A Travellerspoint blog

The end of my travels and begining of my life as a tourist

just for formality

In my first entry, i explained the difference between a traveller and a tourist.

I believe and hope to think of myself as a traveller.
Convinced by my friend and my laziness, I did however, joined a 15 Day tour at the end of my trip
If you want to know the itinerary http://www.topdeck.travel/europe-trips/euroclub-htcrl/eastern-spirit

If you want to hear more from me, i can tell you when we meet about this tour.

For the people who will never get to meet me or hear from me personally.
The summary is this,
In my entire travel as compared to my last 15 days on the tour

I spent less money,
Had better food,
Made better friends,
talked with more locals,
had much more time,
enjoyed myself much more,
.....sorry you gotta hear the rest from me ( forgotten some)

Joining this tour is a learning experience for me and has helped me to understand and know the difference between my individual traveling and that of the tour.

I urge everyone who stumbles upon this blog, to travel !
Do it !
Better still do it yourself !
Even better still do it for long !
As this is my travel blog, and i have already come back to Singapore, i probably wont be travelling anytime soon as school starts in August for the next 4 years ! There might not be many entries, but if i ever travel again, it is sure to go in here.
If you wish to contact me leave a comment and i will respond :)

I leave you all with one of my favourite travel quotes :)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

God bless you,

Shawn lee :)

Posted by shawnified 20:18 Comments (2)

The Grand Ending

We came too late and left too early !

overcast 14 °C

One of the defining moments of staying with the Werner family was when we were having supper with Daniel, Cyril and Andy.
Half of the time was spent planning activities and talking about us.
Cyril:" What are you doing on saturday ? When i get off work, i want to bring and show you switzerland" ( went on to make many plans !)
Daniel : "ok so tmr you ll do this, and the day after we will do this"
Suddenly,
Daniel" Guys what do you want to do ? Do you have anything planned out ?"

(we have no idea what to do and was just following their plans)
Shawn and Jason: " We will just follow you guys :) "
Daniel: " HAHA, we make more plans for you than you make for yourself ! "

I was really touched and felt a deep sense of warmth inside, we were daniel's friends but the rest of the family did not come with the attitude, they are daniel's friends and he will take care of them but the entire family wanted to and made the effort to get to know us, bring us around....
Lovely

After the Supper we had a crazy idea to go back to the bunker and get the speedometer we found !
It was past midnight and pitch black :) haha,
We were suppose to get up around 6.15 the next morning....
We overslept ! So did Daniel !
Haha, when i walked past his door the next morning, and we both stared at each other and simultaneously burst out laughing.

Thursday.
We went to work, We relocated a 5/6 m high stack of hay by hand ( No joke)
Tiring it was, but the main problem for me was the massive dust cloud being stirred up which than brought chaos and fire in my nose.
But ! we had a Raclette for lunch ! Ooo lala
We help with some gardening after lunch and than had a special dish for dinner.
I have no idea what it was called but it was basically a giant bowl of strawberries, muesli, yoghurt and milk.
It was super nice ! However, most singaporeans will not be used to it as, typical dinner for us is always warm and savoury.
We had a nice long chat with Cyril and Yvonne (really miss the both of them)
We than went for a BBQ at the Lake ! played basketball and than Daniel said to me, im going to the lake to hang again, you come too !
We were exhausted and had to wake up at 6 the next day so we wanted to go home !

Daniel than said :" Ok you drive back, and i ll come back later ! "
Shawn: " what ! really ? By myself ?"
Daniel :"Yes go ! :) "
Shawn (in the car after leaving daniel) :" WA, epic ! "

Friday.

We went to the Andy's family pig farm !
Haha, We helped to shove shit and clean all the pig pens !
Wa super dirty and smelly ! ( but we got used to it after awhile haha)
We were working with Josef ( Slovakia) Super capable and trusted worker ! ( there was only him and Andy's Dad working in the massive farm)
We watched him remove the teeth of baby pigs, helped him feed the pigs as well as tried pig cheese ! ( yes made with pig's milk ! )
It was hard work, and a little back braking as we had to bend down the entire time to work.
We had a nice Rosti lunch and went back to work,
It was time to Castrate the pigs ! ( due to the strict laws in switzerland, the pigs were gassed first)
Imagine someone grabbing you, gassing you and you wake up with your balls gone...
Yes, that is what happened to the pigs :(
Yes, i did it to one of them.

We came back from work exhausted but the delicious Risotto Rice and the great chat with Daniel's two sister was made us really happy !
She is from ETH ! ( yes i didnt know what it was until i googled it ! )

Things go up, things go down,
But at least the Lord is always around.

We went for a Road trip to the Gothard the next day, and when we came back, Daniel said,
You have two options, either you rest or i teach you to drive the tractor ( If you have to guess which one we chose, slap yourself :) )
Yes ! a tractor !!!

Sunday morning ! ( mother's day ! )
I sent my mum an email wishing her happy mother's day and than Daniel took us hiking !
We drove 80km to the foot of the mountain and started our hike !
Once we started, i knew immediately that all my other hiking trips werent really hiking haha !
( i was drenched in sweat ! and feeling really tired )
I have no idea why, the entire time, i was thinking to myself, i climb Biang with FBO and can climb so much in the army with FBO now so lousy embarrassing Singapore haha !
Daniel hadnt climbed in 10 years but he was really doing it faster than us !
When an old lady overtook me and Daniel turned around and asked if i was ok
I replied, " IF they can, I must ! "
There were really alot of old people climbing the mountain ! SUPER ZAI !
We finally arrived at the top 1,794 m Hoher Kasten !
The view at the top, tre jolie !!!
You could see 4 countries, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein
Really Epic, it was surrounded by the Alps.
We had a nice lunch and found Nody ! ( the worker in daniel's farm who was from that village, like the village lao jiao)
he led the Descent and showed us how to do it the Nody way haha :)

The next part was really sad but happy...
We rushed back, and went to Ida's house to help prepare dinner, RACLETTE mother's day dinner ! :)
really nice dinner but inside i was a little sad that the next day, we would be leaving...
I cant find the right words to describe the atmosphere and food at a dinner.
Maybe this intangible feeling is what made it so special...

"People are not people without people" Shawn :)

Posted by shawnified 19:55 Archived in Switzerland Tagged backpacking couchsurfing wwoof Comments (0)

Swiss never Fails

I didnt save the best for the last The last was saved by the best ! haha :)

overcast 16 °C

Good Day everyone,

To anyone who has been reading regularly ( matthew tan !!!) i apologise for this long interval between my post.
Hopefully, you will be entertained in this one :)

We had an early breakfast and Marie Francoise gave us a Baguette as well as alot of cheese and more food, She than gave jason a recipe book and me (le petit prince) a French story book ! ( to encourage me to learn french haha ) Gave us both a kiss and than off we went in Adrien's car for the train station.

Super long journey ( >7 hours) to Winterthur, Switzerland to meet our next host Daniel Werner :)
On the way there, we got to experience the negative effects of the French attitude towards work.
The SNCF train drivers went on strike ! haha ! So instead of the 4 trains we were taking, we now had to take 3 trains and a bus Pek chek.
Everyone was confused and complaining...i thought to myself, all is good as long as i arrive in Daniel's house before 10pm.

We notified Daniel that we were going to be late and arranged to meet at the train station, unfortunately there was some miscommunication as i didnt know he was out and planned to meet us in the train, but thank God we were saved by Daniel's wit and initiative. He just popped into the train and randomly ask us if we were couchsurfers ! haha !! :) Epic.
His brother Cyril than drove us back from the train station.

The Werner Farm ( Dad, mum, Daniel, 2 sis and 1 bro)

When i arrived, i was immediately blown away...
Our first farm was a vegetable farm ( a really small one with 12 green houses +- 7 Ha)
Our second "farm" was a bed and breakfast ( 34 Ha, but it wasnt used for anything except for taking walks and climbing trees haha ! )
Now the Werners Farm was i think the biggest ( +- 40 ha and with 3000 chickens and i cant remember how many cows but yes, you can imagine :) )
They produced milk ( i totally forgot how many litres but when daniel told me i fell off the chair, i think it was 300 or more ) and chickens for their meat. Apart from this, all the wood in their forrest was used to heat the house and for other misc stuff...
Their farm house was really nice and was also super old ( if i remembered right 8 generations) Woah !!!

Our room was also really nice, we had a TV and a giant bed and sheets and...

So that night, we had a quick simple dinner and than Daniel brought us jogging ! Yes jogging ( at around 9-10 pm) weee !
We jogged through the small village, and into the forrest ( some places were pitch black) and finally we arrived at a place where we were overlooking Germany ( lake constance and Konstanz, germany ) and than on the way back, Daniel brought us to an old Bunker (used for defence in world war II )
It was locked, but someone had broken in already, so imagine 3 guys slowly creeping into a hole in the ground in the pitch black forrest only guided by the light from daniel's handphone... EPIC
After that, shower and crash :)

The next day: Breakfast ( fresh milk !!!)

Shawn ( after climbing up from the floor after being stunned by the amount of milk produced daily) : So your family has never bought milk in your life ?
Daniel ( smiling and proudly proclaiming): No :)
Shawn and jason : yes ! we love milk ! haha :)

We than went to see Nody at work. He let the chickens out of their chicken house and than went to mix hay for the cows and proceeded to feed them. We than helped to prepare and had a delicious lunch :)
While i was a little free i started watching " There will be blood" Great movie :)
We than went grocery shopping with Daniel's mom, our commander and boss :)
We had 2 fridges( 1 was full with yoghurt) and 2 freezers...when we arrived at the supermarket, she asked us to buy more yoghurt but we both thought of the amount of yoghurt back home and couldnt bring ourselves to take anymore ! haha, but she took like 10 more anyway :)
While we were queing up, she handed me her wallet and told me to pay, i was shocked and amazed. ( generally jason and i are really honest and we have integrity but Daniel's mum didnt know us yet ! it was only our first day and she already gave us such a high level of trust ) i was really touched by that simple gesture... My own mom would never even think of passing her wallet to my friend and even for me she still would try to avoid it...
When we got back, we kept everything into the fridge and i kid you not when i say we were stocked for war :) like if there was a zombie attack or something, the werner house is the house to go :) haha

We were thinking of where to go for a walk when suddenly Daniel came back from school and said he would bring us to Konstanz ( Germany) Weee ! wait, remember i mentioned the trust Daniel's mom had for us, now Daniel said to me " ok you drive" ! wah !!!
And i have never driven in Europe, they drive on the right side of the road while Singaporeans drive on the wrong side ;) also they drive alot faster in the small narrow roads ! haha we parked the car and started walking. ( yes we survived my driving, haha)
Konstanz was a beautiful small town with many interesting shops...We had lunch along the river and than Daniel brought us to the Munster ( a church in the centre) We were going to climb up and i really thought it was free but turns out it was like 5 Euros and Daniel had to pay for the three of us ( Thank you Daniel )
It was the first time we had climbed up a church " tower" and the view was terrific ! we got to see a 360 view of konstanz ( the lake, the countryside, the city, switzerland...) really nice... I coukd have stayed up there for the entire day...
We walked some more and after that we went back, waiting for us in the Car was a ticket !!! ( oh crap, sorry daniel )
I really thought there was free parking everywhere in switzerland...

OK... im very tired now, so stay tuned for the next entry haha :)
but first some things to think about :)

Those who make religion their god will not have god for their religion. Thomas Erskine

There is a God we want and a God who is and they are not the same God...
The turning point of our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and seek the God who is. P. morley

I have no problem with alcohol
but i will have problems if i have no alcohol. Andy ( Daniel friend ) haha :)

Cheers !

Posted by shawnified 18:06 Archived in Switzerland Tagged farm daniel couchsurfing epic greatness shawn haha waldi Comments (0)

L'Escapade continued

It is only in the country that we can get to know a person or a book. :)

overcast 12 °C

We have been staying here for more than a week and it has been great, our work has been extremmely manageable , food great and people lovely.
I really enjoy the country side and am starting to realise that waking up to the mountains and big grass fields are something ill not experience once i get back.

There has been several random occassions that add extra flavour into the day here,

1) Hugo suddenly says: Shawn come outside and see the rainbow ! Beautiful Ranibow withthe mountains and a small village in the backdrop :) ( the pictures never do justice)

2)Marie( their mum) suddenly shouts out, look what the dogs brought for us !
IMG_1174.jpgIMG_1173.jpg
Haha, as Leon would say : Stunned

We spent a few hours working on monday. I was sawing wooden planks into the correct size in order to be 'pasted' to the wall.
After that we had a really dinner as there were guest around. (everytime there are guest the food goes 1 class higher and the courses go 2 courses more haha ! ) Our dessert were 2 different Pies Chocolate and Apple( this time the apple pie was way better than the 1 we had in Paris, lovely !) and the Chocolate Tart was like a Lava cake without the Lava :) But really super good ;)

The next day, we continued our work of putting the wooden planks on the wall ( its more or less finished now :) Adrien even said 'well i didnt know we would finish so fast' He really is the most hardworking French we have met so far. The ultimate DIY man, construction, cooking, taking care of children.....Imagine constructing and repairing an entire house by yourself.
While we were working, Hugo made so Crepe for tea and In jason's words ' It makes me not want to buy crepe outside anymore' haha
During dinner, we ate Rice ! It was the first time we had rice in Europe and oh, do i miss rice haha. The main dish were roasted pork stuffed with dates and cheese, and the other dish was a vegetable stew which again tasted so nice i had a second helping ( for those of you who dont know me, this is quite amazing ;) )

Wednesday,
We went to Marie's friend Sonia's Farm to help remove an old and construct a new fence for the field in order to allow the sheep, cow and goat more area. Sonia's husband ( a real chef) cooked lunch for us. After a tiring day, we came back for a simple dinner and crashed.
I slept for a long time....I hardly sleep so long, everytime i wake up from a long sleep, i dont feel good...

All this aside, most of you should know that i belong to Generation Y, i have always been sure that i do not conform to most of what describes a typical person in my generation. However, i have begun to see that i have been surrounded almost every second by unnecessary media ( which i find undesirable) Hence, i have decided to take a few days off the Internet and truly enjoy the Countryside before i leave.

On a lighter note, Today i experienced something i have always dreamed of doing but am unable to do in Singapore.
Lying in the big field surrounded by flowers and starring at the clouds. :) Lovely

Posted by shawnified 09:16 Archived in France Comments (3)

L'Escapade

“Tourists see the world, travelers experience it. “

sunny 14 °C

L'Escapade is a guest house, bed and breakfast with possibilitie to have diner and an house in a barn i'm renovating to host 20-25 people. We have 34 hectares half to produce hay for horses and half of forest to produce heating wood. We have pig also but we'll kill the first one to transform it this automne, it is the begining, we have chikens, ducks, gooses, horses, donkeys, goats and black sheep. Next year i want to produce patatoes and oignons and have some cows. The aim is to have a traditionnal poly-cultures to be the most as possible autonome. I'm sorry not to have an english good enought to explain it in details but you will see it soon!

This is what Adrien sent me in the first few emails we exchanged. When we first arrived, I was quite shocked as Adrian was alot younger than i imagined. He was 28 but already had 2 Kids (Raphael and Gabrielle) and looked really young. ( not as young aas lisa though haha) We were also very excited to enter the Bed and Breakfast, it was essentially a very old farm house ( build before 1631) and it had a fireplace ! haha. Adrien said it could get as cold as -20 at times. The ' farm consisted of 4 donkeys, 3 horses, 3 dogs, 5 pigs, 2 goats, 2 black sheep( baa baa black sheep ;) , 6 cats, 5 ducklings, 1 goose and 1 chicken...the rest of the farm area was mainly forrest. Adrien and his 2 sons stayed at the Attic of the house while the 4 guest rooms were at the second level. The barn was going to be a stage for plays and Theatre. The place we stayed at was an attachement to the main house. The entire basement was also quite big, cool and a little scary haha.
If any of you have heard of the movie Psycho by Alfred hitchcock, the entire scenario is quite similar.
I was explaining to Jason, how similar we were to the girl in the movie. 5 big house, mother that was never seen, friendly guy maitaining the entire bed and breakfast...) haha

He than proceeded to give us a tour of the entire house and the barn. We were given our own room(with heater !) and we had our own toilets. I couldnt see any significant difference between our rooms and the ones guest were given ( maybe a little dustier) and we had an even better view ! haha
After we settled down, It was almost dinner time and Adrien being extremely tired decided to whip up an extremely easy dish.
It was basically baby food, haha ( potatoes, carrots and tuna boiled and mashed). We took a shower and had an early night.

The next morning during breakfast, i asked adrien ' So what are we working on today ?'
His reply stunned me momentarily ' Today is wednesday ! we rest...ok lets bake a chocolate cake and apple pie !
Jason and Shawn ' ok !!! :) '
Haha, i whispered to jason, are we at the right place ?
So we spent most of the day cooking, baking, eating, chilling and talking and eating somemore. Weeee ! on holiday !

Thursday, after breakfast we finally started work, We realise that the next few days work will be mainly renovation and improvements to the guesthouse instead of working with nature like Bouligat, but we were fine with it.
We were showed to a room where plaster had been applied to all the walls and ceiling, and we had to smmothen out everything in order for the different surfaces to be painted. ( sounds easier than it is) With sandpaper, a machine that sands surfaces, a mask, and MP3 we started work. It was hard work and quite tiring, but the real thing that bothered me was the mask( it was extremely hard to breathe)
We wprked all the way till lunch without stopping :) ( singapore power ! ) haha Adrien than took us for lunch, and we continued working after lunch, but we worked so fast it was finished around 1 hour later :)
Than we rested and played ping pong and had dinner :)

(Good) Friday
I didnt know it was good friday until recently. ( i have lost track of time since i came) It felt like any ordinary friday. Oh well...
As there were guest coming today, We were going to help Adrien's mother who arrived last night to clean the house.
Adrien's mother ( Marie Francoise) said ' Sweep the living room, kitchen and after you can listen to some music, or use computer or do whatever you want'
Shawn thinking to himself ' EPIC' haha
We than cleaned the house asian styled :) We sweeped and mopped and wiped the tables the entire place looked different. :)
We also agreed that we would continue helping after that ( cannot la, stay there eat so much food than help a little only, haha )
After we finished, we were talking with ( we didnt know what to call her) Marie beside the fireplace.
All of a sudden a strong gust of wind blowed through the Chimney and stirred up all the ash distributing it finely across the living room....
Jason and I ( sian :( we clean for nothing) but it wasnt so bad, after some minimal cleaning, it was slightly better.
We than went to help remove a old fence, dig a small hole for the pond and relocate some rocks to build a wall. ( incomplete task as they were all big projects)
When Adrien came back( during our pizza lunch where i stuffed myself ;) ) , he had bought some wooden planks for the walls. He asked us to help him carry them up to the room that was being renovated. After less than an hour, we were done. Adrien: ok You are done for the day :)
Shawn and Jason : ok Ping pong time !!! haha :) ( Jason thrashed me)
We saw him walking past us a few more times and i asked, Do you need some help ?
Adrien: No, No its ok :)
After that, Shower and Dinner time, I asked Marie what was for dinner ?
Raclette !!! ( for those of you who dont know what it is !IMG_1778.jpg this is the the one i had in Switzerland ) oh the wonder of melted cheese (Leon you will love this !!!!)
Desserts was strawberries in mint Syrup ! ( she plucked the leaves with me !)

Oh man im so full now, i cant walk to my room !!!
You are going to see a fat shawn when i come back :(

Jules: Do you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France?
Brett: No.
Jules: Tell him, Vincent.
Vincent: Royale with cheese.

Posted by shawnified 08:33 Archived in France Comments (3)

To L'Escapade to meet Adrien :)

From Ulu, to ululu !

sunny 16 °C

In the previous post, i stated the different options to get to our next 'farm'. It was actually only 140 km away, but regular trains didnt go there so... That made things quite hard for us.
Adrien very kindly offered to pick us up from Aubenas, but when Lisa and Xavier heard it, they were surprised as it was around an hour drive away. (70km) So i decided, since we could take the bus (which saved us alot of time), we would arrive at 12 pm at aubenas( the halfway point) and we could try to hitchhike there.
Jason was very against the idea though, He felt since Adrien offered to pick us up at Aubenas, why hitchhike ?
I just felt bad making Adrien drive so far, just to pick us up... and if there was time to be wasted, why his instead of ours.
Lastly, for us it was a one way trip but for him, he had to pick us and go back.
I dragged Jason along and 'force' him to hitchhike with me. ;)
We got off the bus and after jason tried another attempt to not hitchhike and get a bus to Langogne (which failed ;) ) i navigated to what i thought was a good hitchhiking spot.

It was quite a walk, the sun was beating down on our backs, and the roads were all uphill, but i perservered on in excitement :)
We finally reached the highway 102 Put down our heavy bags and started hitching :)
The sun was not in our favour and the glare was really strong and coming from the same directions as the approaching cars.
After ten minutes, the first car stopped !!! It was a middle aged man, i told him Langogne ? He said no, but he was going to the next village 2 KM away, so we hopped in :) He was a PE teacher and was going to school. He than dropped us at a much better location where the sun wasnt shining directly in our faces.
After 15 minutes an old man stopped, langogne ? No but xxx village 5 km away, as he didnt speak English and i didnt know where XXX village was, i turned him down politely :)
Another 10 minutes, and 2 Girls stopped for us !
We got in their small car, They were lesbians...Lucy 20 and Jessica 23, they were going past langogne and could drop us 'there' (which we found out later) was still 9km from the village...We had a decent conversation and found out that Jessica got 1000 Euros unemployment money every month for a year when she lost her job last year, so she was on holiday ! haha... She also finish her degree in Commerce but didnt want to work in that line so she decide to go back to school to study Nursing... Yes education in University is free ( amost, some misc 400-600 Euros a year )
I got a little carsick as the journey was quite long and the roads were winding ( it was a mountainous region ) so i stopped talking.

After they dropped us, we found out jason left our entire Plastic bag of stuff on the road !!! Oh man !!! All my wang wang that i have conserved for so long ( i only ate 2 :( ) and our Maggie mee !!! which we also ration ( ahhh mee goreng ahhhh!!!!) and my shorts and other stuff :(
Oh well, suck thumb.
As it was still quite a distance away, we had to Hitch again, but when we put our stuff down, in less than 5 mins our next ride appeared !
David in a minibus ! haha, he was listening to English punk rock (which he said he didnt understand haha) He was going to drop us in Langogne. He was asking us where we were from and what our plans were when we explained we were going to a farm to work and stay. He asked oh which Farm, L'Escapade...
Oh L'Escapade i am going there too but i have to buy some stuff first, if you will wait for me i can drop you there straight as it is quite a distance from the village .
Shawn and jason . ' Alright ! Sure we have the time ! :) '
So yes, We followed him to buy chicken feed he kept 30 chickens and fed them so that he could eat them and their eggs) haha.
Adrien was very surprised when we arrived suddenly at his door. He was supposed to pick us at Aubenas, and we didnt tell him that we were hitchhiking over in case we failed haha.

Yay Pass :)

“A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a faraway place. A traveler on the plane sees the farmhouse… and thinks of home.” – Carl Burns.

Posted by shawnified 12:06 Archived in France Comments (0)

Leaving Xavier and Lisa

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

sunny 16 °C

It was a really tough decision, to stay or to leave.
There were many different options, we cpould stay longer in Bouligat, up to 3 weeks, or go on to the next farm or even next 2 farms !
We had so many options it was a bit of a headache. Even among the next farms there were several options to choose from.
As we had 'mass send request to several farms, somehow the many that replied all seem interesting.
A super embarrassing thing even happened, while at the thursday market, another farmer selling bread ( Michel ) came up to me and said Are u Shawn... yes.... You are suppose to come next week right ? ....redfaced shawn stunned and mumbles errrr we are waiting for some stuff to happen so we will contact you online. ( i neither considered him nor replied him after awhile as he was a little strict and there were better options)

In the end i decided to leave as, i felt yes they were really nice people and all and we really wanted to stay and help, but it would be better for us if we could see more farms and experience more. The next awaiting farm was a Bed and breakfast 34 ha big !! in contrast to Ferme de la bouligat which was 3 ha :)

We told them we were leaving on tuesday...Daniel left us earlier as he had to go back to Cambridge to study. this next portion is a description of our last night.
It was 9pm and they were still busy, so we decided to cook them our instant noodles for dinner, haha beef noodles and mee goreng.
After dinner, the three of us were sleeping in the trailer when Daniel suddenly said, I'm going to put the Cat in the cupboard ( the same cat scratch daniel went he tried to carry it) Are u guys ok with the meowing the whole night.
Are u serious ?! i repplied ( with daniel, u never know when he is joking) haha
Thinking he was joking, i just laid down and said, ok la
The next moment he got up, wore his jacket and went out into the night in search of the cat.
He found it, brought it in and put it in the cupboard !!!
I was stunned and was confused, whether to laugh or feel sad. Daniel said the cupboard was lined with pillows, so it would be very comfortable. I made him promise to remove the cat in the morning, and in my mind i thought, should be quite comfortable and warm so i went to sleep.
i am a very light sleeper, and i could hear the cat meowing and scratching the door at different intervals during the night !

The next morning, i awoke...Daniel was gone, but i could still hear the cat inside !!!
nonsense Daniel, he didnt let the cat go !!! and i was too scared at the thought of wha i would find behind the door to open it. So Jason did the dirty work and let the cat out of the Placard :)
Haha, it seemed perfectly fine :)

Sunday,
i awoke at 7.30 am and walked over for breakfast.... the door was locked. Feeling very cold, i went back to the trailer to wait.
8.30, i went back, still sleeping !!!
I decided to read my book outside the trailer...
They finally awoke at 12.30pm !!!! Wa, they forgot to tell us they sleep in on sundays :(
We had breakfast than.
Oh man, after breakfast they went to laze around,and so did i...
After awhile jason and i decided to cook Lunch.
So i cooked them a Rosti, haha and jason baked them a cake apple crumble : )
We had a nice lunch, off course they said my rosti was nice :)

Monday,
Pierre, Xavier, Jason and i finish the green house, finally ! haha the job was completed...
We had a simple dinner and more cake and crashed.
After dinner Xavier asked me what was i studying in University, i replied Should be business.
He immediately said You devil !!!
haha, and everytime i tried to explain, he said devil !!! haha
Than he said Shawn you are a cool guy man, but you are the devil !!!
Haha,oh well, i guess he is right in some way
Tuesday,
Breakfast time, i had a super heavy breakfast as i didnt know when my next meal would be ( wise choice)
They bid farewell and thank us for our work and Xavier brought us to the bus station.
After shaking hands and Thanking Xavier, he turned to me again and said: Shawn you are a nice and cool guy, dont be the devil :)
I smiled and said ok thanks, i really will miss him...
We went to the train station, it xas either a 5 hour free train, a 3 hour train we had to pay a reservation fee or a 1.5 hour(very expensive or free) bus ride. We went to check with the train station and it was.....FREE !!!!
Weeee !!!!
Backside pain bus to Aubenas

Posted by shawnified 23:43 Archived in France Tagged backpacking hitchhiking hitching repent shawn Comments (0)

Ferme De la Bouligat

continued

all seasons in one day 10 °C

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

The subsequent days were getting better.
Like going outfield and all new things, its all abut getting used to it.
Ironically, from wanting to leave the Far, we now cant bear leaving and are thinking if we should change our plans to stay longer or continue or tour....
Xavier and Lisa are extremely nice people, they give us so much and take extra care to ensure we have everthing we need.
The food has been simple, but really fresh !!! At least half or more is usually freshly harvested before the meal haha,
I have been eating alot of cheese, carrots, salads, beans, bread, potatoes, and random stuff. i think my diet is at its healthiest
The work has been quite fun at times, especially harvesting !
We pluck red Spinach leaves, pull carrots from the ground...
The one thing that we cannot stand ( literally) is weeding, haha you squat on the ground the whole time ( which is really tiring) beant over pulling out weeds with your bare hands. This gets worse when you are weeding plants to help the specific plant grow and that specific plant looks like weed ! ( like beetroot)
Another thing we have been helping with is the set up of the new greenhouse.
Its quite a big job as the greenhouse is big and we have to carry the plastic sheets, measure and cut them, carry it to the top, spread it out, stretch it, dig and cover the base with soil and adjust again ! Not easy man.
After the first hour, i said to Jason, this is totally not a 5 men job.
Haha, another thing that is crazy is the temperature variation, at night its mega cold, even with 2 blankets you would still feel cold. In the day its gets so hot, i take of my shirt to work ( i dont wanna sweat :) )

While walking the giant container for a shower, i saw jason peeling potatoes with a small little girl. I went into the shower and thought to myself who is that little girl, maybe its Lisa's nice she talked about....
After i came out, she said hi in probably the best english since we left england. I asked her what she was studying, and she said she stopped studying a long time ago.
Hmmm, does she want to be a farmer too ?
She than explained she finish uni long time ago.
Than i couldnt stand it and asj her, How old are u this year ?
She replied 29...
I fell off the chair, remember the electric shock in Switzerland, this was like same intensity but in my face :) haha
I thought she was 14 !!! Serious Its like if a fountain of everlasting youth ever existed, she drank from it everyyday...
Ok, never mind...
She stayed and studied in London for 9 years ( v good english) and off course v good french
She was a very nice girl and we had a nice tme chatting over dinner.
We soon found out she earns 9 Euro(x1.8 to Sgd) an hour and she gets accommodation and food also !!!!
I xas just thinking, maybe she is more experienced than us but still her productivity cannot be 9:0 right !!!
Oh well, for now, The delicious apple pie and Rhubarb cake are our wages ;)
I asked her about so French habits and she admitted that she was not a typical french, haha :)
We had nice chats the next few days while working, and i liked her alot, but i guess i ll never see her again. Oh well, we could have been good friends.

Saturday-
We went to the market today !
There was only two avenues of sales for Xavier and lisa, one was to their regular customers on thursdays, the other was the saturday market in the nearby village Crest.
It was very exciting, as some of the products being sold were hand plucked by us !!! we had plucked and bundled carrots ( 40 bundles of 12-15 carrots) and some other random vegetables.
Also, Xavier suggested for us to cycle to the market, instead of driving there so we could see the country side better.
It was a pleasant but very tiring journey haha ! Jason and i were very happy at the market, jason because of the pastry and me beacuse i could finally get to see the authentic french market ive been looking for !
Haha, there was cheese; jam, honey, bread, eggs, vegetables.... many local produce being sold.
I was looking to buy something back home, but everything was either way too expensive, too bulky ( glasses of jam and honey, super nice), too silly ( bars of handmade soap) or couldnt last the journey ( cheese, bread, pottery...)
Everything that i mentioned was very nicely presented, and i was quite sure tasted nice.
I bought a crispy croissant for 80cents euro and a fruit cake for us to share at 4.50 euros ( ouch) While Jason bought some pastry for 2 Euros and a Chocolate croissant for 2 Euros. They were all very nice :) ( finally i had a crispy croissant haha)
We packed up and went back for a nice lunch of é eggs ( yes finally !!!!), more vegetables, brie cheese and off course cakes ! weeee !
haha.
It was a lazy saturday afternoon....
Oh ya, remember the carrots we plucked ?
All sold out !!!

Posted by shawnified 07:25 Archived in France Tagged hitchhiking couchsurfing ambrish Comments (1)

Ferme De la Bouligat {Xavier and Lisa :) }

From tourist to traveler to farmer haha

all seasons in one day 9 °C

We left the comfortable, clean, efficient and nice Switzerland to France. I mentioned before about the punctuality of the trains in switzerland, the same does not apply in France. haha
When we got off the swiss train for the train to the farm in France, we were relieved that we finally could afford some stuff( Haribo !!!)
However, we got quite irritated thatour train was delayed ( unheard off in the swiss) and we had to call Lisa to inform them we were going to be late as they were picking us up at the train station.

We waited awhile when Xavier suddenly appeared and brought us to his car. His english was french standard ( haha), and i was struggling hard to communicate with him....
He did not look like the average farmer.
He was tall, young and with sunglasses and the only thing that gave him away was his hands and the dirty old car. Haha
When we arrived at the farm, we met Lisa ( his wife) and Pierre ( their friend and worker) who showed us around the Farm.
Honestly, it was smaller than i expected ( 3 Ha) but big enough as they were only 2 people and that had about 10 greenhouse and a horse ( Rosali) and another plot of land for other stuff.

They were sleeping in a mobile home (which was essentially a giant container) where the shower was located and had our meals.
We were sleeping in 1 out of the two trailers meant for workers and random friends.
There was 2 Dry toilets ( toilets without water, just sawdust to cover ur dump with) and a workhouse.
Our trailer was very bare, two beds and a cupboard, very little...but enough.
We were honestly a little disappointed as

1) there were only 1 horse and 2 cats...
2)the rooms were a little errrrrr
3) the toilets were quite errrr
4) the work on the first day was very tiring, boring and hard !!!

At the end of first day, we gathered for a simple dinner of green salad, beans and carrots.
We found out they were not very rich, they had purchased the Farm for 111,000 Euros and were still paying it off.
After dinner, they took out 3 plates of different pastry !
Super nice, apple crumble, Rhurbarb cake and apple cake ( i gave them the names myself ;) )
It really was good, and i told jason, ok at least the cake is worth it. haha

At this point of time, i have to share about my thoughts on traveling,

Every person at every age should travel.

For the young, it broadens perspective; inspires and induces them to set goals and priorities.
For the middle aged, It reminds a person of his identity and reminds and allow him to appreciate what is important in life.*
For the old, If you haven't seen much, you haven't lived much.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Posted by shawnified 05:33 Archived in France Tagged backpacking sunshine hitchhiking couchsurfing bouligat wwoof Comments (0)

Kung fu Manuel

leaving the dude life and going for kung fu training haha :)

overcast

We had to leave Fabio's after staying there for 4 days.
I never knew we would have so much fun staying with the 4 guys, the amount of beer they drank over the 4 days was more than the amount of water i drank haha ! ( somehow they are doing quite well at school, Manuel is taking a double degree in History and Biology and he also reads alot of Philosophy ) Crazy !

Oh well, it was a great time, we went to Manuel's house (back in Thun !) by ourselves. His house was about 1/2 the size but there was only him living in it (He broke up with his girlfriend recently :( ) His rental was 1000 Francs a month ( 1400 Sgd) still cheaper than daniel's matchbox room in cambridge 1050 pounds ( almost 2100 sgd) haha !!! With a better view and nice neighbourhood, daniel was quite pissed off at the price of his accommodation.
Manuel was a really nice guy, his english was alot beter in real life than over the phone. He was a 32 year old living by himself. Interested in Chinese martial arts and this interest sparked his interest in Chinese culture (just like Pierre ) His house was decorated all over with chinese stuff ( a buddha, chinese paintings, giant chinese brush, chinese swords, chinese tea and pottery. We were already embarassed by miube when his skills at chopsticks overshadowed ours, Now, Manuel's house was definitely more chinese than mine !! haha
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His entire house was decorated and also modified by him. His toilet is also super cool, his shower head had Led lights whenever water flowed through and there were posters of Waterfalls everywhere haha.
To train, he had a giant punching bag, a bucket of sand for punching in ( yes hardcore ), 5 nunchucks, various swords, a pole ( used for spear training), shurikens and more.
We could very well be staying with an assassin, haha, but despite all this, Manuel was a really soft and nice guy who was extremely polite and genuine concern for us. He was also very funny and made various funny expressions to help bring across his points.
We just did some grocery shopping and came back to rest as we were a little tired ( he gave us a key so that was great, again he trusted us before even meeting us really epic, would u leave ur key to someone u never met ? especially if he was an Asian ? )

The next day, i asked him if he knew how to cook a Rosti, as i really wanted to try 1 and it was the last swiss dish that we haven really tried ( it goes for around 20 sgd in a restaurant ( just for potatoes !) and he decided to cook one for our lunch !
Haha, i have tried cooking a rosti once ( based on gut feeling) and the reaction was, hmmm what is the difference between a Rosti and Hashbrowns ? haha, i finally knew !!! Manuel's Rosti was crispy on the outside and all fluffy and soft on the inside ;)
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The next day, we did it again, and i had a chance to cook my own !! Haha, and the epic thing is i managed to flip it !!! Woooo ! haha, we ate alot of pasta and rosti those 3 days :)
Manuel ( feeling guilty he had gone out each night and had no time for us) decided to bring us hiking !
However, by the time we decided it was too late so we had to go hiking in a nearer 'hill' which was still a mountain as it was more than a thousand meters. Thankfully, we had another chance to climb the swiss mountains...
It wasnt an easy journey up, and i realised every time i climb something steep, memories of climbing in the army will just come flowing back, and i would just smile to myself, thankfully this time im doing it without a crazy backpack and some harribo in my pocket haha :)

While walking up, we encountered an entire village that was situated on the mountains ( according to manuel this was quite common), i felt it was quite amazing how they managed to construct everything so high up and also live so far from the rest of the world.
We walk past many different cattle grazing and lazing around, soon there was a herd of sheep just 5m away from me.
I felt very curious as i never seen a sheep so close before and the fact that they wouldnt run on to the road as they were just enclosed by what look to be 2 thin black ropes. The four of us walked closer and looked at the sheep, while looking at the sheep i decided to hold the wire and and the stand for support...
This time i kid u not that i flew away...
Not because the sheep were so nice but because the thin black wires were all charged, and i felt the entire electric current flow through my body, haha and the rest looked at me with eyes wide open and asked if i was ok, not sure whether to laugh or be concerned, haha, after 2 secsonds i could still feel the effects of that current in my chest and heart.
Haha, oh well, experience :) Manuel apologised for not warning me before hand and daniel said wa imagine if u die here...After manuel realised i was fine, he said now i could leave the way since my battery was charged, haha :)
We continued walking upwards in no specific direction.I was thinking to myself, manuel seems quite lost ( it was his first time up ) and felt at least we got to climb somewhere.
I was so wrong, somehow manuel found the way too the top and oh man was it another sight to behold.
In fact it was probably one of the better sights on this trip, even better than gurtenbahn as over here we could see most of the famous swiss Alps.
Manuel showed us the mountain that he climbed ( i still cant pronounce it till today) and i told myself one day i gotta climb one of those one day.
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We walked past 2 couples having a BBQ !!! Wa so nice ( remember in Europe im a broke man , in the swiss im a vagrant )
After photos and chilling there, Daniel and Manuel took up Nunchucks to practise haha !
We had a steep decent down, passing by plenty of houses which were just really sick, they really had the best of both words. Full of nature and crazy scenery but yet enjoy the comforts of modern technology.
When we reached the bottom ( oberhofen) it was a small town beside the lake and we went to the restaurant as Daniel and Manuel wanted a drink; surprisingly the price wasnt inflated despite the perfect location.
It was a very nice restaurant (open air) beside the lake and you could still see all the beautiful mountains but somehow there wasnt many people there. We went back and had a feast ( Rosti, pasta, fish fillet, sausages, cheese, bruschetta) haha.
We bid farewell to a drowzy Manuel at 6 am and left for the bus, initiallly when we were walking out we saw the bus and we sprinted like crazy to get on the bus as we thought we were late, but when we finally got on, the bus just waited there for another 15 mins ( than i realised that ours was the first stop) Alamak....
When anyone comes to the Swiss remember this the Swiss are always punctual, their trains schedule says 9.15am and the train will be there by 9.05 and be gone before 9.16. Serious.

Journey by train to the Farm in France ( Lisa and Xavier) Weee !!!!

Queen, yes im in the farm now and it is a vegetable farm so i have been eating vegetables every meal !!!
Haha, but its like super fresh( we pluck some of them ourselves :)) and somehow taste very different haha :) You should see this

Jeryl, you must come one day also !!!
I was telling Michael ser when i was in the Swiss, i was really happy but felt quite sad that my friends and family were not with me to enjoy it also, and might never be able or want to...

Posted by shawnified 09:21 Archived in Switzerland Tagged surfing packing back backpacking couch hitchhiking couchsurfing shawn Comments (2)

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