Our journey began at 6th March, 2004 in Cologne. We crossed Germany eastward and passed Czechia, Austria and Slovakia. In Hungary we passed by the lake Balaton in direction of south, to Croatia. There we as first visited the inundation land of the Sava in Slavonia, then the Lakes of Plitvice and finally the Mediterranean Dalmatia. In between we made a short-cut trough Bosnia-Herzegovina.
From Dubrovnik we crossed the sea to the South of Italy where we followed the boot to the tip. In Sicily we followed the northern coast and made an excursion into the mountains. We visited Palermo and we used Trapani as our springboard to Tunisia. After we attempted in vain for one month to obtain the Libyan visa in Tunis we visited the family of a friend. From there we made a round trip through the country and returned to Tunis. Still we had no luck to get the visa for the neighbouring country so we took a chance to travel by cargo ship to Haifa and visited more or less Israel on recommendation of the Libyan consulate.
We visited historical places like Jerusalem, Jericho or Bethlehem and witnessed a contemporary system of apartheid. From Palestine and Israel we went again by cargo ship to Cyprus from where we hoped to continue to Syria. We failed to get a visa so we went from the occupied Northern Cyprus to Turkey. In Ankara we got the necessary documents to enter Syria. We visited Kappadokkia and travelled along the Mediterranean coast to Antakia. From there we continued to Aleppo. We left the town in direction of the Euphrates but soon we turned southward to avoid the strong head wind. On the way to Palmyra we crossed the desert and witnessed the life of the Syrian Bedouin.
From Palmyra we went to one of the oldest towns in the world, Damascus. On the way to the Jordan border we passed Bosra, where we visited the famous amphitheatre. Over the highway we went to the capital of Jordan Amman which is built over several mountains.
On steep slopes we made the descent to the Jordan valley. The Jordan river guided us to the Dead Sea. From the lowest depression of the Earth we ascended to the King's Highway which winds like a snake over the summits of the mountain chain. Colourful rocks and remnants of an old culture awaited us in Petra. The South of Jordan is part of the Arab Desert. On lonely sandy tracks we found our way through the Wadi Rum National Park.
From Aqaba we bypassed Israel ferrying to the Sinai peninsula. We took the road through the mountains to the heart of the desert. We visited Monastery St. Catherine where the thorn bush from which supposedly God had spoken to Moses is found. At the western side of the peninsula we travelled to the south under the merciless rays of the sun. From Sharm el-Sheikh we arrived again on African ground by ship. From Hurghada we made an excursion to Cairo and to the Pyramids of Gizeh. Aferwards we continued our journey to the South. We took our time to visit the Egyptian antiquities in Luxor and Aswan. Then again a ship brought us into a new country. This time it was Sudan.
Wadi Halfa, town of the Nubians, today is forgotten by the world. The former economic and cultural centre had been sacrificed for the Lake Nasser. We pushed our bicycles over sandy tracks, tarmac was nowhere to be found. Endless wideness surrounded us on our way to Atbara. Sandstorms and intense rays of the sun made it difficult to get ahead. Fata Morganas accompanied us until we reached Khartoum. We stayed only short time in this multiracial capital due our limited visa validity. South of Khartoum the landscape became more green. Near Gedaref the land was covered by fields and meadows. We crossed the border to Ethiopia and made a break in Gonder. There we witnessed the Ethiopian Orthodox festivities of Meskal and celebrated Roswitha's birthday. Over the Ethiopian highlands we went on a hilly road built by Chinese and Japanese to Addis Abeba.
To renew our expired visas we made an excursion by bus and train to Djibouti. A dhau loaded with cattle brought us to Yemen. We visited old and new towns of trade. Already in times before the queen Sheebah there was business with incense, myrrh, spices and other goods at places as Taiz, Mokha, Aden, Marib and Sana′a. We got amazed by the majestic mountains and the old Yemeni culture. On the way back through Djibouti the beauty of the Lake Assal enchanted us. By a lorry we returned to Ethiopia passing the land of the Afar that was infested by tribal fights and stopped at Awash. After a photo safari in the Awash National Park we went back to our bicycles in Addis Abeba.
In Addis Abeba our laptop and two cameras got broken one after another and we had to wait for replacement from Germany. From the Ethiopian capital we went on our bicycles to Shashemene, the Ethiopian centre of the Rastafarian movement. From there we again passed the world of green Ethiopian mountains. Behind Konso we descended to the lowland of the East African Rift Valley where the colourful Hamer are at home. In Omorate we met the Galeb feared by their neighbour tribes and ferried to the Western Omo bank by boat. There we had often to push our bicycles through a sandy semi desert.
From Todenyang in Kenya we went along the Jade Sea trough the land of the traditional living Turkana. We visited Lodwar the centre of the Turkana region. From Lokichar we've chosen a lonely road over Lokori to the South. In Marigat we started to climb first to Kabernet and then to Eldoret.
There we left our bicycles at the house of German missionaries and went by car to Nairobi. By train we went to Mombasa where we enjoyed the beach for two weeks. From Mombasa we took in the way how merchants did it in ancient times a dhau to Zanzibar. There we found accommodation in the legendary Stonetown from where we visited the tropical Jozani Forest. Via Dar Es Salaam we went to Arusha which was our base for a five days safari to the national parks Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater, and to the Lake Natron from where we climbed the Oldonyo Lengai, the Mountain of God, as the Massai call it.
We returned to Eldoret and continued on our bicycles to Uganda. In Jinja we visited the source and the waterfalls of the White Nile. In Kampala we spend the Christmas time. We contnued to Fort Portal from where we went south along the Mountains of the Moon. We crossed the Queen Elisabeth National Park and climbed onto the mountains of Southern Uganda from where we continued to Ruanda.
After crossing Ruanda we visited Tanzania again, this time the western part and on bicycles. On dusty roads we reached Kigoma and crossed the Lake Tanganyika on the MV Liemba. In Mpulungu we left the East African Rift Valley and went on straight roads through the northern highlands of Zambia. In Livingstone we visited the Victoria Falls, the largest waterfalls of the world. From there we went westward and diverted to the Chobe National Park in Botswana before we reached the Caprivi Strip which is known for its wildlife and especially elephants. At the Kavango we turned south into the land of the bush people.
From Windhoek we made an excursion to the coast, to the port of Walvis Bay and to the “German enclave” at the estuary of the Swakop river. To avoid according to Namibia's Tourist Office "some of the best roads in the world" we rented a car and visited the majestic dunes of Sossusvlei and the Naukluft National Park. Back on the bicycles we rode trough South Namibia and crossed in Richtersveld the border to South Africa and passed through the area of the diamond mines. Near Steinkopf a car drove into Roland's trailer with over 120 km/h. We were taken to Cape Town where the first leg of our journey through the Global Village ended.