Sunday, November 28, 2021

Europe Pt.1 1997-1999

Weeks 1-3

Pre Travel Article
Lisbon, Portugal to Istanbul, Turkey, 11-6-97 till whenever.

Flying to Lisbon Portugal on November 5th and walking east along the southern coast of Europe. Going through Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, ferry across to Greece, and finish up in Istanbul Turkey hopefully. Walking all the way, except for the ferry to Greece and any bridges or tunnels that they do not allow walkers on. Looks like about 3000 to 3500 miles, at about 25 miles a day, it should take about 4 or 5 months.

Returning to the Newfane area to visit family and friends from about October 22nd till November 3rd. During my Walk Across The USA last winter I got quite a few interesting questions and requests for a visit from students and teachers following my walk. So anyone who wants me to come and give a short talk, write me and I will call you and set up a time.

It was fun hearing from all of you, I have been an avid reader all my life, and I always wanted to write something one day that other people would enjoy. So I felt pretty good when some of the letters I got said that I inspired them, fascinated them, they enjoyed my style of writing, or that they wanted to be just like me when they grew up.

Looking forward to hearing from you all this winter, please be patient though, as it will take me longer to get my mail forwarded to me, but I will get back to everybody as soon as I can.

Stopping in Neport News, Va. to visit my brother, Dave Hause and his family, Karla, Nick and Curtis. Picking up their three wheel baby jogger to use on my walk across Europe. The one I used to walk across the USA broke down about three days from San Diego. This one is the original Baby Jogger II, made by the company that invented them. Bigger, stronger, and lighter, should last a lot longer and carry more gear for me. Bringing along a tent, sleeping bag, gas stove, warm clothes, food, water, camera, flashlight, toiletries, notebook, maps, first aid kit, about 40 pounds to start out with.

This walk should be a little more difficult, due to the different languages (6), and cultures, but I just take it one day at a time, solving problems as they occur. The only failed dreams are those never attempted.

Returning in the spring of 98 to work at Bryce Canyon National Park, had a good time working here at Lake Powell, but I bought some land up at Brian Head Ski Resort in southern Utah, and I would like to build a cabin there. It is only 60 miles from Bryce to Brian Head, so I can ride my bicycle up on my days off.

Borrowed a old Zenith 286 portable computer to rewrite all my articles, adding things and writing extra chapters. Have it all on a disk, sending out some query letters to some book publishers. My sister Maureen Mathewson and her son Evan will be typing up my articles on the computer as I mail them in. They will also set up an E-mail address for me before I leave, I will let you know the address in the next article. I will try to find places in Europe to check my E-mail, but I might have to have my sister print them out and mail them to me, I here some computer stores will let you check E-mail when you are traveling. Not planning on taking a computer with me, to heavy and expensive. As they get cheaper and smaller in the future, I might get one. For now writing in a notebook with a pen is good enough for me. I like to keep it as simple as possible

Write me at Gary Walkingman Hause, PO Box 427, Olcott, NY 14126, if you have any questions or comments on my walk.

First Week
11-7-97 to 11-13-97, from Lisbon, Portugal to Hosa de la Frontera, Spain via Setubal, Grandola and Beja, a total of 177 miles, 25 miles per day average.

Hola from Portugal, made the flight over no problem, although I did get off the plane in Porto by mistake. Luckily they were able to rush me back on before it took off again.

Sunny and beautiful when I landed in Lisbon, but it started raining as soon as I got my stroller assembled and ready to go. Rained every day this week, not to bad though, 60 to 70 degrees and it usually clears up for part of the day.

Have been able to get coffee every morning in the numerous cafes, cafe con leche por favor. Very good fresh expresso with a shot of steamed milk in it. Buying fruit, yoghurt, fresh bread, oatmeal, sugar, and cookies in the local markets. Pretty much the same diet I used on my walk across the USA.

Averaging 25 miles a day, the roads have been pretty good so far, always a good wide shoulder to walk on. Passing through a lot of cork tree plantations, pine forests that are tapped for resin or sap, and olive tree orchards with cattle and sheep grazing beneath them.

I am getting by with my phrase book, learning enough to ask basic questions and requests. Everybody has been real nice so far, a few people have stopped to talk and ask questions. A whole tour bus of Americans talked and took of pictures of me outside a cafe I had stopped at. Also I ran in to about 50 school kids out on a midday walk. They stopped and talked and asked questions, a few of them knew English. Not to many bicyclists or walkers, I guess most people drive or take the bus.

My new Rockport hiking boots are working out real well. Got a small blister on the inside of each heel, a small moleskin patch solved that problem. Finding roadside springs occasionally where I can wash up and rinse out my clothes. They are usually built up with a trough and a religious painting above.

Received some mail from some teachers who wanted me to give a short talk. So I visited Mrs. Dinse's class in Lockport, Mrs. Water's 3rd grade class, the entire 4th and 5th grades and Mrs. Niver's 7th grade class in Newfane. The 4th and 5th graders presented me with Newfane Intermediate School baseball cap, which I sewed a USA flag patch on and wear while I walk. I also talked to all the kids at the Big Water, Utah school this summer near Lake Powell.

Bill Sheldon of Tonawanda wrote me a nice letter. He wrote "you seem to me to embody the essence of a modern Henry David Thoreau, who said " more is less and less is more, and he travels fastest who travels by foot." Bill also says, you seem to have also captured the Zen philosophy of living in the moment, or "just do it". I keep a mini copy of Thoreau's "Walden" with me and often read from it, so his comments were special to me.

Seeing lots of beautiful old castles and churches. Streets in the villages are real narrow and lined with bumpy cobblestones. Heading south now towards Seville, Spain and Gibraltar, UK.

Write me at Gary Walkingman Hause, PO Box 427, Olcott, NY 14126 or E-mail me at Walkn This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you have any questions or comments on my walk. Adios till next week.

Second Week
11-14-97 to 11-20-97. Hosa de la Frontera, Spain to Cadiz, Spain via Aracena, Seville and Jerez. 183 miles, 26 miles per day average, 360 total miles.

Hola from Spain. The rain has finally ended now that I am in Spain, sunny and 70 degrees. Lots of erosion and downed trees from the serious flooding they have had here. Passing through cotton fields, orange groves and a few banana trees.

In the hills near the border there were a lot of pigs grazing under the oak trees, one morning I woke to find 5 pigs right on the other side of the fence looking at me. Camping every night in the woods about 50 feet from the road. One night the wind gusted to hurricane strength and rolled my tent halfway over before I was able throw my weight against the side to hold it down. It was like being in a washing machine, clothes, shoes, and all kinds of things were flying around me. I have been staking down the tent real tight ever since.

Lots of ambulances on the road here in Spain, they seem to patrol a section of road instead of being based at a fire station. A few people wave or beep at me, and usually one or two bicyclists stop and talk every day. One Swiss biker gave me a power bar and his address. Saw some old Roman ruins being excavated near Seville. Near Cadiz they had a collection of granite blocks from a old Roman Aqueduct with a map of the old Roman roads and aqueduct routes. Should be seeing a lot more ruins as I get closer to Rome. Amazing how well they built their roads and buildings.

Have been stopping every night right before it gets dark so I can find a good place to camp while I can see. Usually listen to the BBC world news on my Grundig short wave radio before I go to sleep. It is about the size of a walkman, but I have picked up English stations from England, America, Japan, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany so far.

Lots of trash and litter on the sides of the road here. They could really use a "Adopt a Highway" volunteer road clean up program here.

Every morning I stop for cafe con leche (coffee with hot milk) in one of the numerous cafes. The village men in the cafes talk very loud and use a lot of hand gestures. It looks like they are always arguing.

No problems so far, the drivers are very considerate. No one has tried to run me off the road or throw anything at me. Lots of dogs over here, seems like every house has a dog running out to bark at me, no bites yet though. The biggest problem they cause is at night when I am camping, they can sense me a long ways off, and they always bark off and on all night. Some nights I have had 4 or 5 dogs between 100 yards and 300 yards away barking at me.

Headed east now to Gibraltar, looking forward to speaking English again, and being able to ask questions.

Adios till next week.

Third Week
11-21-97 to 11-27-97, Cadiz, Spain to Torremolinos, Spain via Tarifa, Gibraltar, and Marbella. 168 miles, 24 miles per day, 528 total miles.

Hola from Spain, nice and sunny and warm along the coast. I did have one day of really hard rain. Wool pants, wool shirt and Tyvek coveralls kept me warm and mostly dry all day.

Lots of windmills on the ridges all along the coast near Tarifa. I can see Africa now across the straights of Gibraltar, it is only 10 miles away.

I stopped in Gibraltar for the day. You have to walk or drive across the airport runway to get into the city. Did my laundry at the only laundromat I have seen so far, at 5 pounds ($9 dollars US) it was a bit expensive, but necessary. Also had all my hair and beard cut off for 8 pounds, more reasonable. Checked for mail at the American Express office, but there was a mail strike going on. Valencia is the next place I can pick up mail.

Talked to a Canadian NATO soldier who was on vacation from duty in Bosnia, and an American couple in the laundromat. The people in Gibraltar were quite friendly, quite a few stopped to talk to me and ask questions about my walk.

I stayed in hotel in La Linea, right across the border from Gibraltar, only 1700 pesetas ($12.00 US). The Pensions are cheaper, only 1200 pesetas ($8.00 US), but the only one I could find was full. Took a nice long hot shower, felt great. I have been keeping clean with a sponge bath once or twice a day, but after two weeks without a shower, few things feel better.

Had a visitor roaming outside my tent in the middle of the night. Sounded like some kind of wild cat, possibly a bobcat or lynx. I imagine he was upset I was in his hunting territory, he was roaring quite loud.

The southern coast of Spain is quite similar to Southern California, lots of condos and resort hotel. Even alot of the towns and cities have the same names. They also grow a lot of vegetables and fruits. Greenhouses line the roadside between the sea and the mountains. Wild bamboo gows along the roadside and they cut it and use it for fnces, crop support and for garden huts.

The Sierra Nevada mountains are covered with snow, Sking just started on Thanksgiving about 60 miles inland at the local ski resorts up at 10,000 feet.

Along the beach in the big cities, they usually have cold water showers. Took a dip in the Mediterranean Sea, pretty cold, maybe 50 degrees, but the shower afterwards in the hot sun felt good.

Quite a few of the signs in the tourist areas are in 4 or 5 different languages. English, French, German, and Spanish usually. Lots of tourists from all over Europe come to the south of Spain for the nice mild winter weather.

Talked to an English bicycle tourer, and a German performing artist invited me back to his campsite for breakfast and a chat. He plays harmonica, does mime, and draws sidewalk art to support himself and his dog.

Another big storm almost blew my tent over again. I was camped under a bridge because it was raining, and I had to use rocks instead of stakes because the ground was to hard. Luckily I have always been a light sleeper, ready to awake instantly if I sense something is not right. I was able to hold the tent upright untill the gusts died down and I was able to go outside and find some heavier rocks.

Well till next week, I am headed east towards Cartegena along the coast. Adios for now.

Weeks 4-7

Fourth Week
11-28-97 to 12-4-97. Torremolinos, Spain to Carboneras, Spain, via Motril, Almeria, and Niger, 195 miles, 28 per day average, 723 total miles.

They call this area I am going through now the "Costa del Sol", but I call it the valley of the greenhouses. Millions of greenhouses from the edge of the sea to the mountains. They terrace them up the sides of cliffs. They must provide all of Europe with winter fruits and vegtables.

You can tell who the tourists are becuse we all have shorts on, while the locals are all bundled up. This is the cool time of the year, 60's and 70's after a summer of 100 degree temperatures.

Quite a variety of traffic here, lots of scooters going only 20 or 30 miles per hour, little three-wheel scooters with a pickup cab on back, small city cars, lots of buses and trucks, and really fast super motorcycles. Hardly any walkers or bicyclists, just a few bicycle racers out on training rides. The scooters usually have baskets on the back for groceries or supplies. I did see two guys carrying a kitchen table, one guy with his dog, and another guy selling fresh fish from the back of his scooter. Everybody seems to drive with consideration for others, except for the super motorcycles, they go really fast and pass indiscriminately.

Every 5 to 10 miles on the coast road there are these large round towers. They are about 60 feet high and 30 feet in diameter, either old watch towers or lighthouses. I believe they were built by the Moors after they invaded southern Spain 1000 years ago. I often camp next to one on the old road where it has been turned into a arking area after rerouting the new road over a new bridge or through a tunnel.

The bearings in one of my wheels started squaking, so I stopped at a motorcycle store and the mechanic squirted some oil on them. I was planning on having them regreased, but I see how long the oil works out. Got my first flat tire, picked up a tie tack in Almeria. I have thorn proof tubes with slime in them, but I had to put a patch on, only took about 15 minutes.

Crossing a desert now, Yucca or century type plants with lots of brush and rocks. I have turned the corner now and have started to head northeast up the coast, it should start to get a little cooler. It was a little to hot for me this week, 70's and some 80's.

Talked to a Danish guy who runs a bike store here. He said the Vikings raided this area a thousand years ago and are now coming back again buying property and opening buisness's. Met a German backpacker hiking along the coast for a month's vacation. A British fellow in a cafe gave me a copy of a local english language newspaper.

Saw my best sunset yet in Adra. The whole horizon was covered with reds, purples and orange colors. The coast road seems to be quieter now, not as many big cities or tourists.

I started getting up about two hours before sunrise now. The days are so short now, only about 11 hours of daylight. It is nice to be up and walking while the sun is rising.

Well till next week, I am on the road headed northeast in Carboneras, Spain. Adios for now.

Fifth Week
12-5-97 to 12-11-97. Carboneras, Spain to San Juan de Alicante via Aguilas, Mazarron and Cartegena. 178 miles, 25.5 per day average, 901 total miles.

Well, I have set a new record for distance in one day, three miles. The day started out cold, windy and raining. I could not keep my stove going to cook my oatmeal, so I broke camp quickly and had a hot cup of coffee in the cafe right below where I had camped. As I started walking out of town the wind picked u to 20 to 40 miles per hour. After about a mile of real slow going, I found a small cement hut on a pullout next to the beach. Looked like it might have been an old bus stop shelter. Planned on staying till the wind died down, so I cleaned out the junk, rocks

and bottles and laid down a fresh layer of beach sand. The waves were breaking pretty hard on the beach, and the wind seemed stronger every time I checked. Ended up staying all day and night, the wind finally broke around 3a.m. and the morning was sunny and warm.

It is starting to get colder as I go farther north. Wool gloves, hat, sweater and pants every evening and morning until the sun warms me up. I was stopped by two Civil Gurdia (police), they asked for my passport and did not seem to know what to do with me untill I showed them a copy of my first walk across Europe article. They wished me a good journey and gave me back the article.

Found my second laundromat, it is run by a British fellow, mostly for the tourists and condo managers. I guess everybody has their own washing machine or does it by hand. Nice to have clean clothes again. I have been getting by with rinsing out my bike shorts, shirt and socks in a one liter plastic bottle then hanging them to dry on my handlebars.

Just as I was setting up my tent on the 8th of December, I had a good view of a fireworks display. Must be Independence day or someother important holiday. Saw quite a few old broken stone windmills with the inner wooden gears visible near Cartegena.

The half moon is coming out just as it gets dark to light my way, so I have been walking an extra hour or two, to make up for my three mile day. I can also see 3 or 4 planets trailing behind the moon.

Should make Istanbul by April 15th if I keep up this pace. It does not matter how far I go as long as I am having fun, meeting people, and getting lots of exercise. Nice walkway along the beach through Alicante, lots of trees near the road, and a big castle up on the hill overlooking the town. A couple of Germans sitting outside a cafe me stopped me to talk a bit. Bought a nice fresh loaf of bread in a gas station with a bread oven right there behind the counter. Europeans are big on fresh bread.

Received a nice letter from Margarete Sherman of Lockport wishing me well and asking about the language barrier. I have been using a phrase book, and a lot of Europeans know 2 or 3 languages, since they get alot of tourists here. An E-mail from Betty Belschner asking me why I am doing this and if I will write a book. Basically I am doing this for fun, adventure, exercise, and a cheap way to travel. I wrote a book this summer by rewriting and adding stuff to my newspaper articles and writing extra chapters on things pertaining to my walk. Sent out some query letters to publishers, but they all came back as rejections, but I will keep trying.

Well, till next week. I am on the road headed north along the coast towards Valencia, Spain. Adios.

Sixth Week
12-12-97 to 12-18-97. San Juan de Alicante, Spain to Nules, Spain via Gandia, and Valencia. 148 miles, 21 per day average, 1049 total miles.

A nice British couple stopped to talk to me, and said that they had noticed my sign " I AM WALKING AROUND THE WORLD " on the front of my stroller. The most frequent question people ask me or want to know is what I am doing. So I figured that would be the best thing to have in front.

I usually wave to the British, as you can usually tell them apart, because they have their steering wheel on the right side instead of the left like everybody else. A British bicyclist stopped to talk, Davy Crocket is his name, king of the wild frontier he said. He biked down seven years ago and decided to stay. He lives in an old abandoned farmer's hut between the Autovia (Interstate Highway) and a shopping center. Older guy, maybe 70, told me a little about his life.

Found a nice old bridge in Altea to camp under. About 12 arches, 30 feet high and wide, with the river going through the middle two arches. One arch had 3 guys living under it, they had a fire going, and some beds, tables, and chairs set up. The next arch over had 4 hand or donkey carts stored under it. They probably used them to make a living picking up recyclable materials. Just like homeless people in the USA gather cans with grocery carts or bicycles.

As I get closer to Valencia, the land is used almost entirely for growing oranges. The hills are terraced more intensely than I have ever seen. Also saw a lot of rice fields right before coming into Valencia.

One saturday morning while having my coffee, I watched a little Donald Duck in spanish. I guess kids all over the world watch cartoons on saturday mornings if they can. On sunday over 200 bicyclists on training rides passed me by in groups of 5 to 20. I usually beep my horn and wave to them. None stopped to talk, but they were all going pretty fast.

Had to put new batteries in my Grundig short wave radio after 37 days. Much better than the little ear radio I had last year and keeps me in touch with world news better. Broke a shoelace, but found a shoe on the roadside with a good lace. Seems like I am always finding stuff on the roadside when I need something.

Picked up mail at the American Express Office in Valencia. Got a nice letter from Ms. Anderson in Big Water, Utah, whose class I visited before leaving Lake Powell. Also got an E-mail from "Polarxbear" wishing me Happy New Year and Merry Christmas. Which I think came from Rick and Scott Dimon in Newfane. Another E-mail from Bob Rooney asking if I have a computer and how do I get my e-mail. No computer with me, I like to keep it as simple as possible. My sister has been printing out my E-mail for me and mailing it to me. Have been looking for a computer store or internet cafe, but have not seen any yet.

Came down with something on the 17th. High fever, headache, diarrhea, soreness, and very tired. Slept late and took it easy all day, only made 16 miles and the last 3 were very hard. Wanted to make it to the next town so I could stay in a hotel and take a hot shower. Fever and chills all night, with strange dreams. Felt a little better in the morning but still weal. Walked about a half mile, but decided to go back to the hotel for another night. Might have to take the train to Barcelona and fly home if I do not get better soon. Tune in next week to see who shot J.R., oops! I mean whether I get better and continue my walk or stay sick and fly home.

Well, till next week. I am in bed in Nules sick.

Seventh Week
12-19-97 to 12-24-97. Nules, Spain to Olcott, NY on train, plane and bus. 1049 total miles in Europe on foot in 42 days, 25 miles per day average.

Still feeling pretty bad after three nights in a hotel. High fever, diarrhea, soreness and I lost some weight. Decided to fly home and recuperate. Not sure how long it will take me to get better and I will probably still be weak for a while. Dissapointed, but these things happen sometimes when you are traveling. You have to listen to you body and take a break to get better. I can come back next year and try again.

They would not let me on the regular train with my stroller. They wanted me to come back at 6PM for a special train, but then that train got cancelled. So I decided to dismantle my stroller, lash the wheels on the back and wrap my tent rainfly around it. I tied on some straps and wore it like a backpack. Not real comfortable but they let me on the next train to Barcelona. Went through all my gear and got rid of all the stuff I did not need. Got it down just to two stuff sacks I could carry in my hands and my stroller backpack.

Met a British mime in Barcelona who directed me to the hostel he was staying at. Stopped at a Pharmacy and described my symptoms to a pharmacist that spoke english. She was able to give me some medicine that helped stop my diahrea and made me feel a little bit better. Picked up my mail and a plane ticket home at the American Express office. Stayed three nights in Barcelona waiting for my flight home, still weak, but I was able to walk around a little and see some artists preforming on the street called La Rambla. Mimes, musicians, clowns, jugglers, painters, and various other artists vied for attention and money from the onlookers.

I had a good time in Europe until I got sick. Looking foward to going back next year and continue my walk. Not sure exactly what caused my sickness, either food, water, or somebody I had contact with. Next year I think I will switch to bottled water completly. I had been getting water at gas stations and cafes for 40 days with no problem.

Everybody was real nice, although I found it was mostly other travelers who talked to me the most. The locals did not seem to interested in me, one British couple said the Spanish probably thought I was loco to be walking across Europe.

I have never really been bothered by trouble. Life is a series of ups and downs and it is best to enjoy the ups and not worry too much about the downs. Sometimes you can learn important lessons from you troubles and hopefully not make the same mistakes again.

Got a nice letter from Kathleen Meyers of Newfane, asking me if I thought Europeans were more friendly or helpful than Americans. Americans were more friendly and helpful to me, but partly that was my fault because I was not fluent in their language and so was not able to communicate as much and ask for directions or explanations.

Some E-mail received from the Beresheski family of Ransomville and Bonnie from Olcott, both wishing me well on my walk. Some friends at Brian Head Ski Resort who I worked with last year also sent me a E-mail.

Well till next year when I restart my walk across Europe. I am headed back to Newfane NY to recuperate, then out to Brian Head Ski Resort in Utah to work for the rest of the winter, till my summer job at Bryce Canyon National Park starts.

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