BruceLis Orient Express,Canada,1

Istanbul was fabulous!  There was so much to see and do there – and with only two days available to us – I didn’t get around to finishing my blog, so here is the final installment (for this particular trip).  Later on, after I get organized, I’ll post some pictures (somewhere) then notify everyone.  I’m sure you’ll all be waiting with bated breath for that!  🙂

I found the food in Turkey very much to my taste – very Meditteranean.  We’ve had kofte (small marinated grilled hamburger patties) with really heavy goat yoghurt and nice salads.  Also a Turkish fast food called borek (with two dots above the o) – long twists of filled filo pastry (potato, ground beef, onions, cheese, etc) that are chopped into bite-size pieces.  Real Turkish Delight made with honey and, of course, baklava – but not the sickly sweet kind we get at home – the honey is lighter tasting and not so heavy with it as we usually have.  Chay and apple tea are given freely everywhere we go.  (For example, Bruce was waiting for me outside a washing machine shop and the salesman in there ordered tea for him while they stood there chatting by ringing an electric buzzer set on a wall outside a few shops down from his).   People here have been very friendly and interested in us.  Cem, the Turkish rep for Orient Express, who has been a great help to us, comes from Kirklareli and his family is known to everyone so he was determined that we should have a friendly reception here, I think.

Speaking of which, the civic reception last night was held at the camper’s location (which many held to be the worst campsite of all being on such public display to all the townsfolk) beside the railway tracks.  There was an Assistant Governor or something who welcomed us and a fellow who heads up a Sports federation and I sat and chatted to the local rabbi, an 80 year old and his 78 year old wife.  They both spoke Spanish so we were able to have some good communication while, in the background (and sometimes, it seems, right in your face) we heard the loud, electronic calls of the muezzins from the many minarets around us.  The rabbi said that Moslems and Jews are like brothers in this area, which was a pleasure to hear.   They were a delightful couple – very playful in their comments.

We did a convoy ride out of Kirklareli in the morning – not really necessary (but I think it was because the head of the Sports Fed wanted to lead us out on his bike) to commence our final three-day stage to Istanbul.  The temperature “cooled off” a bit to the lower thirties (!) with a nice breeze on our day off in Kirklareli that turned into some fairly hefty headwinds on the way out in the morning.  Just a “short” day, too – only 78 Kms to Saray and we were in by 1pm.  The cooler temperatures are great and the hills today have become “rollers” – almost a kilometre up, then a kilometre down, then another close to a kilometre up and back down again.  The winds made it a bit of a slog for me, but otherwise a very nice ride.  We’re in a nice, clean, modern hotel tonight (everyone) instead of camping.  That’s welcome.  The hotel has been recently renovated although there was no hot water when we arrived.  (I didn’t care – on these really hot days I kind of like a cold shower on arrival!)

The boss of Tour d’Afrique, Henry, arrived yesterday to finish off the ride – and maybe to look after his 82 year mother, too, who was imposed upon our group at Budapest and has created a few problems since.  I plan to bring this up in my feedback to Tour d’Afrique because we feel she distracted the attention of the staff when they needed to be concentrating on rider’s issues (after all, they are the paying customers).  She was using a seat in the sag wagon which resulted in, on ‘The Longest Day’, one of our riders who had wanted to sag half way through the day being asked to ride on, much to her dismay.  None of us could understand the thinking in having this lady along with us just to ride in the van and it has caused some resentment in the group.   (Although anyone who has studied Group Dynamics will realize that she provided a timely focus for our resentment at a stage when we might, otherwise, have turned it upon ourselves.) 

Jon cooked a wonderful dinner at the back of the hotel in Saray.  It was his own birthday and I have a great picture of him holding up the leg of lamb he was cooking – while his cooking area was surrounded by a flock of sheep!  The hotel staff invited us to come inside to eat our meal at their tables, but we sat outside on our little three-legged stools in the dusty parking lot instead.   I took a photo of three delightful young boys who ‘adopted’ us that I tried to get printed in a number of places so they could each have a copy, but sadly I couldn’t get it done.

From Saray to Tayakadin was a 90 Km ride and we had been forewarned that we would be bush camping with no facilities.  Go figure – many of us thought it was actually the best campground we have been in!   All our tents were pitched in the shade of trees, and there was a little shack on the far side of the open grounds that sold icecream and cold drinks and potato chips (basic food groups for riders!), plus there was a Turkish toilet (porcelain hole in the floor) and our staff had fixed up a “shower” area with tarps and buckets of water, and there was a fantastic view across the valley and up to the hills beyond with a lovely sunset so we really couldn’t want for more!  (Apparently, last year, the same campground was a complete quagmire in heavy rain and downright miserable with all kinds of bugs and slugs taking shelter under everyone’s tents that had then to be put away wet and mud laden.  Boy, have we ever been lucky with the weather – in spite of the heat wave!)

With very many thanks to Dave (who let us have his old tent to use after he bought a new one en route), we said goodbye to our replacement tent at Tayakadin.  We gave it, with Dave’s permission, to the people who ran the little shop in the field at the campground who were delighted to have it.   (Our own tent, just in case you’re interested, “is STILL in the mail” to Canada – we think!)

FINAL DAY:  Scheduled to be a short ride to Istanbul – maybe 55 Kilometres.  I carefully wrote down the instructions (as everyone did – except Bruce – each day), and the plan was to meet the vans at the Bosphorus (at a town named Sariyer) then convoy in through the busy traffic of Istanbul.  There were about six of us riding together, with five of us telling Bruce (who was in front) that we were heading the wrong way, but would he stop?  No!  We should have all turned around and left him to go his own (lost) way, but that was not the decision of the group.  (Bruce has, since, been rudely calling us “Sheep” for following him whenever he tells the tale, so probably we should have left him.  But the point was to stay together so that there wouldn’t be a whole bunch of us lost in different directions for our leaders to have to gather up.)   Anyway, we finally got him stopped in a nasty industrial town, where I flagged down a police car to ask for directions.  By the time we got back to (roughly) where we had taken a wrong turning, we were about 20 Kms out of our way but saw the van coming back looking for us, as everyone was waiting at Sariyer for us to join up with the convoy.  We were told it was all uphill from this point, so I opted to jump in the van to save some time getting to the top as everyone had been waiting for us for a while.  I’m sorry I did that now as it would have been a lovely ride (through forest and over the top to a spectacular view of the ocean) and I’m disappointed that I didn’t do the whole thing on the final day.  However, I don’t feel that I ‘sagged’ because I still got in more miles than the main group did by taking our ‘detour’.    I will say, however, that this is the last time I stick with Bruce when I know he’s going the wrong way as he has been so rude about it – next time I’m going to just peel off and let him go!  So there!  🙂

However, riding into Istanbul was a real treat!  It was all along the water front and beautiful!  Past an incredible, huge castle, and luxury boats and old houses.  I was thrilled!    People were waving and shouting hello and one person called out that they had read about us in the paper.  As to the actual end of the ride, I would have to say that the old quote:  “So this is how the world ends – not with a bang but with a whimper” would be appropo.  There was no group photo of our arrival in Istanbul and no Tour cycle shirts handed out (Tour d’Afrique had gone to another supplier in Poland rather than use Sugoi again who were a bit more expensive) and the shirts had not arrived in Istanbul.  On arrival in front of our hotel there was much hugging and joint congratulations and we all headed for the bar to hoist a couple (we’ve been very circumspect about alcohol intake while it’s been so hot as it dehydrates so much, so these were very much appreciated, long-awaited drinks!).  That night, Tour d’Afrique put on a celebratory dinner for us at a lovely upstairs, outdoor restaurant on the very busy waterfront.  A huge mosque was right in front of us, and a fireworks display took place later on.  The huge bridge to the Asian side of Istanbul was immediately to our left and has a lovely changing light show.  Some of us have a couple of days to enjoy Istanbul and others are leaving immediately.  Two of our group are going on with Tour d’Afrique’s Istanbul to Beijing Tour that starts on the 4th or 5th August, so very good luck to you both, Isabel and Christine – we’ll look forward to reading about it as you go!

I’m not going to write about Istanbul in this blog – there is way too much to describe and this is already long enough.  It’s a fabulous, interesting, exotic, friendly place and I would happily return to explore it in more detail.    People continued to be very friendly and generous to us throughout our stay and we have an excellent impression of the place.

I’ve really enjoyed doing the ride across Europe, but I’m not sure that I would recommend this particular tour to anyone I know – I don’t think they’d thank me for some of the discomforts and the more “rustic” portions of the trip!   I think that trying to be all things to all people (“Comfort Tour” riders and “Adventure Tour” (i.e. camping all the way) riders is like trying to operate two very different tours within one and I think it posed some headaches for the staff.   All in all though, I’ve enjoyed it, especially the people we were with and I’d like to thank them all now for being such good company and so mutually supportive.   And hey, I got some new muscles on my legs out of this trip, too – bonus!

Thanks for checking in from time to time and thank you everyone for your positive and encouraging comments throughout!   I’ve got photos from Passau to the end of the ride now posted, but am still awaiting my first CD of pictures that I mailed in a big parcel from Vienna, so will post those once I receive it.

Posted from Canada:

you have 66 comments

roger
… pedalling …pedalling … through cultures …through memories … through millenium … through lifetimes … pedalling into the moon … pedalling on …

20 Feb 2008
Panko
Hi Li,
Great photos and I like the humor that you added. If you give a talk/video presentation please let us know.
Panko

28 Sep 2007
Hewes Agnew
Hi Lee and Bruce. I am finally home in Billings and have convenient access to a computer. I think your pictures are terrific and the comments as well. Great getting to know you and hope there will be another opportunity in the future. All the best, Hewes

29 Aug 2007
Dave Cotton
Hi Lee Great pics and even better comments. I think the dude at the Blue Mosque was onto something when he looked down Bruces skirt…. You guys were great. I will keep in touch.

20 Aug 2007
pam and Alan
wonderful pictures,great information,just thoroughly enjoyed your trip from our armchairs,luv Alan and Pam.

10 Aug 2007
Justyn
I like your photos – they’re great! Wish I’d done the whole trip now! Justyn

09 Aug 2007
Big Sis
Great pics, Lee! I’ve already congratulated you on completing the trip, but it can never be enough! So, Bruce, gonna change careers to be an almost naked electrician, huh? The real point though is, did you get it to work? See you both soon, to hear all about it.

09 Aug 2007
MICHAEL SHEPPARD
WOW… WHAT A TRIP…. CAN’T WAIT TO CATCH UP TO MY SISTER JACKIE, AND BROTHER IN LAW, JULIAN…THANKS FOR THE WONDERFUL PHOTO’S… WELLDONE!MICHAEL SHEPPARD

09 Aug 2007
Brendan
Great pics! There’s no way I’d survive a ride like that, but it gives me some ideas of places to see when I get into the travel portion of my life. Despite the toil, everyone seems pretty happy in the pictures. Thats a goood sign.

09 Aug 2007
Claire Parker
Great pictures Li! It was really nice to see the photos from the 2nd part of the tour. It looks like you had an amazing journey. You have my full respect and admiration for accomplishing such a challenging ride. I’m not sure I could have done it.

07 Aug 2007
Carol Bailey
Li – I have really enjoyed your blog during your adventure. why not put your blog with your pictures and make them into a book. Travel & bike shop patrons would love it. Glad you are home safe and sound. An overall comment would be – WOW.
Carol

06 Aug 2007
Bob & GeriNeiswander
Congratulations you guys!
Thanks for the geography lesson and adventure writing. We visited Annies blog for more stuff. She’s a clever girl.
Well done from Bob and Geri.
What next 🙂

01 Aug 2007
les
Bruce & Li …Well you’ve made it by now. I’m so impressed. The heat & climbing must have been unbearable. You guys are all amazing special people….I so wish I were there with you in Istanbul.Happy birthday again, I’ve seen pix of the cake….OOOOO…les

29 Jul 2007
Dzidra
Hi Li
This may be third message – belated happy birthday. Jeff flying to Istanbul on 27th and will be there until 31st. Dzidra

27 Jul 2007
Claire Parker
Hello Li,No I haven’t left any messages without signing my name. But a Happy belated birthday to you and Bob. I love reading all the blogs and admire the determination to make it to the end in spite of horrible riding conditions (and sleeping conditions). Miss everyone – may the wind be at your backs!

26 Jul 2007
les
Li & Bruce…. I’m totally impressed that you all have managed to do such difficult rides with heat/drivers/dogs/hill etc and still keep at it. Happy birthday to Li, Bob & Jon…Still miss everyone, but not so much the ride !!! Have fun in Istanbul. My congratulations on an incredible accompolishment…

26 Jul 2007
Caroline
Funnily enough I thought that maybe they should do Istanbul to Paris. Just think of the vineyards as a destination….Caro

25 Jul 2007
Bev
Just wanted to acknowledge that I read todays blog! I sent you an email via your own email address. Yep, these last days (since Romania, I guess) sound like pure, unmitigated hell from a physical point of view. Maybe they should do Istanbul to Paris, and then at least you get the rewards of better facilities and accommodations towards the end of the ride. Still, I am sure the populace in their outgoing friendliness compensates a lot, eh? Hope you kept a diary of the trials and tribulations – specifically the heat – so that when Bruce suggests doing the Tour d’Afrique itself in a year to two, you will have the fortitude to say “No way, Jose”. If Eastern Europe can be difficult, imagine Africa!!!! But then I am shallow and basically lazy, tee hee.

25 Jul 2007
Marlene
I have been reading everyone’s travel blog and thoroughly enjoy them. I’m Jon’s mom. His birthday is on Friday, the 27th. Could you say hi to him for all of us at home and have a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Marlene

25 Jul 2007
c-bear
Hi ya Mumma! Thanks for your email :o) Guess we shouldn’t complain about all the rain we’ve been having then?!! Reid’s getting a little cagey, but the next few (hopefully more) days promise to be brighter… then summer will REALLY start! Love you lots and lots!

24 Jul 2007
Bev
Wow! That was quite a four day stretch eh? Good on you though, for doing as much of the peddling as you did! I’m impressed!! Those temperatures would have defeated me in a minute – just can’t handle that kind of heat, without adding cycling into the equation.
Took a look at Annie’s blog. Great pics! Some of the scenes look like they stepped right out of Fiddler on the Roof, at the turn of the last century!!!!Can’t believe that there is only a week left for you guys. It’s gone by quickly hasn’t it? But I’m sure it has been more than worth it. Are you flying home out of Istanbul, or ????

23 Jul 2007
Bev
Wow! That was quite a four day stretch eh? Good on you though, for doing as much of the peddling as you did! I’m impressed!! Those temperatures would have defeated me in a minute – just can’t handle that kind of heat, without adding cycling into the equation.
Took a look at Annie’s blog. Great pics! Some of the scenes look like they stepped right out of Fiddler on the Roof, at the turn of the last century!!!!Can’t believe that there is only a week left for you guys. It’s gone by quickly hasn’t it? But I’m sure it has been more than worth it. Are you flying home out of Istanbul, or ????

23 Jul 2007
Caro
Whew! Sounds like “fun”” Can’t wait to see your pictures.

22 Jul 2007
ClareJohnReidJayCars
HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!!!!! WE’RE SENDING YOU A BIG FAT BIRTHDAY HUG :o) WE LOVE YOU TONS AND TONS AND ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN SOON!!! DID YOU EVER THINK YOU’D BE WHERE YOU ARE NOW, ON YOUR BIRTHDAY??? WAY TO GO!!! WE’RE VERY PROUD OF YOU. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MUM!!
ALL OUR LOVE!
XXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXXXO

22 Jul 2007
Carol Bailey
Stamina — you have it. I am in awe. Keep safe.
Carol

19 Jul 2007
roger
hi Li,We do so enjoy your magnificant adventure.Your perserverance in the face of adversity is totally awesome. How you can write us all in such vividly interesting detail when you are feeling so rotten is nothing short of admireable. I do Pray for your good health. Hope your tent arrives pronto. Remember to keep you brakes on when going up the steep hills so as you don’t slip backwards. All is well here. affectionate regards, Roger and Carol.

19 Jul 2007
Jude
Hi Lee….got your postcard today! Thanks for thinking of me BUT when on a bus? Hmm?? We finally got summer here…been good and hot but rainy today. How are your legs holding out? Trust you to find a masseuse in the middle of “nowhere!” Hey, how’s the cow? Stay well, stay safe my friend.

18 Jul 2007
Caro
I was talking with Bev about Willyum. She’s going to be looking after them for the four days I’m away. She was here the other day when I was doing the box and she said she hadn’t believed me when I said how much work it was. I had to tell her that I sometimes have to do it twice a day. I had been wondering about doing THE DEED before I left, but she said not to. So, at least she knows what to expect.I had been thinking about a tattoo for about 20 years (told the tattooist that I had to wait for my parents to be gone) but actually it was a case of not knowing what to get. I figured if I couldn’t decide, then I obviously didn’t want it badly enough. I hadn’t realized that you could go in with a picture and they’d adapt it. So, I had a brilliant idea a month ago and now I’ve got a yellow rose for England and a yellow daffodil for Wales. The tattoo is about 1 1/2″ x 1″ and I got it over my heart. Ahhhhhh. Sometimes it peeps out from my neckline, but usually not. I’ve had more pain at the dentist, but not one that lasted so long. I did get a rush of adrenalin and I was sitting there with gritted teeth thinking – what shall I get next” And that lasted till I got home. No, I don’t think I shall get another one. Did Bev tell you that we have another cousin over here” Uncle Arthur’s daughter Christine and her family live in Duncan now. Remember Carl from Uncle Ed’s funeral” Christine is his mum. Bev and I are trying to get together for coffee with her.

17 Jul 2007
Caro
I quite agree that’s the only thing to do when the going gets tuff. As you probably guessed I haven’t been very good about checking the blogs. I didn’t really expect that you’d spend the time at a keyboard. I went to Mathausen too. If you can imagine a bus load of rambunctious Aussies being silent, you’ll know how it affected us to. Good quote about not learning from history.
I got a tattoo the other day. Really happy with it. I’m in quandary about Willyum – I think he’s forgotten what the biffy-box is for. I can’t put up with it much longer. But that’s the only problem with him – he’s still active (at least for him), and curious about stuff, but he always has to be sitting with me touching him so I know he ain’t feeling well. It’s been five months since he was diagnosed. Off to Dawson Creek in two weeks for the wedding. I guess you are back soon after that. Callouses and all.

13 Jul 2007
Bev
I’ll say one thing for you LianaJ – you do have some interesting things to tell us! I love reading them. Really nice that some, if not all, the preconceived ideas about a country have bitten the dust (along with your butt). It’s hard to remember at times that all those Eastern European countries have been functioning for aeons, and it is only the more “over the top” humans that have denigrated them in the eyes of the rest of the world, eh? I really do envy you the sights and sounds you are experiencing, but, and this is a big but, I could no more do the cycle tour than I could flap my arms and fly! It’d have to be motorized transport for me, with possibly sightseeing trips along legit cycle paths, i.e. along the Danube. Anyway, gotta go! Retired I may be but still got things to do! Oh yes, Caro took a trip down memory lane last night, and went to see, again, the Moody Blues. I have never been able to appreciate them the way she always has, but c’est la vie, oui?Do make an effort to break your record of one fall, one country! Be nice if you arrived home without too many cuts, scrapes etc. Love, B

10 Jul 2007
Les
Li…amazing long day…142 kms. I expect your legs will become like Dave’s. Love reading yours & Annie’s blogs. Not quite as good as being there though.Driving to BC to visit my sons in Victoria (at UVic) in August. Hope to do some more interesting biking than in Ontario…….boring !!!!!!Sorry to hear about Dick’s tumble. However you seem to be practising the art..Do be careful.Keep writing..the more the merrier..helps with the still ongoing rehab here (& with Claire too I suspect. BTW She contacted Maureen who made it home with bike intact)………les

09 Jul 2007
travelblog
Hi
Please ask people to fill in the “your email (optional)” box with an email when they post a comment then you will be able to reply!
Brian

09 Jul 2007
Bev
Howdy:Just had an evil thought today! July is the mega month for b’days. So, got Reid, you (am mailing yours to Summit Drive), Phil’s cards. Then of course, there is Kathleen and Andrew’s wedding on 28th. I am not going but Caro is. I just couldn’t run to the cost of it for 2-3 nights. Caro is flying there and back. Deb is driving up to Nanaimo tomorrow with Nicole for a Dragon Boat race. She couldn’t take part in todays events cos she had to drive Tony back to the airport. He has been here for 8 days. The two of them went to watch a game of lacrosse (Reid) and hooked up with John and Clare for supper afterwards. I gather that they liked Tony, and it was certainly mutual – he described Clare as “absolutely beautiful, with classic grace”. John he described as the “salt of the earth” type, with the kind of personality that you know instinctively that you can trust.Howzat then? This from a guy who’se professional credentials are all about personalities and behavioural blah blah blah. I know I enjoyed meeting him immensely. Deb has 3 weeks of drama camps starting Monday and then she is off to Toronto for the rest of the summer. Had a bit of a shopping spree over the past week (my first week of freedom), buying stuff for the cruise. I hate shopping for clothes – and yes, I know it shows, when one looks at my closet – but apart from a good winter jacket now, I am all set for another few years, tee hee heeTake care, keep the blogs rolling, Love

08 Jul 2007
Les
Li & Bruce et al: I guess you’ll be in Timisoara when you read this. I WISH I WERE THERE WITH ALL OF YOU !!!!!. I’ve been following along in the guidebook so I know you’ll have done 3 longish days…although the best is still to come.Hope everyone on the tour is healthy & no major mechanicals. The transition to the Real world is the PITS !! I much prefer being a 10 year old on a bike in Europe, without a care in the world…especially with all you other 10 year olds…(well maybe 8 yr old in Dave’s case.)Say hi to all for me…Enjoy your adventure….Keep writing..it helps with the rehab … ….les

08 Jul 2007
Claire Parker
You wouldn’t believe how much I miss riding with you guys. It’s hard to read your blog. I just want to jump on a plane and re-join you. I will be jumping on a plane in a few days to go to Calgary and drive out to B.C. I’m almost over jet lag. I ran 10km today and Les and I cycled 85 the day before. We’re getting used to our Canadian bumpy roads and flat and somewhat dismal landscape. No quaint villages to come across, or wonderful pastries to sample. No schloss’ to oogle. Sounds like you have some challenging days ahead. When you get back could I please have Bruce’s wheel?????? Say hello to Randy, Piotr, Jon, Dean and Gaelen. And everyone on the tour. I think of you guys every day.

04 Jul 2007
Bev
Hmmmm! How come Claire and Karen(?) get acknowledged for being in touch and not moi, Hmmm???? Every time you have posted another message on your blog, I have sent a reply. I know you cannot possible write to everyone, but, acknowledgement would be good. Also, tell Randy we need more photos!! Hee hee. Haven’t seen any since Austria! I guess Bruce keeps riding off into the sunset (read sunrise) on his own cos he goes at a faster pace, yes? Sounds like you could use the multitude of rest days recently enjoyed AFTER the 145 and 150 click rides. How did you make out? My butt and thighs are actually almost aching in sympathy. Love,

04 Jul 2007
Claire Parker
Hello Li and Bruce,Had a little trouble getting onto your blog as I did not read the fine print and was typing in your first and last name. Anyway, we made it back to Canada in one piece. Bicycles survived the airline baggage handlers, but my “permanent” bag was misplaced, possibly in Toronto. A bit of concern as all my cycling clothes were in that bag. Gladly, it was found and delivered to my house two days after my return. We had an hour and a half delay on the tarmac in Toronto waiting for our pilots who had been delayed on some other flight. I was a little fried when we landed in Montreal after being awake for 24 hours. Oh yes, then there was the 2 hour drive home from the airport. It was so great to get home and see my family and dogs. And eat the best steak I’ve ever had accompanied with “spargel” and sleep on something that was a little softer than a thermarest. But I do miss all you guys and the cycling and the castles and all the interesting sites. I am following the blogs wishing I was still there. I hope you can get to the internet once and awhile. Bike safe!!

02 Jul 2007
Karen White-Smith
Hi Li and Bruce,
John and I made an uneventful trip back to Halifax. It was good to slide into our own beds and see our sons. However, I sorely miss the riding and the friendships that we made. Many times throughout the day I wonder where the group is and what delightful sights you may be enjoying (not to mention what food you may be tasting). We are getting back into the swing of things at home and it is back to work tomorrow. This morning we went out for a bike ride with our Club; on the return we watched as very dark and threating thunder clouds rolled in from the north and sure enough few large drops started to spill out of the sky when I heard John and a couple of others calling from a roadside veranda. It was reminescent of racing with the rains in Germany; what fun that was.
It sounds as though all is going well with the tour. I am looking forward to reading updates your, Randy’s and Annie’s blogs. Please say ‘hi’ to everyone and let them know we are missing them.
Bye for now,
Karen

02 Jul 2007
Bev
Hi: Just a quick note: I am now officially retired, and celebrated with Brunch with Deb and Tony at the Grand Oceanfront Resort in Cowichan Bay today. Deb and Tony met up with and had supper with Clare, John and Reid, on Friday after watching Reid’s lacrosse game. Just found out via Evelyn that another of our cousin’s, Christine, and her husband, Ron and daughter Dawn, have now emigrated (in March) and are living in Duncan. Also Carl, their son, who we all met at Uncle Ed’s funeral years ago, is also now living in Duncan and works as an instructor at Camosun College. Christine is one of Uncle Arthur’s daughters. Caro and I have both been in touch with Chris and plan to meet her for coffee sometime soon. Now it is off to the fireworks at the Inner Harbour. Hope the tour is still rolling along sans problems. Love, B

02 Jul 2007
Roger & Carol
enjoying your journal very much.We can see Bruce is acting “NORMALLY”.Good for him and “keep it up” from us.

29 Jun 2007
Bev
Vienna and Mauthausen! What a contrast? Still, I do know what you mean about the ex-camp. I went thru Belsen Bergen when I lived in Germany, and I thought that was very traumatizing. Pity that we cannot make visits to such places mandatory for all people, but especially politicians or potential leaders! Maybe then, we could stop this constant cycle of racial genocide.I showed the photo’s from the Blog to Hildegarde – she was quite emotional seeing something of her home country. However, I gave her the info re Tour d’Afrique since she was absolutely blown away by it and her and her partner Simon (an Englishman) are very enthusiastic cyclists!Today is my last day of employment, as well as Deb’s birthday. Oh, how sweet it is? Of course, I will miss a lot of the people I have worked with, but I certainly wont miss the politics of health care.The farewell pot luck lunch was yesterday as a lot of my colleagues, including the boss, are not there today. Wow! You should have seen the food! Exceptional! My main parting gift was a three performance ticket to Pacific Opera Victoria for the coming season. Splendiferous! Since I don’t remember ever speaking of opera at work, it was a wonderful surprise. There were a number of smaller gifties, mostly of the joke variety; but my fellow clerk, Robin, made two full size pillows of faux leopardskin fur, with Esa’s photo scanned and copied to fabric on one, and Tasha’s on the other. Not the kind of thing I would have bought, but the thought and work involved was lovely. Tasha is sleeping on the Esa cushion right now, so hopefully my feline friends will adopt them and maybe, just maybe, leave the furniture alone! Hmmmmmmmmmmm!Anyway, I enjoy your blogs, so keep ’em coming! Love B

29 Jun 2007
John Capon
Hi Li and Bruce,Well I finally found your blog. Wow! you guys are having quite a trip. Li, your reports are great. Sounds like you are both happy and enjoying yourselves.We flew to Banff on Wed., May 23 to join Rachel who was doing the Jazz Orchestra Workshop there. We stayed at the Banff Centre. I played in the final concert which was fantastic and it was very special to share the stage with Rachel (along with 30 others)Gettig ready for Summer Jazz Academy/2007. This will be our 21 year doing it. I think I got it right this time. Nice to have Rachel home for a bit. Her boyfriend Ken will be staying here for 6 weeks starting July 1. They are planning to drive east middle of August.I walk through your place on Berry Point Rd. about every three days. All OK there.I know you wont believe this but I do miss you guys.Take care of each other please.John (with Tawny and Rachel on the side.)

28 Jun 2007
Clare
Hi ya Mum!! Sounds WONDERFUL!! Been trying to see pix on the blog website, but keeps coming up as an error…. ah well! I’m sure it’ll be not so busy come evening… looks like there’s a caption regarding Bruce ;O) Love you lots! Clare

26 Jun 2007
Bev
Guten tag! Got your postcard from Regensburg today, thanks.Nice photo of Bruce eating his tyre! Tee hee hee! Thought you said you were eating well? Poor man! Then I read Randy’s latest blog, to find the meals recently have included duck in orange glaze sause. Harrumph! What is wrong with this picture? I don’t know of any other person who could eat that richly in a campsite. I forwarded the photo gallery blog address to myself at work, so that I could show the pics to a colleague – Hildegarde. She was born and raised in a small village near Kitzbuhl. She was thrilled to see the photo’s of Germany as well, as she spent a lot of her time visiting there. She got quite klempt with a bout of homesickness.
Caro gave me an autographed pic of Jose Carreras for my birthday, so when you get to Vienna, say hello to his home away from home – i.e. the Vienna Statsoperhaus, for me, eh?Just 3 more working days until RETIREMENT!!!!!Love, B

26 Jun 2007
Jude
Bruce blew a what?? He blew who? Can’t believe you’re doing this….Camp Nazi….whatever happened to the Holiday Inn? I still say you’re either completely nuts or very adventurous and brave…guess the latter. No matter what happens at the end of your life Lee, you can always say you lived my friend. Take care of yourself…what an adventure. Hope the rim on Bruce’s martini glass is working well now. Carry on!Jude
xxoo

25 Jun 2007
Bob and Irene
Hi Guys, We read your exciting story and are exhausted, however, we didn’t loose any weight! Li, you write so much better than the “big one”. Your descriptions are alive with adjectives and colour. It seems as if we are right there with you feeling not only the wind and rain but also sipping the wine. You realize, didn’t you, that when captain Bruce made a “Huey” in front of his harem, he was not only impressing them but also keeping then on their toes! What a Guy! Take care and have a fun time. Irene and Bob

23 Jun 2007
Phil
Hey lee and Bruce,
Am enjoying you blogs and also Randy’s, Sure got a funny look from someone when i mentioned ” my sister is currently peddle-ing her butt across Europe” next time i will use the word ‘cycling’. Anyways … Way to go! You’ve go a ways to go, and i gotta go too! TTFN, Phil

22 Jun 2007
Lee
Hi, good luck with the cigarette thing and thanks for your comments. Will write blog tomorrow with latest stuff, so won`t stop right now. Just got into Linz, Austria, had a shower and heading out for dinner.
Bye fer now,
luv, Lee

22 Jun 2007
Jeannie and Lowell
Greetings from Gabriola
All is well on the home front. We have been following your trip and are totally impressed with your cycling skills, Li. Bruce I’m sure it was a ride in the park(or in this case the parque) for you. Together with Bev and Mark, we were thinking of you tonight( and enjoying a bottle of wine or two in your honor). We look forward to more cycling chronicles. Prost from Jeannie and Lowell
.

22 Jun 2007
Bev
Hi: Yep, I am being very good and checking the blog every second day, mainly for the photo’s and Randy P’s synopsis. I also check your blog at the same time. Velly interesting!!! Some fantastic scenery, eh? Only seen two pics of you and Bruce so far, elbows in the bent position, as comes so naturally to the pair of you. It’s good that you are enjoying it though Lee, despite not being as dedicated a cyclist as your significant other.
Clare forwarded me some photo’s she took of our dinner at Il Terrazzo. Waiting to see Phil and Barb’s. Gotta kick the cigs though, so I can get rid of all the extra weight thereafter. Not worth doing it the other way around cos I’d just put it all back on again. I am hopeful that once I have retired I wont have the stressors in my life that work created, so keep your fingers crossed for me – when you are not actually cycling, that is.
Love

20 Jun 2007
Shirley Hill
Hi Liana: Really enjoying your blogs especially as my brother, Bob Burgis, is along for the ride! Take care and have a safe trip!

20 Jun 2007
bob neiswander
Hi Li,
Bob and Geri here in Oz following your epic jouney on the blog site. Sounds like you’re getting the hang of cycling – do or die, eh? 🙂
Give our regards to Bruce. We wish you good luck and blue skies for the rest of your journey. Take care.
Your mates down under,
Bob and Geri

18 Jun 2007
Colin
I emailed you on your home address so now I’ll try this one. We enjoy reading your blogs. Congrats, Li, on managing the climbs and long rides!
We’ll be at Gab. on Aug 2nd so won’t be able to meet you.
C & M

18 Jun 2007
Bev
Lee & Bruce:Way to go kiddo! I feel saddle sore just reading of your climbs and bruises. Got a chuckle out of your description of Bruce’s leadership skills – I’m imagining bikes and people spraying out in all directions – a la the Snowbirds, eh?Thanks for the birthday card – got it in plenty of time! Had a great meal at Il Terrazzo with Phil, Barb, Caro, Clare, John and Deb. Got lotsa moolah as gifts, so have already been shopping for clothes for our cruise – some great sales on right now. Went to Milestones for lunch on the Sunday before Phil and Barb had to leave for Abbotsford. It’s Barb’s birthday today, incidentally.Anyway keep pedalling, keep enjoying and try to keep the bruise quotient down, eh? Lotsa love

18 Jun 2007
Clare
Glad to hear that things are going so good Mum!! We’re thankful that you’re keeping us all updated :o) Love, from all of us!

17 Jun 2007
Frankie & Mike
Hi Folks,
Glad I finally figured out how to access your blog site. You must be having the most amazing time.

13 Jun 2007
Clare
Way to go, Mum! Thanks for keeping us in touch…. the kids are enjoying it ;o)

11 Jun 2007
Caro
Hi, I won’t reply to each message, but it’s good to know you’re enjoying yourself. Caro

06 Jun 2007
mbgodfrey@shaw.ca
Ciao Bruce and Li We have arrived home safe and sound – amazing how fast and smoothly from Athens to Frankfurt to Calgary to Vancouver to Nanaimo to Gabriola. 30 degrees in Athens when we left and 26 degrees here – not bad – only the jet lag to deal with. Gabriola looks fabulous and green and the gardens more than survived our absence, especially the weeds. Mark is now getting Honker ready to depart and I am looking after home and hearth for the next few weeks. Gillian graduates this coming Thursday from UVic – BA Economics with distinction. Geoff and Angie & granddaughter Cadie coming up from California and we will have a Gabriola style bBQ to celebrate with all the family and some of Gill’s friends. Glad you are off to a good start. We saw many a scam in Italy and the one that we laughed hardest at is some “tourist” hailed Mark over to the side of 8 lanes of traffic in Rome to ask for instructions which Mark gave in full (we had at this point been there 3 days) He then tells us hes a fashion designer from Quebec here on a conference and he wanted to give me a gift to thank me. Asked my size and produced a lovely looking leather jacked and just as we were walking away ooh la la he was out of gas could we please give him some money to get him to the nearest petrol station. We emptied our pockets (of sure) and gave him the equivalent of several euros which of course was not enough. At this point I returned the jacket and he drove off. Well keep smiling, pedaling and look forward to hearing from you soon. BEV & MARK

02 Jun 2007
william & christine
appears that this is working – bon voyage… ketchup on yor ret.

27 May 2007
Clare
Hi ya Mum! We’re very proud of you and praying that you’ll have a safe trip! I know you could out peddle any one of us!!!
love, Clare&John and da’ boys

22 May 2007
Dzidra & John
Hi Li and BruceLook forward to your descriptions, hope you’ll have enough energy at the end of the day. Jeff is halfway through his Mt Everest base camp tour, he was able to send an sms from 3600m. Happy and safe trip.

21 May 2007
John Capon
Hi Li,Seems to be working fine. Looking forward to more entrys. Have a great trip.
We will be posting some wedding pics soon.John

21 May 2007
Irene and Bob
Hi Li,
We got your message. The trip is going to keep YOU busy. What is Mister Bruce going to do with HIS spare time? Nothing changes does it! By the way, we have a pup tent. Good canvass plus two 24″ support poles. You will have to find some pegs, maybe spare spokes would suffice! Refuse to allow him to peddle the bull, just the bike. Have a great trip.
Irene and Bob

21 May 2007
well
well

21 Jan 2007
me
hi

21 Jan 2007
18 Oct 2011 – start of travelblog

posted Friday August 2007

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