Plus ça change

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Make no mistake, there are stories to be told from this adventure, the above is a prelude to a story about scaring away bears in Slovenia. And I promise they will come, but it feels like either it didn’t really end when we rode triumphantly into Siria, or I have simply been thrown head first into the next one.  Wrenched from this challenging but simple rhythm of life, ride, eat, ride, sleep and repeat, it was a tough first few days back out here.

It seems that if there is one constant in this place, is that it changes. And it changes fast. So coming back is akin to jumping back onto a moving train. It was hard to say goodbye to a few close friends who were heading away just as I got back, followed immediately by the arrival of 19 new fresh faced volunteers. The sensory overload was completed by the new challenge of being asked to change work area, and to take up part of the leadership of the new work team. A far cry from the simple life of the nomadic cyclists, whose only care is where the next 500 calories will come from, the next R:X (right turn at cross roads) or where to hide the tent at dusk that evening.

The good news is, I’m very excited for the next year.

At last we made it!

First of all the good news, WE MADE IT. We crossed the border into Romania yesterday around lunch time, and cruised into the village where I will be living in the early evening, tired yet overjoyed. It was completely surreal, and hard to believe that we had actually cycled all the way out there. I think it is all still sinking in, but after one evening back here I realise it was worth all the sweat and tears.

I have to say sorry that we only managed one blog update from the road, a combination of the “smart” phone not being able to hold a charge over night, and not being able to connect to WiFi without a foreign mobile number made it much trickier than I thought it would be. Plus we did have to spend a lot of time in the saddle. I did manage to keep updating facebook via text message from a second phone, so I’ll copy those real time updates below for those that won’t have seen them.

In the mean time I would love to start sharing the photos from the journey but the tech woes are continuing this morning and I haven’t found  a laptop to read an xD card, yet. Sure this will be resolved and plenty of stories from the ride still to come. If you’ve been thinking about donating but have’t got round to it yet now would be a fantastic time I’m sure you’ll agree, click here.

So here’s the run down of FB statuses after the first post came out, hopefully gives you an impression of how we were feeling on the road. Lots more thoughts and photos to come soon.

31.8.13

Dodging rain showers and camping in the black forest tonight. Road maxed out at 1057m , had to descend away from scary ghost town, safe for now.

1.9.13

Just pitched the tent in a cornfield in liechtenstein, hard day where we both had stomach problems after lunch. Knackered. Huge day tomorrow, up the Splugen Pass into Italy! Please check out the blog and think about donating, time for some sleep…

3.9.13

Stopped for ice cream in Brescia after worst 100 km ever ridden, seems we picked the same single carriageway road as every truck crossing northern Italy. Lake garda tonight once we have our nerves back…

5.9.13

Ran out of energy and light on the 27km climb of mount grappa last night, camped 4km from summit. Popped to the top this morning followed by sketchy descent. Smart phone issues making blog update difficult, trying to find a work around.

6.9.13

Flirted with the mountains again this morning, climbing out of Slovenia back into Italy and then a long afternoon smashing across Austria. Four more rides, can’t wait for that shower.

7.9.13

Breakfast in Austria, lunch in Slovenia, chased by first dog in Croatia and feeling very tired and Hungary tonight. Three to go.

9.9.13

Monday morning and some Hungarian men already supping beers at the local bar, luckily coffee seems to translate in most languages.

9.9.13

Today reminded us its not over til its over, five hours of riding in freezing rain saw to that. Felt more like white water rafting as lorries sent waves crashing over us. Tomorrow we finish the ride we started two weeks ago, dreaming of Romania tonight!

10.9.13

Just crossed the border into Romania near Cenad and stopped for some lunch. Feels like we’ve nearly cracked it, so happy!

Got bananas?

We’ll be living on a very tight budget for the two weeks we are riding across Europe. I think this means we’ll be wanting a lot of bananas, so it will be good to know how to ask for them in every country we’ll hopefully cycle through.

France, Belgium and Luxembourg- hopefully French will work for each of these:

Avez vous des bananes? – Simple enough.

Germany, Switzerland and Austria: Haben sie bananen? Ok, got it.

Italy: Hai banane?

Slovenia: Ali imate banane?

Hungary: Van banan?

Romania: Aveți banană?

These phrases accompanied by copious amount of bread, jam and tea should see us through the worst of the weather and roads that Europe can throw at us!