Visiting Sarajevo can’t help but invoke a deeper sort of emotion and feeling.
Souvenirs made out of bullets…
Every street corner, every bullet hole, every lined and rugged face tells a story of hard won freedom and acceptance.
The Eternal Flame in Sarajevo –a memorial to all military and civilian casualties of war.
Inscription translated to English on the Eternal Flame Monument in Sarajevo:
With Courage and the Jointly Spilled Blood of the Fighters of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian Brigades of the Glorious Yugoslav National Army; with the Joint Efforts and Sacrifices of Sarajevan Patriots
Serbs, Muslims and Croats on the 6th of April 1945 Sarajevo, the Capital City of the People’s Republic | of Bosnia and Herzegovina was liberated.
Eternal Glory and Gratitude to the Fallen Heroes of the liberation of Sarajevo and our Homeland,
On the First Anniversary of its Liberation–a Grateful Sarajevo
I am not religious or political. At least I do my best NOT to be…but I do believe in living this one life we have been privileged with to the best of our ability. I memorized Bible scriptures when I was younger, and the verse that still applies and I still try to live by today is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you–Luke 6:31”
This is recognized as the Golden Rule and I suppose many religions and holy books say something similar but how many of us forget and choose the selfish path or take our life of privilege for granted?
I AM PRIVILEGED–and I am reminded of that every single day when I wake up in a beautiful new location, in possibly a new country, living my dream…
viewpoint overlooking the entire city of Sarajevo
I know very few of us can just drop everything and travel and explore the world! I know many haven’t been out of their city’s borders, much less out of their country.
Walking the streets of Sarajevo and witnessing a protest for the freedom to marry despite differences in Ethnicity or Religion brought my taken for granted sense of privilege home to me…
Life isn’t fair…and by saying that I am not complaining…
It is a TRUTH I see everyday and while I don’t think I can do much to make life “more fair” for others…I hope this post reminds me/us of the things we can be grateful for. And I sincerely hope that perhaps by having this grateful and positive attitude we can be a positive influence in some way…
Despite Sarajevo (and the surrounding area) having a very recent troubled past the people we met are amazing…
They have rebuilt and are positive about their future and I ADMIRE their resilience.
Former glory: The 1984 Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge track now abandoned
I mentioned above that I don’t think little old me can do much to make the world a “more fair” or better place…
But I’m going to take that back…by being a tourist I think I was able to help in a small way.
Visiting these places and spending our vacations in less known locations like Bosnia, Serbia or Albania makes a difference!
I’m not an expert, but from what I’ve seen, tourism makes a tremendous impact on small economies like these.
Most of them are so happy to have foreigners visit and enjoy their country, their food, and their culture that they welcome us with open arms–which is something that can’t be said about tourist saturated locales nowadays…
Your 10 euros to purchase a cappuccino might not make much of a difference in downtown Zurich, but your 1.5euros in Sipovo, Bosnia certainly will.
Other impressions of Bosnia & Herzegovina:
They love MEAT so if you’re vegetarian be aware that they don’t have many options for you…
The roads are narrow, steep and challenging, especially in Sarajevo, and your GPS will lead you astray (or to a path with STAIRS!!)
Bosnian coffee is very similar to Turkish coffee so if you are addicted to the “Italian” style of coffee be warned that you might find it hard to find in the local grocery shops
Most towns in Bosnia are somewhat segregated such as: this town is Orthodox…this town is Muslim etc. Sarajevo is somewhat unique in that all the major religions are represented in fairly large numbers.
Bosnia gets COLD in winter and central heating is NOT readily available. We noticed woodpiles everywhere…even the apartment buildings were stocking up on wood…
Outside of Sarajevo, very few folks speak English so be prepared to communicate with lots of acting 😉
Our 2 Days in Serbia…
We didn’t get to see much of Serbia due to our plan of having a mini-vacation with family in Montenegro, but what we did see in the 2 days we were there was beautiful (watch our vlog on the bottom of this post!!)
Our 2 days in Serbia were spent in the ski town of Zlatibor (sadly no snow for skiing yet) and from there we did a bit of exploring to the surrounding areas.
I got all philosophical about our time in Bosnia so for Serbia I’m going straight into list format so this post doesn’t get too long..and my fingers don’t get so tired 😛
Impressions about Serbia:
Carry cash (Euros or Serbian Dinar) with you at all times–the ATMs are few and FAR between
Food is cheap, so if you don’t want to cook and buy groceries you won’t break the bank with eating out for all meals
Local Serbian wine is quite good so don’t get intimidated by the 2-3 euro price (I was worried to try it because it seemed so cheap!!)
Serbian roads are a bit better and less steep than those in Bosnia so enjoy…
This dessert cost less than 1 euro! Somewhere in Serbia!!
Too short to cook!! 😀 Eating out in Serbia was cheap but we still preferred our healthy home-cooked meals.
And to give you an idea of some of the sights and sounds you can experience in Bosnia and Serbia watch our vlog below 🙂
And here we are busy “blogging” and having lunch while in the ferry. We feel very good about our multi-tasking skills right about now ?
Adjusting to experiencing all 4 seasons in one day…
Sun was out, but the wind was cold so we are happy to fully dressed with our motorbike jackets on (on the ferry en-route to Norway)
The weather has been a rollercoaster ride in the land of the Vikings.
Sun, wind, rain and temperatures ranging from 5-20 degrees keeps us on our toes and playing dress up on an hourly basis.
We have learned that it’s better to pack clothes that can be used as layers, to be put on when cold, or taken off, when warmer. Shorts, blouses, or bulky thick sweaters are useless. Tank tops, t’shirts, turtle necks and fleeces piled on top of each other are much more convenient.
Took off all our jackets as the wind died down and we could enjoy the sun (temp about 16 degrees)
Thermal underwear is still good to have even though we are travelling Scandinavia during the “summer.” We’ll have to stop and get some as soon as we arrive in Norway.
We also have learned the hard way that shopping close to closing time is NOT a good idea. The shop attendants recommended some items that were not as well-fitting/weather proof as we would have preferred because they wanted us to buy as quickly as possible so they could close the shop. Fortunately, only a few items were bad choices, but still we have learned to not do this again.
First time camping with the Redverz Atacama motorbike tent…
Our investment in getting a Redverz Atacama Motorbike Tent has paid off. It is spacious (Stefan can stand comfortably in it) comfortable and warm. We just need some practice on putting it up.
According to the manual it’s supposed to take 1-5mins to put up. I think it took us about 20mins. We’ll film it the next time we put it up and see if we can do it in 5 ?
We also might need to get some longer stakes to make sure all the guy lines and the tent stay in place. So far, only two of our stakes were pulled up due to the rain making the ground soft and the strong wind blowing the tent up from off the ground, our current stakes work but we don’t want to wake up with our tent attempting to fly away so we’ll look into getting some longer ones…
Our other camping gear has also passed their first test…
Camping chairs –excellent buy!!!
Camping stove –works well (but we need a way to make a table to get it off the ground)
Camping dishes/pots and pans –so far so good
Sleeping bags –much better when zipped together to make a double sleeping bag. But since our sleeping bags are rated for only 10 degrees we’re gonna see if they work below that temperature. Our tent is supposed to be able withstand both hot and cold climates so with fingers crossed we’re ready to find out in Norway. ?
Camping Prices and Conveniences…
Camping is the most affordable option in Denmark. But in comparison to Thai prices, it is darn expensive. For 2,000thb you can get a decent hotel almost anywhere in Thailand. But in Denmark this will get you a camp spot near the electric post.
Just like a rented house or apartment you will need to pay by the meter how much electricity you use. You will also need to to have a card to pass into the camp grounds. Fortunately warm water and kitchen, toilet and shower facilities are included in the original camp site price.
We also learned you cannot have your engine running after 10pm at most organized campsites. So if you have a night out in town and then come back late to your campsite be prepared to roll your bike once you reach the gate.
I shall have to end this post here as I am finishing this outdoors (with freezing fingertips) trying to avail of the wifi from the locked reception 😛
Our Maxfit journey has been AWESOME!! We’ve met, trained and become friends with so many wonderful folks that we’re not sure how to say “Good Bye”…
We started out doing bootcamps in the park with 5-10 die-hards…Rain or Shine we were out doing push ups and burpees in the early hours of the morning and after sunset at night…
Humble beginnings at Benjasari Park
We then managed to move indoors at Fit Studio and we had some grand sessions there! We even had a bootcamp in the parking building across the street…running up and down those ramps and dodging cars that were not expecting 10-20 sweating folks jogging around and “squat-walking” across the empty spaces…
Sessions at Fit Studio before we got our own place!!
I really enjoyed those long early morning walks, after bootcamp, with good friends, Adam, Swanti, Karan and a few others who would walk with me all the way from Pleonchit back to Prompong where most of us lived…
We then got a bit more settled down and were able to open our bootcamps in the Capitol Club.
The Maxfit Family grew to up to 300 members at one time and we had groups of 30+ people doing crazy antics with us…
Crazy Big Bootcamps at the Capitol Club
Our stay at the Capitol Club wasn’t long but we forged a bond and when me moved to Sukhumvit Soi 31 we stayed together and had an opening party that raised over 100,000thb for Charity in a couple hours 😀
Yup, we transformed our gym in a Bollywood Palace for our Charity Event 😛
Raised 100,000thb from our Bollywood Party for our Launch Party at Sukhumvit Soi 31! Thanks to all who had a part!
After a few years of large group training Stefan & I decided that we wanted to focus on smaller groups and personal training. Our Maxfit family became a bit smaller but much tighter. Some of you we saw almost Every Day. It was Mi Casa Su Casa and we were privileged to be part of your everyday lives…
Madness At Maxfit in Sukhumvit Soi 31 😛
We LOOOOVE Planks and Burpees! 😛
We had a run of almost 4 Amazing years at Sukhumvit Soi 31 but due to the severe flooding in Sukhumvit 31 and the long commute so that we could continue training folks at Maxfit near Nichada, we moved our home and gym from Sukhumvit Soi 31 to Sukhumvit Soi 26.
Maxfit @ Nichada “Drones and Tires” Day
Smaller but loyal Maxfit Crew!
Anyone remember our crazy Nights Out with Maxfit??? 😛
Less expense, a smaller place to manage, which also suited our smaller group training better…
Our cute studio in Sukhumvit Soi 26…
It was also around this time that we had decided that it was time for us to put some action into our dream of traveling around the world on our motorbike and training folks online.
It’s amazing what can happen in less than a year!
In less than a year both our Maxfit locations were taken over by 2 awesome trainers.
Maxfit in Sukhumvit is now in the capable hands of Mr. Adam Mather and Maxfit continues on without us…
Maxfit in Nichada is now the capable hands of Joanna Brittingham and will be reborn as Das Power Haus…
That’s the Maxfit Story in a nutshell…
Another Epic Maxfit Night Out! Work Hard in the Gym…Play Hard at Night 😛
Thank you so much to those who have been with us from the very beginning! We couldn’t have done what we did without you all!
Thanks to those of you who trained with us, became our friends and gave us advice during the rough times.
Thanks to my parents, Paul & Sunny, who were there for us helping us set up & build parts our gym (3 locations in total)
Setting up our gym from scratch! That’s my Dad behind Stefan making sure our lines are level 😛
My cool parents who worked along side us during this awesome journey…
They also share our love of traveling on motorbikes!!
Thanks to my personal friends who came and trained with us and advertised Maxfit like crazy to help us get off the ground..you know who you are!! 😀 😀
It has been an honor and a pleasure getting to know you all!
To end this post, here’s a crazy video of our Zanook Water Park adventure. To those who couldn’t make it, perhaps we’ll see you about town before we leave…
Last week was the Thai New Year holiday, and yup, I guess it’s always “New Years” for someone, somewhere on our exciting planet.
Of all the New Year celebrations we’ve had the privilege to experience, we think the Thai New Year takes the cake. They do it all–parties, parades, fire works, drinking, dancing until the wee hours of the morning and then add a nationwide 3 day water fight on top!
Traditionally, Songkran was a 4 day ceremony dedicated to prayers for the new year, a visit to the temples, merit making and paying respects to the elderly.
There were traditional parades and festivals with water being thrown, but it certainly wasn’t what we associate Songkran with nowadays.
When I was younger, my parents, encouraged my siblings and I to respect Thai traditions. Though we weren’t Buddhists, we would visit the old folk’s home and ask for their blessing and we would give them much needed gifts like blankets or a treat like a movie with our projector and desserts.
The traditional way to ask for a blessing and show respects to the elders is to kneel beside them (it is important for the younger one’s head to be below the elder as a show of respect) and pour a small amount of scented water over their hands. They would then give a small blessing by splashing a small amount of of scented water over your head or shoulders.
But the water blessing has taken over and morphed into a fun and crazy holiday! Now Songkran is synonymous with raucous and extravagant water fights–which I must admit is really good fun. 😀
This is our last Songkran in Thailand for awhile and while we spent most of time staying at home and packing for our upcoming motorbike trip around the world, we did get out and join the biggest water fight/music festival organized by Pepsi called #PepsiS2O
Our good friend and client, Bassim, gave us some VIP tickets so we thought why not enjoy our last Songkran and party it out with a BANG!
Fun Fact: these wrist bands were chipped. We topped them up with credit and we could buy our food and drinks with just a scan of our wrist bands. We were quite impressed
Here are some pics and a video showing the fabulous stage they set up for the festival.
Little Shameless plug for Pepsi 😀
Stefan ordered a Bacardi and Pepsi…he was expecting a glass NOT a bucket…LOL!
Sorry for the mad filming…I guess we have some ways to learn 😛
While we were still dry…
Happy and Wet!! As VIPs we could have stayed in the “dry zone” but getting wet just seemed to look like so much fun!
For those of you reading this in Thailand…we hope you had a wonderful Songkran too! 😉
We shelled out quite a bit of dough and got our Redverz Atacama Motorcycle Expedition Tent. It’s even bigger and more spacious than we thought! Last night we set it up and today we spent a few hours checking out how it’d feel to be living it for a good amount of time. We even blew up our air mattresses and dug out our sleeping bags to make sure that everything fit in cozily. You can see how huge this tent is in our picture below. Stefan at 6ft+ can easily stand in it…
Here I am snug in my Coleman cocoon sleeping bag. Ok, I lasted in it for about 3mins as our sleeping bags are rated for 5 degree weather LOL!
Stefan standing easily in the motorbike “garage”. I can stand pretty much anywhere in the tent…
We couldn’t pin the tent out to it’s largest capacity, but it easily covers 3×4 meters. The front most compartment is where our motorbike panniers/gear will be stored. This allows for our “living” space to be completely mud/dirt free.
Massive and numerous ventilation openings so that it is also appropriate for hot weather. 3 pane linings for the windows and doors to block out insects, sand, cold and direct sun. It truly is an all season tent!
So that was our ONE STEP FORWARD…
Our TWO STEPS BACK experience has to do with our motorbike.
As you know from our previous post, our bike has been out of service for the past few months due to it needing a part that is currently out of stock.
We found a replacement for the part, while it is the correct part, the connection doesn’t quite fit on our bike as BMW has changed the shape of the gear shaft.
Fortunately, our awesome BMW mechanic (the owner of Tart Motorrad ) is a positive guy and he figured he could do something to get the part to fit on the gear shaft. The electronic connection was all good, as our bike happily turned on when connected to it, but it really was a situation of getting the slightly “wrong” puzzle piece to fit in the puzzle…
We put our bike in his garage in the late afternoon of the 11th of November and we were hoping he could work his magic on Saturday and that we could go for a ride on Sunday…
That was not meant to be. We got a call Saturday morning that a fire broke out in his garage late Friday night and that 8 BMW GS1200 were destroyed and that our baby was damaged… Luckily, no one was hurt as it was in the middle of the night.
OH MY GOD!! Seriously, if we kept our baby for one more weekend and didn’t insist on it going into the garage on Friday in hopes of riding out on Sunday we would have missed the entire accident!
We felt horrible for ourselves and our friend. He’s been awesome during this whole ordeal and is assuring us that he will take responsibility for the damage on our bike and that our baby will be the first he will repair. He will also take responsibility for the 8 destroyed bikes while waiting for the “slow as molasses” insurance claim to be sorted out. We really do hope that he can claim insurance soon!
One of the 8 totally destroyed bikes
Seems like our bike only sustained superficial damage. But we won’t know till it is run through a full and intensive diagnostic test. High heat could also damage electronics. We’ll post an update when we know the full extent of the damage…
So that’s where we are right now. We’ve had a string of bad luck and we’re hoping that we’ll have some better news soon…
We managed to not write anything for MORE THAN A MONTH…
Shame on us!!
But anyways here’s an update…
First Big News: HRM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the longest reigning monarch of the world, passed away on the 13th October 2016 and we’re currently in a 30 day mourning period in Thailand. This means we are all wearing black or dark clothes to show our respect to a really amazing King and Human being and also to the Thai people, many of whom are seriously saddened by his passing. Most Thais feel like they lost their father, guardian and protector.
Having lived in Thailand off and on for the past 10 years we both share in the sadness we see around us and we can’t help but show deep respect for the life of selflessness he lived.
Our poor baby won’t ride!! It’s been over 3 months now and we HAVEN’T BEEN ON A LONG RIDE anywhere…
We have an older model of the GS1200…
We’ve had many an adventure on it but a few months back we had a problem with our gear indicator. I guess the eager car washers here used a high pressure spray on it and got water into the potentiometer. It faithfully drove all the way home, but literally as soon as we drove into our garage our baby died. Anyone who has a GS1200 knows that if some little electronic thing doesn’t work, the whole bike just won’t start!!
We’ve been trying to order a new part to replace our broken one but we just found out…THEY ARE OUT OF STOCK TILL APRIL 2017!!!
Arrrrrrggggg, we can’t wait that long!! We’re desperate to go for a ride on our baby asap! So if you stumble across this blog post and you know of somewhere we can get second hand parts for a 2004 model of the GS1200 please feel free to contact us.
Here’s s a picture of the part we need just in case…
Since we can’t seem to find this much needed part, we might as well shop for other stuff for our upcoming adventure…right???
So, we figure we need a good all seasons, light weight tent specifically for motorbike travelers. We’ve set our eyes on the Redverz tent. What do you all think? It costs a pretty penny but we reckon that it might be worth it because it will be our home for possibly 50% of our travels…