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    Archive for March, 2009

    Day 1.087 – El Salvador (UK)

    Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

    Usulután -> La Libertad
    Distance (km) : 108
    Time on bike : 5h 08m
    Brutto time: 11.50 – 17.50
    Avg : 21.0 km/h
    Max.speed: 51.1
    Total (km) : 44.161
    Altitude: 2m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    Usulután, El Salvador.

    It’s a full-on action day from when I wake up at 6AM in Usulután until I get out of the shower in La Libertad 12 hours later. Hardly any breaks to speak of, just focused pedalling and fast-forward mode.

    Max, the Dog, begging for a cuddle...

    Convenience store, Usulután, El Salvador.

    Buying milk (?!) at the local convenience store, Usulután - El Salvador.

    Cashew nuts, drying.

    Street sign, El Salvador.

    Waiting for the yummy sandwich from the street vendor...

    Colourful busses in El Salvador.

    Farmland, El Salvador.

    …and, naturally, a few photo breaks to please you, highly esteemed WT-reader, and my inner photographer! :-)

    Hot cycling in El Salvador.

    Cattle in El Salvador.

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    Day 1.086 – A Tough One (UK)

    Monday, March 30th, 2009

    El Amatillo -> Usulután
    Distance (km) : 109
    Time on bike : 5h 51m
    Brutto time: 07.40 – 15.40
    Avg : 18.6 km/h
    Max.speed: 48.9
    Total (km) : 44.052
    Altitude: 120m
    Difficulty: 4½ of 5

    It was one of the worst nights for a long time. The temperature in my hooker room (hooker-free tonite though) didn’t drop below 30 degrees Celsius. No breeze at all. Mossies liked it. Slept very haphazardly, woke up all the time, and when morning light finally arrived I found myself really dehydrated because of all that night sweating.

    Tuk-tuk. El Salvador.

    Am sure that El Amatillo is part of the reason why border towns have such a bad reputation globally. Just wanted to leave that shithole right away in the morning, after my müsli and diet coke for brekkie.

    Volcan San Miguel (2.130m), El Salvador.

    It’s another crazily hot day cycling through the lowlands of El Salvador. No surprises here. I end up drinking nigh on 13 litres of liquid today. Zombie feeling inside of me. Not feeling social at all. No random chit-chat with the locals along the way. There simply isn’t enough energy for unnecessary things like that. Whenever I’m off the bike for a drink in the shade, my body automatically goes into this energy-saving mode that makes chit-chatting impossible.

    Heat's nearly killing me...El Salvador low-land chilling.

    Luckily, most people seem to understand this mode around here. Looking like this (below) you’d understand too, right, and just leave me with my coke and silencio.

    Me, exhausted and overheated...

    Centroamérica #2, El Salvador.

    I cross 44.000 km (see botton of link) today in the centre of the busy San Miguel.

    Corner shop "The Hope Funerals". El Salvador.

    Usulután, El Salvador.

    When I roll into Usulután in the early arvo, I’ve cycled 357 km in the last 53 hours. Exhausted, content with progress. Check into Motel Los Milagros (which indeed does seem like a miracle, my state of mind/body taken into consideration), have my ritual cold shower followed by a dinner hunt in town.

    Reading the local paper, La Prensa, in a burger bar over a forgettable chicken sandwich, I notice that Denmark leads Group 1 in the qualification round for the World Cup Soccer in South Africa next year. Just gotta be back home with friends etc. before the kick-off…

    Usulután market, El Salvador.

    Usulután Cathedral, El Salvador.

    I thought I was heading straight for the bed, but at the hostel/motel the owner, Claudia (35) strikes up a conversation in the courtyard. She offers me a beer as an early birthday present (a week from now) and I gladly accept. It’s a nice talk. Beer is cold. Still very tired.

    Usulután evening market, El Salvador.

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    Day 1.085 – 3 countries in just one day (UK)

    Sunday, March 29th, 2009

    Somotillo, NI -> El Amatillo, ES via HN
    Distance (km) : 138
    Time on bike : 7h 05m
    Brutto time: 08.30 – 18.30
    Avg : 19.5 km/h
    Max.speed: 47.7
    Total (km) : 43.943
    Altitude: 50m
    Difficulty: 4 of 5

    My last brekkie in Nicaragua...

    It’s another mad cycling day. I leave Nicaragua in the early morning, manage to cross Honduras (well, the southern bit of it, truth be told) in a day, and enter El Salvador early in the evening. 3 countries in just 1 day on a bike. That’s a first of for me, and proudness (along with tiredness) fills me once I settle down in that terrible brothel room (more below) in El Salvador.

    Welcome to Honduras! WT-country # 34

    Tune of the Day: You Came – Kim Wilde (yep, that old classic is still full of pure energy to me)

    Another excruciatingly hot day. Honduras 2009.

    Reflections...

    Bridge over not very troubled waters. Honduras - March 2009.

    Fine (and very hot) cycling in Honduras...

    Hacienda, Honduras.

    Mangos and cashew fruits.

    Mango murder...

    Laundry service under the sun...

    Settlement, Honduras.

    Honduran bush near El Salvador's border town El Amatillo...

    Cattle + shadow

    Sunset on the Honduras/El Salvador border...

    Welcome to El Salvador! WT-country #35.

    One of my worst nights ever was in this room on the Honduras/El Salvador border town of El Amatillo (ES side): No water, no electricity (=no fan to cool me down, 30 degrees C through the night in the room), mosquitoes, yes, urine smell, yes, high-heeled (hooker?) shoes in the corner, yes, dirty, oh yes!, cheap, yes (4 USD), bad value, yes, just-wanna-leave-this-place-feeling, YES!

    Spartan room (brothel?) in El Amatillo, the border town on the Honduras/El Salvador border post.

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    Day 1.084 – Last day in Nicaragua

    Saturday, March 28th, 2009

    León -> Somotillo
    Distance (km) : 110
    Time on bike : 4h 58m
    Brutto time: 10.50 – 16.30
    Avg : 22.1 km/h
    Max.speed: 56.8
    Total (km) : 43.804
    Altitude: 100m
    Difficulty: 3½ of 5

    Hurricane Mitch...

    Volcán San Cristóbal (1.745m)...

    Road side stop spectators....

    Hey buddy!

    Please stay away from me, will you?

    Spiky!

    Chicken bus, Nicaragua.

    Rural Nicaragua.

    Humble room for the night in Somotillo, Nicaragua.

    Dusty, Nicaraguan road...

    Bucket and scoop shower with water from the well in front of me. Somotillo, Nicaragua.

    The border town of Somotillo, 6 km from the Honduran border. Nicaragua, 2009.

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    Day 1.083 – Days in León

    Friday, March 27th, 2009

    Days here in León have been real fun. I’ve met lots of Dutch people and – as usual – that implies good and happy times.

    Typical gallo pinto breakfast, Nicaraguan style.

    Lots of WT-related work in near by cyber cafés (fast, 0.50 USD/hour), lots of walking around the beautiful city, lots of cervezas.

    Getting back on the road have a certain attraction now after these hedonistic super days in León…

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    Day 1.082 – A(nother) Day at the WT Office

    Thursday, March 26th, 2009

    The great Viavia Hostel in León, Nicaragua.

    Tune of the Day: Vambora – Adriana Calcanhotto

    Cathedral in León, Nicaragua.

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    Update of all the WT hitlists

    Thursday, March 26th, 2009

    In case you’d have any interest at all in knowing how the world’s countries can be described in just 3 words, what nationalities I like the most, what my favourite songs are, best albums ever, great gringo hang-outs etc. etc, then have a look on the link below.

    The list is also (permanently) to be found on the main page under “The Hitlists” (old wine, new bottle)in the menu on the left side.

    Bits and pieces list updated

    Nicolai (León, Nicaragua)

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    WT Boat Trips 2006-2009

    Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

    Following is a cronological list of all the maritime (boat/ferry/dugout/raft or whatever) trips I’ve taken on the WT journey so far.

    Right from when it all started at KM Zero when Pablo and I left the ferry (from Copenhagen to Swinoujscie) in that cold April morning in 2006.

    Since then there’s been another 28 boat trips of varying length, from the 5 min. raft trip across the Titicaca Lake in Bolivia (# 27) to the king-size 50 hour-voyage from Bintan Island just south of Singapore and all the way to Jakarta, Java (# 15).

    The most beautiful was probably the ones in The Kingdom of Tonga (but see below for the classic exception)) (# 24+25) and the most recent across the Nicaragua Lake to the island of Ometepe, Nicaragua (# 29)…

    The WT-reader will know that the worst maritime rides were the first 33 hours of the sailing boat ride from Colombia to Panama (# 28) and the ride to the Tongan island of ‘Eua (# 23).

    The most crowded and uncomfortable (seasickness not included here) was the ferry ride from Sumbawa Isl. to Sumba Isl. in the East Indonesian archipelago, Nusa Tenggara (# 20, see under “more”).

    I hope you enjoy the list!

    Nicolai (March 2009, León – Nicaragua)

    1. Copenhagen, Denmark -> Swinoujscie, Poland. April 2006.
    2. Across Atatürk Baraji, Turkey. July 2006.
    3. Baku, Azerbaijan -> Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan. August 2006.
    4. Battambang -> Siem Reap, Cambodia. December 2006. (more, Danish)
    5. Luang Prabang -> Ban Houey Xai, Laos . March 2007.
    6. Chumphon -> Koh Tao, Thailand. May 2007 (more).
    7. Koh Tao -> Koh Pha-Ngan, Thailand. June 2007 (more).
    8. Koh Pha-Ngan -> Koh Samui, Thailand. June 2007.
    9. Koh Samui -> Don Sak, Thailand. June 2007.
    10. Kuala Perlis -> Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia. June 2007.
    11. Pulau Langkawi -> Pulau Penang, Malaysia. June 2007.
    12. Kuala Besut -> Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia. June 2007. (more, Danish)
    13. Tanjung Gemok -> Pulau Tioman, Malaysia. July 2007.
    14. Singapore -> Batam, Indonesia. July 2007. (more, Danish)
    15. Batam Isl. -> Bintan Isl., Indonesia. July 2007.
    16. Telaga Punggur -> Jakarta, Indonesia. August 2007. (more, Danish)
    17. Java -> Bali, Indonesia. August 2007. (more, Danish)
    18. Bali -> Lombok, Indonesia. September 2007.
    19. Lombok -> Sumbawa, Indonesia. September 2007.
    20. Sumbawa -> Sumba, Indonesia. September 2007. (more)
    21. Sumba -> West Timor, Indonesia. September 2007. (more, Danish)
    22. Picton -> Wellington, New Zealand. May 2008. (more, Danish)
    23. Tongatapu -> ’Eua (return), Tonga. June 2008. (more, Danish)
    24. Tongatapu -> Ha’apai, Tonga. June 2008.
    25. Ha’apai -> Vava’u, Tonga. June 2008. (more)
    26. Tahiti -> Moorea (return), French Polynesia. July 2008.
    27. Across Lago de Titicaca, Tiquina, Bolivia. October 2008. (more, Danish)
    28. Cartagena, Colombia -> Cartí, Panama. February 2009. (more)
    29. San Jorge -> Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua. March 2009. (more)

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    Day 1.081 – Viavia

    Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

    The great Viavia Hostel in León, Nicaragua.

    Shopping...

    Brekkie at Viavia with Dutch Suzette and Jorien...

    Horse-drawn carriage in León, Nicaragua.

    León, Nicaragua. March 2009.

    Street vendor outfit, León, Nicaragua.

    Horse-drawn carriage in León, Nicaragua.

    Señor Nicolás in León, Nicaragua.

    The Lion City - Nicaragua.

    Paint job in León's massive cathedral...

    Inside León's massive cathedral...

    The great Viavia Hostel in León, Nicaragua.

    The great Viavia Hostel in León, Nicaragua.

    Dinner in León with Dutch Suzette and Jorien...

    Hanging out at Viavia Bar with all them Dutch people...

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    Adjustments on the Day Sale…

    Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

    As you may have noticed, a new feature – the WT Day Sale - is up and running, thanks to my friend Pablo.

    I’ve made a few adjustments/additions to the feature, the main ones being that:

    1.
    When the payment is registered, your name (last name) will appear in the status box on the list.

    If you don’t want your name on the list, please just write “anonymous” in the “remarks box” below.

    If you would like your company’s name (or otherwise) on the list, just give me a note (in the same box).

    This, I hope, will make any contributions more personal and visible…

    2.
    Besides, in order to make the list easier to “read”, I’ve added new lines on the list (ENTER SLOVAKIA, e.g) whenever I crossed borders, which means that now you actually have a chance of knwing where DAHONGLIUTAN is situated.

    3.
    I’ve added a clickable


    (on the step 2/3 page) which makes buying the cycling days easier than finding the @ on a Nicaraguan keyboard…

    Any questions? Please contact me on nb@worldtravellers.dk

    Nicolai (León – Nicaragua)

    …and a huge thank you to those of you who’ve supported the expedition so far.
    I try and respond personally to all to show my gratitude. But since I’ve still got only 2 hands and 24 hours a day available, do apologize in case I miss one here and there. You’re all angles in my book nonetheless… ;-)

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    Day 1.080 – León – the Proud Lion

    Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

    0 km etc.

    Now please allow me to take you around León, the beautiful, former capital of Nicaragua. Such impressive and partly ruined churches and facades all over the place.

    León, Nicaragua. March 2009.

    León, Nicaragua. March 2009.

    Tune of the Day: Kys det nu (det satans liv) – TV2 (Denmark)

    León, Nicaragua. March 2009.

    León, Nicaragua. March 2009.

    León, Nicaragua. March 2009.

    León, Nicaragua. March 2009.

    The impressive cathedral in León, Nicaragua.

    With  the good Dutchies in León, Nicaragua.

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    Day 1.079 – Volcanoes in Nicaragua

    Monday, March 23rd, 2009

    Granada -> León
    Distance (km) : 143
    Time on bike : 5h 32m
    Brutto time: 08.45 – 15.30
    Avg : 25.5 km/h
    Max.speed: 74.2
    Total (km) : 43.694
    Altitude: 10m
    Difficulty: 4 of 5

    Lago de Managua, Nicaragua.

    Volcán Momotombo (1.280m) at the Lago de Managua, Nicaragua.

    Quesillos - a delicious cream-cheese and onion on tortillas delicacy...

    Volcán Momotombo (1.280m) at the Lago de Managua, Nicaragua.

    Choys - the saviour of the day...

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    WT Days For Sale

    Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

    Please click the link below for more…

    WT Day Sale

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    Day 1.078 – Touché (UK)

    Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

    Vigorón - yucca steamed and topped with fried pork and cabbage. A Granada speciality.

    Sometimes, a tune comes your way, hits you, touches you, moves you, and in a strange and micro-cosmic way defines a new before/after milestone in your life. Powerful and epoch-making songs that just rock your world, in whatever ways.

    Granada monument

    I’ve been hit by such a song, a remake of Edith Piaf’s classic tune Autumn Leaves (orig. Les Feuilles Mortes). Have a go at it here (and do turn off your cellular during those 4’50” minutes – the song (+ you) deserves it):

    Tune of the Day: Autumn Leaves – Eva Cassidy

    Granada street scene...

    Pablo has helped me set up a new WT feature – The WT Day Sale – that we’ve been working on for some time now, and that I’m quite excited about. All my thanks go out to Pablo for that invaluable helping hand!

    Granada cathedral, hungover.

    And a big thank you to Benno in Switzerland for inspiration and original idea…

    Musica en vivo en Granada.

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    Day 1.077 – Euro Café (UK)

    Saturday, March 21st, 2009

    Iglesia de Guadelupe, Granada...

    Tune of the Day: A Simple Plan – Pedro the Lion

    Iglesia de Guadelupe, Granada...

    Lots of wifi at the cosy Euro Café and hanging out with the good Belgians, Toon & Guillermina, that I met on the boat from Colombia to Panama.

    Lake Nicaragua.

    My 7 USD room at the Hospedaje Café Ruíz, Granada.

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    Photo Album from Panama

    Saturday, March 21st, 2009

    See the photo album from Panama here (standard way)

    …or as a slideshow below:

    I’ve got another album from Costa Rica up my sleeve, so don’t go too far away from the cookie box…

    Nicolai

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    Day 1.076 – Koga TLC

    Friday, March 20th, 2009

    Daytrip along the Lake Nicaragua: 10 km

    TLC

    Bearing ball replacement in Granada...

    Tune of the Day: Where Do We Fit – Xavier Rudd

    Street entertainment in Granada.

    Lake Nicaragua.

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    Day 1.075 – Photo Day in Granada

    Thursday, March 19th, 2009

    The beautiful cathedral in Granada, Nicaragua.

    Street vendors in Granada, Nicaragua.

    Street life, Granada - Nicaragua.

    The Garbage People, Granada.

    Granada cathedral

    Granada market area.

    Granada market area.

    Granada market area.

    Granada market area.

    Me, Toon, Guillermina, Adam, and Amie in Granada, Nicaragua.

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    Saludos from Nicaragua…(UK)

    Thursday, March 19th, 2009

    Over the next few days here in Granada, Nicaragua I’ll do all I can to try and get WT back to present. It will be a long and sort of tiresome battle, but I’ll make it eventually.

    Hundreds of photos to be uploaded, stories to be told, rows of html codes to play tricks on me, satisfaction to be felt after long days “at the WT office”…

    I’ve just posted a few (photo) diary days from my voyage from Colombia to Panama. See more here…

    Plus the log is now up-to-date…

    See log here

    All good from Granada and Lake Nicaragua. Just said goodbye to my Danish friend, Rune, who left this morning. It’s been fantastic having my best mate around for some 18 days, cycling and cruising around in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

    Now it’s back to my solo adventures…

    Nicolai

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    Day 1.074 – Goodbye, my friend…(UK)

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

    Can´t get enough of the horse carts...

    They say that all good things come to an end.

    What has been 17 unforgettable days together with my best friend, Rune, certainly come to an end today. As soon as I wake up, it’s there: that “lumpy” feeling inside, that something unavoidable which you don’t really want to happen, is going to happen. Imagining a more complete friendship is beyond my fantasy, and I will sure miss our happy days together in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

    The last breakfast together in Nicaragua...

    La Cuenta. Rest. Los Bocaditos, Granada - Nicaragua.

    After seeing Rune take off in the international bus bound for San José, Costa Rica (from where his flight back to Denmark leaves) I spend the rest of the day trying to come to terms with the fact that from now on it’s back to the solo travelling mode. Moody. Free wifi at the great Euro Café in downtown Granada.

    Granada cathedral

    Sunset over Granada - Nicaragua

    Free wifi at the Euro Café, Granada.

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    Day 1.073 – Granada, Nicaragua

    Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

    Isla Ometepe -> Granada
    Distance (km) : 76
    Time on bike : 4h 31m
    Brutto time: 07.30 – 14.00
    Avg : 16.8 km/h
    Max.speed: 53.9
    Total (km) : 43.537
    Altitude: 20 m
    Difficulty: 2 of 5

    Gallo pinto-brekkie on the boat back to the mainland from Isla Ometepe...

    A Daring Man in a Dodgy Boat

    Banana truck on ferry on Lake Nicaragua.

    Arrival San Jorge after the 1 hour ride across Lake Nicaragua...

    Horse. San Jorge - Nicaragua.

    Nicaragua 2009

    Boats, San Jorge - Lake Nicaragua.

    The scenic road towards Granada, Nicaragua.

    Nicolai and Rune in front of the cathedral in Granada...

    Me (tiny) in front of the cathedral in Granada, Nicaragua...

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    Day 1.072 – Exploring life on Isla Ometepe

    Monday, March 16th, 2009

    Isla Ometepe Daytrip, bike (km): 43

    At the Hotel Finca Playa Venecia, Isla Ometepe.

    Cattle on Isla Ometepe...

    Carrying bananas on Ometepe, Nicaragua.

    Village life in Altagracia, Ometepe - Nicaragua.

    Communicating with The Wanderer

    The Wanderer

    Shopping in the Jehova shop on Isla Ometepe - Nicaragua.

    Banana palms on Isla Ometepe - Nicaragua

    Burning Man

    Punta Tagüizapa, Isla Ometepe.

    Lamafar + bananas.

    Volcan Maderas (1394m) on Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua.

    Village life on Isla Ometepe - Nicaragua.

    Village life on Isla Ometepe - Nicaragua.

    Beautiful views all over on Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua.

    Beautiful views all over on Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua.

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    Day 1.071 – How Can I Forget This?

    Sunday, March 15th, 2009

    San Juan -> Isla Ometepe
    Distance (km) : 50
    Time on bike : 3h 49m
    Brutto time: 11.15 – 18.30
    Avg : 12.9 km/h
    Max.speed: 38.2
    Total (km) : 43.417
    Altitude: 3 m
    Difficulty: 1½ of 5

    The road from San Juan del Sur to San Jorge and Isla Ometepe...

    Nicaraguan bus...

    More horses...

    Sunday afternoon in San Jorge at the Lake Nicaragua.

    Mini mangos in San Jorge, Nicaragua...

    Horses again...

    The ferry ride across Lake Nicaragua from mainland San Jorge to Isla Ometepe is probably the most beautiful boat ride I’ve ever had. I hope the photos below reflect that fairy/dreamy feel that the ride had to it. Spoiled kids we all are…

    From the ferry ride across the Nicaragua Lake to Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua.

    From the ferry ride across the Nicaragua Lake to Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua.

    Birds from the ferry to Isla Ometepe...

    From the ferry ride across the Nicaragua Lake to Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua.

    From the ferry ride across the Nicaragua Lake to Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua.

    From the ferry ride across the Nicaragua Lake to Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua.

    Arrival Isla Ometepe...

    Isla Ometepe...

    Horse at large on Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua...

    Ace and the horse...

    Local cowboys on Isla Ometepe...

    Sunset light on Volcan Concepcion, Isla Ometepe - Nicaragua...

    Enough beauty, enough seagulls, enough horses…

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    Day 1.070 – San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

    Saturday, March 14th, 2009

    Daytrip to Playa El Remanso, The Pacific, Nicaragua.

    Nicolai + boneca in our San Juan del Sur room...

    The favourite food spot in San Juan del Sur...

    Cops in San Juan del Sur...

    San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

    San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

    Lamafar on the dirt road towards Playa El Remanso...

    Waves at the Playa El Remanso, Nicaragua.

    Nicaraguan country side...

    Sunset over the bay at San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua...

    My two friends. San Juan del Sur - Nicaragua.

    Pizza + beer = happy men

    NB
    NB is both my initials and short for Nota Bene, and as a NB I, NB, would like to thank Rune Lamafar for letting me use some of his great shots on the site…

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    Day 1.069 – Enter Nicaragua

    Friday, March 13th, 2009

    Liberia (CR) -> San Juan del Sur (Nica)
    Distance (km) : 122
    Time on bike : 6h 36m
    Brutto time: 08.45 – 18.00
    Avg : 18.5 km/h
    Max.speed: 61.5
    Total (km) : 43.354
    Altitude: 3 m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    Llama ahead!

    Windswept...

    Time to exit Costa Rica...

    Volcanoes lurking in the background...

    Bienvenidos a Nicaragua - my WT country #33...

    There are great views of the twin volcanoes that rise out of the Nicaragua Lake. Rune and I are blessed with a nice tailwind and the chain is on the big chain ring most of the day. Am excited about being in Nicaragua – happy being with my friend.

    First ice cream stop in Nicaragua...

    Windmills with Volcan Concepcion in the distance...

    Lamafar is doing really well on the bike. We are both in a sports trance pretty much all day, and when we stop late in the afternoon in the low-key Pacific beach village of San Juan del Sur, the bike computer shows 122.2 km. Bravo!

    Ranch entrance + volcano

    Hundreds of vultures were having a (dead horse) feast that day! Disgusting and very foulsmelling...

    Nicolai in the tienda...

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    Day 1.068 – A Duo

    Thursday, March 12th, 2009

    La Fortuna -> El Coco (car, bus) -> Liberia (bike)
    Distance (km) : 36
    Time on bike : 2h 28m
    Brutto time: 15.15 – 18.15
    Avg : 14.5 km/h
    Max.speed: 39.1
    Total (km) : 43.231
    Altitude: 30 m
    Difficulty: 1½ of 5

    Ready to leave Sleep Inn Guesthouse in La Fortuna in our little Suzuki Alto, 800 ccm...

    Cattle in Costa Rica.

    The duo. Me and Rune Lamafar on our way back to Liberia, Costa Rica.

    Ready for the feast! Liberia, Costa Rica.

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    Day 1.067 – Hot Spring Paradise

    Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

    Nicolai feeding the picotes (coatis) near Lake Arenal - Costa Rica...

    Nicolai feeding the picotes (coatis) near Lake Arenal - Costa Rica...

    Fungus.

    Nicolai in the rainforest. Costa Rica.

    Rune at the Lake Arenal...

    Ghosty Lake Arenal...

    River in the rain forest near Lake Arenal...

    Picote (coati), hungry.

    The pose. At the fabulous (and free) Tabanconcito Springs near Lake Arenal - Costa Rica.

    Hobbit atmosphere at the springs...

    Flores.

    Looking up!

    Jungle vegetation...

    In the springs...

    In the springs...

    Movimiento...

    Moving stillleben...

    Waterfall near La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

    ..and the 4-legged highlight of the day:

    The weird, cuddle street dog with the prominent teeth. Liberia - Costa Rica.

    Volcán Arenal under the clouds.

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    Day 1.066 – Rainbow friends

    Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

    It’s time for some four-wheeled action in Costa Rica!

    So Rune and I rent a car, a tiny Suzuki Alto that does a surprisingly good job considering the 800 ccm engine. Seeing Rune enter the car is like watching the biggest bloke in the smallest car. Big laugh.

    The freedom of the car!

    We leave Liberia late in the afternoon and head for La Fortuna and Lake Arenal in the central highlands of Costa Rica.

    Great rural scapes near Tilarán, Costa Rica.

    Moving without having to work for it, is always a pleasure to me, and even though the petite junior car is pushed to the limits (80 km/h!) going up the central highlands, sitting behind the steering wheel is a bliss. The country side impresses…

    …as does the rainbow.

    Rainbow near Tilarán, Costa Rica.

    Rainbow near Tilarán, Costa Rica.

    Water coming our way!

    Vertical rainbow over Lake Arenal, Costa Rica...

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    Day 1.065 – Daytrip: Beaches!

    Monday, March 9th, 2009

    Daytrip by bike: 31.5 km to Playas Hermosa & Panama.

    Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica's Pacific coast...

    Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica's Pacific coast...

    Playa Panama. Costa Rica's Pacific coast...

    Rune hanging out with the elderly :-)

    Playa Panama. Costa Rica's Pacific coast...

    Playa Panama. Costa Rica's Pacific coast...

    The Hilton at Playa Panama, Costa Rica...

    Nicolai and Lamafar in Playa del Coco, drinking Nazi beers...

    Sambuca shots waiting, temptingly.

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    Day 1.064 – The Pacific

    Sunday, March 8th, 2009

    Liberia -> Playa del Coco
    Distance (km) : 36
    Time on bike : 1h 28m
    Brutto time: 11.40 – 13.40
    Avg : 24.4  km/h
    Max.speed: 60.8
    Total (km) : 43.164
    Altitude: 3 m
    Difficulty: 1 of 5

    DRink stop just before Playa del Coco (some 46 degrees C in the sun, mind you)

    Playa del Coco on the Pacific, Costa Rica...

    Local bus in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica.

    Sunset over the Pacific. Playa del Coco, Costa Rica.

    Chilling on the terrasse in Playa del Coco...

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    Day 1.063 – The Fall & The Howler

    Saturday, March 7th, 2009

    Limonal -> Liberia (hospedaje)
    Distance (km) : 77
    Time on bike : 4h 48m
    Brutto time: 08.45 – 16.30
    Avg : 16.1 km/h
    Max.speed: 61.3
    Total (km) : 43.128
    Altitude: 30 m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    Brekkie in Limonal village...

    Typical landscape in the Guanacaste Province, western Costa Rica...

    The dirt road to the waterfall...

    Llenos de Cortéz Waterfall, SE of Liberia, Costa Rica...

    Shadows in Costa Rica.

    Llenos de Cortéz Waterfall, SE of Liberia, Costa Rica...

    Howler monkey in the canopy, Llenos de Cortéz Falls - Costa Rica.

    A tour bus full of Swiss tourists "attacked" me verbally about the expedition at the waterfall...Weird situation!

    Horse + water hole

    Tired and hungry likes wolves in the Hub, aka Liberia - Costa Rica...

    Fan trance in The Hub (Liberia)...

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    Day 1.062 – Behind the Scenes

    Friday, March 6th, 2009

    San Mateo -> Limonal
    Distance (km) : 78
    Time on bike : 4h 44m
    Brutto time: 10.00 – 16.30
    Avg : 16.4 km/h
    Max.speed: 66.5
    Total (km) : 43.050
    Altitude: 30 m
    Difficulty: 2½ of 5

    Road side fruit vendor. 1 small watermelon = 0.40 USD.

    Village scene...

    Couldn´t stop myself!

    This is how it looks, when I take the Milestone photos...This was km-marker # 43.000!

    Lunch stop along the Costa Rican Panamericana...

    Lamafar on the bridge...

    River crossing in the tropical lowlands - Costa Rica.

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    Day 1.061 – Leaving San José…

    Thursday, March 5th, 2009

    San José -> San Mateo
    Distance (km) : 65
    Time on bike : 3h 36m
    Brutto time: 12.00 – 17.00
    Avg : 18.0 km/h
    Max.speed: 65.5
    Total (km) : 42.973
    Altitude: 150 m
    Difficulty: 1½ of 5

    Pigeon feeding in San Jose...

    Rune and I, oh so ready to leave San Jose and hit the roads...

    Drink stop and map checking, NE of Atenas, Costa Rica...

    The mountain range we, somewhat unexpectantly,  had to cross to get to the Pacific lowlands...

    Lovely sunset colours over Costa Rican foothills...

    From the mountain ridge on our way to the Pacific - Costa Rica.

    Beer after our dinner in the village of San Mateo, near the Pacific.

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    Newsletter from San José, Costa Rica (UK)

    Thursday, March 5th, 2009

    There’s been a lot of cycling since I left Cartagena, Colombia (and South America) on Feb. 17th – or rather since I left the sailing boat in Cartí on the north coast of Panama after a 5 day boat ride.

    My bike on the Sacanagem sailing boat to Panama...

    The boat ride was a very mixed experience for me and the rest of the crew on board the boat. During the first 36 hours we crossed the open waters, and right from the start it seemed as if the maritime goddesses threw all evils at us. Waves were 4 meters high, sea was really rough, and just after we left the Bahía de Cartagena (Bay of Cartagena) my saliva started doing weird things and my stomach prepared for that big boogie-woogie to come. It was Hell on Earth.

    I soon found my spot in the back of the sailing boat were puking over the rail was possible. The schizophrenic waves tossed the 43 foot boat around like a paper aeroplane in a tornado, and most of the 11 travellers on board took turns at the puke pole position in the back of the boat. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t pretty. My silent prayers and the seasickness tablets in my belly didn’t do no good in the hopeless battle against Mother Nature. Mad dog.

    It seemed like the torture would never end, but after 1½ days of brutal punishment we came to anchor at Cayos Hollandéses, a string of tiny coconut islands off the north coast of Panama that belongs to the San Blas Archipelago. We all got the natural colour of our cheeks back as soon as we entered the calm waters around the islands, things got back to normal, smiles were seen on all faces again, and life suddenly became something attractive again.

    One of the many beautiful cayos in the San Blas Archipelago...

    The shift from Paradise (in Cartagena) to Hell (the 36 hours on open sea) and back to Paradise (the San Blas Islands) can be a swift one sometimes.

    Hermit on San Blas.

    Sunset over the San Blas Islands, Panama.

    Cayos Chichime, San Blas Islands - Panama.

    The next 3 days were spent chilling on the boat, sharing stories with Federico, the Brazilian captain, and the other 10 travellers (Canadian brothers Dan and Tom, an Aussie couple Andrew and Tory, a Buenos Aires couple Joaquín and Sofi, Sydneysider Gabriel, Spanish Alejandro and Toon & Guillermina from Belgium with whom I had a great time).

    The indígenas Kuna people of the San Blas Islands...

    Guillermina (Belgium) and I on Cayo Hollandés, Islas de San Blas.

    We were snorkelling, walking around soccer field sized paradise islands Robinson Crusoe style feeling like an outcast, bon fire on the beach, swimming in the turquoise Caribbean waters, visiting traditional villages with the indigenous Kuna people (culturally very interesting to me), feeling dreamy and trying to forget about that horrible passage from Cartagena.

    Kuna girls on Cayos Hollandéses, Islas de San Blas - Panama.

    The indígenas Kuna people of the San Blas Islands...

    The crew on the boat trip from Cartagena, Colombia to Panama...

    In the morning of Feb. 22th it was time for goodbyes with the crew that I’d been enjoying hanging out with. The fifth continent was below my wheels, and I was back in my lycra outfit and started a mad race towards the Costa Rican capital San José (via Panama City).

    Panama and my fifth continent on the trip so far...

    I wanted to get to (or as close to as possible) the capital before March 1st when Rune, my best friend from back home, would arrive in the evening to come and travel with me for some 3 weeks. Ahead of me was some 1.000 km (incl. a few mountain ranges) according to my maps, and with only 8 days to goof around with, things looked pretty tight from my perspective.

    Difficult cycling in Panama!

    I wanted to see the infamous Panama Canal but couldn’t really afford staying a whole day in Panama City, so I killed two birds with one stone, and went to see the very impressive Canal in the morning after I arrived in the Panamanian capital, and hit the road in the afternoon.

    The Panama Canal...

    I managed to click 84 km in just 4 hours that day, feeling great about the progress, and crashed at the fire station in Playa Coronado where the kind fire fighter staff let me put up my tent in the backyard, let me have a strongly needed shower (temperatures in the tropical lowlands were soaring around 35 degrees C in the shade of which there was hardly any. Up to 46 C in the sun. Sweat boy, sweat!).

    Free camping at the fire fighters in Playa Coronado, Panama.

    Over the next 6 days and 750 km my mind was in a constant expedition mode. Nothing could distract me from the disciplined focus on the roads ahead along the not-too-busy, not-too-interesting westbound Panamerican Hwy. Near the village of Tolé in western Panama, I camped in the backyard of a local die-hard campesino (farmer) who turned out to be deaf-mute which made communication both different and inventive.

    Free camping with local campesinos near Tolé, Panama.

    Leaving Panama after only 5 days with lots of turbo felt good in a distinct I’m-on-the-move-kind-of-way, and Costa Rica – WT-country #32 – was a reality even before I knew of it. On my first night in Costa Rica I found refuge at the local fire station in Palmar Norte where the fire fighter Enrique showed me great hospitality and put me up for the night in the station’s a/c bunk bed room, took me for a spin around town in the massive fire engine, lights flashing and all, cooked a meal for both of us, and shared lots of stories from his time as a fire fighter.

    La Vida Dulce! Playa Uvita on Costa Rica's Pacific coast...

    Next day I reached the beautiful Pacific coast near Playa Uvita where I had lunch and a quick swim in the warm waters before heading inland towards San Isidro de El General passing a mountain pass at around 1.500 m on the way.

    8 days and nearly 1.000 km non-stop since I started pedalling this North American continentI reached San José, totally exhausted, happy, and excited about meeting up with my old uni-mate who would arrive just a few hours after my own arrival in the capital.

    What a ride! So intense, satisfying, and mad…

    Tomorrow (05MAR09) I’ll leave San José together with my friend Rune who’s here in Costa Rica to travel with me for a few weeks. It’s been three years since we last saw hung out, and it is wonderful to be sharing time with your mate again. Do expect certain delays in WT-world.

    From Costa Rica with love,

    Nicolai

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    Day 1.060 – Two bikes, two men

    Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

    At my laptop office on Pangea Hostel trying to catch up with my own adventures and mad run from Colombia (via boat) to Panama and (via bike) to Costa Rica.

    At my "lappie office" in Pangea Hostal...

    San José downtown…

    San José street scene...

    Sculptures in San José, Costa Rica.

    Tamales, a typical Latin American corn dish wrapped in banana leafes...

    Energy boost at noon! Eatery in San José, Costa Rica.

    At the fruit market in San José, Costa Rica.

    And this is the wonder: a brand new Trek 4300, black and beautiful with all the bells and whistles that make my old but trusty Koga Miyata fade like a falling star…Now we are two men, two bikes, and lots of unexplored Costa Rican roads ahead…

    Rune with his great new bike (and some random local weirdo)...

    The Nazi beer, normally served bajo cero, below zero degrees Celsius…

    The Nazi Beer (which despite the name was to be a true favourite of ours in Costa Rica)

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    Day 1.059 – Modern Talking

    Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

    High on the to-do list of today is to try and find a bicycle for Llama Dad. At nearly 2.00 metres (US guys, you do the math yoursef, right?) it’s not an easy task in a country full of dwarfy latinos who happily fit the seats in any old US school bus, all ages.

    We do find a Trek mountain bike, a real beauty, that just about does the trick for my giant friend, seat post streched to the limit, handle bar ditto. It’s by far the best bet so far, and hopefully tomorrow will be the decisive day.

    Jeppe, Nicolai, and Rune (El Trio Danés) at the Pangea Hostal, San José - Costa Rica...

    Evening here in San José are mostly spend at the Hostel Pangea that sports a great roof top terrasse with cold beers, fellow travellers and views of the city nights. Lots of golden hours in the best company imaginable…

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    Day 1.058 – Friend:::Reunited

    Monday, March 2nd, 2009

    It’s hard, not to say impossible, to find the words that’d describe how I feel about seeing my good old friend from the uni-days, Rune aka Llama Dad (Lamafar in Danish) this morning just outside my hostal in downtown San José.

    Muñeca negro...The brazilian bebezinho that was to be me and my friend Rune's mascot (again)...

    Within just a few hours my throat is hoarse because of all that talking and laughing. Legend!

    Three years without hasn't been easy!

    Rune and I in a comedor (local eatery) in San José, Costa Rica.

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    Day 1.057 – Mad Dog Stamina

    Sunday, March 1st, 2009

    San Isidro -> San José
    Distance (km) : 137
    Time on bike : 7h 30m
    Brutto time: 09.30 – 19.00
    Avg : 18.2 km/h
    Max.speed: 69.8
    Total (km) : 42.908
    Altitude: 1.161 m
    Difficulty: 4½ of 5

    Ready for the challenge of the day...San Isidro, Costa Rica.

    The beginning of a 45 km long climb towards San José, the Costa Rican capital...

    From the long climb towards San José, the Costa Rican capital...

    Getting higher...

    On a chilly mountain pass at around 3.200 m on my way to San Jose, Costa Rica.

    On a chilly mountain pass at around 3.200 m on my way to San Jose, Costa Rica.

    Looking right: Lush vegetation...

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