I’ve covered more distance this past month than ever before in my life. Sadly hardly any of it was by bicycle.
But, great and amazing things once again have happened. And I am going to tell you all about it right now.
As you might know, I’ve gone back to Holland. Just for one month. It wasn’t planned, it just sort of happened due to visa-trouble, bad weather conditions, family matters and a reasonably priced flight. I booked the 7th and touched down less than a week later.
It was a strange journey back… At first a 22 hour bus ride (great way to have confirmed that cycling is the best way of travel) with lovely views of the full moon over a monsoonal landscape.
Followed by a 15 hour flight… So weird to see below you the countries you’ve spend so much time cycling across, …
I had my nose glued against the window as we flew over Malaysia, India, Turkmenistan…
I know exactly what it looks like down there and now I’m hanging 10km above in the air. Unreal. And a little bit sad.
40 hours of no-sleep and I stood at Schiphol airport. My head buzzing and feeling strange I waited for my parents to arrive, they would pick me up but the plane arrived 45min early and I had no luggage so I came out them doors all excited but no one there… Great. I will go away for two years again :-s
But they did come. And I met my new Niece Stella! Of course I’ve seen her on photos and webcam. But you can’t really compare that to holding this 4month old girl who smiles and makes funny little noises. She’s absolutely gorgeous. Weird to think she’ll probably be walking and talking by the time I see her again.
I spend my time in Holland running around like a mad woman visiting friends and family, sorting through my 13.000 pics of the past two years and talking with newspapers… I’m telling you, one day I’m gonna be a proper famous person 😉
With my grandparents I traveled to The Hague to see where they grew up and pay a visit to the Indonesian embassy. Who didn’t want to give me a visa unless I had prove I’d leave the country…
I didn’t since I had no idea from where and when I wanted to head for Australia. I did have my Australian visa and a letter with what I’m doing. Not good enough, even though I rang them twice to ask and send them an email upfront.
So we ran around looking for internet, booked a random flight (to Malaysia) and then it was fine. Weird. Since it’s obvious I have no intention of going to Malaysia…
I also managed to squeeze in a few days of Ireland.
I flew to Derry where I worked for years. Steve & Kylie had a great surprise for me as they took me to Cirque du Soleil in Belfast. A surreal performance of some extremely bendy people.
Kylie made one of her great NZ roast lambs and of course I had a few pints of Guinness and danced around in Peadar O Donnells, just like in the olden days 😉 Nothing much changes in Derry. I Love it!
One weekend there happened to be the ‘fiets- en wandelbeurs’, a big convention/market-thingy, where a whole lot of hiking and cycling fanatics go to check out the latest gear and destinations.
Some people I still wanted to see were going to be there so I volunteered to be at the stand of the wereldfietser , to talk to people who are planning to go on bicycle holidays. (and to get in for free… )
While I stood there this gentleman came up to me asking if I get sponsored on my travels. This, sadly, isn’t the case and I told him so. Next thing I know I stand there with his business card and the instruction to ring him later.
A bit perplexed I told some other people. On the card it said he’s the director of ‘Multicycle’. A Dutch brand bicycle that is very VERY good, and not within my budget. (you see, I got my own bike 2nd hand from marktplaats.nl)
So when I rang him next Monday he told me they were planning to let me use a bicycle. I couldn’t believe it! I’ve been pretty much bouncing around the house screaming; ”WHOAAAARGGGHH!!!! “ ever since.
With my sister I visited the factory to pick up the bike and we got shown around. I even met the guy who actually build my bike. His name is Thijs. (Hi Thijs!)
There are all these special things… She is made of scandium. Apparently stronger and lighter than Aluminum. She also has 42 spokes, which makes the wheel stronger (I paid attention). And no derailler! Instead the gear change-stuff is inside the rear-hub, it’s called a Rohloffs hub. That means no trouble with my gears anymore! Men, it’s a fancy mega supersonic gorgeous bicycle. Check her out at http://www.multicycle.nl/ she’s the extreme.
I’m not at all worried to cycle across outback Australia now, what could possibly go wrong with a bicycle like this!
Even now, I’m looking right at her. She’s in my room. She’s the most beautiful bike I’ve ever seen….
I feel a bit sorry for my old bike. Who is still sitting on Bali, unaware that after over 30.000km together we’re going to part ways.
She will still be of good use, in three weeks time my cousin is coming over and we’ll be cycling around Bali and Lombok together.
It’s a bit of a hassle and very nerve wrecking to fly with this bicycle. Lucky she seemed to have survived.
I arrived in Jakarta with no plan and no idea where to head first.
So I rang my friend in Malang who told me if I hurry I could still make the last flight to Surabaya and he could pick me up. So I hurried.
And I’m now back in Malang. From where I pick up on my way east again soon.
And jet lag? Nah, hardly, just been sleeping ‘till 3a.m. the past two days but all is good 😀
More tales from the road will shortly follow.