Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Gaffa, Sea and Sand.

"Is this the strongest tape you have?" I asked the man in the store holding a roll of gaffa tape in my hand. The question was rediculous not least because this was gaffa and what better can you get? But of course that wasn't the end of my folly.

I had noticed over the last few days that my beloved tricycle had been creaking and moaning at me much more than usual but as I looked down that morning after leaving for my next destination I discovered that my top bar had come away conpletely from my frame. My tricycle was quite litraly falling apart at the seems. 

In a moment of panic gaffa tape seemed like a lodgical solution but even as I bought it I new it was never going to work. There are some things you can't hold together with tape...

Almost as an after thought I asked him if he knew where I might find a welder. I realised as he happily drew out some directions that this was probably the first question I should have asked. 

I found the garage easily enough and was greater with a smile and a raised eyebrow aaa the guy looked at the state of my tricycle. He laughed when I told him where I had come from and showed Him the broken frame. Before long though there were sparks flying as he grinded down the metal to make a clean weld. He showed me to a room in the shade where he said I could wait. I tried to ignor the slightly distasteful posters of naked ladies plastered all over the walls. 

After half an hour the job was finnished and he had even repainted it for me to match. When I asked him how much I owed him he wouldn't take a penny (or a kuna in this case) he shook my hand as I said goodbye and I thought to myself heros come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and with all kinds of vices too. 

I had left 2 hours to get to the ferry on time but that was before I discovered my broken frame. Now I had only 40 minuets to get there. 12km and up and over the hill. I peddled as fast as my legs would let me. My thighs screaming as I peddled up the steep hill. Somehow though I made it to the ferry with 5 minuets to spare. 

As we left the harbour and sailed across to the island of Rab I thought to myself how nice it was to be moving with out having to pedal. I remembered back to just a few hours before when it seemed like I was stranded with a broken bike. And whispered a quite thankyou heavenward.

I arrived in Rab late in the afternoon. A beautiful island perimitered by sandy bays, a thick forest and cliff faces. Also a lot of nudists but hey, when in Rome! 
I had thought to make a show that night In the tourist area, but I was far too tired and the sunset over the sea far to beautiful. I slept on the cliffs that night, the stars shining brightly above me. Wow whispered from my lips once more. 

The next day I cycled through the island to the old town of Rab. One of the most beautiful towns I have seen. Wedged between the harbour and the sea. Thin streets cross-crossing amongst old buildings and towering walls. I hadn't planned it but I had arrived on the last day of their medieval summer festival. Trumpets played, drums thundered through the streets and everywhere I looked people were garbed in traditional medieval dress. 
I found myself a good spot, tryed to make myself look as medieval as possible and had some of the best crowds yet for my show. It turned out to be a long night and I work early in the morning after very little sleep amongst many other travellers and party goers on the beach below the city walls.

My next crossing was a little more tricky as the main ferries wouldn't take bicycles so I ended up finding a small taxi boat and strapping my trike to the front of it and we sailed across to the island of pag.  
It was a hard days cycle through 40 degrees heat, my body soaked in sweat and my water bottles were hot from the sun. I finally made it the the town of Pag, very different from Rab and more like a want to be Ibiza. My legs were aching and my right foot swollen and throbbing in pain. All I could do was lay down on the cliffs and listen to the faint beats of the music, close my eyes and fall fast asleep.

It had been a week since I left Zagreb and I had been wild camping the whole time. My skin tasted of salt and my hair thick with grease. It was time for a bed and a shower, and I found one here in Zadar. I met Filip in Rab after making one of my shows and it was partly his fault that I was seduced away from an early night to the late night party on the beach. He has been hitching through Croatia and planned to stop here in Zadar to see some friends. We agreed to meet her and also to make a show together with his digeridoo. Which we did last night. A lot of fun but strange not to be using my music that I have become so used too. I am recovering today after another far too later night (followed by a too early morning) and have decided to take some rest before I continue on my journey in the morning.

It's strange to think that I am a actually getting quite close. Only 600km to Albania from here which in the scheme of things really isn't that far. In the back of my mind I know more mountains are coming but for now I shall enjoy the sea and the sand.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Mountains, bears and islands.

I have had many challenges on this trip. and have faced many fears but never yet have I feared my my life... Until I heard it roar!

I left Zagreb on Monday afternoon after finding a mechanic to convert my gears to a super low speed for hill climbing. Darco had suggested this would be a good idea after repeatedly warning me of the steep mountain roads I had to climb. "They are really high" he kept on saying, looking back at the state of my bike and the copious amounts of luggage I was carrying. The look on his face suggested he wasn't convinced I would make it.
The first 2 days were actually quite pleasant. The hills were not to big, and I had found a path that wound around the first of the big peaks and took me through the valleys into the heart of the mountains. There were plenty of good spots for camping too. The first night I camped beside a large river, and spent the evening in the company of a mother and son from a nearby village, "this is our drugs and alcohol" the son said (who was actually in his 50s) pointing the the river, the moon and stars. I had offered him some whiskey which he refused saying he'd been sober for 10 years. I admired him for that, but enjoyed the moon and stars with flask in hand. His mother made a catch and smiled as they handed me a catfish saying "breakfast." 

I was probably more effort than it was worth, washing, gutting and cooking the fish on a stick. But something about it was very satisfying and probably nourished my soul more than my body. I thought of Jesus and his friends sharing fish for breakfast sat by the lake. After all all the horrors of Good Friday, they recognised their friend after he repeated his trick with the fish in the nets. I can't imagine how they must have felt. But I pictured the scene as I toasted my catfish over the fire, and whispered a simple prayer. Maybe it seems like your far away and I don't seem to hear your whispers anymore... but wow. 

I camped by a lake the next night with slightly less enjoyable company, a couple of guys had found the spot too, and seemed unaware, or unconcerned of me sleeping as they blared music from the car stereo and shouting, and smashing bottles on the ground well past midnight. I woke that morning a little tired, but a quick dive in the lake soon freshened me up. This is it. I thought to myself. No more winding through valleys anymore, I have to go up. I felt very small in comparison to the great peaks that surrounded me... it seemed, in every direction. 

As I started to climb I quickly became very glad of my new gears, and steadily made my way up the mountain. I had found a road that was mostly shaded by trees but still my body was dripping with sweat. The highest pass I would have to make was just over 900 meters but it wasn't simply a case of up and over, the road went up and down again and again. Normally I enjoy down hill, but after you have laboured over a 100 meter incline, to find yourself dropping back to where you started in a matter of minuets is quite disheartening. After many hours and buckets of sweat I finally made it to the top and to the lake I had spotted as a good camping site. I was almost delirious with exhaustion, by body so tired I felt as though I was floating. The views had been incredible though, I made myself stop often just to soak it in. Wow. Was all I could think, that and, your mad. Many of the locals seemed to agree  laughing and honking there horns as I rode passed.

I reached the lake just as night was falling and after reading a sign saying no camping or fires. I decided to hide myself a little way into the wood so not the be seen... That was a mistake.

It was 4 in the morning when I woke to the sound of loud grunting and the heavy thud of of paws. By the sound of it, it could only have been 30 meters form my camp. I could hear my heart pumping through my chest, and I lay there completely still. I had been told this was the best thing to do, if ever was to encounter bears. But i think if I had been told it was best to run I couldn't have, I was frozen with fear. As quietly as i could i pulled my sleeping bag over my head hoping to hide my scent. For 10 minuets the creature trumped and grunted around the camp. For a moment I though I heard it coming closer, and fear gripped me. I had just been reading one ofmy favourite psalms earlier that day, my focus before had been on the words "I look to the mountains, but where does my strength come from", but now I was very much focused on the bit about "the moon not harming you by night" it wasn't the moon that bothered me right now but I don't think that's write the writer meant either. I said the words over in my head, hoping they were true. In the back of my mind I thought about friends and family I had lost to tragic accidents and thought, people still die though. The sounds came closer, maybe 10-20 meters away, i didn't care to look, my body was so tense you could had snapped me in two. Finally the creature went past and I finally allowed myself to breath as I heard the noises go off into the distance. I lay there quite and still for some time after that. My mind was a rush of relief and terror. Wow, I thought to myself. I almost laughed, I almost cried. After I was sure the sounds had gone I fumbled my way out of my hammock and still trembling I crept my way down to the road. I waited out the rest of the night lying on the floor with nothing but my sleeping bag praying for dawn to come...

When dawn finally broke it was as if I had awoken from some crazy dream. I hesitantly made my way back into the wood to collect the things I had abandoned in my haste. A cup of tea did well to calm my nerves and the beating of my heart eventually returned its usual tempo. 

It was overcast and cool as I made my way over the last of the mountain passes. I was still giddy with adrenalin and my legs like jelly. But i continued on, picturing the sea and a cold beer. They had been magnificent, beautiful, terrifying, and very big I agreed with Darco. But I had made it! I passed the last ridge and the roads went down...

When I saw the sea I was nearly overcome. There was something very final about the vast blue expanse in front of me. The last time I had seen the ocean was as I took the ferry from Dover to Calais. I thought back through all the different counties, thousands of kilometres, people, experiences, mountains... All I could do was whisper a simple Thankyou. This is mad. This is incredible.

I woke up this morning to the sound of the sea lapping against the shore. I had slept under the stars on a quiet beach on the island of Krk on the Adriatic Sea after making some shows in the main town that evening. When my eyes opened to see the sun rising above the water, Wow and Thankyou uttered from my lips once more.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Cardboard Jesus

As you make your way through many parts of Europe, you will see time and time again the same symbol standing on the side of the road, like sentinels they watch over the passing traffic and lonely cyclists. One long beam stands straight up towards the sky, and another shorter one passes horizontally across it about a quarter of the way from the top. 
Sometimes a man hangs from these interlocking beams, naked all but a loincloth. And his eyes watch you as you pass. 

I see Jesus everyday as I cycle along these roads,  Sometimes he is made of stone other times from wood, he is large and small, painted and sculpted. sometimes red paint mimics blood trickling down his arms and feet. But he is always there. The silent statue on the side of the road. 

I have gotten quite used to these encounters, so much so that I often pass by with out a second thought... But it was as I cycled through the back roads of Hungary, through the forgotten towns that no tourists ever visit. That I saw him. Crudely painted on a piece of very thin old hardboard, his arm was broken and was hanging limply from the wooden cross he was stuck too. No gold or precious stones, no beautiful carvings.
A flat, lifeless, old and discarded Jesus hanging on the side of the road. 

Initially it shocked me, even offended me that this precious act could be portrayed in such a way. But the irony struck me that this was possibly the most honest and telling statue of them all. It stood out because of it's poverty, but it was no different from every other replicated image of the cross. A symbol so brutal, and yet so pure and full of love. Mass produced, cast in stone, hung around our necks, and lost in a maze of familiarity.

The thing is as I cycle may way through these winding roads I realise that so much of my life is just like these replicated images, I have become so familiar with Christianity. With it's language, traditions and habits, like a camilian I fit in, saying and doing the right things. Sometimes I wonder if my words and prayers realy come from the heart, or if i'm just  painting the tomb of my super spitual ego. Being seen to have all sorted when really I don't have a clue.

The thing is though that I have come to realise a second irony. This cardboard Jesus, was poor in every way. It had no pretence to hide behind, no beauty of its own, or value in it's materials. But the reality was, that, so were the people who he belonged too, the children ran around in dirty clothes and no shoes, and the houses looked like they might fall down at any moment.

When it comes to the cross, to the unconditional, furious love of God. We are all increadibly poor, we will never really get it, understand or accept it fully. Our faith will always be small in comparison to the faith God has in us. And our love for Him and for each other is like a drop in the ocean. We are broken, selfish, messed up and so beautifully human. But if the message of the cross that this cardboard Jesus so poorly depicts, is really true then the reality is that it's OK... Our father is under no illusions about our poverty, No matter how hard we try to cover it up. And he loves us completely, unconditionally, always...

Even as I write this I'm not even sure if I believe what I'm saying, life if full of questions, hurts and disappointments, and sometimes I wonder if this could really be true. But what if it is? What if Jesus really is who they say he is? I doubt, I hope, mess up, make up. And some how keep coming back... To Him.

So maybe are offerings are weak at best,  and our motives selfish even. Our worship repetitive, and faith learned. But maybe that's ok. We give what we have, and no need to pretend that it's any more.

So this is my cardboard Jesus...

My faithless prayers, my empty promises, my foolish words, my self-serving love, bad habbits, addictions, flaws, fears, passions, loves, questions, masks, desperate cries. And all the other bits inbetween...

Unexpected Juggling.

"You show me, and then you can go." Said the border policeman, with a smile on has face.

It was the first time I had to show my passport since I left England, but this wasn't what policeman was interested in. After repeatedly asking me if I had any drugs to declare, and warning me of the consequences if they were to find any, prison and a hefty fine. I had parked my bike by the gates and started to unpack my things for him to search though. This is going to take a long time. I thought to myself. The last time I had tried to cross the boarder into Croatia I had a 20 minuet interrogation, which as scary as it was i think i would have preferred it to unpacking the entirety of my bike. "You show me" he said again, and I realised he was pointing to my juggling clubs...
So instead of unpacking my bike I proceeded to juggle for the policeman and his colleagues, then proceeded another interrogation, but very different from my former experience. "You came all the way from England?" "How long did it take?" "Where do you sleep?" "Are you making a show tonight?" And after a short lesson in Croatian greetings (which unfortunately, I promptly forgot.) I was waved goodbye, by a happy policeman and his friends. And began my journey through Croatia.

It had been interesting and beautiful since i left Vienna last saturday. My first stop was a little town called Rust, set on the side of a big lake and surrounded by marsh and vineyards. I had thought to make a show there but ended up taking a swim instead. I cycled trough the vineyards as the sun set over the hills and hadn't even realised I had crossed the boarder until I received a text from Vodaphone saying welcome to Hungary! 

One of the strangest things about Europe is how quickly and unexpectedly everything changes. In the space of a few hundred meters, the language, currency and culture is suddenly very different. 

Hungary was quite a different animal all together, especially as a cyclist. Many of the main roads were banned for cyclists, so I found my self winding my way through tiny country lanes or taking illegal actions when there really was no other way to get where I needed too. But eventually I made my way to the Balaton See, which is a massive lake, and a hotspot for tourists from Germany and Austria. I took full advantage of the tourist trade and set up to make some shows in a little town on the south of the lake. It was probably the first show I made that actually made any decent money, and what's more I even found a bed for the night! 

The next day I made my way west after celebrating my success with pizza and a morning swim. Again I took the winding roads through the forgotten towns that no tourists ever visit. It was as I passed through one of these towns, and I saw the kids sat on the side of the street, many of them looked even more grubby than me. I had this nagging thought in my head, Isn't this what you talked about, you make shows for tourists, why not for these kids? So after cycling very slowly through the town trying to battle off my inconvenient thoughts, I finally conceded and turned around and found the children on the side of the road. 
I didn't speak a word of Hungarian, and I felt utterly foolish trying to communicate. But I got out my staffs, and my music, and preceded to dance in the middle of the road in my cycling shorts and in the blazing sun. It was a terrible show, but the kids seemed to like it. I then got my workshop gear out and pointed to it, to say have a go, but the kids got the wrong idea and thought it was a gift. It was total chaos, but in the end they got the idea. There were plates spinning, and hoops flying across the road. It was completely ridiculous. And cars honked there horns angrily as they drove passed. When i realised i had completely lost control I tried to pack away, which was an even harder task. children laughed as they helped my shoving things in my basket haphazardly, putting plates on my head. giving me ridiculous tokens, of broken earrings, flowers and weeds. How I managed to get away i don't know. My stuff was almost overflowing and trailing behind me as cycled away and children ran behind me, laughing and shouting. I cycled a kilometre out of town. Breathed, repacked my bike - amazed that (almost) everything was still there. That was mad, what on earth was I thinking! I laughed, wiped the sweat off my face, drank, breathed again. And decided I probably shouldn't do that again...

So now I am here in Zagreb. The capital of Croatia. I stayed with a guy called Darko, who is also a cyclist, he also knows a thing or two about bike mechanics so was keen to take a closer look at my trike, he was really impressed by all the old mechanics, but slightly appalled by the state of my breaks. So quickly the tool set came out. Every one I meet now seems very worried about the fact that I'm going to the coast. "You know there are huge mountains to go over?" "And there are bears, and wild cats!" "Where are you sleeping?" "Don't go into the woods!" The list goes on...

So I'm feeling a little nervous about the days that lie ahead, the 1200m I have to climb, and the bears that I would rather not encounter!

Decided to take another day off and start tomorrow instead!

Saturday, 13 July 2013


I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I cycled up the very long steep hill to my host norbert's house. "It used to be a tree, and now it's a house" he said. As I struggled to push by bike up the steep gravel path, a shaggy haired smiling man came out too meet me. His eyes opened wide as he saw the size of my bags... 
His house was actually a lot more homely than I thought. A simple but well made wooden hut. The view though was something else. Peering over the trees you have a birds eye view of the whole of Vienna. 

What was planned to be just two days has turned out to be a whole week enjoying the city and the quite hill. I even found a bicycle workshop and did some repairs. Although after lots of indecision I ended up not changing the part that I probably needed to most. So another pit stop might be required soon.

Norbert invited me to go away 'camping' with him to an alternative community place in the country. So we packed ourselves up, the two of us and norbert's beautiful golden retriever aptly called 'ginger.' It ended up not to be camping at all, as we stayed with some friends of his sleeping in their fathers art studio. 

I am learning to cast my assumptions aside and just enjoy the differences and life experience of other people. "You must feel it in your head, and heart..." The old lady said as she poked me rather forcefully in my forehead and then in my chest. "You are one... Be heeled" She was very concerned about my hey fever ( which actually, was quite bad as I'd forgotten my tablets) and wanted to heel me as a gift over breakfast. I wasn't exactly sure what to make of it. And also whether I should accept such a thing. But as I looked into her big eyes and wrinkled smiling face, I thought to myself who am I to refuse such an act of love. 

The rest of the day consisted of collecting herbs for healing on the top of the hill. It did make me laugh though as we rustled through the long grasses in the fields, my nose running and eyes streaming as the dust from the field filled the air. This really isn't working... The next day I took my tablets which was much more effective.

The best part of the day was learning to hunt for mushrooms. I have always wanted to have a go. And often wondered as I passed mushrooms in the forest if they were good for eating. As I scavenged for mushrooms the others hunted blueberries (which were much easier to find) I came back with a hat full of little of little yellow ones and two big white one's "these are great..." Norbert said pointing to the hat, "these are very poisonous, you'll be sick in bed for a week if you eat those" pointing to the other two. Good to know I thought to myself. Quickly throwing them away.

Dinner was mushroom and potato soup, followed by yogurt and blueberries... And it was good!

So now we are back in vienna my bike is packed up once again and I am ready to make my way south to the sea. I am a little daunted by the mountains ahead, but I have a couple of days on the flat before they begin. Norbert has helped me plot a route avoiding the worst of the hills. So I head south east into Hungary. And then loop back a little south into Croatia and over the mountains. 

Here goes...

Monday, 8 July 2013

Lightning and the dancing lake.

Some people say life is a roller coaster, Forest Gump's mum reckoned it was like a box of chocolates. I have come to think that life is very much like riding a rickety old tricycle, with bad breaks and dodgy gears 5000km across the continent. Sometimes the hills are long and slow and it feels like they will never end, on occasions they are so steep you find yourself grinding to a stop, you stare upwards and think to yourself I just can't go on any more... But then there are times when the miles seem to roll past you effortlessly, with the sun on your back and a gentle breeze in your face, every corner hides new wonders waiting just for you. 

There have been times in the last few weeks when every part of me yearned to be home and to call off this stupid adventure. Times when I felt more lost and alone than I ever have before. To be honest there have been moments when I have wanted to throw out everything I believe in, even the very reasons for making this trip turned to grey confusion. Why am I here? Why am I doing this? Have I got this all terribly wrong?
I asked myself and my God. 

Perhaps it was in answer to these questions that the events of the last few days unfolded... 

I had stayed the night with a lovely Czech couple called David and Petra, they had showed me round their beautiful little town, fed me stawberry dumplings (which were supprisinly good) and took me for a beer in a cosy pub by the river. I made my first real show on the streets that night. Only 20 or so people stood to watch (and half of them were friends of David and Petra's) but all the same it felt great to finally be doing what I set out to do, especially after the disaster that was Prague. 
I set out in the afternoon the next day. After 10km I received a text from David saying I had left my socks on their washing line. Great I thought to myself. It's amasing the silly things that rattle you when your tired. It didn't feel any hotter than the day before but for some reason no matter how much I drank my mouth felt dry and by body ached. The hills went up and up and my tricycle creaked and cracked at every pedal. A great blackness came over me as thought about the mountains that lay ahead. These are only hills, I thought to myself. There is no way I can do this.
God what is this all about? This isn't an adventure. I'm just tired, alone and in the middle of nowhere. This isn't what I thought it would be. I don't know why I'm doing this anymore.... But I can't go home... Not now. 
I'm not sure if it was pride, determination, hope or faith that kept me going. But I reached the top of that hill and many more after that. In the evening I camped out beside a small lake in the middle of the forest. I set up my tent, made a quick swim, then tucked myself under the canopy I had made. As the skies turned grey and lightning lit the sky, the rain poured down drumming on the sides my tent and made the whole lake dance with splashes and ripples. I sat with my whiskey in one hand cigar in the other thinking about the day. It had been hard, hot and and my body ached even still. But as looked out to the red, black sky, the dark pines and the dancing lake i smiled to myself and decided. Right now in this moment there is no place I would rather be.

The next day I packed up and rode a few miles to the nearest town and decided to stop for some breakfast (although by that time it was nearly lunch) and after the second coffee I thought to myself. This place is really busy I should really stay and make a show. It was more an act of defiance than anything else. I had promised myself that I would stop counting miles and worrying about how far I got each day. So I slipped on my baggy trousers (as for some reason it feels not quite right to make a fire show in cycling shorts) soaked my sticks and started the music... "Ladies and gentleman, my name is Josh, I am cycling from England to Macidonia. And I would like to make you a little show..." In the bright sunlight I danced and twirled, dripping with sweat and laughing at myself thinking this is obsured. A little ripple of applause came from the restraunts and a man sat on the bench beside me. After a few numbers and once I was completely out of breath I got out some of my juggling toys and invited the children to come and have a go. I didn't really know what expect but before long the street was full of children and families spinning plates, juggling and making fun. I made another show after that and this time everyone sat around me to watch. Laughing and applauding sometimes in the right places... 

It was nearly 3pm by the time I had finnished my 'breakfast' stop, and I decided I would make the most of the cool (ish) afternoon and make my way to the border and into Austria to the little town of Drossendorf. 

"Drossendorf? Why did you come here?" The guy said as we spoke over the gate. The truth was I was hoping to find a busy little tourist town where I could make a show and was quite disheartened as I cycled through the quiet streets of this sleepy but very pretty little town. But as I looked behind him at the bright red and yellow stripes of the circus tent I smiled and thought to myself, It was no accident I found this place.

I am beginning to learn that life is full of so many opportunities and adventures and it is so easy to let them pass us by. Yes it is much more convenient and if we want to keep to our timetables then its best we don't bother.
But it is also easy to push open the door,  to stop and look for a moment, to chat over the fence, to share lunch with a stranger in the park. 

I stayed at the circus that night, and most of the next day, made a show for the kids, chatted with some wonderful people around the fire, shared stories, cups of tea, and slept in a circus wagon. 
All because I stopped and said hello over the fence... 

I still ask myself. why am i doing this? What's this all about? But moments like these make think there's something to it. And even if not it a heck of a lot of fun. So this my new agenda. Grab hold of every day, say yes, say Hello. Watch, listen, look around, eat cake, drink tea, and do a bit of cycling in between...

Oh I made to Vienna by the way. Enjoying a bit of relaxing time and been fixing up some of the more rickety parts of by bike. Strangely I'm off camping for a couple of days tomorrow with some friends I have made here. Probably will hit the road again at the weekend...

Monday, 1 July 2013

Pillar to post.

It's with a bit of a heavy heart that I leave Prague this morning. My bags all packed once again ready wind my way avoiding as many hills as possible down to Vienna. I arrived here on Friday afternoon after a 4 day ride from Dresden, staying in Decin , Usti nad Laben and some forest I found on the way. The Czech Republic is a beautiful country to cycle through, and it was nice to make my way along familiar paths that I cycled with my crazy circus friends last year. The trip hasn't been with out its challenges though. With bike repairs, attempted robberies, and more recently getting fined by the police in Prague for making a mess on the floor with my lamp oil... I am realising that travelling alone really does make you more vulnerable to all kinds of things. Not least all the internal struggles that go with it. My experience here in Prague has been quite mixed, it is with out a doubt a beautiful city, and I have met some really wonderful people here who I have been staying with. But I feel like I haven't really made the best of my time here. Partly down to tiredness and bad moods, And getting fined as I set up for my first real show of the tour didn't help.

Over the last few days i have realised that i have to decide what kind of trip I want this to be. I can let my moods and emotions rule me and be tossed about from pillar to post, and probably get a lot of bruises on the way. Or I can take each new day as a gift, an opportunity, to experience the wonders of this world, to know myself, to seek after God, and to be blessed and be a blessing to the people I meet.
So I set off this morning determined to put the worries/regrets and disappointments of the past few days behind me. 
The sun is shining and I have a beautiful road ahead... So here goes, 5 days to Vienna!