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The End of the Road

Posted by Max on Tuesday, February 28, 2012,

Congratulations!

Today is your day.
You're off to great places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

So...
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

Oh, the Places You'll Go! 
Dr Seuss

...
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The Pearl of Africa: Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi

Posted by Max on Tuesday, April 26, 2011,
"It seems I am trying to tell you a dream -- making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey ... that notion of being captured by the incredible, which is the very essence of dreams."
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness


The last three weeks have been like a dream: tumbling over mountains, through forests, and coming face to face with hippos and hyenas in the heart of Africa's interior. It's been bright and beautiful, and bustling with some of the best people we've met. But it ...
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Tribes and Tribulations: South Ethiopia and Kenya

Posted by Max on Wednesday, March 30, 2011,

"He spent 40 days in the wilderness, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry."

The Bible, New Testament


It's been almost 40 days since my last blog but am happy to report that after struggling through the remote wilds of Southern Ethiopia and North West Kenya, we have finally reemerged - a few pounds lighter - back into the w...


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Ups and Downs in the Ethiopian Highlands

Posted by Max on Wednesday, February 16, 2011,
"There was a rustling, that seemed like a bustling,
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farmyard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running."


The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Robert Browning


This is precisely the effect we seem to have on the children of Ethiopia, but unlike the Pied Piper of Hamelin, we can't get rid of them. Unfortunately, this has le...
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Donuts and Deserts: Sunny Sudan

Posted by Max on Tuesday, January 18, 2011,

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."

Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

 

As I dragged my bicycle off the ferry from Egypt at about lunchtime, anything seemed possible, even perhaps munchkins and wicked witches. This was the start of 'Africa' as far as I was concerned, and I was primed and ready for strange and unexpected goings on. First up was border control: It was quick and painless. That was certainly unexpected. (although the American couple behind us in the queue were asked...


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Into Africa

Posted by Max on Monday, January 3, 2011,
'"If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding"'
Charles Dickens, 'A Christmas Carol'
 
Bah humbug! I hate spending the festive season in countries that don't know what a mince pie is, and this year was no exception. My Christmas Eve was like some kind of depraved scene from Trainspotting, on Christmas Day we were left homeless after being turfed out of a monastery in the dark, ...

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Egyptian Conniptions

Posted by Max on Monday, December 20, 2010,

"they came at last to the end of the living lands...So desolate were those places and so deep the horror that lay on them, that some of the host were unmanned and they could neither walk nor ride further"

JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


And so it was, with Europe knee deep in snow, we were trapped in a vicious sandstorm in the dark Mordor-like wasteland of Egypt's Sinai Desert, only 300km short of Cairo. With nowhere to shelter and no way forward or back, it was with re...


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Sheiks, Rugs, and Chick'n'Roll

Posted by Max on Saturday, November 27, 2010,
In Syria, resistance is futile. All daily normality and forward planning must be abandoned, and cyclists must submit to wonderful non-stop chaos. Since leaving the relative tranquility of Turkey, strange and unpredictable events are becoming the norm. A couple of days ago I found myself sitting in the desert on my tarpaulin 'picnic blanket', about 100 miles from the Iraqi border, making banana and nutella sandwiches for lunch. Only now in retrosprect, from an internet cafe in Damascus d...

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More Turkish Delights

Posted by Max on Saturday, November 6, 2010,
Old Islamic Proverb: ‘He is not a believer who eats his fill while his neighbour remains hungry’
 
For most of the last week we've been in the sunshine, crossing the rolling grassy steppe of Central Turkey on blissfully quiet country roads. We also recently passed the 4000km mark! All in all, perfect cycling, apart from the steep highland roads which frequently go above 1300 metres. A few days ago, we passed a dishevelleled looking shepherd on one of these roads who inexplicably said 'G'd...

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Notes From a Turkısh Truck Stop

Posted by Max on Saturday, October 30, 2010,
We're currently holed up ın the cafe of a petrol statıon wıth a load of mıddle aged Turkısh truck drıvers after mısjudgıng our dıstances and gettıng caught ın the mıddle of nowhere at nıghtfall. Fortunately, they've let us pıtch our tent on a patch of grass next to the forecourt but ıt's a crystal clear nıght up at 900 metres altıtute on the Central Turkısh plateau and the temperature ıs dıppıng below zero so we're hangıng out at an ınternet termınal ın the cafe, neck...

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One Continent Down, One and a Bit to Go!

Posted by Max on Tuesday, October 26, 2010,
At 7.36pm on 20th October 2010, I walked ınto a McDonald's restaurant ın the centre of Istanbul and ordered one of every ıtem on the menu (and an extra apple pıe). In hındsıght, we could have probably found a better way to celebrate reachıng the edge of Europe after 3300km and 7 weeks of cyclıng, but the scarcıty of junkfood throughout Romanıa and Bulgarıa had brought on severe cravıngs. Besıdes, ıt's somethıng I've always wanted to do and thıs could be the only tıme ın my l...

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Adventures in Dogmania (aka Romania)

Posted by Max on Thursday, October 7, 2010,
Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell, keep going"
 
Ok, so 'hell' may be a bit melodramatic, and Romania's actually a wonderful place, but  today's weather-related ordeals have been the worst yet by far - so indulge me. We're currently holed up in a hotel in a little town called Calafat, and I'm sat behind the reception desk with a glass of wine and a fag (my first since London - you're allowed to smoke indoors here!). I keep getting bugged by guests asking for stuff in Romanian, bu...
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The Balkans: Brains on Toast and Belgrade Blues

Posted by Max on Thursday, September 30, 2010,
Having crossed the 2000km mark yesterday we're now in Belgrade for another pit-stop, but wish we'd gone round it now. The cycle into the city had the most hair raising traffic yet, and now we're here, first impressions are of a crowded dirty place with a very unfriendly atmosphere. So much so that we chose Mc Donalds and cinema over sightseeing, except of course for the Nikola Tesla museum which I had to visit. We got a very patriotic guided tour in which an old lady with a pacemaker almost g...

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Auf Wiedersen Western Europe

Posted by Max on Thursday, September 16, 2010,
FIRSTLY THANKS SO MUCH TO ALL THOSE WHO HAVE DONATED TO OUR CHARITY - UNICEF SCHOOLS FOR AFRICA. WE'RE REALLY REALLY GRATEFUL, AND VERY PLEASED WITH THE RESPONSE SO FAR. (there have been a few problems with the funraising page though, so please let us know if you've had trouble, or don't see you're donation listed)
 
Leon Trotsky: "Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top on two wheels with a chain."
 
So, the Danube has grown from a meandering stream into a majestic r...

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Germay: Spiritual home of the sausage

Posted by Max on Tuesday, September 7, 2010,

5 days in and all is well. We're in Ulm at the moment, chilling out after the first push over the black forest and on to the Danube. As my fellow science geeks out there will know, Ulm is the birth place of Einstein so I'm considering the journey so far as a kind of pilgrimage. I may even go to his actual birthplace tomorrow where I expect to find a gaggle of bespectacled nerds paying their respects. For all of you antí-sciencers out there, Ulm is also the home of the world's tallest...

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Goodbye sofa, hello tarmac

Posted by Max on Tuesday, August 31, 2010,
Bilbo Baggins (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."

Hey! Welcome to the blog. Hopefully there'll be something more interesting to read here soon. We'll be trying to put something up every couple of weeks, including a special monthly food section called 'Breads and Spreads'!? We apparently have to eat 5000 calories a day so we'...

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