Posts Tagged With: Wifi

Day 26: Cologne to Wesel

121 km – 193 climb, 367 down.

121 km and basically flat, so should not be a long day but! So much navigation today, there were 4 pages of navigation notes, both sides of the page.

We had breakfast with Maureen. Maureen was born in Ireland but has lived in Johannesburg most of her life, but is now in the process of moving to Portugal. This is Maureen’s TDA first ride. Maureen was a communications advisor, but is now retired and lives with her husband and two Labrador retrievers. Her husband doesn’t like touring.

There was pouring rain when we woke up, and it looked rainy, but apart from a few spots we managed to avoid it for the morning. There were a few places where it had clearly been pouring not long before.

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Monheim am Rhein

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Private garden patches on the outskirts of towns and cities

We went out of Cologne, first of all past the big Ford  factory (the number one employer in Cologne), then through the countryside and skirted through the outskirts of a couple of towns, and then had to go through Düsseldorf (which sounds like it should be a school house in a Harry Potter novel).

Düsseldorf is huge city, population bigger than the whole of NZ – 5.16 million. It took about 2 hours to get through the city and outskirts. This is where the 2017 Tour de France bike rides starts this Saturday.

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Düsseldorf city centre

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Düsseldorf city centre

The whole city is busy with preparations, the Main Street there was a row of tents going up. There were temporary over bridges over roads being constructed, and rows of group barrier fences waiting to be erected in the fields.

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Tour de France preparations underway for the Grand Depart from Düsseldorf

After Düsseldorf we were back in the country, then through a smaller city, Duisburg. At this stage the rain, which had been threatening all day, was looking more and more likely. By now we had done 80km, so at least we avoided the rain for two thirds of the ride. It poured for about 20 km, there was flooding on the road and we had to be really careful going through small towns with cobblestones. We got soaked, but luckily it was still about 17 degrees C.

As we were coming out of one of the towns a young brat on a bike rode straight into Brett and swerved at the last moment, then did the same thing to me.

We stayed at a great hotel called Welcome Hotel, we had a suite with a lounge, balcony, kitchen, bedroom and shower, and thankfully plenty of places to hang wet clothes. However there was terrible internet and I couldn’t get on.

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Welcome Hotel in Wesel.

Germany has two million refugees, the population in Germany is 81.41 million.

We have a really nice buffet dinner, high quality food which was really nice. I had some salmon and chicken and vegetables, and a selection of cheeses, plus sparkling water.

We had dinner with Peter and Catrina, John W, and Yvonne (Scott was feeling sick).  Henry Gold, the owner and founder of TDA, has come for a few days and we had a great chat with him after dinner about the South America ride.

When I got back to the my suite, I was really tired but I felt I needed to sit up in the lounge for awhile at least to enjoy the space.

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Restaurant artwork decorations

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Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 24: Koblenz to Cologne

108km, flat – the biggest climb today is a bridge

We had a problem with the flagging as we left the hotel and ended up going the wrong way, left and right along the river. Eventually we worked out that the flagging was wrong, ignored them, and headed straight, and then turned towards the river and picked it up further down on. We found out later that at least 10 of the other riders had the same problem.

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Crossing the Mosel River at Koblenz

Mostly today the riding was on bike paths, without a lot to see apart from fields, canals and the occasional village.

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Andenach

We went through one town with a lovely waterfront, so we stopped and took a couple of photos.

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Bad Breisig

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Bad Breisig

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Bad Breisig

Coming out of the town we went up and then under a railway pass, there were three young boys sitting on a bench. As we were looking for which way to go next, one of them pointed left. Given the amount of touring riders, he must have had to do that a few times in a short timeframe.

We went past an old house that was built in 3 sections, the earliest in the 1300.

As we went along the Rhine we had one cruise ship “Ms Emily Bronte” keeping up with us. I googled the ship name later and found she has only been sailing since Feb 17. 

Today we only saw a couple of castles, unlike the past two days.

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Boy on his bike on the river bike path.

When we got into Cologne, we found we had to go to another hotel to store our bikes, in Hotel Martin across the road. It was a huge hotel that had shops in the foyer.

The WIFI is hopeless, I can not log on and will probably have to find somewhere to send emails. Probably the number one frustration on a trip is if you can’t get WIFI. First world problem really.

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Arriving in Cologne

Brett and I went to have dinner at El Chango, the number one steak place on trip advisor in Cologne. It was pretty delicious. The steaks came in 200 gram to 500 gram with sauce, baked potatoes and vegetables.

To start we had a beer, which came in the smallest beer glasses I have ever seen. Apparently this is to keep the beer fresh. Then we had a nice Argentinian Malbec red.

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At the Argentinian Steakhouse

We are staying at Hotel Malzmuhle, which is apparently also a brewery but it is shut today. There are photos of Bill Clinton on the wall, apparently he stayed here.

When I got back from dinner thankfully I managed to log onto the internet, which was lucky as the next day there were still people who had not managed to log on.

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Riverside at Benthurm

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 79/164: Rest Day in Puno

Breakfast was included with the hotel stay and such joy when I got down to the restaurant: a toaster! 😀 😀 I have certainly missed being able to have toast. There was also butter but no grapefruit marmalade, so not quite perfect but pretty close. They did have some very nice honey and some pineapple jam.

As there is only one rest day I decided not to do the full day tour to the floating islands and planned to do a three hour one instead. I went down to the wharf, about two kilometres from the hotel, politely declining the numerous offers of rides in a tuk tuk.

The trip to see two islands is $20 sole, plus a $5 landing fee. You had to wait for the boat to have ten passengers before it would leave but that did not take long. The first mate was a boy aged about 8, who was in charge of the ropes and telling the passengers when they could go up to the top of the boat etc.

Boats that take tourists out to the floating Islands

Boats that take tourists out to the floating Islands

On the boat

On the boat

The trip out took about 30 minutes to the first island. We had an explanation of how the islands were made and what they ate (Editor’s note: I honestly have no idea what Kaye means by this . . . maybe the islands are like the one in Life of Pi?).

Then we were each taken to one of the individual’s houses to look inside, then that person took you to their market table to sell you either weaving, jewellery or small boats made out of the reeds. The islands surface was dry reeds – you would not like to see a fire!

View of the floating island, ground surface covered in dried reeds

View of the floating island, ground surface covered in dried reeds

Island people waiting to welcome us onto the floating island

Island people waiting to welcome us onto the floating island

Sitting with the one of the Island woman holding the wall hanging I bought

Sitting with the one of the island woman holding the wall hanging I bought

Enjoying the sunshine

Floating islands

Then we had to pay another ten sole to go on a traditional boat to the next island. The traditional boats are made of reeds also. This boat was not rowed however, it was pushed by a dingy with an outboard motor.

Boat being rowed not push by dingy

Boat being rowed not pushed by dingy

Editor's caption: Kaye looking too cool for school

Editor’s caption: Kaye looking too cool for school on the boat to a floating island

The next island was the chance to buy food and beverages at hugely inflated prices, twice that as on the mainland. The whole experience was a bit tacky and about milking every possible $ out of the tourist. The longer trips are a bit more of a real experience but overall I was happy with the trip. I got to go on a floating island on Lake Titicaca.

Kaye on the restaurant island (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Kaye on the restaurant island (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

View of Puno from boat

View of Puno from boat

After getting back to the mainland I had lunch then back to the hotel. The plan was to Skype with a couple of my children and catch up with the blog and emails. Once again problems with the wifi: too many riders crashing the system. I could not get Skype to connect! Again! Most frustrating and disappointing when you have limited access to wifi. One of the riders was telling me that you can also do a Skype like thing through Facebook that works better. Will have to look into it.

I ended up dozing off to sleep in the sun and woke up and it was dark.

Usually on rest days I still eat early but tonight it was after 7pm before I left the hotel. All the restaurants were packed. One had an hour long wait just to order. I managed to find a place that was not as busy but just in time, as it filled up within 5 minutes of getting there. I had a quick Pizza and headed back to the hotel to pack and try again with the Skype. There was an eclipse of the moon so watched that for a while. Very clear sky, so easy to see.

Looking at the rider’s whiteboard it looks like the next four days are going to be quite easy. Nothing over 83 kilometres, and nothing with climbing over 950 meters. We will still be at about 3,800 meters in altitude every day though. I am still having problems with asthma and altitude sickness, so a few easier days will be great.

No luck still with the skype :/. Into bed with my hot water bottle, it would be great if I could have one of these delivered to my tent every night.

Lake Titicaca

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 75/164: Rest Day Three in Cusco

I am having problems with the wifi, no doubt it is over loaded by all the riders. I was not able to log on much of the day. When I could, I could only get a connection in the hotel lobby and could not get Skype to connect at all. It is most frustrating when there are limited days you have access to wifi and then it does not work.

I am still having problems with breathing related to altitude and asthma, and my lip does not appear to healing quickly. I had quite a lazy day today catching up on the blog, as I had got a bit behind. At most of camps lately there have been only picnic chairs and no lighting. With quite long days I am not getting anything done on the blog before dinner, and then it is dark and cold so I am not inclined to do any in my tent.

I went to the bike shop that the mechanic Luiz said sells shimano bike parts. I have been having trouble with my left pedal with my foot suddenly shooting out for no reason, which could cause a nasty mishap. I have new pedals on my bike.

Apart from that I repackaged my bags, read a book, and not much else. I went back to the same restaurant for dinner as the first night here “The Incantra” and had a really nice pasta dish with anchovies, olives, fresh tomatoes sauce, and parmesan. It could have done with a bit of heat but otherwise delicious. The pasta was fresh, and I had a nice green salad, and a glass of red wine.

I am trying not to think about tomorrow: 158 kilometres at altitude, with 1,900 meters of climbing. Yesterday 30 kilometres was added to what was a 128 kilometre ride with less climbing, to take us on a dog leg through a sacred valley (called The Sacred Valley) and miss the traffic. We have a number of unwell riders with one or more of the following: gastro, chest infection, altitude issues, asthma. There is concern that we are being pushed too hard.

Editor’s note: I asked Mum if TDA have done this ride before and had so many people quit / sick etc, and she said that the last South American trip was much shorter and went the other way, and did not cover as many countries.

Town gate in Cusco

Town gate in Cusco

Old Church n Cusco

Old Church in Cusco

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 55/164: Rest Day in La Gramita

Although it is nice to be able to sleep in, I was awake as usual by 5 am. It was nice though, lying tucked up in bed listening to the surf, and knowing there was no desert or head wind to battle today.

We are used to eating breakfast at 6:00am, I thought the white board had said breakfast from 7:00am. But shock! horror! – when I got to the restaurant at 7am, it was shut up! I checked the whiteboard and it said 8:30am! One of the other riders had already checked the town a kilometre away and that was also all closed. So I sorted out some gear and went for a short walk along the beach. The hotel staff must have got sick  of having a bunch of riders either prowling around or standing with their noses pressed against the restaurant window as they opened up early at 8 am.

Breakfast was ok, rolls and a small plate of scrambled eggs. The tea so far has not been drinkable in Peru as  it has some sort of spice added to it. The other choice was instant coffee in warm milk or buying a plunger of coffee. Usually this would have been a simple choice but I only have $10 soles as I assumed wrongly where we were staying for the rest day would have a cash flow machine (also wrongly assumed there would be Wifi and power in the room). Luckily Jackie got a pot for us both.

Sadly Jackie is leaving in a couple of days, the day before we get to Lima. I will really miss her. After breakfast Jackie gave me the first option on stuff she was going to give away. I now have another sleeping bag inner which will help when it gets cold, a travel pillow, some more medications, and small bag for rest days.

There are no laundry options here, other than wash your stuff in the shower and them hang out to dry (there are no clothes lines, but I have a line and pegs). Luckily it has been only 3 riding days since the last rest day, and only 3 to the next rest day, so I just washed my bike riding stuff and strung out my line on the balcony.

Next I went for a walk along the beach to check out the town. I got some great photos of birds, including some pelicans.

Birds in La Gramite

Birds in La Gramita

Guano covered rocks with Pelicans

Guano covered rocks with Pelicans

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Editors note: I’m not sure this counts as a “Great photo of birds” . . . See below for a better example

A pelican in the bay (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A pelican in the bay (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Seabirds fishing in the shallow waves (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Seabirds fishing in the shallow waves (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The town is very small, there about 40 houses, a general shop, four restaurants and a small church.

View of the town from Las Aloas Hotel

View of the town from Las Aloas Hotel

Another view of the town in La Gramite

Another view of the town in La Gramita

The industry here is fishing. A number of boats are pulled up on the sand, as there is no wharf. A few boats come in and out. The fishermen row the boats in until they are close to shore, then they haul them up onto the beach. The birds all hover around expectantly, and the dogs lurk around when any new boat comes in.

Fishing boats in La Gramite

Fishing boats in La Gramita

Fishermen bringing in the boat in La Gramite

Fishermen bringing in the boat in La Gramita

Fishing boats on their way into shore

Fishing boats on their way into shore (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Fresh fish for lunch arriving

Fresh fish for lunch arriving (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

As Jackie is leaving in a few days, this is the last rest day she will be around for so we checked out the restaurant options for dinner. One place looks a better option than the others (one of them we discounted as an option as the lady told us there is no menu), and Jackie who speaks a bit of Spanish checked that the one we were interested in is open tonight, which they say they are.

As predicted there are no cash flow machines in town, and none of the restaurants take credit cards or American dollars – the ‘restaurants’ consist of a few plastic chairs and tables, on cracked concrete floors. Thankfully one of the other riders Rolf has offered to lend me money so I will be able to eat tonight 😀

While we were walking around the town we went past one shack, and 5 gorgeous little puppies, about 4-5 weeks old, came running out. They were delighted to see us and wanted to come with us. They looked quite well cared for, but they must have been bored as their mum was out an about – probably at the shore watching the incoming boats with hopeful interest. We ended up having to lure them back to the shack, push them inside, and run flat out to the corner and hide until they lost interest to get away from them.

Local residents just chilling in La Gramite

Local residents just chilling in La Gramita

Could this be a cousin of BenBen's? Looks like he is loathe to bathe too

Could this be a cousin of BenBen’s? Looks like he is loathe to bathe too

Before leaving the hotel I had put on swimming shorts and a top, and on the way back we stopped for a swim. The water was cold to get into, but once you were in it was ok. The waves were quite strong, and a couple of times I got spun around and around by them. However, as I do not know this beach I made sure I did not go out past where the water was over my head.

After we got back to the hotel Jackie found out that the owner was happy to change American dollars at a reasonable exchange rate. Yay I have money again! In Pacasmayo when I used the cash machine I did not notice the bit where I had to opt out of getting American dollars and pick soles, so I had a reasonable amount of American money.

I spent a bit of time with the usual repacking. I am going to trial only having one pannier, and having it behind my seat instead of two panniers one on each side. With the headwind we are having, and expect to have for weeks, anything that cuts down the wind resistance will be a bonus. However to do this I have to decide what is in and what is out, as currently both panniers are full. This takes quite a while, but eventually I get everything into one pannier.

The next problem I have is to fit the stuff that did not make the cut into the one pannier into one of my two bags. My permanent bag has lots of room but, I can only access it on rest days. My daily bag is so full it is a 5 minute struggle everyday to close it!

After this we set off into town for dinner. We got to the restaurant that had confirmed it was open till 8pm and it was just closing! Two of the other restaurants were also closing or closed. We couldn’t go back to our hotel for dinner as we had to notify them if we were eating there at lunchtime.

The lady who had the restaurant that had no menu was standing at her doorway smiling at us, making “come in” gestures, so in we went. There was still no menu so we confirmed we were happy to have what she was serving – the only other option being having nothing to eat.

It turned out to be one of the best fish meals we have had. The fish was really fresh and even the rice had a nice flavour. Also she must have missed out on the price fixing memo that the rest of the town and restaurants have been following, as it is less than half the price of the other places, and the beer instead of being $10, soles is $2. Also she was delighted to have us.

The whole time we were eating, a local dog was sitting to one side unobtrusively, watching hopefully. At the end of the meal I went to give him a piece of fish. As my hand went out from under the table a previously unnoticed cat reached up and gently but firmly removed the fish from my hand. This was watched with a resigned look by the dog. I did manage to break off another piece and throw it to him clear enough from the cat. We left a reasonable tip and happily headed off.

Walking back along the beach we were so pleased we had bought our headlights as there were crabs galore scuttling around everywhere. We had to walk carefully so as not to step on them. A few rear up and challenged us but mostly they quickly scurried away.

Crabs on the rocks at La Gramite

Crabs on the rocks at La Gramita

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 48/164: Pasabar to Chiclayo – 113km

Up 700 meters, down 775 meters.

Not such a good sleep last night – just because a weird bunch of Lycra clad cyclists go to bed at 7pm does not mean the locals do. Quite a lot of talking and laughing, thankfully I had the iPod and ears muffs!

The soccer field has overhead lights, and these were on for a while, and then came back on at 5am.

When one of the riders woke up it was so light they thought they had overslept. Being so close to the equator there is not much time from dark to light in the morning, and light to dark at night. So usually we are getting up in the dark and going to bed in the dark.

As I don’t have my keys to lose every day I instead play “hunt for my overhead light” – if only I would put it in the same place each day! If I forget until it is dark more challenge is added to this by having to crawl around inside the tent going through everything with the light from the cell phone. My aim from now on is to put it in my toilet bag every morning (which I plan to do as soon as I find it).

To add variety today we had a team challenge, we had to get into a team of 4 and guess how long it will take to ride 25 kilometres-ish (maybe slightly more or less) without knowing the road and how much of today’s 700 meters climb is in it. I am in a combined NZ/OZ team called the Anzac biscuits. You can over estimate your time, but if you underestimate you’re out, and it’s based on the time that the last rider in the team crosses the line.  Given that we don’t know the gradient we are cautious and overestimate based on the expected speed of the slowest rider in the team (me).

It is for fun and there is no prize, but some of the teams are deadly serious and are warming up and have stripped everything off their bike. I considered if I should take off my panniers, but I already spend a few minutes each day trying to close my daily bag so that’s not an option anyway.

There was less gradient than we expected so we come in under our time. Going up the hill to the end I was feeling the pressure, was huffing and puffing and pushing as fast as I could. My team could hear me behind them, thankfully no one in my team was yelling at me to hurry up.

One of the teams had a rider who is also not great on hills who thought he was going to throw up, and in another team one of the riders was screaming and yelling at his team. Anyone would have thought there was serious prize money at stake.

The AZAC biscuits: Peter and me from New Zealand, Jackie and Brett from Australia

The ANZAC biscuits: L-R: Brett and Jackie from Australia, Peter and me from New Zealand

With this behind me, I set off for the rest of the ride. There were some ruins along the way, pyramids in Tucane built out of sandstone, that I stopped to have a look at. I need to google some info about them as everything I have seen written was in Spanish.

Me in front of the pyramids

Me in front of the pyramids

The pre Incan pyramids (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The pre Incan pyramids (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Detail of the Pre Incan pyramid (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Detail of the Pre Incan pyramid (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The road is not good to ride on, the shoulder has numerous pot holes but the road has trucks, buses and Tuk Tuks everywhere. Even when you are on the shoulder they blare their horns at you. They are much more aggressive than Colombia and  Ecuador, with us and with each other. They are also less kind to animals, and there is a distressing amount of animal carnage at the roadside. Also distressing are the vultures feasting. I can just imagine vultures as the birds in the horror movie (called I think Birds). There is also rubbish everywhere again.

Because of the team challenge and the rest of the day not being a race day, most of the riders are riding in groups. The group I was with got stopped and questioned by the Policia – an interesting conversation when they did not speak English and none of us spoke Spanish. We showed them on our notes where we were going, they took photos of us and – we thought – drove off happily.

However about 5 kilometres up the road along came 3 Policia on motorcycles with their sirens going and one headed over to us. Once again a challenging conversation, and he did not seem very happy with us. We got an escort for the remaining 16 kilometres to camp. It was a bit scary as he seemed really grumpy and he had a gun. It was useful though in controlling the traffic, and he stopped the traffic at two intersections so we could go across. However we were very relieved when we got to camp to see Cristiano. We left Cristiano to deal with him and went thankfully inside the camp.

Cristiano said after being asked for his documentation and having his photo taken, the cop said he had been told to ensure we got safely to camp – by it turns out the cops in the car who had stopped us.

The place we are staying has rooms at a reasonable price so a lot of the riders got one. Nice to have a room to myself, and not have to pack up the tent in the morning, and be able to get dressed standing. As it turns out also thankfully to stop being savaged by bugs. I put two types of spray on for dinner and still got bitten. In the morning I got bitten through my bike shorts and riding top as well.

This place is meant to have wifi but like the place in Las Lomas I could not get onto it. So rather than get frustrated I decided to turn the iPad off. Hopefully the hotel for the rest day will have good wifi.

I am looking forward to the rest day. Even though the days have been shorter and not much climbing, I have never ridden 7 days in a row before, and the legs are getting weary.

Dinner was goat curry, couscous, coleslaw.

On the road today (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

On the road today (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 73: Pelayos de La Presa to Madrigal de la Vera – 108k

5,762km down: 463km to go Up 877 metres, down 1036

I slept quite badly last night, I guess I am not really a camper by nature, give me a room any day over a tent! Still I have not succumbed to getting a room and have tented every tenting day since Venice. I review this decision daily, I wavered a week ago after the really hard day but went off the idea when they said it would take three hours to get the room ready!

It was still totally dark at 7:30 this morning; we sat around eating breakfast with our headlights on. How different from the early days of the trip when you went to sleep in the sunlight and woke up in the sunlight!

We set off as soon as it got light. Nothing of great note today, the dry landscape was a bit stark, often fields were basically just dirt. Today was gradual climbs with some downhills.

The landscape

14k to town, hot and dry landscape, and riders

The campsite tonight looks quite nice, dirt to pitch the tents in but soft enough to get tent pegs into. The campsites have been a real mixture, from the fantastic, almost perfect campsite, to fairly basic. We have no idea day to day what the campsite will be like. Most have had Wifi (except in Italy) and all except two have either had a bar or at least sold beer. Today’s has Wifi and a bar, so I am sitting in the sun updating the blog, having a cold one, damn it’s a hard life!

Campsite at Alardos, in Madrigal de la Vera

When we got to camp one of the ladies who runs the camp was riding around on her electric assisted bike. We have joked over the tour at times, especially when on hills, about wanting to get one of these, so Daniel took to opportunity to have a ride, watched by his new friends – there are gnomes everywhere at this camp!

Daniel trying out the electric bike, with his new friends watching (he is going to ask Santa for one for Christmas)

It’s hard to believe but this time next week we will be riding into Lisbon! (Editors note: this blog was written on Tuesday 18th of September).

Categories: Cycling trip, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 51: Imperia to Cannes – 132k

4,119km down: 2,106km to go (2/3 of the way there!)

Another early start, we had a 130k to cycle, but it turned out to be 132k – I only mention it because the day was hard – 10 hours on the road and by 130k I was ready to give it up. One of the riders clearly felt worse as they gave it up in Nice and caught a train the rest of the way! There was no lunch truck as nowhere to park so we had taken a packed lunch, so he did not have the usual option of catching the lunch truck.

We travelled along the Ligurian coast (also known as the Italian Riveria) until we crossed into France, it is very very beautiful, I would not mind coming back here.

To start off with we were on SS1, after about 35k we stopped for coffee and a pastry, and spoke to a young lady (Luciana) from the flower shop next door. Luciana was really interested to hear about our bike trip and hopes one day to do one. We had another day of really pretty towns but of course now that it’s Monday, all of a sudden we were in rush hour traffic. One of the riders Scott said it was like being in a pin ball game and it was cars, scooters, walkers etc everywhere, it was crazy, mad traffic.

We crossed the border into France after 57k, and immediately the architecture changed and of course the signs as well.

Me and Brett at the border into France

We were on a mixture of the A8, D37, D35, D6908. We climbed quite a lot – over a 1,000 metres over the day, looking at the bays and yachts and the launches – millions of dollars in boats!

On the way to Cannes – a couple of dollars in boats

France

We had the option to take a small detour into Monaco, which seeming as it is another country we decided to take. We went 1k in and had lunch at a museum. However as we had not bought lunch at the museum we were not particularly welcome. First off we all got asked to stand up, and then we were asked to move completely from the property. We had taken a packed lunch of Vegemite and cheese buns (one of the riders had left his stash of Vegemite when he left in Venice so of course Brett and I swooped on it), I’m not sure our black toothed smiles covered in Vegemite helped the situation.

Monaco

Anyway at least we can say we had lunch in Monaco. After Monaco the next large town was Nice, and we were back into the pinball machine game again, thankfully we went through the outskirts and only spent about 10 minutes in the traffic. Amazing, there was a bike path that lasted about 22k.

In Nice, wearing the shirt that Chris and Dave gave me

The day was hilly and hot and seemed to go on and on. Just before Cannes there was a lovely little town, we thought it was Cannes until we kept riding and didn’t see any orange flags, and then to my horror we were out of town and climbing a hill again. Thankfully it was not much further and we came into Cannes, which was certainly nothing like the small town we had just left.

I got to the hotel and unpacked, it was too late for the laundry so it will have to wait until tomorrow as will the post box! I spent over 10 hours on the bike today, no wonder I’m stuffed.

I met Michele, John and Brett at 6:30pm for dinner, we went to a really nice seafood restaurant. After dinner we went for a walk along the beach, and paddled a little bit. I can’t believe how warm the sea is, and no wind!

We are staying at an Ibis hotel so we were fairly confident of it having air conditioning and Wifi and we were right, we have both.

The beaches from France until the town before Cannes were stony rather than sand, so I was happy to see sand reappearing in Cannes.

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Day 50: Genoa to Diano Marino, Imperia – 117k

3,987km down: 2,238km to go

I woke up in plenty of time to get ready and use the Wifi – or so I thought. First of all the lift was not working, it was showing on the control panel that it was on the 7th floor – um there is no 7th floor. Getting bags down from 4th floor was a bit of shambles with all the other riders also dragging their stuff down the fairly narrow steps. Then once again there was no Wifi.

The hotel had opened the restaurant early for us but I am not sure if anyone had told the waiter, he got quite stressed, at one stage when I went out to use the toilet I saw him wringing his hands and talking loudly to himself.

The convoy went well but it went for about 14k instead of 10k. A few kilometres after we got out of the convoy we started coming across these amazing beaches and towns, it was like miles and miles of Oriental Parade but with sun umbrellas and deck chairs. It was quite quiet to start off with as it was Sunday, but it certainly got busier later on. It seemed the whole world was heading to the beach!

Beaches on the way from Genoa

As I had not been able to use Wifi at the hotel I was looking for an Internet cafe to send emails. Then I saw a McDonalds sign and thought “Yes, they have Wifi”. We followed the signs to McDonalds and found it in the mall, but unfortunately unless you have an Italian sim card you can’t use the McDonalds Wifi. So I was still unable to send any emails or blog posts.

Outside of McDonalds with Esther, unable to get Wifi

We stopped at a cafe and had amazing pastries, and finally some drinkable coffee (so long as I remember to ask for no chocolate in it).The lunch truck had problems finding somewhere to park for lunch where we would be able to see it. Geergo did a great job, he had lines of orange tape plus safety vests hanging up, I saw it 2k away from a tunnel.

Taken from the Tour d’Afrique blog

It was really hot today again, not a cloud in the sky, the temperature was up to about 40 again. One thing I noted is all the Italians are so brown! It must be amazing to be able to rely on endless sunshine, little wind and blue, blue sea.

We stopped at the beach before going to the camp and had a cold drink and just sat for awhile watching people. The bar lady asked us about our bike numbers (it has the rider number and St Petersburg to Lisbon on it), she was so impressed that we had ridden thus far that she bought us out some food.

Beach we stopped at for a cold drink

We got to the camp and yay there is a pool, but unbelievable the pool shuts at 6:30pm and opens at 9:30am. By the time we had had dinner, put up our tents and walked up to the pool there was no one in it. As we can’t read Italian we did not see the closing hours that were on the sign, although I have to say we suspected something. But we dived in quickly and managed to get a three minute swim before we got chucked out. At least we got cool.

The camp site is the site of an old olive orchard, and the surface is really stony. It was quite a mission getting tent pegs in without them bending, plus if you move off the squab you are lying on rocks.

One again we have squat toilets and no toilet paper! Tonight there were no noisy Italians but a concert that went on to about midnight. But at least there was Wifi so I stayed up catching up on the blog for a bit. Tomorrow we ride into Cannes, with another rest day the next day, after only two riding days, so I will be able to catch up on sleep days!

Geergo joined us at the campsite up at the reception where we were catching up with our emails. We were talking about how one beer never seems to be enough, you need two and he told us a Hungarian saying:
1 beer is not enough
Having 2 beers is like having 1/2 a beer
Having 4 beers is like having 1 beer
1 beer is not enough.

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