Out of Africa

Jan. 1, 2013 (day 594) Poland

For three days I rested at the house of my wonderful hosts. Before finishing the main part of the journey I was not aware how tired I had become. The last weeks, or even months, I was feeling excited about the coming finish and accomplishment. After it had happened, I instantly felt the heavy grip of exhaustion.

During the first two days I was mostly eating and sleeping. If not for Etienne, who took me for a short fishing session, I would not have even crossed the threshold. On the third day I finally gathered enough energy to move to a nearby beach and collapse there for a couple of hours.

The time was pressing, however. There were still things to do. For last two months I was keeping a secret that I had already booked the return ticket. Neither my friends or family knew about it, and I wanted to make a surprise.

Slowly I cycled along the coast towards Cape Town. The wind was pushing me and sun sometimes shone from between the clouds, making it possible to enjoy the beach for the last time. Soon I would be in European winter, so I tried to catch as much sun as possible.

And there was snow in Europe...

And there was snow in Europe...

The city, which always had been the finishing or starting point for thousands of bicycle journeys across the continent, was luring me with the prospect of long-awaited meetings. I learned that Tom and Matt had finished their long journey just a couple of days before.

I will miss that soon!

I will miss that soon!

Between ocean and clouds

Between ocean and clouds

I never cycled to Cape Town. I called Matt and learned that he lived on a lovely farm close to Stellenbosch. Soon I cycled there and met him for the first time since Cairo. Tom, whom I had met one time more in Addis, was also around, together with his family.

Next couple of days I passed relaxing in or by the pool, enjoying frequent barbecues which marked the summer season. I could not imagine more generous and understanding hosts than a family of cyclists, whose son had just finished 18 months long journey.

Chillin' with a Cape Town view

Chillin' with a Cape Town view

Visiting the city itself, I met with other guys I had not seen since we had had a couple of beers in Cairo: I mean Ria and Imraan from Siyashova Team, who had crossed Africa the other way.

The inevitable moment came eventually. I had been missing Africa already, despite still being there, long before coming to the airport. My feelings were a mix of extremes, from sadness of finishing that wonderful adventure which had taken 19 months of my life, to the excitement of meeting family and friends again. Stepping on board I was going to come back to the European reality within one day — that seemed too unnatural for me.

Taking off in the middle of the night and being seated just in the middle of the fuselage, I had no opportunity to have a look at Africa again. In the morning I just saw a glimpse of a sunrise over Sahara and soon we were over cold Europe.

My meeting with the Old Continent was not typical. Spending a couple of hours in Frankfurt, I had a big lunch at a Pakistani restaurant, then shopped for Indian spices and picked up a book of an Afghan author. Just before boarding the second flight I was happy to practice my almost forgotten Persian with a half-Afghan airline employee.

The plan of surprising my family almost failed when I snapped off the valve from the inner tube while inflating the wheels of my bike at the airport. With a help of my wonderful friend, I managed to fix it temporarily and stay overnight nearby. Having picked up a new tube in the morning, I rode back home, entered it quietly and appeared in the kitchen just to shock my Mom, who had not anticipated anything like that. Then I repeated such surprises with my Dad coming back from work and with many friends over the following days.

On the Christmas Eve we called my sister, who was about to arrive to the Carribean on a sailing ship. The crazy family will not meet together soon, but once this blog is coming to the end, you may switch over to the adventures of my sis (in Polish only).

Comments:

mama
mama
5 years, 8 months ago
Oj była niespodzianka, była! I to najwspanialsza, tuż przed Wigilią :). A myśmy się zamartwiali i szukali najtańszych i najszybszych połączeń! Ciekawe jak będzie wyglądał powrót z następnej wyprawy haha!
Iwo
Iwo
5 years, 8 months ago
Czyli już ostatni wpis o wyprawie... Dobrze było będąc tutaj wiedzieć, że gdzieś tam, pod gorącym słońcem ktoś jest w drodze i jedzie, dbając o właściwy porządek świata :)

Cóż, kiedyś jeszcze przyjdzie się zamienić miejscami ;)

Szczęśliwego!
ellrof
ellrof
5 years, 8 months ago
Gratulacje
Bardzo lubiłem śledzić Twoją wyprawę :-)
Ciosna
Ciosna
5 years, 8 months ago
Emes jesteś wielkim człowiekiem.

Piękna podróż, którą świetnie dzieliłeś się z widzami.
Życzę odpoczynku i podobnych wojaży w przyszłości.
Marcin S. Sadurski
Marcin S. Sadurski
5 years, 8 months ago
O, jest widze epilog. Ladny tytul. A z innej beczki - 15 stycznia mija termin zgloszen do Kolosow (www.kolosy.pl) - jakby ci sie chcialo :-)
Dudeck
Dudeck
5 years, 8 months ago
Podejrzewam, że przy wchodzeniu do kuchni były większe emocje, jak podczas niejednej przygody w trasie :)
chmurat
chmurat
5 years, 8 months ago
Eee myślałem, że do domu też będziesz wracał na rowerze ;)
Rafal Czyzewski
Rafal Czyzewski
5 years, 7 months ago
Gratulacje i wielkie brawa raz jeszcze. Jeszcze coś kiedyś wrzucisz jak Cię najdzie co?:)
Michu75
Michu75
5 years, 7 months ago
Jestem pod ogromnym wrażeniem. Podziwiam Cię za siłę, głównie psychiczną. Chciałbym przeżyć taką przygodę, ale obawiam się, że jestem za mało otwarty na innych ludzi, by móc coś takiego zrobić.
Chciałbym przeczytać Twojego kolejnego bloga z równie fantastycznej podróży.

Pozdrawiam
Onlinemaster
Onlinemaster
5 years, 7 months ago
Chciałbym również pogratulować wspaniałego wyczynu zostawiając tu tych kilka słów, bo to czego dokonałeś jest naprawdę wielkie! Rozmarzyłem się trochę czytając tego bloga i bardzo żałuję, że moja obecna sytuacja zawodowa oraz zdrowotna nie pozwala mi na zrobienie sobie dłuższej przerwy, abym mógł spełnić moje marzenia, ale może kiedyś... Pozdrawiam życząc sił na kolejną wyprawę :-)
mad
mad
5 years, 7 months ago
Czekam na książkę!
Włod
Włod
5 years, 7 months ago
Gratuluje. Podziwiam twoją wytrwałość i upór. Życzę kolejnych udanych wyjazdów:)
tomek
tomek
4 years, 11 months ago
A kiedy będziemy mogli kupić książkę? ;)
José M. Bermejo
José M. Bermejo
4 years, 10 months ago
Congratulations, Sir!!!
You got it!!!
As I told the first time I got in touch to you when you was crossing Jordan, if anytime you come to Spain, please let me know!!!