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Thread: In search of Father Jack.

  1. #417
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    Having hung up my riding boots for this trip I went out with the trainee priests on a visit to a cemetry, a Polish cemetry. Yes, I had to get them to repeat it, when I heard of it first. Let's do one of my famous, steps back, to WWll. Poland was invaded by both Germany and Russia in 1939 and a lot of Poles were taken into Russia and sent to Siberia. Later when Germany invaded Russia, the exiled Polish Prime Minister appealed to the Russians to release the deportees, and Russia agreed. They were transported in 1942 to the Caspian sea then, into Iran and onward to India. From India they were dispersed to East Africa and some were settled in Tanganika, now Tanzania. The largest settlement was here near Arusha and numbered over 4,000. They were mostly women and children and they lived here in camps for some years. Some of the houses they lived in are still standing and are being lived in by locals. The time in Siberia and the long journey weakened people and the death rate in the camp was quite high. We visited the walled graveyard, maintained by the Polish embassy and it was a sombre place.

    This piece of little known history had passed me by and the visit was enlightening. The map below shows the route taken from Siberia and this must have been quite an undertaking considering this was during a war. The graves are laid out neatly and well cared for. Some of the graves are naturally sprinkled by flower blossoms from the tree above. Lastly these two graves were particularly sad, as the dates show the two babies were born and died on the same day.

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  2. #418
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    Fantastic read Jim and a fitting conclusion for the bike well done. My wife and I got quite emotional over that and then you post about the Polish POWs - I’m going to have to pour myself another Guinness

  3. #419
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    Quote Originally Posted by gspod View Post
    Fantastic read Jim and a fitting conclusion for the bike well done. My wife and I got quite emotional over that and then you post about the Polish POWs - I’m going to have to pour myself another Guinness
    Thanks Aidan, I'm glad the emotion came across even through my amateur scribblings. The power of the feelings did surprise me. I think it was learning that Father Jack was valued in this community and remained in their memorym many decades later, that moved me so much. Its heartwarming to learn you and your wife were also moved and my eyes are watering a bit now.

    When I started writing these Ride Reports 12 years ago, they were very motorbike centred and a bit macho. I'd include lots of information about the bike and equipment, what the road was like and how I was riding. Writing as I thought an adventure bike rider should write. Latterly, though I still love riding, I've tried to focus more on the journey and the places I pass through. Not just describing the scene but how it impacts on me. As I've shared the link more widely outside the motorbike community, the readers have also changed. What I write now is not so macho and more in tune with my personality. Comments like yours encourage me to continue that practice in future.


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  4. #420
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    What a great journey with a fantastic and very fitting conclusion. It's great to think of your bike still there and being put to good use. The "not an adventure bike" has been on an epic adventure that will now carry on for years . I have loved reading your RR and look forward to the next one!

    Paul

  5. #421
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    I've really enjoyed reading this report. Thanks again for taking the time to share.

  6. #422
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    Thanks folks. Great to have interested readers. Makes the writing worthwhile.

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  7. #423
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    Before leaving Tanzania I had hoped to see some game and I'd heard the Ngorongoro Crater was a special place to view animals. After a hearing it may not be possible, I then got an offer from a safari guide to borrow a vehicle and take me there and he took his kids and friends kids along for the ride.

    The weather was overcast and not promising but we headed off. Its a few hours ride to the crater from Arusha, not helped by frequent police speed checks. The driver was stopped once and had to forfeit a gift to the officers involved. The crater is a natural phenomenon, and is 20km across and 600 metres deep. It is what is left of an ancient volcano, that blew its top, some time in ancient history. It now provides a unique contained environment for wildlife.

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  8. #424
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    Here's a few photos, of zebras, including some youngsters with brown stripes, the wildebeest also had young, lots of these Thompson's Gazelles and this chunkey Buffallo.

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  9. #425
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    Some striking birds too, a Pelican, roosting Yellow-billed Storks, a reflecting Avocet, a wet Secretary Bird, an African Sacret Ibis, a Kori Bustard, a Hildebrandt's Starling eating the crumbs from our lunch and a Grey Crowned Crane.

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  10. #426
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    This last little group has first a Jackal, a Warthog, a little family group of Baboons, this posing young male Lion and a male and female Lion working on securing the next generation.

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  11. #427
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    Superb photos,great to see thanks.

  12. #428
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    Brilliant ending to a fantastic trip! I may not ever get to see Africa, but by following trip reports from people like you and Simon, I will have some knowledge of the continent. Thank you.

    Phil

  13. #429
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    One thing I wanted to see before I left Tanzania was Kilimanjaro. I'd thought of riding the little bike from Arusha but the weather was poor and it was likley to be shrouded in cloud. My last chance was the taxi ride to the airport which passed close to the mountain. I got the driver to get closer to the mountsin and show me where it was and I took the photo below.

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  14. #430
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    When the plane took off I hoped I may get a view of the mountain from the right side of the plane but it headed east, which was disappointing but then it turned through 270 degrees and my hopes lifted, but the mountain was still covered in cloud. Then as we climbed, a window opened in the cloud and there the mountain was, in all its glory. My last view of Tanzania was pretty spectacular.

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  15. #431
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    What a fantastic shot,
    A fitting ending to an epic trip you did and for the trip reports you gave us all..
    Mike..

  16. #432
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    Thanks guys for those last comments. I thought the write-up could do with an updated map. This is the output from the Garmin Inreach Explorer tracker that I carried. It sends my location up to website every 10 minutes via the satellite network to create this map. It also has an SOS feature should I have needed it. This map started in Congo, Brazzaville where I bought the bike and covers my ride of 20,000km. The earlier part of the trip, from Congo, through Angola into Namibia, and in and out of Botswana, was covered in another RR(blog) which I shared with Simon before he headed north and returned to Europe.

    https://www.ukgser.com/forums/showth...e-Congo/page11

    Looking at the map now, it seems I used the teleport button on my tracker, to get from the Angola border down to the Etosha National Park

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