22.01.10 - Port Barton, Philippines
Mabuhay! Right now, at this very moment, we are sitting in a tiny tranquil beach cafÃ©, glancing through the palm leaves over the beautiful sparkling bay of Port Barton. The Philippines, the island paradise in the tropics with lots of sun, sand and crystal clear sea has welcomed us with open hearts. Up until now though, we have not been very overwhelmed by much nice weather, unfortunately. Obviously, itâ€™s so wonderfully green and tropical thanks to lots of rainshowerâ€¦ ;-) Never mind. We get wet anyway while diving, right?
After a short tour through Cebu Island, with diving in Malapascua and some well deserved rest on Bantayan Island we also visited the neighboring island of Bohol for a couple of days. We ticked off the whole touristic program with our lovely Filipino friend from Singapore and celebrated Patrizias birthday together. After that we flew to Palawan, the most western of the seven thousand islands, which form the Philippines. We are spending our time here with some nice cycling, a little snorkeling and eating lots of fresh fish â€“ just great! The people are super friendly and very relaxed â€“ and so are we ;-)
24.12.09 - Bangkok, Thailand
Christmas in neon-lit Bangkok, Silvester under palm trees in the Philippines - this sounds like a decent plan, doesnâ€™t it?
We took the climatic shock from the himalayan to the tropics upon ourselves without flinching, because it started getting really chilly in Kathmandu. Here we have now found sandal weather again and condensation is pearling in big drops on our big cold Chang beer bottles. We switched walking sticks with snorkels, thermic underwear with swimming trunks, down sleeping bags with beach mattresses - coral reefs, coconuts and sunsets - here we come!
Blessed holidays to all of you - wherever you will celebrate and whatever the temperatures will be like ;-)!
06.12.09 - Kathmandu, Nepal
Namaste! We are back in Kathmandu. For once it is unusually quiet here - the streets are deserted, the shops have their shutters closed and even the restaurants are shut. Instead of public holidays the maoists are doing general strikes here...
We just came back from our excursion to Pokhara which is about 200km away from the capital. Thanks to the bumpy and narrow road our bus ride took us approximately the same time as if we would have cycled... Nevertheless, we started to a trekking tour around the Annapurnas which lasted 18 days. At first we were not quite sure if we would enjoy walking for so long all at once but we found ourselves enjoying it very much and it was absolutely worth the effort. We hiked through the most varied climatic zones â€“ from subtropic to high alpine climate, from 600m up to 5â€™420m ASL. Humid heat, sunshine, snow, rice paddies, coniferous woods, glacier lakes, yaks, buffaloes, goats, Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries, different cultures and ways of living â€“ we had the chance to experience a wide insight into the incredible diversity of Nepal.
After that long trudging we allowed ourselves a couple of lazy days in Pokhara where we indulged in great food and a well deserved massage and Patrizia went for a 3 days retreat. Our travel plans have still not quite matured yet â€“ weâ€˜ll see if weâ€˜re going to celebrate Christmas under palms or pines ;-) Wishing you all a delightful Advent with lots of delicious cookies!
31.10.09 - Kathmandu, Nepal
Namaste! Back to civilisation â€“ respectively, happy landing in the wild chaos of Kathmandu.
The train journey to Lhasa along the worldâ€™s highest railway stretch (5â€˜200m ASL) was a fantastic, not to be missed experience. After two days of sightseeing we started with our new cycling companions to the tour along the Friendship Highway to Kathmandu. The trip through Tibet was absolutely superb: crossing six fivethousand meter passes, cycling fifteen days non-stop (did we ever do that before all in one go?), some magnificent views of Mt. Everest and other eightthousand meter peaks, highplateaus, countless Yaks, many impressive buddhist monasteries, friendly welcoming people along the path... Real holiday feeling â€“ all-inclusive!
Now, we are ready to make ourselves comfortable here in Thamel, the touristic ghetto of Kathmandu. What a vivid tumult of trekking and souvenier shops, restaurants, cafÃ©s, rikschas, people, noises and fragrancies. A true mecca for us! Here, we also plan to set the points for the continuation of our trip. Wishes and dreams are still innumerable â€“ or is there anyone out there with an ultimative suggestion ... ? ;-)
09.10.09 - Xining, China
Nihao - Welcome to the land of noodle soups! We were really looking forward to the culinary diversion of China after the shashlik monotony of Central Asia. We crossed the border into the Middle Kingdom on BrÃ¶s birthday and freewheeled down to Kashgar in a couple of days. After that we went up to the Pakistani border and cycled back to the Uigur city along the Karakorum Highway.
Thereafter, we parted from our tandem. While we were backpacking eastwards by bus and train our bicycle and most of our luggage was sent to Lhasa by China Railway Express. Tomorrow we will catch the train to get to Tibets capital too.
So far we have been pleasantly surprised by what we got to see of China. The infrastructure is astonishingly good and the people are friendly and helpful â€“ this, despite the fact that neither of us understands a single word of what the other is saying. It seems that we will have to revise our opinion about China.
Nevertheless, the restrictions put in place by the central committee, or whoever is in charge to decide over those, are still real. Therefore, it is (momentary) still not allowed to travel within Tibet individually. Even though it was possible to avoid the check-points only one year ago, controls have now become so strict that itâ€™s absolutely hopeless to even try to sneak in. As a result of being pulled back and forth in our planning we have decided to join an organised biketour from Lhasa to Kathmandu, which will lead us along the Friendship-Highway. Itâ€™s going to be quite a change for us but we are looking at the bright side of the medal: Our luggage will be carried for us in a truck and freshly cooked dinner will welcome us after a nice cycling day while our tent will already be pitched up when we arrive at the site. We only need to rest our calves underneath the camping table and enjoy. Only things missing are a massage tent and a jacuzziâ€¦ ;-)