Best location to Start a Cycling Trip:
The foot of the Pyramids in Giza, Egypt. That just can’t be beat.

Unforgettable Cycling Highlights:
Day 1 in Egypt at the Pyramids, Dolomites, Gorge du Tarn, Provence in the Fall, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Nubian Desert in Sudan, Ethiopian Hills, Namibia, Sunflowers in Tanzania, Northern Laos, Tuscan Hills

Best Border Crossing in Africa:
From Sudan into Ethiopia. Drop off your passport, go around the corner and get a beer (Sudan is “dry”), have a shower at the brothel and go back to pick up your passport a few hours later. Unless, of course, your name is Ed.

Most Eventful Taxi Ride:
We were in a cab in Cairo. Whenever the cabbie made a sharp turn, we heard a very loud “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHH” coming from the trunk.
The cabbie turned to us and explained: “Goat.”
Spiros, the optimistic vegetarian, then asked: “Pet?”
Cabbie shook his head and said “Kebab”. :-(

Most Surprising:

  1. How attached you can become to a little red box.
  2. How much you can miss gruelling 8 hour bike rides on horrible roads, being caught in sandstorms and baby wipe showers.
  3. How little you really need to get by.

Top 3 Most Memorable Spots We Went for a Swim:

  1. Nile River, Sudan
  2. Fish River, Namibia
  3. Indian Ocean, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Top 4 camping spots:

  1. Somewhere in the middle of the Nubian Desert in Sudan
  2. By a lake in Namibia
  3. Fish River Canyon, Namibia
  4. Tsitsikama National Park

Worst Camping Sites:
Anywhere coastal in Italy or Croatia in August. Icchh!

Worst Night in the Tent:
Sienna. Cycled in a downpour, pitched up in a downpour, slept in a huge puddle and woke up at 5:00 am to catch the train.

Most Played Song at the Resort Campgrounds:
Tie between “I will survive” and “The Final Countdown”.

Most Embarrassing:
When that private outdoor spot you found to go to the bathroom is not so private.

Most Tragic:
Well…it’s still tough to talk about but it’s .. it’s the Tragedy in the Italian Gelateria…Definitely. Still choking back the tears on that one.

Toughest Roads:
Ethiopia, Sudan and Cambodia

Toughest 3 cycling days:

  1. Road to Venice, Austria
  2. Tunisia sandstorm,
  3. Gondar, Ethiopia

Most Battle-Scarred Piece of Equipment.
Our tent. Sniff, it didn’t make it.

Most Important Piece of Equipment we Brought With Us:
Duct tape. (Bet you were thinking bicycles).

Our Favourite Liz:
Elizabeth Doster

Favourite Dinner:
Surprisingly, had nothing to do with the food. Diana, our favourite Liz, Spiros, the two Rafaels and I having dinner under the stars in the Serengeti.

Best Night Cap:
Diana, Spiros and I drinking wine out of plastic mugs, while wrapped in sleeping bags, sitting at a waterhole viewing point in Etosha National Park, watching rhinos and elephants.

Best Dinner Music:
Sound of zebras grazing nearby

Most Obvious Answer We Least Wanted to Hear:
Spiros to our safari guide Rafael the night we were camping in the Serengeti, outside of the established camping grounds: “Is it safe to sleep here?”
Our guide to Spiros: “No, of course not. Very dangerous.”

(On a side note, the first time Raffael took people on a safari he set up their tent, then his. He waited until they retired to their tent and then slept in the truck. :-D )

Best Reason to Skip a Hike you Really, Really Wanted to Do:
Cause it’s a volcano and it has just erupted.

Dumbest Animal:
Well, chickens get so freaked out by passing bicycles and motorists that they will leave the relative safety of the side of the road and dart out in front of you, but we’ve seen a warthog casually walk by 4 lions. Warthog wins…and loses?! :-(

Cutest Animals:
OMG! Baby elephants, baby elephants!!!!!!

Most Bizarre Experience:
It’s a tie. 1) Campground on the Italian/Slovenian border. It’s hard to explain but we never did figure out why the family next to us kept screaming out “Andy Warhol” every few minutes. 2) Vang Vieng; scores of tourists sitting in cafes for hours watching endless “Friends” reruns.

Best Ferry Ride:
The Twinkie Express of course.

Worst Ferry Ride:
From Tunisia to France. Profuse sweating, vomiting and hail. Enough said.
.
Worst Flight:
Roller Coaster ride to Lalibela

Worst Meal:
Hmm..we’ve had some humdingers. The “boiled potato and beets” dinner on the TDA after 150km + ride pops to mind. Oh, and the egg and tuna sandwich in Tunis that had me hurling for 3 days was another memorable one. Ah…good times.

Country we Loved and Hated at the Same Time:
Tunisia

Favourite Small Towns and Villages:

  1. Wadi Halfa, Sudan
  2. Granff Reinet, South Africa
  3. Montalcino, Italy

Best Campfire:
The infamous campfire in the Fish River Canyon. It was “a clean burn, the perfect burn”.

Worst Campfire:
Sesriem Campground. Sorry, can’t say more. Diana, Pepe and I are forbidden from ever speaking of it again.

Best Sunset:
Had a few but this one in Namibia always comes to mind.

Favourite Outfit:
T-shirt, skirt, running shoes, pony tail and the mandatory bicycle chain ring grease stains on my calves.

Easiest Way to Garner Attention in Italy:

Sit in the middle of the town square, bring out your bowls and eat cereal. It helps if you are a little scruffy looking too.

Best Trees:
The trees in Africa…Baobab, Quiver, Acacia

Best Quote:
(Ok, this is a repeat but I just have to). Another TDA rider to Spiros: “Don’t cycle behind me…I have diarrhea”.

Most Persistent Touts:
Arusha, Tanzania (we were followed for 4 continuous hours) with Nha Trang, Vietnam a close second

Most Hi Tech Way of Ordering Lunch When You Don’t Speak the Language:

BabelFish.

Favourite Street Food:
Night fish market in Stone Town, Zanzibar

Most Memorable Bathroom:
A room with a view. The bathrooms in the Ngorongoro Crater have windows. You can watch an elephant walk by as you pee.

Best Coke Stop:
Any coke stop in Sudan.

Best Night Market:
Luang Prabang, Laos

Country We Were Most Pleasantly Surprised With:
Tie between South Africa and Namibia

Oddest Google Search String Used to Find our Site:
“huge bulge bicycle spandex pictures”

Favourite Greeting:
It’s still “Jumbo Sista’” or “Good Morning Teacha’” (Both Tanzania)

Friendliest People:
Sudan

Scariest:
A steep off-road hill, lined with small children holding very big rocks. Actually scratch that. It’s 100 hungry, cranky TDA’ers right before dinner….Definitely.

Most Valuable Skill Attained:
Peeing in a sandstorm. That may sound like a useless skill but I totally disagree; In fact, this may just get top billing on my resume.

Most Valuable Lesson.
This one came early on.

Most Unforgettable Moments:
Times likes this and this.

Best Part of Cycling The Road Less Travelled:
The open road, the freedom, the kind souls you meet along the way, the exhilaration of the unknown…it’s too hard to pick just one.

Worst Part of Cycling the Road Less Travelled:
None, it’s all good.

8 Responses to “Best & Worst of (Part 3)”

  1. sandy Says:

    Can’t wait to see you guys… and how much you selling bootyliscous – ness for?

  2. Maria Says:

    We can’t wait to see you guys too. It has been a loooooooooong time. As for bootyliscous-ness, never thought about it. I wouldn’t have the foggiest.

  3. sandy Says:

    Well think about it – that is no schlep work. I know exactly where I would put it and I would like to commission a copy. You guys are so freeking talented it is getting on my nerves!

  4. Maria Says:

    You’re the best Sandy, always so supportive. I would love to make you one, (though it may be some time before I can make another mosaic). How about when we come over, you show me what size you need, colors and what you had in mind. :-)

  5. shnewt Says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When I grow up, I want to be you.

  6. Diana Says:

    You guys make me feel nostalgic. I’m really sorry your tour is coming to an end. But I hope that your artistic career Maria is just starting and on the rise!!!
    PLEASE, guys, don’t let your talent get wasted!!! As for the mosaic, I wish I could ever create something as beautiful as that. And on the second ever attempt!!!!

  7. Doug and Julie Says:

    Maria, as usual tears in my eyes laughing reading this post. I still can’t believe the Google search with “huge bulge spandex pictures” really works, course I was lame eonough to have to try it out! By the way “kahones” is spelled “cojones, hmmmm, must be the Hawaiian spelling? Maybe this is a sign?
    Aren’t the Hawaiian Islands on the way to Antarctica?

  8. Maria Says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Snewt, I think you and Rachel have done some pretty cool things yourselves!!

    Diana, thanks for compliment on the mosaic. :-)

    Doug and Julie, we just found another search term used to google our site: “hygiene cyclist bum”! :-D Thanks for the correction!

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