From Garden Eden to the big town Panama City

Some days ago I uploaded some pictures of the Garten Eden without telling you about this place, whee we met Patrick, who lived in Leipzig and owned an organic shop before he left Germany. Finally he settled down in Uvita, a little village at the Pacific. After managing a hostel, he began to build the Garden Eden. Two German girls and one american guy stayed at this place as well and because of having a nice atmosphere at this place and inspiring conversations, we stayed there for three nights. All the guests helped him during the morning to build up a roof in the front of its house, clean up the house, water the garden and do some other tasks. Therefore we could it ate and sleep at his place. During our stay we only ate raw food, so vegan and nothing cooked. But we always conjure tasty stuff like Guacamole, hummus, smoothies and different kinds of salads. The house itself was an open house, so most of the „rooms“ had no walls around. I slept in a hammock for the first time and felt quite comfortable. On our last afternoon the visit of the nearby waterfall was beautiful as well and refreshing compared to the temperature of the warm ocean.
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The trip had to go on and we went on to pedal down south. The next two nights we slept in the backyard of locals, whose hospitality is amazing. They offered us juice as well as fruits and water. Using their bathroom seemed to be the most common thing on earth. Well, this is how it should be, right?
In between we had to cross the first border and so we were curious if all things will work. After we had to pay the exit tax, we had to get the exit stamp on the side of Costa Rica. With this we went to the border, where they wanted us to show them a proof, that we will leave the country. Neither we had a flight ticket, nor any other proof. So they wanted us to show them our credit card or 500 $. We were prepared and so we could pass to Panama without any bigger problems.
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One of the highlights in Panama, were the stay in Gualaca and the visit of the surrounding area. We stayed at a german woman, who one lived in Remscheid. She took us on a tour to her favourite places. A little canyon, a waterfall and two suspension bridges as well as a resort with rented houses and a tree house, operated by an old American guy with his young well-trained partner from Panama.

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The next day we slept in a police station right next to the Panamericana, and as a present we got a pineapple right according to the motto of the police „protect & serve“.
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One day before reaching Panama City we asked again at a police station near Coronado and again the served us. A policeman drove through the town to ask for an accommodation for us, returned and escorted us to the place. What a service.
Today we reached Panama City and it was really amazing to cross el Puente de las Américas, very impressive and one of the highlights so far.
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The next days we will spent in the city before we will go up the channel to Portobello, where we want to catch a boat to Cartagena.

Well, how is it goin with my tyres, I got asked. One day after I wrote my entry about all the breakdowns, it became better,BUT it was not the end of this episode. A thunderstorm was going to show up and so it was the perfect time to have another flat tyre. Unfortunately Paula also didn’t realized that my misfortune pounced on me again. This time nails of a stapler wanted to have a look into my outer tyre to greet the tube. I found three of them stucked in the outer tyre. And although the procedure of getting out the tube, close the leak and reset my tyre became a ritual during these days, the rain came faster then I could get back on my bike. But I was lucky, cause I found a shelter before an intense rain in combination with thunderbolt began to rage. So, I needed a new repair kit and from that day on the fortne find its way back to me. 🙂

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I updated the map with the marks of our night stops, which you can find here.

More pictures can be found on my Flickr Account.

Stadt, Land, Fluss, Meer

..or also San José, Puriscal, Rio Parita, Pacific and so much more inbetween. A week passed and I don’t know where to begin and where to end my Post.
For the flight everything went totally fine, no problems to enter Costa  Rica and my lovely bike didn’t get hurt. I rebuilt my companion and was navigated 30 kilometres through San José to my first destination in the eastern part of the town. The Ticos call their town Chepe, which is the nickname of José and a term of endearment. I really enjoyed the time with the people I met and I got rid of my jetlag. The town itself I didn’t like that much, a lot of traffic coming with dirty air, rather less beautiful houses and not many green parts. And although the appearance of the town couldn’t give me anything, it wasn’t easy to leave this place. A first Goodbye of many that will follow.
I got warned of the altitude of my trip to Mastatal and so I took the bus, yeah I really took the bus in my actually first day of cycling. Well, this decision was maybe the best I took in a week. Although I only  had to cycle around 40 kilometres I was out on my feet reaching Mastatal. The heat and the mountains, belligerent dogs, gravel roads and two flat tires withdrew a lot of power and concentration. After one night at the eco-farm, the tour went on through the mountains, down some roads full of stones where it was hard to keep the balance. After reaching the Rio Parrito we were pedaling down towards the ocean, but it would take one more day before we could see the waves crushing on the beach. Another flat tyre was so cheeky to show up, yeah number 3 in 3 days. In the afternoon it came to the point to find a place for our tent for the first time. Not that easy, as I thought before. But at the end of a street in a small village we got offered a place in the back of a house, or let me say, rather tin shack. And although the owners were quite poor, they provided us their place, gave us some cold juice and offered us their bathroom to take a shower.
The next day the Pacific was getting closer, but before that I got really stressed by my back wheel. Day 4 and some more technical presents kept ready to approach. Another 3! Times a had to stuff holes in my inner tube, always somewhere else. After the analysis in the strong heat of the sun didn’t came to conclusion about the reason, my spare outer tyre came to its first employment. 6 flat tyres in 4 days! Unbelievable. Some cold water and a bath in the ocean brought back the good mood. We met two guys from Argentina who will cycle home all the way down. Seems as if it’s high season for long way cyclists, cause I know from another group of four Germans and one Russian guy, who are around somewhere. As we had to move on, we told them that we will definitely meet again on our way south and maybe could watch the upcoming semi final of the champions league together, cause one of them was a big fan Barcelona.
We reached the garden Eden in the evening, where it is raining like standing underneath a waterfall. Before I will write more about this inspiring place, I will leave you with some photos, I uploaded on Flickr:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskanZKST

Muchas Cosas

After I extensively enjoyed a last shower at home, I will let you know about my last days before my departure. It was full of different preparations, encounters and thoughts.

Yesterday was the first day during the last week, where I felt a little bit stressed and therefor felt tired at the end of the day. This was caused by the luggage, the entry requirements to Costa Rica and some equipment, which is not easy to find.  Its definitely good to exactly know what are the weight restrictions for the flight. At the end it will all work, but instead of 65 kg (35 bike+23 luggage+7 hand luggage) I just had 56 kg (30+20+6) and caused by the 5 bags, which will decorate my bike, I had to find a big old suitcase to fit in some of the bags. First my idea was to put most of the bags into my bike carton, but with around 23 kg weight of my bike, I couldn’t pack much more into the bike carton. Now everything  is being well locked.

In case you want to fly to Costa Rica and continue your journey by bike, your task is to approve at the airport, that you will leave the country again. There are two practicable options, how to solve this issue: you can by a ticket for a flight, which at best should be fully refundable or get a bus ticket to Panama or Nicaragua. A bus ticket can only be purchased from there, no direct online possibility. On costaricabustickets.com you can contact a service, which will take care of the bus ticket, but they charge you more then the actual price. So I choose the path of asking my kind Couchsurfer Karol, who bought the ticket for me (copy of the passport necessary). Furthermore I got to now that the ticket includes a commission for leaving Costa Rica and an entry fee for Nicaragua. Well, today she sent me a photo with the necesary ticket, really kind and so this issue is solved.

Concerning to get a ground sheet for my tent and/or a tarp is nowadays a challenge, if you want to buy it directly in a shop. Some weeks ago, I also tried to get carbon brushes to repair the washing machine- impossible in local shops. I have the feeling, that this time is up in which you could get these things in specialized shops. The online market has won its crusade – really sad. I called around 10 shops along the way to the airport and only one could offer me a something similar to what I need.

I got asked a lot of questions in the last few weeks about my journey. And due to this I will answer the Top5 now:

1. When will you start your journey? Today, at 21:50 my airplane will leave from Frankfurt.

2. Are you already excited? It keeps within limits. I tend to get really excited some hours and minutes in advance. But I’m looking forward to.

3. How did you plan your route? I haven’t planned. At least not so whole way to Patagonia, impossible and against my idea of this journey. I checked the route to my first destination trough San José and roughly the way to Paula, who will accompany on my journey.

4. Will you travel alone? No, I will travel with Paula, who I met „on the internet“. Later on Tobias will join us for a couple of months.

5. What are you taking with you and how heavy is your luggage? I will have a couple of things which I will carry with me. Some of my equipment is already listed here. I will add some more in the next days/weeks. I never cared about the weight until I had to check my luggage weight for the flight. My bike should be around 23 kg and the equipment around 27 kg. So roundabout 50 kilos should be the overall weight.

 

Well, it’s time to carry out some final stuff. In 24 hours I will sweat in the heat of Costa Ricas sun while finding my way to the center of San José! Adios Alemania!

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Die deutsche Version kommt bei Zeiten. 🙂

 

Vom Ländle an die Nordsee

StuttgartHamburg

I never cycled more than 1000 km a month and so far I did all my tours with my road bike and just a few kilos of baggage. So I will ride my new trekking bike from Stuttgart to Hamburg at the end of march to check my equipment and to get rid of redundant stuff. Some cyclists already said to accompany for some or some more kilometers. If someone else would like to join, fell free to do so. The route is only draft. The daily length will be between 70-120 kilometers in a moderate speed, it is not a race, its pure passion.

Ich bin noch nie mehr als 1000 Kilometer mit dem Rad gefahren und bis jetzt auch nur mit dem Rennrad ohne viel Gewicht. Daher werde ich mit meinem Reiserad Ende März von Stuttgart nach Hamburg radeln um meine Ausrüstung zu testen und herauszufinden was davon überflüssig ist. Verschiedene Radler werden mich den ein oder anderen Kilometer begleiten. Wenn noch jemand mitfahren möchte, gerne. Die Route ist lediglich ein grober Entwurf. Die Tageskilometer werden so zwischen 70 und 120 Kiloemter liegen, also kein Rennen sondern reine Leidenschaft.