Over the years that I took groups up to Anton Svartisdal’s small patch of heaven, recalls Bob Cranwell, we had some glorious hikes up to the glacier, and also up the side valley that led toward the pass into Blakkådalen, as well as nightly barbeques and campfire chit chat. Read more . .
I spent three months (actually a few days over – I overstayed my visa ! Yikes !), in the largest and emptiest state. I loved the expanses, the resourceful pioneer attitude, (yeah, aircon included) and the power and danger in the landscape. Ranging from endless forest to tundra, glaciers, isolated communities, abandoned dreams, survivalists and idealists, the state is wonderful to visit. Read more . .
Svartisdal, for Bob Cranwell, imbued a sense of place.
I was so lucky to learn this little part of history at a time when so much of it was still open to my enquiry. I was on my first trip of many driving a 10 metre bus on camping tours in Scandinavia. I’d started in Oslo, driven North through Sweden and a limb of Finland into Norway’s Finnmark.
Podcast version here;
When I first went to Magyarorszag – Hungary, just after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, I was taken aback by the impenetrable language, by the really ‘innocent’ charm of the people, and also the discovery of the beech clad hills of the northern borders remembers Bob Cranwell. Read more . .
Some corner of a foreign field that will be forever. . . . France ?
I’m feeling a bit out of my depth here, it must be admitted. I came down to Pondicherry last night on a bus with a driver who knew nothing but full throttle, recalls Bob Cranwell, so my arse and brain are almost entirely numb. Also 18 extra passengers crammed in the aisles, and I jest not, under some seats.
An evening in, drinking McDowell’s gin mixed with Limca, a sickly sweet fizzy lemon pop which is essential to mask the greasy taste of the gin. Ah, though, thought Bob Cranwell, not bad for 35 Rupees a half bottle (beer in hotels costs Rs30 a bottle). Normal soapy sort of taste; should do me two or three days. Tsk. Only, finding it was the problem – directions and distances being as pliable as they can be in India. Read more . .
“Our second day’s trek initially brought us very steeply downhill, our packs conspiring to push us ever faster down the sinuous path to the main river valley, which we then followed upriver, sometimes steeply, usually gradual climbing next to the glacial torrent thundering away on our left.
Just some of those things that you think you’ve forgot, but they’re some of those things you cannot (after Jimmy Durante), and sung badly by Bob Cranwell !
Legends of Madras, the heat and humidity sits like a weight on my already swimming head, driving me under the cooling blast of the fan day or night. The air is almost liquid, at 98% humidity. A first day in the city brought thoughts of Robert Clive and countless gentlemen officers and their demure ladies; I remember well how I looked in silent astonishment at their tombstones – often erected over them within weeks of arrival. Now, month later, I’ve become acclimatised to most aspects of India, but it still holds surprises.
Before your start reading this, I’d like to say a couple of things. This is a departure from the other pieces you can read about on the AE site in so far as it is not about actual events, the events portrayed are generalised to form a picture – Bob Cranwell
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