Chester Meetings, Saturday May 17th 2014

Globetrotters in Chester

Presents

  • Kevin Jones: VW overland to Istanbul                                
  • Chris Prior:  Himalayan Journey

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Doors open 1pm for 1:30pm Start till 4:30pm Entrance Fee £3.00 includes refreshments and two talks Grosvenor Museum 25-27 Grosvenor Street, CH12DD

Enquiries to Hanna tel:  01244383392 or Angela tel: 01244 629930

2 thoughts on “Chester Meetings, Saturday May 17th 2014

  1. Here are the reviews of the two talks that we had at our May meeting.

    1. Kevin and Hanna A long haul adventure to Istanbul and back – by Road

    In July/August 2007, by 4-wheel drive, 28-year old, 2.1 litre, VW camper van – Hanna and Kevin set off on an epic 5000 mile 3 months circular tour of Europe from Chester to Istanbul and back.

    Kevin’s major interest in the history of WW2 took them first to the Hürtgenwald in the Eifel region on the border of Germany and Belgium. This was the site of a little-known major battle with a huge loss of 27,000 American troops during WW2., they moved south along the German ‘West Wall’ defences and underground tunnels. Medieval, walled Nüremberg was a memorable stop, with a visit to the Nüremberg Trials Court 1946 – 2012, and its impressive museum. Also the pricey shop selling traditional dirndel costumes– and the Playmobil fun Park at Zirndorf for an overnight stop.

    On they travelled along the Danube through to Passau and Vienna – famous for Mozart, music, the Spanish Riding School, etc. It is a beautiful city but very overcrowded in summer. On to Bratislava, very picturesque with its Rathaus and Burg, to Budapest in Hungary and on to Romania. Here they found the culture had changed, perhaps too fast for an economy and infrastructure still in the early 20th century. On they went through Transylvania with its steep, densely forested mountains, and dark castles. Camping is still good and reasonable though – as across most of Europe, but the road surfaces were poor, with yawning potholes. The freedom to roam at will was cut short by the demise of the VW cooling system and the decision was bravely made to head straight for Istanbul.

    40 litres of coolant and a lake of water later, they reached Istanbul at last. They camped outside this huge city, and, as parking is available in the city centre, they were able to spend several days roaming the ancient sites with their age-old air of mystery, the palaces, the Blue Mosque, churches museums and the old Bazaar. After heading across the Bosphorus Bridge to touch down in Asia, they turned west again – finding on the journey back across Europe the highest coolest regions the VW could manage, walking ‘with the gods’ in the Mt Olympus National Park for a few days, where they enjoyed real hospitality on an impromptu invitation to a brunch party in the Litochoro monastery. Eventually, the ferry brought them from Thessalonika to Brindisi in Italy, and they took the high road once again through the Apennines, camping on Monte Vettore on the way to Venice, where, once parked up, they visited famous places such as St Mark’s Square and the basilica and the maze of more deserted, atmospheric passageways between the canals. Then on again, via the Dolomites and Cortina into Austria, through picturesque towns in Germany to Aachen, where their journey began. A journey across the Maas down the little back roads in North Holland brought both of them to Hanna’s Annual Family Reunion Party, and Breda, where they both met 36 years ago.

    This short account cannot hope to convey all the impressions, expected and unexpected, the ups and downs, the sights and sounds, the reflections, and the encounters with folk and fellow travellers which can only really be experienced and enjoyed on four wheels – but keep checking the water hoses!

  2. 2. HIMALAYAN JOURNEY – A motor cycle tour of Himachal Pradesh – with Chris Prior

    Chris took us on his motorcycle journey of Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. He flew into New Delhi then travelled by standard gauge train to KALKA, followed by narrow gauge railway, the “HIMALAYAN QUEEN”, to SHIMLA where the motor cycle journey commenced. – Chris did comment on how efficient Indian railways are!

    The group consisted of 18 people ranging in age from 42 – 72, all ardent motorcyclists.
    The bikes collected in SHIMLA were arranged through BLAZING TRAILS, a company owned by Suzy Lumsden, an English lady now living in India, and the bikes themselves were ROYAL ENFIELDS, a model suited to the terrain of Himachal Pradesh.

    Himachal Pradesh is lush and green in the south and arid in the north, and SHIMLA, – a hill station in the days of the Raj, has a pleasant climate where Indian people “cool off” from the heat and noise of the cities. It was interesting to Chris as he explored the town to see a group of people in the square, – as he thought looking at a statue of Ghandi, – not so- they ere watching a cricket match on a large T.V. Screen installed in the square.

    From SHIMLA the group rode to SARAHAN, spending a night at the Bhimakali Temple, a beautiful setting with views across the mountains. Breakfast the following morning was bought from the street stalls. Next stop of 2 nights was at SANGLA, 2700 metres above sea level, spent under canvas. (Food consisted mainly of rice and vegetables in a spicy sauce for each meal, and how does one do the washing, – in snow melt water of course!) In this region apples are grown and also ganja (hashish!) After 2 nights in a tent, – the luxury of an hotel for a night at KALPA.

    Due to landslides the next unplanned stop was in basic accommodation NAKO, where the shower head pointed at the electrical socket. En route from NAKO a visit was made to TABO monastery, – notable in that the DALI LAMA will retire here. A night was spent in a Tibetan guest house at LOSER where the property was kept warm by turf piled onto the roof top. The following day they rode over the icy 15,000 ft Kunzum Pass and then Rotang Pass where mud slides caused further delays. Then back to the green side of the state to MANALI, a tourist town with a decent hotel. The night prior to returning to SHIMLA was spent in SHOJA, then from SHIMLA back to KALKA and sleeper train to DELHI before returning to the UK.

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