“Her secret of success is that she did it all with passion.”
After a year between India and Nepal I couldn’t be more excited to start the rest of this trip in Europe. Though the culture may not be so “crazy” or different than my own in many parts, I have come to realize that what I am really in search of are good people and beautiful mountains. Though I know nearly nothing about Georgia or Armenia, from what others have told me, these countries will provide a wonderful starting point for our gigantic European tour (yes, our plans have indeed changed again). Kevin and I plan to continue on through Turkey (where my brother and best friend will join us for a few weeks during Christmas) and Eastern Europe before heading up to Finland and, after crossing the arctic circle, make our way down Norway. After heading back down through Denmark we plan to traverse the Alps and Italy, eventually ending our two year European tour in Spain and Portugal as well as Morocco (yes yes, I know it’s part of Africa not Europe) for as many months as we please. Sounds fun, right?!
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine: it is lethal.”
When we woke up to an overcast sky on our sixth day of cycling we were relieved for a reprieve from the ever-present high altitude sun we have been constantly cycling under. Of course the clouds did turn into a rain storm, but surprisingly enough it still turned out to be our best day yet.
“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.”
The famous Leh to Manali highway was a wonderful 500km ride which combined tough high altitude cycling with beautiful Himalayan camping. This ten day adventure took us over five very high passes (including the second highest pass in the world) and led us out of the arid Himalayas and into the green foothills below. Best of all, since this route is so popular amongst world touring cyclists, we met nearly a dozen tourers just like us.
“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”
The last few days before Leh proved to be more difficult than we had thought. After completing two passes in a day, we figured we would have an easy two days out, gaining only about 500m of elevation in order to reach Leh, the capital of Ladakh and a pleasant tourist city situated in the mountains. Boy were we wrong! Instead of simply gaining the elevation we needed, we instead climbed another two unofficial passes, gaining and loosing 600m… Twice. And that doesn’t even include the smaller ups and downs which lead us through this high desert terrain. It wasn’t simply the altitude (3,500-4,000m) that was difficult either, it was the extremely intense heat (40c) beating down on us constantly and, as we were really in a desert, there was no shade or water.