Mediterranean Cycopaths

FAQs – Updated

We are now 5 months into the trip and plenty of questions have been coming through regarding a number of  issues – some of which have more relevant / amusing answers than others and have been answered below:

1a) Are you going to North Africa?

Yes, Sean and I (Jon) are going to cycle through Morocco and Algeria to, hopefully, finish where we started in Tunis, while Tombsy is hitting the beaches of Portugal for a well deserved break.  Algerian visas – after no small amount of grovelling – were surprisingly efficiently obtained in Marseille.

1b) Are you crazy??  Don´t you realise how hot (not to mention dangerous!) it will be?

At the time of writing, no team members had been certified mentally ill and we appreciate that it isn´t the ideal time (temperature wise) to be travelling through that area.  We will cycle early and late in the day to avoid the midday sun and also take standard protection measures (we´re gonna cover ourselves in baby oil).

Regarding saftey concerns we will, as always, be guided by various sources of infomation as well as our wits and common sense.  Thank-you to several friends of Algerian descent who have given us advice so far, as you can see we are still planning to go, so we haven´t listened to any of you, but comments have been taken on board.

Where are you?  Update the pics / blog more regularly!!

We are currently spending a delightful weekend in Granada (Andalucia, Spain) and are two days cycling away from Algeciras (near Gibraltar) where we will catch a ferry to Morocco.  Apologies for being a bit slack on the blog / pics front – since being in more mainstream Europe, it is a bit more difficult to get excited about sending updates.  That and the fact that you pay up to €10 per hour for internet access.  Stay tuned for updates.

How do you know which way to go?

A simple question with no simple answer.  Maps are obviously the answer in the overall scheme of things, but if we got them to a day to day practical level of detail, we would be riding off them every 3 or 4 days.  In and out of cities is usually the place where difficulties can arise, particularly in Western Europe where all helpful roadsigns channel you towards the freeways which we aren´t allowed on.  Reasoned guesswork and common sense usually wins the day.

We have learnt to try to avoid asking people – they generally have no idea – but when this is unavoidable we try to keep it to short term milestones (i.e. which way is the airport).  It is quite amusing when you ask some dopeys the direction to a place a short distance (<30kms) out of their city and they react with shock – “No, It´s too far!!”

Would you have gone to Lebanon in the current circumstances?

Probably not.  As Sean´s extremely insightful Lebanon blog informed readers, the place was on a precipice when we were there, but things have escalated considerably since then.  Lebanon is tiny – we cycled the width of the county in about 4 hours and then to the Northern border with Syria from Beirut in another 4.5 hours.  Including a side trip to the south, we pretty much passed through all of the places that you are reading in the news at the moment.  So, we probably would have stayed in Syria and gone straight to Turkey from there, but other options could have included cycling north through the Bekaa Valley and staying clear of the coast, but that´s not the safest place in the world either.  It is all quite sad.

How much money have you raised?

Not enough! A couple of thousand dollars is the best estimate. The feedback from Fred Hollows Foundation is a bit sketchy due to the circuitous donation route and the inability of o/s donors to input our Community Fundraiser number. But don´t let that stop you – there has been some extremely generous donations (see a list of donors here) for which we and FHF are very grateful. Drop us a line when you have donated so we can add you to the list.

Where do you stay?

Depends on where we are or how we are feeling – usually inexpensive hotels, but otherwise camping or hostels.  We don´t usually book ahead unless it is a busy place e.g. Barcelona.

What do you eat?

Pretty much anything we can lay our hands on.  On the bikes it is usually fruit, nuts, chocolate or anything else that can be eaten with one hand while travelling 30kph.  Drinking usually comprises water, sports drinks, chocolate milk and far, far too much Coke than can be healthy, but it hits the spot and is so widely available.

Chocolate, as mentioned, gets a good seeing to and it is frustrating when you leave a country and have to acclimatise to not having your new favourite chocolate bar available – I highly recommend Libya´s Volcano Bar and Syria´s Double Chocco Wheel.

Evening meals usually comprise pasta or rice where we can get them, but otherwise just local dishes.

Does Sean have any nicknames?

Funny you should ask!  After having to make do with crap nicknames his whole life, he has recently acquired two crackers and we are still trying to decide which is best.

The first, Tancat, stems from the fact that Sean sees himself as a bit of a ´cool cat´ and has had far too much sun lately.  Tancat is also the Catalan word for ´Closed´, another appropriate aspect as Sean, committed to his girlfriend Harry, is also closed for business.

After such a ripper nickname had just been assigned (thanks mainly to Badger), you can imagine how confused we were when another one presented itself just days later.  Checking into a caravan park in beautiful Torrenosta, the receptionist took Sean´s details from his British working visa rather than the front page of the passport.  It just so happended that this visa was a Multiple entry type issued in the Canadian city of Ottawa, trivial details that occupied prime space on the stamp.  So Sean gets his invoice back to find he has been checked in under then name Mult Ottawa

Stay tuned for one more month of cycling where we are hoping to overcome the sauna like conditions of Northern Africa and finish our Mediterranean loop,

Cheers

Jon

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June 17, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

6 Comments »

  1. Jon and Sean, i wish you the most fabulous time in Algeria. It is a great country with amaizing foods (best “couscous”)!

    Comment by Samia | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  2. I vote for Tancat…. I said hurrah for tancat

    Comment by dom | June 19, 2007 | Reply

  3. Another vote for ‘Tancat’.

    Comment by fan | June 19, 2007 | Reply

  4. I like both Tancat and Mult Ottawa – it is a tough call which one to go with… but it is a great problem to have – two belters!!

    Comment by Procrastinator | June 20, 2007 | Reply

  5. Tancat, for those of us fluent in Catalan, pronounced taarn – cat, rolls of the tounge

    Comment by dom | June 20, 2007 | Reply

  6. Lads,

    Have enjoyed keeping up to date on your adventures on the blog. Shame its coming to an end soon. Good luck for the rest of the journey and look forward to catching up in London when you get back.

    Tancat for me, although there’s no reason why you couldn;t combine them as a full name – Mult Ottawa Tancat – only to be used in more formal settings of course.

    Cheers

    Simon

    Comment by Simon Carlyon | June 21, 2007 | Reply


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