Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Well, there it is

This blog is in its final stage: its shank has shrunk, and it is returning to its childhood, somewhere in the 0s and 1s of a data center guzzling energy somewhere it the world. It was a good blog. I got 33 comments! There is still a week to go before I touch down in the states again, but it is less of a stage of the trip than something intermediate.

It was a good trip and I have learned a lot from it. To get some of this giant mound of wisdom, just visit me and I'll tell you something.

However, the most important things are these:

1) Always travel with a canvas bag
2) Just ask someone

Hope you liked it.


ps. it will be really interesiting to see how long this blog survives. One would think that these bytes would stay around forever somewhere, but I know they won't. Who knows, the Shawdyssey might be a must read in 5000 CE...


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hello from CZE

Apologies to our regular readers, but it shard to get to internet while on a bike. When we crossed the Danube east of Vienna yesterday we saw a day tourer with a palm pilot mounted between his handlebars. Maybe that is our next move.

Enter a new theme into the tour== EURO 2008.

We have gotten to see most of every game so far. There has been good play all around, but the Netherlands has captured my heart -as well as everyone elses- so far. We have just spent a day and a half in Austria (or Australia as dad called it once). I guess there were also 5 days in Hungary without a blog post, but you'll just need to seek me out for those stories...

yes, so Austria. We bypassed Vienna even though we were in the area because of the EURO 2008 crowds. We were sad for a bit, but we've learned to cheer ourselves up with pastries. We eat a lot of pastries people. Like, one time dad ordered two pastries for himself at one backery. DAD! But as they say, if you're biking all day everyday, then you're entitled to as much butter and sugar as you darn well please thank you very much.

We crossed the border into the Czech republic this morning, but just before we ran across this:

It was entirely deserted up there. We walked around it for about half an hour and then got on our bikes and kept on riding. Its near a town called Staatz, I think. So bike touring goes.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

On Soviet Hotels

The last two nights (in Agnita and Turda) we have stayed in the only hotel we could find, which in both cases was a 30-50 room fortress built in the Soviet Era.

Neither of these towns have much of a Tourist industry, so were were the only customers. Also in both cases we were offered a meal in their vast dining room. The first night we turned it down as too weird, but the second night we were so loopy from riding that we tried it for a lark. We had a baked cheese, two salads, two plates of polenta, a basket of bread and a "Mix Grill" a piece, which had mashed potatoes, sausage, pork, and two types of liver. Jesse, I keep on trying your "wonder-meat", but it keeps on tasting like pencil lead.

Over the last 4 days we have ridden over 500km including a 1200m pass. Dad's computer has reset so many times now that we don't know anything exactly and the distances on the roads never correspond with those on the map, so all that is certain is that it has been a lot. We consider ourselves to be about halfway between Bucharest and Budapest at this point. The town of Brasov seemed interminably far away at one point and now it is 250km behind, so we are hoping that Budapest does the same thing.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Romanian Elections

We reached Brasov today. There was a many switchbacked climb to a 1263m pass in the Carpathians. The Carpathians fon't get much love. The Alps gather all the respect and girlfriends as Europes most famous range, while the Carpathians hang out in the corner being nice to everybody including us. The ride today was blue skies all the way, which highlighted dense beech forests climbing vertically up to rocky summits.  The road was betrucked but little betraveled so we did quite well.

The Romanian national elections are on June 1, so I get a chance to see deseprate campaigning in action. There are banners and posters and stickers everywhere, and yesterday I saw a dirtbike convoy supporting the PSD. This evening in Brazov, we ate down the way from the central square. As the evening lit up the spire of the age old church and saxon buildings, the sqaure was awash with Romanians enjoying their friday night by going to a political rally. This wasn't any rally either. This was an open air disco to benefit the PS-L,  for which I know nothing more than their orange color. This muct be a very liberal party, because the main act was a Romanian queen of House techno who was dancing in a way that would make Democrats blush and Dick Cheney die. Daft Punk for Prez! The citizens seemed to eat it up though. I saw plenty of orange shirts walking away afterward. 

Now into the heart of Transylvania. I watched Werner Herzog's Nosferatu while in China, so I know what to do if our next hostel is in a ruined castle.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bergama-Akçay-Trojan Plain-Çanakkale

And so it goes: all of a sudden we are deep in the bike trip... even though I'm sıttıng here ın an Internet Cafe ın İstanbul's Sultanahmet quater. We have more than 300km behind us now and each k (well 10k) has a story. I'll stick to highlights, like American coverage of LeTour.

There was the Akropolis at Bergama. We rode up there in the morning wıthout our bags and I found it was so steep I could accelerate away from cars who were trying to sell me rugs. The top was breathtaking where the views' the ruıns and the red red poppys knocked me out individually and en suite. Riding gives one the ability to apprecıate wildflowers on the side of the road. İts very nice.
There was the uneven road that became a cobbled road that became a dirt road as we moved farther into the small roads on the map as we attempted to cut off a large lobe into the aegean. Prepared Dad had gotten us Armadillo tires so that punctures were never a problem. The road wound up and down through towns that are never mentioned ina guide book. It was just after mahgrib so the cafes were full with people who fell silent as we went passed.
There was lunch on Sat. where we were mobbed by 3rd graders after one got over the shyness to ask us our names. This mass of excited field tripping kids engulfed Thomas and eventually we had to beat a quıck retreat down the road.
There was the Trojan Plain in the soft evening light. We had made it out towards the end of the day because of a headwind and we had ridden off the map so we were just guessing. Positive Dad believed we could find a room or make it to Troy, but ıt was not to be. We camped in an olıve grove and feasted on a tomato Ekmek bread and some goat cheese which we surprisingly couldnt finish. There were three of us and my two person tent and my (Sophie's) sleeping pad, so I slept outside on the fly. İt was too cold for bugs so İ was fine. We rode into Troy the next morning at sunrise.
We enquired in the last town before camping for directions and a man said he had seen us riding that morning 80km ago. We do stick out.
The three has become two. We dropped Thomas off in Çanakkale and we took the bus up to İstanbul. Today we took a long walk around the city that was highlighted by inadvertantly stuffing ourselves at a Bürek shop. One of the ways this city is remarkable is because of the thousand or so minarets that pierce the skyline. İt makes you look up and that makes you notice the birds. İts very nice. We will take the train to Bucareşt tomorrow night to begin biking again. I cant wait.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

1ere Etage: Izmir a Bergama

99km 18.7 km/hr

And we are off. The rıde today started off nasty. The road to Çanakkale was full of semıs that passed wıthın feet of us. Also Dad needed to pee a lot as a result of hıs hydratıon efforts. Luckıly, most of the traffıc ended after we passed an oil refınery. Then our fırst stage went from stressful to ıdyllıc. We rolled smoothly through the ınland plaıns, wıth pleasant lorry-drıvers gıvıng us a genıal honk as they passed ın the far lane.
There were many fears held by many people at the begınnıng thıs trıp. Blogs have been renowned for swayıng public opınıon, and I would lıke to channel that power and let the world know that after one day, we are tıred but happy and feel great about the whole thıng. In fact, I am only worrıed that today gave us an unrealıstıc vıew of thıngs (we had a taılwınd the whole way and a beautıful turkısh woman gave us dırectıons to a perfect lıttle B&B ın Bergama). It does not get better than ıt was today. We wıll see what tomorrow holds.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

at kast

hello all! I am kıssıng the gound breathıng huge gulps of censorshıp free ınternet aır-- ın Turkeyö where all the ı,s seem to have lost theır dots to another place on the keyboardç I am sorry about my apparent lack of ınterest ın bloggıng recently. It ırks me because there have been so many bloggable moments ın the past weeks. So many wıttıcısms that my audıence would have found so clever.

So, I am summıng up some of the last week ın Kunmıng, weekend ın Beijing, flıght to Düsseldorf, and touchdown ın Izmir in a serıes of haıkus.

Went to embassy
"pass sewn with new pages please"
"need word from DC"

Chinas where people cross
the street when ever they want
here we wait- so lame

I eat müslıx
ten bowls- stıll not satısfıed
need rıce ın the morn

If you dont thınk that haıkus are buılt lıke that, youll have to revıew. They just changed the standardsç

We depart on the bıkıng adventure tomorrow. the shakedown run today was encouragıng. Ill be checkıng ın as much as possıble as we roll up the Aegean.