woensdag 12 juli 2017

june 24 Alsasua Spain - Geneva(ish) Switzerland.

Got to the supermarket next door again to get breakfast and snacks, we had a quick and great (and cheap) breakfast before we started the long trek through France.

I doubt thats a bicycle lane, along the highway :-) (maybe its allowed in Spain)

it took me a few days to realise whats up with this sign... thats not in Spanish, it's Basque!
Sad that we had to leave Spain behind so soon, but happy that we were back a country with slightly less adventourous communication.
The first part to Bordeaux was boring again, very flat, but then we “took a right” and drove towards Lyon, eastwards. Quickly the scenery changed, and it kept changing, but untill we drove into the gorgeous Jura mountains in the evening, it was just picture book perfect France. Apparently this is the Dordogne. Stunning countryside, with hills, woods, streams, little villages, castles on top of hills, brown cows in fields. I can just imagine people on bikes with french breads. Sometimes green hills, other times a valley as far as the eye could see with mountains in the distance.

One of the awesome things we saw was an ancient volcano, that really showed the round crater on top of it, and other volcanos around it. Pretty neat!

we listened to some music, got Robert B hooked on the Bottle Rockets :-D (loved to half sleep and listen to Brians voice by the way)

Also a new never ending stream of tollbooths. We also invented Toll Boots and Tol bots. ("Give-me-your-money-beep")
Level of silly kept climbing. The Roberts thought it would be fun to just climb through the window and over the roof for changing the driver. Bonus points would be a traffic camera at the point that one of them would be sitting on the roof. Great idea!
As some of you might have noticed that a lot of silly updates FB came from me n the road. Yeah yeah, I joined the darkside.  I’m happy that I can make silly updates and fool around with it, but on the other hand I dont like how it distracts me. But hey its only for this tour.... I always only use free wifi anyway.
Also a big thank you to the superpatient Anne who walked me through the use of these things :-) Me old fart!

We made a few stops, and if theres one thing I dont like about France is their PUBLIC TOILET yuuuuuckkk.... no details, and these were not even the worst ones. Anyway.
Always a crime to get out of the car and to get back on the back seat. I’m totally stiff and sore esp after that polar late night Fogetry party last night (that came after long trips and short night before that) Starting to feel a bit weird as soon as I get on my feet. The earth feels shaky, I assume its my knees that are weak.... Anne and I realised that we officially turned the backseat into a warzone now with colothes and hoodies and food and  books and bags and diaries everywhere. (but we're no pigs: we have a trashcan)

Ofcourse we had to leave the highway for a detour, we didnt pay attention and ended up driving cirlces in some tiny sleepy village near Lyon before we finally found the way back. After that we decided to get some food, so we took the first “exit” for a truckstop restaurant, but it was closed due to renevation. (please, dont be bothered to say so on your highway sign!) The next one 50 kms later really was off the highway, but there WAS no restaurant. It did have a spectaculair view on the mountains with a lake though!

There were only tiny villages because we were in the mountains, but at least we had enough gas. We drove on and decided to take the first one that did NOT say restaurant, and that ended up with a great meal for all of us :-D and they had the cleanest toilets so far!

we were almost at our hotel now. We’re going to see Johni n Switzerland tomorrow, but it was cheaper to stay near the border in France (F1, check) much to our suprise we all of a sudden were confronted with the Swiss border! and, a flock of border patrol people that were bored and flagged us over! they asked a lot of questions.... maybe it was our “we came from France! oh wait, we came from Spain!” that made us suspicious. The were speaking French but we were not sure if they were French or Swiss nor where we were. We could hear them discuss about wether or not they were going to take us aside and search our car. Ofcourse we didnt have any illegal stuff with us, but just the delay it would cause! It probably didnt help much either that I asked them "where are we?"
We held our breaths and thank god we could go on.
Next problem :-) we were in Switzerland but we had to be in France. But you gotta love Europe, within 5 minutes the same highway brought us back in France :-D

We found the hotel perfectly fine. Its a nice hotel if you’re trafeling trough, or if you like the hostel experience haha. For now we were here because there were no reasonable other places in the direct near distance. Oh well the beds are good! Again, we were shocked when we entered, but it all works out in the end. And we had to *buy* a towel. We needed brutal powers and duct tape to open the window, but we fixed it.
standing in the doorway :-)

June 23: Bordeaux(ish) France - Vitoria, Spain

Much till our suprise the 3,5 euro breakfast wasnt al that bad. For me they had cold milk for my oatmeal :-D and a few very good coffees. Anne and I admired the spectacular humminbird hawk moths that were buzzing around the flowers at the entrance.

It was only a 5 hrs drive to our hotel, we werent really impressed by the views here but (maybe because of all the coffee) the ride wasnt that bad. The number of omnipresent tollbooths increased and now  it looks like there was one every 3 km, it completely turned into a joke. We saw a banana tree near the border and crossed the Pyrenees mountains, beautifull high green hills with low hanging clouwds around the tops.
We entered Spain, Basque country; also very green and smaller hills, it reminded us a bit of austria and slovinia. Its not the first image that pops into yur head when you say Spain, and I like that. It didnt take long before we noticed that the language here, Basks, was somehing special. it doesnt look (or sound, probably) like Spanish at all! you know me, language nerd, so that was a nice extra for the rest of the day. Anne agreed that a lot of the words looked like Finnish.

Spain provides riddles at the highway: what is this object? A) a comet B) a flat soccerball kicked very fast C) an octopus thats stuck and tries to get away D) a showerhead.

Our hotel was in a little town called Alsasua 30 mins from the festival. I’m still surprised they had a hotel there. It looked like a little sleepy town, very cute but not touristic. Ofcourse getting IN the hotel was not just that simple, they didnt have a reception, you had to call a number, but ofcourse nobody spoke English and our spanish is not really that good. After a while (Anne and me watching the men) a woman ran out of the “cervezeria” next door and called them, and registered us (this sounds lot easier than it was haha) she registered Robert as Robert Hasselt.  Sure!

the Roberts on the phone trying to check in at the hotel

Much to our relieve, the hotel was superclean and nice. The well needed shower we all took was fantastic and we were glad we had such a nice place to come back tonight after a long day.

Leave it to me to find a supermarket, in this case around the corner. We went there for some snacks an water, trying to figure out the language. (note to self: cookies with “egg flavour” are extremely unlikely) I enjoyed the quick visit. The average supermarket in Spain looks like the most fancy deli at home with all the nice exotic food.
great system! also with frozen veggies; pick as much as you need.

gigantic cans with olives - Annes leg for proportions

We filled our tank before leaving, couldnt help staring at the rate of the gas here. 93 cents per liter?! (1,20 at home) did we go back in time to 1997 or something? While getting gas, we noticed that there was a big tv screen attached to their building playing Fogerty live! Nice promotion!

Vitoria-Gasteiz was not that far and turned outto be a big city with wide streets and appartement blocks and it looked very exotic to me. The houses... the tiles on the streets.... that intruging Basque language everywhere... (it even has its own font!)

Euskal Herria : Basque Country

Basque font! as seen on many places.

We were expected by our FB buddy Max in a restaurant but we were stuck in the kinda hysterical traffic (serious, how do they do roundabouts! and that weird lights!) and then when we were near the restaurant, it took us ages to find it. But we did in the end, and it was well worth the traffic!
We were awaited by at least 20 nice Spanish Fogerty friends! it was a bit overwhelming at first, we were going like “uhm, ola!, hehe....” and sat down. (at least the Roberts went to introduce themself to everyone) Facundo from ARGENTINA was there also! we met Max lovely wife and daughter, Cliff was also there.

It just couldnt get any nicer that afternoon. The language barrier was no problem at all. It was about friends and good food and having a GREAT time.
The food *was* good... mmmm... nice tapas... like the HUUUUUGE aspergas (!!) the ham, the langostines... ordering the main dish was a bit chaotic. Anne is allergic to fish, we didnt understood the waiter, who didnt understand us, Cliff tried to help, our neighbour tried to help so in the end I was pointing at myself going “fish” and to Anne “no fish” this times 1000. So I got fish, and Anne no fish but meat. It was all very tasty, but for me there was a lack of vegetables (none) but that was a minor detail.
"theres an Eiffeltower in your fish!"

Taking lots of pictures with everyone, and we left to the festival.

We ended up parking the car a few blocks from the festival, so we had to do a small walk, wich was no problem at this point. I enjoyed the stroll on the typical spanish “sidewalk” in the middle, with trees on both sides and shiny street tiles.

We didnt exactly knew where it was but all we had to do was follow the alternative rockfans.
Azkena Rock Festival (ARF) is quite a weird festival for John to play in one way, it has lots of alternative” bands, rockabilly, punk etc. But that was great, it was nice looking at all the rockfans, the alternativly dressed people, girls in crazy outfits, all those handsome dark long hair bearded rockers aaahhhh .... ehm, sorry hehe. 

Also cool band shirts everywhere. I was wearing my bottle rockets shirt because of Cheap Trick (long story) also becaus I couldnt find the Fogerty shirt i first wanted to wear. Then I realised that the BR are very populair here too, but unfortunately nobody adressed me about it.
I saw lots of Tom Petty shirts and even Sweden Rock ( = festival) shirts.

We checked out the frontrow first (John had to play on the mainstage, called "God") met Henry and Jan the truckdrivers and a lot of our new Spanish friends. And Arnold, ofcourse :-D , and a bit later, Karel from Belgium too. (still impressed that Robert B recognized him from 500m distance)
With Jan and Henry

When Facebook buddies meet: Max and Henry

At the entrance we got a bracelet with a “payless” chip in it, wich you had to upload to pay with on the festival grounds. Very clever as you cant lose it and its always within reach. Too bad that its not too easy to get the leftover money back, so you have to think very well before you uploead it. We decided that only Anne and me would upload them.
We didnt have a clue howmuch a drink was, and nobody spoke english, (not even the young!) so it all went very chaotic and in the end the Roberts ran away to get a spot at the front.

We discovered the merchandise stand, wich had fantastic new Fogerty shirts, and festival shirts, and learning it the hard way, we went to buy them now they still had them.

Going to the front wasnt very difficult and we watched a band called The Shelters.
After that; Cheap Trick. I'm not really a fan of their music, and most of all, I've had a huge dislike of their biggest hit Surrender, that for me was the biggest whiny song ever. Sorry fans! But, I thought, now I'm here, I'll give them a chance; I'm totally ready to be blown away, I'd love to!

While getting ready onstage, a weirdo appeared, that turned out to be Rick Nielsen He's as weird as they get. He stole my heart the moment he walked out in front of the audience pre-show to talk to the fans, while brushing his teeth...

Their show was actually pretty nice, though I discovered its still not my music. I only knew a very few songs, but man they're entertaining. Not in the last place because of all the weird guitars Rick Nielsen is playing. They did a great job and know how to fill a stage.
I never saw so many guitarpicks being thrown into the audience before. Rick Nielsen sometimes used up to 5 pieces to play one song. As guitarplayers' microphones stands usually have a strip with 10 guitarpicks glued to them, his was completely covered in picks and it looked like a piece of art. Still not sure what happened, but at a certain moment it looked like a guitarpick bomb went off and 100's were flying through the air, in all colors of the rainbow. It happened again later, so everyone had one. I even had enough to give away to random fans who came to ask after the show.
Tom Petersson

Robin Zander

Encore was the dreaded song "Surrender", maybe it was just the atmosphere they created, the great show, but it had me jumping up and down and enjoying every second of it, haha!!

Anne is adapting to the local folklore

The temperature went down even more and by now it was freezing, I wore the two new shirts as a scarf. Still very cold in my shorts. This was not really how I imagined a Spanish summernight concert would be.

this was our actual color at the time as it was at least minus 200 F° by now

Fogerty's soundcheck lasted a bit, espcially his microphone kept being tested. His roadie kept walking back to say "Si! Si! Si! Uh! Oh!" so many times, it didnt only became a running joke during the trip, we're still saying at home one week later. Si!

This must have been the first time I saw John start a show at 00.30AM. Oh boy!
The show was great, but technically speaken not flawless, probaly because it was the first one. Still great! At a certain level of bands you wont get bad shows, just less perfect. I had a great time dancing and it was great to see everyone again. Too bad it was SO COLD!  We got a few discrete smiles from John, and a big grin from Kenny, who was just about to take our picture when they shut down the audience lights.... Show ended around 2AM. Better not think about it too much.

A few aftertalks with our friends, we collected some nice festival cups (one of them holds 8.5 deciliter :-D ) I ordered food in Spanish woohoo!! (actually I read it from a menu, but they were very impressed haha) we had the worst french fries EVER,

said goodbye to everyone and left. I was so tired I almost crawled back to the car. Short drive to the hotel, and our supernice beds, for a fantastic but very short night.

June 22 Hasselt - Bordeaux(ish)

Lets drive to Spain! Everyone we told we were going to drive instead of flying, looked at us with faces that said it all. On the other hand, they're not Million Milers, and nothing beats a road trip. We're driving to Spain because it would be the easiest solution of some logistic problems.Vehicle of choice: Robert B’s hybrid Volvo, equipped with lots of functions and buttons I’d only expect at the Starship Enterprice or random UFO. Ready for the first few hurndered of miles,

Find the Eiffeltower....

This is a very warm day. To our surprise, the GPS sent us straight into the Periferique of Paris. Not only did we see the Eiffeltower, it was also totaly constipated, and while driving slowly trhough one of the many tunnels, temperatur rose untill a scorching 41°C/105°F. Anne and I entertained ourself on the backseat with acting goofy, chatting and chilling, and we finally found a name for the crochet teddybear I bought in Paris 2 weeks ago; Jacques de Paris!

It was quite a long drive, we made a few stops, we uninentially went to Tours :-D and we admired the extremely boring French “West”.

Robert A and B take turns on driving (my driving isnt good enough yet) and Robert B made an hotspot on his phone so we could get online via him.

The Volvo turned out to be extremely fancy. We name it "the button car" He even gives you a warning when you start zigzagging a bit too much "you are tired! take a break!" the only thing it doesnt do, is make us coffee. We're dissapointed.

It's about 10 hrs drive "netto".... and we're not even in Spain. We forgot that we were going to spend the night in a F1 hotel, ohno! (worst prepaired trip ever, glad Robert B did a lot of good work)
If you're not familiar with F1, its basically a hostel type of hotel with double and tripple rooms, with common bathrooms in the hallways. The double rooms we had, were very spartan, very hot, very small, and the provided towel had the size of a tissue.
we were a bit grumpy first, but hey, we were there, and we're going to make the best of it. The room arrangements for the rest of the trip would be; Anne and me, and the Roberts together.

we were hungry and just around the corner, in the middle of no where, was an all you can eat asian restaurant, so we did our best. Guess who found the french fries! I almost got frogleggs on my plate because I didnt read the french name. Ahh!!! Completely full we crawled back to our rooms. Opened the door and window for fresh air, what worked very well, and I installed Facebook on my smartphone. I'm not a fan of smartphones, I normally only use mine to call and text, but hey, on tour, and with nonstop free wifi via Robert B, I thought, why not.
It meant that Anne had to walk me through the whole thing. There were functions and "buttons" on my phone I never used. I felt stupid and old, maybe karma, as I asked her earlier "do you remember cameras with film?"

Because of the hot weather, a lot of people opened the doors of their rooms, what gave me a very nice and comfy feeling. We also opened the door, and we didnt feel unsafe one moment, being two women alone, with all these strange men walking by. In fact everyone that passed and saw us, friendly said hi. We watched our neighbour across the hallway getting locked outside in his underwear, desperately trying to open the door (very annoying locks) He had to wait for his friends to come back, and we quietly made fun of him.

We talked and laughed way too late into the night, but we had a better sleep than we thought would have.
sunset as seen from our room

picture credits: me and Anne

maandag 17 oktober 2016

sept 27th: Hop on the LOVE BUS for the Hoover Dam, Route 66 and the Grand Canyon

Second night in row that we didnt wake up at 3 am!
Got out of bed early and were picked up by shuttle van that took us to the Grand Canyon tourbus! we were the last ones to get in so we had to sit in the back, behind a large group of people that turned to be Irish.
As soon as we got out on the road, the driver introduced himself. His name was Derek, and it became very clear that he was a special kind of special. The whole bus went hysterical but I thought „OMG guys its just 7am, I cant handle this“ also as it turned out the Irish were kinda „special“ too (I’ll be never embarred about Dutch people abroad anymore!) Anyway first thing Derek said that we were NOT allowed to complain about the airco. I was slowly turning into an icerock and thought, how am I ever going to survive this day??
„no complaining today!" he said „this is the Love Bus!"
forget the Love Boat, here's the LOVE BUS!

First stop on the tour was Hoover Dam, and before there it became clear to me that Derek was not only hysterical funny, but also a very well skilled guide that knew a lot about the things we passed, like the water shortage (the lakes are getting dry!)and the town of Boulder, Nevada, that was build for the workers of the Hoover Dam back in the 1930‚s and how gamblin and alcohol were not allowed here. also told about his first experiences here and how he saw the town change and how a bunch of hotshots now live in the hills. I loved how he mixed facts with feelings while telling about the things we passed. Oh yeah and silly stories too ofcourse. During the day I started wondering if he might have missed his calling as stand up comedian :-) He was having conversaties with himself and with „people that werent there“ in weird voices to explain things to us. (did work!)
While explaining the rules of the bus and the trip, like that you have to be back at the bus in time, and that you were only alowed to pee in the bus’ restroom „liquids only people! LIQUIDS ONLY“ and that we had to look out to get back in the right bus, but he put a „love bus“ sign on it so we would recognize it :-)
anyway without going on too long about him, he was worth the admission of the trip himself :-)

Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge/highway 93. Pat Tillman was a professional American football player who gave up his carrier to join the army and got killed by friendly fire.....

Hoover Dam was amazing and impressing! so was the bridge over the Colorado River. We made a quick photo stop (and for me; a mad dash to the souvenirstand for a magnet first :-D )
we all made sure to be back at the Love Bus on time, but a mom and her 2 teens werent and they looked horrible embarresed (and they were back as first during the rest of the day - lession learned!)
Turns out Hoover Dam is the state border with Arizona, how cool is that. we did get very confused by the two clocks though. (some one please explain in very simple words).
At least the icy airco was turned to normal, phew.
Robert asked Derek „can you say all that stuff in French maybe? We’re from Belgium“ (-most americans assume everyone in Belgium speak french)
Derek  „hmmm I cant i’m afraid“
Robert „oh good, because we wouldnt understand it“
Derek „I have to keep a good eye on you today, am I right“

the dam and the Colorado river... the white markings on the rocks show how high the river used to  be!

Colorado river on the other side of the dam

is there life on Maaaaaars? (yes! and a highway!)

Arizona desert
On our way to Kingman Arizona now, for a quick rest stop for food or restroom, where we were handed lunch.
the scenery changed here to desert with a few single mountains. In the distance we saw cities with lots of small houses.

Robert and Betty Lou at the Kingman, AZ, truckstop.

Roberts Americana lunch
Next stop was the infamous Seligman, Arizona.
You might know that the movie „Cars“ was more or less based on this little town.
I got this from Wiki:
„The Seligman was on the original U.S. Route 66 from 1926 through 1978, when Interstate 40 bypassed it a couple miles south. Seligman experienced its real heyday after World War II, when returning veterans and other motorists hit the road and made the Southwest a popular tourist destination. The Seligman Commercial Historic District protects the historical central area's early 20th century commercial buildings along Historic Route 66, a revived popular tourist destination. Historic district contributing properties include the include Pitts General Merchandise Store and the U.S. Post Office from 1903, the Pioneer Hall and Theatre and the Seligman Garage from 1905, and the Seligman Pool Hall from 1923.

In 1987 Seligman gained its name “Birthplace of Historic Route 66” due to the efforts of Seligman residents, who convinced the State of Arizona to dedicate Route 66 a historic highway. Seligman is the first stop heading west on the longest uninterrupted stretch of historic Route 66, running around 160 miles (260 km) to Topock on the east side of the Colorado River.“

in the bus we saw a documentairy about Angel Delgadillo, the towns barber, and his work to make Route 66 an historic highway and to preserve the road.

When we entered from interstate 40 it is clear how the new interstate cuts off the town! A big freight train just passed but when we stopped it was gone unfortunately.
We had only 15 minutes, parked in front of the barber shop and everybody ran out. We were greeted by some friendly locals who invited us (our bus, and some other hoards of tourists) in for free coffee. I took a quick look but no specific Seligman magnets so i dedicated the short time to look at all the old cars that were everywhere. (didnt find a green/white 1975 Suburban though :-D) It would have been fun to look around a bit longer, though everything is very touristic, but still cool. (we saw a sign saying „food & stuff“ that cracked us up)

crowd in front of Angels barbershop (good for them to have some people visiting the village again)

People were standing on the middle of the road to have their picture taken.
Robert and I always unintentially end up on Route 66, many times in Chicago and LA, and a few times in between too, and we were only here becuase the bus was, but still cool, and ofcourse this will add to the Route 66 memories when Dr Feelgood plays the song.
Back in the bus i found Robert and Betty Lou, and she had bought me an awesome Route 66 purse, how sweet of her!
Though it was the most touristic thing I ever did,(only thing missing was Derek with an folded umbrella to show us the way)  it was still fun.
food & stuff and standing in the middle of The Road

Robert and me on Route 66
Now we were really on our way to The Grand Canyon. I was getting nervous, I never really had the Grand Canyon on my bucketlist, and first thing I always said was „isnt Bryce much cooler?“ I expected not to be impressed by it and considered it just as a touristic „must see“ as Seligman. A few red rocks with lines on it.
To my surprise, Derek said that when he told his friends he was going to do Grand Canyon tours, they all went hysterical and his reaction was „what ever“
Just like me he said „it was never on my bucket list and I’m not into national parks“
Then he told us how much it hit him the first time he was there, and it even made him cry, being overwhelmed by the beauty, and that he saw a lot of grown men cry, during the years.
I thought „hm, whatever“

He dealed out a sheet with stickers with the name of the company and the telephonenr in case we would get lost. He stood there saying „put the sticker over here“ and pointed at his chest. While we all knodded understandingly and went „yes sir“ one of the Irish yelled „What, on YOU?“Everyone exploded in laughter and it was the only time I saw him lost for words. I think he wont easily forget those Irish.
Getting nearer to the South Rim he explained the options and the rules. We would be there for 3 hrs, we could do what we want, he would wait for 15 minutes and then LEAVE, no matter if we were all back or not. The ones that didnt make it back in time had either to spend the night in one of the lodges, or book a different bus back.
He gave some options on what we could do, and we trusted on Betty Lou who had done this trip before and we did the „scenic walk from Mathers point to the Bright Angel Lodge“
As he was making things clear, he kept repeating „Bright Angel Lodge“ so we wouldnt forget it. I think he said it at least 25 times in 3 mintes (at least, he promised to do so)
In the end the Irish were all yelling „Derek where we going?“ and „I forgot the name!“ by then I wouldnt mind them to shut up, and when Derek told them there was a pub in the lodge, we feared the worst.
Did we have any more questions, about ANYTHING that wasnt clear? yes ofcourse the Irish had: „Derek, I have this weird spot on my back that worries me, can you please look at it?"


He said „Mathers point“ would be „a bit crowded“ but when we felt out of the bus I was stunned by the amount of other tourists I saw. Crowds and crowds and crowds of people getting in eachothers way to take a picture and to block the view (yes, yes, I blocked others peoples view too, to take pictures)
Behind that, in a light haze, the Grand Canyon, as seen from  the South Rim.
Even though there were more people around me than on the Strip on a saturday night (I might not be exaggerating) I couldnt not NOT be impressed by what i saw.
Red mountains with stripes, yes, but as soon as I saw it I understood why so many people come here.
Words nor pictures discribe the beauty of the Grand Canyon. I didnt cry, but I quietly stared at the immense beauty of nature in front of me. Some of the rocks were lit by sun that came between the clouds. Red rocks as far as the eye could see, and white rocks with funny shapes...

The massive crowd of people got a bit in my way though, and felt a bit dissapointed at that, but then again, I was one of them.
While staring at the view, a man pointed out the trash that has been trown over the edge and shook his head. How disgusting! What a disrespect! I have never done that ever in my whole life, and especially cant imagine doing it on a place like this!
(if you look close you see the idiots who climbed all the way up there)

we had 3 hours to do the 3 mile/4,8 km walk. Now normally you can do at least 9 miles in 3 hrs, but not when you walk the South Rim of the Grand Canyon going all „lalaladeedah and clickclickclick“ as Derek put it.
Luckly, the massive crowd stayed put at Mathers Point and slowly the trail we were walking (going very „lalaladeedah and clickclickclick“ ) got a bit less crowded.
we heard all kind of languages around us and looked at the idiots that climbed over the rail to take pictures of them on tips of rocks.

one of my favorite pictures
Probably took a 1000 pictures that walk.... though I understood my view was impossible to capture.
I just never ever saw something like it. It wasnt hysterical special, I didnt cry, but it was very easy to get lost staring at it. I cant imagine what it will be like IN the canyon instead of looking at it and I wouldnt mind going back to find out. That IS on my bucket list now! There were some signs along the trail, we werent worried about getting lost, but we didnt know how far we still had to go.
The further we got, less people were around, and the more impressive it became. Especially the second part of the trail where we were „alone“ a big part of the time, or in companion of quiet hikers, really really hit me.

we found a rock that looked like a steak :-D
It was not just silent, but the silence seemed to be a thing of its own, coming from the canyon, sensible, touchible, hearable, undiscribable, almost oppressive.
By now the some weird shaped rocks had shown up, and on the left side there was a forest with small trees.
We’ve already seen squirrels, but were told not to aproachh them as they are apparently evil and vicious. We saw one eating a gummy worm (winegum) and tried to talk him out of it but he was just sitting there going nom nom nom with the elastic blue gummy worm in his little hands :-P

on our way to the Canyon we found out that theres a trainstation (!!!!!) Robert asked about it at home, and I got hysterical with the thought that there would be a train going there, but there is! It stops right at the lodges near Bright Angel Lodge. When we arrived we saw them, one of those with scenic glass roofs, very cool!
we also HEARD them, while walking the trail, and as you understand that made my day :-)

Other that trains and squirrels, we saw chipmunks that look very cute (they were very skittish unlike the squirels) a condor!! deer and elk!
The elk just stared at us from under the bushes. Apperantly they can be pretty nasty too if they attack you so glad they stayed there. I loved how the hikers carefully waved at eachother to inform them and whispered and were quiet and respectfull.

As the canyon is millions of years old, a part of the trail was dedicated to the different types of rocks they are made of. very informative. And very time consuming, as they invite you to touch all the sliced in half rocks. Some were extremely beautifull and one looked like a gigantic steak :-D

we started to worry about the time. I dug up the map and noticed we were not quiet as far as we thought and told the others „no more lalaladeedah and clickclickclick!“ we have to move fast a bit now!!
managed to walk fast untill the next turn in the road provided us with another stunning view and we had to leave the trail to the (designated) viewing point to stare and gasp.
Along the way were many rocks to sit on and stare, I tried one and immedeatlly understand how easy it would be to sit here all day and stare at this piece of mother nature. I can understand people find god in places like this.

quiet & humbled, staring, listening to the silence

spot the elk!

bizarre melted tree
another look at the map caused some panic, so we had to run the last part, but then arrived Bright Angel Lodge just early enough to get a souvenir.
Derek showed up with the Love Bus and everyone thanked him for his suggestion of doing the walk along the South Rim.
we were relieved that the Irish were not drunk and crashed in our seats for the long way back home. There were two movies to watch; Martian and Mall Cop, but I decided to look outside, even though the dessert was „just“ dessert, it was more interesting. (though Martian provided the earworm "Starman" by Bowie) We drove through Kaibab national forest and then the desert.
the Irish were getting too corny „what you call three trees? a small forest“ ba-dum-dishhh“
We passed Seligman on the 1 40 and got out in Kingman for a short break.
By then we were all pretty tired, it had been a very long and impressive day.
Got back in Vegas around 10pm and got a tour to a few hotels to drop off people and then it was our turn. we thanked him from the bottom of our hearts and I said he was at least half of the fun and he went „you’re my favorite person on the bus!“ but he just said that to Betty Lou so I said „do you mind if I dont believe you!“ haha!
extremely tired but just as happy we felt of the bus.
Robert and Betty Lou went straight up to the swimmingpool but I decided to stay in the suite and enjoy some alone time.

Pictures by Robert and me