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Picture of the day

1 Aug

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Shooting the Paravani lake side

26 Jun

Day 55 : Double Downhill

26 Jun

From the lake Paravani, we reached the maximum altitude we would get to in the area. Day 55 was therefore mostly downhill. We did a pit stop in the first village for some breakfast, went down to the “center” next to the lake, and managed to find the owner of the shop, who opened it for us. She had some cake, yogurt and dried apricots, that would be enough for us to pedal few dozens of kilometers. After some ups and downs, we reached the edge of Tsalka region, and weren’t aware of what was going next : a pretty steep downhill for about 20 km on a great new road, where both of us reached 70km per hour, for the first time of the trip. Riding at such a speed with strong lateral wind is quite of an experience!

Arrived at the bottom, we were speechless with a big smile on our faces. Those 20 minutes were orgasmic and a big reward for the last three climbing days. 🙂

We had another climb after lunch, then some flat in altitude…then surprisingly another extra downhill that would last for another 20 km! Awesomeness!

The third bit was made of medium sized hills ; the ones that you can climb pretty easily if you gain enough speed on the way down ; the ones that make you feel like being in a roller coaster. We were eating kilometers like greedy pigs, and after 90km, we faced a steep wall that got us back to reality : what goes down must go up…

After 90km, we had to climb that mountain in the background…

It needed lots of sweat to get to the top, and once there we had to think about a place to sleep, as it was already 7.30 in the evening. We were not on the road we were supposed to -don’t know why ; and after 110km we stopped in a small village and ask if there was any place we could stay.

We need a place to sleep!

The answers were all the same : ‘The hotels are in Tbilisi, it’s 40km away!’…fortunately, Davit showed up to act as a translator, as he was one of the only person in the village who could speak english. His answer was the same, but then started saying that Georgians were hospitality people…and that he could host us fore the night. We were very glad to hear that, and got ready for a new georgian experience 🙂

Davit, our amazing host, on the left

We struggled to pay for the beers, got home, met the parents and the friends, and ate various dishes, all of them being homemade with products of the garden. We tried georgian wine for the first time, made out of the grapes that were growing above our heads, then toasted some chacha. Davit’s friend from georgian army was very interested in our original Opinel, so we gave it to him. He then gave us his bandana from georgian army, and a georgian knife so that we’d still have something to cut our tomatoes. 🙂

After food, we headed up to the neighbour, as he was the guy with a television, and watched England vs Italy all together. Viva Italia! (Nico says).

Back on the Radio!

5 Jun

Tomorrow around 10.30 we’ll be back on the waves with Raphael Charlier on Pure FM, so be connected!

For those who missed the interview, the podcast is available here.

Day 31 – Back to civilization : Odessa!

1 Jun

After a humid night with the mosquitos, we got back on our bikes for the remaining 120km that would lead us to Odessa. The day started with rain and wind for the first 30 km. The highlight of the morning is this gang of pelicans flying in circles above us. Beside that, not much happened.

We stopped for lunch in an unexpected, semi ghost town in the middle of nowhere. Sergeyvka. Soviets built it as a leisure resort, but didn’t finish the job before the regime collapsed. There are many empty buildings, and lots of bungalows where you can still buy a plastic ball or a bucket for the kids. After some duck soup and duck pasta, we got back on the road for the last 80km. Just a few kilometers ahead, we reach Zatoka, a well known spot for ukrainian tourists. It is a narrow stripe of land surrounded by the sea on both sides. We find our first sandy beach on the black sea. Picture time!

Posing on Zatoka beach. The sun is back, for real!

The last 40 km are easy, as we are on a good road. We got cherries and apricots from local sellers on the way, and reach Odessa in the evening.

Cherry seller on the way

Bionic Party Dog

We found the place quite easily and got greeted by our next hosts, friends of friends of friends. Pretty cool people around our age  -Sasha and Vania- who showed us Odessa’s coastline, the Ukranian Ibiza. We had well deserved beers and sashliks, after those 420km cycling in 4 days.

Password please?

Compared to what we’ve seen during the past week, it looks like we entered Sin City : it is full of casinos, clubs, strip clubs, and ukranian ladies in -ultra- mini skirts 🙂

We plan to stay for the week end for some Odessa party, a must in Ukraine!

Pictures of the day

1 Jun

 

Day 30 : Intensive Cycling towards the coast

1 Jun

The morning was a bit harder and we got ready to cycle the next 100km with a hangover. We received bread, sausages and noodles for us to be able to cycle to Tatarbunary and finally get money from the bank. Our hosts also offered us water but came back with Kvass, a typical fermented beverage made from black or regular rye bread. It’s pretty good, and pretty far from all the drinks we know in the west.

Morning goodbye with our hosts

The plan is to cycle towards the coastline for around 100 km per day for the next 2 days, as Odessa, the next big city we are aiming at, is 240 km away. It is supposed to go quite fast as we will obviously get to sea level altitude.

The ukrainian countryside looks pretty nice and for the first time in nearly 3 weeks, the weather is really good and the whole sky is blue. A push for the mood! The ride is very pleasant and we cycled until the sunset after 110km. Yves is starting learning Russian on the bike with his audiobook, while Nico is practicing his skills in cyrillic reading.

K-I-R-N-I-TCH-K-I

First words : “Hello – How are you? – I don’t speak russian”

As the weather is good, we decide to camp as close as we can from the sea. Yves’ mobile -our GPS device- is getting low on battery and the sun is strong, so we our solar panel is being useful here.

Around 8.30PM, Nico’s knee feels tired and the sun is setting, we decide to stop next to stagnating sea water in a remote area. The scenery is pretty good.

After eating 3 packs of noodles, biscuits and chocolate, the night comes and mosquitos wake up. We are soon surrounded by thousands of them. At first, we thought there was a train or a distant motorway…but we found out that the noise was coming from the cloud of insects around us. We didnt stay too long outside and headed up to the tent carefully, to avoid being eaten alive during the night. It worked ok, but we both got tens of bites in the adventure.