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    Archive for the ‘Nicolai’ Category

    Day 1.366 – A Night With The Homeless (UK)

    Monday, January 4th, 2010

    Limoges -> Guéret
    Distance (km) : 87
    Time on bike : 5h 56m
    Brutto time: 09.45 – 17.15
    Avg : 14.7 km/h
    Max.speed: 46.6
    Total (km) : 60.439
    Altitude: 550 m
    Difficulty: 4

    It’s looks gloomy, white, and cold as I look out the window this morning in Will’s apartment. I have zero desire to cycle today. The weather forecast says it ain’t getting warmer anytime soon, so I can’t really come up with any reasonable excuse for not hitting the road. Will’s company would be one, and we sure have spent some wonderful time together here in Limoges, but all good things come to an end.

    Countryside outside of Limoges, central France.

    Two weeks have gone since I was on the bike last time, and this chilly morning isn’t the best of reunions. It takes some inner pep-talk to get going.

    Saint-Leonard de Noblat, France.

    The temperature hovers around minus 2-minus 3 degrees Celsius all day. The terrain is frustratingly undulating (and snowcovered), and minor ridges rise to around 600m (from the surrounding approx. 350-400m).

    Saint-Leonard de Noblat, France.

    After nearly 6 hours of winter cycling, I arrive in Gueret. The snow has started falling again. In a local supermarket my body temperature drops rapidly, and the tiny bells of panic start ringing inside of me. I cross the town and find two hotels – both totally out of my “fiscal” range at 69 and 89 Euros – and don’t really know what to do at this point. Camping is not really an option, considering my body that shakes like a dog and the fact that the ground is covered in 15 cm of snow.

    Back in town I follow some signs saying something with “jeunesse” (youth) and try my luck. The lady in the youth centre can’t help me, but asks me to go next door and talk to the guys there. So I do.
    And this was my lucky strike. In French/English I explain my situation to the two men present, and shortly after I’m told to follow one of the guys (in his car, me on the bike). I have absolutely no idea what’s going on or where I’m going, but my instincts tell me it’s going to be good.

    Winterscape east of Limoges, France.

    Near the train station we arrive at the Asile du Nuit (Night Asylum, sort of) where I get my own little (and more importantly, warm!) room. The caretaker tells me that dinner’s before 8PM and that I have to leave the room tomorrow morning before 8AM. I find that a trifle on the early side, but don’t complain as I feel I’ve just been saved from freezing my ass off. As usual, I ask for the price, hoping this Spartan room will be significantly cheaper than the 69 Euro hotel room I’d just checked out.

    Zero! says the man, grinning. You’re lucky, my friend, he says, and then goes on to explain that this is a place for homeless people, the guys begging in the streets etc. I suddenly get it! It’s another “first of” for me, sleeping in a home for homeless.

    My room at the home for homeless people in Gueret, France.

    Soon the other 5 “residents” arrive, 40% of them with dogs (one girl, four men), and I recognize the smell of alcoholism. I don’t (can’t) talk much to them as we all sit at the table having dinner (micro-waved canned stuff, the things I usually eat, basically) and coffee. Personally, it’s a very interesting evening for me, a mini-anthropological study among people you don’t often get close to.

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    Day 1.365 – Back to France

    Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

    Skating rink in Brussels...

    Winter's back in Limoges...

    Winter's back in Limoges...

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    Day 1.364 – Au Revoir! (UK)

    Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

    Having spent the last week here in Brussels with Pablo has been a bliss. As expected. Nothing less – and despite my untimely sick leave. So much laughter, so much fun, so much understanding, and how lucky we are to have best friends.

    Pablo leaving me and Brussels...

    It’s really made me look forward getting back to Denmark and my loved ones.

    Thanks for popping in, Pabs…

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    Day 1.363 – 01012010 (UK)

    Friday, January 1st, 2010

    Fever’s gone when I wake up. Just like 2009. Hallelujah 2010!

    Dinner with Pablo. 01012010.

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    Day 1.362 – Sick, Solo & Sober (UK)

    Thursday, December 31st, 2009

    I don’t recall having been sick at all in 2009.

    Today, on the very last day of the year, was unfortunately my time. As if the Gods of Justice just realized this, and then decided to drop this untimely flu on my back. Evidently, they didn’t want to let me go for a whole year without any sick leave, with all due respect to the millions of souls around the world who’ve been less fortunate health-wise in 2009. It’s the worst timing ever, but there’s nothing I can do. Gallons of honey-sweetened camomile tea with fresh lemon, gigantic cat naps, being warm and toasty all day…Nothing seemed to do the trick, and after such a wonderful 2009, this end is hard for me to take…

    This is how I spent most of the last day of 2009...

    Looking left from the apartment on the 4th floor, at about 00:00 01.01.2010. Brussels, Belgium.

    View from apartment at 00:00 01.01.2010. Brussels, Belgium.

    We had it all planned, Pablo and I. Private dinner party, followed by a huge NYE party downtown. My fever has been fading slowly all day, but I never recover enough for the party. I encourage Pabs to go to the party nonetheless, to party like a viking for the two of us. And my friend can do just that. :-)

    Looking right from the apartment on the 4th floor, at about 00:00 01.01.2010. Brussels, Belgium.

    View from apartment at 00:00 01.01.2010. Brussels, Belgium.

    Last year, on NYE 2008-2009, I was in Cuenca, Ecuador I had no-one around partying with, didn’t feel like partying, and went to bed before midnight and was dreaming when 2009 replaced 2008.

    This year, I just made it past midnight.

    A different way of spending NYE: Solo, sick, and sober.

    A different way of spending NYE: Solo, sick, and sober.

    Wherever you are on this wonderful Planet:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR

    (or – as you might prefer:

    AFRIKAANS gelukkige nuwejaar / voorspoedige nuwejaar
    ALBANIAN Gëzuar vitin e ri
    ALSATIAN e glëckliches nëies / güets nëies johr
    ARABIC عام سعيد (aam saiid) / sana saiida
    ARMENIAN shnorhavor nor tari
    AZERI yeni iliniz mubarek
    BAMBARA aw ni san’kura / bonne année
    BASQUE urte berri on
    BELARUSIAN З новым годам (Z novym hodam)
    BENGALI subho nababarsho
    BERBER asgwas amegas
    BETI mbembe mbu
    BOBO bonne année
    BOSNIAN sretna nova godina
    BRETON bloavezh mat / bloavez mad
    BULGARIAN честита нова година (chestita nova godina)
    BURMESE hnit thit ku mingalar pa
    CANTONESE sun lin fi lok / kung hé fat tsoi
    CATALAN bon any nou
    CHINESE xin nian kuai le / xin nian hao
    CORSICAN pace e salute
    CROATIAN sretna nova godina
    CZECH šťastný nový rok
    DANISH godt nytår
    DARI sale naw tabrik
    DUALA mbu mwa bwam
    DUTCH gelukkig Nieuwjaar
    ENGLISH happy new year
    ESPERANTO feliĉan novan jaron
    ESTONIAN head uut aastat
    FAROESE gott nýggjár
    FINNISH onnellista uutta vuotta
    FLEMISH gelukkig Nieuwjaar
    FRENCH bonne année
    FRISIAN lokkich neijier
    FRIULAN bon an
    GALICIAN feliz aninovo
    GEORGIAN გილოცავთ ახალ წელს (gilocavt akhal tsels)
    GERMAN ein gutes neues Jahr / prost Neujahr
    GREEK kali chronia / kali xronia
    GUJARATI sal mubarak / nootan varshabhinandan
    GUARANÍ rogüerohory año nuévo-re
    HAWAIIAN hauoli makahiki hou
    HEBREW שנה טובה (shana tova)
    HINDI nav varsh ki subhkamna
    HMONG nyob zoo xyoo tshiab
    HUNGARIAN boldog új évet
    ICELANDIC farsælt komandi ár
    INDONESIAN selamat tahun baru
    IRISH GAELIC ath bhliain faoi mhaise
    ITALIAN felice anno nuovo, buon anno
    JAVANESE sugeng warsa enggal
    JAPANESE akemashite omedetô
    KABYLIAN asseggas ameggaz
    KANNADA hosa varshada shubhaashayagalu
    KAZAKH zhana zhiliniz kutti bolsin
    KHMER sur sdei chhnam thmei
    KIRUNDI umwaka mwiza
    KOREAN seh heh bok mani bat uh seyo
    KURDE sala we ya nû pîroz be
    LAO sabai di pi mai
    LATIN felix sit annus novus
    LATVIAN laimīgu Jauno gadu
    LIGURIAN feliçe annu nœvu / feliçe anno nêuvo
    LINGALA bonana / mbula ya sika elamu na tonbeli yo
    LITHUANIAN laimingų Naujųjų Metų
    LOW SAXON gelükkig nyjaar
    LUXEMBOURGEOIS e gudd neit Joër
    MACEDONIAN Среќна Нова Година (srekna nova godina)
    MALAGASY arahaba tratry ny taona
    MALAY selamat tahun baru
    MALAYALAM nava varsha ashamshagal
    MALTESE is-sena t-tajba
    MANGAREVAN kia porotu te ano ou
    MAORI kia hari te tau hou
    MARATHI navin varshaachya hardik shubbheccha
    MOHAWK ose:rase
    MONGOLIAN shine jiliin bayariin mend hurgeye (Шинэ жилийн баярын мэнд хvргэе)
    MORÉ wênd na kô-d yuum-songo
    NDEBELE umyaka omucha omuhle
    NORWEGIAN godt nyttår
    OCCITAN bon annada
    ORIYA subha nababarsa
    PASHTO nawe kaalmo mobarak sha
    PERSIAN سال نو مبارک (sâle no mobârak)
    POLISH szczęśliwego nowego roku
    PORTUGUESE feliz ano novo
    PUNJABI ਨਵੇਂ ਸਾਲ ਦੀਆਂ ਵਧਾਈਆਂ (nave saal deeyan vadhaiyaan)
    ROMANCHE bun di bun onn
    ROMANI baxtalo nevo bersh
    ROMANIAN un an nou fericit / la mulţi ani
    RUSSIAN С Новым Годом (S novim godom)
    SAMOAN ia manuia le tausaga fou
    SANGO nzoni fini ngou
    SARDINIAN bonu annu nou
    SERBIAN srećna nova godina / Срећна нова година
    SHIMAORE mwaha mwema
    SHONA goredzva rakanaka
    SINDHI nain saal joon wadhayoon
    SINHALA suba aluth avuruddak vewa
    SLOVAK šťastný nový rok
    SLOVENIAN srečno novo leto
    SOBOTA dobir leto
    SOMALI sanad wanagsan
    SPANISH feliz año nuevo
    SRANAN wan bun nyun yari
    SWAHILI mwaka mzuri / heri ya mwaka mpya
    SWEDISH gott nytt år
    SWISS-GERMAN es guets Nöis
    TAGALOG manigong bagong taon
    TAHITIAN ia orana i te matahiti api
    TAMAZIGHT assugas amegaz
    TAMIL iniya puthandu nalVazhthukkal
    TATAR yaña yıl belän
    TELUGU నూతన సంవత్శర శుభాకాంక్షలు (nuthana samvathsara subhakankshalu)
    THAI สวัสดีปีใหม่ (sawatdii pimaï)
    TIBETAN tashi delek / losar tashi delek
    TSHILUBA tshidimu tshilenga
    TSWANA itumelele ngwaga o mosha
    TULU posa varshada shubashaya
    TURKISH yeni yiliniz kutlu olsun
    TWENTS gluk in’n tuk
    UDMURT Vyľ Aren
    UKRAINIAN Z novym rokom
    URDU naya saal mubarik
    UZBEK yangi yilingiz qutlug’ bo’lsin
    VIETNAMESE Chúc Mừng Nǎm Mới / Cung Chúc Tân Niên / Cung Chúc Tân Xuân
    WALOON bone annéye / bone annéye èt bone santéye
    WELSH blwyddyn newydd dda
    WOLOF dewenati
    YIDDISH a gut yohr)

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    Day 1.361 – Gent – The Raincovered Jewel (photos)

    Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

    Gent, Belgium.

    Lunch in Gent with Pablo...

    Gent, Belgium.

    Gent, Belgium.

    Rain in Gent...

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    Day 1.360 – St. Michael & St. Gudula (photos)

    Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

    St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels.

    St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels.

    St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels.

    St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels.

    Pabs eating Vietnamese in Brussels

    Mojitos, prepared by Pablo.

    Dinner in Brussels...

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    Day 1.359 – Balletjes In Tomatensaus

    Monday, December 28th, 2009

    Brekkie with Pablo in Brussels.

    Roy d'Espagne, Grand Place. Brussels

    Manneken Pis...

    He's a popular fella', this Manneken Pis Boy...

    Grand Place, Brussels.

    Post-Xmas strolling in Brussels.

    Pablo and I eating Indian in Brussels.

    Balletjes in tomatensaus, Chef Toon Style. Delicioso!

    Balletjes in tomatensaus, Chef Toon Style. Delicioso!

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    Day 1.358 – Tour de Brussels

    Sunday, December 27th, 2009

    Fuck...

    Oysters and champagne, standing.

    Xmas sausages in Brussels

    Tiny alley in Brussels...

    The beautiful Sint Hubertusgalerijen in Brussels...

    Street musicians in Brussels.

    Brussels' magnificent town hall on Grand Place

    Night Street, Brussels

    Cheers, buddy!

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    Day 1.357 – Reunited in Brussels (UK)

    Saturday, December 26th, 2009

    (Text might appear right here soonish)

    5.20AM, La Rochelle Train Station, Boxing Day 2009.

    Eurolines bus to Brussels...

    A decent start...

    Toon and Pablo in the kitchen...

    Toon, serving delicious mussels in Brussels...

    Mussels in Brussels...

    Mussels dinner with Toon, Guillemine, and Pablo...

    Ferris Wheel in Brussels

    Merry-go-round, Brussels, Xmas 2009.

    Nicolai, Pablo, Toon, and Guillemine in a Brussels bar...

    The Drunk Pirates in Brussels...

    Night time art in Brussels

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    Day 1.356 – A Walk (UK)

    Friday, December 25th, 2009

    Willy at the local boulangerie...

    For you, my dearest WT-reader…

    Happy 2010 from St. Trojan Beach, France's Atlantic coast...

    Hotel de Ville, Bourcefranc Le Chapus, France

    Joyeux Noël 2009

    Lunch, 25.12.2009.

    Marina in Boyardville...

    Historically, the absolute highlight of the day was the sighting of the legendary Fort Boyard from the coast in Boyardville where Will and I go for a late arvo walk in the setting sunlight. Beautiful.

    Boyardville Beach

    The legendary Fort Boyard that was home to the hugely popular TV-series in the 1990s...

    Will and I on Boyardville Beach...

    Lyrics of the Day: Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery,
    none but ourselves can free our minds.
    Redemption Song – Bob Marley (for Will)

    Shadows on Boyardville Beach...

    Boyardville Beach

    The neighbor’s cross-eyed little beauty was a fine-fine furry Xmas present for me this year…There’s still (almost) nothing like a little cat fix…

    The Crosseyed Cutie...

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    Day 1.355 – Huîtres, Boudin & Escargots at the Xmas Table (UK)

    Thursday, December 24th, 2009

    Late afternoon, when Will’s back from work, we drive to his parent’s place in the small village of Bourcefranc Le Chapus (south of La Rochelle) on the Atlantic coast.

    Arlette, Roger, Silvie, Philippe, me, and Will in Bourcefranc Le Chapus, France.

    Awaiting us is mother-Arlette, father-Roger (aka “The King of Oysters” due to his life-long occupational flirt with the oyster business), sister-Silvie and her boyfriend-Philippe – and an unforgettable smorgasbord of French Xmas delicatessen that really expands my gastronomic horizon.

    Oysters time in France!

    This is my forth consecutive Xmas away from home. The first, in 2006 was spent with my family in southern Vietnam. The second, in
    2007 was spent with my good old friend Rhod and his family in Sorrento, VIC, Australia. The third, in 2008 I was joined by my good friend Ragnar, and this year almost feels like home thanks to Will’s wonderful family.

    Xmas dinner 2009.

    Snail time in France!

    Tune of the Day: Too Young – Phoenix

    Boudin blanc (white pudding)...Delicious.

    This year's Xmas tree in Bourcefranc Le Chapus...

    XO time!

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    Day 1.354 – The Signature Pizza (UK)

    Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

    Creation of Alex...Yum!

    Despite the rain over Limoges all day, Alex and I go Xmas shopping. As matters stand, it’s quickly done for me. Scented Body Shop stuff for Will, wine for his parents who’ve invited me to come and spend Xmas eve etc. with them in Bourcefranc Le Chapus on the Atlantic south of La Rochelle, a 3-hour drive to the west.

    One of my signature dinners. Limoges 2009.

    Making dinner for 4 Frenchmen – notorious for their delicate palate and cuisine – puts a bit of anxiety pressure on the shoulders of the worldtraveller used to eating sandwiches and canned camping food, but apparently he got out of it all right. I guess…

    Dinner with Alex, Willy, Marc, and Monelle...

    Tune of the Day: Comment ça va – The Shorts

    The Kings of Cocktails...

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    Day 1.353 – Restaurant Le Roc Du Boeuf (UK)

    Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

    The timing here in Limoges has turned out to be perfect. On the occasion of Alex’ birthday yesterday, her parents have invited us all out for dinner in Restaurant Le Roc Du Boeuf – a fab restaurant some 50 km west of Limoges. I can’t remember when I last had such a beautiful and delicious dinner.

    The Crew (1):

    (from left: Willy, Norbert, Alex, Josette, Monelle, Marc, and I)

    Wonderful birthday dinner (Alex) at the Restaurant Le Roc Du Boeuf in Rochechouart, France.

    Mise en bouche:

    Wonderful birthday dinner (Alex) at the Restaurant Le Roc Du Boeuf in Rochechouart, France.

    First course:

    Wonderful birthday dinner (Alex) at the Restaurant Le Roc Du Boeuf in Rochechouart, France.

    Main course:

    Wonderful birthday dinner (Alex) at the Restaurant Le Roc Du Boeuf in Rochechouart, France.

    Desert:

    Wonderful birthday dinner (Alex) at the Restaurant Le Roc Du Boeuf in Rochechouart, France.

    The Crew (2):

    Wonderful birthday dinner (Alex) at the Restaurant Le Roc Du Boeuf in Rochechouart, France.

    The Return:

    Night vision...

    Thank you so much, Norbert & Josette, for a wonderful evening.

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    Day 1.352 – Celebrations (UK)

    Monday, December 21st, 2009

    0 km etc.

    More indoor cosiness in Limoges...

    Apart from a swift run down to the local supermarché to get some breakfast stuff – it’s Alex’ birthday today (I’ve promised not to talk about women’s age ;-) ) – I don’t leave the apartment all day. WT takes up hours of “work” (nothing new under the sun here), but the rest of this day, December 21st (that also welcomed my grandma Ella (1919-2006 and may she still rest in peace) and my old travel mate T. Frank to this world, and congrats to both of you) is pure back-kicking and boy have I needed this R&R. Beautiful timing.

    Yum!

    Flambé!

    Wine is French, beer’s Belgian, food’s huge shrimps, atmosphere’s international. Limoges 2009.

    French wine, Belgian beer, international atmosphere. Limoges 2009.

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    Day 1.351 – Decision-making (UK)

    Sunday, December 20th, 2009

    0 km etc.

    Slippery When Icy...

    The decision to let the bike rest for a little while in Will’s basement, to enjoy the company of good friends instead of rushing through as I’ve pretty much been doing lately, isn’t really a hard one, once William tells me, encouragingly, that I can stay as long as I want here. Suddenly, it doesn’t make any sense to just keep rushing north to get to Belgium to meet Pablo, Guillemine, and Toon on Boxing Day. The roads are still snowcovered here in central France and the cycling evidently wouldn’t be very charming.

    Limoges Cathedral.

    So I’ll leave the bike here in Limoges, head to Brussels on Boxing Day, celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Belgian capital (BTW, if anyone knows of a party going on in Brussels on NYE 2009/2010 that needs a few (2) upbeat Vikings (Pablo and I) to get the party started, please let me know. Legend as well as rumour has it, it won’t be boring! :-) ), and then get back to my gear beginning of Januar and continue north, towards my beloved ones.

    Inside Limoges Cathedral.

    Old rickety building in Limoges...

    Bridge from the 13th century across River Vienne...

    Cute.

    Crepes a'la Will et Alex. Limoges, December 2009.

    …and a last one for today. From Limoges Cathedral, to all my loyal WT-readers. Merry Xmas!

    Merry Xmas!

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    Day 1.350 – WT (A Place of Contrasts) (UK)

    Saturday, December 19th, 2009

    0 km etc.

    Chilling in Limoges with William...

    The contrasts between a) the snowfilled, sub-zero challenges of yesterday’s roads and b) the comfy indoor life with my beautiful friends Alex and William (the keen WT-reader will remember Will from Chiang Mai, 2007), is hard to comprehend, yet that’s one of the big charms of this, my nomadic life.

    Old part of town, Limoges. December 2009.

    My days in Limoges with Alex and Will are spent eating and drinking (all of which belongs to an entirely different level of quality than I’m used to being just me), walks in the white streets of Limoges, hanging out, listening to music, watching movies, sharing perspectives on life etc, reliving good old memories from Chiang Mai, April 2007. Wonderful stuff that I’ve been missing lately.

    Cute St. Aurelien Church in Limoges.

    Marché de Noël, Limoges.

    When in Rome…

    Time for my first foie gras!

    The Cheese Mama.

    Can you imagine the smell in here? (very cheesy)

    I’d almost forgotten how it is waking up not having to move, to pedal 100+ km every day. I’ve slipped into a wonderful cruise speed mode despite the last-minute Xmas shopping frenzy in the downtown streets outside.

    Old part of town, Limoges. December 2009.

    Arvo draught with William and Alex in Limoges.

    Here in Limoges, I’ve been thrown out of my camping rhythm (wake up at sunup, sleep just after sundown) on the road, in favor of the nocturnal life rhythm of an owl.

    Delicatessen in Limoges.

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    Day 1.349 – White-out in Central France (DK)

    Friday, December 18th, 2009

    Brive-la-Gaillarde -> Limoges
    Distance (km) : 42
    Time on bike : 3h 25m
    Brutto time: 09.10 – 15.30
    Avg : 12.3 km/h
    Max.speed: 39.0
    Total (km) : 60.351
    Altitude: 100 m
    Difficulty: 3

    Nicolai in the white.

    Udfordringerne fortsætter. Der er faldet 10-15 cm sne i nat her i Brive, og det er ren white-out, da jeg i morges står ud af sengen på vandrehjemmet og kigger ud. Damn!

    Den direkte vej mellem Brive og Limoges er forbeholdt motorvejstrafik, så jeg er (desværre, i dette føre) tvunget til at tage små, rurale veje, der dels er meget kuperede, dels ikke er sne-ryddede. Det bliver min første rigtige debut udi kørsel på sne og is (og var det ikke også på tide, Zülle?).

    Det er barsk cykling og kræver fuld koncentration. Der er lidt flere kuperinger end jeg kunne have ønsket mig i dag.

    Challenging winter cycling north of Brive...

    Winter in Donzenac, France.

    Kogaen samler store klumper sne og sjap under skærmene og vej bremserne. Temmelig ubehageligt for os begge, og føles som om jeg sidder på en fitness-cykel med bremsen slået i.

    Flere biler er strandede på de temmeligt stejle småveje, dækkede af sne og is. Mine Schwalbe Dureme-dæk klarer skærene relativt fint, og med fuld koncentration lykkes det mig ikke at ryge af cyklen, selvom ulykken aldrig var langt væk på vej ned af stigningerne, hvor det var svært at holde den hollandske hoppe under kontrol – særligt fordi min tykke vinterluffer besværliggør nedbremsningen.

    Koga, no like!

    Der er masser af opmuntrende tilråb fra forbipasserende. Bon courage! Den franske varme varmer.

    Det med at holde varmen, antager pludselig en perifer plads på mit mentale kort over dagens udfordring. Efter et par timers langsom kamp må jeg dog lave et kaffe-pitstop i en hyggelig landsbyrestaurant (og hotel) syd for Uzerche, for at få varme i de frosne tæer igen.

    Koga, no like!

    Winter in France.

    Tilbage i sadlen er solen kommet frem og afslører et knejsende friskt landskab af blåt (se op) og hvidt (se ned). Det er smukt og en del af mig (ikke tæerne) er taknemmelig for at få disse oplevelser med i WT-kartoteket.

    Etablissementet er fint, jeg er en hund i et spil kegler og græmmer mig lidt over, at brede mine våde, sure sokker ud over den varme radiator og er taknemmelig over at tjenerinden holder sig på afstand fra lugtfælden (mig!). Men med en velkommen, fransk dannethed forbigås min odør i tavshed og merci for det.

    Colors of Winter.

    Coffee break on my way to Limoges...

    I tilbageblikket lys har det været nogle hårde, udfordrende 8-9 dage siden jeg forlod Barcelona. Jeg trænger til at blive gennemvarmet, komme indendøre.

    Den ene udfordring kastet i hovedet på mig efter den anden. Min stejle indlæringskurve i vintercyklingens klasseværelse har været som en nyfødts møde med verden. Så snart jeg har lært at kravle (holde varmen), kræver verden at jeg kan gå (holde mig tør), så snart jeg kan gå, kræver verden, at jeg kan løbe (cykle på is og sne etc). Det er en stor mundfuld, men de siger, man vokser af det, og at drager kun stiger i modvind.

    Uzerche, France.

    Beautiful winter landscape south of Limoges, France.

    Hotel de Ville, Limoges.

    Min gode ven fra Chiang Mai 2007, William er overrasket over at se, at jeg trods sne og isglat føre når frem til Limoges som planlagt i dag.

    White arrival in Limoges at Will's apartment...

    Det er ren halleluja at se min gode ven igen og snart er de iskolde fødder, frostpanden og vintermufferne lykkeligt bag mig, for nu…

    Great times with Alex and William in Limoges, France.

    Great times with Alex and William in Limoges, France.

    WT Hall of Fame :-)

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    Day 1.348 – A Challenge (DK)

    Thursday, December 17th, 2009

    Cahors -> Brive-la-Gaillarde
    Distance (km) : 101
    Time on bike : 5h 48m
    Brutto time: 08.30 – 17.00
    Avg : 17.4 km/h
    Max.speed: 46.7
    Total (km) : 60.310
    Altitude: 150 m
    Difficulty: 4

    Det er minus 7 grader, da jeg forlader mit lune kammer i Cahors til morgen. Kold Zülle.

    Don't really feel like leaving today...

    Early morning north of Cahors, France.

    Endnu en udfordrende dag. Masser af stigninger, kuperet terræn. Det er en fortsat kamp at holde kroppen tør og varm. Efter et par timers cykling, hvor jeg nogenlunde formår at holde varmen og holde stemningen inde under regnhætten/elefanthuen/halsrøret varm, bliver mine underarme pludseligt sindssygt kolde og fødderne følger snart med. Underlig fisk. Det er nødvendigt at holde et nødstop, så da jeg ser et restaurant-skilt drejer jeg fra.

    Sunrise over Cahors, southern France.

    Early morning in Cahors, France.

    I restaurantens vindue sidder en seddel, der fortæller, at stedet holder lukket i dag. Merde! Jeg nærmer mig det paniske stadium og krænger regnjakken af. Jeg overraskes af is, der drysser ud fra ærmerne – frossen kondens – og nakken laver samme trick, da jeg flår hue/halsrør/elefanthue-sættet af. Der er også is lige nord for røven og jeg er én elendighed.

    Nicolai, changing wet clothes in Payrac, France.

    Til mit held er her et lille toilet med varmt vand i hanen og en el-radiator, som jeg sender på max med det samme. Det føles som min redning. Solen er også fremme og hjælper mig til med at blive et menneske igen. Tager et akrobatisk fodbad i håndvasken og varmer balderne på den (snart) skoldhede radiator. Når nøden er størst…

    Mit humør flyver op og ned, i nogenlunde symmetri med min kropstemperatur. Det ene øjeblik sprudler jeg af lykke, knyttede næver i luften og yes! I can do this-peptalks, det næste øjeblik kommer tvivlen luskende sammen med de kolde fødder/istapfingrene/frostpanden etc. Det slider på sjælen.

    Når kroppen er underafkølet og der ingen udsigt er til at få varmen, går man over i et survival mode og fokuserer alle mentale og fysiske kræfter på at ændre, at forbedre situationen.

    On ice. Bike shoe cover (didn't really do the trick)...

    Scary icicles.

    Efter 3 timers cykling når jeg landsbyen Payrac. Jeg er hundesulten og humøret daler igen, da jeg opdager, at alt (ALT!) er lukket. Heartbreaking. Selv tankstationen er lukket pga. ombygning.

    Scary icicles.

    Jeg er så sulten, at jeg ville samle hvad som helst spiseligt op fra vejkanten (men sig det ikke til mine fremtidige børn, monkey see, monkey do). Vandet i cykelflaskerne er dybfrossent, så der er ligesom lukket for ethvert energiindtag. Argh, bummer. Der er ca. 15 km til nærmeste landsby, Souillac, alternativerne er få. Barsk kørsel. Selvtillidsudsvingene er fortsat markante og følger kropstemperaturen. Med is i handskerne og i røven er det ufatteligt svært at holde motivationen oppe.

    Der er ikke en krumme tilbage i maven på mig, da jeg når Souillac…

    Cold lunch stop in Souillac, France.

    …men det findes der heldigvis råd for i byens (åbne!) supermarked…

    Cold lunch stop in Souillac, France.

    Icicles

    Det er deprimerende, demotiverende at kunne se motorvejen, der plant skærer sig gennem landskabet, hvorimod jeg på de mindre veje må op og ned og udenom alle de små knolde og krumspring, som Skaberen har plantet i landskabet her i området.

    Der er nok af udfordringer for Fjumse-drengen.

    Cahors region, France.

    Når al min jammer er blevet luftet, så er det en meget flot dag i Cahors-området. Det lugter meget af Frankrig og landskabet fryder.

    Leaving Souillac. Aqueduct in the valley.

    France, nutshell.

    Love France.

    Crystal clear.

    Shadow + frozen water...

    Frosty!

    Jeg når i dagens sene skumring Brive-la-Gaillarde og kan ikke begribe mit held, da jeg ved det lokale vandrehjem hører, at dette er den sidste dag, de har åbent før juleferien sætter ind. Mit lille vandrehjemshæfte fortalte ellers, at der skulle være lukket fra den 15. december (2 dage siden), men en gut på gaden mente, at der stadig var åbent, så jeg checkede det ud, og bingo! Eget lille (lumre) 3-sengs kammer, varmt bad, mit første varme måltid i ugevis, tilberedt i fælleskøkkenet. Pludselig er dagens strabadser glemt. Livet er godt. Livet er varmt.

    Sunset just south of Brive, France.

    Efterskrift:
    Snefaldet, som jeg i morgen kommer til at mærke meget mere til, er så småt begyndt i aften…

    Comfy and warm in Brive...

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    Day 1.347 – Frozen Dinosaur (DK)

    Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

    Toulouse -> Cahors
    Distance (km) : 113
    Time on bike : 5h 57m
    Brutto time: 08.40 – 16.40
    Avg : 18.9 km/h
    Max.speed: 42.2
    Total (km) : 60.209
    Altitude: 100 m
    Difficulty: 4

    English translation might come. Or else, try the Google Translation link on WT frontpage… WT Hall of Fame :-)

    På toilettet skifter jeg over i noget tørt cykeltøj og misbruger håndføntørreren i uendeligheder, med fødderne/numsen/næbet/hænder/ben/nakke pegende op mod fønstrømmen, til flere nyankomne toiletgæsters forbløffelse.

    Det er lidt ondt at skulle ud i kulden igen, lige som jeg er ved at få varmen igen, men jeg
    er professionelt opsat på at nå Cahors (endnu over 60 km) og en varm seng i dag.

    Dagens Tone: Águas de Marco – Tom Jobim

    Temperaturen kommer aldrig over frysepunktet i dag. Minus 2 – minus 3 siger cykelcomputeren. Svag vind, mod mig, naturligvis. Har efterhånden glemt følelsen af en befriende vind i ryggen. Terrænnet bliver kuperet og snørklet. Overskyet, gråt, dansk. Jeg ænser det ikke rigtigt, men kigger bare ned på den hvide stribe foran mig.

    Den sidste 1½ times cykling mod Cahors føles det som om der er gået frost i den højre side af min pande. Højre øje ser dobbelt – ganske forstyrrende, når man drøner ned ad Quercy-regionens småbjerge mod Cahors. Sved er løbet ned i mine luffer og fingrene begynder at tage form og temperatur af frosne fiskepinde. Ubehageligt, men jeg har kun 10-15 km til Cahors og det varmer, trods frostpanden. Tuden på min eneste fyldte vandflaske er frosset til, så væsken må vente, og også min ene håndbremse leget frostleg med mig. Temperaturen er minus 3 grader C. Av.

    I Cahors er situationen med mine frosne fingre ved at være alvorlig. Følelsen er stærkt nedsat, det stikker og jager, og jeg kan kun tænke på at komme indendørs. Vandrehjemmet, jeg søger, er forduftet fra den gade, det skulle ligge, men en fyr er venlig at vise mig vej til den nye lokation i nærheden. Der er ingen i receptionen, jeg sætter mig og venter og ser skrækscenariet for mig, at der ingen ledige senge er.

    Receptionistpigen dukker op et kvarter senere, undskyldende, og jeg forsøger at være så høflig som min velopdragne barndom foreskriver, i det naive håb, at det øger mine chancer for en ledig seng. Min krop ryster af kulde og jeg er ved at være helt pigehysterisk ved tanken om en afvisning nu. Men pigen har både smil og en ledig seng – endda i et helt tomt 6-sengs værelse! Vidunderligt. De 13 euro virker på stedet som den bedste røverhandel nogensinde. Nogle gange er afstanden fra Helvede til Himmerige kortere end man tror.

    Føler mig i badet som en frossen dinosaur (de findes vel også i en størrelse 73 kg?), der langsomt får skyllet en hel dags frost af sig under den masochistisk varme stråle. Er ganske stolt over dagens 113 frost-km, selvom det var lige til øllet med frostfingrene ved ankomsten i Cahors.

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    Day 1.346 – A Hellish Night (DK)

    Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

    Castelnaudary -> Toulouse
    Distance (km) : 63
    Time on bike : 4h 02m
    Brutto time: 08.20 – 16.00
    Avg : 15.7 km/h
    Max.speed: 42.2
    Total (km) : 60.096
    Altitude: 120 m
    Difficulty: 2

    Translation might come, or try the Google Translation link on WT front page… WT Hall of Fame :-)

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    Day 1.345 – A Make-Over of Superman Proportions (UK)

    Monday, December 14th, 2009

    Capendu -> Castelnaudary
    Distance (km) : 62
    Time on bike : 3h 55m
    Brutto time: 09.00 – 17.40
    Avg : 15.7 km/h
    Max.speed: 32.9
    Total (km) : 60.033
    Altitude: 100 m
    Difficulty: 2

    Wild camp near Capendu, southern France.

    Putting my tent down in the pannier, all wet from condensation and morning snow, doesn’t do any good to my mental hygiene. But there’s no way of drying my tent in this weather. It’s another cold morning and I don’t feel like cycling today.

    Snowy morning!

    WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Early morning self-portrait from my camp...

    Since I entered France a few days ago, I’ve realized that I’m not really properly equipped for this winter cycling/camping, being outside in below-zero temperatures 24/7, trying to keep both warm and dry. So in Carcassonne I find the local Decathlon (French outdoor gear super-size me supermarket) and find myself in a rare shopping frenzy. I end up with the follwing in my basket:


    Full-body bike bib pants
    Fleece balaclava
    Mittens (ohh, these will soon become my best friends)
    Winter socks
    Neoprene bike shoe covers

    It’s a 100 euros but I force myself not to care too much. This is about physically being able to do my business (pedaling) in relative comfort in this cold weather.

    I disappear into the toilet for disabled to get changed and reappear some 15 minutes later. It’s a complete make-over that even Superman would’ve admired. Nice and comfy and toasty. For now.

    Shopping time in Decathlon!

    I pass 60.000 km west of Carcassonne – it’s the last “big” milestone birthday in WT history, but I’m in no celebration mood/mode and just take the usual self-portraits and continue the annoying fight against the icy headwind.

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    Day 1.344 – In Heaven There’s No Headwind (UK)

    Sunday, December 13th, 2009

    Fitou -> Capendu
    Distance (km) : 75
    Time on bike : 5h 15m
    Brutto time: 08.30 – 17.30
    Avg : 14.1 (!) km/h
    Max.speed: 38.8
    Total (km) : 59.971
    Altitude: 100 m
    Difficulty: 4

    Today is a bit of a nightmare to me. I’m pestered by a bad and surprisingly cold headwind up along the flattish valley of the Canal du Midi towards Toulouse. The wind is an icy nastiness and it frustrates me all day long. The average speed of the day should indicate how much of an enemy it was.

    You can't tell the cold, can you?

    I see nothing but the white stripe ahead of me, trying to hide my face (or any naked flesh) from the exposure of the wind. December is usually the time of warm comfort with your loved ones. This one is different, and I wonder why I’m fighting the cold and wind when December could be so…different…so much warmer. The hardest part of today is to keep motivation from slipping away.

    ...or the headwinds?

    Fingers and toes are ice blocks most of the day. I scream and yell into the wind several times. Frustrated. Joyless. At dusk I turn off Hwy D6113 near Capendu village, and find a near-level spot on a private piece of land tucked away between pine trees and put up my camp.

    But it was cold!

    Lézignan-Corbieres, France.

    My body is hibernating like a winter bear these days, and at 7.30PM The Sandman comes and takes me away on a 12-hour long journey to the land of dreams. In Heaven there’s no headwind and it’s a blissful sleep.

    Vineyards near Capendu, southern France.

    WT Hall of Fame :-)

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    Day 1.343 – Bienvenue en France! (UK)

    Saturday, December 12th, 2009

    N of Gerona (SP) -> Fitou (FR)
    Distance (km) : 109
    Time on bike : 6h 19m
    Brutto time: 08.30 – 17.30
    Avg : 17.1 km/h
    Max.speed: 42.8
    Total (km) : 59.897
    Altitude: 5 m
    Difficulty: 4½

    Waking up this morning is exciting – not only because it’s my last day waking up in Spain, but also because my nylon bubble is covered in frost this morning.

    Frosty morning north of Gerona, Spain...

    Frosty morning north of Gerona, Spain...

    France is getting closer. WT country # 49.

    No officers, no passport stamps (and hallelujah for that ‘cos I’ve got no space at all left in my passport – the same as I left Denmark with, 48 countries ago), no real satisfaction of crossing this border at Le Perthus.

    The border between Spain and France. No passport control since 1995 here.

    But excitement comes as soon as the snowcapped Pyrenees appear in the distant West. The 430 km long mountain range (highest point, Pico d’Aneto at 3.404 m.a.s.) separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe.

    To me it seems like Mother-France and Father-Spain was separated by the (geographically speaking) natural border that is The Pyrenees, with Andorra – the child of broken parents that couldn’t decide which side it belonged to and thus settled comfortably right between mum and dad.

    Snowcapped Pyrennees in the background...

    Lovely, innit?

    Temperatures have dropped dramatically since I left Barcelona just a few days ago. It’s going to be a long and cold December.

    First lunch break in France...

    First lunch break in France...

    Tune of the Day:
    I Make Hamburgers - The Whitlams

    (I’ve enjoyed the lyrics to this song from Australian The Whitlams several times over the last decade or so. Maybe I should start making hamburgers for two instead of eating meatballs for one)…

    Late afternoon self-portrait...

    WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Near Fitou, France and my spot for the night...

    The WhitlamsI Make Hamburgers

    My first customer was Megan
    She came in for a hamburger with the lot – no meat
    “Hey that’s a salad roll” I said and we started going out

    My second customer was Susan
    she came in for Diet Pepsi morning tea
    Each day and I said “You don’t need to be on a diet.
    Do you wanna come out tonight?”

    I said “I’ll bring Gringo he’s got a lot of money
    And he’ll take us to the bars where they’ve got a view.
    He’ll buy us all those beers they give it to you in bottles
    They put lemon in the top it don’t taste too bad I’m telling you”

    My third customer was Maria she came in for hot chips and sauce
    “More sauce” she said. I said “now you’re talking”
    and she took me home to meet her mother

    My fourth customer was Sandy she came in for nothing I could see except me
    So it was I too, was eating a hamburger of sorts within an hour

    I make hamburgers I get all the girls
    and I take ‘em out to dinner and I give ‘em all a whirl
    and If they work I keep ‘em If they don’t I keep ‘em too
    But I teach ‘em all how to be dirty girls like you

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    Day 1.342 – Mind/Body Constellation (UK)

    Friday, December 11th, 2009

    Barcelona -> 10 km N of Gerona
    Distance (km) : 140
    Time on bike : 7h 08m
    Brutto time: 09.00 – 17.45
    Avg : 19.5 km/h
    Max.speed: 55.2
    Total (km) : 59.788
    Altitude: 200 m
    Difficulty: 3½

    It doesn’t take long to realize that Barcelona is a grand, magnificent city with enough to offer for a life time. To me, it’s the sort of place you want to live in, to get to know every nook and cranny. My long walk around the city yesterday – in part with my former colleague Dennis who studies here this semester – mainly in the Ciutat Vella, the old part of town, revealed just a fraction of the marvels that Barcelona has, and it’s all very impressive and photogenic, yet I’m not really here. The roads are calling my name, and Zülle it is. Loud and clear.

    The Barcelona Dildo.

    My body is tired after 17 cycling days in a go, and my mind needs (I think) a complete black-out day without any input at all, but that doesn’t seem to materialize.

    I’m absolutely stoked that my good old friend Martin, aka Pablo, will come to Brussels on Boxing Day/December 26th to celebrate New Year’s Eve etc. with me (and Belgian friends, and how wonderful it’s going to be!), and I seriously can’t wait having my best friend next to me.

    Mediterranean coast north of Barcelona.

    Mediterranean coast north of Barcelona.

    But because of this post-Xmas plan, my mind/body (however that constellation works) doesn’t really let me relax for long these days. Progress is the name of the day/game.

    When I was in southern Spain end of November, Pablo and I excitedly decided to meet in the Belgian capital, some 2.200 km away, and the distance somehow seemed reasonable at the time, and it wasn’t until I did some more serious Google Maps research that I realized I’d have to cycle nearly 100 km every single day until I reached Belgium nearly a month later in order to meet up with Pablo (that I haven’t seen since our last goodbye (DK) in eastern Turkey, July 2006).

    A bit crazy in the light of the fact that this is not a Guiness World Record Around-the-World Attempt.

    Lunch break on the Costa Brava, Spain.

    In the wood.

    Sunset from my wild camp north of Gerona.

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    Day 1.341 – A Visual Take On Barcelona

    Thursday, December 10th, 2009

    0 km etc.

    La Rambla, Barcelona.

    Old Quarter, Barcelona.

    There’s no room for words today. Apologies.

    Old Quarter, Barcelona.

    Old Quarter, Barcelona.

    Floor in Barcelona's massive cathedral..

    Cathedral, Barcelona.

    Cathedral, Barcelona.

    Cathedral, Barcelona.

    Confession time!

    Cathedral, Barcelona.

    Lighting a candle for the dude above...

    Cathedral, Barcelona.

    Barcelona Cathedral, getting facelift.

    Barcelona street scene.

    Mirage

    Barcelona facade...

    Arc de Triomf, Barcelona.

    Arc de Triomf, Barcelona.

    Jardines de la Ciudadela, Barcelona.

    Jardines de la Ciudadela, Barcelona.

    Mig og Dennis i Barcelona.

    Paella, chicken way.

    December in Barcelona.

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    Day 1.340 – Barcelona (UK)

    Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

    E of Cadrils -> Barcelona
    Distance (km) : 116
    Time on bike : 6h 25m
    Brutto time: 07.40 – 18.00
    Avg : 18.0 km/h
    Max.speed: 48.3
    Total (km) : 59.648
    Altitude: 50 m
    Difficulty: 3½

    Sunrise over Tarragona, Spain.

    Calafell, Spain.

    I’ve been on the bike for 17 days (1.622 km) in a row now. Since I left Casablanca, Morocco, pedal strokes have been part of my daily routine. Think I’ll take a day off tomorrow, checking out Barcelona, getting organized etcetera.

    Cool coastline south of Barcelona...

    As always, entering a multimillion inhabitants city makes for interesting cycling – and Barcelona is no exception! From the outskirts of the metropole it takes most of 1½ hour to reach the city center where – finally, long after sunset – I check into Sound Hostel, close to the infamous La Rambla.

    Near Coma-Ruga, south of Barcelona.

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    Day 1.339 – Smacked Up (UK)

    Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

    Benicássim -> E of Cambrils
    Distance (km) : 167
    Time on bike : 7h 21m
    Brutto time: 08.20 – 17.50
    Avg : 22.6 km/h
    Max.speed: 46.8
    Total (km) : 59.532
    Altitude: 20 m
    Difficulty: 4

    Early morning, only the moon is watching me.

    Wild camping with a glowing view...

    The inscrutable ways of the clouds...

    I feel happy on the bike today. Very much so. Not only your local GP would be sure I was smacked up on drugs if he saw me flying through the Spanish Med-coast – pushed by a fierce TAILwind – fists pumping in the air, screaming to the wicked playlist in my iPod, absolutely manic.

    Getting warm and dry in McD's great toilets!

    Amposta, Spain.

    Tune of the Day: Black Steel - Tricky

    Roman structure south of Cambrils...

    It’s 5.50PM, sun’s down, my bike computer says 7h21m of cycling today, 167 km, and I’m at the point where the prospect of getting off the bike, getting my crotch washed, setting up camp, having a not-so-cold canned beer cannot be overestimated…

    Wild camp just east of Cambrils, Spain...

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    Day 1.338 – Valencia -> Benicássim (photos)

    Monday, December 7th, 2009

    Valencia -> Benicássim
    Distance (km) : 87
    Time on bike : 4h 24m
    Brutto time: 11.50 – 17.40
    Avg : 19.8 km/h
    Max.speed: 44.5
    Total (km) : 59.366
    Altitude: 20 m
    Difficulty: 2½

    A few hours of free wifi in Valencia before hitting the road...

    See the fountain?

    Wild camping with a glowing view...

    Tune of the Day: To Defy the Laws of Tradition – Primus

    What if Christmas didn’t come this year
    and no one paid for Christmas cheer?
    Who would cry the biggest tear,
    the child or the store?
    Why do brides wear virgin white?
    Most do not deserve that right.
    But to choose a color of their delight
    would surely bring on the frowns.
    To defy the laws of tradition
    is a crusade only of the brave.
    Suppose the taxman, he comes to town,
    and you don’t lay your money down.
    Yet Mr. Jones he killed Mr. Brown the other day.
    Well I wonder, who’s gonna go to hell.

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    Day 1.337 – Oh, Valencia! (UK)

    Sunday, December 6th, 2009

    Gata de Gorgos -> Valencia
    Distance (km) : 103
    Time on bike : 5h 07m
    Brutto time: 08.10 – 15.00
    Avg : 20.1 km/h
    Max.speed: 38.0
    Total (km) : 59.279
    Altitude: 10 m
    Difficulty: 3

    Wake up, Sunday, wake up…

    Wake up, Sunday, wake up...

    It’s freezing cold this morning. 0 degrees Celsius. Ice flakes on my tent. Now that’s way too early, this is central eastern Spain, and I’m heading north into the northern European mid-winter. My extremities already started failing on my. Fingers very cold (in gloves).

    Too early for those icy flakes...

    Morning camp outside Gata de Gorgos.

    Breakfast of champions!

    Winter-sleepy Cullera village...

    Cullera Beach.

    Don’t let the palm trees above fool you. I had ice crystals on my agates this morning and the temperature at noon was a modest 15 degrees C.

    Looking back on Cullera...

    Just north of Cullera.

    Valencia's City of Arts and Science. Stunning!

    Valencia's City of Arts and Science. Stunning!

    Valencia's City of Arts and Science. Stunning!

    Valencia's Placa de Toros (bullring)...

    In Valencia I check into the fine Hôme Backpackers right in the thick of it. 13 euros for the dorm bed is 13 euros more than I normally pay for my wild camp accommodation, but it still feels like good value.

    Valencia by night...

    With my legs kicking like mad over the last weeks, I somehow know they won’t keep me here in Valencia for long, so in order to get the most out of my (supposedly scarce) time in the city, I head out at night, Canon-laden and excited, despite today’s cycling. Such a wonderful atmosphere, lots of people, apparently in no hurry, in Xmas-mode, Xmas decorations here and there, tapas bars, drinking dens, restaurants, a place where you could (I probably could too if I had ‘em) spend a lot of merry money.

    Here we go:

    Valencia by night...

    Statue on Valencia's Plaza de la Virgen...

    Valencia's beautiful Plaza de la Virgen...

    Valencia's beautiful Plaza de la Virgen...

    Sunday mass in Valencia...

    The Basilica, reflected.

    Big door!

    December street in Valencia.

    Tune of the Day: O Valencia – The Decemberists

    Town Hall, Valencia.

    Town Hall, Valencia.

    Back at the hostel reception (11PM) I see a lot of fine, young girls from the hostel, all dressed up and ready to go out, and I don’t really get it until I notice a sign on the wall next to the elevator saying “Pub Crawl Every Night at 23.00″. I’d be damned!
    I’m extremely tired, can hardly keep my eyes open at this point, and though the clientele is very young (but not criminally so, the beast on my shoulder whispers), I feel very tempted to join the crowd. Hungry dogs eat cat food too.

    Fine Gothic building...

    What a day. Very long. Very beautiful. Very tired.


    (Can I copyright that last one, please?)

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    Day 1.336 – Candlelight dinner for one (UK)

    Saturday, December 5th, 2009

    Alicante -> Gata de Gorgos
    Distance (km) : 88
    Time on bike : 4h 36m
    Brutto time: 11.55 – 17.55
    Avg : 19.1 km/h
    Max.speed: 46.7
    Total (km) : 59.176
    Altitude: 100 m
    Difficulty: 2½

    I took only one shot while in Alicante. No justice for such a fine place. My apologies.

    I went out last night – in my rain gear since all my off-bike clothes were at the hotel’s laundry – or, as my Facebook status stated:

    NB went out drinking solo in Alicante on Friday, in nothing but his full-body rain gear (it was laundry time), and soon fell into a heavy drinking bout with a bunch of mid-20s students. (Whether the Silver Monk had any luck on the dance floor in this unusual outfit, is left untold). Valencia it is now…

    Guess that was a first (and likely last) of for me. Goretex and all.

    Anyway, this is my one and only Alicante shot:

    Alicante - my only shot from that city.

    But worry not, ‘cos there are so many beautiful corners in Spain, and today was to disclose more of them…

    This, my dearest, is a mandarine tree. There are millions of them (along with orange trees) in this region of Spain. All full of fresh fruit. It’s called Temptation. Take it from me, the permanently hungry cyclist.

    A Place Called Temptation!

    Near Villajoyosa...

    …and the same mountain, a bit closer (‘cos that’s how you like it)

    Closer

    The easy way to cross a mountain ridge...

    Rumour has it that the European mass charter tourism all started in Benidorm way back. Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know. I just read it somewhere. But I do know that this is how it looks today…

    Benidorm skyline...

    It was a fine place for my second dose of wonderful müesli with kiwi fruits and milk.

    Benidorm's Playa Poniente.

    Sitting there, on the white stony bench, I received the compliment of the day, when an elderly, British lady (grey-haired segment) suddenly said to me:

    Lady: I’m looking at your legs…You’ve got great legs!
    NB: (a little baffled) Uh, thank you…I pedaled 60.000 km around the world to get them…
    Lady: Oh, really! (and walks away with her husband (also grey))

    End of story.

    Sans Le Koga:

    Benidorm's Playa Poniente.

    OJOJOJOJs

    Told you. Citrus everywhere.

    Just north of Benidorm

    Cove north of Altea

    Great cycling between Altea and Calp...

    Hacienda-style architecture...

    Looking down on Calp village...

    Another magnificent Spanish sunset...

    My evening camp is nothing but perfect. I turn off the main road, walk up a stony path, find a grassy plateau, no wind, no bugs, no one knowing I’m here, no disturbances, perfect. I feel romantic tonight, so from my panniers I dig out the candle light that I bought in central Mali (and that melted badly in West Africa, but nonetheless still works), prepare my canned meatballs, with olives, tomatoes, fresh baguette, and a beer, thinking life is so much better than its reputation.

    Candle light dinner for one...

    If you’d been in my life, you would’ve been sitting right there too, listening to the night, and since I was being romantic, I would’ve probably shared a few of my meatballs too…

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    Day 1.335 – When Life Doesn’t Get Any Better (UK)

    Friday, December 4th, 2009

    Los Alcázeres -> Alicante
    Distance (km) : 92
    Time on bike : 5h 0m
    Brutto time: 08.45 – 16.15
    Avg : 18.4 km/h
    Max.speed: 44.9
    Total (km) : 59.088
    Altitude: 5 m
    Difficulty: 3½

    (Photos below)

    I got 11 straight hours of sleep on my defect air mattress. I spend way too much time each evening putting jeans, raingear, clothes, etc. under the mattress to make the night as comfortable as possible with the available resources. Really must get a new mattress.

    Great sunrise again. 10 degrees this morning. Undisturbed night’s sleep.

    In Torreviejo, I’ve ended up right in the center of the silver-haired segment. Northern European pensioners all over.

    I like the random, slightly non-chalant way, that many Spaniards reach for the seatbelt, often long after they have started the car. At home in Denmark which in many ways is more generally correct we drink it in with our mother’s milk that fastening your seat belt is the first thing you do when you enter the car.

    Here in Spain it seems like something secundary, something you do because – well – it’s there all the same, not because they really care much about it. From a non-traffic safety angle, I like this Spanish calmness, fearlessness, if you will.

    During the last 25 km I’m struck by an insane crosswind, which blows my mere 73 kg completely off the road several times. There is not much help in the bike, which is quite light these days after I sent a large 4.3-kg package home with surplus goods in Fuengirola.

    It is terrible and I just look forward to Alicante. I’m tired, hungry and my crotch really needs a big wash.

    Later…

    All I really needed in the supermarket was a little juice, but I left the shop with 2 liters of Pepsi Max, 1 kg of pears and 2 kg of tomatoes. I’m so easily tempted on a hungry stomach – and how easily manipulable are the human beings. But what was I supposed to do: 2 kg of the finest tomatoes for only 1 euro and 1 kg of pears, same deal! Madness prices. And all I needed was a bit of OJ…

    There are many dogs out walking with their owners in the urban park where I sit on a bench in the middle of Alicante with my lunch. Immediately I become the dogs’ best friend because of the chorizo next to me (it IS good), and several dogs pull and drag the leash to come over and have a closer look (with begging eyes) at the Spanish sausage. It’s great being the dog’s best friend (as long as you have goodies in your bags – dogs are so easily manipulable too).

    I cruise around in Alicante trying to find a cheap bed for the night. The city’s only albergue juvenil(youth hostel) a few miles west of downtown is full, my next try, a pension has rooms for 25 euros, which I can not justify (although the bed was soft), and for a moment I take it as a sign that I should just drop Alicante and move on.

    A new hotel sign, which seems low-key and without stars attracts my attention, I park the Koga, and rush up and at 15 euros for a simple room, with TV, shared bath we have a deal. Ahhh, a bed for the night!

    Life simply doesn’t get any better as when, in the early evening, I sit on my bed at Pension Ayuntamiento with my canned meatballs, fresh baguette, olives, tomatoes and a liter of red wine (boxed) from the kiosk down at the street corner.

    The Davis Cup tennis final between Spain and the Czech Republic is on the small 14″ TV, I’ve just handed my grotesque dirty laundry to the hotel staff, Pearl Jam’s new and wonderfully beautiful “The End” is on my laptop, all my electronic aggregates and chargers suck energy from the same outlet (much like all the poppies sharing just one nipple) – and the other channel shows the World Cup draw live from South Africa.

    As the distance to the bottom of my wine gets shorter and shorter, I become more and more in love with the hostess on the screen, beautiful Charlize Theron. It doesn’t take a lot in the monk world (…and may it soon end, whispered the Silver Monk decidedly to me at this moment).

    It was such a wicked morning, thus all the visuals from my morning camp. A morning to remember.

    Morning camp in Los Alcázares, north of Cartagena.

    Morning camp in Los Alcázares, north of Cartagena.

    Morning camp in Los Alcázares, north of Cartagena.

    Morning camp in Los Alcázares, north of Cartagena.

    Morning camp in Los Alcázares, north of Cartagena.

    Morning camp in Los Alcázares, north of Cartagena.

    Torrevieja, Spain.

    Coastline just north of Torrevieja...

    59.000 km. Los Alcázares, Spain.

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    Day 1.334 – Spain In Technicolor (photos)

    Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

    Águilas -> Los Alcázeres
    Distance (km) : 98
    Time on bike : 5h 36m
    Brutto time: 08.15 – 17.30
    Avg : 17.5 km/h
    Max.speed: 59.8
    Total (km) : 58.995
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 3½

    Early morning from my camp just outside Águilas...

    Early morning from my camp just outside Águilas...

    Into the mountains north of Águilas...

    Beautiful cycling!

    Spain in sepia...

    Empty, curvy roads and then this scenery!

    Castle on top of a ridge...

    Lunch break!

    B&W. Near Puerto de Mazarrón.

    Túnel de la Sierra de las Moreras.

    Puerto de Mazarrón.

    That's where I'm headed. See the zig-zag road up ahead?

    Crossing of the Sierra de la Muela, south of Alicante.

    Crossing of the Sierra de la Muela, south of Alicante.

    Hopenhagen...

    Evening atmo at my camp in Los Alcázares, north of Cartagena.

    Evening atmo at my camp in Los Alcázares, north of Cartagena.

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    Day 1.333 – My Baby From Behind (photos)

    Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

    Benahadux -> Águilas
    Distance (km) : 123
    Time on bike : 6h 10m
    Brutto time: 09.30 – 18.00
    Avg : 19.8 km/h
    Max.speed: 48.3
    Total (km) : 58.897
    Altitude: 20 m
    Difficulty: 3

    Tune of the Day: Right Place, Wrong Time – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

    Benahadux morning camp.

    Getting colder...

    The photo action saw no end today...

    I (thought I) had no other option than the highway...

    The Koga Miyata Worldtraveller - pride and glory!

    Desierto de Tabernas...Great, great, great cycling!

    …and again…

    My baby from behind...

    …and again…The Koga self-promotion never stops. I’m sorry, she’s such a show-off, my lady!

    Desierto de Tabernas...Great, great, great cycling!

    Sorbas village.

    In the mountains...

    Sierra de Almagrera. North of Mojácar. Spain. Beautiful.

    Just south of Águilas.

    A fine goodbye view for the day...

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    Day 1.332 – Coastal Nuggets (photos)

    Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

    Castell de Ferro -> Benahadux
    Distance (km) : 99
    Time on bike : 5h 34m
    Brutto time: 09.00 – 18.00
    Avg : 17.7 km/h
    Max.speed: 45.7
    Total (km) : 58.774
    Altitude: 30 m
    Difficulty: 3½

    The inside of the changing room I crashed in Castell de Ferro

    The outside of the changing room I crashed in Castell de Ferro

    Another sweet sunup in eastern Spain...

    Castell de Ferro, from above.

    Curve and great coastal cycling in the Granada Province...

    Typical scenery west of Almería, southeastern Spain.

    Aguadulce, Murcia Province.

    Near Aguadulce, Murcia Province.

    Near Aguadulce, Murcia Province.

    Moonrise over the desert landscape north of Almería.

    Crazily beautiful cloud formations. North of Almería.

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    Day 1.331 – Vagabonding Spain (photos)

    Monday, November 30th, 2009

    Málaga -> Castell de Ferro
    Distance (km) : 113
    Time on bike : 5h 08m
    Brutto time: 11.00 – 18.00
    Avg : 22.0 km/h
    Max.speed: 54.3
    Total (km) : 58.676
    Altitude: 2 m
    Difficulty: 3

    Málaga posters...

    Tune of the Day: The End – Pearl Jam

    Málaga Cathedral in morning light...

    Door on Málaga Cathedral...

    Málaga Cathedral. Impressive beast.

    Málaga Cathedral. Impressive beast.

    Leaving Málaga behind...

    Between Málaga and Nerja.

    Between Málaga and Nerja.

    Bridge over less troubled waters...

    Coast line east of Nerja, Málaga Province.

    Coast line east of Nerja, Málaga Province.

    Near Calahonda, Granada Province.

    Hey buddy!

    Goodbye day, hallo moon (and thank you for a wonderful day, again…

    Goodbye day, hallo moon (and thank you for a wonderful day, again)...

    …and the night in the changing room awaits (see tomorrow’s posting)…

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    Day 1.330 – No Country For Young Wusses (UK)

    Sunday, November 29th, 2009

    Torremolinos -> Málaga
    Distance (km) : 15
    Time on bike : 0h 56m
    Brutto time: 11.30 – 12.40
    Avg : 16.0 km/h
    Max.speed: 31.9
    Total (km) : 58.563
    Altitude: 10 m
    Difficulty: ½

    Early morning at the campsite in Torremolinos...

    Nice fellow cyclists, Kerstin und Markus (Germany) and me at the campsite in Torremolinos...

    Just after this photo was taken, it started dripping from above and it stayed like that all day. Me no like heavy rain, so in Málaga, after a whopping 15 km, I called it a day. So much for the sturdy RTW-adventurer, huh…

    View from my balcony at the Down Town Backpacker's, Málaga.

    While the rain kept pouring I spent 10 (!) hours straight online, updating this site, cutting the ever-faster growing grass in my mailbox, recharging all the gadgets, listening to stories from fellow travellers at the fantastic Down Town Málaga Backpacker’s.


    …and thanks to Kerstin and Markus for their leftover cheese, butter, bread, yoghurt etc. Hope you and the bikes had a pleasant flight back to Germany…

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    Day 1.329 – Costa Del Sol – Stronghold of The European Whitewashing? (photos)

    Saturday, November 28th, 2009

    Estepona -> Torremolinos
    Distance (km) : 70
    Time on bike : 3h 49m
    Brutto time: 08.30 – 17.45
    Avg : 18.2 km/h
    Max.speed: 44.5
    Total (km) : 58.548
    Altitude: 50 m
    Difficulty: 2

    Early morning camp near Estepona...

    Pleasing WT-readers in a cafe...

    Apart from a few hours of WT-updates from Cafe Milano in Fuengirola, I spent most of today trying to get past all the holiday apartments and building craze on the infamous Costa Del Sol. Parts of it was quite pretty, but not quite worth a photo. So much money in this area. So many great cars. They say this corner of Europe is the ultimate stronghold of the whitewashing machinery going on…

    Fuengirola paseo marítimo...

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    Day 1.328 – Gibraltar, The Rock (UK)

    Friday, November 27th, 2009

    Algeciras -> Estepona
    Distance (km) : 81
    Time on bike : 5h 07m
    Brutto time: 08.20 – 18.20
    Avg : 15.8 km/h
    Max.speed: 53.2
    Total (km) : 58.478
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 2

    First wild camp back on European soil. Just outside of Algeciras.

    The Rock, Gibraltar.

    Since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to give Gibraltar, The Rock a quick look. Weird thing checking out of Spain just 12 hours after I entered. This is officially The United Kingdom, as we’d all know.

    How I've missed huge and cheap supermarkets.

    Welcome to Gibraltar...

    The Rock of Gibraltar...

    Me in front of the rock and the Koga...

    Old town in Gibraltar.

    On Europa Road...

    Old town in Gibraltar.

    So British (mail box), so Dutch (my bike)...

    Shopping frenzy in Gibraltar Town...

    The huge Rock from afar...

    Fine first cycling day in Spain...

    Fine first cycling day in Spain...

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    Day 1.327 – Europe, At Last! (UK)

    Thursday, November 26th, 2009

    Tangier (MA) -> Algeciras (SP)
    Distance (km) : 9
    Time on bike : 0h 59m
    Brutto time: 12.00 – 20.20
    Avg : 8.8 km/h
    Max.speed: 32.5
    Total (km) : 58.397
    Altitude: 10 m
    Difficulty: 0

    Tangier 2009.

    Tangier ladies...

    Tangier 2009.

    Tangier 2009.

    Tangier medina and my Mamora Hotel...

    Ready for Europe!

    This piece of paper legitimately got me back to mainland Europe...

    This was my first sight of Europe in 3 years + 5 months…I didn’t cry.

    This was my first sight of Europe in 3 years + 5 months...

    My gear ready to exit the ferry, enter Europe.

    Algeciras harbour.

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    Day 1.326 – Chuck Norris At The End Of African Territory (UK)

    Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

    Souk-el-Arba-di-Rharb -> Tangier
    Distance (km) : 157
    Time on bike : 6h 36m
    Brutto time: 07.00 – 16.00
    Avg : 24.0 km/h
    Max.speed: 51.1
    Total (km) : 58.389
    Altitude: 20 m
    Difficulty: 3½

    Sunrise over northern Morocco...

    It’s another early-bird start for me, leaving the village with the not-so-easy name Souk-el-Arba-di-Rharb before sunrise. Seemed like those villagers had never seen a white man before, and so I spent a few hours last night, munching my way through town, while the male part (being the only part) of the townspeople kept staring incessantly at me.

    One guy even tried talking to me. Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris! he exclaimed as he saw me pedaling into town.

    Morning jedis

    Agriculture near Larache, Morocco.

    Agriculture near Larache, Morocco.

    This is Chuck Norris…

    Tired, dirty, and content in Tangier - last port of call in Africa...

    As my newsletter stated, it’s a very emotional thing for me having arrived here in Tangier, the last port-of-call on African soil.

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    Day 1.325 – Conditions Are Perfect (UK)

    Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

    Rabat -> Souk-el-Arba-di-Rharb
    Distance (km) : 114
    Time on bike : 4h 57m
    Brutto time: 10.30 – 16.30
    Avg : 23.0 (yeah!) km/h
    Max.speed: 40.2
    Total (km) : 58.231
    Altitude: 30 m
    Difficulty: 3

    What do you do when you wanna go sightseeing and get going at the same time?

    Rabat architecture...

    You apply the good old business deal, 2-for-1, to the day and do both. I’m up early (Moroccans seem to be one bunch of sleepyheads), head for the massive and dead-quite (pun unintentional) cemetery next to the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

    Enormous graveyard in Rabat.

    As always, it’s an eerie sight looking at thousands of symmetrical gravestones. I was always fond of cemeteries for some reason.

    Enormous graveyard in Rabat.

    Enormous graveyard in Rabat.

    Rabat kasbah entrance...

    Rabat kasbah door...

    Rabat kasbah door...

    View of Sale from Rabat's kasbah...

    Rabat kasbah alley...

    Rabat kasbah alley...

    Kasbah door...

    Rabat kasbah entrance...

    Rabat medina...

    Rabat medina...

    Rabat medina...

    Rabat medina...

    A bike, a woman, a kid.

    Hmm, fresh morning bread

    So after a few turbo hours of touring Rabat on foot, it’s back to my pink room, get packed and well before noon I’m off again, less than 18 hours after my arrival in the capital. This is how I like it. Bit of this, bit of that…(Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being promiscuous here :-) )

    Plantation north of Rabat...

    Bands of the Day: Kent and The Killers.

    Sometimes I just need a bit of good old rock in my ears, to keep the energy high.

    On their way to work?

    The road north of Rabat is flat, and for a change I’m favoured by a sweet tail/cross/no wind that makes this a fairly snappy day. Conditions are perfect (but not quite like these guys would have it).

    This is one heavy loaded truck!

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    Day 1.324 – Kundera & Pissing In Washbasins (UK)

    Monday, November 23rd, 2009

    Casablanca -> Rabat
    Distance (km) : 92
    Time on bike : 5h 16m
    Brutto time: 07.55 – 16.00
    Avg : 17.4 km/h
    Max.speed: 31.8
    Total (km) : 58.117
    Altitude: 15 m
    Difficulty: 3½

    This is how I like it!

    Palm-lined promenade in Mohammedia, Morocco.

    I get punished twice today. 1. Bad headwinds. 2. Ugly industrial suburbia north of Casablanca.

    With the strong headwinds howling and with a mind that (today) just wanna get going, it’s really hard for me to keep the motivation on my side, the frustration on the other.

    Palm-lined promenade in Mohammedia, Morocco.

    Yes, the above palm-lined shots look kind of pretty, but they say nothing about the fucking headwinds! Or the constant attention (the stupid kind, if there ever was one) from onlookers, passers-by, everyone. I try to ignore everything and everybody, by just looking ahead of me, on the white stripe on the asphalt, but I hate myself for being such a prick, for being so openly rude and rejecting, so arrogant. I don’t quite recognize myself this way, but it’s my way of surviving mentally, a protective shield.

    The other side of life...

    Rabat city walls (and the Koga).

    I make it to the capital, though. From one metropole to another. Feels great. And my pink room even has a washbasin that – as long as I’m accomodating room #2 – has a dual function as a normal washbasin and as a urinal (Mr. Kundera wasn’t right: it’s not only doctors who piss in the sink). Solo traveling has certain kinds of freedoms…

    My hotel in Rabat (aka The Pink Hotel)...

    Rabat market...

    Rabat market...

    A Wonderland.

    Rabat Skyline...

    Rabat city walls.

    Dig in!


    Please note, kids. Pissing in the sink is wrong. Don’t try it at home. People (incl. your mom and dad) might find it disgusting. It is disgusting. Your friends will mock you when they find out. And they will as kids always do. It will only the start of your personal going astray. You won’t succeed in life. Don’t do it!

    In the pink room. Rabat, November 2009.

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    Day 1.323 – At Large In Casablanca (UK)

    Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

    0 km etc.

    My room with a view in Casablanca.

    Hotel Excelsior, Casablanca.

    Casablanca, autumn 2009.

    Immediately, I fall in love with Casablanca on my early morning stroll through the center of town, the medina and wherever my itchy feet take me. Decadent, glorious, modern, falling apart, crumbling, alive, quiet, buzzing, grandiose are words that come to mind roaming at large in the city of 3.8 mio. inhabitants. I hope these visuals show my love-at-first-sight for Casablanca.

    Casablanca architecture.

    The ruined Hotel Lincoln, Casablanca.

    Volubilis Hotel, Casablanca.

    Casablanca architecture.

    Casablanca café...

    Casablanca main post office...

    Grande Place Mohammed V, Casablanca...

    Grande Place Mohammed V, Casablanca...

    Casablanca Cathedral.

    Blvd. Rashid, Casablanca.

    Casablanca medina...

    Casablanca medina...

    Casablanca medina...

    Casablanca medina...

    Casablanca medina...

    Casablanca medina...

    Casablanca medina...

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    Day 1.322 – A Bike Named Pegasus (UK)

    Saturday, November 21st, 2009

    Oualidia -> Casablanca
    Distance (km) : 176!
    Time on bike : 7h 43m
    Brutto time: 07.55 – 18.45
    Avg : 22.7 km/h
    Max.speed: 42.5
    Total (km) : 58.026
    Altitude: 30 m
    Difficulty: 4½

    I was too busy in the saddle today to take photos and notes. Didn’t want to ruin the momentum. I’m flying all day, adrenalin rushing, Koga like Pegasus, landscape apparently quite boring, but I didn’t pay too much attention so who cares anyway. Can’t believe I make it all the way to Casablanca! It wasn’t even in my wildest thoughts when I left Oualidia this morning. It’s Saturday night in Casablanca – Morocco’s premier party city (doesn’t say a lot in this Muslim country) – but I won’t be worth much after pedaling more than 4 marathons today.

    Coffee and pancakes (of sorts) in Oualidia...

    Getting ready for a new day in the saddle...

    My first forest for quite a while...

    58.000 km. South of Casablanca, Morocco.

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    Day 1.321 – Splish-Splash

    Friday, November 20th, 2009

    Safi -> Oualidia
    Distance (km) : 66
    Time on bike : 3h 36m
    Brutto time: 09.10 – 14.30
    Avg : 18.2 km/h
    Max.speed: 47.7
    Total (km) : 57.850
    Altitude: 50 m
    Difficulty: 2½

    Safi medina wall/tower...

    Mosque just outside of Safi.

    Lingering in mid-air?

    Spectacular coastline north of Safi...

    Fine coastal cycling north of Safi...

    Spectacular coastline north of Safi...

    A Happy Cyclist.

    Beautiful Oualidia...

    Splish-splash

    Oualidia

    More splish-splash

    Oualidia

    More splish-splash

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    Day 1.320 – An Anachronism

    Thursday, November 19th, 2009

    Essaouira -> Safi
    Distance (km) : 122
    Time on bike : 7h 27m 27s
    Brutto time: 08.30 – 18.45
    Avg : 16.3 km/h
    Max.speed: 56.5
    Total (km) : 57.784
    Altitude: 10 m
    Difficulty: 4

    View just north of Essaouira.

    Hey fella'!

    Fine coastal cycling north of Essaouira.

    A Long Road...

    Muleposen aka The Nosebag

    Wagons

    Typical, not very interesting, Moroccan village.

    Sunset near Safi, Morocco.

    It’s not all pretty in Morocco. I even got some dubious acid rain drops in my eyes entering the city of Safi. Wrong, so wrong. Treat her well, Mother Nature.

    Entering industrial Safi...

    Anachronistically, this is yesterday’s delicious dinner in Essaouira…

    For Trina and Mike...

    Fabulous tajine viande with almonds and plums...Yumm!

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    Day 1.319 – Lovecats

    Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

    0 km etc. But lots of walking, Canon shooting, WT-updates, great food, turbo (WT style)…

    Spice pyramids...

    Simply irresistable!

    The Begging Jedi

    Essaouira medina...

    Essaouira port...

    Essaouira medina...

    I might need a bit of that stuff!

    Colours of Essaouira

    HowCanWeNotLoveCats?

    Cute, aren't they?

    Essaouira port...

    Essaouira medina...

    Hole-in-the-wall eatery...

    Another friend of mine...

    Essaouira by night...

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    Day 1.318 – Stop Whispering

    Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

    No gibberish today. Just visuals. This is Essaouira for you, dear WT-reader…

    Essaouira medina...

    Essaouira medina...

    Essaouira medina...

    Cat, not hungry...

    Begging, Essaouira style...

    Essaouira medina from above...

    Old Man & The Sea...

    Brekkie on top of Majestic Hotel, Essaouira.

    Tourist merchandise in Essaouira.

    Essaouira ramparts (and the jedi)

    Boats, Essaouira.

    Essaouira

    Essaouira port...

    Fishermen, Essaouira, November 2009.

    Essaouira port...

    Essaouira port...

    Seagull...

    Essaouira port...

    Essaouira port...

    Essaouira port...

    Essaouira port...

    Lunch time!

    An Essaouira Classic!

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    Day 1.317 – Ahhh, Essasouira! (UK)

    Monday, November 16th, 2009

    Tamri -> Essaouira
    Distance (km) : 115
    Time on bike : 6h 0m
    Brutto time: 08.55 – 16.30
    Avg : 19.2 km/h
    Max.speed: 50.2
    Total (km) : 57.662
    Altitude: 10 m
    Difficulty: 4

    View from my hotel's terrasse in Tamri.

    Minor incline north of Tamri...

    Lots of ups and downs again today. Three mini-passes, all around 400m, have to be climbed besides numerous climbs that all up make for a sweaty day in the saddle. Landscape is impressive and makes it all more than worthwhile.

    Incline north of Tamri, Morocco.

    North of Tamri, Morocco.

    Wild West Territory south of Essaouira.

    Tree-climbing goats!

    A bike, two flags and a donkey...

    Arriving in Essaouira after 264 km and 13 hours of riding since I left Tiznit yesterday morning, feels…well, great! I recognize the medina – where I find a cheap and simple room at Hotel Majestic (the name’s more majestic than the real deal, but the view over Essaouira from the 5th top floor terrasse is unbeatable) – from my visit with childhood friend “Box” in 2005, and for good times’ sake I track down the same bar where we used to go, and have a beer (the first cold one in some 40 days!) with a view over the harbour.

    Dry and sparsely populated...

    Logistic Reflection of the Day:
    Since I left Accra, Ghana 73 days ago, I’ve cycled 4.878 km through West Africa. If I keep going at this rate, I’ll be back in Denmark even before you can spell this word

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