Dorset

New season is here! It has been a long break, but fortunately not eternal. One known adventurer once said: “…my life has only two stages. Stage of adventure and stage of preparations for another adventure.” I’ve prepared well this winter and the adventure is near. Let it be a big one. But first of all, I had to go for a test ride to open the new season properly. No big objectives, just an obligatory spring ride down to the south coast.

Up on the Primrose Hill in north London is where most of my journeys start. That’s where plan my routes…

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…watching the city from Primrose Hill… so many contrasts. St Paul’s Cathedral proudly towering above the city for 300 years … until the banks have overgrown it. And on the right side the Shard is being built, higher than the Eiffel Tower, will be full of shops and offices just like our entire world is…

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…hundreds of cranes fill the horizon and I know that when I come back here next time I will see a different city again…

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…and while all this is happening around me, I draw my maps.

This time I drew a route going down to Dorset coast…

(My route is red, always red.)

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…As it happens on Saturday mornings, I overslept, the sun was already high up and all roads heading from London down to the sea were hopelessly jammed. But not mine…

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…I stopped in one of the villages and followed the arrow “CHURCH”…

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…on the way to the church I met a gentleman, who was just loading his ancient looking mower into a “repairs” van. He lives in this house…

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…The whole church was under construction. An aunt passing by saw me wandering around helplessly with my camera. She proudly told me in her tuneful British English, that the village collected  £127,000 for reconstruction and I will certainly have to come and see it next year how beautiful it will be. People in rural areas are proud of their churches and like it when someone photographs them. The lady also said that her husband’s mower broke down this morning and he was so frustrated that she called the service to bring him a new one. On my way from the church, I saw as the gentleman standing in front of his yellow house proudly looking at his brand new red mower and carefully studying the manuals.

And in this house lives a large dog that was running up and down the street chasing a bumble bee…

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…As I was buzzing with Malina through the rest of the village, it occurred to me that not even 100 km away on the outskirts of the capital grows day by day population of several million Indians, Poles and other millions of Arabs, Africans, Chinese and all mankind that the planet mixed together in one place at one time. Highstreet full of fast food kebabs, Polsky Skleps and growing mosques. And here, amid fields still I’m experiencing the original English culture … for how much longer? Globalization is slowly chipping away from indigenous European cultures and I feel privileged to still have the opportunity to know how it is before places like this will be stamped as “Tourist Attraction”.

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…my journey is then taking me into a town…

Salisbury

 

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…as only a man could create something so spectacular…

 

Dorset blog…800 years … how many lives it is, how many stories it is. What was the force in people that joined them together to build a momument of such beauty…

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…walking around the parks…

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…endless hallways, arches and columns…

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…I was riding from Salisbury with a sense of “incredible” and paid silent tribute to people who dedicated all their lifes to leave something so great behing them…

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…further southwest leads my way…

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…whizing like a storm along my favorite Beech Avenue towards the coast…

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…but on Malina even the storm means rather slow, so when I arrived to the coast, it was already completely dark. Scattered blue lights from local fishermen’s rods where flying all along the coast, sea was calm, playing with countless pebbles. I wrapped myself in a sleeping bag, opened Wiki and was reading long into the night about the countries that I saw that day …

When I woke up into the cold morning, the new day was just starting…

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…for a while, I listened to the murmur of the waves…

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…according to my maps a very unusual type of beach was beginning right here…

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…I ran up the hill to eat my breakfast to see it at sunrise…

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…some fishermen already rowed away from the coast…

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…finally, the sun revealed it… 30 km long barrier Chessie Beach, protecting the coast from the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists are still only guessing how and when it was created…

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…as a reward for getting up so early I got a beautiful morning light for pictures of the country, as I rode along the coast eastwards…

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…every single field carefully fenced, not a square inch of unused space, here people value their land…

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…all around the meadows were running small lambs, chicks and various other domestic newly born puppies. I liked the scattered herds of bulls…

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…after several hours, according to the map we came to the end of Chessie Beach near town of Portland…

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…lighthouses today are no longer needed, but people like them and care for them. Even this, called Portland Bill on the southernmost tip of the peninsula looks like new, although it is 200 years old…

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…on the rocks below the lighthouse I saw many modern hunters of wild animals…

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…I learned that at this time of the year many rare migratory birds come from the south and here they are photographed and monitored. I remembered that in the morning as I was stretching myself on the beach,  3 white storks flown over me. How could I have just blindly ignore such an important event for this region…

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…I was watching out for dolphins who like to come here often. But after few minutes, any marginally foaming wave looked like a dolphin to me, so I decided that I do not have talent for dolphins and continued on towards village of Lulworth…

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…this is called the Jurassic coast. Old ancient reefs, 185 million years of recorded history of our planet and life…

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…time has broken and bended the rocks creating magical stuff…

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…I followed the coast towards Durdle Door, a well-known tourist attraction…

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…on the beach at Durdle Door in such weather it is hard to believe that you are in cold rainy England…

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…And it was good that I brought along a wooden stick, of which I broke off a piece for water dogs. The black one in the water is Rick, who would swim to the end of the whole world to get the stick.  The brown Rony, only wet his chassis and tried to steal the stick from Rick whenever he swam to shore. Their owners were happy that their dogs are playing while Rony’s owner was assuring me that Rony otherwise loves water…

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…when the day began, crowds of tourists rushed down to the beach and I chose to continue along the coast…

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…high limestone cliffs reminds you that this is British coast…

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…despite how hot it seems, it is still very early spring, a bit chilly, perfect time for hiking…

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…route from the coast led me again through fields and villages and around this water mill…

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…I had a snack here by the old bridge…

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…in the shade under the trees we stopped for lunch…

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…few more days and this field will be totally yellow…

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…and so our journey went on up north through the spring fairy tale all the way home.

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It was a useful test drive. I completely forgot to to replace one part that was worn out, which began reporting to me on my way back and had few other small problems that could have been bad if not identified before my departure. Now everything is ready. And there is a long way to go.

11-12 April 2011.

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