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Report 39 +++ March 2007 +++ Still in Xi'an +++ A résumé - so far

After a journey of 2 and a half years (911 days), altogether 23664km of which 17815km were by bicycle, 5849km by train, bus or truck. So we made 75 % of our journey by bicycle. We spent 1272 hours on bicycles and got through 10 tires, 8 bicyclechains, 3 broken rims, and 3 broken frames. We now think it's time to create a resume of our journey from september 2004 till march 2007 through Europe and Asia.

Over the 911 days we sat in the saddle for an average of 2 hours per day making about 20km per day. We wanted to make the whole distance by bicycle, but expiring visas, sickness, areas extremely dangerous for foreigners like parts of Pakistan and Iran, or damage to the bicycle forced us sometimes to load our bicycles on trains, buses or trucks. On average we spent almost 600 EURO per month, so in 30 months we used almost 18000EURO. This money was used to pay for everything: visas, parts of the bicycle, bus and train tickets, packages etc.

We took the landroute, crossed 8 timeszones and 13 countries Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, China, Tibet, Nepal and India.

No area was too cold, no area too hot, no pass too high. We lost our respect for uniforms, because inside the uniforms are also just human beings. Mostly we had very good expieriences with police and military who usually helped us very much. We found this surprising, because we thought we would have more trouble with them. Occasionally we had to fight with the authorities for several months. Because our visas were expiring, we were forced to leave Tibet and go over Nepal to India. Then we tried to travel overland from India to Thailand, through Myanmar. Longstanding efforts at the authorities failed finally and because we refused to use an airplane we travelled back through Pakistan to China. Consequently we surrounded almost the whole of the Himalaya Mountains.

Now we are in the middle of China in Xi'an, formerly capital and the beginning of the silk-road. From here we are planning to continue our world-tour to New Zealand. We have to go to Beijing to change our passports, which are naturally full up with visas and there are no free pages left. The frame of one of the bicycles is broken again, and we are waiting for a new frame and some other spare parts from Germany.

The worst event during our journey was the news of the death of my mother. She died in an accident with her bicycle. We got the terrible message in Hungary, at the beginning of our journey. Immediatly we took an aeroplane to Germany, but she was already in a coma, and didn't awake again. Despite this terrible event we continued our journey, our lives had to go on.

Another awful expierience was when we travelled with our bicycles through an area where the local inhabitants were hostile to foreigners. An area of radical Moslems in Pakistan. A group of children threw big stones at us so we were afraid for our lives. One stone struck my head and blood ran down my forehead. My companion, Lina, was crying and her whole body was trembling. I was getting afraid too, but fortunatly we could drive them away and left the area as soon as possible. Later we heard about a German cyclist who had allegedly been killed by falling rocks. After our experience we thought it was also possible that he was killed by people throwing stones at him but that the authorities covered up the incident so as not to damage to the reputation of the country and damage tourism.

We had a lot of nice expieriences. One of the best was the hospitality of the people in muslim countries like Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. This was in complete contrast to the radicalism and violence of some minorities. We never expierienced such warm friendliness from people and police. They seemed to be trying to reduce the awful prejudices about their country and trying to make it a better place.

The 29 day long trek to the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, was naturally also an unforgettable expierience, surrounding holy Mount Kailash in Tibet, and driving by bicycle over the highest passes in the world (some of them over 5000m) was indiscribably beautiful.

We can mostly tell good things about the people we met on our journey. The problems of this world are caused mostly by lack of knowledge. So education is very important for people. A good example is Pakistan. The land suffers due to over population which is growing up very fast. But religion forbids the people to take contraceptives to avoid pregnancy. They say children are a gift of god and the more children the better, besides they can help their parents when they get old. Often people asked us why we don't have children and prayed that Allah might give us children. They didn't seem to understand, that it's very difficult to pull a baby carriage behind a bicycle!    andreaslina(at)yahoo.de