Archive for November, 2008
0 km etc.
After a week of cold beers and organized debauchery in the Lima suburb of Miraflores, I thought it was about time to do just a bit of sightseeing in the UNESCO preserved, historical part of downtown Lima.
These are all pretty standard shots from the downtown. But the centre actually possesses an architectural beauty that my limited Lima pictures don’t really do any justice. Please excuse me – was still recovering today (Monday, would you believe it!) and not really in it.
0 km etc.
What a total waste of an otherwise beautiful Sunday (I think, though didn’t really see it).
Meeting up with a great group of travellers (incl. a big group of Danish Vikings, the size of which only Israelis might match ) here at the Loki Hostal in Miraflores, Lima has been an unforgettable, social experience to me. My liver’s been tested to the limits, but it’s been all worth it. We all need to unplug ourselves once in a while, and this week had the tag Nicolai’s Unplugged Week on it.
I’m sorry for the long silence (sort of) but you really haven’t missed out on anything. Days have been spent with the folks here at the hostel, chilling, laughing, playing pool, enjoying free wifi, recovering (not from the cycling this time) and getting ready for the next big night out. ‘Cos that’s how it goes here in crazy Lima. It’s a mad place and I love it – especially the nocturnal part of it.
Most of the guys I’ve been hanging out with all leave today. To different corners of the globe. The inevitable truth and ending of being part of the travelling lot. Knowing that the last 4-5 days of social (and mainly Danish) feast was a complete, random encounter and that we all got along very well makes me feel fortunate (and – on a less important note – a triffle exhausted/knackered).
Aske, Tobias, Kasper, Christian, Lisbeth, Mette, Majka (all Denmark), Trevor (Saskatchewan, Canada), Andrew (Tonga), Les & Liam (Melbourne, OZ), Frederik (Sweden) plus a small army of unsong heroes all made the week outstanding. Thanks, guys!
I spent 35 days in Bolivia from 22SEP2008-26OCT2008 and cycled a total of 1.560 km on all sorts of surfaces. Heavenly paved, hellish washboard, bum-shaking cobblestones, gravel, sandy, stony, potholed. You name it – Bolivia’s got it all.
I don’t know just how many darlings you are allowed to have. But this photo album from Bolivia is one of them anyhow…
WT Photo Set from Bolivia (170 photos)
or see photos as a slideshow on Flickr here!
(I suggest 2 things here: 1) Clicking once on the photo for a little text box pop-up and 2) clicking on the “4 arrows icon” in the bottom right hand corner of the link for watching the photos in full screen mode)
Feel free to leave a comment! I enjoy free wifi from my hostel here in Lima, Peru and all comments will be re-commented…
(Article in Danish only. Published in the national paper MetroXpress Friday 14NOV2008. Apologies to the non-Danish-speaking lot… )
Chilca -> Lima (hostal)
Distance (km) : 63
Time on bike : 3h 9m
Brutto time: 10.30 – 15.00
Avg : 20.0 km/h
Max.speed: 77.3 (TS)
Total (km) : 38.058
Kilometer-wise I know it’s a micro day getting in to Lima today. But the headwind is fierce. I’m trying to grab hold of one of the slower, passing trucks. After a few failed attempts, I manage to connect myself to the back of an old Dodge truck going up a minor hill. But the big potholes make it a little too risky and after just a few kms I have to let go again. Mentally, it’s a great boost though.
A mango break (4 ripe Fruits of Heaven consumed in no time at all. And at 0.70 USD a kilo I can afford it!) at the road side just before I hit the metropolitan area of Lima (approx. 9 mio. people) gives me enough energy to battle the huge capital and find my way to Miraflores, a “safer, more up-scale” (according to the travel litterature) suburb 10 km south of central Lima.
I’ve studied the Greater Lima map and quite easily find my way through the suburban hordes of cars, minibusses, pedestrians and street vendors. To check in at the Loki Hostal feels just fine after 10 days of mostly hilly cycling and 1.150 km since I left Cusco…Time to relax and socialize for a while now.
Chincha -> Chilca (hospedaje)
Distance (km) : 138
Time on bike : 6h 36m
Brutto time: 08.00 – 17.30
Avg : 20.9 km/h
Max.speed: Well, a lot!
Total (km) : 37.995
Cycling 130-150 km every day has its price, and often I’m just too knackered to bring out the electronic equipment and get myself updated on the laptop. After dinner I simply fade out, around 8-9PM. Power’s out and sleep is the only thing I can muster really.
But nothing (no experience, thought, i.e) is wasted here – it all ends up in my hand written diary.
Am looking forward to some anonymous big city days in Lima. Without the bike that – most likely along with the colour of my hair – attracts shit loads of attention everywhere. Especially in the smaller village everyone wants to chat and hear my story. It sounds pretty harmless, I know, but it gives me nothing (apart from irritation) and being treated as if I was made of some bulletproof, inhuman material (and not flesh and blood like anyone around) just isn’t the ideal basis for a proper conversation.
This is not just 15 minutes of fame. It’s 24 hours a day of annoying, unoriginal questions that ruin my concentration and focus when all I want to do is keep cycling…
(Abancay, Peru, 07NOV2008)
I finally managed to escape the ubiquitous traps and glue of Cusco. Met some really nice people that added to the difficulty of leaving. Cuscu is truly a fantastic and very lively city high up in the Andes. But I’m rolling again. Adventure (the two-wheeled kind) is back.
2 superhilly cycling days and 200 km later, I’m now in Abancay somewhere lost in the middle of the Andes. It’s great to be back in the saddle. Cycling has been hard and demanding. Today presented me with a brutal climb from 1.800 m (hot weather, parrots everywhere, sugar cane fields, banana palms and papaya trees and a few too many sand flies to my liking, the smell of the tropics) to the Abra Sorllaca Pass at 4.000 m (cold, drizzling, windy – it all changes so rapidly here in the Andes, something I (as a Dane) am not used to at all).
The Fruit of the Day was the superb 35 km downhill from the pass down to Abancay at 2.378 m. It was without a doubt the coolest (as in funky) and thrilling descent in WT History. Brilliant!
It’s touch cycling here, crossing the Andes from Cusco to Nazca, but not as hard as I expected after reading a few online blogs. The mental preparation rules supreme. And the asphalt is smooth and shiny.
Ahead of me is another 3-4 days with several 40-60 km (horizontal, that is ) ups and downs before I reach Nazca and the Peruvian coast (I see flat bitumen, high temperatures, the ocean (after nearly 3 months absense) and, well, semi-boring cycling coming up, but that’s fine for now. 2 months in the mountains have left a longing for the tropics again. No more freezing balls.
I might not be back in Camp WT before Nazca. But do leave me a note and a thought below. I don’t have any (physical) mail box to check everyday. I miss that kind of excitement. This (WT) is my only life line to you guys & gals out there, so don’t hold yourself back.
…and something’s still missing here
Something to come…
People often ask me if I just keep pedalling all the time like some Forest Gump on a bike.
As you’d know by now, the answer is a big and clear no. I take my time whenever I want and whenever I find something worth staying for.
Sometimes it is because of the people I meet, the friends that I’m staying with, the weather, the beauty of the place, the general feel-good vibe of the place, the cultural possibilities of the big city, the need for some time off the bike, the liquid (and most likely alcoholic) temptations of the night life, or what feels like unavoidable glue in the streets. There are lots of things to blame here.
Without having a return ticket and no apparent rush to get back home to Denmark (well, that wish for having my own family some day is still lingering), it can actually be harder to leave some places than you’d expect. Stay or go? is a constant (and, admittedly, luxury) dilemma on this RTW crusade.
Cusco, Peru will definitely make it to the list as well. But since – after 4 days and still counting – I haven’t left this wonderful city yet, it won’t figure here.
Top 20 Hard to Leave Places*
1. Chiang Mai, Thailand (31)
2. Kathmandu, Nepal (17)
3. Sydney, Australia (30)
4. Koh Tao, Thailand (8)
5. Luang Prabang, Laos (11)
6. Moorea, French Polynesia (20)
7. Pokhara, Nepal (6)
8. Gili Trawangan, Indonesia (6)
9. Melbourne, Australia (25)
10. Istanbul, Turkey (11)
11. Adelaide, Australia (12)
12. Foa Island, Tonga (5)
13. La Paz, Bolivia (6)
14. Perhentian Island, Malaysia (5)
15. Kuta (Bali), Indonesia (8)
16. Salta, Argentina (6)
17. Hanoi, Vietnam (7)
18. Koh Pha-Ngan, Thailand (4)
19. Varna, Bulgaria (4)
20. Kraków, Poland (5)
*) 13 cities, 7 islands. Numbers in parenthesis signify (approx.) days of stay.