Tag - Cycling around the world

(Georgia) A small country next to Black Sea

[15/09/08~30 (D+1491)]
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I arrived the border before the dark. I was surprised because the immigration was quite big. Even people had to check their luggage through x-ray. I was a bit nervous because of my drone. But kind immigration’s worker made exception that he just let me pass without checking. Actually when I brought it from Paris to Istanbul, there was no any problem at Paris at the airport. However, the drone made me nervous sometimes on this kind of situation.

After crossing the border, suddenly scenery was changed that girl’s clothes were way much shorter than in Turkey. Above all, the beer was cheaper. I hardly drank beer in Turkey, because it was expensive. But now I was free to drink beer again.

 

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Since Georgia, suddenly there were many vacation’s towns that many hotels were along the sea. It was totally different atmosphere compared to Turkey’s Black Sea. I booked one guest house in a small town though online before, but it was weird place at the end.

After a few days, I started cycling in Georgia. I saw two guys on one motor cycle. They greeted at me first. They were from Ukraine. They told me they were going around Black Sea. I met other people like it a few times more. It looked like the people who lived next to Black Sea loved to go around Black Sea.

My bicycle was still awesome the next to a big motor cycle.

 

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The most famous touristic place along the sea was Batumi. But recently I had spent too much money that I was sure I would spend much money again if I stayed in Batumi. So, I decided to avoid the biggest touristic spot. But the way going out of the city was too crowd. The building looked like built it 1960~1970 at the city.

 

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Besides, the traffic was horrible. People just walked everywhere at the middle of the road and the van taxi stopped whenever they wanted. The worst thing was males on the street and cars started shouting at me and made fun of me. Even two of drunken males bothered me. It was just around lunch time. How come there were drunken people already from the day time.
When I bought something from groceries, I could see people looked too cold that I felt like I was in Russia. But when the males on the street bothered and flirted at me on horrible traffic road, I felt like I was in Africa. It was weird that I felt like I was between Russia and Africa.

 

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I stopped at a very small village, which had many hotels. There were only local people I could feel. At the next day when I went to the beach, I could see many people were a bit old age or there were many families with small children. It seemed that it was totally local family place and all young people and travelers went to Batumi.

 

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It was taken by my Drone. Compred to Dlsr, the picture from drone was still very good.

 

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A local people who saw my drone brought his drone as well. Mine was Phantom3 which was more expensive model than his one. Of course, I thought his drone was not under 100 $. His one was expensive one as well. But just compared to mine, his drone looked like a toy.

 

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I didn’t fly my drone every day that I was not used to drive, so I was nervous time to time. I usually tried to avoid where many people were. So, I flew my drone in the morning, empty place, or hiding myself at somewhere. When people surrounded me, then I could not concentrate at all and it could drive very dangerous situation such as I hurt people with my drone. So, I prefer to fly my drone alone at all.

 

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Just before starting cycling, I had traditional Georgian food. It was too greasy and big to finish easily. I just ate because it looked like high calorie, which would help me for cycling. In side of food, there were cheese. I had never had this one again after it because it was not my type. During traveling in Georgia, I saw many obese people. I guessed that there were many high calorie foods like just what I had.

 

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I could see many old rusty houses in Georgia. But interesting thing was the police station looked very nice in every village or city. It was built with the window. Every police station looked similar.

 

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When I passed many small villages, people were so generous. It was opposite thing because when I passed the city, males bothered me too much. I guessed the difference was actually there were many old people in a small village and they were gentle usually.
I heard that there was another Korean girl on a bicycle and her diary was full of ‘fuxxxx Georgia..F….F..Fuxx’ while cycling in Georgia. The western people (non-Asian) or males or couples who passed here with their bicycle would not understand why she wrote like that. They might blame just her “Oh come on. I had amzing experience with kind Georigian people. You are just too negative. Come on be easy.” People usually could not understand this kind of situation because they would never have this experience. The experience of cycling in this kind of country as female Asian alone would be very different from others, which was the most pity thing because while other people had wonderful experience, the people like her would struggle.
Actually to cycle in Georgia was much difficult than to cycle in Turkey for me. In Turkey, every day a few males tried to flirt. But I just ignored and it was fine. Actually Turkish people were more gentle and polite that there were few people shouting at me on the street and making fun of my skin color. But since I came to Georgia, males on the street had bothered me too often at every big city. So, I could not enjoy when I had to pass a big city.

 

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I went to a small city and checked some hotel, but it was not cheap. I was thinking where I should sleep tonight.

 

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I went to a police station and asked. They didn’t allow me to pitch my tent around the police station. But just a bit far place was fine like the picture. I could not remember when I asked for a toilet to a police officer. Maybe early morning or middle of the night. After I used the toilet, the police officer rebuked me with the reason I used a toilet. If I were a boy, I would just turn around and pee.  I was too embarrassed because I never had people who rebuked with the reason like it…. :(

 

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At the next morning, I had some cookie for breakfast. Poor dog was watching me, so I shared with him.

 

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It was very hot day that I started like 6:30 am. There was very interesting thing on the road. Every people brought their cow and walked to somewhere.

 

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Many houses looked like this in Georgia. I didn’t mean to judge with people’s house. What I watned to talk was I saw many low GDP’ countries. But there were too much rusty houses in Georgia compared to similar GDP countries, which was my curious.

 

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When I looked this picture, I felt very disgusting. It was not because of high calorie food, but because of the situation at that time. I was so hungry and I asked local people and found this restaurant. It was very big restaurant but old. I ordered something to eat. There was cheese at the inside and egg covered it. When the lady served, I saw cockroach was passing and she stepped on it like ‘it is nothing’. After that I saw too many cockroach passing on the restaurant. I had meal at so many bad condition’s restaurants while traveling. But it was the most place I saw cockroach.

 

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After lunch, I found some empty place which was a bit far from the main road. I thought people would not come to me, so I decided to fly my drone.

 

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Picture was taken by the drone

 

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When I had to stop for a toilet, I saw very funny drawing. I watched something about Georgia before coming by chance on Youtube. It was said men don’t wear umbrella but only women use it. And I found the drawing of umbrella in front of a girl toilet.

 

Korean education channel made it. You don’t need to understand Korean. Just watch for a video. You will see only girl uses umbrella. Narration told even he didn’t know why only girl uses it.

 

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The sheath of the cable had peeled off when my handle bar was turned suddenly. But when I connected copper wire each side, it didn’t work out.

 

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So, I went to the garage, but they did exactly what I did that they could not fix as well.

 

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I went to the place which offline map told there was a hotel. But hotel didn’t exist. Since Georgia, offline map’s information was wrong quite often. I found some hotel on the road. But it was expensive and rusty that I didn’t stay.

 

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I hoped if I found a cheap hotel, I would take the rest at early afternoon. But there was nothing that I had to keep cycling. Once I entered into valley, I saw people selling many pottery things.

 

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It was difficult to cycle on the mountain, but scenery was very beautiful. This picture was taken by Dslr because I didn’t have the time to fly my drone around the sunset.

 

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There were many beautiful places to set up tent, but I set up my tent at the behind of the hospital because I was not brave. The workers at the hospital invited me for tea and dinner later. Then it seemed like I built trust that they asked me to uninstall my tent and sleep at the inside. Even I could take the shower that my night became so relax thank to them.

 

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Interesting thing was that the building of hospital was very nice. This was in contrast to local people’s house. I was wondering that the government spent much money for public building.

There was one funny thing I found in Georgia was that people in even a small village gave me receipt when I bought 30 cents water. I was wondering and guessing three things. Maybe the government were so strict that the government threw the book at tax dodgers or people were too trustful to lie at the government, or the government build really good system that nobody can evade taxes.

 

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The driver put watermelon at the top, behind, and inside.

 

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I was so hungry but a vendor sold only corns. I was looking for proper meal that I skipped it.

 

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Long tunnel

 

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I saw really weird thing at the road. From the beginning to the end of the town, I could see street venders selling all same thing. I thought that it would be brick or mushroom. I watched people and realized it was bread. I was curious it was real bread or not which they were showing at the outside. If it was real, they would sell dusty bread?

 

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I bought one and I saw she gave me the bread from the inside, not the street one. The tasty was awesome. The edge of bread was very crunch, but the center was very soft. It was sweet as well. I loved it so much. Unfortunately, I could not see this bread again. Oh I missed it.

 

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After I came out from the mountain, there was the flat road.

 

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Late afternoon, finally I found a restaurant. It was cheap and tasty. Actually it was little bit sour, but I was so hungry that it was so good food to me.

 

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After it, there was very hard uphill. I ate too much food and on the uphill, my stomach was too uncomfortable. Arriving at a guest house, I vomited.
But this guest house was too weird like other one. Usually there were no worker or owner and I had to make a call, but they didn’t speak English so it was impossible to communicate. On booking website, they said they had lots of things on the room, but many things were missed actually. They told they could speak good English on the website, but not at all. I cannot understand why many Georgian guest houses do this lie thing on booking website.
The owner didn’t put the sheet on the other beds although I asked. She could just ask me not to use other bed and put a sheet. I felt like I was sleeping at the room under the construction. They really didn’t know how to run hotels.
I was unlucky that I had a few weird bad experiences with Georgia guesthouse. I usually didn’t have problem with hotels I stayed wherever. So, what happened in Georgia was weird thing to me.

 

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I stayed for a few days in Gori. There was some place which I could see the same thing I saw at Cappadocia in Turkey. I wanted to take the bus, but I could find any bus information. So I cycled there maybe 10 km (6.25 mi) far.
It was a strict place that they didn’t allow me to take the tripod. Also expensive camera was forbidden. I already saw lots of rocks in Cappadocia that it was not that much special. But scenery was beautiful that I liked somehow.

 

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I flew my drone near the small village around Gori.

 

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I became more nervous when people surrounded me because it was difficult to concentrate then.

 

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There was very special architecture. Terrace was made by wood. I was wondering that it was originally from Georgia or other country.

 

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The view from the top of Gori

 

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I arrived at the capital after cycling on the busy traffic. Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, had McDonald, Subway, Wendy’s, Domino Pizza and so on which were from the U.S. I heard that Georgia was the country which was close to the U.S although there were at Soviet Union before.

Their letter was so amazing to me. The letter looked longish and the top and bottom was round. The next country, Armenia, was similar but it was more square at the top and bottom.

 

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There was a big street market in the city which was a bit far from the center. There was everything. Later I went to one of biggest markets in Iran and I got disappointed because actually the market in Tbilisi was bigger and I could find everything there.

 

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I bought a strong black plastic bag for waterproof for my drone. Also I bought a few things I needed.

 

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Georgian beer~

 

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Georgian money
There were more kinds, but it was all I had when I took the picture.

 

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I found a small restraint on the street by the chance and the tasty was awesome.

 

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I found wine museum by chance. Georgia was very famous for wine. But I was not used to drinking wine and I only drank cheap one. So for me Georgian wine was not that much special.

 

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To get Iran visa was not much complicated because these days many people were heading to Iran for touring. So the first step was to apply letter at a local travel agency which there were a few trustful companies these days. After that go to Iran embassy and apply with photo, insurance, and copy of passport. But actually I didn’t have insurance. I went to a travel agency on the street and I bought 30 days’ insurance. It was interesting to see how easy I can get. I paid something like $30. It was my first time ever in the trip that I had the insurance. Haha

 

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There were not much attractions at the city center actually.

 

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When I passed many villages, I saw this kind of thing often on the street. It looked so weird that I didn’t try. I bought it after I asked them what it was. It was around 1$ for one.

 

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I thought it was some animal’s blood or fat because of color. But actually it was fruit juicy thing and there was nut at the center. It was sweet and tasty. If it was cheaper, I would buy more for cycling.

 

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My favorite thing to see in the city center

 

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There was a cable car for around 1$.

 

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I heard Opera was cheap. But actually what I watched was musical and I could not understand it.

 

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It was the most interesting thing in the old town to me. Every hour, something came out on the top.

 

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I watched fountain show with music later. It was small but beautiful.

It was a bit chilly after the dark that I was looking for some coffee shop. There was only expensive restaurant, but I thought coffee would be cheap everywhere. So, I went there. But the server could not speak English that I had language barrier. Then one guy from other table helped me and he asked me to join to his table. I was bored alone that I joined there. The guy was around 50 or 60 years old from England, his girlfriend was around 25 or 30 years old from Iran, and there was his local business partner. The guy offered me something to eat but I ate before that I said ok and had only wine.
But this British guy was too crap and much disgusting than street males who bothered me that he kept telling disgusting stuff at me in front of his Iranian girlfriend. If I were her, I would leave as soon as possible with saying “Let’s break up”. But once I drank a glass of wine, I could understand why Iranian girl was staying with this British guy. The wine was really amazing. Finally, I could understand why people said Georgian wine is so gorgeous. Maybe Iranian girl was staying with him to drink more good wines. But for me one glass of wine was enough. I made excuse and leave after finishing it. When I said good bye and hug with Iranian girl, I could feel she was very warm and sweet person. Then I doubted maybe my judgement was wrong. But soon I thought how British guys treated me in front of his girlfriend and there was no such a reason to stay with him except wine.

There was one interesting thing that I had met some Iranian girls during the trip. But I had never seen them wearing hijab. I had seen girl who immigrated from the Middle East to Europe and many of them wore hijab all the time. But only Iranian girl didn’t wear it.

 

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I came out when the morning was quiet.

 

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To fly my drone. The picture was taken by the drone.

 

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All was taken by drone and I really liked because it was high quality.

 

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After I went out of the city, I set up my tent around the police station again. This time the police was kind that they allowed me to use a toilet without any problem.

 

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My new friend, black dog

 

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A kickstand was broken that I had to lean on something all the time because my bicycle was too heavy to stand it again if I lean on the floor. Because of it, my resting time got less and sometimes just I took the break on a bicycle.

 

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Pig.. looked so relax?

 

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I had met Swiss motor cyclist on difficult uphill.

 

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The day before, the police officer drew some map for me. I had offline map that actually I didn’t care about it well and threw away later. But I realized why he drew that for me. There were two ways to go to Armenia, the next country. One was very well paved road and the other one was too bumpy and hilly road. The road I took was the hardest road for cycling.

 

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At least the landscape was gorgeous. It looked there were so many amazing places for camping, which I could not do it.

 

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I asked local people for setting up my tent at their yard. At first, a few of family members said yes. But then father came out and said No. I didn’t want to see they fought because of me. So usually if it happened like this, I must get out of as soon as possible with saying “Sorry”.
This time I set up my tent at the police station again.

 

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I realized all the time I set up my tent at the police station except one time, in Hospital. But this time police officers were so kind that they shared dinner with me and they let me take shower. Actually their police office was not built with glass that it was not like other good one. It was at the little small village, but they were the kindest police officers I had met in Georgia.

 

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I tried to fix my panier bag when I came back to my tent. I really didn’t like this Ortlieb bag at all. It was broken again gain again… endless fixing the most important part…because of it water came inside easily.. If I found better company than Ortlieb, I would try.

 

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Tonight I had more friends! Yeah! I was lucky!

 

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It was really quiet road that there were not many cars passing. One guy who took care of cows was dancing with music from the car and then he saw me and walked to me with saying something. I was scared that I just said thank you and went away.

 

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There was one guy who drove taxi van stopped his car and called me. And then he gave me snacks. I did need something to eat because my speed was too slow to reach a grocery. I appreciated to him.

 

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It was really empty road that I played with my drone again. It became my favorite picture. It looked like the border was close.

 

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Finally, I could see paved road over there. I could not wait to cycle on the nice road that I cycled fast to the immigration. Let’s move to Armenia!

 

 

 

 

Videos about Georgia

 

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===================================================================
Route
Days in Goergia = 23 Days
Distance of cycling in Goergia = 593.52 km (368.79 mi)
Cities I stayed in Goergia = 8 Cities
Gonio, Ureki, Samtredia, Boriti, Gori, Tbilisi, Kumisi, Saparlo
Expenditure in Goergia = $500? ($1=2.7 Lila)
(My laptop was in trouble and I had to format. So I lost the date of expenditure of five months. I just calculate with withdraw. It is not accurate. I saved important thing on D drive that other thing was fine.)

(Turkey) I got out of country at the last day of 90 days staying

[15/08/25~09/08 (D+1469)]
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For the lunch, I had typical Turkish meal, meat on charcoal. Turkey was not that much cheap for a low budget traveler. The meal at the restaurant was usually 4~6 dollars. I thought that if I made a video of eating, I could pay my lunch. So I often went to a restaurant. But later I realized it was just too lunatic plan.

 

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Every day there were a few male drivers stopped and asked to give me a ride in Turkey, which I had never experienced in other countries. When I said no thanks, some of them kept following and asking again and again.
Some males on a motor cycle or car just kept following me quite often. One guy on a car was kept following me and made u-turn and followed again at the area I took above the picture. I just ignored. But then later he stopped his car at the shoulder and looked at me disgusting way and said disgusting thing. Ignorance was not helpful that I insulted him. After it, I was scared that I stopped at the street vendor and looked at the back. But he didn’t follow me anymore. Those kind of males only gave up when I finally insulted them.

 

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As cycling in Turkey, I felt that there were many apartments. The picture was taken at the small town. I could not understand that they had big land, but why lived at the flat? Interesting thing was none of house had air conditional, which was common at Central Turkey. It was always big mystery why Central Turkey didn’t use it although they had hot summer.

 

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I was invited at local people’s house before the sunset. The left down on the picture was traditional kettle for making tea. There was water at the bottom and there was tea at the top. So they could make weak or strong tea.

 

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What did he drop? The road was covered with beautiful color.

 

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Turkey was such a big country that they had many different kinds of nature and I loved it.

 

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At a small town, I found a cheap hotel that I took the rest for a few days. Good thing in Turkey was that I could find a cheap hotel at a small city, which was around $12 to $15.

 

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Turkish money

 

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On a bicycle again, I had to find a place to sleep around the dark. I decided to stop at a small village. There were not many houses, which were all at the right and left of the middle on the picture.

 

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When I asked to pitch my tent at their yard, they invited me at their house and shared dinner with me.

 

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I liked this kind of empty road.
I could only stay 90 days in six months. I counted how many days I stayed and I realized I had only 7days left and 700 km (437.5 mi) to cycle to the border. It meant that I must cycle every day.

 

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There was one hard uphill which was very difficult to cycle with the heat. So I took the rest just on the shade at the shoulder.

 

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After downhill, I could not find a restaurant that I had snacks and pop for lunch.

 

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Usually I saw a farmer using cow or donkey for farming in other countries. But I saw all farmers using a farm tractor in Turkey that I felt Turkey was much richer than other neighborhoods.

 

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At the night, it was very difficult to find a place to stay that I had to cycle until the dark. The hotel was too expensive although it was small town. So I had to get out of the town and look around people’s house.
But then I saw the most amazing night sky in my life. It was the night sky I wished to look at. I had been salt desert, sand desert, and high mountains. But always the night sky was not that much amazing. But the galaxy on the sky I was looking here was gorgeous ever in my life. I could not believe how come near the town having light pollution could have amazing night sky more than in the desert. I doubted that to see the night sky in the desert could not be important. At that time, I was too nervous to take the picture because I had to hurry to find the place to sleep. But definitely if someone asked me what the best night sky was I would answer the small town in Turkey, not a desert or high mountain.
Later I was invited at local people’s house again and could finish my day safely.

 

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At the next day morning, there was hard uphill. It was very hot day that I could not cycle well. I didn’t push my bicycle, but I had to stop quite often.

 

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I thought the uphill was finished, but actually it turned to hilly road.

 

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I started cycling at 6:30 am, but I arrived at 12 pm at the top. I met German couples and they told me it took only three hours for them. They were much older than me something like 40?50 years old in my memory. It meant that the age didn’t matter for cycling the world.

 

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The view from the top

 

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I met other travelers on two wheels and soon I met German couple again. We had chat with joyfully. Always people on two wheels became my bestfriend on the road.

 

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It was impressing tattoo on one of moto biker’s arm. By the way….. what does it mean? X)

 

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German couple turned to the left and I turned to the right later at a crossroads. They told me they would cycle along the sea soon. When I saw an altitude map, it was extremely hilly at the sea. So I decided to cycle on Central Turkey.
For lunch, I had same food as before and it was so tasty.

 

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It was impressing to see they baked bread for pizza.
These days, I was invited at people’s house always. Actually it was like in Finland that people denied or let me sleep at the inside of house when I asked to pitch my tent at their yard. So I really didn’t sleep at the tent for last one week in Turkey.

Before the sunset I couldn’t find a village that I got nervous. Almost around the dark, I saw lights that I went to that very small village. I saw one big family and asked them for a tent. One of them told me leave my bags and bicycle to invite me to their house, which was 15 minutes far by car. They lived at the apartment. It was interesting why they liked to live in a tall apartment instead of detached house. I felt like they were going similar to South Korea such as living at the flat. (But there is different reason that people in South Korea live in an apartment because of tiny land with a big population.)

 

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At the next day, they dropped me where I met them first and I started again from there.

 

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I should have cycled for a few days more like above the picture that the road would be very quiet. Sometimes it was difficult to buy food or find a restaurant when I wanted.

 

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After many hills, I entered into a valley. It was just next to a river that it was easy going for cycling.

 

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I got relax that I took the picture of myself.

 

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I had cycled for a long time but always I had one thought when I faced this kind of road. “So, after this curve, it would keep uphill? Or finally downhill?”

 

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The scenery on the valley was fantastic. But I was curious why only that part was so colorful. Maybe people should not drink water from river, I guessed.

 

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It was interesting to see a nice house in a small village all the time in Turkey. How so many houses in a village were nicer in Turkey? Do they become rich country?

 

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I was very thirsty, but I was not sure what it meant. So I decided not to drink that water.

 

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I expected that I could see a small grocery, but there was not. I was dying with thirsty and even there was a big hill coming.

 

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The view from top, which was much beautiful than the picture

 

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Again just before the dark, I went to somebody’ house because I saw there was people. But actually the house was under the construction. They told me they lived in a city which was close and I could sleep at the empty building. They invited me at their house by car that I could take shower and they invited me dinner. Later they gave me a ride back to the empty house.
But the problem was the next day. In the morning, there was somebody watching me when I left. He told me “Police, Police”. I thought maybe he thought I was a trespasser. I just ignored him and I kept cycling becasue I didn’t do any wrong thing.
Later one police officer and three soldiers caught and stopped me on the middle of the road. I could not understand why they didn’t bring anyone who could speak English and didn’t try to look for people speaking English on a phone because I met people who could speak English almost every day in Turkey. Another thing I could not understand was that the owner of house was a mayor of a small city, so the police might know who lived there and they should make a call the mayor first before holding me. They just held me on the road without any solution. I woke up very early morning to avoid the hot sun. But it became useless. Somehow I got out of them and kept cycling. They didn’t follow me thankfully again.

 

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The hardest part in my trip, unbelievable a gradient of 100 degrees

 

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The view on the downhill

 

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I cycled at a small road. It looked like there would be rain soon, so I had to hurry.

 

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Thanks that I was invited again from local people’s house.

 

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At the next day, again usual thing in Turkey happened that a male driver followed me for a while such as moving very slowly next to me and then made u-turn and came to me again and again. I asked other male cyclist who traveled in Turkey, but he said he didn’t meet a driver who followed or asked to give a ride every day.
I had manual for those kind of Turkish males.

1. Ignore
– They ignore my ignorance that 100% they kept following me.

2. Shout to scare or insult loudly while I stopped or passed.
-99% they stopped following and disappeared.

3. Take many pictures of them like above the picture
-90% they stopped following and disappeared

4. Change to the other shoulder of opposite lane
-One time I was very nervous because it was around sunset and I couldn’t see the village. Then one big fat male on a big truck asked me to give a ride. I said no. But he kept following and asking (or begging) to give me a ride more than 10 times. I was too scared to do #1,2,3, so I went opposite lane and he finally gave up and went away.

 

I met bad males on the street as more as I had met so many kind and nice people in Turkey. These days, the reason why I minded going to the country which was known for kind and hospitable people was I had to face these kind males more and more. (Sometimes there were exception like former Yugoslavia which was so close to the western Europe that people were kind, but there were not bad guys or racist to Asian on the street.)

 

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It was very beautiful and quiet road, but I was actually a bit nervous with the thought if some guy followed me here, what I should do.

 

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I had break at a gas station for buying snacks and drink and going to a toilet.

 

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Please tell me the road at the front was not the one I should cycle. Oh.. please…

 

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No way… it was the one I must cross to go to the sea side! I never had this experience such as cycling on this kind of mountain, very steep and bumpy gravel road. It was impossible to cycle that actually I pushed all the way. At the middle of cycling, there was thunder-storm even.

 

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After hard challenging, I got to the top.

 

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There were two ways to go down, the left side and right side. I decided to go to the right side, but it was not downhill that I had to push my bicycle again almost for one hour. I saw one van which took many tourists(?). I asked them it was okay to cycle on this road. They told me it was extremely difficult road for cycling and even there was up and down. They advised me to go to other side. Above all, it was about to sunset.

I went back and started to head to left side.

 

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There were one steep downhill and uphill. Actually I had to pass small stream and my shoes wet while passing. What an adventure. After that, it was downhill. But the problem was that it became the dark, the right side was just steep cliff, the road was too bumpy with rocks, and it was too narrow. One good thing was there were no more cars since the night came that I felt safe. I was too scared to set up tent just one hill before. After that there was no any place to set up tent, because there was only cliff.
The road turned to extremely steep downhill just next to cliff. I could understand why there were no more people on the road and google map showed this road as thin line. I could not imagine how people drove here at the day time if there was another car coming from opposite side.
Why the hell did I cycle here in the night? Because I was too scared to do wild camp. For sure, it was the most dangerous situation ever I had done with my bicycle.
At the opposite side of cliff, I could see the light of people’s houses in the dark that actually it was so beautiful something like the scene of animation or the dream. I was too nervous to take the picture. However, I must say it was one of an amazing and fantastic scene on my trip.

 

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Around 8:30 pm, finally I got to a small village. I saw one mosque and the light. I asked people to set up my tent around there. But they told me they would close and it would be dangerous to sleep here. One of them invited me at his family house which was just in front. The house was very traditional that it looked special. It was built with the wood and the place I took shower was kind of wood room. Later his mom cooked fish for me. She joined my dinner, but she only ate small portion. I was not sure other family had dinner. So I left fish although it was tasty. At the end of meal, she asked me I finished eating and I said Yes. Then she took the plate of fish and…..threw away at the outside.. NO WAY!!!! I was so hungry that it was very delicious to me. I just left it because I was not sure she didn’t eat well for me to give all. Maybe she had dinner with me to not make me lonely. My delicious fish became the dinner for street cats.

 

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Very kind people who took care of me for a night

 

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At the next morning, I could see the road I cycled last night. Maybe if someone saw me in the last night, it would be interesting to look small light moving very slowly for a few hours.

 

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It looked like this area had all unpaved road on the mountain. There were a few parts which was unpaved, but most of them had very good asphalt road on my side to the downhill.

 

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It was really pretty scenery on the way.

 

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When I close to the sea side, I sweated a lot. It was for sure that the temperature was lower than central area, but it was super humid. Even I saw many houses had (finally) air conditional.
The scenery was changed that I could see farming tea leaf, cars carrying tea leaf, and many factories for tea leaf. The smell was unique that I enjoyed cycling there. I thought this area was very famous for making tea.
Since I came to sea side, the road became so flat. I realized that the reason the map of altitude was crazy steep was because the map didn’t calculate tunnels. There were lots tunnels on the road!! I was sure even all the way on the sea side was very flat. If I knew it, I must take the sea side road than central area. Then maybe I didn’t need to cycle on the craziest dangerous road last night. I didn’t have dangeours thing on the mountain, so I should say it was the most amazing adventure road yesterday.

 

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Turkish ate big bread all the time with meal.

It was so humid that my back was totally wet with the sweat, which didn’t happen at the central turkey.

 

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After lots of sweating, I reached to the border just around the dark. I had had to cycle 700 km (437mi) for 7 days. But actually many days I could cycle only 80 to 90 km (50~56mi) because of hills and mountains. Fortunately two times I cycled more than 130 km (81 mi) that it was no problem to get out of Turkey on time.
Turkey had really beautiful nature and amazing tea culture that I enjoyed. Sometimes there were males who bothers me on the road. However, I liked to cycle in Turkey.
Now I had to cross the border to Georgia!

 

Here is food vlog! :) Actually it was awkward to talk alone on the restaurant. Specially people were always looking at me weird way because of Asian girl on a bicycle alone in their country and to take of the video of myself on that condition alone made people give me more attention that I became too shy to talk. Last three videos were taken by friend I met in Cappadocia, so I could talk better.
Another thing was actually I didn’t know what to talk. Food was good. That’s all. What should I say more? haha. Anyway, give me some feedback for the next video. haha

 

Cycling vlog

 

===================================================================

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Route
Days in Turkey = 90 Days
Distance of cycling in Turkey = 2,195.70 km (1,364.34 mi)
Cities I stayed in Turkey= 20 Cities
Istanbul, Baliklidere, Around Demirtas, Beylikli, Pamukkale, Before Kaklic, Dazkiri, Karabedir, Cayiryazi, Kadinhani, Sultanhani, Goreme, Sarkisla, Hanli, Zara, Bogazkoy, Karaseyh, Orcbeyli, Karcam, Ardesen
Expenditure in Turkey = 1,500 $??? ($1=2.35 Lila)
(My laptop was in trouble and I had to do format after a few months later. So I lost the date of expenditure of five months. I just calculated with withdraw on the bank account. So, expenditure is not accurate. I saved important thing on D drive that other thing was fine.)

 

 

===========

Time table

The reason why I delay this much journals are two things.

Since I had a car accident in Russia on Nov 2014, I had stopped updating for two months with being shocked. After that, it was very difficult to start again because there were more picture and more videos as I much as I delayed. It gave me too much pressure to work easily.

The other one was that I have had very bad habit for a long time since maybe in the school. Procrastination and Worst concentrating. To write journals (specially in Enlgish) over four years are miracle to me. When I was in school, there was no test for ADHD. But recently I saw a test on online. I think I have ADD-Attention Deficit Disorder (It is called ADHD-Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as well). I checked all questions on Predominantly inattentive, but nothing on Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. I lost things easily, cannot concentrate on things easily, making mistake too often, don’t like to read the question until the end and just answer at the middle. (I can never write such as a Christmas card without mistaking that it was filled with crossed out mistakes all the time. Maybe because of ADD?) It was said ADD people has lots of curiosity. Maybe because of my ADHD, I could travel for a long time?

You might think I was too lazy last two months because of no updating. But actually I was suffering mentally when I saw myself that I could not concentrate on working.
I am trying to overcome at this moment about procrastination and worst concentration, which is miracle. If you like my new posts and videos on the blog, you can donate “thank you for keeping the blog for a long time although you have a problem with a bad concentration and procrastination. (or ADD).”

Recently I have worked 188 hours for 17 days for blog and other things with overcoming problems. After calculating my salary for recent 17 days, it was 58 cents per hour. If you want to raise my salary per hour, you can donate at me through PayPal at the bottom of my blog.

Your donation would help me to fight with Bad concentration (or ADHD) for writing as giving motivation.

Thank you for reading.

(Europe) To cycle in Europe for one year and five months

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When I was in Africa, I looked for a ferry ticket from Egypt to Turkey, but there was no more ferry on this route. It was December that I decided to go to a bit warm place, Spain. But a flight ticket was almost $400 to Spain. Then I found cheap way that I bought a fly ticket which would stop at Saudi Arabia. For me it was better because I love taking airplane. Above all, I could have two 23kg luggage (50 lb) for free.
Unfortunately the taxi which I took with my bicycle had flat tire on the way to the airport in Cairo, Egypt. A driver told me he could fix it that I waited for a while. But then he failed and I had to take other taxi. Fortunately I left very early to come to the airport just in case, so I was not late. But then when I tried to get my fly ticket at the airport, they didn’t give it. They told me I needed the return ticket from Spain. Then I talked and begged that Korean don’t need return ticket. Finally I got the flight ticket on time. My traveling was always chaos.
The plane departed on 30th of December, but it landed on 31st of Dec.

 

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I shouted for happy when I arrived in Europe. It was for sure at that time that I succeeded in cycling in Africa. What succeed meant on the trip? Get out of their land with being alive.
It was very difficult to find the host in Madrid at New Year. I tried to find a host through warmshowers.org, which was hosting website for only people traveling with a bicycle. One member, Pablo, invited me that I had good time at New Year. I felt good from the beginning of Europe tour.

 

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It was just gorgeous to cycle in Europe.
Cars didn’t honk the horn at me!!!!! People never shouted and screamed out at me!!!!!!!!!!!WOW!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!! Even cars waited me until I passed. Finally everything was normal, which I missed the most.
I had cycled in Americas and Africa without a cellular and GPS. But one of followers sent me secondhand iPhone4 which had very good condition. I could not imagine how I could cycle without GPS function on the phone in Europe. The road in Europe was so complicated ever that there were too many roads.

 

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Spanish loved pork so much. Many houses had huge jerked meat of pig’s leg at their kitchen.
The bar of the world should learn one thing from Spain. If someone orders beer at the bar in Spain, the bar gave small food for free. Even I saw that they served food when I ordered coca cola at the bar. (It was called tapas at the first right on the picture.) In Korea, it is not common to drink alcohol without food that Spain was perfect for me.
One of things I liked in Spain was Shangria, which consists of red wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of added brandy. (At the first left on the picture). It is very sweet and has good flavor that it is popular to girls.
The second line on the picture was called paella[pɑːˈeɪlə], which was my favorite.
One time I was invited at the restaurant and had chance to have snails. The sauce had so good tasty.
I really liked Spanish food and their culture was very interesting to me.

 

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Sagrada familia in Barcelona was just fantastic that I had ever seen for seeing architecture. I had never seen the picture or video of the inside of Sagrada familia that it was big surprising for me. When I looked it from outside, actually it looked like a ghost house. But the inside was a truly magnificent.

 

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When I was in Africa, I was keeping in touch with one Spanish guy. He told me that he would like to invite me when I get to Spain. Finally I had a chance to meet him. I had stayed at his house a bit longer because I had to update my blog. It was really sad when I had to leave their family.
While traveling Europe, one of good things was I could meet the people I kept in touch on online. It was the advantage after writing English which had been hard working for me.

 

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It was kind of shocking after crossing French border because the pavement of the road in France was very bad. I thought France was one of the richest countries in the world. But then why the road was too rough and why there were full of garbage on the road??? I felt like I came back to Africa a bit. I had never been Europe that I didn’t know how Europe would look like. After traveling for a while in Europe, I realized that Europe was not that much different world.
I found one funny thing in a big grocery market that they put wine as like snack.
France had different culture of the way of having food. They had salad first, then main meal, then yogurt and cheese. While I stayed at local people’s house, I had chances to have many different kinds of cheese.

 

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I went to the radio show on a small village. We spoke in English and it was very funny that I laughed a lot while talking to her. Although I could not listen to the show later, it was a good experience.

 

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One of impressive attractions I had ever been in Europe was Carcassonne castle. It was located at South East in France. It looked totally like a scene in a fairy tale story. I felt like I took the time machine and walked on medieval time.

 

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Another impressive place was Cite de l’espace in Toulouse, which was a theme park focused on space and the conquest of space. As the person having a dream to go to the space, I really enjoyed.

 

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The village and city looked cute in South East France. There was really unexpected thing in France. People were very friendly like American. When I had eye contact with the people while cycling or walking, usually French greeted at me “Bonjour”. In Korea, we don’t greet with a stranger like this. So when I came to Canada, I enjoyed so much greeting “Hello” with strangers on the street.  Therefore, I was really happy to have this experience again with French.
When I had meal on the road at the next to my bicycle, people passing me greeted “Bon appétit(Enjoy your meal)” Oh.. people were so sweet in France that I really liked it.
Also I could find people speaking English time to time that I didn’t feel much language barriers. Some of people I had met felt shy when they could not speak English. So, actually some people didn’t insist on only speaking French.

 

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I was really worried about spending money in Europe. I thought everything would be so expensive that it would be difficult for me to travel. Then actually it was much better than any other places because I could find a big grocery like Walmart everywhere and there were always cheap things as well. I ate much better food than in Africa with only low budget. Always my bag was full with the food in Europe. To travel in Europe was sometimes like a picnic that I took all food out from the bag and ate with beautiful scenery.
I found one interesting that people’s salary was not that high in France. Of course it varies because there are many different kinds of jobs. But I usually focused on just a regular job and I found some people had only $1,400~$1,600 (1200 Euros~ 1400 Euros) for monthly wage. I thought everybody made at least 2000 Euros($2,300).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage
I usually stayed with local people and I loved to talk to them that I had chances to hear about real salary sometimes. Usually it is always much lower than that kind of statistics. For example, Macedonian normal salary is $230 (200 Euros) per month, not like $400 (354 Euros) on wiki.

 

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Italy was known for passionate people. So, I expected that people would be very kind. But unlike my expectation, people were cold to me in the northern Italy. I didn’t have much problem to get permission to pitch my tent at people’s yard in Spain and France and sometimes I was invited at the inside of the house after asking. But it was extremely difficult to find the place to stay for a night in the northern Italy. I felt like I came back to Brazil, because I had similar experience there.
One night, I was denied many times and one local people brought me her farm which was empty and there was nobody around because it was end of the road. I was scared to sleep there. I did kinda wild camping finally in Europe.
Some local people told me the people in the northern Italy don’t open mind easily at the first to a stranger. I was wondering if I cycled in the southern Italy, what kind of experience I would have.

 

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One of interesting things in Italy was that there were many people cycling with a expensive bicycle and professional clothes. Specially they were very colorful from shoes to helmet.

 

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Another interesting thing was there were so many small cars. Actually I saw also many small cars in France often.

 

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I had never seen this kind of thing on the road. At the out of Milano, there were so many prostitutions standing or sitting just next to the road. I saw only girl like this between Spanish and French border. But around Milano, there were a lot.
In Italy, prostitution itself is legal, but the law prohibits organized prostitution (brothels, prostitution rings or similar commercial enterprises and other forms of pimping). In 2008 the Government approved a law proposal by one of its ministry to forbid street prostitution but the proposal has never been converted into law so street prostitution is still legal in Italy and is very common. Italy is listed by the UNODC as a top destination for victims of human trafficking.

 

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When I arrived in Milano, I was little bit disappointed because there were few attractions. But Milano was special place because I had met friend whom I met in Africa. He had holiday house in other city that he let me stay there alone for a week, which I enjoyed so much. Also I made a good friend who was from the U.S as well in Milano.

 

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I went to Leaning Tower of Pisa to stop leaning with my hands like other people. I paid 18 Euros to go to the top of tower that it was not bad because I was really curious.

 

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I could stay only three months in 26 countries in Europe, Schengen area that I didn’t have much time at the last. But I didn’t want to miss Florence that I decided to cycle harder after visiting Florence which was located a bit southern than Milano. I only stayed three days in Florence and I spent the time to fix my bicycle at the one of days. So, I didn’t have much time to look around. That was the reason maybe I felt in love with Florence. If time is limited, then everything could be so precious. When I left the city, I wished I could visit Florence again.

 

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I visited also one of the most famous attractions in the world, Venice. It was impossible to find a place to stay near Venice that I stayed far from Venice. When I toured Venice, I took the train. I looked around Venice with Florent, French cyclist whom I met in Milano and Austrian cyclist girl who stayed at the same hostel as Florent. I really liked Venice that it was really beautiful and romantic place.

 

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I had cycled for four days with Florent. He had lots of luggage that his speed was same as me. So, it was no problem to cycle together.

 

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I saw many people looking for some plant. I asked local people. They told me it was called Sparoga and it was edible. In English, it is Asparagus. But totally it had different flavor that I really liked it so much. The best part was I could eat as soon as picking. It was said it would be the best with the egg.
I only stayed for a night in Slovenia, but I remembered Slovenia as a very peaceful and quiet country.

 

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Thanks to local people, we could get information of skocjan Caves, which was entered on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites in 1986. It was forbidden to take the picture at the inside of the cave. So, the above picture is from the official website. It was not that much amazing as the picture. But it was good experience for me, because I had never visited the cave during the trip. After Croatia, I had different plan that I separated with Florent.

 

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Since Croatia, I decided to become a vegan! I tried not to eat even egg, milk and honey. There were many kinds of plant that it was no problem to cook and eat. I also tried to eat bean often although I didn’t like it.
I had another challenging, running. I never run before that it was too difficult to run for 1 km (0.62 mi) without resting. After month, I could run over 10 km (6.2 mi). My speed was only 9’10″/km at the first and after a month it was 7’30″/km. Actually I was not good at running.
When I traveled with my bicycle, it was no problem at all as a vegan. Only one difficult thing was when I was invited at somebody’s house. Usually most of them wanted to feed me and when I said I could not eat meat, and then they were disappointed. Also there was nothing to order at the restaurant.
There was no such reason to become a vegan. I had just seen many vegetarians in Europe that I was curious about them. Then one day I decided to start a vegan. One of good things after becoming vegan was I didn’t feel guilty anymore at domestic animals. I always thought that if my life is important, then other animal’s life is important. Finally I could follow my philosophy. Incredible thing was I lost 4 kg (8.8 pounds) which I got in Canada and I didn’t lose while cycling in Americas and Africa. I ate lot as usual, but funny thing was I lost weight. What a good advantage!
There was one exception that I ate meat if there was typical local food. But these days people ate similar thing all over the world that I stayed as the vegan most of times.

 

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Croatian sea was really pretty. But it was really hilly.

 

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Since I entered into inland, I could see something I had never seen near sea side. In Balkans, except Albania Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria, there were seven countries, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo staying together in 20 century as Yugoslavia. Under a communist government, Tito, a dictator, governed Yugoslavia for a long time. After he died, Yugoslavia was started separating like before and many of them become independent at the end of 20 century. While being independent, they had a big war from 1991 to 1995. So, the thing I saw in inland was the trace of the war. There were lots of wars in the history. But it was my first to see the trace of the war on the road often.
There was another thing I could not feel around touristic area in Croatia. Since I got out of the sea, I could see people were staying with little money. It was said the salary of normal people in the city was around 400~500 Euros. The price was not cheap that I was wondering how people could survive. The local people told me they paid lots of tax and got free education and health care.

 

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The reason I cycled to inland was to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park which contains a series of beautiful lakes, caves and waterfalls. These have been formed by processes typical of karst landscapes such as the deposition of travertine barriers, creating natural dams.
I’ve been some national parks, and every park had different face. Plitvice was one of the best parks in the trip because I had felt that I lived with the nature.

 

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I bought many things which were only for vegan. I never cooked during cycling, but I felt I had enough time to cook at that time. When I did camping, I usually only cooked a noodle. But this time I cut onions and garlic. Wow… fantastic experience. To listen to the sound of frying vegetable on oil and water flowing through a creek were gorgeous. The place I found was so good that I could feel the nature during cooking. Actually to cook took two and half hours. I never ever cooked again during cycling at the next time.

 

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I had met Korean cyclist on my trip finally. I was keeping in touch with him on Korean chatting app. (http://captkwon.tistory.com/) When we crossed each other, we could met. We cycled for two days together. He was very thoughtful that he cycled with the same speed as me although he was very sporty guy and he could cycle much faster. In the night, we cooked some Korean food together with beer that it was good.

 

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He was going to the opposite way that at the next day we separated. After I crossed Bosnian border, I was nervous and afraid because there were the trace of war everywhere. Although the war happened 20 years ago, GDP of Bosnia was low that they didn’t have enough money to recover all. So still there were many warning plates of mines everywhere. There were ghost villages as well. Just before the sunset, I found one small village and went there. Then I realized nobody lived there and I felt horrified and run away. Also there were many bomb craters just at the next main road.
Hollywood movie or video game glamorizes war. People who like those kind things should visit this area and see how the war can drive human life horribly bad.

 

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Although I had some scary memory of Bosnia, there was one fact that Bosnia was very beautiful country. There were mountains, which were just fantastic gorgeous. Although it was difficult to cycle on hills, the landscape was so amazing. I started to like to cycle in mountains since I came to Balkans. Stunning scenery was big compensation after hard cycling in the mountain.

 

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I had to hold my break suddenly after reaching to the top of mountain. There was unbelievable view of the lake which I had never seen. It was my first time to think like “I want to buy holiday house here!” After I went to a village, I saw there were no tourists. I thought to buy house here would not much expensive compared to other place. But the thing was I didn’t remember where it was. I should leave this beautiful place only in my memory, which could be better maybe.

 

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Dubrovnik was one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. I failed to find the place to sleep that I had only day trip. But actually it was enough because there were not other things to do except visiting the castle.
The castle of Dubrovnik was just like French’s fortified city of Carcassonne. There was a big wall and at the inside there were many buildings. There was one big difference. At the inside of Carcassone, most of them were shops. But here the most of them were residence. Actually in my memory Carcassone was more beautiful and quieter.

 

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I was not scared about cycling in mountains anymore since Balkans. So I made the route which would pass high mountains in Montenegro, the next country. After very hard uphill, I felt very good at the top of mountains. Kotor bay was wonderful place.

 

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Countries in Balkans were very small that I changed the country quickly. The next country was Albania, but I had hard time in Albania as like I was in Africa. It was not easy place to cycle as solo female because guys on the street shouted and flirted at me.
When I talked to other cyclists, I realized that I was the only one who had hard time. The difference was they were couple, man, or men and I was a solo girl. The treating could be way different in those countries. I prefer less friendly and less flirting than too much friendlier and too much flirting.

 

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A spoke was broken that I went a mechanic which a staff of the hostel introduced me. He told me with smiling “I can fix it. No problem.” Then I saw he didn’t have proper tool and even he broke more spokes while trying to open cassette with other tool. I lost word when I saw spokes was broken one by one. Fortunately after a few hours he called old guy and old guy knew how to fix it. The tuning was not good, but at least I had normal spokes.
It was very itching that I thought I was bitten by fleas. I was not sure where I was bitten. I guessed it could be from the hostel or his chair which mechanic offered.
I had really hard time in Africa because I was bitten by fleas and bedbugs often that my body was itching all the time. At the end of trip in Albania, I felt like I was really in Africa. Whole my body was seriously itching.

 

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When I got to Macedonia, the next country, I felt relax. I came to the normal life again that nobody shouted at me or flirted on the street.
I really liked former Yugoslavia countries that people were very generous. Per capita income was low in this area that I could spend less money. Actually when I thought about cheap countries, Yugoslavia was the only place that I could see friendly people without having flirting on the street.
On the picture, it was Ohriad Lake which was very popular. But it didn’t look special to me.

 

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But then Lake Ohrid was turned to very special place to me later. Around the sunset passing the old town, local people on a restaurant invited me for drink and they let me sleep at their camping places near the lake. It was raining all night, but I set up tent under some open empty bar building that it was very peaceful. At the next day when I opened my tent, I could see beautiful lake. Sometimes nothing special place could be turned to very special place with the small memory.

 

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Before getting out of Macedonia, I found very peaceful place. I wanted to camp there, then I thought I had to cycle more. But actually main reason I didn’t sleep there was I was too scared to camp alone. Before coming to Europe, I thought I would do wild camping a lot. But it was not like that. Coward traveler was coward at everywhere.

 

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I didn’t have such a memory in Bulgaria because I didn’t cycle longer there. The only memory about Bulgaria was drinking Rakia with local people and peaceful square in Sofia.

 

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While cycling in Serbia, the next country, I saw beautiful road. To cycle in this kind of pretty scenery made me sure why I cycled the world.

 

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While staying in Niš for a few days, local people recommended me to visit Skull Tower. The name sounded very weird that I thought it was some kind of hippie art. I thought the tower was at the outside, but actually it was kind of museum at the inside of the building.
Serbia was conquered by Ottoman Empire in 15 century. In 19 century there was uprising, but Serbia was defeated. Ottoman cut people’s head and made tower to celebrate their winning. So Skull Tower meant that the top was made by real skull.
Outside was really hot because of too hot summer, but it was weird that at the inside of building I felt very chilly.

 

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After Serbia, I thought I would go to northern Europe to see Northern Lights through Central Europe which I had not been yet. Then I changed the plan that I would go back to the western Europe because I was seeing someone at that time and he wanted to have a bicycle trip to Portugal for his vacation. So I decided to follow him for five weeks. I already passed this route that I was just happy to be with him.
I had to hurry to start traveling together. So I hitchhiked once I entered to Croatia, but it was extremely difficult that I waited hours and hours. Later I met the guy who drove crazy but he was kind. Later he drove while drowsy and hit the telephone pole. I felt pity at him that I gave him 50 Euros which he didn’t ask. Actually I could take the train with this money. Never knows what would happen in the life.

 

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I was really happy that I could cycle with someone more than one month and even he was very special guy to me. We crossed mountains, oceans, and semi desert. When I had problem with my bicycle, he always fixed it for me. Spokes which I changed in Albania was broken again and he changed all spokes with his hand. Sometimes it was difficult to cycle a long distance, but I was happy to be together. Over five weeks, we cycled more than 3,000 km (1,864 miles) that I was proud of which we made it.
We had promise to see each other after a few months later. But then we could not keep our promise, because we broke up. I thought it was better for both of us. I thought I would not contact to him anymore, but actually we kept in touch for a while.
I thought if it’s meant to be, we would meet again. But I thought we would not.

 

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I hitchhiked in Europe rarely, but at this time I wanted hurry to the north to see Aurora before coming winter. I tried to do hitchhiking from Portugal to Paris. However, it was so difficult that I waited for four to five hours usually and sometimes I could not get out of city for a day. It was much better to cycle than to hitchhike, but I didn’t have enough time and I was tired to keep cycling coming and going. I crossed Canada by hitchhiking from the west to the east with backpack for three to four months that I had experience. Also I did it when I had problem with my bicycle in Americas sometimes. But this time it was too hard to get a ride easily.
I had very difficult time and after seven days I got to Paris. It was only 2,000 km (1,250 mi) that I thought 4 days would be enough. But then actually I arrived after seven days.

 

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I really liked Paris maybe because I had hard time to get here. I thought I would be not impressed by Eiffel Tower because I saw it on the picture too much. But seeing with my yes, I was so touched. It was beautiful and taller than my expectation. Sometimes it is good if I don’t expect. Then I can be impressed easily.

 

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I visited Palace of Versailles, the famous attraction. It was out of city that I had to take the train. There were many rooms. Once I paid, I could get Audio guide in Korean for free. Audio guide was very helpful to understand Versailles. But Audio guide didn’t talk about sacrifice of citizen, but only talked about how beautiful it was. It was funny that Royal family, the center of corruption, did enjoy the life after squeezing people, and nowadays the place they stayed became proud, money and fame of the city.

 

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One of the most important destinations in Paris was Louvre Museum. It was so huge that one day was not enough to look around. Even I kept getting lost because the inside of the building was very complicating. The floor and section were divided by ages and countries. There were many relics which they stole before from all over the world. However, it was interesting to see. I liked to see also sculptures and paintings. There were warning sign “Be careful pickpocket” around Mona Lisa. It was so crowded around Mona Lisa that I felt like I was at the center of the bar. To see Mona Lisa was very funny experience. By the way, the painting was smaller than my expectation.

 

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After leaving Paris, finally I did first wild camping alone. For many months, I had only thought ‘come on, I am in Europe. It is a chance that I should do wild camping, which I cannot do usually in other continents with too much fear
I didn’t know where I got brave to do it. I found a small road at the forest which was next to the main road. Then I went there, hid, and set up my tent.

 

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Yeah Belgium!

 

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I heard the most famous attraction in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, was a stature in the center. But it was really hard to find. The reason was it was too small. It was said that it is one of the most disappointing attractions in Europe.

 

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Belgium was famous for Beer, Chocolate, and waffles. It was more price if there were a few things on the top of waffle. So I had simple one which actually local people had usually.

 

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There was small arguing on my facebook page when I said “It is time to try the best beer in the world.” because some people from Germany and Czech Republic said the beer from Belgium is not the best one.
When I went to a bar to try beer, a server gave me a book which had almost 300 pages with only beers. I read until 10 pages and then gave up. I just asked him “please can you recommend me one beer?”. It was the best beer I had ever had in my life maybe because I was just excited. Later local people who saw the picture of beer told me he had never seen this beer’s brand.

 

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While drinking beer at the square, I found interesting thing that many people wearing casual clothes rode casual bicycles.

 

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I got to the Netherlands which was famous for Tulip and legalize a homosexual marriage, marijuana, and prostitution. Once entering, I could see that the garden of residents was well maintained like Museum’s garden.

 

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I felt like I came to the other planet because many bicycle paths were totally separated from the car’s road. It was the only country in the world that bicycles had always their own lane. However I found funny thing that none of people wore helmet. I heard only tourist like me wore helmet in Holland.

 

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There are more bicycles than residents that parking for the bicycle was huge everywhere. Everywhere there were bicycles.

 

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I had met one bicycle dealer in Italy by chance and he invited me at his family house for a night. He gave me moving saddle as a gift which cost actually around $140. (The saddle can be moved little to the left and right during paddling. It was helpful on the uphill because I could push paddle with more power when hips were moving together with saddle. But I had so much luggage that it was difficult to park because when I hold the saddle while parking, it was moved. The friend I had met in Belgium gave me second hand saddle which it was not fit for him. He told me he bought very cheaply on a bicycle shop long time ago and just kept it. Finally I went back to the normal saddle.
But actually I preferred the saddle without nose because only my hips touched while sitting that it was more comfortable. If I have a chance to buy a new saddle for the future during the trip, I would like to try the saddle without nose. I saw that there were some saddles without nose.

 

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Most of bicycle paths were like the picture that it was totally separated by the main road. Two times I made mistake that I cycled on the main road for a minute because I could not find the bicycle path at the first day in the night. Then every car on the road honked horn for a long time until they disappeared from my view and some people shouted at me through window. It was funny that they looked very kind when I followed their rule. But once I was against it by mistake, they were hell angry. It was funny that the angriest drivers at me were the kindest driver on the trip.

 

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Since Germany, I could see the house with the way of Timber framing (Fachwerk). I expected perfect world when I thought about Germany, but then I realized it was similar to other country that it was just human’s world. There were garbage on the road and people crossed on the red lights.

 

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When I traveled in Croatia, I met German cyclist. I kept in touch with him and he invited me when I passed his city. I stayed for week and prepared winter cycling.

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He gave me his old tent because he was about to buy a new tent. My old tent was only $70 and I used from the beginning of the trip. It was for three seasons and easy to set up. But it was not good at raining and cold weather. I thought his tend would be helpful for the cold.
I paid $52 for sleeping bag in the U.S, but it was too heavy, big, and not warm enough. So I bought a new one which was smaller, warmer, and lighter. I got more weight from the tent, but I got less weight from the new sleeping bag. So at the end it was same. (At the second picture from the left, Old ten, new ten, old sleeping bag, and new sleeping bag)
I carried too much gears about a camera that I bought a new camera which could take the video. The lens had a wide angle and telephoto as well. I sold old lens with cheap price at Korean community in Germany and I gave a camera body as a kinda gift because it was too old.
I usually didn’t cook while camping, but since I got a proper stove from Spanish friend, I started cooking. But to find a gas with the way of screw was not easy in Eastern Europe. So I decided to buy a new stove because I could find fuel easily on a gas station every where.
So at that time I spent around $2,500 to buy things. It was the biggest expenditure since I was on the road. But I concerned more how I could survive from the winter.

 

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Although I didn’t stay longer in Germany, I could had a chance to do kayaking thank to a kind local friend.

 

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I wanted to head to the north to see Aurora from Germany, but the problem was I could stay only 90 days in six month in Schengen Area that I must go out somewhere for three months. I decided to go to Russia because Korean didn’t need Russia visa since 2014. I took a ferry and crossed Baltic Sea from Germany. After spending one night in a ferry, I arrived in Latvia. Latvia looked a bit different from other Europe. First of all, raining welcomed me.

 

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It rained all day that my clothes were wet. I asked for setting my tent at local people’s garden and the family let me stay at their house. It was interesting to see new local culture. There was stove with the wood that I could dry my wet shoes and clothes.

 

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I passed many mountains in Eastern Europe on a bicycle and I cycled long distance in a short time at hot summer as a vegan that it was no problem so far. The most important thing I did was just eat lot all the time. Then it was fine.

 

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After raining, the temperature dropped that I felt chilly. I went to a forest to practice wild camping before Russia. It took almost one hour to set up a new tent which I got from German friend. It was more complicating and difficult. While having fear, I cooked some food and had it with beer. I passed 22 km (13 miles) in Estonia, another Baltic country to head to Russia.

 

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The weather was turning to the winter in Russia that it was hard to cycle.

 

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Even I saw snowing that it was my first time ever to cycle with the snow. I was very excited like a child.

 

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But excitement didn’t go long because I saw snowing often and I was being nervous about it. Usually there was no snow on the main road, but once I had to enter to cities, it was difficult to cycle because there was snow.
The bottle of water was frozen usually after a few hours cycling that I could not drink water well. The worst part was that canned beans were too frozen to eat. I had to go to a restaurant everyday to eat something and melt my frozen body. But there was no any food for a vegan except French fries. After six months, I gave up vegan.

 

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In Americas, Africa, and Europe, usually there were always small groceries or villages in 20km (12.5 mi) to 30km(18.75 mi). But one time in Russia for 150km (93 mi) there was no any single small building at all. It was the longest distance I have ever cycled without anything. I didn’t have choice that I had to do wild camping, but unfortunately it was raining. I tried to hide from the road that I set up tent leaning and it made my tent flooding. My clothes, gloves, and all camping gears were wet and the weather was around below zero that I felt too cold. Above all, it was wolf and bears area that it was scary.

 

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I was starting concerning about keeping going up or turning to Finland to head to south. The sad thing was I could not see Aurora yet that I didn’t want to go to the south without seeing it. Pants and jacket of water and wind poof were helpful to prevent losing the heat, but the problem was fingers and toes. Every a few hours in every day, my fingers and toes were frozen. I had to keep moving them under shoes or gloves or shacking hard to melt. At the moment of melting, there was big pain like exploding fingers and toes. My nose was running all the time and it was difficult to wipe on a bicycle. Also chick was cold as well. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to give up that I decided to keep going up.
Just before 50 km (31.25 mi) to my last destination, a biggest city in the northern Russia…

 

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I was hit by car from behind. It was my fourth car accident on my bicycle trip. But it was the worst car accident ever. Actually a few famous world cyclists were killed by car accidents in Russia that it is quite dangerous to cycle in Russia more than in other countries.
There were many things going on after the accident and I got too shocked ever about all. I decided to not cycle anymore and I hitchhike for the last part to Finland.

 

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I was so happy ever once I got to Finland because I could see people smiling and greeting at me. Actually I had difficult time in Russia because of different culture. In Russia people on a shop or street didn’t smile usually at a stranger but they made angry or cold face that I felt very difficult to communicate. As the person who loves sharing smiling, Russia was very difficult country for me. I tried many times smiling first on a shop or street, but the result was all the time same, cold face. Half Australian and Russian told me that if you smile like that without reason, people in Russia would think you are dumb. Even in Russia, I had highest language barriers in the world that I have ever been. People from Sudan which forbade teaching English with hating the U.S could speak better English than people in Russia.
The thing I loved the most after coming to Finland was people’s way of thinking like ‘to hit people on a car is wrong because human is first.’

 

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Snow was packed hard on the tree and cycling around those trees was just fantastic memory in my life that it was one of the best routes I have ever cycled. And finally I could see northern lights with Lucky (my bicycle’s name)

 

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I had frost on my hair every day. One of difficult things to cycle in the winter was a short day time. The sun went up around 10 am and went down around 2 pm that I had only four hours to cycle. So, I made only 30 km (18.75 mi) to 40 km (25 mi) per day. I could not cycle faster as well because of the snow on the road.

 

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When I cycled in Russia, I asked to set up tent at their yard. Then people let me sleep at the inside. Usually it was fifty-fifty that people said yes come in or just say no. Before coming to Finland, I was very nervous about how to find a place to stay for a night. It would be too cold to do wild camping and Finland were one of richest country in the world that I thought people would not open the door if I knocked. But contrary to my expectation, in Finland most of people said yes and invited me to their house. Finnish was one of the most hospitable people in the world in my experience. All of Finnish houses had a sauna that I could have the sauna after cold cycling all day. Finnish loved Sauna so much that every house has it and if people stayed in an apartment, usually sauna is at the underground. There is a time table and people write their name to have private sauna.
I could not see Aurora again while heading to the south. I didn’t want to go to the south with seeing weak aurora one time. I researched hotels on google map of the northern Finland and sent a message to get a volunteer jobs.
Luckily, Hotel Korpikartano contacted to me.
I was keeping in touch with one Finnish guy on online that I could leave my bicycle and luggage at his house. I took a bus to go to the north again.

 

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I had volunteered from the beginning of December to January at Hotel Korpikartano. My job was actually nothing special that I just helped other staff, taking care of safari gears, and cleaning snows around the hotel if there was snowing lot. I could stay in a room with a bathroom alone for free, which cost actually 70 Euros ($80). Also there were always lots of food at fridge I could have for free because the hotel run restaurant as well.
I was happy to spend Christmas and New Year together with same people. The owner, Anne, was so kind that she let me have experience of all activities for free like Cross country skiing, Hunting Aurora by snowshoeing, visit Husky farm and doing dog sleding, Snowmobile safari, visiting reindeer farm, and ice fishing with snowmobile.
The hotel was far from a village and city that it was just at the middle of the forest. Just a few steps away from the hotel, I was already in the wilderness. Usually if I stayed in one place, I became so lazy that I didn’t go out often. But to stay in Hotel Korpikartano was exception that I went out every day to have adventure life such as making fire, cross country ski, walking in the forest or frozen lake, and hunting Aurora. I had seen Aurora a lot that I got all reward after hard cycling in the winter. It was so worth to come to cold winter. I had many unforgettable memories while staying up north.

 

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There was less snow at the central Finland on November. But when I returned to my bicycle, it snowed almost every day. The coldest temperature I cycled on was -21 c (-5.8 f). It was really scaring to cycle with heavy snow sometimes.

 

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It would take time to explain about the above picture. As usual, I knocked the door before the sunset. There was only middle?old? guy on a house. Usually many young Finnish could speak English, but old peephole could not, so we communicated with body language. But I felt weird from the beginning. It looked like he was keeping drinking alcohol behind a kitchen. It was said Finland had alcoholic problem.
The house was big enough, but the guy didn’t tell me where I should sleep. I was sitting on the couch, and then he shouted at me something. I could not understand but I felt more and more scared. I didn’t feel good anymore and I decided to run away. I took my jacket slowly as speaking something quietly. Then suddenly I opened the door and run to the highway with a bicycle and then I stopped a car. The driver called a police for me. I was hiding at the police car and police officers collected my all luggage from his house. I didn’t make any report because nothing happened between him and me. I thought it was a better idea to run away before something happened than to wait and attack him if something happened.
I didn’t have the place to sleep that police officers let me sleep in a jail for a night for free. So the picture is the place I slept, Finnish Jail.
I was thankful to police officers for helping me. Good thing was they didn’t blame me, but just let me take the rest at the jail. None of Finnish blamed about this accident like “You are a girl. It is all your responsible.” that I could overcame easily this accident.

 

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To cycle on January in Finland was very beautiful but difficult. When I got to the capital, I was so happy. Yeah! Amazing experience! The guy whom I met in South America introduced me his friend in Helsinki that I could stay with them and had fun. It was so awesome to try indoor climbing with them as well. Thank to them, I found very interesting hobby, climbing!

 

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After staying one night in a ferry, I could reach to Stockholm in Sweden. It was one of the most expensive countries in the world that I expected very civilized thing. But then it was a bit shocked to see lots of garbage on the road. Most of pedestrian crossed on the red light and guys pee on the street at the center of city in the night. There were many beggars (Gypsies, not local people).

 

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Stockholm had old European buildings which Helsinki didn’t have that as a tourist Stockholm was more interesting to tour.

 

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My plan was going to Poland that I had to catch a ferry in Nynashamn which was 50 km (31.25 mi) far from Stockholm. But suddenly it snowed lot at the day I had to cycle. I could miss my ferry and lose money that I had to consider to take the train. But first I wanted to try hard and take the train if there was not enough time. And thankfully I succeeded to arrive on time at the port. It was time to leave the north.

 

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After sleeping on a ferry, I got to Gdansk, a tourist city in Poland. I found a very cheap hostel that I took one week rest.

 

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I kept cycling to the South in Poland. There was no more snowing, but I felt colder. I visited uprising museum in the capital. The museum was very good that even it made me feel I was at the moment of war. Later I visited science museum as well. There was the second biggest Nazi camp near the border that I visited there.
But actually I should not visit there because I realized I got depression. Sometimes I was fine when I met people. But many times my feeling was totally like the weather, grey cloud and I didn’t know why I was like that. Just at the end of winter, I found out the real problem, melancholy. It didn’t mean I wanted to kill myself. It was more about I didn’t feel any feeling. It was hard to describe. I thought it was because of too much stress after the car accident in Russia and gloomy weather with the less sun. I didn’t see the sun for months.

 

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Although I could stay only 90 days in 26 countries in Europe, I stayed total 128 days, overstaying 38 days. But there was another rule that I could stay in some countries for each 90 days and I could deduct from my staying if I stayed at those kinds of countries. It is complicating rule and if immigration told me Schengen visa is more important, I would be in a big problem. I felt so lucky that Polish immigration was interesting about my bicycle trip that he asked only about it and he didn’t ask anything about my overstaying.
When I was in Poland, I had broken crown on tooth. I thought to have treatment in Ukraine would be cheaper that I decided to rent a flat and go to a dentist in Ukraine. Fortunately I found a flat just at the next day after arriving. I was so happy ever that I could have my own place finally!!!!! The ceiling was very high and it was like princess room. I overcame depression without any effort as the spring came and there were more sun light.

 

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Ukraine was having war with Russia at that time that they were having an economic crisis. $1 was usually 8 hryvnia before, but when I was there $1 was 26hryvnia. GNI in Ukraine is very low that actually everything is cheap to a tourist, but because of crisis it became the cheapest country in the world. I had meal and drink with only two to three dollars in a good restaurant. In Africa or Latin America, if I had same food at a same quality restaurant, I should pay at least $10 to $20. Of course if in Europe, maybe it would be 15 to 30 Euros. In Ukraine, every day I went to a restaurant, which I have never done in the trip. Somehow I felt guilty because I felt like I was enjoying their crisis. But the thing was I didn’t pray for them to have crisis or encourage war. Actually I was spending money there and it could help their economy just a bit, so it would be not bad thing at the end.

 

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When I was on a bicycle, every day I slept at the hotel. It was my first country in the trip that I didn’t ask people to set up my tent at their yard because I always slept at the hotel. The hotel like the above picture was only $8~$15, extremely cheap in the earth. Actually I could understand why people are crazy about money. Yeah it was true that money was power. I could do many things with money that I got the power on the trip. For my case, I could cycle very safely with the money because I didn’t have the risk to sleep at a strange place.

 

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Even I went to a ski resort! First time in my life, yeah! It was April that there was last big sale! But on the way it snowed lot. It could be good for skiing, but I could not understand why there was the snow a lot even in the spring. I felt like I was still in the northern Europe.
Thank to the spring sale, lift was only 9$ for whole day, a good hotel was 9$, and the rental was 2.7$. I could go skiing all day and sleep at the hotel with only $20.7. If there was no Ukraine crisis, the price would be 70$ for everything. If I came one year ago, I would not try to come to the ski resort.
I stayed for a week. After three or four days, I started to do skiing at the slope for advanced skier. I was going like zig zag with slow speed. However, it was surprising to me that I could do skiing at very steep slope. Bukovel, the ski resort, had many different slopes that I usually tried all of them every day. To go to a ski resort was my big dream that I made it. I enjoyed it so much.

 

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Finally after crossing Romanian border, there was no more snow. But it seems like I forgot the spring and came to directly the summer. In Romania, I cycled over 40,000 km (24,854.84 mi) that I made picture to congratulate myself. I had many good days and difficult days. After all, I was here and I will keep going to home.

 

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Before coming to Romania, I was afraid of Gypsy. Around the sunset, one kind family invited me at their house. They fed me and I talked to them. While talking, I was surprised because they told me they were gypsy. But the house was three stories high and it was quite good. (The picture was taken at the place like garage.) The only thing I knew about Gypsy was about bad things and some judgment from other people. But while staying with them, I have learned many new things about Gypsy.
The advantage of traveling with a bicycle was I could go to close to local people and learn things which I could not know before because of judgment and press which wants tell only about stimulating thing.

 

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In Bulgaria, I could find very cheap resort with a big swimming pool for only $11 on online. There were a room, kitchen, toilet with of course hot water, air conditional, and living room. It was beach area and just before starting the season. That’s why it was extremely cheap. When I was in Zanzibar, a very touristic Island in Africa, I passed many resorts. At that time, I was wondering when I could stay such a nice resort like that. Yup here I went. Always it is better to avoid high season because I am not on a vacation that I don’t want to pay more.
After the resort, I was hurry to the south.

 

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The reason I was hurry was I had the plan to travel with my mom for two weeks in Europe. The friend whom I met in the trip was staying in Istanbul that I could leave my bicycle and other things and I borrowed the backpack from her. I was thinking where to go when I was in Romania. Then I decided to go to the most touristic places, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Paris. Except Rome, I had been already that it was easy to make the plan. Rome was interesting because it was new to me. I wished so much to visit Florence again, but actually it was not special anymore at the second visit. There were not much excitement in Venice and Paris, but it was more about peaceful. We cooked together and toured together. It was really nice to travel with my mom. I hope I could travel with my mom at South Asia or Australia again. But I was not sure how I could make money to travel together.
After the trip with my mom for two weeks, I came to Turkey by the plane. Finally my Europe trip was finished here.

 

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I took the picture at every 1,000km (625 mile). The distance on a bicycle in Europe was quite long. I had cycled 18,365.53km (11,478.45 mi) for one year and five months. I could only cycle 11,000km (6,875 mile) in Americas for one and four months that I was improved at cycling.

 

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In Europe, it was the same as other continents that many people let me set up my tent at their yard and some people invited me at their house. I did wild camping alone a few times as well.

 

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I tried many different foods as well.

 

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I’ve met very good people as well. To take the picture of people is really good thing because it made my memory stronger that I can remember all of them clearly. Although I could not write about many kind and good people on this post, I still thank to all of them.
I appreciate to people who shared their time with me, invited me, helped me, followed my journal on online, left comments or sent an email, and donated at me.
I was much relaxed to cycle in Europe because there were many things which make sense. So far Europe was the best continent to cycle as a solo Asian girl.
But it was time to forget all those comfortable things because I will head to the Middle East.

 

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Europe Continent

The distance of cycling: 18,365.53 km (11,415.02 mi)

The total expenditure: $11,589.86
(Gears: 2,715 $, Flight : 267$ )

The total days: 514 days (One year and five months)

The total countries: 25 countries

The total cities: 207 cities

 

 

 

The video I took during the trip in Europe

 

 

Made some fun video in Europe

 
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Epilogue

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The above picture was taken in Oman, the Gulf. Actually it was not my plan to visit the Gulf. My plan was to pass Turkey quickly and before winter head to Central Asia which has high mountains. But it was not possible plan because I loved traveling slow. So I was middle of the middle East around the winter and I decided to spend winter in summer area.
Always my biggest wish is to cycle safely and happily that I hope I could survive in the Middle East without a big problem.

Epic Africa:To cycle from South Africa to Egypt for one year alone!

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I was thinking of my plan when I was almost finishing Americas trip. Should I keep going or going back home? I stayed in Canada with Working Holiday Visa for a year and I had cycled for one year and four months in Americas. It meant I didn’t go home over two and half years. I felt like it was too long to be away home. Also, I was not sure that it was possible to cycle in Africa as a solo girl. But I wanted to see the world more. I had asked other travelers who had been there. They told me it could be possible because I had survived in Latin America alone.
After long thinking, I decided to buy the ticket which costed over $1,200. I got the pressure of money from the beginning of Africa trip. I told myself ‘Let’s cycle until run out of money. If it is too scary to cycle, then let’s fly to Europe from Africa.’ I chose Eastern Africa for the route, because it looked easy to get visa and less possibility of getting diseases.
I got shocked when I arrived at the airport of Sao Paulo in Brazil because I could not get a ticket which I already paid. They told me I did need International Certification of Yellow Fever to enter into South Africa. I had Colombia Certification of Yellow Fever, but they said an airport of South Africa would kick me out if I didn’t have International one. I run to an office and talked to a manager. He told me if I am so lucky, it won’t happen. He had seen that some people had no problem without international certification of Yellow Fever, but some people were kicked out and wasted their ticket.
He asked me that I would go to the South Africa now. I believe myself that it would be no problem. I talked to him “Please, give me the ticket to South Africa now.”
I took the plane at 31st of December. It took more than 10 hours that I spent New Year on the plane and got champagne for celebrating NEW YEAR. I tried to think only positive thing during flying. When I got to South Africa, actually I got a stamp very easily without many questions. It was very adventure from the beginning of Africa trip.

 

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One of things to do in Cape Town was to watch penguins. The place was a bit far from the city that I had to take a subway. Subway was separated by two different seats, the first class and the second class.

It was surprising at the beginning that I could see so many Caucasian (White people) in South Africa. The reason was like this. In 15 century, European started to come to South Africa and in 17 century people from the Netherlands settled down here. In 19 century England started to come and in 20 century British won the war against the Netherlands. And then British colonized South Africa and made weird law, Apartheid. Apartheid were the law about separating African from Caucasian. So, African could not go to the same school where Caucasian went. There was no such a human right for African from 1948 to 1994. Since 1994, Apartheid had been abolished by Nelson Mandela, first African president.
I thought that the seat was separated by two kinds was the remain of Apartheid, because there was no difference between first class and second class on the subway.

 

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The city was well-developed that I could not believe I was in Africa. Many houses were nice like North American’s house that I was too nervous to ask to pitch my tent at their yard. Even the weather was not much hot and it was really cold in the night. Where was I in??? Cars in South Africa were drive on the left side because of being colonized by England in the past. I was confused at the beginning on my bicycle.

 

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I saw poor area after a week in South Africa. It was far from the city. People gave me advise that I should not go there by myself because it would be dangerous.
When I passed a huge grape farm, someone told me that there was demonstration. Usually worker got 80 Rand (10$) per day. They were on strike to get 120 Rand (15$).

 

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To cycle in South Africa was actually scary thing because South Africa had a very high rate of crime. South Africa was ranking on 9th for the rate of crime. The first one was Honduras in Central America. After Nelson Mandela, the politic went wrong way that now it was out of control at crime. Someone told that the politicians didn’t care about crime at some point because they wanted to let local African kill Caucasian African. But the crime only didn’t happen to Caucasian African, but to everybody now.

I had heard lots of horrible story about crime while cycling in South Africa.

 

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Many Caucasian and middle class were afraid of being murdered or robbed at their house. Some of them had iron bars in front of their bed room like the picture.

One of my host told me that her daughter was teaching English in Korea to make money for her law school. I heard that many South African work in other country because of money and safety.

 

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At some area, I had to face scariest traffic sign “Crime Alert! Do Not Stop”, “Hi Jacking Hot Sot” which I’ve never seen on the trip. There was nothing to do except keeping calm and cycling.

 

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Since the second week in South Africa, I was invited at Caucasian houses everyday. I thought that Caucasian South African was the kindest tribe I’ve ever met. When I asked them “Can I set up tent at your yard?”, then 90% of people let me sleep at their house and fed me. The best part was they introduced me the people who lived in the next city where I had to go. Also many people stopped me on the road to give me some money or something to eat or invite at their house. Weird thing was only Caucasian stopped although there were many African drivers. I didn’t know why it was like this.
Usually their root was from the Netherlands that they stayed at the farm. They were a convinced Christian. I guessed the reason they were extremely kind was because of their strong belief in god and hospitable culture. One time I asked one of them why you guys were so kind and he answered that “When I was child, my parents put extra plate for the people who might come. We were always ready to invite someone.”

 

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I was invited to lion farm from one of them. People can hunt a lion by legal in South Africa. The owner told me many rich Russian come to hunt. (The salary of many Russian is very low, but rich people in Russia are super extremely rich.). Usually it was 12,000$~36,000$ to hunt lions.  If they hunt a female lion, it would be around two years old lion. If they hunt a male lion, it would be around 5 years old lion.
So here was the way for hunting the lion. The worker put a lion under anesthesia. They drove to the forest after putting lion on a cage. They must release a lion before the lion woke up. Then a hunter walked in to bush by walking. Of course they would be some workers for emergency. If there was a big dangerous situation, workers would kill lions first. But it is still dangerous thing to hunt lion by walking that some of hunters got injured.
After hunting lion, people got the skin of the lion they hunted. But they didn’t eat lion’s meat.
In South Africa, hunting was very popular that people could hunt many different kind of animal. To hunt small one would cost around $200~$300. To hunt giraffe would cost around $2,000.

 

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I was invited even at Safari. It made me feel like finally I was in Africa. I could see many different animals. I also saw rhinos. At that time I didn’t know that I was very lucky to see rhinos. Later I realized that to see rhinos was very difficult because there were not many rhinos left. It was because of superstition. Some rich people in South Asia believed that to eat horn of the rhino is healthy thing. But actually it is the same effect as eating nail.

 

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I went to school to share my story with students. Usually over 40 years old people in South Africa hated each other, different tribe. But on the picture they were well mixed. I believed that after many years they would have good relationship if it was like the picture.
When you saw on the center of the picture, African child didn’t wear shoes like you saw many African children’s bare foot on TV. But then next to him, Caucasian girl didn’t wear shoes as well. Actually many of them in this school they didn’t wear shoes. They did like bare foot. I tried bare foot as well like them, but the gravel was too hot to touch so it was impossible for me. They walked with barefoot since little baby that they had callus on the foot.

 

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It was like typical image of Africa on TV.

 

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But I’ve seen this one as well. Both of them I’ve seen was not from poor family. They just liked bare foot and the toy which their parent made for them. Television only showed extremely poorest African to get the highest viewing audience. The more I went up to north Africa, the poorer people were. But it was not worst as like Television.

 

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There were two small countries at the inside of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. I went to one of them, Swaziland. The pronunciation is like Switzerland in Europe, but it is typical African country that they were high rate of Aids, one king(dictator), and low GDP.

One of the endemic problem in Africa is that the education is very expensive for a local people and many of children have to walk for a long distance to go to school. Some children walk on the highway and some of them walk on the forest for 5 to 10 km (3~6 mi) everyday.

 

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As I exhausted, Zoe came to and asked me “Are you okay? Do you need any help? If you want, you can take the rest at my house.” Thank to her, I could stay and be relax at heir house. She and her friend took me Safari that I could do Safari tour again. Even I could get a chance to do volunteering at the place where she was helping.

 

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The place I did volunteer was called Hope House that people have to pay $75 for a month to stay. But to them, it was too expensive, because the minimum of their salary is around $75. Most of people who stayed here got HIV. (HIV is the name of Virus. When people are sick because of immune system is no longer working, then it is called Aids.)
The house was quite clean and nice. There was small kitchen and toilet as well. I usually helped nurses.

 

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Patients usually cooked their food by themselves through their family. There were donated food on every Wednesday from local lady, Thursday and Saturday from local restaurant, Sunday from some church, and Monday from a meat company.

 

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I usually followed nurses who went round to see patients in the morning and I helped little things if they need. So, I could know about all patients well. I would like to introduced some of them here.
There was not only HIV patient, but also other kind of patient. The lady on the first picture was 19 years old and suffered from epilepsy. Her family was very poor that she couldn’t be cared well when she was child. Last year she had hard time that she couldn’t walk anymore. But every day she had been getting better since she came here. Even she could walk again at that time!

In the second picture, her body was getting worse since she got HIV in November 2012. Though her body was too weak to walk, she minded using wheelchair, because she didn’t like being treated as a weak person.

Most of patients went back home after one to three months. Some of patients got batter after staying here and some of them were not much different from first time when they came. Some of them died in Hope House.

I studied and wrote about HIV/ADIS while volunteering there.

What are HIV and AIDS?

 

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I got chance to visit local volunteers meeting.

Usually there were 30 orphans in this kind of building, and there were five local volunteers. On the picture they were kind of volunteers that they got 75 $ every three months. It was very impressive that local children were taken care by local volunteer, not by foreigner volunteer.

One of the problem in Africa was the rate of unemployed was too high. So actually it could be better if the money which volunteer would pay for the flight to come here for short period is used for local volunteer.

I think that Africa doesn’t need too much foreigner volunteers except professional workers such as a doctor and nurse because African need jobs and what foreigner volunteers can do is what African can do such as buidling house. The best way to help Africa would be to hire local people with money than using free worker, foreigner volunteers. (I’ve done volunteering a few times in Africa, and I realized this thing.)

 

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After Swaziland, I went back to South Africa and then went Botswana. Many people don’t know about Botswana because they don’t have much problem so they are not on international news often. Many of local people are proud of their country, because they think it is one of safe countries in Africca. One local people let me set up my tent at their house and she slept outside at the next to me.

 

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After crossing Botswana border, I felt itchy little bit. After a few days I felt itch all over.
I slept at local people’s house at the day before crossing the border in South Africa, but it was really weird village. When I asked permission for setting tent at their yard, they asked me to show my passport and told me to go to a police station. Some of them said I should go to Chief’s house. He wore normal clothes, not like aboriginal clothes which TV showed. But he, his family, and neighborhood treated me like a criminal that they checked all my passport pages many times and asked me lots of question. Later they gave me permission, but they kept suggesting me to sleep inside. I wanted to pitch my tent, but I didn’t have a choice. Later I heard something that they called the police with their phone. I felt like local African people in South Africa was too conservative. There were so many tribes, so I could not say all of them was like this, but my experience was too weird. The worst part was that I was bitten by bed bugs at their bed. I almost bitten more than 300 places all my body. When I went out, people asked what happened on my body. Maybe bedbugs like a stranger only? Why they didn’t know about it?

 

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One Korean family let me stay at their house for a month. While staying I got a chance to volunteer through other people for a week. My job was helping a volunteer teacher at the kindergarten. I was a bit sad to see that children were too behind compared to other country children. They couldn’t write a number and alphabet well, because they lived in too small village. However, I was happy that I could help a teacher and I had good time with children.

 

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What was this? It was a huge advertisement.
I though Swaziland needed it. But they didn’t have. Botswana had this one! It was a condom advertisement. In a bus terminal, the advertisement was really huge! Swaziland was the number one for Aids/Hiv rate, and Botswana was the number two. But it seemed that Botswana’s government tried their best to stop it.

 

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I was afraid of cycling in Zimbabwe, because there was a dictator, Mugabe, who was the president over 35 years and the rate of unemployed was 90%.
When I asked for the tent to local people, they didn’t allow me because of safety. So, all the time I set up my tent at the police station. Above the picture was take in Bulawayo which was the second largest city in Zimbabwe. The city didn’t look bad.
There was hyperinflation in Zimbabwe that people had to carry a big basket to carry money when they needed to buy bread. But now days they used U.S dollar and it didn’t look expensive to buy food.

 

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Once I was out of city, there were many traditional houses.

 

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(Get tested early for TB & HIV. Get treated early)

I saw some painting at small grocery in a village.
Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV have a deadly relationship; each drives the progress of the other. Infection with HIV suppresses the immune system, making it difficult for the body to control TB bacteria. As a result, people with HIV are many times more likely to get TB and to progress from latent to active disease than are people who aren’t HIV-positive.

 

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Unlike my expectation, people were more gentle than other countries in Zimbabwe. Many of them didn’t shout at me, but just waved. I got lots of harassing and flirting while cycling in Africa. The least harassing I got was in Zimbabwe in my memory.

The picture was taken when I bought fruit on the street.

 

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I saw some weird thing while I was staying at police officer’s house for a night. There was exorcising evil spirits on TV, which I’ve never seen before. During watching it, she told me she wanted to send her husband there, because her husband liked girls too much.

The Caucasian African girl whom I’ve met told me that she was leading a fast life. After went that place in Nigeria, she became different person.

 

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I had stomachache time to time in Americas, so I was afraid of trying local food. But I decided to try at some moment. She brought a chicken which was playing on the ground to the corner. I didn’t look at it, because it seemed she would kill it. After a few minutes she was back with a dead chicken and put it to the pot. After another few minutes another girl took a chicken out from a pot and pulls out feathers of chicken in front of me who was eating.

By the way I was very hungry that I ate well. Then the owner put more soup and vegetable on my plate.

 

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There were three world’s greatest waterfalls; Iguassu Falls between Brazil and Argentina. Niagara Falls between the U.S and Canada. Victoria Falls between Zimbabwe and Zambia. I’ve been Niagara Falls while traveling by hitchhiking in Canada and I’ve been Victoria Falls while traveling by a bicycle. And here finally it was time to see the last one.

But as going far, I couldn’t see clearly falls, because the spray obscured. I thought May was not the best season. Maybe July would be the best which would be not raining season. Anyway I loved to hear the sound of the water falling. It was just fantastic.

I was wet when I toured Iguassu Falls in Brazil and Argentina. So this time I prepared an umbrella and a poncho. The umbrella was the best one to protect camera during taking photos.

 

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I loved Iguassu Falls and Victoria Falls because there were small roads for walking. Especially I liked Victoria Falls that it was like walking on the jungle. Personally I liked Iguassu Falls more. The next my favorite one was Victoria Falls. The last one was Niagara Falls.  (My favorite is like this. Iguassu Falls>Victoria Falls>Niagara Falls)
While going back to the place I stayed, I saw an elephant which was too far from the main road that it was hard to take the picture. I’ve heard that there were many wild animals around the falls.

 

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After touring Victoria Falls, I started to cycle in Zambia. Zambia had more population than neighborhood. So it was quite easy to find villages for sleeping place.
I could see many people selling charcoal on the highway. The next country, Malawi had the problem that people cut tree and made charcoal too much. Unfortunately now days the nature was destroyed too much there. But the thing was they were too poor to stop it. That big one was only 10$ that it was much cheaper than a big market.
I felt like I could never compare my bike to them. It looked like really hard to live in Africa for them.

 

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The capital of Zambia was crowded with people and cars. My camera lens was really weird because there was some white blur on the center of the picture. On the street, I found secondhand lens exactly I needed with cheap price. But then I hesitated to buy because I did know it was stolen one for sure. I could lie to people, but I could not lie to myself. I didn’t want to negotiate with wrong person. So, I gave up buying.
Instead of buying, I was looking for fixing. One local people showed me some photo store on the street. When I entered there, I was very excited because the owner was Korean. He told me there was mold in the lens. Although I couldn’t fix my lens, I could have Korean food with him. When I talked about volunteering, he told me there was Korean Missionary who might give me a volunteer job in a hospital.

 

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I expected old hospital, for it was at the out of city. But it was good and clean. Also there were enough workers. The hospital was built three years ago. Korean Missionary married couple came here twenty years ago. They worked on a mobile hospital, but then they found a big Korean sponsor in Botswana. That’s who they had the hospital.

A missionary man worked for outdoor things. And a missionary woman worked in an office as a boss. (The third on the lower of the picture was the missionary lad. I called her Jeon missionary.)
I usually helped Jeon in the office. Although I didn’t have religion, I was happy to be with them. It was only three weeks, so I felt a bit sorry to stay only short period. On the other hand, I felt thankful to spend time here together.

One interesting thing was that every Friday women were waiting line to have contraception injection. At the out of city, there were many children in one family. But in the city, some of them tried to have a family plan.

 

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After long break, I started to cycle again. The lady who let me set up tent for a night had four children. She went a high school when she was a teenager. Unfortunately there was no supporter who could send her to school that she dropped school at grade ten. She spoke English really well, and she could speak two local languages more.
Sadly, her husband died two years ago.
She guided me to the highway at the next morning. I gave her small money and some gift which would not make her uncomfortable.
During walking together, I asked her that how her life was.
“Are you happy? It seems you have many relative and family around you. How is life?”
“When my husband died, it was really hard. But I am getting used to it. Um, life is really hard that I have to take care of four children alone.”

Some studies have said that developing country people are happier than developed country people. I am wondering which is true.
I think the some of developing country people don’t have the word of “Happy” on their dictionary. So, when surveyors come to them and ask “are you happy?” they might just laugh, because they don’t know exactly what happy means. And then surveyors write down that “they are very happy.” And all of us believe that developing country people are happier than us.
But the thing is that husband and wife die, the relative and family is suffering from HIV/AIDS, children don’t have enough food so they are wandering the road, the government is too corrupt, under the corrupt government people have to pay much money to go to school that many of them give up going to school, and some of them who have more money give poor people only small money. Then can we take their smiling as happiness???

Everybody knows one of poorest country, Bhutan, as Happiest country in the world because Gross National Happiness is high there. But GNH (Gross National Happiness) was made by Bhutan’s king in 1972. Bhutan is a closed country that everything is under government’s control. We never heard from Bhutan people how real thing there is. We know only what their government says. So can we say the poorest people is the happiest people?

I cannot understand easily why some people envy poorer country people, and why they think to travel poorer countries is more worth, and why they think poorer people’s smile is only real smile.

 

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Africa had still culture of the large family. Usually when I found one house, I could see a few more houses around there.

 

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This was a bathroom. A toilet was separated. The bathroom was surrounded with straws. It was like a way of labyrinth, but didn’t have a door. I hoped nobody came to the bathroom while I was taking shower. There was wood and sack on the floor.

 

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When I cycled in Zambia, the season was changing from the fall to the winter. It was hot in a day time, but it was extremely challenging to take the shower with cold water in the night because of coldness. I had only three season tent and sleeping bag that I had to fight with cold in the midnight sometimes. Who would expect that I would have hard time with cold in Africa!

 

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It was a local Zambian kitchen. I had set up tent at a village usually that I figured out the Zambian traditional house. It was separated by five areas which were a sleeping place, kitchen, bathroom, toilet and silo for corns. Also there were a few relative houses around one house.
She on the photo was cooking nshima which was made of corn flour. She was one year older than me, but she had already three babies.

When nshima was watery, she stirred it and put more corn flour. Wood grip was creative thing. We ate nshima and beans with hands, but before eating we washed hands with hot water. (Without soap). They said all of thing is from their farm.

I read some African book at that time and there was some interesting word.

“When African people eat food, they don’t use a spoon, but use hands. First of all they take some food with hands, and they eat food by hands first. They feel food with hands first.”

 

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Usually in the night, they made fire and talked and ate together. Around 8 pm everybody went to the bed. People was not against the sun’s schedule. I read from something that people having insomnia could be cured if they lived in the forest or nature place where no light is for some period.

 

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It was a  small supermarket in a village. I wanted to say it was actually not bad one. If it was really bad one, then it would be almost empty. While looking for buying something to eat, I met very special person, Lauren. She was Peace Corps which was a volunteer from the government of the U.S. She had lived in a small village over one year. She invited me to her house for a night.

 

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I was shocked how she, who used to have city life, could live in the bush for a long time. Her house didn’t have electronic and any other city life’s comfortable thing. She had a small sun panel light for the night. Once a week she charged her electronic stuff in a village.

 

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When I took the rest, usually local people started coming to me.

 

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To cross Tanzania, the next country, was very confusing. Suddenly too many people talked to me on the border and I was nervous. I felt like many of them wanted to cheat me. While cycling in Tanzania, I felt Tanzania was more richer than Zambia. I could see motor cycle and cars more often.

 

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When I was looking for a place to set up my tent, I found a house at a small road beside a highway. The family let me set up my tent at their yard. One of sons in the house tried saying Korean greeting. Even he could tell me other Korean words. How come African knew Korean language? He said he studied English in a university which was located at the capital. At that time, he learned Korean from Korean professor. It was really good time with him that I taught some other Korean to him in the night.
The house didn’t have electricity that we used lantern for studying Korean. I was wondering how he could have cell phone. He said he charged in other village for 24 cents every two days. Also he had to buy batteries for lantern once a week. I hope they could electricity from the government in the future.

 

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Usually a meal was around three or four dollars in Zambia. But in Tanzania, it was only one or two dollars. I thought Zambia had some problem that prices were too high compared to their salary. The lunch on the picture was for $ 1.6 including cola.

 

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Some road was under the construction that many cars waited to pass. Many street vendors tried selling something on that place. I bought grapes.

While traveling in Africa, I read Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux. I could not agree that he belittled other travelers as calling a tourist. It doesn’t matter how travel is hard. We all are just tourist to local people. Except that part which he disregarded other travelers, I did agree about his thought at Africa. To read his book was like I was chatting with a good friend because what he saw and felt was what I saw and felt in Africa. Usually the stories of Africa in other books and blogs don’t show real African face. Paul’s book explains real Africa exactly. It is too bitter.

 

He said 40 years ago Africa was too poor. There have been many helps from NGO and Aid for decades, but why it is still poor, he asked with skepticism. But I guess we should realize we who aren’t born in Africa can’t change Africa. The only person who can change Africa is African. But the way African think is different from us that it is really difficult to change.

Maybe I know one way to stop African’s hunger. To fix dictatorship and corrupt government could be the best way to change Africa better. But nobody can do it. Many people tried and were killed. Also, all developed countries are same team with corrupted African country. We can’t change it easily.

Africa is not poor land. They have many resources. Already there are many foreigner investors and many of them make lots of money. The funniest part is that rich investors give local workers little small tiny money such as $100~$200 per month. And then they will build “NGO for Charity” and say “Let’s help African”. Then other people will admire those investors “You are an angel. Thank you for helping Africa.”

I actually get one idea while writing about Epic Africa post. Charity can never change Africa. But to invest with pure purpose can change Africa. Instead of charity, to have business or invest local business, hire only local people, try to make money with them, and give workers most of money would be much better. Most important part is investor only take same money as what local workers take. Investor should not be greedy at money, but sharing money. I think we are told by TV that we have to do charity at Africa and we feel like angel after helping them. Actually it could be not angel thing, because it makes them too dependent and feel loser. To invest would not give this angel feeling. But actually to invest Africa with the way I suggest could be real angel thing because it is real way to share. Even it can change Africa.

 

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The rare tire was worn out that I could see blue color which should be not seen. So I moved the rare tire to the front. I hoped I could survive with worn out tire in Africa.

 

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I had seen Baobab tree in Zimbabwe. But this area had more baobab trees. It was gorgeous to see big baobab trees. A car passing baobab tree looked small compared huge baobab tree.

 

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There was one highway road which passed the middle of Safari. I must pass there to move to the next city. I couldn’t sleep longer in the night because I was too nervous. I had to cycle in Safari where lots of animals were such as a lion, hyena, leopard and more. I asked information center and people. They told me that usually a lion didn’t come to the main road. But never knew what would happen in the life.

Once I got there, actually I was very excited that I could see lots of wild animal besides the main road such as black wild beest, giraffe, impala, buffalo , elephant, warthog, and zebra.
There was one horrible thing. Tsetse flies, large biting flies, bite me although I cover all my body with clothes.
I had got bitten every three minute. It was terribly hurt as if I was bitten by bee. After getting out of Safari, there was no more tsetse fly. What a weird. I thought it is because of wild animal.

 

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I set up tent at the school in that night. I asked English teacher that on the road people who wore red fabric were Masai. He said yes. I said that they looked too scared. He said they were not dangerous guy that I didn’t need to be scared about them. He even introduced me Masai village which was at the back of school. Thank to the teacher, I got the chance to meet Masai people and look around their houses.
At the next day, I saw some of Masai selling beef on the street. I asked them to take picture and they asked me money. I gave them small money and took the picture. But one of them made a face.

 

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I went to Zanzibar which was one of famous tourist attraction by ferry and stayed there over week. One of beautiful thing was rabbit warren. I met friends whom I met last week that we hanged out together in Island for a few days. I really enjoyed hanging together.

 

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Zanzibar had very special doors.

 

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I went to the north with my bike to enjoy a beautiful beach. I could see people making a boat and net by hand there.

 

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Zanzibar was colonized Portugal, Oman and England. During Oman’s colonizing, most of them were changed to Muslim. So more than 90% of people in Zanzibar is Muslim. When I was there, it was Ramadan which meant fasting from 6 am to 6:30 pm for Muslim for one month. They tried to prohibit even none Muslim people eating or drinking on the public place. Only expensive tourist restaurant opened that I was doing kind of fasting, because I didn’t have choice.
After sun goes down, people started eating. It was said during Ramadan it was the most profitable month a year for restaurant. Usually people went to bed very late during Ramadan. They sit on the street and chat with family and friend. It was very interesting to see their culture.

 

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On the way I came back to the mainland, the ferry was like being in danger of shipwreck. It was really bad. I was lucky that I took some medicine for nausea before taking a ferry. Some of passengers kept vomiting in the midnight. After getting mainland, I passed some village people was selling fresh fish.

 

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I had seen wood bike many times around some area. African people were good at handicraft.

 

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One of things which made me feel difficult to cycle in Africa was that people surrounded me and watched me as like looking a monkey in zoo. It was too much attention everyday that I could not have my own free time usually.

 

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The most famous safari in Africca would be Serengeti in Tanzania and Masai Mara in Kenya. It was huge one land, but separated by the border.  I went to Serengeti, but it was my mistake. I should go Safari at Kenya side because the way to Serengeti from the city was too far and it took too much time. So, I didn’t have much time to spend in Safari. I paid $400 for three days tour. One thing I didn’t like was the tour agency was really bad and unkind.  While going to Safari, I could see Masai.

 

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There was big five animal. The phrase big five game animals was coined by hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot.

If there was one of big 5 coming, then drivers used radio to each other and so many safari cars came like on the picture.

 

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Although it was short time, I could see many different kind of wild animals. We set up tent at camping site at the inside of Safari. They told that wild animal don’t like human so it would be safe to sleep.

 

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The last day we went Ngorongoro crater. I could see white-bearded Wildebeest herd moving in the morning. It was one of amazing scenery I’ve ever seen. There were many animals at Ngorongoro, so we could see other animals as well.

Kilimanjaro was the highest mountain in Africa that it was 5,895 m (19,340 ft) from sea level. But it was not the mountain I could climb. The reason was not my weakness, but money. The cheapest climbing cost was almost over 1,300 to 1,500 $ for five nights. I asked many local and foreigner companies for the sponsor,  but I didn’t get any answer. I gave up with crying. I failed climbing high mountain in South America. So, as seeing high mountain, I felt some frustrating. I hoped one day I could climb one of high mountains and overcome my past failure.

 

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The next country was Kenya. I got the chance to visit Masai house. Although their house was built with cowpat, they had a cell phone. Some of them couldn’t understand why I didn’t have a phone. Why did I need a phone???

 

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The capital of Kenya was really complicating. Unfortunately, I got a car accident as arriving. There was difficult uphill, so I was taking the short break on a bicycle at the side. Then small mini bus hit my right side and  I was thrown a bit, and my shoe and my bags were thrown far. I was sure that the driver was texting. I called the police and I got $50 after arguing with them. It was my third car accident in three years. But none of them apologize. Two of them run away and the other one was just angry at me. If he apologized from the beginning, I would not ask $50 for my broken bags.

In Nairobi I stayed in Canadian friend house whom I had known in Yellowknife, Canada where I lived for nine months. At the day I left the capital, there was a terror in the nicest shopping mall. I heard about terror after few days later from local people.

 

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As I headed to the Northern Kenya, my derailleur was broken. I had never had such a big problem like this. I hitchhike to the next town, maybe 30 km (18.75 mi) to fix. The worker didn’t know how to fix well that it took much time.
Northern Kenya was very dangerous because of civil war. So the next country, Ethiopia didn’t give overland visa. But since this year they started to give it. I didn’t want to test my luck that I just took the bus. It was my first time to take a bus in Africa.

 

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The bus was the worst ever never ever in the earth. The road was too bumpy, but a driver never cared about it and drove so fast. I had been jumped out lots of time all night. I felt like my coccyx and neck would be broken.Even there was no washroom for 12 hours.
Actually I took some medicine for carsickness just in case. At the end, it was the best choice. One little girl vomited all night in the car.
I watched some movie about slave trade in Nairobi. It seemed like I was on that movie. It was like I was shipped as a slave. The bus was too dark, we were jumped a lot, there was not much space, people vomited, and so on.

 

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I expected that I would see a camel in Sudan or Egypt. So it was surprising to see it in Ethiopia on the road.

 

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I thought Ethiopia was the poorest country in Africa I’ve been. Ethiopia was known as difficult country to cyclists. There was no terror, but children threw stones sometimes and bothered.

 

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On the way to a big city, my chain didn’t work. Derailleur which I fixed in Kenya was broken again. It was impossible to cycle that I hitchhike. Truck driver and I had Ethiopian food together. Most of Ethiopian believed Orthodox that they didn’t eat meat on Wed and Fri. Ethiopian food was really interesting to me.

I couldn’t find a part, so I went to another big city. The mechanic told me he could fix it. I waited two hours, but he kept struggling. I found another guy, and he put a new derailleur part. But it was not working well. I hoped I could use it at least until the capital. Then I would change all of them.

 

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It looked like some of Ethiopian life was much tough than other African country. Many young children carried wood. The most tragic thing I saw was that three years old boy carried water bucket in the rain. I cannot forget that rain day.

 

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It was very stressful to cycle in Ethiopia that people and children shouted at me “YOU”, chased me, surrounded me and threw stone (a few times) at me.

Just think about it. Thousands people are shouting at you every day on the road wherever you go. It was really difficult to have peaceful mind.

 

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It looked like it was raining season. Front tire was really worn out that I could see blue color clearly. Unfortunately rare derailleur was broken again that I had to hitchhike. I was not sure that I could find a good bicycle shop in the capital.

 

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The population of Ethiopia was eighty millions. But at the capital, there was no bicycle shop that I was very frustrated. I found warmshower host in the capital and I was supposed to stay for a few days. But then they told me they could help me. My host was Swiss diplomat that it was easy to order bicycle parts through her. Thank to their help, I could fix bicycle and change old gears. I stayed there for two weeks with them. When I had farewell, I felt too sad.

 

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The picture was taken in the capital of Ethiopia. Always big cities in Africa was chaos. I had only one month Ethiopia visa. But visa started when I applied. So I had only three weeks as I got to Ethiopia because one week was already gone in Kenya. I spent two weeks to fix my bicycle in the capital. I had only one week left to Sudanese border. I decided to cycle in the morning and hitchhike at the afternoon for a week because the border was 900 km (562 mi) far and it was very hilly.

 

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Although I got lots of stress on a bicycle because of being bothered by children and some local people, I really liked Ethiopia. They had their own culture that I enjoyed their food, music, coffee, and people’s hospitable. I couldn’t read their letter, so I chose food without knowing. But all the time I got different food that I felt amazing. As a person who had much curiosity, I wanted to say Ethiopian food was most beautiful food in Africa.

 

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One of reason I liked Ethiopia was landscape was really pretty and beautiful.

 

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One of common thing in Africa was that there were many tribes in one country. So as I moved other area, I could see different culture. The way to wear clothes and greet was also different. I liked to see those things.

 

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The scenery was so beautiful and food was amazing that I really liked to cycle. But I had to hurry that I got a ride usually at the afternoon. In Gondar, I toured castle.

After Gondar, I must rush to the border. But it was very difficult to get a ride at the last day of my visa. The border close at 6 pm. If I was late 10 minutes, I had to go back to the capital and pay penalty.

 

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Sudan was separated by two piece because of religion. (North) Sudan was Islamic country and South Sudan was Christian country. It was extremely too hot that even I got a headache. To cycle in Sudan was like to cycle in front of three hair driers. In Sudan people were hospitable that they let me set up my tent at their yard and provide me some net bed.

 

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Since I came to Sudan, the scenery was changed to the desert. I could see camels often and sand beside the road.

 

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In Africa too much people tried to be in a car some times together like picture. One of difficult in Sudan was language barrier that most of traffic sign was in Arabic and people could not speak English. It was said that the government prohibited to teach English in the past. So my age people couldn’t speak English, but some old age people could speak English.

Sudan is a sanction country that there was no ATM I could take money. I prepared USD before. I tried to login Paypal in Sudan and soon my Paypal account was blocked. (I solved it in the next country)

 

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Sudan was known for hospitality. They usually let me pitch my tent at their yard and offered me tea.

One weird thing was when I met local people personally in their house, they were polite and kind. But the people (males) I’ve faced on the street was very rude that they flirted, showed racist things, and bothered me too much every single day. I wished I could have had only a chance to see good things.

 

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I felt something weird on the rare wheel and I saw hub was shaking. I found a mechanic on the street. He told me he could fix it. But he spent whole morning that I sweated too much under the sun as keeping watching. It was weird that he moved a hub’s nut to the center. I didn’t know why he moved it. It should be placed at the end of hub.
At the next day, my hub was cut. What a shocking thing I had to face. It was really difficult to find a good mechanic in Africa.
Fortunately, I met another Swiss diplomat in the capital of Ethiopia who was working in the capital of Sudan. She hosted me and helped me to order a new bicycle part.

 

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It was time to cycle between the desert after fixing my bicycle. Everyday there was strong head wind. There was information about where small grocery and cafeteria at every miles on online. It helped me lot that I was not worried about where I had to sleep. I could have the plan with the information. Every 20~30 km (12.5 mi~18.75 mi) there was cafeteria. But all of cooker and server were only male. I set up tent where only males were every night. Fortunately I didn’t have any problem.

 

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I could not easily eat my food because of the vinegar flies at some village. So, I covered my face with a handkerchief. Ethiopian food was really varied. But in Sudan everyday it was same food beans, beans, and beans. Sudanese girl were really tall that I though it was because of beans.

 

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I found some old mosque which was built in 1779 by one family. It was too special place to explain with my words. Elder man showed me around and offered me a tea. I was about to cross Nile river, but then he found a boat for me and went to Island together. He introduced me some local house where I could set up tent. I only spent day time with the elder man, but I was very sad to say good bye to him. He was the most kindest and generous man I’ve ever met in Africa.

I overcame the fear and went out to take the picture of star trails in the night.

 

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There was nothing for 90 km (56 mi) to the immigration. It was time to choose about try to hitchhiking or do first wild camping in the trip. I didn’t want to get a ride that I decided to do wild camping. My first wild camping in the trip was in Africa! I was too scary to sleep well although it was at the middle of nothing.

 

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It was not possible to cross the border on the land that I had to take the ferry to Egypt from Sudan. The ferry was like refuge ship that too much people were everywhere on the ferry. It seemed like the ferry didn’t have limit number.

I met other traveler on a ferry that I was not bored. The ferry took more than 12 hours. The resting room was separated by men and women. People lied down every where and it was very noisy. Lucky that I found an empty basement. So we slept there with sleeping bag.

 

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Anya, whom I met in the ferry and I shouted with full of happiness. She was crossing Africa that Egypt was her last country like me. I was really excited to arrive in my last country. She was a backpacker that we separated after immigration. But unfortunately in ten minutes I got sexually harassed on a bicycle. I could not believe how come it happened on a bicycle. A local guy on a motor cycle was touching my hip while moving and then he ran away.

I already heard from other traveler that to cycle as a solo girl in Egypt could be more risky because of this thing. But I didn’t expect that it would happen as soon as I arrived. It was too much shocked and stressful in my trip ever.

On the way to the city, some kids threw stones at me as well. Their skill was actually better than Ethiopian and Sudanese kids.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/engy-abdelkader/99-percent-of-egyptian-women-girls-have-been-sexually-harassed_b_3373366.html

I researched that 99% of Egyptian girl were suffering from sexual harassing. I met couple cyclist in Tanzania. He told me when he was a bit far from his girlfriend, some local Egyptian tried to bother his girlfriend. So he tried his best to stick his girlfriend all the time. I was worried that how I could cycle alone.

I met Anya again later and my host hosted her and me. She also had horrible experience as soon as separating with me. While she was in a mini bus, one local guy asked her money from out of window. When she ignored it, he showed the knife to his throat to threaten her. She and I were in a panic when we met again.

The host invited us boat trip around the river at the next day. I was getting better from that shocked. It was such a different world on a boat. I thought that to take a boat and have a tea and lunch on Nile River were true traveling. What I was doing with a bike in Africa was not traveling, but survival game.

 

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As I was traveling in Egypt, the politic situation was very complicating. The government of U.S and other country warned people not to go to Egypt. But actually I didn’t feel much danger.
I was looking for a tour company for going to Abu Simbel, one of famous ruins in the world. But companies told me that there was no tourist who wanted to go there that they could not arrange a car. I decided to go by myself with local mini bus. And it was shocking that I was only one tourist in an amazing tourist attraction. I felt like I bought the place.

I was afraid of keeping cycling alone in Egypt. So, I was looking for a partner that I posted Egypt facebook pages and groups. And GBI Egypt, the biggest well organized cycling group in Egypt, contacted to me. They told me they had an event for three nights and four days and they would rent a cruise and cycle together. The cruise was expensive for me that I could not join. Then members donated my entrance fee to invite me.

 

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It was one of the best memory in the trip that I cycled with many local people together. Also it was fantastic to sleep in cruise after cycling hard. Thank to them, my bad memory turned to good memory.

 

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I really liked Egyptian Ruins. I was very interested of their gods that I studied about it while touring.

After meeting GBI Egypt, I took the bus to the sea. I heard there would be less people on the coast that it could be easy to cycle for me. Fortunately I didn’t have any problem while cycling at the next to Red sea. Just before Cairo, the capital of Egypt, I got help from one of member from GBI Egypt that I could enter to the city safely. Through GBI Egypt, I got the chance to have an interview on the cable channel on TV.

 

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After touring Pyramid, my cycling tour was finished. Physically to cycle in Africa was easier than in Americas. Maybe because it was my second year. Also I didn’t have much accident compared to cycling in Latin America. My distance of cycling in Africa on a bicycle was longer than in Americas as well because I tried to cycle most of times without getting a ride. Only one hard thing was I got too much stress, for I was an Asian girl alone. Anyway it was lucky that I really didn’t have any dangerous situation.

 

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I cycled total 10,615 km (6,634.37 mi). Above pictures, it was taken every 1,000 km.  (625 mi)

 

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I cycled for 364 days and passed ten countries. I spent around $4000 in Africa. Flight from Brazil to South Africa was $1,271. So total $5,271 for cycling in Africa.

 

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I ate many different kind of food. Ethiopian food was definitely my favorite one.

 

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I had met so many people while cycling. Many of them helped me on the road that I felt thankful.

 

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The route of cycling in Africa.

When I was cycling in Americas, I had told people I will go to Africa. But I was not sure it was possible. I just told like that because Africa was the part of the world. Now I realize it was possible to cycle in Africa as a solo girl.

I would like to thank to local people and foreigner who helped me on the road. I appreciate to my donors who made my trip long-term travel. Thank to all for everything.

The story which looked impossible was finally finished here.

 

Epic Africa video.
I had spent much time to edit the video.
But the video has too bad quality.
Also I didn’t take much video in Africa and didn’t have good camcorder that there were not enough videos to put.
Anyway please just enjoy!

 

 

I wanted to take the ferry from Egypt to Turkey, but I couldn’t find. So I flew to Spain.

How it would like to cycle in Europe?

 

I wanted to see Aurora which I saw in Canada. So my plan would be going to Finland. I was not sure it would be possible.

I always do something I am not sure it is possible. I like just to try and see it is possible. That’s how I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Epilogue

After one year I was in the middle of winter in Finland. I made a record that I cycled under -21 c (-5 Fahrenheit). To see Aurora again would be possible?

(Italy) Heading to Milano

[14/03/04~14 (D+926) Italy/(to Milano)] Heading to Milano
Italia is famous for pizza and their passion. What would it cycle like in Italy?

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As I crossed the border, I faced a pervert man on the highway. I was not sure, but I guessed he was making fun of me. Fortunately I was cycling on the downhill so that I didn’t need to see clearly. The first experience in Italy is?not good.

By the way people in Italy drive really crazily that I feel like I will be hit soon. Also, people don’t like to greet and smile at the stranger. It is totally different from France in my experience at the beginning.

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(Spain) Is it your first time to visit Europe?? YES!


[13/12/30~14/01/12 (D+865) Spain/(to Algemesi)] Is it your first time to visit Europe?? YES!

I am crossing the ocean to finish African trip and to start Europe trip. When I was 20 years old, my dream was to visit Europe. Now I am going there.

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

At the last day in Africa I found my multitool which is the most important gear and held on the frame was gone.
While the way to Airport, a taxi got a flat tire. A driver said he can fix it. So I waited and waited. But he failed it. I had to take other taxi.
Ex-driver didn’t pay properly to a new driver that I had to pay more again.
A new driver did not know anything about airport. There was sign “Terminal 1” where I must go. But he kept asking me the direction in Arabic to me.
Receptionist said he can not give me a ticket, because I don’t have return ticket. I kept begging.
He said he can never give me the ticket which I booked and paid until I bring out-ticket from Spain.
I ask to use internet to buy any cheap ticket. He said “Nope”.
I kept begging. He said finally “Talk to our manager.”
So I went to a manager
“Sir, please.. blah blah blah”
Manager said at the last
“I agree with you”
So I got a ticket!

I feel a bit scared. Is there only thing left is plane crash?

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