(written by Dave)
It is raining but we managed to get out of the hotel briefly today. Nancy got her hair cut. It was almost as entertaining as my haircut yesterday. A very energetic Turkish woman cut Nancy’s hair in between bursts of dancing expressively to the Turkish music playing in her shop. Another worker (her daughter maybe) turned up about half way through, rolled her eyes at the hairdresser and got stuck into helping on Nancy’s hair. It was the first time that Nancy has ever had two people cut and dry her hair at once. I was thoroughly entertained by the whole process.
We also saw some more old rock things today, a BC Lycian 4,000 seat theater and some Lycian tombs cut in the hills above town. It was them back to the hotel to work on the summary below.
So where to start? First let’s do some basic numbers. The table below shows how many days, both riding and non-riding that we spent in each country, plus the riding distance if we rode. So far we’ve been through 11 countries. And for the data folks out there, yes, Monaco is a country – the UN recognized it officially in 1991.
|Miles||K’s||Riding Days||Total Days|
Where we slept
The next table shows where we’ve slept. We camped mostly in OZ, but very little since then. In fact, we left our camping gear in Singapore while we travelled in SE Asia. We have the gear with us again now and will camp more as it warms up in Europe and a few more of the campgrounds open up. We had expected to camp a bit more than we have since starting up again in Nice but the weather and the early season haven’t really been conducive to it (for us at least). We admit we could have stayed in cheaper accommodation on some parts of this trip, but sometimes (though not always) spending just a little bit more will get you a significantly better place to stay. Accommodation is sometimes just a crapshoot – you just have to pick something and hope it works out. If it doesn’t, there’s always the next night to try again. Camping should factor more significantly in the coming months as we head back into Europe.
|Caravan Park – cabin||5|
Next up food. Bike riding is all about food. What you are going to eat next and when you will eat it. We’ve found some wonderful new foods on this trip, plus some that we won’t necessarily seek out again. We’ve never worried about finding a meal, except in Nam Thong, Laos where “rat on a stick” featured in 9 out of 10 restaurants. We’ve certainly gotten braver, eating from street carts that we never would have considered when we travelled internationally on business. See below for some more food points.
|RANDOM FOOD SUMMARY|
|Best new food find – Malaysia||Nasi Lemak – the first one was right off a street cart and still one of the most memorable|
|Best coffee in SE Aisa||Tie – Amazon coffee at the Petronas stations and properly perpared Laos coffee|
|Best bakeries||We don’t agree here. Nancy gives the nod to France. I’m happy in either Greece or Italy. Both of us agree that more baking is needed in SE Asia.|
|Croissants eaten||97 each – estimating one per day in France, Italy and Laos – though some days we did eat two [Dave ate two, not me] and in both Italy and Laos they call a French pain au chocolate a chocolate croissant – so we are not sure how to count them.|
|Baguettes eaten||81 – estimating one per day in France and Laos – here again we have some trouble counting as France calls some baguettes banettes and we did try some of the fancy breads that are also not technically baguettes.|
|Best Indian curries||Malaysia – this was our favourite food in Malaysia – we ate it every time we needed a good feed and sometimes when we felt the need for comfort food.|
|Pad Thai noodles eaten||35 each – again, this is not 100% scientific but this was our safe food in Thailand – when there was no common language you could always order pad thai gai (chicken)|
|Best new Laos food||Laos Laap – tried with fish, chicken, buffalo, beef and pork – but passed on the rat on a stick version|
|Egg and Bacon rolls consumed||Close to 100 each (Australia ones are the only ones worth counting) – exact totals are not known though we found an E&B roll made great energy food on arrival in town, just before starting the accommodation search. Plus they were rest day staples.|
|Weirdest things eaten||Dave only – silk worms (boiled in Cambodia, fried in Thailand), grasshoppers (fried in Thailand)|
|Best new brekkie||Roti Canai – anywhere India food is served|
|Worst new brekkie idea||Thailand and Malaysia – a hotdog like thing, not sure it was meat and it never tasted right. They tried to play it off as “western” food but they really didn’t know what they were making – hats off to the local hotdog salesman as he tricked many an inn keeper.|
|Best new pastry||Cheese or potato filled pastrys in Greece – they came in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes you would not know what it was until the first bite, they were always tasty.|
|Best new hot drink that is not coffee||Turkish Çay (chai) – served in funky hourglass shaped shot glasses – one sugar – just the right amount of tea and a nice shape in your hand|
A summary would not be complete without talking about our website. We’ve posted 319 pages and had over 38,000 visits since the beginning of 2011. We originally built the site so that we could move beyond paper log books like past trips and so that our mothers could follow along and would not worry so much about us. To think that people have read something on our blog 38,000 times is crazy. Both of us have certainly read a lot of other cycling blogs but we’ve always known that we were not normal. To think that people come back for a second read is quite flattering. Thanks for reading –we mean it.
Readers are great but comments sometimes are the thing that keeps us going. The first thing we do every morning is check email for comments. Sometimes knowing that someone else out there gives a toss, and is willing to invest time to make a comment is all you need to jump start your day – especially if the tent is wet and packing will be difficult.
Being on the web means that people find our site when they search for it. It also means that people find our site when they are looking for something else. Below is a table of the more interesting search terms that our website saved throughout the year.
The leavewithoutpay searches make a lot of sense, that’s us after all. And perhaps those folks looking for advice about taking leave without pay will get some motivation to actually do it!
From the search terms it is clear that a lot of people were worried about Thailand flooding as well, particularly in Kanchanaburi. This is quite funny as I don’t think that it ever flooded in Kanchanaburi but we talked about flooding in several posts from Kanchanaburi and now we show up in all these searches. I’m not sure how happy the mayor of Kanchanaburi is with us – though we did like that little town and I think we said nice things about it. It did make us laugh many times though when we saw it pop up, long after we had left Thailand.
Matilda highway gets 10 hits, while the Capricorn highway only gets 1. Go figure.
Several of Nancy’s former work colleagues show up, not sure why but she is happy to give them a lift with their celebrity status – Prajakti and her family (hello to PK, Prasad, Ishaan and Ilana!) are our surrogate family in Sydney and she deserves to be famous for putting up with us! Hello to Anthony as well…
Our Tesco posts seemed to attract attention. I don’t know if these are frequently searched topics or perhaps there is just not much web knowledge out there on the Tesco food aisles. The things you do for entertainment while on a long bike tour.
And finally, Cambodian beer is not all that great but somehow 10 people found it by searching our site. I’m willing to bet that they did not stay long with how little we wrote on the topic.
LWOP Search terms
|LWOP of some form||343|
|LWOP w/ Dave or Nancy of some form||87|
|Prajakti Khursale (work colleague of Nancy’s)||10|
|southern cross windmills||10|
|Anthony Tesvic (work colleague of Nancy’s)||6|
|cereal aisle at tesco||4|
|tesco green tea thailand||3|
|tin can bay to maryborough||3|
|tree of knowledge||2|
|dolphin feeding at tin can bay 2011||1|
|glen innes cafe shop sells socks australia||1|
Last table – below is a summary of various other random things from the trip. Some may be interesting. Most should be accurate. Verification takes a good deal of time when you have to re-read 319 blog posts.
It’s a bit hard to believe that it is now over a year ago that we left Sydney. We thought it would feel like quite a momentous occasion but the trip actually seems like several small journeys rather than one big one. The travel in Australia seems like such a long time ago, as if it was one of our previous bike trips rather than this one. Even SE Asia seems a long time ago. That’s good I guess – the breaks we have taken have been good ways to relax a bit and get refreshed for the next leg of the journey. It’s easy to see how some people could continue on and on like this…. Don’t worry moms, we’ll come home eventually.
|OTHER RANDOM STUFF SUMMARY|
|New tires used||4 (Installed in Darwin and Nice)|
|Chains used||6 (new installed in Darwin and Nice)|
|Rear cassettes used||4 (new installed in Nice)|
|Other mechanical issues||1 front fork eyelet on Nancy’s frame|
|3 Kick stands for Dave – can’t find one that lasts|
|Ferries ridden||17 total|
|– 1 Sydney to Manly|
|– 1 Palm Beach to Ettalong|
|– 1 Newcastle to Stockton|
|– 1 Nelson Bay to Tea Gardens|
|– 1 Mandorah to Darwin|
|– 1 Singapore to Malaysia|
|– 2 on and off Pankor Island Malaysia|
|– 1 to Penang island Malaysia|
|– 1 Penang to Langkawi|
|– 1 Langkawi to Satun, Thailand|
|– 1 Ancona, Italy to Patras, Greece|
|– 2 entering Athens|
|– 1 Athens to Chios|
|– 1 Chios, Greece to Cesme, Turkey|
|– 1 Bodrum to Datca|
|Sea sick bands used||2 – both for Nancy|
|Airplanes flown||2 point to point flights, 5 different planes
Darwin to Singapore via Sydney, Bangkok to Nice via Dubai
|Airsick bags used||1 Nancy – that landing in Nice was not nice|
|Pedal revolutions||5 millon – something over 950 hours of riding time @ 90 RPM|
|Hardest day||17 April 2011 – Mt Seaview to Walcha 108k, lots of climbing and rain – we almost ran out of water and we probably had not yet ridden enough to be fit|
|Longest day||31 May 2011 – Longreach to Winton 180k. Nice tailwind combined with an early start made it possible – we were still knackered at the end|
|Sabaidee’s yelled (hello in Laos)||We lost count – we were only in Laos for 20 days but I think every kid on our route yelled Sabaidee to us at least 5 times. Our response rate generally matched their delivery rate.|
|Kangaroos spotted||More than we could count (only counting live ones)|
|Camels spotted||4 in Australia – we may yet see some here in Turkey|
|Pictures taken||16,000 or thereabouts – Our Nikon Coolpix recycles counters at 10,000 and we are now at 6,000 or so. This would mean something close to 50 pictures per day – Nancy does think I stop too often so this could be accurate.|
|Funny/sad comment from fellow travellers (not on a bike)||Are you carrying a weapon?’ – Really, people are pretty good around the world if you give them a chance. And yes, we do have a weapon – a big stick for the dogs!!|
Photos for today follow…