Mediterranean Cycopaths

Team Cycopath’s TOP 5s

The most memorable aspects of our trip – the best and the worst – summarised in the perrenially popular ‘Top 5’ format:

Top 5 distance cycled in a day:

  1. 222 kms Assalum – Marsa Martrouth (Egypt)
  2. 219 kms Nuckhel – Nuweiba (Egypt – Sinai)
  3. 216 kms Oran – Chlef (Algeria)
  4. 210 kms Amman (Jordan) – Damascus (Syria)
  5. 208 kms Sirt – Ras Lanuf (Libya)

Top 5 toughest days cycling:

  1. El-Jebha – Targuist (Morocco): Up and down all day, including a 1600m climb in searing heat on woeful surfaces, while knocking back offers of pot every couple of kms.
  2. Damascus – Beirut (Syria/Lebanon): Two mountain ranges, torrential rain, snow, frostnip and finished with a descent from 2000m over black ice and bombed out bridges/roads to finish at Beirut in near darkness, 
  3. Al-Hishah – Sirt (Libya): Straight into galeforce headwinds, on small narrow road with heavy traffic, all day.
  4. Sarande – Vlore (Albania): Up and down on some of the steepest roads and poorest surfaces of the trip. Culminated in 1000m climb, where we were attacked by 6 vicious dogs, and then Sean’s (still standing) land speed record down the other side on newly paved road.
  5. Kislakesi – Agacik (Turkey): Same old story.  Galeforce headwinds, long steep hills for the duration of the day.

Top 5 disturbing search terms people used to find the Cycopaths Blog (the search terms used daily are shown on our website statistics page), this is no joke:

  1. Youngsters Dicks
  2. Prostitutes Leg Sores
  3. Brothels in Sfax
  4. Colin Stobo
  5. Battle of Greasy Grass speed record

Top 5 best days cycling:

  1. Montenegrin Coast
  2. Costa Brava, Spain
  3. Taurus Mountains, Turkey
  4. Rif Mountains, Morocco
  5. Sinai Mountains, Egypt

Top 5 rattiest hotels (for most of these, the full extent of the problems didn’t come to light until either after we had checked in, or the next morning by which point we were too wrecked to consider re-packing and looking for alternatives, for the first two, there was simply no other option):

  1. Nuckhel – Egypt (Camp beds, pre-existing unflushable floater, no running water, blood on the mattresses etc. etc.)
  2. Sidi Raman – Egypt (Camp beds, no running water, smell of urine permeating every corner, bed bugs, no toilet … )
  3. Annaba – Algeria (Sagging beds shared with any number of bugs, ubiquitous urine smell and constant noise from the road as we scratched ourselves to sleep)
  4. Drioche – Morocco (THE most putridly stinking, filthy squat toilets in the history of that marvellous invention.  Oh, and we had to ‘shower’ in cold water under a knee high tap)
  5. Tunis – Tunisia (Our very first hotel and it didn’t get much worse, select at random a combination of gripes above)

Top 5 things we won’t miss about travelling in Arabic countries:

  1. The sausage fest
  2. Squat toilets, and showers over squat toilets
  3. Service taxis and people driving down the wrong side of the road as if it’s normal.  Paradoxically, I guess it is normal!?
  4. People that can’t read maps and too cool for school show-offs, usually soldiers or teenage boys, that giggle and laugh in front of their mates when asked directions.
  5. The integral role played by every member of any organisation – to the extent that if that person is absent, no matter how menial their role, the organisation ceases to function.

Top 5 village idiots:

  1. Moses / Mohammed / Christian (Nuweiba) – whatever you call the bloke, he was a tool.
  2. Ibo (Kas) – deluded psycho who wanted to knock Sean’s block off for answering a question correctly.
  3. Mayling (Rhodes) – preacher from your worst Jehovah’s Witness nightmare.
  4. Ahmed (Beirut) – Anglo bloke converted to Islam and on the search for a wife.  Laughable.
  5. Kamahl (Libya) – our Benghazi cheuffeur, I still can’t believe we survived.  Wouldn’t even start the car unless his one and only Bon Jovi tape was located and mobilised.  We tried in vain to hide it.

Top 5 ‘taggers’ (the most insistent of the insistent):

  1. The Tripoli Crew: 24 missed calls in the space of 90 minutes doesn’t even begin to describe it.
  2. Ramzi: Benghazi’s self appointed ‘Main Man’.  Favourite saying “Small time” still grates with Team Cycopath.  Friends of his were still tracking us down in remote villages days later.
  3. Nasser & Rabbir: it wasn’t their fault but our racing cyclist come tour guide friends were a drag.  Riding off on them was a masterstroke.
  4. Tahar: simply would not take no for an answer – to a disturbing extent.
  5. Sirt Taxi Driver: Followed and followed … and followed us around town after we refused to pay the requested fare, which had dramatically risen from the price agreed upon journey commencement.

 Top 5 excursions:

  1. Nile Valley, Egypt
  2. Leptis Magna – Roman Ruins, Libya
  3. Petra, Jordan
  4. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
  5. Wadi Rum, Jordan

Top 5 party spots:

  1. Beirut
  2. Barcelona
  3. Valancia
  4. Santorini
  5. Nice

July 17, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments