.

When the bad weather knocked on the door, the gushing water moved even big rocks onto the roads.

I had not seen this kind of weather for a long time.

The family had to go out to do some shopping in Alford and let me work on their computer. It was very strange to notice that my writings got terrorized by the lightening.

It must have been a safety device somewhere, but every time the lightening struck somewhere, the power was switched of for a few seconds. And it became even a bit more horrific as the lightening got closer and louder and the power was cut of every fifteen minutes.

Rain was just banging against the windows.

I lost the connection of their telephone as I was online at that moment. When the family was back again, they noticed their telephone box on the first floor was hit by lightening.

It sounds all frightening and I even enjoyed the few minutes where we were totally disconnected from the rest of the world, but is wasn’t that bad.

Fifteen minutes later everything worked again and the clouds had made space for a beautiful blue summer sky. Strange country.

Annemarie could have done some more gardening again, as nothing had happened.

But it was getting dinner time and this time Jos and Annemarie choose to keep it simple and very Dutch: fried potatoes with sausages and salad.

After dinner they wanted to take me out to show me the surrounding nature of their village. So, together with Jos’ camera equipment, we all took off to the Craigievar Woods, some 7 kilometres south of Alford, towards the next village Banchory.

At this place I really had to see the Craigievar Castle, before I’d leave this area tomorrow.

Craigievar Castle is a pink tower castle, topped with lots of little turrets - quite a fairytale appearance! This is a kind of a castle where no battle were fought about, this just is pure romance.

William Forbes, brother of the Bishop of Aberdeen, completed it in 1626. Craigievar has been called the 'epitome of the Jacobean Renaissance in Scotland'.

Its ancient charm made Craigievar an early tourist attraction, receiving Queen Victoria from Balmoral, together with many of the crowned heads of Europe who were the guests.

They just would not let me in because the castle was closed today…

The castle is said to be haunted by a member of the Gordon family who was murdered in the castle by Sir John Forbes, who forced him out of a high window at sword point. There is also a fiddler who is only seen and heard by members of the Forbes family. He fell in the moat of the castle and drowned.

I think everybody will always hear sounds if you live in a historical place like that.

As we walked around the castle on the fresh cut grass fields adjoining it, Jos made some group shots of all of us and we were amazed by the heights of the trees there. They were even higher than the 7 floors high castle!

We drove back to Forbes village as Jos took a big detour. It has been a long time ago since they drove around those areas.

It was remarkable to see the amount of remains of trees on the streets, cause by the heavy rainfall which I already forgot all about.

Back at the Tissen’s castle, life continued again as the kids were brought to bed and I helped them doing the dishes.

Annemarie and Jos were very intrigued by the fact that they were actually joining me on a world trip, more than that I was just staying at their place. That’s how they felt it.

Inviting me over can be seen as a Big Brother (the tv-series) phenomenon but without worrying about the cameras. “I am totally not busy with the thoughts that hundreds thousands of people will read your report about us,” is what Jos told me.

They thought it is pretty miraculous to be part of such a big project, what this is – on the internet only…

After this day I had worked up-to-date with my reports, which took a load of worries off of me.

It was time to get moving again… tomorrow…

Good night Forbes!


PS: If you hear noises tonight... my website is haunted...

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