Extracts from Will’s diary: Serbia to Azerbaijan
With thunder clapping around our ears, wind, rain and hail driving into our faces and lightning striking metres away from us, the escape the city plan suddenly lost its appeal.
DAY 22 – 11 MAY (Serbia)
Found a place to camp by a rubbish dump. Not ideal. Lots of mosquitoes. Johan got bitten on the bum three times while having an alfresco shower.
DAY 23 – 12 MAY (Serbia)
Stopped in a village to question our sanity cycling through the wet and the cold. An old man and his son Malic ‘catastrophe’ invited us into their cafe for a hot drink. Malic showed us all his stab wounds that he gets when he has too much vodka.
DAY 24 – 13 MAY (Romania)
Grim afternoon into a headwind getting chased by vile Romanian dogs. Met Mihail at a roadside cafe who said he had been to the UK and stayed in a place called ‘jail’ just outside Birmingham. Took us a while to realise he meant prison where he was sent for stealing copper. He told us Romanians don’t have jobs, they just steal and that our queen is a bitch. Lovely chap.
DAY 27 – 16 MAY (Bulgaria)
Stopped to warm-up in a cafe but as soon as we sat down a bout of fisticuffs broke out on the table next to us. Bloody noses and broken teeth all round. We bailed over the road to get some food in a shop where a little girl gave me the middle finger.
DAY 29 – 18 MAY (Turkey)
Camped in a lovely oak woodland. Had to go to the loo in the middle of the night, where i got tangled up with a wild boar.
DAY 31 – 20 MAY (Turkey)
Had a delicious dinner outside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Still can’t manage more than two beers before falling asleep.
DAY 33 – 22 MAY (Turkey)
Camped on a stunning beach on the shores of the Black Sea. Lovely refreshing swim wiped the sweat and filth from the day away. Highlight of the trip so far.
DAY 37 – 26 MAY (Turkey)
100km uphill meant a tough day in the sun. Banjaxed by the time we reached the top and final 10km of dug up road didn’t help, but gorging ourselves on 10 baklava did!
DAY 38 – 27 MAY (Turkey)
Little in the way of camping options so we slept under the motorway. Turned out to be one of the best camps so far and with our own private beach.
DAY 41 – 30 MAY (Turkey)
First real sunburn of the trip. Apparently 11am is too late for suncream application.
DAY 43 – 01 JUNE (Turkey)
Started the challenging process of finding somewhere to sleep. Eventually settled on another spot under a motorway mainly because it would get us out of the rain. We were on the bank of a river and perilously close to the sea, with big swells rolling in. Another poor nights sleep due to fear of being washed away.
DAY 45 – 03 JUNE (Georgia)
Still not feeling great so spent the morning in bed. Completely lost my appetite. Think 45 days on the road has just caught up with me and my body is now demanding rest.
DAY 48 – 06 JUNE (Georgia)
Main form of communication was toasting Stalin and downing glasses of wine. Glasses eventually changed to bowls and then finally we were asked to down a whole cow horn full of wine, which quite promptly led us to passing out in the beds they had kindly given us.
DAY 49 – 07 JUNE (Georgia)
Woke up to the sound of breakfast being prepared, which was all good until Guia strode in with a cauldron of cow hoof stew, some shot glasses and a bottle of vodka. Johan’s face was a picture of misery and we were both very nearly sick trying to force down various bits of cow foot.
DAY 52 – 10 JUNE (Georgia)
The weather got worse and worse the higher up the valley we got. 10km outside Gudauri a huge storm rolled in. With thunder clapping around our ears, wind, rain and hail driving into our faces and lightning striking metres away from us, the escape the city plan suddenly lost its appeal. Eventually found shelter, soaked, frozen and feeling lucky to be alive.
DAY 59 – 17 JUNE (Azerbaijan)
The morning involved some serious climbs. One of them was almost vertical – 450m up in 5km. Could barely get the pedals round. A friendly local stopped and gave us a bag of delicious fresh cherries and apricots. Camped in the desert. Somehow the ants tracked us down and ate our sponge.