I seem to be getting more popular! but just look at the folks who are searching for Scarpa boots wearing out and the Silva pedometer are they connected
Today was an earlish start to get the first ferry across the Megong River which starts after 7
By the time I had breakfast at The Riverside Guest House Cafe and whinged about Room 1 and it’s tap that won’t turn off and the shower that is a dribble, I started to run late made worse by the crowded market & the banana seller with yellow ones been stuck in the middle. I finally made it & fortunate to get one with just two huge trucks. The crossing reminded me of my Danube trip although this river is nearly 2 miles wide.
I followed Oliver’s instructions & took the dirt road to the right passing the sign that proudly proclaims the new road was made possible with an investment from Steung Treng Mineral Joint Venture Company which begs the question what did they get in exchange..
The new road is deserted and quite bumpy due to its coarse tar & chipping coating plus you can only use half the road as the other half is deep in loose chip pings. Of course the few cars using it are all Top Gear viewers and treat it as a race track. Make sure you look away as you get blasted by high velocity chippings. Closer to Krong it’s still under construction so you enter almighty dust clouds.
The wholesale forest destruction is much worse here in fact around 95% of the wood is gone, just endless vistas of burnt out forest. The insanity of just burning standing timber is beyond me, meanwhile folks are building shacks from gorgeous hardwoods. Nothing is been planted in the vast majority of the burnt out mess.
The day was long, over 83 miles, and very hot to Preah Viher I managed to drink well over 4 litres of pop with barely a pee. With the heat I could barely keep awake so found an old workman’s shelter and had a snooze.
Later, when trying to read Gaia, I found I had lost my spectacles. I and an army of kids tried to find them but I bet they fell off in my snooze which was 10 miles back. To cap it off my spare set are useless for distance vision
There is plenty of accommodation in Preah Viher but I unfortunately chose the worst The Chea Somoun but it’s only one night! Venturing out I chose the right restaurant though because as I started the usual ordering antics with the waitress, a young women dashed over asked what I wanted in perfect English & proceeded to order my food! Len it turns out is showing a group around the indigenous tribes & obviously well up on the land rights issues as well as schooling, which is markedly less over here witness the kids doing the laundry by the village pump. Whereas, in Vietnam all you see are school kids. Real shame that she had to dash off with her group as it would have been good to learn more.
Tomorrow looks another long hard day to get to Siem Reap for Angkor Wat
I’ve now been away for 23 days in SE Asia. Cycling for 15 of them and covering, according to Strava, 1.016 miles with an ascent of 33,843 feet and 841.5 hours in the saddle. I’ve covered about 1/3 of the total distance to Singapore! So I’ve awarded myself a total rest day here in Stung Treng before taking the ferry across the mighty Mekong River to Angkor Wat, Bangkok and down the peninsula to Singapore. Although quite how I’m going to manage in this heat is anyones guess. Today’s puzzles are: how can a bike mechanic stay so immaculately dressed in cream trousers and pale shirt whilst fixing my puncture, I was covered in grease just by watching him at work Another puzzle is how the guys running The Riverside restaurant & guesthouse (where I moved to this morning) manage it seemingly with no effort, whereas others guest house owners make it all seem so much work! So with the puncture fixed, pedals sorted, handlebar tape fixed & more tape on the saddle plus a visit hairdressers today for a cut & shave for £1. I’m ready to start again. But must buy more water
Tonight I’m at Heathrow awaiting my night flight to Guangzhou and then onto Hanoi a total travelling time of about 24 hours.
Tuesday should find me exploring Hanoi in search of a local SIM card and a bike.
I’m about to try and bike from Hanoi to Singapore in the 9 weeks I’ve given myself. The direct way is 2000miles but to take in Ho Chi Minh and Angor Wat it’s over 3000 miles. However, with the ongoing unrest in Thailand I might find myself doing a flyover from Cambodia to Malaysia.
Here is an outline of the routes made with Bikemap
Today we went for a lovely walk from Dunwich to Southwold along the beach returning through the marshes, with many detours due to damage caused by the recent storms.
The Etrex GPS measured 15.3miles, my Fitbit says 31,958 steps which it says is 14.66 miles. The Moves app says 31,056 steps or 17.6miles. So all pretty consistent.
However for calories burnt it’s a different story! Moves says only 1557 calls burnt whereas Fitbit says 3202 cals TWICE THE AMOUNT
Now I’m about to go for a lovely dinner at The Ship so which do I believe?
23 Dec 2013
Problem solved by this tweet from Moves
— Moves (@movesapp) December 23, 2013
So with my idle calories showing as 1,583 on Moves, Active burn cals on Moves at 1,557 active. Gives a total of 3,100cals which is virtually identical to Fitbit at 3,202cals
With Sulina been the end of the
road waterway, it’s time to start my return to another adventure. I’ve been reading lots of good things on various blogs about Romania’s capital, Bucharest so I’m making that my next port of call.
The ferry leaves Sulina at 7am so it was an early start to meet another mega group of fishermen, now with fewer bags but with their precious caught fish already frozen, complaining about how few fish there are now in the delta,
The boat with us packed like the proverbial sardines arrived in Tulcea. The port conveniently has an integrated bus station. Yesterday I had chatted to the bus driver going to Torino (Turin in Italy) via Bucharest and he said there was no problem putting bikes on big buses. Which was very good news as there are plenty of problems with bikes on trains. So I went to the Augustina window, emphasizing my need for a BIG bus, normally they use minivans. No problem – they had one today (Friday) at midday taking 5 hours or so for £14
Whilst on the bus i twittered about visiting Bucharest and got an immediate reply from @bucharestlife recommending The Rembrandt Hotel, a few clicks on the booking.com app and I was booked in. Modern technolgy at its most awesome. The ride from the bus station to the hotel was only a few minutes. The hotel is excellent, cosy & right in the centre of the old town, so I lengthened my stay till wednesday morning.
The photos of the day are here
Today was a ride of contrasts from the dispiriting visit to a city still in ruins with very little hope of returning to it’s former glory and also visiting where 200 people were massacred and another bus load went totally missing to the prosperous second largest city in Serbia and its beautifully paved streets, handsome buildings all beautifully lit and groups of American tourists. What is worse from all that I’ve heard it wasn’t a civil war it was just a pure and simple land grabbing exercise by Serbia for which Vukovar paid a terrible price and this has all taken place in the last 20 years.
Ovcara is a short detour from the E6 but well worthwhile, the place where the 200 were held has been made into a beautifully simple but deeply moving place, from the embedded bullet shells in the floor to the 200 lights in the ceiling acting as stars and images of the deceased being lit up around the walls to their physical effects in the straw around the floor edges. Totally gut wrenching stuff.
I also visited where the mass grave was, since it was on the way back to the E6, once again very moving I particularly liked the simple broken headstone sculpture created by Drinkovic with its polished engraved front and the bullet holes in the rear, just like the people who were shot.
I continued on through the 3 deep valleys to reach Ilok and its massive citadel now occupied by nuns. and then onto the bridge over The Danube and the first stamp in my passport and also a welcome text from 3 reminding me they wish to charge me £6 per MB (a warning to anyone travelling the Danube E6 in Croatia, you are quite likely to pick up a Serbian 3G signal if your phone is sent to roaming for their Eurodeal, you could end up with a shock)
First impressions is that Serbia is very poor & the stretch of road cycling between the bridge and Celarevo is a nightmare. However, once you turn right and get on the embankment there is no traffic but it would be a total gooey mess if it had been raining. Today was dry and OK after a while it turns into a gorgeous smooth bikeway into Novi Sod unless a mountain bike plonker rams into you and takes out a spoke and hurts your knee Novi Sad on the other hand seems a very prosperous city beautifully lit up and large public squares full of tables etc.
I found The Veliki Hotel purely by chance, it seems very good & the receptionist found a bike shop for me, so within an hour the wheel was fixed and also a new tyre fitted.
In all I did over 68 miles today but probably the actual route was only 60 miles. Here is The Strava and the pictures.