Monday, 11 December 2017

Shrewsbury in winter, England

Hello fellas,

During the last couple of days, Shrewsbury and the surrounding areas have also got hit with large amounts of snow, just like many areas around Britain at the moment. This country is certainly unable to handle situations that come with winter let it only be a handful of snow and some ice, but hey, I am not here to complain about this problem now. 

The heavy snow has brought a new face to Shrewsbury that I have not experienced since I moved to the capital of Shropshire, so it was a given topic for me to carry out a little photography project in the town centre, in the close vicinity where I live. 

On Sunday the 10th December, it was literally snowing all day, so the first 1/3 of my photos show when the snow came down and how grey and dark the day looked. On Monday the 11th December then I woke up to an amazing, freezing cold (it was apparently around -5°C), along with crisp blue sky and fantastic sunshine. During the night, the snowing stopped, the temperature, however, carried on dropping and made the trees and buildings look just beautifully frosty. I do not want you to miss out on these, so enjoy the rest of my photos (including the Shrewsbury sign which I captured on Friday night when I was riding home from work).

~ Laszlo #thesignhunters

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© All photos were taken by Laszlo Bokor (2017). The Sign Hunters, all rights reserved.

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[Vlog #1] Market Drayton, England

Hi folks,

The 30th day of November of this glorious year was a very cold day, and it remained around the freezing point all day. But the weather was fantastic, blue sky, sunshine, there was no signs of clouds or chance for rain, so it was a perfect day for me to carry out a little sign hunting project, not far away from Shrewsbury where I live. My target was the relatively small market town called Market Drayton in Shropshire, England, simply because it was only an hour away on the bus and I had never been there before. 

It is a nice town, very English, it has some pretty, old, timber-framed buildings, and many many nice pubs - but all in all, it is not that very interesting (worth seeing it once). I, however, dedicate an entire blog post to Market Drayton because this sign hunting project marks a milestone in the life of our sign hunting activity: that was the first time when I documented the entire trip with a GoPro! It was more like a trial trip, so I could try out the camera in action and see how to work as a 'blogger'. Even though it was the first time I had ever done something like this, I think I did it well; but hey! Check my video out (only 7 minutes 23 seconds) and tell me what you think. I have also included some photos here, so at least it looks like I have got some proper content. 

Well, enjoy folks!
~ Laszlo #thesignhunters

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© All photos were taken by Laszlo Bokor (2017). All video footage recorded by Laszlo Bokor (2017). The Sign Hunters all rights reserved.

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Haukadalur-Thingvellir challenge, Iceland

Hello again, folks,

Time after time, we may all feel emotionally cracked; it is just part of our lives, and part of the everyday happenings that we need to deal with. That is how my journey to Iceland in 2014 began - during the summertime, I felt I was in an emotional whirlpool and I was becoming a grumpy old git. That is when one needs to act relatively quickly and a 'holiday' might be the only rational answer. I, however, hate commercial or average holidays or just trips in the regular, outdated sense. I am a sign hunter geographer and I need challenges in my life. So I planned myself one that suited me best.

The idea was to go away only for a few days and go somewhere that is isolated enough, away from people, away from the society, where I can be left on my own with my thoughts and my senses. Iceland seemed to be a good idea for this, and I was right. As a first thing though, I had to get to Haukadalur (which is about 60 miles/100 km from Reykjavík), the home of Geysír and other geothermal features which is one of the corners of the well-known and popular Golden Circle (Gullni hringurinn), so it was very easy to get on a bus from Reykjavík. From that spot then my challenge started: I carried out a 50-mile (about 80 km) walk sticking mostly to the unpaved roads marked F338 and 337, but I often tried to shortcut across deserted, rugged, mountainous, icy and well atmospheric Icelandic countryside. From Haukadalur (Hawk's valley in English), within a well limited 3 days, I had to get to Þingvellir (which lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian), where my bus was scheduled to take me back to Reykjavík. I had no much options other than successfully carrying out the challenge!

It was one of the hardest walks in my life without exaggerations. I love walking and I do a lot of walks, but I do not like rushing. I adore the slowest pace possible when I can just enjoy the beauty of nature, take photographs, and set the focus on myself. I see no point rushing things because that means you are rushing your life away. But Iceland made me sweat, it made me struggle, it made me cry because I had to put the speed up: first of all, I had to stick to a dirt road which was literally a dusty road: fine, volcanic sand - every time I took I step, my foot sank. Or, there were larger blocks of rocks that made the walk difficult. But out of all, secondly, the most significant struggle I had was to find water to drink! I assumed Iceland was an easy terrain to fill up my flask while on the way, but I was wrong. Since the road that I took was formed of eroded volcanic sand, hardly any surface water was detected. I was, however, lucky enough to spoon the water out of cracks and hollows of magmatic rocks. I also walked past a massive ice field (Langjökull) and I drank that white, sandy meltwater of Sandvatn. But in the end, even though I was hungry, thirsty, soaked, and with lots of blisters, I managed to get to Þingvellir and successfully completed the challenge. There were times when I literally cried on the way, but since this challenge was about strengthening my emotions, a little more sensitivity worked as the best medication. I returned home stronger and happy.

Sign-hunting-wise, I was lucky to find the Haukadalur sign, where my challenge actually started, but I did not see anything related to 
Þingvellir. However, when I was coming down on the road 337, I ended up in a small place called Laugarvatn where I also spent a night, and luckily this settlement had a sign!   

This was one of the most challenging and most memorable trips in my life and I look forward to doing similar things in the future. Look at my photos and tell me what you think!
~ Laszlo #thesignhunters

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© All photos were taken by Laszlo Bokor (2014). The Sign Hunters all rights reserved.

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