Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Expedition England: Derby to Leicester

“I am not sure I want to marry a Punjabi” , the young girl said with a smile and added:  “Just remember to cover your head and take your shoes off when you enter the gurdwara.””

There´s no doubt you get a feeling of a place when you enter its borders. You know immediately if it will be a good or bad experience. As regards to Leicester, once we headed down the Golden Mile (The Curry Mile) there was no doubt that Leicester is the friendliest town so far on our walk. Anf that says quite a lot, because I have been very impressed with the friendliness along our route. The English are really a deceant, welcoming and friendly lot of people. At least at this part of the country. And Leicester the best so far!

There was such an eagerness and curiosity as regards to our journeywhen we walked down the Golden Mile, utterly worn out and tired, trying to figure out where we would end up for the night. The last few days have been demanding. Living like this, with no settled place and never knowing where we will spend the night, or the days, is just a life for a few. So far we are all doing very well. I actually love it! And there´s no doubt this applies to Dana as well. Georgia is really adjusting very well, trying to understand the fact, that this is a life 24/7 when one has to be ready all the time for something unexpected and new. I am really impressed by this Bolton lady!

Entering Leicester also meant that we entered a world of diversity and multiculturism. As you readers well known, I am all for that! And I am also 100% sure that the kindness and welcoming to Leicester all has to do with this fact. A diverse society is just not only much more interesting, it is also more kind and welcoming. The plan is to stay here for a couple of days and meet people and visit places of worship. Like a Sikh gurdwara. A hindu temple, and possibly, a mosque. If time allows. And if we know where we will end up. Right now we are staying at a cheap hostal style place south of the city, but it seems we cannot stay more than one night, so we will see. For me, I doesn´t really matter, I love this unpredictable life!

Dana is learning loads. She is really a trooper and almost always in a good mood and happy. And she is such a copy cat and she needs to do all things herself. That is why she burned her feet on the gas stove yesterday, she wasn´t happy, but didn´t cry for long. She also found a businees card lying around in Derby, which she tried to use and withdraw cash at a cashpoint! Sleep, however, is irregular and she is snoozing away next to me here, early morning. Walls are thin and the construction workers staying here, woke up at 5.30. I love her so much!

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The walk has been demanding since Derby, mainly due to the heat, but to a degree because we are still finding our ways, which routes to choose to meet people. But it is getting more clear by the day, that small off roads and country lanes are to be preferred even as regards to this need. These are very windy though and adds on miles to tired legs. But such is life. And avoiding this heavy, heavy traffic is a blessing in itself.

Since leaving my old friend Jeremy and his great mixed family in Derby, we have met a lot of interesting people along the road. As for example a 94 year old farmer, so full of kindness and wisdom. It was like moving back 50 years in time. The only problem up until now has been the English women who avoid the camera like the plague, often worried about their hair or lack of cosmetics and it seems they have nothing to say. At least until we arrived to Leicester. Yestrday 4 spoke to us in confidence with charisma! I am not too impressed by the English ladies. They seem incredible controlled, shy and free of any opinions or chairsma. Please prove me I am wrong. Fortunately Georgia is a goldmine and really good on camera, charismatic and she has very honest and clear opinions. A perfect partner on this journey!

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We figured out the camera problem in Derby. I had been sold too good and professional microphone cables by these geezer in Manchester. Too good for my little camera, the xa 10. Even if I explained to him what type of mike and camera I had, he still preffered to make money on me, fool me and put my documentary in danger. It isn´t the first time this happens in the UK, it has become so incredibly commercial and so full of dirty actors out there, with one wish only, to make money. And more money. Quality and servicemindedness is obviously not important. I had no idea this fine country has become so incredibly americanized. A very sad development I think. This is also an attitude we have come across many people we have met, many worry for the fast growing commercialism of England. For the worse. (Great thanks to Anders Nordgren at Scandinavian Photo for helping me out!)

Finally, to understand England and the UK, one just have to understand this overwhelming amount of people living on this little island. I can understand why it is as run down in some parts as it is. And I think they´re generally doing very well, the English, keeping it all together the way they do. I am realizing it is hard to kind of travelling with a Scandinavian hat on and have opinions as a Swede and Scandinavian, but in quite many circumstances, one cannot apply one´sobeservation on the English society, mainly due to the overpopulation.

*Keep track on our route at http://punkt.luxson.com/daddyadventurer/

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