Blog 3


Blogs December click here



Update Arugam Bay

Date: 09/12/2009
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

I left Little Smile Village feeling quite sad because it didn’t turn out to be the right place to donate your money to. I have to say that this mission turns out to be harder than I expected! However, the Little Smile association could certainly do with a lot of things but not with the little money I have to give. I am really disappointed, but that’s the way it is!

Anyway, my journey now continues and yesterday I arrived at the east coast after 140km of riding. In 2004, the Tsunami destroyed everything here and even now, 5 years later, the place is still a mess, with everything that was not destroyed by the tsunami being ruined by development organizations. It’s really sad that 5 years obviously weren’t enough to improve the situation here. But not everything here is negative. Cycling here I saw my first wild elephant about 100m away from my bike!

Anyway, my search now continues and I hope that I will soon find the right place to make us all happy!

I miss u all!


Update Pottuvil

Date: 08/12/2009
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. By Blessed Mother Teresa

I let the little smile village with a sad impression! Unfortionatly it was not the right place for me to leave the money you all gave to me and I have to say that the mission is harder as expected, but the little smile association needs maybe lots of things but not the small amount of money we have to give! I am really dissapointed but this is the way it is!

Images: Little Smila Orphanage
Images: East coast and the way to get there


Update Koslanda

Date: 28/11/2009
Koslanda, Sri Lanka

My friends! Sorry that I have not written for some days! I am still in Sri Lanka and it is still raining every day, but I found a great place to stay and this is the Little Smile Village in Koslanda where more than 100 children found a wonderful home! I am allowed to see the children smiling and I enjoy every day that I am allowed to see them and see their smile!


Update Bandarawela

Date: 18/11/2009
Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

Today I looked out of the window not knowing the time and the day as my mobile is broken and my watch is broken since Istanbul. So I decided to jump on my bike! I was passing great sceneries but after 4 hours on the bike the clouds were coming again like every day and they forced me to stop and to stay in Banarawela where I enjoyed one beer with some locals.

Images: One day in Banerawela


Update Kandy

Date: 17/11/2009
Kandy, Sri Lanka

My friends After a great stay near Kandy at a great Couchsurfer couple I had some hard days on the road! It was hard for me to leave the place of Peter and Judy, which are great hosts and became like a small family for me! I wanted to stay one day but finally I stayed 3! But it was soooo great and I thank her for everything!

Images: Sri Lanka, a wonderful place


Update Colombo

Date: 10/11/2009
Colombo, Sri Lanka

After another great day in Sri Lankas capital Colombo and half a day in the imigration office where I paid 14 Euros (only) for the visa extention I will leave tomorrow to the north! By the way now I start searching for the right place to bring the money that u all gave to me! I am sure I will find here lots of people we are able to help! So don't forget and give your support on this website!


Update Colombo

Date: 09/11/2009
Colombo, Sri Lanka

My lucky star is still with me

It seems my lucky star is still following me. Yesterday I arrived in Colombo and it was strange to arrive in a big city by plane, having no place to stay and your bike still stowed away in a box. However, once again I was lucky because the brother of a former colleague of mine, Peter Pokorny, lives and works in Colombo and I can stay at his place for a couple of days. Today I visited Colombo and took a 10km walk around town. I really enjoyed exploring this city that is dominated by all different kinds of religion!

I hope I can show u some pictures soon!

thetramp and ram ram



Update Kovalam - Friends will be friends

Date: 05/11/2009
Kovalam, India

After a great time with Verena and Paul I am now up for new challenges in Sri Lanka! I had a great time with them, finding out about life in an ashram, exploring the backwaters, looking for a priest in the jungle of Kerala, getting lost on a tea plantation, hiking several mountains and drinking beer in the worst bars you can imagine! All in all, it was a great time and I already miss them. I wish them a great time in India and safe journey home to Austria.

Tomorrow I’ll put the pictures from their visit online because as the saying goes, a picture is worth more than a thousands words!
Thanks Paul and Verena for your visit! It was great and I am sure we will never forget it!


Update 31.10.09 Alleppy

Date: 31/10/2009
Allepy, India

Amma’s Ashram or the search for my lost colleague (or soul)

It is the 31st of October 2009, my second day in Amma’s Ashram. It has been 24 hours since me and my friends Paul and Verena have crossed the bridge leading to the island of the ashram of the enlightened mother Amma. We had a bit of mixed emotions when we approached the 17-storey building and Paul even said that he had panic attacks and almost peed his pants. We had already seen the large building from afar when we crossed the backwaters of Kerala by boat and had noticed how it loomed over all other nearby buildings like a Berlin high-rise. On the boat we were still joking but when we actually crossed the bridge into the ashram, fear began to take hold of us and we asked ourselves what would await us there.

Soon we saw the first Westerners and Indians, all clad in white, nodding to us in greeting and smiling. When we passed through the ashram’s gate, we already knew that our stay here would probably become one of those experiences you still recount to your friends back at home years later.

First we went to the temple, where we had to register. The 45-year-old lady welcoming us was an American who has been living at the ashram for more than 26 years. She was really friendly and explained everything we had to know about the ashram and its code of conduct. For instance, Paul and Verena were not allowed to exchange any tenderness. They still got a double room though, while I spent the night in a cell together with two ashram disciples.

Food and lodging for one day cost 2 Euros per person but you are expected to do a two-hour seva service every day. This can be anything from mopping the floor to cleaning the toilet or packaging Amma’s monthly magazine.

The cult around Amma, who allegedly has already embraced more than 28 million people, is extreme and it would have been interesting to meet her in person, but at the time of our stay she was in Europe, filling football stadiums to share healing embraces, solace and love with thousands of people.

As we were standing in the temple, listening to the first instructions, I had to think of my former colleague at work. Manuela had quit her job about nine months ago to spend some time in this ashram. Unfortunately her last name had escaped me and so I simply asked the lady who had welcomed us if she knew of an Austrian graphic designer called Manuela, who had spent some time at the ashram between January and April. And she really found Manuela’s name in Amma’s database! We hadn’t heard anything from her after her return but I just guess that an advertising agency wasn’t the right place for her anymore after spending a few months at the ashram.

Still thinking about Manuela, I went to inspect my cell on the 12th floor together with Verena and Paul. When I entered my room it was empty but you could see that there were people living there. One of them must have been a really dedicated chap, with a little shrine built in front of his mattress, complete with pictures of Amma, incense sticks and candles. I guessed that my second roommate was from Germany, as I saw a ‘Sportfreunde Stiller’ backpack and some spiritual books in German on his bed.

After checking out our rooms, we decided to explore the ashram premises. Lots of Amma’s disciples were walking around, all clad in white and smiling, obviously having found their inner peace. After taking a look at the temple and auditorium, where Amma is sharing her embraces (Dasham) with about 20,000 people, we decided to have a little something to eat and drink. We went to the café, enjoyed a coke and spent the time looking at all the freaks passing by.

Suddenly we heard a voice behind us, speaking in Viennese dialect: “Are you from the Weinviertl too?” We saw a middle-aged woman clad in white, who more looked like a drug addict than a spiritual nun. Unfortunately I forgot her name but she has been at the ashram for more than 6 years and is totally disappointed by Christendom and her family.

Over the next days, we met lots of people and leart about their lives, their time in the ashram and their encounters with Amma. 24 hours later, we happily crossed the bridge out of the ashram again and took the boat to Alleppy.

By the way, Paul is saying hi to his colleague Dobro!

Quote by Amma: “Love is our true being. Love knows no limits of castes, religions, races or nationalities. We are all pearls on a string of love.”



Back to civilisation or Visitors from home

Date: 27/10/2009
Kerala, India

I have now covered the last 1,200km from Goa to Kerala to meet Verena and Paul from Austria. It was a great moment to see them and very emotional! They brought me speck, sausages and cheese and we enjoyed a cold Gösser beer. On the second day we decided to make me look a bit more civilized again and so I went to the barber. It was quite a strange feeling to shave off my beard after four months but Paul and me had lots of fun with the barber.

Enjoy the images and see what awaits you when u visit me! So just come and see me in paradise!



What driving in India can be like

Date: 23/10/2009
Guruvayoor, India

You are exhausted, the road is bad, from the side you hear people shouting something at you that you don’t understand and which sounds more like an animal noise. Children are running along, also shouting something you don’t understand, and a scooter is following you, the guy wanting you to stop to take a picture. When u stop, you are immediately surrounded by at least 50 people and each of them is talking at you.

It’s true what a man recently told me: the big difference about traveling by bike is that the bike breaks social boundaries - and he is totally right! I have been talking to fishermen who offered me fruit and was invited by rich Indians working in Saudi Arabia, whom I had a really nice chat with!

I love traveling by bike! :-)


Update Kerala

Date: 21/10/2009
Kerala, India

I have finally reached Kerala, although the roads here are tough to ride and the humidity is killing me. However, I still seem to be guided by a lucky star that has been following me since the start of my journey. For instance, two days ago I arrived at this beautiful beach at sunset, but there were no hotels, guesthouses or camping sites around. So I decided to follow a sign to a beach resort, which looked so awfully expensive I immediately wanted to turn around again. I still asked them how much a room would be and it was more than my budget for four days. However, they were really nice and offered me a place to camp at their private beach, where they also gave me dinner and breakfast for free.

After I had breakfast with a really nice Indian family, the day started to get worse. 140km of bad road lay before me and I often couldn’t go faster than 10km/h. It took me more than 10 hours to reach Mangalore and one more hour to find a suitable hotel there. Things like these are also part of my trip, but I still love it and only have about 600km to go until I will meet up with some friends from Austria. I am really looking forward to seeing Verena and Paul!



More Images

Date: 18/10/2009
Palolem, India



Update from Palolem

Date: 15/10/2009
Goa, India

After 11 days in Goa I am now continuing my trip on my own. It was hard for me to say goodbye to Kuku as he has become a really good friend and great travel partner. We enjoyed our last night together with some beers although Kuku is still not feeling fit again and will now be flying back from Mumbai.

When we were sitting in the bar, suddenly a guy came running in shouting about a python. We followed his directions and as you can see from my pictures we really caught a glimpse of the animal.

Today was pretty hard for me. No Kuku, scorching heat and more mountains than I expected on the 120km to Palolem. However, as you can see from the pictures, the beach was the perfect place to recharge my batteries!

Thanks KUKU for everything!!!!!!!!!



One lazy day in Goa

Date: 14/10/2009
Goa, India

In the morning I wake up and decide to take a small walk to the really quiet beach. I take my guitar, enjoy a breakfast for 70 cent and sit and watch the waves. After a while I jump into the water, then Kuku’s friend comes along and we have a small beer. In the afternoon we take a short bike ride, but not too far, just 10km in one direction to another beach, where we sit and enjoy a coffee. In the evening we have a great meal that costs less than 10 Euros including drinks for three people and then we go on to a bar, where we enjoy the end of the day.

However, not everything is as perfect as it seems. Kuku has been ill for the last 10 days and still feels very weak. As he has no money left and his body is craving recovery he has decided to go back to Spain. So I will have to leave tomorrow to explore the rest of India and the magic island of Sri Lanka on my own!

I hope u are all fine and enjoy life!


Update October 13, 2009 - Goa

Date: 13/10/2009
Goa, India

After 10 days in Goa I will leave tomorrow experiencing the coast! Kiku is still ill and has still no money! He is staying here to recover and if not a wonder comes he will fly back to Spain :-( soon! I will post soon a longer news on my experience in Hippi Goa! :-)


Update October 12, 2009 - Goa

Date: 12/10/2009
Goa, India

Hi my friends! As Kuku is still ill I am stuck in Goa! Could be a worse place for beeing stuck somewhere!



Update October 10, 2009 - Goa

Date: 10/10/2009
Goa, India

Theses days are lazy! Just biking a little bit around in Goa from one beach to the other and enjoying the sea and some cold beer! Kuku, the friend from Spain decided to get ill theses days and is laying with fieber in bed :-) I wish u all the best from the paradise! I know now already half of the beaches from Goa and in the end of my travel here I will know them all :-) Stefan



Update October 5, 2009 - Goa

Date: 05/10/2009
Goa, India

Finally it stopped raining and I reached the beach where I enjoy some time and be able to relax! It is before season and so it is really relaxed here. Hippies and some tourists enjoy the time here! I will show u some pictures soon!



Update October 2, 2009 - Panaji in Goa

Date: 02/10/2009
Goa, India

After Daman we spent two wonderful days with the Almaida family in Vasail near Mumbai. Then we headed towards Goa, but first had to go around Mumbai, which was an awesome experience. Although we were 50km away from the city, we had to pass 100km of suburbs. Humidity and pollution were extreme, so our eyes were burning like hell. Moreover, the traffic was really giving us a hard time.

However, after 5 hours of cycling and covering about 100km, we wanted to catch a truck. Like every time, there were about 10-15 people around telling us that it would be impossible to catch a truck here. But we were in a good mood and made a cartoon board saying Goa – and sure enough, after about 10 minutes a truck stopped!

It was a small truck and we had to jump on the back, but it was an awesome ride through the mangrove forests near Mumbai. However, when it got dark and started to rain, it got quite uncomfortable out there on the back of the truck without any protection. From now on the ride was pretty tough - 3 hours in the rain and cold!

When we suddenly stopped in the middle of the forest, we didn’t know what was going on, but one of the drivers - who was a bit of a boozer and drank a small bottle of whisky during our trip - told us that we couldn’t continue the trip because it was raining too much.

Kuku and me went over to a small house nearby, where we took shelter from the rain. I slept for an hour on a piece of cardboard on the floor and then we continued our trip - this time in the driver’s cabin! It was really small, but at least it was dry. After 16 hour in the truck we reached Goa, where it has been raining for two days in a row. I hope it will stop raining tomorrow!



Update from Dahanu September 26, 2009 - Crossing the desert

Date: 26/09/2009
Dahanu, India

After 6-7 days of rice fields and two days of cotton fields we finally reached the desert. As Punjab, the region with the rice and cotton fields, isn’t very touristy, we mostly slept and ate in Temples there, which is a very nice and interesting experience. So far on my trip, I’ve already spent the night in a mosque, a Buddhist monastery, a Hindi and a Sikh Temple (or Guruar).

However, the last leg of my trip has also been quite exhausting and when we entered the desert with sandstorms and temperature of 40°C, we decided to partly cross Rajasthan by truck. We rode our bikes every day for about 40-60 kilometers until we arrived in Jodhpur and from there it was a 20-hour ride to Dahanu on the coast, some 200km away from Bombay.

It was a great experience to cross the desert by truck, driving at only 35km/h because nobody goes any faster here. It was really interesting to spend our time with these tough guys, who are driving for 24 hours every day. Usually, there are two drivers for each truck, who take turns driving every 3-6 hours.

Last night, when Kuku and me were sleeping in the truck, we almost had an accident because one of the drivers had fallen asleep. Suddenly there was this loud noise, the truck was swerving and we all were wide awake. Nevertheless, the driver just continued his journey and when they inspected the truck the next morning we saw that one of the tires was totally wrecked – at least for European standards. Here in India, however, the tire will surely be used for another month or so!

Right now I am at the coast and it’s still very hot and humid. Next up will be Bombay and then Goa!

I hope u are all fine!




Update Muktsar

Date: 20/09/2009
Muktsar, India

After leaving Amritsar, we headed further south. The landscape was quite boring and therefore there weren’t any tourists or hotels there. This made it difficult for us to find a place to sleep, but since we had heard that it was possible to spend the night in the Sikh "Temple" we tried it. It was a great experience sleeping in the yard together with an old guru! It was hard to really get some sleep though because of the mosquitoes, barking dogs, cats and the guru talking in his sleep.

Today we arrived in Muktsar, where we will once again spend the night in the local Temple. However, this time we have a proper room and the best thing is that the food here is free! I am looking forward to passing through this area of rice fields and desert and jump into the ocean again!



Batote > Amritsar

Date: 17/09/2009
Amritsar, India

14/09/09 Batote

Two days ago we left Srinagar. It was strange to pass through the town where four people were killed and dozens injured by a car bomb just two days ago. When I talked to people about what had happened, they told me that something like this was normal for them and that today everything was back to business as usual. However, for me it was anything but normal: military and police were patrolling every corner of the city but everybody acted like this was nothing special.

On our way to Jammer we saw even more soldiers, one about every 300m and all of them armed as if they were waiting for the war to start tomorrow.

The area we passed through after Srinagar really wasn’t that exciting but we soon reached a nice mountain without any tourists.

15/09/09 Jammer

After passing the mountains and riding for about 150km, we came to a small town near Jammer where we found accommodation plus dinner for two for just three Euros. Since we are the first non-Indians and currently the only guests staying at this youth hostel everybody makes a real fuss about us, taking care of us and offering us cookies, tea and cigarettes for Kuku.

By the way, it is amazing how the climate has changed. Some 400km and two weeks ago we still had snow in the Himalayas and now it’s hot and humid like hell. It’s a really tropical area here, with jungle and banana trees. What’s more, there are no soldiers anymore because it’s a Hindi area. Instead, there’s lots of monks here, which makes our stay even more exciting.

I also found this road sign that I really liked. Instead of the usual “Drive carefully” of “Save the forest” it said “When you can dream it you can do it!”

17/09/09 Amritsar

After two days of covering more than 250km by bike, we have now reached Amritsar, the center of Sikhism and home of the famous golden temple. We arrived yesterday after sunset and after about one hour we found a nice and cheap hotel for only 2 Euros a night.

The town is pretty huge and there’s even more pollution than in Delhi because it obviously hasn’t rained here for some time.

Today we will visit the golden temple and then continue our trip across the desert of Lo to get to the coast. It’s really strange to think that 2-3 weeks ago we still had snow in the mountains and now we can’t even sleep without air condition!



Update Sringar

Date: 12/09/2009
Sringar, India

I was down at the lake and just jumping into the water when the bomb detonated – unbelievable! Everything seems to be all calm when in fact it isn’t. Today, even the Imam, whom you can usually here all day long, seems to have gone quiet.

Nachricht auf Reuters



Update Sringar

Date: 10/09/2009
Sringar, India

We have finally left Leh and I was really happy to be on the road again. The first day we didn’t bike much as Kuku still felt tired. After just 20 kilometers we stopped a truck and covered the next 90km on this crazy ride. It was nighttime and we didn’t even know whether we were going in the right direction, rattling across the bumpy road in this battered old truck. After a few hours we stopped in Khaltse, where we spent the night between heaps of drying apricots.

The next day we got lost and passed the line of control without permission. This line is like a border, only with more military around than you can imagine! However, the road we took was awesome: no tourists, just wonderful landscape, no traffic, just an army truck from time to time.

At night we were invited by two Tibetan monk students to sleep in their village, where we also spent the next day. After that we set out to cover another 4,000m pass. As we had left pretty late we were afraid that we wouldn’t reach the pass in time. Moreover, we hadn’t eaten anything and I was running out of energy. We stopped at a military post and asked for food there. They gave us rice with vegetables, bread and chai. After I had finished the meal, I recognized that around 30 soldiers were watching me - the military station looked like out of an old »Rambo« movie!
After we had finished, the highest-ranked soldier informed us that they had a truck waiting for us, so we jumped on it to cover the final 7km to the top of the pass, where we said goodbye and continued our way in the direction of Kargil. The next days were also great, but there’s simply not enough time to tell you about everything that happened.

Right now I am in Sinagar, in the heart of Kashmir, where Kuku and me will be relaxing on a houseboat for the next 2-3 days. You cannot imagine the sunset and sunrise here! Moreover, we’re only paying a mere 9 Euros for 2 people and 3 nights! However, we’re in a Muslim area here, so no beer. As according to Bill Clinton I’m in the “most dangerous place in the world” right now, I want to end my posting with a Gandhi quote: »In a gentle way you can shake the world.«

Images I
Images II
Original message


Update Leh

Date: 04/09/2009
Leh, India

I have now been in India for more than three weeks and it is difficult to express all my feelings and experiences so far. When I arrived in India it was like entering a whole different world. I was really happy to leave Dubai and come to a crazy place like Delhi. It is an amazing town and I was really lucky to arrive on Independence day because there were huge festivities taking place all over the city. Lots of people were dressed up and acting out scenes from the independence "war" on small stages.

After the first welcoming days in Delhi, I bought a cheap class train ticket to Agra. It was an important experience for me and I have to admit that the ride wasn’t as bad as I had expected. In Agra I visited the Taj Mahal and the big fort, which was really impressive. There I met Kaka (?), a Spanish traveler on his way from Bilbao to India with his bike Chatta (?). After a good chat and a couple of beers, we decided to continue the next part of our trip together and I persuaded him to go further north as they still have the rainy season down in the south.

Once again, we took the train to Delhi, but this time the experience was a bit different. There were 70 people in one luggage wagon of 10m2 and everybody had to stand for the six hours it took to cover the 200km from Agra to Delhi.

In Delhi we spent one more day visiting the Gandhi museum and his grave. Gandhi was a really great man and this visit gave me the idea to end every one of my blog entries with one of his quotes.

After a wonderful day in Delhi we left this crazy town, heading to the north. It took us more than three hours to get out of town, but finally we made it. There would be lots of stories to tell about our trip from Delhi to Manali, but I can’t tell them all right now as internet access here is limited. We visited an Ashram, met people that only went by numbers instead of names and once had to run away from a whole village during nighttime and in the rain...

After four days of riding we arrived in Manali, bordering the Himalayas. We wanted to cover 500km and pass one of the world’s highest roads featuring five passes, one of which is at more than 4,000m above sea level, the others around 5,000m, the highest

at 5300m. It was a 10 day ride away from civilization, experiencing one of the most beautiful landscapes I have seen so far.

We had some good as well as bad weather, once even being stuck between two passes at 4,800m while it was snowing like hell. It was a strange feeling when we finally passed the Taglang La pass and arrived in the next valley only to learn that the pass had since been closed because of too much snow.

Lots more happened during these days, but it’s impossible to tell you about all of it now – you’ll have to wait until I’m back! I miss you all and am looking forward to seeing all of you again!

This time, I want to end this posting with two quotes of Gandhi and one of myself.

“Traveling with a car or motorbike is like storing your memories in the cache memory. Riding a bike is different. Your memories are stored on your hard drive and it makes it difficult to delete them.” (A quote I made on the way from Manali to Leh when I saw tourists passing this awesome road in one or two days)

What Gandhi said about friendship:
“There are moments in your life when you must act even though you cannot carry your best friend with you.”
“You don't know who is important to you until you actually lose them.”


At the moment I’m working on finding someone in India who dedicates his life to helping the poorest of the poor. I’d like to help someone like this with the money I raised and would be proud to show all of you who have donated even one Euro how you money is used!

I plan to fulfill my mission and hope to raise as much money as possible to help families and kids that have not been so fortunate to have been born in Austria!

With all my love,
The Tramp & Ram Ram (that's the name of my bike)



Ladakh, India

Date: 05/09/2009
Ladakh, India

Finally I arrived in the Tibetan part if India in Ladakh and it is awesome! I was passing passes over 5300 meters and I have enjoyed the Himalyas in good weather and with loads of snow! But tomorrow I will leave Leh where I am now and I will ride again in the direction of Cashmer! I hope u all are fine! Soon my website will be updated again! Stefan and Ram Ram (thats the name of my bike and means hello in Hindi)


Thank you!

Thanks to everybody who has donated money to Bike2HelpThere so far! You have really helped some people in need and I can assure you that your money has been and will be used for a good cause – THANK YOU!



Date: 24/08/2009
Manali, India



India - A short update

Date: 24/08/2009
Manali, India

As I had gotten a bit weary of Dubai, I decided to take my bike on a plane and leave this country as soon as I got my visa. I flew into Delhi, where a whole new world was waiting for me - India!

Coming to India from Iran really is like entering a different planet. I stayed in Delhi for the first two days and it was really great. As the Indians were celebrating Independence Day there were all kinds of festivals taking place across town.

Next I took the train to Agra, where I got to know Kuku from Spain, a fellow cyclist. We decided to ride the next part of the trip together and I’m really glad about that as he is a cool guy. He also comes in quite handy considering that people always seem to want your money here, but with Kuku we somehow always end up paying less than half of the original price. His speech along the lines of "But mister, two bikes, no money...” always gets us a neat reduction like paying one or two Euros for an accommodation that would actually have cost 7.

We also had a great experience on the train back from Agra to Delhi, when we rode not in first and not in second but in third class. This meant 6 hours of standing in a 10sqm wagon together with 70 other people! From Delhi we took a route to the north, which has brought us to Manali. Tomorrow we’re getting ready to conquer the Himalaya!

Images India I
Images India II



Final words about Iran,
Dubai and Oman

Date: 24/08/2009

Iran - Some final words

It’s kind of hard for me to write about Iran now that it’s already 10 days since I left this amazing country. However, I feel very strongly about this country and want people to know about this most hospitable place I have ever visited. People are incredibly friendly, but I also have to say that it was a very challenging country.

Now that I’m in Dubai, where money rules everyday life, my experiences in Iran seem even more outstanding. I guess I’ll just start off by telling you some things about Iran I hadn’t expected:

1) People in Iran (at least the ones I met) are less religious than I thought. After having been to Turkey, I expected Iranians to be at least as religious as the people there. But in Iran people are different. Maybe they are religious, but because of their government and the connection of clergy and government, they have found a way of being religious only in their souls. In Iran, religion is power and most people don't like that. I actually think this attitude towards religion is really good. Religion is only good when it is not used as a powerful instrument. Iranians have realized that - only the government hasn’t!

2) Iranians are even more hospitable than people in Turkey. I hardly could imagine it - but Iranians are just great. If you ever ride through this country, you will feel absolutely safe. When you’re on the bike you usually think about food, a place to sleep, water and stuff like that, but in Iran you really don't have to worry about a thing. As soon as you stop, people will take care of things for you and solve your problems. For instance, in other countries you would be worried if you’re in a strange town, it’s already late and you have no place to sleep. Not in Iran. You just have to wait and it’s guaranteed that someone will come along and invite you to their house, give you the best food they have and try to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

3) Iran’s countryside is more diverse then I expected.

4) About 70-90 percent of the people we met are not satisfied with their government.

5) Many Iranians lead a totally different life at home than in public.

6) Iranians don’t hate Americans or Europeans. Although they are bombarded with propaganda news (like people in Europe and America), they have not switched off their brains. They know that the government and its people are not the same and that they should never be thought of as the same thing. It’s a real shame what Europeans and Americans think about Iran. My friend Ben, who rode with me for a while, told me that back at his office people had said to him: “You’re guaranteed to end up dead in Iran – there simply is no other option!" How can people in Europe think something like that? I don't really want to write more about it, just think about it for a while…

However, earlier on I mentioned that Iran has also been the most challenging country for me so far. Why? Because people are too nice. You always feel that you can never return to them what they have offered you. It’s hard to explain… For instance I’ve grown up along the principle of giving and taking. However, in Iran things are different. People give and give and you don't know how you to "pay" them back. Because of this feeling, it’s often difficult to build "real" friendships because for me this would involve mutual giving and taking. I know this might sound a bit confusing – you should just jump onto a plane and come here to understand!

Now there’s nothing left for me but thank all the people that helped me along the way. I will definitely not forget you and please send me your e-mail addresses again (!

Bandar Abbas - Dubai

After my final days with Ali and his friend, I took the boat to Dubai and left behind a world of security to step into a completely different world of money and globalization I’m not sure I really like. Dubai is a place where thousands of people meet in the desert to make money. Really, what can you expect from such a place? Not much I’d say.

Granted, I also got to know people who were different, but they were really the exception and didn’t even like this place, they just stay here to make money and get some work experience. For me it was a hard stay as I am not traveling on a big budget. In a country where you’re worth nothing without money and the right color of skin, it was quite hard for me to survive.

However, fortunately I found a good friend here. His name is Pierre and he’s a French guy traveling to India on his motorbike. As we found ourselves in the same situation we decided to team up and that was a good idea. We decided to travel to Oman together and this really was the best thing we could have done.


My trip to Oman was totally different to my usual style of travel, but it really was the best I I could do in this kind of situation. After getting a visa and finding a boat, Pierre and me had to wait for a whole week. So we decided to hitchhike to Oman: 300km in 5 hours and with 5 different people! It was a great experience to spend 2 hours in the huge limo of a local and then change over to a truck driven by a guy from Bangladesh who didn’t speak one word of English!

We spent the night in a park in Muscat, the capital of Oman, sweating like hell. On the next day we started a small road trip that took us to amazing beaches, great deserts and wonderful oases. In a small village we were invited for lunch and saw how people prepared food for a wedding.

Although we both got a feeling of freedom in the car it’s not the same like when you’re on the bike. Anyway we enjoyed being away from the money society and sleeping on the beach or in the car.

We also did some diving and all in all it was a great experience if it hadn’t been for the fact that we knew we had to return to Dubai.

After the departure of my boat was postponed once again, I decided to go by plane. I simply had to leave this place as I felt that it was much better to take my money with me and spend it in another country where people know how behave.

At the moment I am sitting in a digital office in Dubai, where I will probably spend the night burning my images on DVDs.

You wouldn’t believe how people treat foreign workers here – worse than animals! Just a few seconds ago, a guy came in and put some money on the table shouting that he needed some papers and why the hell that poor Indian guy couldn’t bring them any faster.

People in the road stop their fancy cars in front of an Indian or Pakistani restaurant, blowing their horn like crazy until the poor Indian guy comes out to ask the lord in the car what he needs and how he can help him. In the end, he brings him a cup of coffee. Now I really know where the racists of today live and I hate it!

I have really seen enough, I just want to leave this country - with a feeling of anger and pity for the people who are forced to live here!



Blogs June/July click here