Europe

Swiss Bliss with Mein Vater

After cycling around Germany and racing on the famous Nurburgring Grand Prix race track, I made my way to Switzerland to unite with my father. Hiking through glorious alpine mountains, enjoying Swiss cheese and German libations, and visiting castles and fortified cities in Bavaria made for a wonderful reunion. Now I move east quickly as summer comes to an end.          Hamburg, Germany to Timisoara, Roamnia 26/7/18 to 10/9/18

Looking down the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland

Freiburg, Deutschland

Rothenburg, Deutschland

Vineyards of Alsace, France

Gimmelwald, Switzerland

Austrian hunting tree standPoor weather obscured most of my alpine views in Austria

I asked my buddy Norman if he wanted to trade my bike for his German Volkswagon. I still have my bike…But then I traded it for something a little faster!

Rheinfels Castle, Deutschland

Meet Johann Pollinger, an Austrian cow farmer who built this small hydroelectric plant on his land to power his farm and home. He generates more power than he needs and is credited by an Austrian electric company. I have been skeptical of hydro power plants due to stories of environmental damage, but after staying one night on Johann's farm he showed me that on a small scale hydro power plants can work well within the environment. Great work Hans! Salzburg, Austria

My teammates before the bike race Rad am Ring on the famous Nurburgring Grand Prix race track in Germany

 Monastery of Notre Dame d'Oelenberg in France

While blackberry season has ended, apple, pear, plum, and sometimes little peach season has arrived!!!

 U-Pick flower farms in Germany operating on the honor system

Winner Buys the Beer in Belgium

On to Belgium where I met with old friends to celebrate Belgium's run to third place in the World Cup. This led to plenty of good Belgian beer consumption where I learned that the winner buys the beer. Further north I learned more about my Dutch roots, meeting family and seeing the birthplaces of my Oma and Opa. I find it a strange coincidence that my fatherland is a country with such a strong history of cycling and wind energy, two things I am deeply interested in.          Paris, France 19/6/18 to Hamburg, Germany 26/7/18

Classic Dutch windmillIt's blackberry season in Northern Europe, and I am consuming at least one kilo of them daily as I bike through the Dutch and German countrysideBelgian bike lanesBrussels, BelgiumGermans are quickly winning award for best use of solar for residential and commercial purposesI met Has Van Der Muelen, the most accomplished mountaineer in Dutch history, back in Argentina before he summited the tallest mountain in the Americas. We met again at his home where he continued to amaze me with stories of his expeditions.Haarlem, Netherlands, the home of my OmaDutch essentials- Note stroopwafels are some of the best cookies everThe Atlantic Coast, NetherlandsMust be in AmsterdamCyclists fill the bike lanes in HollandWorld Cup Semifinal viewing, Belgium vs France, in BrusselsBelgian music festival

Brussels, Belgium

Amsterdam

Nederland, at last I have reached my fatherland!My bike is an art bike now!Roadside maps throughout the Netherlands help cyclist as they navigate the bike paths that cover the entire countryAmsterdam

Meeting my Dutch relatives for the first time. Danke veel Van Der Pols!Reunited and it feels so goooooodDelft, Netherlands

Belgian bike cultureBelgian chocolate I will dream of you foreverAlexandre Pirson started Sun for Schools in Belgium, a cooperative that installs solar energy systems for schools to educate youth about renewable energy and a sustainable future.

French Cheese Changed My Life

Biking through plenty of rain from Northern Spain across the Pyrenees into France. Learning from the French to enjoying the finer things in life, like good cheese, has been enlightening and my life will never be the same again.          Madrid, Spain 25/5/18 to Paris, France 19/6/18

Paris, FranceFamily photos on an old French manufacturing plant

Spanish supermarket jamSolar, solar, solarCastle of Murol, France

My first plateau de fromage, and my life will never be the sameAuvergne, FranceToulouse, FranceCol du Tourmalet, France

Sadly my cloudy view on the way up Col du AubisqueCan you ask for a better morning view when camping?

 Col du Aubisque, France

Thanks for hosting Hugounet in Auvergne, FranceFirst sighting of the Pyrenees Orleans, FranceWindmills dot the farms of northern France and southern Belgium Clermont, FranceSome of the best cheese in the world comes from these French cowsFrench postal service by bike!Meeting up with my French friends Vincent & Melanie in Toulouse, France. We met over 2 years ago and biked together through Baja California in Mexico for three weeks.

Plateau de Fromage #2, merci beaucoup Debilly family!

Spanish Bullfighting- Back in Europe

A procession for the celebration of San Isidro in MadridToo much sweat has eroded my handlebarBut the journey continues!MadridCould this be the greatest family of bikers?

Typical rural town in Portugal

Plenty of old windmills on the old Portuguese farms

Solar farm in sunny southern Spain

 Tapas! Bullfighting in Madrid Madrid Madrid

 

Narrow white washed streets of Portugal

My last mint tea in MoroccoThanks to the generous folks at Boa Vista Restaurante in Portugal. After biking 10 minutes in the country, the owner of this restaurant invited me in for a great meal and a taste of port as we listened to traditional Portuguese fado music. One of the best first hours I have spent in a country so far.Why not use a solar panel to charge your electric bike?

Procession outside Sevilla, Spain

Big wind farms in southern Spain

Hash and Hotel Rooms in Morocco

While biking through Morocco, one might think that the men are incredibly gregarious by the way they flag you down from the sides of the road to talk and share a tea. That was what I thought at first. But soon I realized that most of these men saw me as a potential customer for local hash or a hotel room, and they used their unique selling skills that only a Moroccan is born with to try and convince me that what they were offering was exactly what I needed at that point in time. But not every Moroccan had a sale in mind, and I thoroughly enjoyed my jog through the country while I spent a little time out of the European Union. The Rif mountains of northern Morocco were surprising green given that I always imagined the country to be one big desert, and the hilly farming areas near the old city of Fez presented as many colors as spices were available in the local markets.          Northern Morocco 23/4/18 to Algeciras, Spain 4/5/18

Moroccans made one of the better water carriers I have seen for their donkeys

Tasty tangine right off the coals

The blue city of Chefchaouen, my favorite in Morocco

I heard that large stone wheels like this are still used to make olive oil

 

Gaining Weight in Italy

I remember meeting an Italian back in Sudan. I asked him what I should do when I biked through his country. "Eat food" he said. I did just that. After arriving in Naples, Italy I took a ferry down to Sicilia to bike the entire length of Italy. Along the way I received the warm hospitality of Italianos who made it their sole purpose to show me their cities, sample traditional food, and explain to me what makes Italy great. After finishing Africa, my first weeks in Europe has been an adjustment: great roads, old cities rich with history, cultural norms of the developed world. The transition has been fun and I know my taste buds are pleased as well.     Jerusalem, Israel 11/3/18 to Italy to Morocco 23/4/18

Siena, ItaliaThis is my take at the same photoCyclists always have a way of finding one another. I met French couple Cristian and Patricia last year in Botswana on the road, and sure enough we crossed paths again just 2 weeks before they finish their bicycle trip around the world.Made more than one stop at the Termes (hot springs) in central ItalyTurning an old bike into street decoration. Good work Cinzia!Melani teaching me how to properly lock my bike in RomeTypical Italian country home in constructionWhen Federica and I had a little trouble with the recipe, we made Cannelloni a la Chicagense (Chicago style Cannelloni) by cutting pasta tubes with scissors

 The Amalfi Coast

Neapolitan street art

Fresh local produce in Italy makes for great lunches on the roadTwo cyclists analyzing Italian high society Cefalu, Sicilia

This list of Sicilian foods to try while biking the island was given to me by a local. If anyone reading this ever visits Sicily, you are welcome.

Expressing my passion for Roman sculpture

The Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem Old CityMy last pizza in Italy before taking a ship to Morocco

Afternoon gelato became a part of my daily life in Italy. I really don’t know how life will continue without it. This is the first time in my life I am scared of the future.

Genova, Italia All these photographers took the same photo I could bike forever in TuscanyGuess what grows in Italy…hazelnuts!!!

Fontana di Trevi, Roma

Italians get a thumbs up for the use of solar I saw throughout the countryPizza da Mihcele, arguably the best in the world, with MariateresaGrazie mille a Francesco e Mariateresa, mia famiglia Napoletana!

Antipasti in Salermo. Grazie Pamela!

Back to mainland ItaliaLemon processing plant, Sicily

Ferry to Sicily When I first arrived in Italy, I learned that pasta truly is a part of daily life.

Napoli, Italia

Italian lawn art with old wine jars

This guy wins biker of the day awardAt the market outside FirenzeMotos rule the streets of old Roman citiesDuomo, Firenze

Running from the Police into the Middle East

In Egypt I lost the peace I found throughout the deserts of Sudan as I was soon followed for several days by the Egyptian police who were ordered to protect me from any threat as I traveled. Terrorist activity against tourists in the past has left Egypt in a position of understandable paranoia, and so I had to cycle with a police truck following me for several hundred kilometers along the Nile river in Egypt. But this did not keep me from enjoying in awe the ancient pyramids, tombs and temples of Egypt, and appreciating the strong energy and happiness that Egyptians displayed as they greeted me throughout the country. I continued on to Jordan where I marveled at the ancient city of Petra and biked along the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. As I crossed into Israel, I arrived just in time to celebrate Purim, a fun Jewish festival, with some of my friends who I have not seen in years.    Aswan, Egypt to Jerusalem, Israel 7/2/18 to 11/3/18

Dressing up for the Jewish Festival of Purim

Modern JerusalemThe Dead Sea, 500m below sea level

The Monastery of Petra, Jordan

View of the ancient city of Petra from aboveThe foundation laid for one of the windmills outside of Wadi Musa, Jordan

Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, EgyptBent Pyramid at Dashur, EgyptA little welding on my bikeSome of the Egyptian police officers who followed me while I biked

One of the tombs in the Valley of Kings (Luxor, Egypt)Egyptian washing his horse in Nile canal

The Treasury of Petra, Jordan

Kudos to the bread bikers in Cairo, Egypt!

Meet Mario. Mario worked 12 hour days every day for 19 months straight at a gas station in USA. He made the most of the opportunity and now can afford to plant cumin on this plot of land along the Nile.Lush farmland along the NileHabu Temple (Luxor, Egypt)

This was the view from the front door of a home I stayed in one night. The father of the home said that his grandfather made a good choice when he chose the piece of land to build the house. I would agree.My first falafel with my first Egyptian friendsSailors on the Nile

From Hell to Heaven

As I biked out of Ethiopia and crossed into Sudan on my birthday, I realized that I was leaving Hell and entering Heaven. Any cyclist who survives biking through Ethiopia will understand what I mean. Unfortunately my time in Sudan was hurried, as I was only allowed a two week transit visa with an expensive price tag. But the trip across the Libyan and Bayuda deserts of the Sahara was peaceful and colorful.     Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 9/1/18 to Aswan, Egypt, 7/2/18

Ferry on the Nile river crossing the Sudanese-Egyptian borderWater in Sudan

Sudan did not win the award for best food in Africa

The castles of Gondar, Ethiopia

 Timkat (Epiphany) celebration in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Typical rest stop in the Saharan Deserts

Bed in SudanSudan

Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Farming Country Ethiopia

Two Christmases & Zero New Years / What It’s Like To Bike In Africa

It has been over two years since I have ridden with another cyclist for more than just a couple days. I met my Swiss friend Pascal in Nairobi several weeks ago and we decided to head north together for a while. We biked through the richest cultural areas I have ever seen around Lake Turkana and the Omo Valley region of Kenya and Ethiopia respectively. Riding in Ethiopia means dodging rocks, sticks, water bottles, and book bags that are thrown at us by village children, and afternoon stops to enjoy the best coffee in the world. Due to the Ethiopian calendar, we have enjoyed celebrating Christmas twice, once in Kenya and once in Ethiopia, but missed the New Year altogether, so we are still living in the year 2010.            Kampala, Uganda to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 3/12/17 to 9/1/18 (or 9/1/10)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Standard Ethiopian hut for food storageI introduce injera, the typical Ethiopian food and a much needed change after months of maize meal throughout Africa

Ethiopian Christmas celebration consists of a massive loaf of bread, and peanut and grain mix, and the world's oldest and best coffee

Common site lately in Africa, both fixing bike problems and being stared at by children who are curious why we are there

The sandy roads around Lake Turkana in Kenya meant a lot of pushingCrossing the equator in KenyaEthiopian grave

Pascal getting his bike welded after his front fork snapped from 5 years biking the globe

The delicious Ethiopian mix of avocado and mango juice. Why doesn’t anyone else do this?!Cooking in a church classroom in Kenya

Tea Farms of Kenya

Ethiopian Orthodox celebrate Melkam Gena (Merry Christmas) on January 7th. That meant two Christmas celebrations between Kenya and Ethiopia 🙂 . Ethiopians also celebrate their New Year in September, meaning no New Year celebration this year 🙁