One collects many impressions during a journey of which some will remain while other will vanish. With time a traveller has experienced something special in almost all areas of the everyday life which will stay in memory forever.
Most bicycle travellers count meticulous kilometres they rode during the journey. We only roughly estimate them. We used our tachometers for navigation and for the speed measurement only as they tended to reset completely from time to time. By this we do not know how many megametres we already have done. The longest stretch in one day we managed in Italy with over 160 kilometres. The shortest distance we covered in one day was about 4 to 5 kilometres. The most exhausting stretch was the way along the Turkana beach where sometimes we needed more than one hour of high effort to move our bicycles only one kilometre. Our top speeds downhill are about 60 kilometres per hour with a maximum of over 74 km/h. Probably it would be possible to go faster as the brakes have no problems with the speed and mass.
Road traffic poses the highest risk for us. The risk mainly is determined by the way drivers treat each other on the street. In Syria we witnessed the friendliest drivers up to now, where paying attention to the others is the highest esteem. A similar attitude towards other road users exist on Sicily and some other countries. In Israel, Germany, Turkey and in many Black African countries the exactly opposite is found. There the strongest and heaviest vehicle is always right. In Black Africa and in Turkey we ascribe this attitude to a lack of imagination and understanding. In Israel and Germany it is due to the people's imagination to have the right to enforce their own will.
For cyclists the most dangerous encounter on the roads have been Ethiopian children. They regard cycling foreigners as welcomed victims for their malicious games like throwing stones, putting sticks in the spokes, pushing and blocking the way or stealing parts from the luggage. The adults very often support the children and seem not to consider foreigners as humans.
Many people connect a bicycle travel inseparable with camping. For us the tent gives us the necessary independence from hotels and lodges which aren't found everywhere. Therefore in areas without any facilities we use our tent or sleep under the sky while in towns we sleep in houses. The most outstanding accommodation was the Hotel Ontario in Karlovy Vary. The best simple inns we found in Ethiopia. Although usually there is no shower you always get a double bed with clean sheets, blankets and a mosquito net if advisable. In opposition we found the most expensive hotels in Sudan. Yemeni hotels fascinated us with their unique beautiful architecture.
The best food definitely we found in Italy. Outside of Europe especially the Lebanese and their neighbors value good food which they prepare with finesse. In most countries people prefer home made food like e.g. couscous in the Maghreb or potatoes, maize and cooked bananas in East Africa. A quite monotonous food we found in Amhara region where the people mostly like to eat injera with meat prepared in one of three different ways: raw, half cooked or fried. The worst restaurants and monotnous food we found in Zambia, where even truck drivers prefer to prepare their food by themselves despite of the time loss connected to it.
As cyclists we are concerned in a particular way by the weather conditions. We do not move in a hermetic closed air conditioned cab, we have to endure high and low temperatures, wind and rain. The highest air temperatures we experienced in Wadi Halfa where we had reached 46°C in the shadow. The coldest days we endured in the mountainous Sauerland in Germany. There and in Black Africa we experienced the heaviest rainfalls. In the Middle East we had been exposed to the strongest winds of our whole journey.
Scenic landscapes are without any doubt one of the highlights of a bicycle travel. The most impressive and beautiful landscapes of our journey had been the Lakes of Plitvice, Wadi Rum, the Lake Turkana and many others which we can't enumerate all. Cyprus impressed us by its natural diversity on a relatively small area. In opposition the Sahara we kept in memory because of its vastness and monotony.
Especially in towns where many people meet you get a feeling for the way people live in a country. There as well the concentrated culture of the area or the whole country is found. Architecturally we had been impressed at most by Karlovy Vary and Sana′a. The town with the highest altitude differences was Taiz, where some people have to climb altitudes of more than 1000 height meters on the way between work and home. In Palermo, Nairobi and Damascus we liked particularly the life style and the feeling in the town. By history and the present political situation Jerusalem was without any doubt the most interesting place. Very sad feeling caused us the town Wadi Halfa. This former desert metropolis of more than a million of inhabitants was sacrificed to the lake Nasser by Egypt and Sudan.
As travellers we are more often customers in restaurants, cafés and pubs than in the everyday life at home. Due to these circumstances gastronomic facilities are especially important for us.
In Tunisia we learnt to value cafes as meeting places. The most beautiful cafes and restaurants we found in the ancient town of Damascus. In Ethiopia the incomparable high density of bars and restaurants became to us the expression of a leisure dedicated society. From all places we′ve visited only Kampala could keep up with Ethiopia.
Syria is famous worldwide for its particular hospitality in which we can only agree. The most colourful and exotic people on our way had been the tribes of the Hamer, Galeb and Turkana. The strong hierarchically organised society in the highlands of Ethiopia was the strangest. The values and motivations of the people are very difficult to understand despite of the impression of European society they make at the first moment. It comes from the cultural based tradition to adapt to a stranger which is considered as polite behaviour.