Going slowly - cycling Europe to China - & back

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
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Trip End Dec 31, 2011


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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just out for a short ride

Earlier last week, while sitting upstairs, I heard some voices outside that didn't sound like the usual Chinese or Naxi. I went down to investigate and found two foreigners outside my door, with two heavily-laden bikes leaning against my landing. In the public courtyard in front of my house they were setting about preparing lunch.
We got talking and it turned out these were more than your ordinary cyclist heading into Tibet or across China. They were on a long journey. One that had almost taken them two years and was likely to last another two years. Round-the-world travellers? Nope. These folk were more continental drifters. They started in their native Austria in 2005 and have ridden across Russia and down the coast of China, into Vietnam and Laos, and back into China via Yunnan.
Now usually when I see foreign cyclists around here they are either 1) solo or 2) crazy. But it turned out Martin and Birgit are neither. Unlike couples who cycle who often have the man miles ahead upfront, they cycle together, and their cycling style seems to me a little like their relationship: built to last the distance.
Both are practical and pragmatic - he worked as a plumber, she a bike mechanic - and both seem to enjoy each other, travelling, meeting new people and learning more about the world they live in.
So after their lunch we had coffee and a chat, and before long we're shared information, they'd unloaded half their luggage and set off up into the hills.
That's the other thing you should know about these guys - they carry a hell a lot of luggage. I never really got to grips with how much they had, but it seemed similar to those people doing those daring adventures like when they carry a fridge around Ireland. Books seem to be part of their cargo. And they've been trying out gear from her cycle shop, some of which was damaged or broken just a few months into the trip, other gear which has withstood the rigours of the road. Not happy with some gear, they've even made some of their own bags, etc. One of the most important items for the cold of Russia in winter were sleeping bags, donated by an Austrian company. Looking at the photos can you tell which one? The answer is at the bottom of this blog.
I like their travelling style. No set plan, like some other cyclists who have mapped out every day til 2010. No pressure to do long distances each day.
After returning from Wenhai and the Jade Snow Dragon Mountain, they stayed a few days, sheltering from the afternoon rains, doing their washing for the first time in a long while (the colour of the water coming out of the washing machine looked like a discharge from a Chinese plastics factory), sleeping and eating.
We had pizza two nights (the first time in a long while for them), my coffee machine was kept busy, and they had a chance to sample Lijiang old town life, by sitting on the front step and watching the passing parade of locals.
They made an Austrian favourite of pancakes - both savory and sweet with mango and banana.
We took photos around the old town on their final day here, attracting on-lookers. I couldn't help think of the traders along the tea-horse route, going from the south of Yunnan to Tibet and beyond.
Maybe that's why the older folk who live around here enjoyed their company, their journey harking back to ancient trips undertaken with yaks and horses, taking tea, salt and silk, returning with exotic spices, minerals and metals.
Like most travellers these days, they have a website, though they only update it occasionally.
You can view it at www.biketraveler.net.For some strange reason you can't view this in China, but if you go via a proxy server you can view: http://anonymouse.org/cgi-bin/anon-www.cgi/http://www.biketr aveler.net/wordpress/


And their sponsor - it is C-A-R-I-N-T-H-I-A.
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Comments

happysheep
happysheep on

Recipe for Like Apfelstrudel
This is from Birgit and Martin


Apfelstrudel

150 g flour
0.5 Teaspoon of salt
1 egg
4 spoons water
1 spoon oil

make the dough and put it under a bowl which you washed before with hot water. let it rest for 30 minutes

for the filling:

0.75 - 1 kg apples
half of a lemon
3-4 spoons sugar
5 spoons raisins
cinnamon

peel the apples, cut them thin put the lemon juice and a bit of the lemon skin to the apples and put the rest of the things to it

put the dough on a cloth where there is some flower on it. flatten the dough until it is a really very thin piece like a piece of paper

melt 50 g Butter put some of the butter on the dough (with a brush)

put the filling on the dough. with the help of the piece of cloth you can roll the strudel and put it on a tray (with paper underneath). on the ends of the strudel you have to close the holes that the filling does not look out.

put the rest of the butter before, during und after the baking on the strudel.

bake it with 200 degrees for 20 - 30 Minutes

put powderd sugar on it (but not necessary) and enjoy

happysheep
happysheep on

part two of recipe
peel the apples, cut them thin put the lemon juice and a bit of the lemon skin to the apples and put the rest of the things to it

put the dough on a cloth where there is some flower on it. flatten the dough until it is a really very thin piece like a piece of paper

melt 50 g Butter put some of the butter on the dough (with a brush)

put the filling on the dough. with the help of the piece of cloth you can roll the strudel and put it on a tray (with paper underneath). on the ends of the strudel you have to close the holes that the filling does not look out.

put the rest of the butter before, during und after the baking on the strudel.

bake it with 200 degrees for 20 - 30 Minutes

put powderd sugar on it (but not necessary) and enjoy

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