After The Peru Divide, we couldn’t leave the country without visiting the main tourist attraction. Arriving in Cusco, we spent some time sampling the delightful cuisine before taking a 7-hour bus followed by a 3-hour hike along the train tracks to reach Machu Picchu. An iconic site, we were glad to have done it, although the hoards of people crowding the ancient city on the mountain were a shock to our system after months of solitude!
Arriving into Colombia was an experience like no other! We built our bikes right beside the baggage carousel whilst we waited for our panniers, loaded them up and wheeled our way directly through customs. We cycled out of the airport and were immediately on small back roads with next to no traffic, worlds away from the 8 lane highways we had left behind in the states. As if that wasn’t enough, we soon turned onto a cycle path right next to the beach. We had made the right decision.
We arrived by boat at what may be the quaintest entry point into the United States – Friday Harbour. A harbour large enough for just one ferry and a small shed, within which the two border guards resided, on the island of San Juan, the largest of the 170 San Juan Islands. Testing the assumption that all small islanders are friendly, even border guards, Lucy ran straight over the border keen to pedal to the campsite before dark. Unfortunately, border guards are still border guards, the smiling face turned to a frown and I was pulled back to the arbitrary line to show my passport.
After bobbing around in Thailand, England and Germany, Lucy and I decided to split up. Just for a couple of weeks, that is. After being in the saddle for so many days, it was time to stretch the legs before we would embark on another epic trip later this summer – but first things first. While Lucy enjoyed the time off, not having to pedal for hours every day, I remembered that northern corner of the United Kingdom I never had the time to properly visit, while I had lived in England. The itch was back and I packed up to visit the rugged coast of West Scotland.
We‘re cycling for the first time outside Europe and get adopted by a local cycling gang
🚴🏻♀️🚴🏻♂️ Singapore to Langkawi (1000km)
After munching through Christmas season, we were ready to be in the saddle again – preferably in the sunshine and not in freezing Europe. We booked two tickets to Singapore with the plan to make our way to Hanoi in North Vietnam by the end of April. Solid plan! Only the bit about sunshine was slightly off as we arrived during monsoon season.
The ferry arrived on a clear but cold Saturday morning in Olbia, on the North East coast of Sardinia. We chose to cycle south on the east side of the island which, although tougher, promised a more dramatic landscape with high mountains, rugged coastlines, hidden coves and crystal clear waters.
After spending time with Lucy’s family we caught a flight to Venice on a Tuesday evening and arrived in dark, foggy Italy. The visibility was so poor we only could see the massive buses seconds before they overtook us. The only route took us along a big A-road, which seemed rather suicidal in these conditions and so we decided to try our luck down a dirt track between some fields. After pushing and staggering through the darkness, we gave up on reaching the city and set up camp at 2am.
On a Monday morning in September we handed the keys of the flat to our landlord. ‘I’ve cycled in Vietnam in the early 90s’, he said.‘It was the hardest and the most rewarding thing I have ever done.’ Then he snapped a picture of us and waved goodbye while we set off with all our remaining belongings stuffed in six panniers.