The Din and Silence of India and Nepal (respectively)
Unable to secure a visa for Pakistan or China, I had to fly from Uzbekistan to northern India. Cycling with a Dutch couple for a week brought peanut butter and Sinterklaas into my life, which made life more enjoyable amidst the constant din of horns that comes with cycling through crazy India. After a little trekking in the Himalayas, I made my way into Nepal to enjoy the serenity and playfulness of the gentle Nepalese people. Happy New Year to everyone, may 2019 be a special one. Tashkent, Uzbekistan to Siliguri, India 19/11/18 to 31/12/18
I wish these Nepalese signs were posted in India where the horn happy culture creates a din of honking all day everyday. I think my best idea to date is becoming a horn salesman in India, a lucrative endeavor undoubtedly.Helped cut and pack mushrooms with a family on a farm one night
Met my new favorite Dutch couple, Tim and Gynn, in Uzbekistan and in India we biked togetherWhy is there a stadium built around this stretch of road? The bizarre police marching competition/ceremony that takes place daily at the border between India and Pakistan.
Freezing through the Silk Road
A sprint across Azerbaijan and I reached the Caspian Sea, home of most of the world's caviar? While anchored aboard a cargo ship offshore in the Caspian Sea, I enjoyed typical Russian food and taught Russians how to play the card game Bulls**t. I wasn't as strong as the wild horses, the two humped camels, nor Borat in the cold steppe country of Kazakhstan, and so I took an old Soviet platskartny train into Uzbekistan. Biking the silk road in Uzbekistan has been a pure joy, enjoying old cities along the historic trade route, and the overwhelming hospitality of Uzbeks along the way who want to give me everything I could possibly need. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Tbilisi, Georgia through Azerbaijan, cargo ship across Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan to Tashkent, Uzbekistan 17/10/18 to 19/11/18
Are these Uzbek children real or not? I was fooled multiple times while biking past these signs to slow down traffic, even smiling and waving before I was close enough to realize I was effectively fooledWhen staying with families in Uzbekistan, I sleep comfortably between thick cotton blankets next to gas heaters
Azerbaijan – Caspian Sea – Kazakhstan
Heating up the old soviet platskartny train with coalHonorary English teacher with Kazak studentsLifting power lines to allow massive gas tanks to pass through towns in KazakhstanCanned Kazak horsemeat, oh yes it's goodFirst double humped camel sighting
Georgia On My Mind
While biking through the Blakans I helped make local plum brandy with a man on the side of the road, I survived the traffic nightmare that is biking in and out of Istanbul, and a race across Turkey has me into Asia now. I had heard good things about Georgia before arriving, and I have not been disappointed. The autumn season is in full bloom, the first I have experienced in three years, and harvest season means local men fill my hands with walnuts and freshly fallen apples as they greet me in the small farming towns I pass through.
Timisoara, Romania to Tbilisi, Georgia 10/9/18 to 17/10/19
I had to amputate my girlfriend's foot
This Serbian farmer invited me for a drink of fruit brandy as I biked by his home. While we couldn’t speak one another's language very well, he understood that I wanted to help him distill his next batch. The photo here is him putting the lid over all the plums we had just poured in with old buckets. We then rolled bread dough into long strips to seal all the cracks of the still. Serbians make good use of all the fruit they grow on small farms and in their gardens, even fruit that is spoiling makes for good brandy ingredients.
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
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
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
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
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!
Back in Europe
Morocco 4/5/18 to Portugal to Madrid, Spain 25/5/18
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
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
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
Expressing my passion for Roman sculpture
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!
Italian lawn art with old wine jars