Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Haselünne, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Dulmen, Germany.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

February Expenses

Well, February was another expensive month, but we knew that it would be. And, it's all related to our Kilimanjaro climb at the beginning of the month. Otherwise, it was actually not bad!

Ruth's "bucket list item" has now been completed, and until we go see the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba (one of my bucket list items) we are done with that kind of extravagant discretionary spending. 

Beautiful views in all directions

Before we get into our beautiful hike yesterday, we need to tell you some good news!

I had mentioned a few days ago that Ruth's laptop wouldn't start up. Other than hearing the fan run, there was no screen, no nothing. She's been trying to start it up every couple of days just in the hopes that something might happen, but with no luck. 

Until yesterday morning.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

A guy died on Kilimanjaro this week

Just happened to notice this come up in my news feed. 

A bit of an odd story. This guy was a fairly famous adventurer in his home country of Poland. He kayaked across the Atlantic Ocean three different times, the last one when he was 71 years old.

So now, here he was at 74 years old climbing Kilimanjaro. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Getting our new motorhome ready

Of course we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we won't actually get to use our new motorhome for another couple of months (or more!), but that doesn't mean there aren't things going on in the background getting it ready for us.

While it's been sitting on the lot in Germany waiting for us since it arrived there in late November, we are now close enough to being able to use it that we don't want to leave things to the last minute. So we have authorized the dealership to go ahead with getting it ready for us.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The children are hilarious

Wednesday morning, we set out towards another viewpoint. The rain they had been calling for was now just clouds with the odd sunny break. Not the best conditions to go to an overlook, but we needed some exercise!

It's so easy to walk in this area. The dirt roads hardly have any vehicles on them, and when there is a vehicle, it's a motorcycle. Motorcycles are used as basic public transportation in Tanzania... you just hop on the back, and the driver takes you where ever you want to go.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Organizing our next stop

While we've thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and the hiking here in Lushoto area, two weeks is enough.

Our accommodation had been overall good, although a bit quirky. It's a very old house, and it needs a lot of work. There are quite a few critters living in the house along with us! And the "staff", while very friendly and helpful when we have questions, don't really seem to actually do very much. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Usambara Mountains - Do you need a guide?

We normally like to travel and explore on our own. But that's just us, and we realize that it seems like many (most?) people prefer to hire a guide. Here in Tanzania, it is definitely more common for visitors to hire a guide where ever they go. 

When I was doing research regarding hiking in the Usambara Mountains area where we are right now, most references were regarding guided trips. And sure, if you're going to do 3 to 5 day excursions, then it's probably best to have someone organize it for you.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Official change of plans

In December, we had booked our flight out of Tanzania for March 21st, with a destination of Dusseldorf, Germany. We had some faint hope of possibly being able to pick up our new motorhome at that time. Now, with only four weeks to go before our scheduled flight, we highly doubt that the entrance restrictions to Germany will be lifted by that time.

Our flight with KLM was fully flexible, with no change fees. So the only extra would be whatever the fare difference was to fly somewhere else. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

We got a little wet, but it's only water

We've had a good first week of weather since we arrived here in Lushoto on February 13th. Unfortunately, the second week isn't looking quite so good.

We had done a reasonable 12 km walk on Friday, and we would have taken Saturday as an off day, but with them calling for some rain on Sunday, and in fact every day for the next week, we figured we had better get out and do another decent walk before getting shut in due to rain.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Every time we turn a corner there is another beautiful view

"Do you know that you live in one of the most beautiful places in the world?"

That's the question I want to ask some of the people we bump into. Maybe they do know... for the most part, they are all smiling and happy!

The other day we met a young couple from Finland. He said they had been pretty much all over Tanzania, but they returned to Lushoto because it's the best place they found.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Both of our meals were delicious!

We've been scheduling our activities here so that every second day we go for a nice hike. The off days, we still get out, but just for a wander around town and to find something to eat.

We tried a new restaurant yesterday, and it's the best one yet. There are two other ones in town that get good reviews, but from what I've read they are both western style restaurants and with western style prices. One is actually a pizza joint... Momma Mia's! And it definitely caters to the visitors... most locals wouldn't be able to afford the place.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

We got caught... but we still had a good day!

We tried to get an earlier start on Wednesday and managed to get out of the house by about 9:30am. The real heat of the day seems to peak at about 2:00pm, so we were trying to get home before then. 

We were headed towards another trail that I had found on my maps.me app and it had mentioned both a cave and a viewpoint. Uphill every step of the way, but it was a fairly gradual incline until right at the end when there was a short steep section.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

If you are going to travel during these times

I've said it before... if you are going to travel during these times, you need to be flexible. Fortunately, we are totally flexible!

We have tickets to fly from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania through Amsterdam to Dusseldorf, Germany on March 21st. The plan when we booked them back in December was to pick up our new motorhome towards the end of March.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Beautiful scenery, and laptop problems!

Ruth turned on her laptop yesterday morning, and the screen was doing funny things. So she shut it down again and restarted it. Except this time, nothing happened. On closer inspection, you can hear the fan come on and off... but nothing happens on the screen. This laptop doesn't have an easily removable battery, other wise I would try taking out the battery and resetting things.

We have tried everything that we know how to do, but nothing changes. I'm afraid we won't be able to get it repaired until we make it to Europe. I'm sure there is somewhere in the big city of Dar es Salaam, but we weren't planning on being there until the end of our Tanzania trip anyhow.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Our first walk around the area. There is lots to see!

Our accommodation here had advertised free WiFi, but it turns out that's not entirely true. Yes, there is a WiFi signal in the house, but it's coming from a cellular router. Because there is no telephone line infrastructure, everything is done via cellular, including household internet. So our internet here is limited by the size of the bundle purchased. 

It's relatively cheap though, and I did offer to contribute to a larger package that will last us for our time here. So we should have no problem staying in touch with you.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Where we are staying for the next two weeks

Yesterday's post was a little late, so if you missed it you can read it here first...

https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2021/02/long-day-to-get-to-usambara-mountains.html

So, the taxi was bringing us along this dirt track that was not much wider than a walking path. I had seen pictures of the property, so I kind of knew what to expect, but from the looks of this path I wasn't sure we were heading in the right direction!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Long day to get to the Usambara Mountains

Unlike Turkey, Tanzania is not an easy country to navigate. 

Unless of course you pay the big dollars and get a tour company to do everything for you, which is the way most people visit Tanzania. Trying to do it on your own can be frustrating and is often more expensive than it should be anyhow.

So on Friday, we had gone downtown with our friend Justin to buy bus tickets from Arusha to Lushoto in the Usambara Mountains.

Friday, February 12, 2021

What's up next?

We've just been relaxing the past few days since our return from the top of Kilimanjaro. The weather here in Arusha hasn't been great. Rain on and off, and hard at times. So we've been doing some computer work and getting caught up on things from our almost a week away. And, we've been doing some planning to figure out what we're going to do next!

We are so close to Serengeti National Park. Just about any tourist who comes to Arusha is here because it's the set off point for safaris in the Serengeti. But apparently we are not "just anybody"...

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Kilimanjaro Day 6 - The final descent

Wow. We are a little overwhelmed by all the comments on yesterday's post. Thank you all so much.

You would think we would have slept like a rock on our final night after the marathon of hiking we had done the day before. And I think we did sleep well... until one of the nearby camps started making noise at about 3:30am.

We had wanted to get up early... but not that early! We still had an 11 km (6.8 mile) downhill hike to get to the exit gate where a van and a nice lunch would be waiting for us. But we still managed to toss and turn a bit until we finally got up around 6:00am.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Kilimanjaro Day 5 - Barafu Camp to the Uhuru Peak Summit 19,350' altitude

We were woken up at 11:30pm and fed a hot drink of ginger tea to warm us up a bit for our planned six hour hike in the darkness up to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro... Uhuru Peak, located at 5,895 meters (19,350 feet) altitude.

Why are we hiking in the dark? It's a common question, and there are actually a few reasons.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Kilimanjaro Day 4 - Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp 15,330' altitude

This is day 4 of our Mt. Kilimanjaro hike, and if you're just checking in with us now you may have missed day 1, day 2, and day 3. You really should read them first!

Because of the upcoming bad weather, it was going to be a long day. We were going to skip right by our originally planned stop at Karanga Camp, and continue on up the mountain to the Barafu Camp where we would spend the night at 4,673 meters (15,330 feet).

First thing we had to do was conquer Barranco Wall.

Kilimanjaro Day 3 - Shira Cave Camp to Barranco Camp 13,050' altitude

We were up at 6:30am again. A fairly big day ahead of us as we were going to hike up to Lava Tower at 4,630 meters (15,190 feet) in time for lunch, and then back down the other side to Barranco Camp at 3,976 meters (13,050 feet) over a total distance of 9.7 kms (6.0 miles). 

They made us a packed lunch, and we got going at about 8:10am.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Kilimanjaro Day 2 - Machame Camp to Shira Cave Camp 12,300' altitude

The guys got us up at 6:30am and we did some washing up and had a good breakfast. There was always hot water for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, and lots of fruit and millet porridge every day. I ate my fill, but I have to say that I would be happy to never see a bowl of millet porridge again. My mother used to make it when we were kids, and I didn't enjoy it then either! Then there would be some eggs and sausage and some kind of casava bread. The cook was well aware of Ruth's gluten free diet.

By 8:20am, we set off for a 5 km (3 mile) hike that would bring us up another 878 meters (3,000') in altitude.

21 Weirdest Ways To Make Money

 Are you looking for ways to make extra money to help you get by? Believe it or not, there are a lot of things you can do to generate income. As crazy as the following ideas may sound, they might work well for you. So, why not try these out:

Sell Jellyfish

It is unlikely for you to find someone who has a pet jellyfish as they certainly are not the cuddliest. However, there is a market for jellyfish, and they are quite costly. In fact, the cheapest one there runs around $330, including a small tank and some food good for three months.

Kilimanjaro Day 1 - Machame Gate to Machame Camp 9,300' altitude

Day 1 started at 7:00am in Arusha. We then had a two hour drive from Arusha to Moshi, and we stopped at several places to pick up either people or gear. There is a lot of logistics involved with getting two people to the top of Africa... and we had a total of 11 people helping us get there!

We had our two guides, Kobby and Shalali, our cook Martin, and eight porters carrying the gear and supplies needed for seven days and six nights on the mountain!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Ready for Kilimanjaro!

By the time most of you read this we will be well into our first day of hiking the highest mountain in Africa!

I am drinking a nice Kilimanjaro beer this evening as I write this. It will be the last one I have for a week! 

I want to tell you a little bit about the mountain and the route we are taking...

January Expenses - Ouch

Back in December when we were trying to figure out where to go next, the Tanzania option had one big negative. It would be the most expensive option.

And so while we knew that in advance, it's still difficult for a couple of normally frugal travelers to watch the numbers add up! But, it's only money, and you can't take it with you. Not really much point in having it if you don't spend it. Within reason, of course.