Feel the world on a bicycle, in a truck and on a motorbike
Middle East & Indian Subcontinent
In Africa I came as far as Cameroon, where the bicycle broke down so I’d to fly back to Europe. From there I continued on towards India by bicycle. By now I was accustomed to stealth camping and a slower way of life.
The photo’s are in alphabetical following.
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.
When I had to return home for an unfortunate happening in the family, I found it hard to stay put in the Netherlands. As an escape I cycled to a Danish friend I made in Iran. 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.
I looked so much forward to sleep in the desert on my way to Oman. Then this!
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.
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!
No need to say I cycled here on my to somewhere else (Denmark that was). 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.
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 grandiosity 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…
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…
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? Though, I found India very unpleasant to cycle through and I will never do this again. It’s too crowded, I was often not allowed to stay in hotels and I could not camp anywhere.
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, 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.
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.
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!