Week 8

Steady progress this week as our teams have clocked up another 361 miles between them, as of 6.00 pm on Sunday. that’s really great, bringing everyone that bit closer to our target of reaching the Jay Ambe hospital. It’s a solidarity visit to them, suffering as they are through the pandemic, a reconnection visit for us, since we couldn’t hold our annual clinic this year, and a practical work of support, as we’re raising money to fund Worlds Medicine’s work there and elsewhere.

A few landmark mileposts this week. The tigers have reached Brussels, and in fact they’re just outside the airport – makes me wonder if they’re going to do a runner and hop on a flight to overtake everyone…! Don’t do it! It’s not the winning, it’s the taking part! It’s not the destination, it’s the glory of the ride! Anyway, I’ve checked for you and there are no flights to India from there…! Having said that, though, it might be time for the tigers to call in a few favours and get friends and family to join the team – the snow leopards and wee monkeys have shamelessly done that and look at them fly!

Speaking of new team members we’re delighted to welcome Hannah Kate Downing who joined the snow leopards this morning. WELCOME! And thanks for being part of our Chaparda Challenge. We can’t give credit (yet) to Hannah Kate for the phenomenal progress of the snow leopards but she’s certainly joined a team that’s on fire! In the past week they’ve travelled from Liege in Belgium to not far from Koblenz in Germany.

Koblenz is one of those places that if you’ve never visited, you really have to – it’s the location of the photo at the top of the diary this week. It’s an ancient city, steeped in history. There are records of a fortification there as long ago as 1000 BC. Julius Caesar established a Roman garrison and built structures that exist to this day. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site because of its strategic position on the Rhine – all in all, not a bad place for those  snow leopards to paying a visit to!

beethoven-600x600jpgThe wee monkeys are also now in Germany, and also on the river Rhine, a few miles behind in the city of Bonn. Bonn is one of Germany’s oldest and most important cities. Until   reunification in 1990 it was the capital of West Germany. It’s the birthplace of none other than Ludwig van Beethoven – a place well worth a visit.

The peacocks are romping ever onwards. They’ve now left Austria, resisting the temptation to visit beautiful Bratislava in Slovenia (a bit too much of a detour, unfortunately) and instead they’re now in Hungary en-route to Budapest. I’m handing over to Emma for this part of the diary:

Budapest is probably one of my favourite cities. What not to love?, beautiful architecture, rich culture, exquisite thermal baths, good food and wine, friendly locals and a history that can’t fail to draw on your curiosity and empathy.

Budapest’s famous cathedral St.Stephen’s Basilica is right at the heart of the city, a magical construction ( and huge.. it can hold more than 8,500 people). It boasts a bell tower with the biggest bell in Hungary, 9 tonnes of iron in fact. It also holds the mummified hand of St. Stephen who was the first king of Hungary and was widely thought to be responsible for the conversion of the Magyars to Catholicism. It also holds the tomb of a Real Madrid player, Ferenc Puskas!!

My recommendation for a thermal bath would be the Gellert Baths, an art nouveau landmark since 1918. It’s beautiful inside..a bit like swimming in a cathedral!

Dinner? So many choices, fantastic bistros to fine dining….I have just read the menu for Babel Budapest.. looks amazing. Stand Etterem also exciting..

However, Niamh and I liked the food market near the Gellert baths best! Lots of breads, cheeses, fruits, smoked paprika sprinkled treats!

We may hang out here for some time in fact, and take in some culture at the opera house. Peacocks will blend in very nicely here!!!!

Thanks Emma! Feel free to spend a few days to let the others catch up a bit!! I’ll post some of Emma’s photo’s at the bottom of the diary as well.

So that’s it, another week of our Chaparda Challenge. As ever, keep talking to each other via the Whatsapp chat or on the Mission page when you post your miles. And if you feel inspired by Emma then why not add something to the diary? Everything welcomed!

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