Shoemans Trail

The quest for liberation

Amed – diving adventures

Going to Amed seems like an adventure, 2 hours on the scooter, and this in the midday heat, we were prepared, but didn’t eat much. The first half of the way is going direction Padangbai, I already knew the way so easy. We ate some cookies and had some nice drinks on the “highway”. Then short after Padangbai Google took us left and the roads got smaller and smaller, up hill in the lush jungle. And then, road works, the road just turned into a gravel road. Nope, we won’t go this way, not with a heavy loaded scooter and 2 people on it, so we went all the way back to the main road and took the longer way. Our butt already started to hurt at this point and Google said 53 minutes to go. Alright we can do it, we just took turns in driving as te back seat of the bike is less comfy. The landscape was beautiful, nice green rice fields and the way we went was also quiet adventurous, the river crossing over a small narrow bridge, no cars could fit, only scooters. After the rice terraces and winning our way down from the “most beautiful hills in the area”, we finally arrived in Amed.

A one street village, parallel the ocean, business is thriving, mainly diving, still bustling even in off-season. We went to Evolution divers, a French dive school, registered and checked for a place to stay. 3 Brothers directly with beach access and a nice big room with air con should do for some days. It was very hot and humid that night. Still felt like 35 degrees for me, even Maria was tired and felt the heat this day all the driving we did in the sun. Our bodies needed some rest.

The next day we went diving, 1st dive for Maria, 3rd in the season for me. She was a bit scared, of breathing, her ears, the ocean and so on. We had a chat with our instructor David from the States. He was very relaxed and just the best that could happen to us, he made diving very attractive for Maria. Even though he took her taxi most of the time as she was a bit frightened. It was him that made her feel confident, so confident she decided to do the open water certification, 2 more days of diving, yeah. I felt her with respect but also curious and also she said without me she wouldn’t be doing it. But also I made sure I didn’t push her into it. So we both agreed and weren’t for it!

We didn’t do much in Amed, well there is also not much to do except snorkelling, diving, swimming and relaxing. Maria was studying for the exam and passed with 94%! I was going with Serge another instructor and Dave an English diver, already in pension but very nice follow to talk and have a laugh with. We went for some deep dives, Drop off and the Liberty wreck again, same as the previous day, but this time more visibility, it was just marvellous. The first dive my regulator was broken, a bit of sea water I was inhaling, not nice but also not too serious, yes I could have switched to my octopus but I didn’t. It was the second day diving with Maria and David again, doing all the safety measures again, that should have been done in my refresher that made me realize it’s all about safety and feeling safe.
We had again some nice food at our favourite Warung Pantai, next to our new how for the last 2 nights Sunrise Cafe, ocean view and breakfast included.

Going back was a bit of a mission again, we left very early this time, just before 8 in the morning. And already quite hot. Maria not feeling very well, having a bit of a fever which already started in the night, still we wanted to go back to rest in Ubud in the new place. So we went the shortest way possible again with google, I was doing the driving with maps open in my phone and being guided by voice with earplugs in and something must have happened, we didn’t take took the same rout as going there but went to the mountains instead, the roads got smaller and the hills steeper, sometimes even so steep the small scooter had a hard time going up with both of us and the luggage on top. I was just thinking, please let ther be no road works we don’t want to go back all the way again. It was small villages and some rewarding lookouts we were granted instead of roadwork. So all good and we managed to head back to Ubud in three and a half hours including breaks.

So we closed this chapter with being close to the sea, dealing with some fears and rising above. Being aware is the beginning, understanding and accepting the harder part we all need to master in life.

On Monday we shot the video with Dirga, carving and talking about himself, he was very exited and a nervous when talking to the camera. We made it happen however. It’s interesting even a man like him, self assure, very spiritual, always reflected, knowing about the ancient Sanscrit language and is able to read and to understand, always having an answer to our deep questions regarding religion, God’s and everything, even him was very nervous in front of the camera. We are all one!

It got very hot the next day, I stayed home and rested a bit, maybe also the coffee I had in the morning was too strong, but I needed to stay out of the heat, jo matter what. Maria came back around lunch with dragon fruits, yummy. She used the time of this week to get into carving again, her plan was to take back home 3 masks, and it’s a huge process, I tried a bit on my own, you need to be skilled and patient, for her it’s also a bit like meditation, I respect that and I also felt she needed to be in her element together with her spiritual and guiding master.

I also went diving again, a German dive school in Padangbai, one hour drive away from Ubud. I went early in the morning, the Refresh started at 9 am with 2 dives. My guide Komang was very nice and made the reintroduction very smooth for me. Visibility was great, we saw lionfish, octopus, shrimp, sepia, giant makrel, Napoleon fish, big frogfish, moray and many more. A shark also, but well only the guide did see I was busy with checking the depth and then it was gone.

The driving to the other town made me more comfortable being on the local road, you can be a bit pushy and go past the cars with the small scooter, also being on your own makes you more agile. 1 hour however in dense traffic is tiring and also the diving takes some energy, so I had a fast and long sleep for 9 hours.

We went to Dirga instead and then for a random drive together, found a sweet spot for the sunset. In the evening we did some relaxation and our Peaky Blinders watching.

The next day we packed, Dirga came quite early, like 3 hours, to help us with the moving, as the current renties of the Dewi house, the Russians, came back. We found a similar but more close to the city spot with a beautiful view. We just packed, and had a nice picnic with Dirga around lunch time and we moved. Togetherness and friends being there helping that’s what’s important and that’s how we move on to our next adventure.

Bali – behind the mask

Maria was up early after our late night arrival into the nice countryside home we chose for 2and weeks and already took care of getting the motorbike so we can move around freely. I was still so tired and fell asleep again after she left. Very slowly I got up later, when Maria came back from town fully energetic to start the day.

We went to Dirga, the master wood carver Maria was learning from in the 2 years she stayed in Bali. We directly talked about the project arthouse Berlin. A summer school with mask carving, Balinese dance and a final presentation.

A lot to be organized, so first we went to a dance teacher, but he was not speaking any English so we decided to not go any further with him although he might had the skills. We found a very well known English speaking teacher not so old as the other and still in business. We have a very good feeling with him. He can also organize costumes for the students and musicians and instruments, perfect!

The next days we went to organize a location for the workshop and also accommodation for the students. We found a nice resort and they ask for a fair price to support the project. We also went to check prices for the tools we need, like axe, hammer, chisels and so on, the paint, brushes and finish. All are scattered across the area, little shops specializing in that so we went out and explored together with Dirga, always good to have a local with a plan.

After 4 days we also adopted to the local time, the jetlag was a bit annoying, especially Maria was effected, not being able to sleep at night. When moving east it’s harder for the body to adopt as you “loose” time. Generally per time zone you can calculate half a day to adopt for the body, with 7 hours ahead of Berlin time you can do the math.

We have a great time and tried not to push too hard. We went to the beach on the way to the tools and also to the pool in the afternoon for a swim, with being the only guests it felt nice. We went to relaxing places to eat with a beautiful view of a rice field and relaxed at night in our house with garden view and the beautiful sound of nature.

The one day however it was a bit too much for me, as we also need to move our house and we’re searching for another one, going from place to place and the mid day heat is heavy here I suffered bit. I was also exposed to the sun too long I think.

On the weekend we went to Made Cat and filmed his dancing skills, pretty amazing and it all looks so easy and seamless. We med an Indian American lady that is studying music and dance here in Bali at his house, she was dancing then as well, you could really see the difference, although she is studying since some time already. Maria shared her process with her, which was an eye opener, for both.

Sunday we took our time off and visited a nice little waterfall some 30 min away from Ubud, lots off locals, not many foreigners, we had an amazing and refreshing swim and finished our first week like this, being around waterfalls always makes my spirits rise, might be the positive neutrons or just water being my element, who knows, main thing is to be happy and to spread the happiness around.

Cape Sunion – Poseidons residence

On our last adventure on mainland we went for a day trip to the temple of Poseidon at cape Sunion a 90 min drive out of Athens.

It is said that the ancient Greek build the Parthenon (the big temple of the Acropolis in Athens) the Aphaea temple on Aegina and the one here on purpose, if you connect the 3 dots on the map you get a isosceles triangle (two sides are equal in length), the so called sacred triangle of Greece.

The temple stands pretty picturesque next to the sea and is a perfect spot for sunsets.

For more information about the cape and the temple: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sounion

And this is already the end of our adventures to the ancient world, we enjoyed it a lot, the friendliness of the people, the good food, although heavy on meat and cheese but the fruits and vegetables so tasty, yumm! Definitely we have to come again, so many more adventures are waiting for us, so many islands to explore and so much more delicious fruits and olives to enjoy 😉

Aegina – Island life

Because of the weather situation we decided on visiting a Greek island, Aegina is easily reachable by ferry in 80 minutes from Piraeus the port of Athens which is basically a town on its own and not a filthy one!

Sunny side up we sat on the deck, riding along with the wind, classic! Our first mission was getting to the Temple of Aphaea before the crowds; we succeeded and had the very well preserved and partly reconstructed ruins just for us, priceless!

The cruise along the islands coast was another highlight with spectacular drops and beautiful lookouts and plenty of curves.

We also went to Paleochora, a place where the island population retreated from pirates and in modern days, just the churches survived the weather and island conditions, some can still be visited and bare a certain charm, the air smelt of herbs, bees were humming and birds flew all around, such a sweet day in spring.

Our last mission for the sunset was to climb the highest peak of the island, Mt. Oros. Up on 500 m we had a 360° lookout over the whole island and all the way back to Athens, the Peloponnese and the surrounding islands, incredible!

The night we spend in a boutique hotel named: Aeginitiko Archontiko and I would definitely recommend everyone in visiting at least to see the 200 years old house and to meet Rena the owner, she was like a mother to us, preparing even cake and cooking homemade marmalade for breakfast!

For more information about the island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegina

The website of the hotel: http://aeginitikoarchontiko.gr

Olympia & the Ionian Sea – Home of the Olympic Games 8.2.17

Casing the sun we travelled to the western Peloponnese to see Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Lots of old stones but not that many intact structures and the old cinder track can be visited. The whole area is on flat ground and beautiful old trees flank the even older remains of the once so beautiful town. Birds twitter and the air smells like spring, warm and full of sunlight.

A short trip to the Ionian see and the empty beach was the 2nd highlight of the day, best light ever, just one hour before the sun went down, pretty picturesque!

To learn more about ancient Olympia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympia,_Greece

Corinthos, Mycenae & Nafplio – The Eastern Peloponnes

Again we were chasing the sun so after a short visit of the Acrocorinthos a not so ancient fortress and quite big, the next stop we made in ancient Mycenae. Heinrich Schliemann discovered the remains of the old Mycenae culture here in 1886 and started the excavations. The ruins are pretty old and ruined to the ground, just the impressive entrance gate and the tombs have been restored to get a glimpse of its past beauty.

More information on Mycenae: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycenae

And we did see the sun came out when we arrived in Nafplio, a pretty sweet old city and great fortresses can be visited, as they are already closing at 15h in wintertime we just had a stroll through town, half of the businesses and hotels are closed, definitely the touristy season we’re travelling…

Still we had a good time and a lovely chat with a t-shirt printer and a bartender 😉

Delphi – Oracle tales

Next stop, Delphi the home of the famous oracle of ancient times, it is said that the priestess was sitting on a tripod over an opening in the rocks and inhaling the vapour from the mountain, intoxicated she made the prophecies. Not just the Greek worshippers went to the holy place; even the romans and Alexander the Great later on used the oracle to question the future.

The city also played an important role for the ancient Greek, according to the myth, Zeus let two eagles fly and the place they went down was considered to be the navel of the world, as it happened it was right here in Delphi, the naval stone still can be find within the complex.

The ancient city is beautifully perched on the mighty slopes of Mt. Parnassus. Feels pretty amazing to be here in such a place with so much history and wander along the remains of a culture that existed more than 2000 years ago, and it still reverberates!

The gymnasium and the Tholos are located a bit outside of the spiritual area of town, just a few remains can be seen and the circular temple with its 3 restored columns is standing out of all the rectangular buildings.

Further reads: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi

Meteora – Moni in the sky

Casing the sun we directly went up north from Athens, travelling with a car in Greece is comfortable as soon as you’re out of the big city. Highways have tolls and country roads have speed checks but still everyone is driving fast and a bit crazy, I was just adapting to the locals 😉

In the end of our 5 hours’ drive we already saw the otherworldly rocks the monasteries are built upon in the distance – a magic moment! Basically the spiritual places were erected in such an area to protect the monks from the Turkish enemies. Back in the days monks used ropes and nets to gain access. In modern days a comfortable road and steps hewn in the rocks give access.

Not all the monastery were open but we got a pretty nice idea of the monk’s life here while visiting the Megalou moni. The lookouts are so spectacular as are roads and trails, no handrails just steep drops, really reminds me of my home the Elbsandsteingebirge, minus the Monasteries…

For more information check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora

Athens – Home of the Acropolis

After 2 years I went again on a trip with my friend Eric, I met in Jordan and we already travelled Thailand and Cambodia together. So this time we decided on Greece.

We met in Athens and went straight to the Acropolis, literally meaning high city, to see the ancient remains of the big temple called Parthenon and all its surrounding structures, the buildings were destroyed a couple of times by different cultures but always rebuild, for more information go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acropolis_of_Athens.

The grandness of the remains as well as the lookouts from above are quite spectacular, you get a proper idea on how big Athens was and now, with all the suburbs, is growing bigger and bigger.

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