The original idea had been to meet Hyeonseok (HS) about 10-15km outside of Tunis to avoid a detour to his place, but as he had no way of getting in touch that seemed a terrible idea. While in Tunis I had picked up a SIM, my only time travelling with a phone other than Peter’s in Mexico and C’s in the US. It was mainly to hopefully continue to make some money while I travel, but also meant I could actually call people! Revolutionary. So, with HS having confirmed that he wanted to ride
After being at home for a couple of months, earning some more money, it was back to the road. This time flying out on New Years Day with my parents to Malta – the first international holiday together (excluding their visits to Mexico and the US) for more than a decade. I chose Malta as it’s a natural start or end point, the only ferry in and out is to Sicily so flying there from the UK avoided having to take the same ferry twice. It also had some quite fantastically warm weather, considering
I got off the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki and the reasonably mild weather I’d been lucky to have seemed to have been over. Cold drizzle met me and I happily put my waterproofs on. I hadn’t got all the cold weather gear that I’d need, but had a pile of gear ready at home to be forwarded to me thanks to my mum. On the way to meet Anton, my host, there was a quick visit to a bike shop and the Russian & Estonian sternness had been replaced by joyful people who spoke wonderful English.
Switzerland certainly loves organised paths, and so there was no surprise when on the network map there were trails for hiking, cycling, mountain biking, skating and even canoeing. I only saw a couple of skaters as I headed east along the lake, but that’s still a couple more than I’d seen up to that point. What I did see were incredibly clean and full-featured parks, that and really high prices. A trip to my staple of Aldi revealed prices that were two to three times as high as in
After a fine weekend relaxing, it was the final stage on the way to Quito. I had the climb back up to Baños, a 5 hour climb up a beautiful route, called La Ruta de Las Cascadas. One of the most famous things to do in Baños involves renting a bike, riding 30km downhill past all the waterfalls, and then jumping in a pick up truck to get back. I of course had the opposite. Climbing up and up to get back there. While it had been beautifully sunny there on the weekend, it definitely wasn’t