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Chapter Three

Sorry for the long wait, on to Chapter 3 :-)

So after all the excitement of the first two months, we then had 6 weeks of workshops.
So March was teaching in France, Germany, Belgium, then back to Wales for foundations camp.
So pretty much just the usual stuff here, we saw a few cool things on our way through each place, but nothing to shout about, oh except Bruges, that was one of the nicest cities I’ve ever been to, just so quaint and pretty, we could just walk about not having to do anything in particular as it was just a nice place to be.

Right, so after camp in Wales, around mid April we set off once again into Europe.
We a lot of long drives to get to the east, saw Slovakia and Hungary, then got down to Croatia, you’ll the details in the pictures.

Once we were in Croatia, I was really starting to feel like we were doing to much, the trip so far had been so much moving about, something new every day nearly, which at the time was exciting, but after 3 months of it I was really feeling like spending more time in one location.
So I had a look at our schedule, and thought if we want to see all that stuff in Eastern Europe then we’re going to have to drive 4 hours a day every day for the month, I was not in the mood for that! As I really wanted to get more into training as well.

So I thought we could just skip through all that, get to Greece and spend 6 weeks there, but I was unsure if Fran would be happy not seeing eastern Europe.
So that evening I told her my thoughts, she listened intently and as I got to the part where I said skip down and spend 6 weeks in Greece her face lit up with this huge smile!
6 weeks in Greece!!!!!! Are you serious!!!! YEAHHHH!!!!!

So it turned out she had been feeling the same way, oh that’s right the other reason I really wanted to get down to Greece was that we had had 3.5 months of cold weather, in Croatia it was snowing, and we really wanted to get to some heat, Fran even more so than me loves the hot weather.

So anyway, we thought we can come back another time in the future to see the east, and see it at its best in summer, then we set off the next day to get to Greece.

We still did a few things on our way down, as it was about a 20 hour drive from Croatia, but ultimately just did some long hours in the van to get to the warmth.

As we came further into the country both our moods got so much better, it felt more like we had just started the trip again, it was warm and sunny! At last!
Being able to stay outside to train in a t shirt, and dinners outside under the stars, this was what we had been waiting for!

So we saw a few amazing places on the mainland up in the north, then spent 4 days in Athens before getting on a ferry to an island called Kefalonia where we will spend nearly four weeks.
Been here for about 10 days so far, and it’s amazing! So many beautiful places to camp out for free on the beaches, you’re never really sure till you get to a place if you’ll be able to camp out for free, but here you’ll see in the pictures the amazing spots we’ve found!

We’re spending about 4 or 5 days at each place we find, as that’s about as much food and water as we can carry, so when we run out we move on to the next spot and stock up on the way.

This has made for loads of training time, some days I’d look at the clock and see it was 3pm, “wow have I been training for 5 hours?”

I’ve been doing a lot of my own training, not just martial arts but also other stuff, I’ve got my 5km run down to 24:08 now, so very pleased with that, and also my weight is down under 69kg now, so feeling very lean and fit.

The main thing I’m currently working on though is the Bagua Circular form, for my own training, but mainly working out better ways to teach it.
The Taiji form has always been taught so much more, so Dad had a much more refined way of breaking it down for beginners, but the Bagua has always been a bit less, watching Dad do Bagua, I would say it’s just as good as his Taiji, as to me it’s all the same stuff really, but when he teaches it, although it’s still very good, it’s just not as well thought out as the teaching in the Taiji.

So I’m going over and over it in my head working out the best ways to break down the movements to best serves the beginners learning it.
I’m going to keep working through this, using Fran as my dummy, then at the start of June I will put it all down into a new beginners series to replace the old MTG 4.

I’m actually very excited about it myself, as even me when I teach this form at workshops, I’m a bit like it can be done this way, but it can also be done this way, or this way.
So now I’m working out the perfect basic standard that people should be learning, just like Dad did with the Taiji form, this will then cause less confusion for people learning, and also those teaching it will be able to be clear and set on how it should be taught.

So yeah that’s what I’ve been up to over the last couple of months, and now roll on the pictures :-)

 Amazing Vegan Ice Creams in Munich :-) 
 

Found a hose! Perfect time to wash my hair, wasn't that pleasant, about 9 degrees and windy,
but I'd just got back from a run so was feeling hot.

Like I said before, Bruges is just so nice :-) But really expensive to eat out!
€18 for a Veggie Burger!

Luxembourg city wasn't that interesting, but we found these rocks north east of the city

Bastei in Germany


This was pretty cool, in Slovakia. They have made these little bridges and ladders 
going up through the gorge.


This is what Fran gets when she's hungry and has cold hands





Was perfectly safe....


This one was a bit wobbly as some bolts were loose


Budapest, 


Big vegan meal for dinner which we failed to finish


So we got to Croatia.....yeah it snowed...
I love the snow, but not when you're in the mood for heat and sun having just spend three months 
living in a van through winter


But then the lakes were still amazing! Even though it was very cold



Just passed through Bulgaria on our way to Greece, this Devetashka Cave was amazing!


Had some great Bagua circles in it


Fran taking a Bagua pose

Evening meal by the fire under the stars


Eating on the move


Amazing free camp spot

Meteora, this was pretty amazing, in northern Greece, 6 monasteries up on rock pillars.
We took two days to hike up and down each one, about 5 hours a day, really amazing area 

I found a friend

Another great free spot on our way down to Athens

Then we got to Athens.
Temple of Olympian Zeus

Roman Agora remains


Temple of Olympian Zeus


Parthenon

Temple of goddess Athena and Thoros

Vikos Gorge, the worlds deepest gorge! Really nice 4 hour hike down one end through the bottom
and back out the other end :-) This was up in Northern Greece.

Had to save a few tortoises from the road

More vegan awesomeness 


Fran found her favorite bread


Another gorgeous free camp stop, well........ At least it was till the sun started to set!
We were sitting outside having dinner, then Fran said "what's that sound?" We looked up
to find a giant swarm of flying ant type insects! They were coming right down over our heads!
So I held up the citronella lantern to them which held them back while we very quickly
got everything inside. Once inside we were looking out at all these bugs on the windows,
so when we needed to pee we had to be quick! 
Then all the frogs came out, now I love the sound of frogs, but wow they were loud! 
It was like they had a full PA system set up, I guess that's what we get for camping in 
their swamp :-)


Ok now onto the Island, this is where paradise starts! 
Look at that blue, we were camped right there on the beach, 26 degrees, gorgeous clear sea
to swim, mountains at the back to hike up each day, I was doing this twice every day, I'd fast
walk 4km to the top, then run back down and jump in the sea :-)


We mostly had the place to ourselves, as it's not near any populated area of the island

Every day I would look out to that blue and laugh, "Really? How is this so gorgeous!"

Then I got a little sunburned.... 


So we put up an extra shade cloth :-)


This was our second camp spot, even closer to the water :-)
And a nice large flat area behind the van for training.


Ok I'm getting up


Dinner outside with the moon rising up over the sea :-)


Mount Ainos! haha ;-) Highest point on the island, walked up here to get a
good view of the whole island.


Then we found a nice place for a swim

Well we'd better head off and seek out the next place to camp now :-)