Saturday, 15 August 2009

I feel like almost every time I start a blog, I have to apologise for how shit I have been at writing since my last post. I have been uncomfortable with this repetitiveness for a little while now and so whilst on my last road trip, possibly somewhere in the south of France, I decided that even if I couldn't get regular Internet access, I would still write a new post every day and then post the relevent sectins at my earliest opportunity.

Internet turned out to be a rare luxury, or perhaps I was just too lazy to find it, but either way I began to develop quite a back catalogue of blog posts just waiting for the chance to be set free. The trials and tribulations of Ceuse, being locked in an exclusive gentlemans club in Chamonix, and my first taste of my amazing new home cliffs in Austria were all in there, in glorious techni-emotive detail, but then disaster struck.

Perhaps such perfectly constructed prose was never meant to be read, or maybe I am just an incompetent idiot, but fate dealt a vicious blow and my words disappeared forever. Whilst moving and resizing the partitions on my laptop hard drive to make room for a new operating system, I accidentally formatted the drive to leave nothing but an empty space.

I did think about trying to re-write the posts,but somehow the the act felt like it would be trying to pull something back from the memories that were meant to stay just that. What I did decide to do was to write a few short articles about my summer vacations (because there is now more than one) that will be published along with photos on the Wild Country website over the next month or so.

Anyway, The last few weeks have been spent in Mallorca with Emily and a collection of other wonderful people. Firstly was Em's Father Bob and his partner Dale, who we accompanied on their boat for a weeks sailing on the south coast. Just when the relaxing, sun bathing, good food and wine started to become too much, it was time for the next leg of our trip to begin - DWS dirtbag style!

Well that was the plan, but we were kindly invited to stay with my friend Neus and her boyfriend Lorenz in there gorgeous apartment in Palma. I first met Neus almost 1 year ago on the Red Bull Psicobloc trip and we immediately clicked. Since the trip, she has opened up her own Tattoo Studio which allows her to practice her love of creative graphic design in a very interesting way, a love which is super evident when you take a look at the walls of her apartment. So if your are in Porto Pollenca, and feel like a Tattoo,stop in and say hi.

Neus and Lorenz were incredible hosts and really pulled out all the stops, even lending us a cool car to drive to the crags in. If I had a pound for every time I said this, I would be a moderately wealthy gent, but one of the best things about traveling is spending time with loads of different people, seeing how they look at the world and just enjoying time.

I hope that when friends come to stay with me, they will leave with the same feelings as I did after leaving Neus and Lorenz. But in leaving a situation, you inevitably move towards a new one, and we (now teamed up with Jo Staden) were heading towards a small and tranquil woodland near Cala sa Nau where we had leftout tent and other belongings a few days before.
Unfortunately, after a long and tiring day at the crag, on returning to the camp our tent was no longer there! Darkness and tiredness did not help with the confusion but I knew the one thing that needed to be done was give Em's brother Robin (who also happened to be on the island) the lift to his new hotel we had promised earlier. The time was approaching 10pm, and the journey should take around 2 hours, so Emily set off in the hire car (Nips) while Jo and I tried to find a place for us to doss for the night.

2 hours turned to 3, 3 turned to 4, and still there was no sign of Emily. My phone was out of battery so I couldn't call her and I began to get a little worried, feeling particularly helpless as all I could do was wait. At 2am, a little light walked into camp, carrying a big box of pizza,and all in the world was right again. Well, almost...

We still had no tent, and the paranoia about who or what took it made sleep difficult to find and short lived when you did. Waking a little after first light, we re-packed Nips with all our worldly belongings and headed off to find the breakfast and coffee we hoped would make us feel human again.

After a morning at Diablo, which was unproductive to say the least, we decided to cut our losses and drive to Robins hotel for a chilled afternoon and an early night, sleeping on his floor. With such a simple plan, its hard to imagine where things could go wrong but midnight found us wandering the streets of ???? slightly drunk and in search of a good time.

If we found them at all ,the good times were shortlived at best and soon domestic bliss came crashing down all around us. At first Em, Jo and I tried to be mediators, but as the hours passed by and light started to show on the horizon we grudgingly accepted defeat and went to sit in the car, just waiting for it all to be over. By 8am,things were still looking bleak, and with no sleep in the bank, we cut our losses and drove to S'Horta for our pre-arranged appointment with wonderful person number 5.

Like Neus, I had first met the legend that is Miguel on the Red Bull trip last year and I remember any time spent with him being both amusing and informative,and often ending in nakedness. I had caught up with miguel a few times already this trip,but this time he had arranged to meet us to try to track down our tent.

We arrived in S'horta at around 9.30am feeling similar to a lot of "mornings after the night before" back home but without any of the good memories. The sun was hot, and the shade cast by some trees over the town square looked very inviting so became our psudo-beds for the next hour. When Miguel arrived at 10.30, he had already been to the Guardia Civil and the Policia Local but neither knew anything. He then took us to speak to a boy scout camp that was fairly close to where we had pitched, but again, nothing.

With the hope of a logical explanation fading rapidly, it seemed almost certain that the tent had been stolen a day or so before we returned. Off again we trotted again to the Guardia to report it missing, and Miguel again came to the rescue, acting as translator between myself and the officer, as my Spanish is less than perfect to say the least. The process seemed to take an age, which was not helped by the re-curing nauseous feeling that insisted on rearing its ugly head at regular intervalsbut eventually we finished and headed off with Miguel to look at some of the islands bouldering and a few places he thought might be nice for Em and Jo to sleep.

After an amazing lunch in a very traditional Mallorcan restaurant, we organized the bomb site which was the back of Nips, and took a quick look at the picturesque bouldering area he had brought us to, in a pine forest overlooking the sea. The area was really peaceful, a perfect place for a chilled days climbing and a great place to sleep. Unfortunately my time in Mallorca had come to an end and I would soon be leaving Em and Jo to fend for themselves. After gathering my things there was just time for a quick kiss and a cuddle before Miguel's last good deed of the day in driving me to the airport.

Tonight I arrive in Innsbruck Austria which will most likely be my home for the next 6 months. During this time I hope to achieve many things, one of which will be to re-invent myself as a sport climber, or at least a sport climber of sorts. An improvement in my fitness would only be a good thing and would certainly help with the trad projects I have back in the UK for spring/summer 2010!

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