An update from Bishkek

If you’d been wondering whether I had turned into a human icicle in my tent since my last post, there’s no need to worry. I’ve been living in Bishkek; the rough, relaxed, simple, and charming capital of Kyrgyzstan for the past two months. I plan to be here for three more weeks until the last week of February.

I had a few reasons for staying here for so long. Firstly my rear wheel had a crack in it which I discovered the night before my birthday in Kazakhstan so I had to get a new wheel sent out! Secondly, I decided to stay here for a chunk of the winter so that once I get into China it will be early spring and the weather will gradually warm up as I make my way across that utterly vast country. With more daylight each day I will be able to cycle for longer, explore more and maybe relax outside my tent rather than being huddled in my sleeping bag reading my kindle. Thirdly I realised I had maybe gone too fast for the first chapter of my travels from London to Bishkek (although thankfully I did as it was -30 in Kazakhstan two weeks ago). My journey isn’t a world record breaking trip and I want to absorb more of the places I go through. My fourth but not final reason is that I’ve met some truly fantastic people here in Bishkek and so I wanted to stay to get to know them better, I think I’ve made some potentially lifelong friends here that I can visit at any time in the future.

The mountains rising up to meet me

After leaving Shymkent in Kazakhstan I made my way towards Bishkek, having already found someone special to stay with from the Warmshowers app. The mountains rose up to meet me in spectacular style as I approached the border with Kyrgyzstan and things got very cold. On the morning of the day I crossed the border, the snow began, lightly at first but soon the road was covered and my bike, including the sprockets, wheels and their spokes, steadily gained a thick coating of ice. I never thought I would intentionally urinate on my bike but it’s a very effective de-icer!

After crossing the border, a shopkeeper took me into his home, and gave me dinner and a bed in a small outhouse with a clay oven inside for heat. After two breakfasts I set off for the 90km ride to Bishkek.

I can’t describe to you the joy of arriving and being able to have a truly in-depth conversation with someone after three months of travelling through countries where you can’t speak the language and the admirable people who can speak English aren’t quite proficient enough to understand everything you say. There’s a small but thriving kaleidoscopic expat community here with people from Germany, Switzerland, America, Afghanistan, Spain, France, Georgia, Korea, India, Scotland, Morocco and many others. A real melting pot of incredibly unusual, interesting, strange, hilarious, kind, open, warm, inspiring people. Everyone here has an interesting story to tell you, all you have to do is ask a few questions and listen.

Bishkek is a strange place, a safe and slightly ugly city, but speckled with beauty and charisma that seems to trap the people who come here like insects in honey. Everyone who arrives seems to stay longer than intended, me included, first it was two weeks, then six weeks, now three months. It’s surrounded by hundreds of square kilometres of high mountains and stunning scenery to explore, lakes pockmark the country, the wildlife is abundant and I can only imagine what it must be like to hike here in summer with just a tent and a camp stove. I’m already making rough plans to return one summer and head off into the mountains with their green and luscious river cut valleys, soaring peaks and high open plains infested with flowers and feeding bees that make officially the best honey in the world.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve spent one week being ill, a weekend skiing and riding horses near a town called Karakol, 400km from Bishkek at the northern end of lake Issyk-Kul, and two more weekends hiking in Ala-Arche National Park which lies 40km from Bishkek. On one of those weekends, I managed to reach a 4500m peak called Uchitel, which means teacher in Russian.

I managed to get a job as an English teacher, thanks to a Spanish cyclist who arrived here before me and found a busy but relaxed English language school with 7:40am to 8:20pm days. I then went to a week-long winter activity camp for 80 kids from the school, next to the shores of lake Issyk-Kul. I was the only English teacher there, teaching two lessons a day. If I’m honest It was a hectic and not entirely enjoyable – but incredibly valuable -experience. Working out how to entertain a group of 30 kids aged 7-16 with English levels from beginner to advanced for an hour with no resources, was, to put it mildly, a challenging experience.

Kyrgyzstan is a very easy country to travel in if you have an internet connection, a little bit of knowledge about marshrutkas (the mini buses that transport people around like sardines in a tin), a reasonable amount of patience, and some tolerance for discomfort. None of that’s any different to any worthwhile travel experience. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my experiences with you in more detail over the next few weeks.

The land of rockets, the endless steppe, and 16 days without a shower

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I’m now in Shymkent. It’s been a long time since my last post. Over 3000km! So I will have to summarise some of my experiences for you and you can embellish them in your own imagination with the aid of some photos. There’s a lot to say even if I have been looking at almost the same view for weeks on end, the Kazakh steppe, boring, beautiful, exciting, cold, hot, dry, icy, lonely, kind, solitary, inspiring… I could go on.

My last post left you in Kursk in Russia which I wrote the day before an unusual experience of going to a Russian steam bath and being beaten with oak branches while starkers, surrounded by similarly naked scary Russian men. Despite it being totally normal in Russia, it was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life, and a massive culture shock. Yet I was soon telling them – whilst still stark-bollock naked, bar the ridiculous smurf-style hat that’s worn in all steam baths to protect your head from the heat – all about my journey and debating how I could deal with the cold.

(Above: some of Saratov’s incredible artwork)

So onto Saratov, where I spent a day and two nights with my host Max, his girlfriend and sister Marya. They gave me a tour of the city and led me to the beautiful wall art on the shores of the Volga river. Russia, despite all the talk of oligarchs and oil, seems to be a very poor country. No prizes for guessing where all the money is going. People in some villages get their water from a pump outside, shops are missing many of the products we take for granted. Most people seem to live in small apartments in tower blocks and kids don’t have their own bedrooms. The people are very kind as you already know, and I never had any problems with the kind of ‘scary Russian people’ that many people back home were fearful I would come across. Someone went as far as to say “but what are you going to do if you come across a group of Russian soldiers and they decide to toy with you…?” Well, my only contact with Russian soldiers was at the border, and they went as far as making sure I had water before I crossed into Kazakhstan. They also translated between me and two Kazakh guys, whose car was being searched, when they asked if I would like some food!

Max and his family

My first night in Kazakhstan was stunning, I stopped early that day as it was the first time on my journey that I didn’t have a schedule to keep. I crossed the Russian border on the day my visa expired and so could now relax. I pitched my tent at 3pm and basked in the warm afternoon sunshine. As night fell the stars began to poke through the velvet shroud of dusk and soon the Milky Way was unveiled, in full view, brighter than I had ever seen it before. I lay in my sleeping bag with my head poking out of my tent. Feeling like I was perched on a celestial platform created for the greatest show on earth, there among the stars rather than trapped on our little fragile sphere. After staring at this view for sometime I got that feeling one often gets when looking at the night sky for long enough in the dead silence of the night. That beautiful feeling where you disappear, that feeling of our incredibly small place in the universe, like a notch in the fibre of a piece of thread making up a patchwork quilt of the most terrifying and peaceful vastness. Within that notch, on that spec of dust, we live out our unbelievably short lives. In a thousand short years, who will remember us? That is what I wondered as I drifted off to sleep in my first night on the Kazakh steppe.

The setting for the stars that were to come

 

Next stop was Uralsk where I stayed with Azamat, whom I found on the Couchsurfing app. I had a great time there with him and his cousin’s family, trying traditional Kazakh food such as Beshbarmak, which was utterly delicious. Yet because it was made from horse, an animal I seem to have an innate respect for, it left me feeling a bit guilty. Unlike beef, pork, or chicken. Slightly irrational I suppose but then you can’t ride any of those animals into battle…

The next leg of the journey was the longest I’ve ever gone without a shower. Uralsk to Baikonur, sixteen nights in my tent, some of them snowy, most of them icy, it was brilliant. I was ill for the first five days of that journey, but kept going. I cried and crapped myself on the same day although not at the same time. I think I cried first. One pair of pants down, one left. Before you all ridicule me in your minds, I know the truth. At some point in your adult life, you’ve all made the same terrible error of judgement on a fart while ill, even all the really hot girls reading this… if you weren’t ill, you really should be ashamed of yourself. Also I can confirm that wet wipes are one of the most underrated products of the 21st century.

My tent, blanketed with snow

Waking up to snow was fantastic, that silence created by a blanket of air and ice surrounding you is amazing. That same day I was stopped by another Kazakh guy called Azamat, he gave me a short 10km lift to a cafe where he bought me a huge meal which I tried repeatedly to pay for but he wasn’t having any of it. At one point after the Karabutak crossroads while still very cold a group of road workers laying new tarmac stopped me and gave me tea, some food, and a high vis jacket while simultaneously tarmacking the road. I felt like I was with a group of mates again, walking alongside the smokey leviathan laying the new trade route between China and the West.

As I headed south from the Karabutak crossroads to Baikonur it steadily got warmer and I could shed layers of clothes. Camels started to appear, which I began shouting at out of boredom. They don’t seem to react at all to any kind of verbal abuse or compliments.

Getting the hump: a camel stands proudly

I arrived outside Baikonur feeling pretty elated, in my mind it had always been a big checkpoint and goal on my trip, especially with a package being sent there from England containing snow tires, second hand Antarctic survey boots and a second, warmer sleeping bag, for my jaunt over the Pamir mountains into China. Also dark chocolate, birthday cards, a small birthday present for me, and thank you gifts for my hosts.

Baikonur is actually part of Russia and closed to foreigners unless you can get a very difficult to obtain pass, which I couldn’t. So, I had to slip through a gap in the perimeter wall… that done, I stayed with my host Rishad and his family for some time and honestly can’t thank them enough!

After Baikonur I made my way to Kyzylorda. During that journey I was camped one night next to a dried up lake bed with small hillocks surrounding me, obstructing my view to no more than 20 metres in most directions, making me feel very safe and cocooned. Until I heard howling. First it was one animal, then two, three, four, five, six. After this the noise blended together but I could hear more animals joining in. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end, and everywhere else on my body, a slight shiver going down my spine. I wouldn’t say I felt scared but I did feel a mixture of exhilaration and a kind of deep primal intimidation, I knew I was experiencing something quite special. These animals can’t have been more than 60 metres away and I knew they must have been aware of me, I had just opened a can of fish. People had told me there were wolves in this area of Kazakhstan and to be careful but, until that moment, it really wasn’t something I worried about. But then I reminded myself that wolves rarely attack people for no reason and they’re probably quite scared of humans. That night went by peacefully, I slept well apart from a loud noise outside the tent in the middle of the night, I sat up, shouted to scare away whatever it was and then went back to sleep.

Your imagination can run away with you on this one…

So here I am in Shymkent, I left a lot out of this post because if I wrote everything down we would start to have a book on our hands. I experienced more extreme kindness travelling from Baikonur, such as being invited into peoples homes for tea, for dinner and a bed, for meals in motels and then a free bed in the motel. I’ve been given money which I tried hard not to accept, but the man shouted at me so I took it. I had the first night of my hostel here in Shymkent paid for by an amazing man called Daulet from the Couchsurfing app who wasn’t available to host me in his own house.

Travel has already taught me so much and I think it’s something everyone should strive to do, it really doesn’t have to be expensive and after only three months I feel it’s changed me for the better, this is something I plan to expand on in a later post.

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Dust, skidding paws, and a brawl of fur and teeth

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This post continues from my previous post, which you can read here


The next morning, I cycled in the rain to the border. My lorry driver friend Alexander dropped me off in Kovel in Ukraine about 50km from the border, I hope that little cheat doesn’t upset too many of you. Thank you Alexander!

The following  day I began my four day cycle along the M-07, one road which goes all the way to Kiev, two days of which I had wonderful tailwinds, and the rest, soul-destroying headwinds. Ukraine seemed to be as poor again as Poland compared to Germany, the road was lined with people supplementing their income by selling mushrooms they had collected in the forest in the early morning. Sometimes in the dawn while cooking my breakfast I would see them walking quiet as ghosts with a bag or bucket and a knife, they never disturbed me or spoke to me. I took very few pictures in Ukraine due to cycling so much which I feel a little regretful of. They’re of course all in my head, I just can’t show you! What I saw of Ukraine is beautiful with the peaceful pine forests, and wetlands with open plains. There were so many peacock butterflies fluttering along the road, although sadly many succumbing to car windscreens, reminding me to be careful if I didn’t want to meet a similar but messier end.

Soon I was in Kiev taking a day off staying with some more amazing warmshowers hosts. Anton and his wife Sveta and their very cute four year old son Vanya, took care of me and welcomed me into their small flat with my bike and it’s parasitic luggage. They treated me to proper Ukrainian food which was delicious, the last night of which included dried fish with a beer, or two. They sent me away with five fish wrapped up in paper which I really enjoyed with another couple of Ukrainian beers, in the dark, in my tent.

Anton and Sveta and their lovely food

The journey from Kiev to Kursk was headwinds all the way which upset me massively at first but I learnt to deal with them, and learnt that shouting profanities into the wind has the opposite effect you would want, what with the microgram of thrust produced by your own breath slowing you down even more. So I decided that the extra force required to overcome the headwind would make me stronger and the rest of the journey easier, a philosophy which could possibly be applied to many aspects of life?

Kiev

Just before the Ukrainian Russian border in the ancient town of Hlukhiv I was taken by surprise. I was at a shop about to buy some food when a guy called Roman stopped on his bike and started talking to me. He asked where I was going and where I had come from and as is usual was shocked when I told him my intended destination! He then invited me to his home for food and said that he and his Father would cycle with me to the border.

Me with Roman and his family

The Ukraine-Russia border was… totally fine, they were very friendly but ever so slightly intimidating, which I think is no different than any other border crossing. They did a little search of my stuff, thankfully no rubber gloves were needed.

Roman’s Mother and Father

It was pitch black by the time I got into Russia, so I cycled about 2km and put up my tent in some woods in the dark, cooked my dinner, had a dried fish for pudding, and went to sleep. In the morning in my tent while packing up I heard a Jeep pull up next to the woods, cracking twigs and quite voices alerted me to the fact I had been discovered. I came out of my tent with an unthreatening friendly face and was greeted by two young border guards with Kalashnikovs. They weren’t at all intimidating, apart from said Kalashnikovs.  They asked for my documents, looked at them and then smiled and left. I then cooked my breakfast and packed up.

So my first day in Russia began slightly eventfully and continued that way with yet again, wait for it… (is this getting boring?) more human kindness!! I went into a small village shop to see if they would accept Ukrainian money, as it was so close to the border. They didn’t accept it but asked in very broken English and hand gestures what I was going to buy, I told them just some water and some crisps because I wasn’t really sure but I couldn’t say I wasn’t going to buy anything. They took them from the shelves and put them on the counter. I told them I have no money, they laughed at me and said “it present, for you!” I tried to say no but then quickly accepted as I didn’t want to offend them.

So yesterday I arrived in Kursk and just before that wonderful moment which I will get to, I was chased by a pack of dogs. There I was, cycling along happily, quite tired, when I heard barking. Looking about, I couldn’t see a dog anywhere, so I continued my cycling, but the barking wasn’t going away, confusingly it was getting louder. I turned around and, holy shit! Running out of the entrance of a large mechanic’s garage was a pack of about five dogs, paws skidding, throwing up dust in a brawl of spit and fur and teeth. You’ve all seen Jurassic park, you remember that scene with the T-Rex and the jeep, the T-Rex is gaining on the jeep and Jeff Goldblum is screaming at the driver to go faster. Imagine five T-Rex’s. So I started peddling, screaming mentally at my legs to peddle as hard as I could. One of the dogs impressively ended up alongside me, I could hear its panting and guttural growling, teeth bared, legs at full stretch, obviously enjoying the chase. I’ve never peddled so fast, i didn’t think with all of the weight on the front of my bike it would be possible to wheelie it, but out of fear I pushed so hard the front wheel came off the ground and luckily I didn’t poo myself. There was also a woman at a bus stop laughing at me, I was also laughing manically out of fear. After this intense burst of physical activity combined with fear I felt superb. Note: I’ve heard the dogs in Kyrgyzstan really are quite terrifying, I’ll look forward to them.

So, the wonderful moment of arriving in Kursk. I let my Warmshowers host know where I was and then sat down in the local park to eat my lunch. You already know what I’m going to say. A woman came up to me and asked in Russian where I was going, I told her and then she took me to her house and gave me coffee and biscuits and chocolate bars.

The kind Russian lady and I

I need to remind you of my state at this point, unshaven, probably stinking of a mixture of BO and fish because of my late night snacks in my tent, filthy hands and stained trouser. This woman invited me, a complete stranger who doesn’t speak her language, into her lovely warm house for coffee.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this update, I know it’s been a long time coming! I’ll do my best to get some more posts out.

Human kindness (again), and the meditative joys of cycling

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So, I’m in Kursk in Russia enjoying a day off, well organising/uploading photos and writing this post. Five days ago I was in Kiev, rushing around trying to see as much as possible, but then decided to take it more slowly and absorb more and leave bits for another time. I can’t believe how quickly that milestone has come and gone, soon I’ll be in Kazakhstan!

Kursk

Eleven days ago I was at the border between Poland and Ukraine with a Ukrainian lorry driver called Alexander whom I had persuaded to take me across after asking about six other drivers because you aren’t allowed to cross on a bicycle. Nine hours later and we were through, Gary the snail from Spongebob would have won in a race with me. I should have been in a really really bad mood considering I cycled in the rain all the way to the border but spirits were high rather than sodden.

Into the distance: Ukraine

I’ve been on the road for over five weeks now! It’s gone by in a flash yet it feels like I’ve been gone forever. I’ve seen so much! The easy part of the trip is gone I think, summer is coming to a close and autumn is falling. The trees have started their September and October shift to different hues of oranges, browns and reds. Over the past two weeks the mornings have gotten colder, which oddly I’ve been enjoying, although that might change… In the cosy warmth of my hosts’ home here in Kursk, they informed me that at 8am this morning it was 3°C… which will be perfect for my -18 sleeping bag as I’ve been waaaay too hot.

I have a feeling that the trip over the next month will transition to a point where the highs are much higher and the lows are much lower than they have been. The further east I go, the friendlier and warmer the people seem to become but obviously winter is coming and with it bitter cold and brutal, yet mindblowingly beautiful, landscapes. Over the past month I’ve been in the pleasant comfortable middle ground of Europe where everything is relatively familiar and neither overly exciting or overly boring, unlike the thousands of miles of Kazakh steppe ahead of me, which also oddly, I’m looking forward to. Now I’ve begun to boldly wander into the much wilder lands of the adventure, full of scary Russian people and bears and wolves… Before I do that and have almost no internet access I should probably let you all know how everything has gone up to this point.

First of all, as I was cycling through Europe, I was constantly reminding myself of how incredibly lucky I am to not have been born two or three generations ago. I’ve been acutely aware of the history I may have been cycling past, or maybe I should say I’ve been acutely aware of my huge ignorance of the history I’ve probably been cycling past, to the point of disgust that I don’t know more about the huge sacrifice that millions of people made within living memory. I intend to educate myself more on it after this journey.

Artwork in Ukraine

The adventure so far, plain and simple, has been brilliant. Getting out of your normal life and surroundings seems to bring such clarity of thought to your mind, much more often than you would in the humdrum of daily life and routine. Cycling almost seems to be meditative at times and I get these tendrils of creative thought rapidly weaving their way through my mind: ideas; ideas for the present, short, medium and long term future, I have a hard time keeping track of them and sometimes if they seem important enough I have to stop and write them down. As I mentioned before, I’ve also become aware of how important it is to be in the present, which can be difficult at times when you’re hungry and tired and worried about making up the miles to get through Russia before your visa expires!

Since my last post I’ve traversed two countries. As you’ve seen, peoples’ kindness is just incredible and continues to be so. They’re all routing for me and I’ve felt such a strong sense of support from so many strangers.
I want to thank Henrik and Elisa in Meiningen, Germany who I spent two nights and a day with. Even though Elisa was eight months pregnant they still warmly welcomed me into their home and since that time Elisa has given birth to a beautiful baby girl called Linnea! They cooked traditional German food and I was given an evening tour of the town. The next day they then cycled on their tandem 20km with me to say farewell and good luck. I can’t thank them enough.

Henrik and Elisa

Wild camping is illegal in Germany but I was never stopped, either because people are kind or because I’m too sneaky. Germany is beautiful, it seems to have it all and there isn’t enough space here to describe it.

Germany

Poland was very different to Germany, almost an instant change on crossing the border which I didn’t notice I had crossed until, about 2km in, I thought, ‘this doesn’t feel very German’. It is obviously a much poorer country and that’s not surprising considering how much it’s been beaten down throughout history, it hasn’t really had a chance to stand up. I had only my second day off after stopping in Wroclaw with Mateusz, whom I also found on the Warmshowers app. After a last minute request to stay he amazingly accepted and that evening took me on a tour around Wroclaw, he was a fantastic host, thank you Mateusz! I particularly enjoyed the vodka and beef tartare in the vodka bar and the shop-bought Bigos we both enjoyed.

Mateusz

The next day I had my broken spoke incident with my lack of tools which you can read about here. This taught me the wonderful lesson that apparent problems can lead you to the greatest tear-jerking experiences of human kindness.

After a few more days of wild camping I then stayed for a night in Lublin with Poweł, an acquaintance of someone I had also contacted on warmshowers. Talk about networking! Poweł is a vegan and cooked me a delicious homemade pizza for dinner from scratch, dough and all! And then a huge breakfast of coconut butter on bread with peanut butter, nuts, raisins and two bananas!

(CLICK the images to enlarge them!)

After Lublin I slept in my last wild camping spot in Poland, a fond farewell in utterly stunning surroundings.

My last camping spot in Poland

The next morning I cycled in the rain to the border. My lorry driver friend Alexander dropped me off in Kovel in Ukraine about 50km from the border, I hope that little cheat doesn’t upset too many of you. Thank you Alexander!

Part two of this post is coming soon!

The kindness of strangers

This is a mini post about meeting one of the kindest humans I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so far.

Two days ago I snapped my first spoke, in the rear wheel on the cassette (cogs) side, so I stopped at a suitably shaped tree to use as a bike stand and went about trying to fix it. This is where I quickly discovered what an utter moronic novice I am, I didn’t have a cassette tool or chain whip to get the rear cassette off so that I could then take the old spoke out and put a new one in. To top it off it was a Sunday so all the bike shops were shut and I had just had a day off and only cycled 30km and I’m behind on my schedule to get to Russia… but I figured, this adventure is at least 180 days and decided it really wasn’t all that bad, what’s an extra day, the obstacle is the way as the stoics would say.

So, I walked my bike another 5km and pitched my tent early, relaxed and enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of heavy rain drumming loudly against the fabric of my tent. In the morning I had breakfast, packed up and slowly slowly cycled to the nearest bike shop. When I arrived, they told me they were too busy to fix it but a guy called Andrzej Bos would be able to. So, I then turned up at a kind of farmhouse-looking place, with lots of bicycles outside, it had a nice feel to it and I could see an old workshop with the door open but no one inside. I knocked on the front door and a rather grizzled and sour-looking – but as it happened, very nice – old lady opened it. I understood nothing she said, but through an open window I could hear the sound of plates clinking and I assumed the bike mechanic guy was still having his breakfast, so I waited and played with a little black Labrador puppy.

Andrzej with my bike

After five minutes a healthy-looking late middle aged guy in blue overalls and flip flops with socks came walking out straight towards me and shook my hand firmly with a warm smile and introduced himself. I told him my problem and he nodded his head vigorously saying yes to each thing I told him. Then I told him that I’d come from London; he seemed shocked. I then told him I’m going to Tokyo. “Tokyo, Tokyo?!!” he said, in a slightly higher pitched voice than normal, we both laughed and then he quickly wheeled my bike into the workshop and told me to sit down. He then asked if I was thirsty, with water and cordial being brought to me in response. Then, about five minutes later, coffee and cake appeared too. By this point I was pretty shocked by the hospitality and almost felt a bit guilty as I didn’t feel I had done anything to deserve being treated so well.

The unexpected coffee and cake

I sat and watched Andrzej work on my bike while I enjoyed my coffee, cake and the amazing workshop I was in which seemed to have a lifetime of memories bestowed upon the walls. Andrzej’s wife then came out and introduced herself, we did our best to communicate and she asked if I was hungry, I jokingly said I was always hungry when cycling, she laughed and then quickly disappeared coming back with sandwiches and tea. Andrzej then said something in Polish and his wife translated and said “you do not pay, this is all for free”, I tried to protest and did so more than three times but they refused.

There is such a thing as a free lunch

I had never experienced kindness like this and began to feel a bit emotional; all faith in humanity restored. In only my third week, I was experiencing yet again on this trip the true kindness people can show, the kindness you’re never really told about in the news.

Andrzej didn’t just fix my spoke and give me breakfast, he also checked and trued my front wheel, checked my gears, and cleaned my whole bike. After having one last try to give him some money for his time I was refused again and sent on my way with a packed lunch.


If you liked my post, please take the time to  head to my Virgin Money giving page to donate. Over the course of my trip, I’m hoping to raise at least £5,000 for CLIC Sargent and Hope and Homes for Children.