Each country cycled through: 1 best photograph

A pity that in the beginning of the trip I focused more on cycling than on making photo’s. Making a good photo takes time: you need to get off the bicycle most of the time, you need to take quite a few to have the exact right frame setting -although often the first picture is the best- furthermore it’s important to have patience because the best photo’s are those where people, vehicles or animals are part of the composition. It also is quite important to make contact with people, or to really intrude in their lives, or daily ongoing. In short, the best photo is often the one taken with care and honestly, as a cyclist that’s not the priority. Yet, this collection is not too bad. TO SEE THIS POST AT IT’S BEST GO HERE

Another difficulty -but a plus for mobile phone photo’s- is that on a SLR screen you can view and judge your photos only after you found shade. The sun is often too bright to see anything on the viewer screen. Checking of your photo’s often make you see what you did wrong and what you can do better, but that’s too late once you’re in camp or in a room.

I have all photo’s on the blog going through Picasa 3 to enhance them. On the Samsung smart-phone I use Instagram or Picsart.

I use a Nikon D90 with a Tamron lens 18 – 270 mm, and a Samsung smart-phone

1) Armenia

7-2013 Armenia

Being in Georgia I decided to go by in Armenia. Although I wanted to cross into Iran from Iraq I wanted to see the churches from the Armenian which I discovered long ago in Kurdish Turkey and in Iran. Armenia is a country to go back to, the colors hovering over the nature are remarkable stark. The people are very friendly and hospitable and the food is good, kind of starter to Iran.

2) Benin

Benin 5-2013

When I found a place to have breakfast this boy came to hide. While other children walked past in their crisp school uniform this boy fell asleep. It’s a simple composition with a matte effect, of a boy’s probably unfortunate life situation.

3) Belgium

5-2013 België

Slightly more South than the Netherlands… the trip just started and upon seeing this you know spring is in full swing! With a friend I was searching for a typical Bangladesh river fish. It took us hours but we found it. This was on our (wrong) way towards the Indian section in Brussels.

4) Cameroon

5-2013 Cameroon

My bicycle broke down; bottom bracket almost destroyed. In trying to have this fixed by ‘mechanics’ who’d used an iron hammer the back wheel got bended. To such an extend that with every turn of the wheel it got stuck against the lock. In trying to remove the lock I noticed the huge bend better be trued. But this is a huge job for someone not a mechanic. I realized in order to cycle I had to true the wheel. This took me two afternoons, and meanwhile I had a dog accompanying me. While the wheel was quite straight the brake refused working, and I couldn’t use it anymore. That was a minor issue I decided… and it was. Cycling on to the capital the bottom bracket got completely ruined. No mechanic with no iron hammer could help me!

5) Denmark

9-2014 Denemarken

I didn’t come far in Denmark yet the colors of the sky and the clouds are very different from the colors and shapes in the Netherlands. It’s way more open and not so overly congested as the Netherlands. I feel I could breath better here.

6) Emirates I

2-2014 Emirates

I looked so much forward to sleep in the desert on my way to Oman. Then this!

Emirates II

12-2013 Emirates

Cycling through Dubai was a highlight! The country where this big unnatural city is situated was an absolute eye opener. I liked it a lot, and this photo shows a bit about it: a natural disaster, a tromp-l’oeil, an optical illusion.

7) France

2012 France

Pleasant with its cheese and remarkable few bakeries where I could get fresh bread. I stayed on camping’s all the time as I was still a novice in wild camping. This was a view near one of the camping’s. With the document I carried from Focus on Education I often got discount or free stays.

8) Gambia

12-2012 Gambia

Gambia was a joke! Walking on the beach was unpleasant due to the ‘bumsters’, searching for sexual adventures. I did walk on the beach together with my parents, who came over. We changed our perspective and we had big fun with the diverse people trying to get in touch with us. Gambia was a joke, and a lovely one. These man catching fish in huge nets were working hard, my dad pulled the line for some time too. I liked The Gambia but more for the work that I was doing then for cycling..

9) Guinea-Bissau

1-2013 Guinea Bissau

I did not have peak moments in Guinea-Bissau, but right before the border with Guinea Conakry I was elated by this kitten. As soon as I cuddled and played with it, a group of children came over and we had a great time together, playing with the cat. But notice the expression of the cat… it’s not happy. And that’s not strange as those children were rough with an animal as silly as a baby cat!

10) Guinea Conakry

1-2013 Guinea Conakry

A fresh born calf. That was the only animal of any size I’ve seen in wild wild Africa… Nonetheless I fell immediately for him, unfortunately he was not used to humans on a bicycle.

Guinea Conakry II

3-2012 Ivory Coast

I was cycling with two Irish brothers and French guy. We formed a magical little platonic family and the French warned us not to cycle from Liberia straight into Ivory Coast as rebels were active. So I got myself a second expensive (€100) visa for Guinea (one the border officials -4 different people- never checked as they all checked the first expired visa) and we entered a corner of Guinea. We had a magical ride through real, almost the last existent dense forest in West Africa where we climbed a hill overlooking Liberia, Ivory Coast and Guinea

11) Georgia

8-2013 Georgie 2

Another very pleasant country. Beautiful scenery, great food and lovely happy people. I made a kind of adventurous decision when I rode up a mountain without knowing anything about it. That’s where I met this old man and his donkey, the donkey was carrying its own food down the hill. I didn’t know the road would soon become gravel and that there weren’t houses where I could ask water or shelter. I ended at the top of the mountain (about 2500 meter) in a thick fog where I couldn’t see a hand for my eyes, neither where I placed the tent. That was a wonderful way to wake up!

12) Ghana

3-2013 Ghana

Early morning cycling on the beach, as there was no other path known to me, just after crossing the border. That was a hassle: first, a border guard with gun shot into the air to get my attention. Second, there was no stamp available. Third, pushing bicycle back and forth between the two borders. Forth, to find out the Ghana border patrol wanted to be paid bribes for not having a stamp. No way!

13) Germany

9-2014 Germany

No need to say I cycled here on my to somewhere else. Yet I was surprised by the big parcels of land the farmers have. It was easy (and not allowed) to find a stealthy camp spot. Even in Hamburg I managed very quickly to find a spot on a hill in the woods. Idyll


7-2014 Spiti and Lahaul

Not a country but definitely different from anywhere else in India. Besides I can’t think of a country I have been starting with an H. I made quite many photo’s (yet not enough) and this one shows the grandness of the Himalaya. Cycling in Spiti and Lahaul valley is, as anywhere else in such area’s, a constant falling down of stones. I was ‘cycling’ towards the Kunzum La, at 4550 meter altitude, more struggling than anything else though. Rocks as big as half a bale of hay fell down, a truck nearly crushed me against a rock-wall, cars and buses couldn’t pass as there were floods…

14) Ivory Coast

3-2013 Ivory Coast

Another very comfortable country to be in, I liked the people, who are very relaxed. Yet I find it often difficult to ask their photograph to be taken. It’s all so graceless: I step of the bicycle sweaty and stinky, barge in a coffee shop, drink two tea like I am all dried up and ‘oh, by the way, can I make a photo of you?’ Countries like India are the opposite, where I sometimes have to reject people’s photo’s to be taken… I had my eyes on the girl in the background. Girls in Ivory Coast have their heads shaven remarkable often, and I think this only enhance their beauty. I found her so pretty that I asked her for a photograph. Unfortunately, she turned out to be very shy and all I got was a pose way too stiff. The guy, on the other hand, was a natural poser. This way I got both while the girl stood comfortable and natural again.

15) Iraq

10-2013 Kurdistan Iraq

Not to be mistaken; this is Kurdistan, part of Iraq. I cycled through some time before the troubles with IS started and boy oh boy, this was a slice of heaven! People were genuinely happy with their president, with their lives and with their freedom. I have seldom seen such happy people! This road stands for the hope the Kurds had, the hope which turned into reality. A road leading to a better future, once again…

16) India

India 4-2014

Photo made with Samsung phone. I have made thousands of photo’s in India but I can choose one only. This one came to mind because it’s strikingly special: with a lot of patience everything turned out as I wanted it. Or actually, much better! This photo IS India! And uh… do I need to say how much I LOVE India?

17) Iran

12-2013 Iran

How often did I not curse the men in Iran? In not any other country did I wish the men would merge into nothing. Instead waiting for this to happen I needed to beat, curse and shout at them. I needed to hand them over to the police and come up with inventive idea’s to chase them off. Yet, this man stands for Iran: surprisingly different, kind, a bit rough, curious and incredible interesting


Not a country cycled through but I couldn’t find a country starting with a ‘J’ I did cycle through. This photo is special, even though it is of the main attraction of the country Petra. And precisely because it is Petra it is special! Why? Do you see any people on the photo? Right! That’s the reason! Horrible crowded and I managed to make a photo without half-naked, loud, careless tourists on it.


10-2013 Iraq

Not a country, perhaps one day? People deserve it but I wonder if they can manage on their own and have no fight about which president to choose. If I can choose one I go for Kurdish Iraq. The people are happy, unlike the Kurdish in Iran which are mostly oppressed. The Kurdish in Iraq have horrible stories to tell about Saddam and when they tell them they do sometimes in Dutch. I was searching for bread when a man beckons another one. He’s talking a bit Dutch and says: ‘Whatever you need, I can take care for it.’ I got to sleep in his sister’s room, got dinner, breakfast, a SIM card, a stay at his family further down the country and extra food.

18) Liberia

2-2013 Liberia

An exciting photograph is one where something’s happening. Can I say something is happening here? The hand holds a mini crocodile which is for sale. If we want to carry a crocodile on our bicycles? What I like in this picture is the minimal action along with the Rastafarian colors in the back ground.

19) Morocco

9-2012 Marokko

I made quite a lot of photo’s in Morocco, this one is like a window into the Sahara. Endless land, only one road and very few villages. This photo invites you into a magical unknown fairy tale. Not seeing where the road leads to is utterly dramatic: over the hill or around it. A classic example of a road you nééd to follow. Cycling is addictive indeed!

20) Mauritania

10-2012 Mauretania

Universal! I was here with a friend who wanted to get out of Mauritania as soon as possible while upon arriving at an oases I wished I could stay here at least a week. The local people I met, the men in their beautiful bright blue boubou kaftan’s, and this little girl. She sat quickly down on a chair after I’d asked her father this was a school. There were many mini chairs standing but no children and no teacher. A teacher would only come in winter season, that is, if any tourist was willing to teach. So the father gathered all his kids and they all took place on the chairs. This girl took her doll with her and suddenly the class was ready, including a plastic white baby.

21) Nigeria

5-2013 Nigeria

I was trying to make a photo of a river when a man out of the bush came to me. He overpowered me by standing too close, towering over little Cindy. He asked me what I was doing, and I felt recalcitrant to answer him. He came even closer than he already was, and for a moment I got a bit worried. It turned out he wanted to be in the photo, and not something like a river! By the way, the people of Nigeria might look impressive and fearful, yet they are one of the most friendly, funny and relaxed people of all West Africa I have come upon.

22) Oman

3-1014 Oman

Oman is an incredible beautiful country. I made thousands of photo’s but I had to choose only one. As the photo might give away, Oman is a heavenly country to be in. People respect each others privacy, are friendly and calm. I spend the night stealthy in the center of Muscat, behind a giant Hilton hotel (I tried the garden and the helicopter pad from Hilton but found it too obvious). The next morning I needed to pack my bicycle on a cargo load to India, so I started to cycle early, after a good breakfast of porridge, apple, cinnamon, sugar and chai. I peddled myself over a moderate hill, sweat start to break out, dripping on my legs, needed to get off the bicycle and push! I thought ‘what is wrong with me?’ I needed more food and fueled myself like the students did: paratha and Lipton tea with milk.


To fill in the ‘P’ Pakistan plops up immediately, one of my favorite countries. I did not feel I absolutely hád to cycle through because I have been plenty of times to Pakistan and don’t like to be transported on a private vehicle with escort. Besides, I wanted to see something new and choose for Oman and the Emirates. I lived for almost a year in Pakistan, this girl is one of the -hopefully not going to disappear- indigenous people of the Kalash valley.

R can’t come up with anything starting with a ‘R’ Rwanda, Russia, Romania I haven’t been there.

23) Senegal

11-2012 Senegal

I was not really fond of Senegal, and thus I didn’t make much photo’s. I remember this photo is connected to a good feeling. I was on a long stretch of road where was no one to be seen. For the first time since the Sahara it was pure bliss to be alone and not being screamed ‘toubab’ to. These birds stand for how I felt; at ease, content yet on my guard.

24) Sierra Leone

2-2012 Sierra Leone

A very powerful portrait of a very strong woman, no doubt. She must have experienced the war, yet her expression speaks, maybe because of the brutal war. I can read sadness, proud and a big hurt. Previous to this shot, she was laughing hard with her friends, and here she managed to keep serious. Funny detail, I came upon a group of women, where she was part of, dripping blood and in desperate need of food. I just had fallen hard and didn’t want to bother with dressing the wounds yet. The women were anxious and I remember that I wondered about that, women who had lived through a horrible war!

25) Spain

8-2012 Spain

I have been to Spain quite a lot of times and never did I find it this beautiful and pleasant. I was most impressed with the Extremadura state.

26) Turkey

9-2013 Turkey

I liked riding through Turkey mainly because of the great hospitality, fantastic simple food and tea. I haven’t seen dramatic landscapes but the Kurdish people I was hosted each night did it for me!

27) Togo

4-2013 Togo

Togo was cycled through in a day, was it not if I’d to arrange a visa for Benin. Meanwhile I needed to replace spokes, wash all my laundry and take advantage of being in a city where I could eat well. Time for strolling around and making photo’s was not on my to-do-list.

28) USA

1-2015 USA

I’ve made thousands of photo’s in the USA and I took time out to focus on details. I had to pick only one photo, an impossibility. But this one shows quite well what freedom, quietness and space means in the USA. After India I longed for this and here I got a fair amount of it!


1-2015 USA

Okay, one more photo of the Verenigde Staten as we say in Dutch, the United States. As I can’t come up with a V traveled through (although Venezuela counts but I used an analog camera back then). A detail photo because of the stunning colors in a desert.

29) Western Sahara

9-2012 Sahara

Not the obvious photo but the Sahara is so full of beauty that another fantastic feature often is ignored: fresh fish! And let’s be real, after a day in the desert, after at least 130 kilometer day after day, after escorted by a different protector daily whose job it was to put us off at a gas station (no camping permitted!) this plate of food is HEAVENLY! Way better than my own cooked meal! And isn’t it just a beautiful pile of food!?


July 2007 Yemen

To fill in the ‘Y’ I have to go back when I was using public transport. Back to 2007, to Yemen, one of my favorite countries. I was thinking of cycling here, so I contacted a police friend and he told me: ‘No way! You will be escorted on a private vehicle. Too dangerous nowadays’ When I was traveling by public transport I stayed here about 2 to 3 months and being one of the most beautiful countries on earth I made thousands and thousands and thousands of photo’s. Hard to choose one, but I think this one says something about the country: incredible surprising. The people, the food, the variety, the architecture, the nature, the drama, the fierceness, the grandness, the traditions. The country is absolute magic!

32 responses to “Each country cycled through: 1 best photograph

  1. Hoi Cin, Wat een goed idee om een samenvatting van alle landen die je bezocht hebt op een rijtje te zetten. Ik ben gelijk weer onder de indruk als ik de lange rij zie. Goed gedaan!!!! X Marijke


    • Hoi Marijke,

      Ik verveelde me en dacht: leuk idee om weer eens door alle foto’s te gaan. Op het eerste zicht enorm veel werk maar eenmaal bezig leuk om te doen. Wel moeilijk om maar één beste foto te kiezen! En ik was Turkije vergeten, die staat er nu weer bij…

      Liefs Cin


  2. Hi Cindy, ik volg je nu al een tijdje en je bent echt een inspiratiebron! Dank je wel daarvoor. Ik kan heel erg genieten van je verhalen maar deze foto’s spannen de kroon en leuk dat je de moeite genomen hebt om er wat bij te vertellen. Ik hoop dat je dit nog lang vol kan houden. Henk


    • Hoi Henk, ik hoop dat ik het ook nog lang kan volhouden!! Fijn om te horen dat dit je inspireert. Ik wil proberen om voortaan minder te schrijven en meer foto’s te plaatsen. Dat scheelt mij ook ; )


  3. Hoi Cinderella,
    Geweldige verhalen bij de foto’s.
    De foto’s zijn echt geweldig.
    Kan niet wachten om er zelf op uit te trekken.


      • Ga maart 2016 vertrekken vanuit Leiden naar Indonesie.
        Nu druk bezig met planning en opzetten van het goede doel voor wereld natuurfonds ter bescherming van de sumatraanse tijger. En veel camping gear kopen en testen volgende maand een tocht van Frankrijk terug naar huis.
        Heb er echt zin in. Jij nog wat op de planning?


      • Hoi Koen,

        Ik doe niet zo meer aan planningen want dat werkt toch niet 😉 dat is ook een goede tip die ik je kan geven: plan niets! Natuurlijk is het fijn om te weten welke kant je op gaat (Indonesië in jouw geval) maar verder; dingen (visa regulatie, veiligheid) veranderen en bovendien wil je vast flexibel zijn in de mensen die je ontmoet. Koop vooral niet teveel camping gear!

        Ik ben nog steeds fietsende, nu in Turkije met Tom (dat was ook zoiets dat niet gepland was maar wel zeer wenselijk ; )

        Kortom: probeer niet teveel te kopen. Echt: je gebruikt de helft maar. En plan zo min mogelijk. Laat de stroom je meenemen ;)😆

        Veel plezier met Frankrijk tocht!


      • Bedankt voor de tips. Tentje en matras ga ik mee beginnen die heb ik niet en probeer ze tweedehands te vinden maar nog niet gelukt.
        Zal zeker de tip van planning in me gedachten te houden. Veel plezier in Turkije nog.


      • Uh Koen,

        Een mat kan je beter nieuw aanschaffen en een tent ook. Beide hebben geen erg lange levensduur dus als je een tweedehands tent koopt ben je niet zeker of het waterdicht is en of de rits nog lang meegaat.


      • O top, zat te twijfelen maar doe het dan zeker niet.
        Begin met zo weinig mogelijk spullen in Frankrijk.
        Bedankt voor de tips en schiet wat mooie foto’s.
        Groetjes koen


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