Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
86Trip End Ongoing
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As Europe turned down the temperature dial for winter, all the way to deep freeze mode, we made our escape across the English Channel (or rather under the English Channel) to London by Eurostar, our bikes neatly hanging in the carriage behind us.
We came to the UK to visit some family in London and in Brighton and get some jobs done, for we had the longest and final leg of our trip to plan, and on arrival here our plan was little more than an idea.
Apart from the cold and trying to cross the street (now that's really hard after riding on the right for so long) being in London feels a little too comfortable, a little bit too much like home and I’m scared as to what would become of our slightly trimmer than normal cycling physiques if we were to stay too long. Within an hour of stepping off the train I’ve spotted something I haven’t had in a while…..a meat pie, and despite the urge I resist and we settle for a full English breakfast at a local café instead……yes we both agreed we really need to finalize our plan and get moving, well at least after a decent steak and a lamb roast!!
As with the rest of our trip it seemed fitting that for the last leg we should work around a family event, this time Angela and Jaak’s 60th birthday, scheduled for July in Penang…….the only question was how to get there. Crazy as it may seem we toyed with the idea of riding all the way (inspired by a few people we’ve met), but were a little intimidated by Iran and Pakistan, a few large hills and the cold, but the thought of saying goodbye to our bikes was too much to bear so we were determined to reach some sort of bicycle minded compromise.
So, we’ve come up with the following……..
To travel by whatever means are available (other than aeroplane) to Malaysia overland or by sea from London, where we will celebrate the second and third 60th of our trip, reunite with our bikes and then pedal our way to Beijing……sounds simple enough!!
As our plans slowly developed London gave us a nice surprise, while the UK seemed to side-step the worst of the temperatures experienced in Europe it did manage to find itself covered in a blanket of the white stuff on a certain Saturday evening and with a belly full of beer and fine steak from Simon’s pub (The Wandle) we made our way home in a pretty awesome snow shower.
After a week in London everything seemed totally up in the air, with no news on our Iranian visas and the difficulties of shipping bikes into a country when you are not present, but then on a Monday morning in Brighton, after catching up with Alex’s cousin and her family the day before (Lamb roast YUM), everything seemed to fall in to place. Our Visa for Iran was approved and we discovered that a nice Singapore Bikeshop would accept our bikes without us and hold them till we arrive.
So as I write this now our bikes are somewhere in freight land, we have again reunited with our backpacks, and we’re well and truly Beijing bound. The first stop we’re heading for is a week in Istanbul to sort out some more visas, and perhaps to see the city without pouring rain this time. Last night we spent 27 hours on a bus from London to Budapest and now we’re on a Bucharest bound train, it about -10 outside and there’s a good foot of snow all around..…….and we’re totally excited at the fact that in a few weeks’ time we’ll be in Iran.