Sendiri?’ People ask me in Bali with big eyes and it wouldn’t take me long to understand the meaning of this question. ‘Are you just by yourself? Alone?!’. ‘No’ I said, full of confidence, ‘I am on my way to see my friend!’ . It was the right answer, for me and for them. I could see them happy and relieved (thank God this girl is not just by herself!) and it made me feel more and more exited: how nice it is to be actually on my way to catch up with a friend!
Let me introduce to you; Mister Hugo from the Netherlands!
And the cool thing about Mr. Hugo is, that he’s not just a very close friend, he is my biggest friend! Especially here compared to the people in Indonesia-land.
But… although in my head I was already in Java, catching up with my friend, in reality I was still in Bali and there were some miles to pedal. I can tell you that! So I drew a line on my map from the bottom to the top (Ubud-Singaraya) so I could follow the coastline all the way to Gilimanuk to catch the ferry to Hugo who was waiting for me at the other side of the ocean. Just like that. Easy peasy. Three days of pedalling and I am there. without a doubt. I thought…
Well what can I say… the very first kilometers were absolutely stunning indeed. I felt relieved to finally leave this touristic-bubble of the centre of Bali behind. I felt overwhelmed by the hundred of happy and friendly ‘good mornings’ and smiles I catched in this one morning. I could feel the adrenaline of being back on my bike in my whole body. And so I felt like the happiest girl in the world! Is there anything I would like to do better than riding my bike here in this beautiful place I questioned myself? ‘No’ I thought with a big smile on my face. And so we pedaled on with tons of energy and good vibes.
But then… after this first 12 magical kilometres the reality kicked into action. Crossing an island from the bottom to the top; means climbing hills. Like a lot!
And although I did cycle many many kilometers when I was home in the Netherlands to visit my family and friends, I was absolutely not prepared for this!
It felt like I gained 40 kilo’s in one week time and now was on my way to run a marathon. Without any practise. It felt like it was all a little bit too much and soon I would realise why it felt like that…
Twenty kilometers later. Lunchtime: Nasi Goreng with Ibuprofen and antibiotics. I wasn’t doing so well. I cycled the last 5 kilometres with the realization that I was having a urinary infection and I don’t have to tell you that this isn’t the best thing to have, riding a bicycle. As soon as I stopped pedalling it was clear that it wasn’t just the infection, my whole body was loosing its power. I was getting sick for a good one.
Still then, you know the golden rule for those who travel alone, that counts at any time, in any situation in all circumstances: ‘Remain calm’. Keep your head clear and think about a right solution.
And so it was clear that this day of cycling came to an end and I had to find me a place to stay for the rest of the day. And so I asked the owner of this little restaurant for a homestay or hotel, without the right language, speaking with hand and feet as they would say in the Netherlands. And while I was mentally preparing myself for maybe another 5 or 10 km to get there, you can’t imagine the relief when he drawed me a little map that said ‘in 300 meters’. Long live Indonesia; food and shelter everywhere. I was rescued.
And so I went to bed straight after lunchtime and I would sleep until the very next morning. Ready to give it a try. Again.
I struggled for another 14 kilometers, to stubborn to give up bot already knowing that in the end it wasn’t even a question if I would make it to the top. Climbing hills when feeling sick is one, but the steepness of hills in Indonesia is just, something else. My body wasn’t ready for this. I had the strength of a little girl and all my energy had just left the building. And so nothing but mentally conviction in an empty shell. And I already knew, in the end… the body will win. So I had to think about another solution. Again.
Long live Indonesia; the land of creative solutions for any kind of problem.
Looking out of the window of this little van, I just realised that this was a serious mountain-range to climb. The altitude was over 1.200 meters high, and I had no idea that I was getting myself in so much troubles. Lesson learned; next time when you draw a line on a map, you have to check the elevation first!
As soon as I reached the flat roads following the coastline I felt like flying eventhough I still wasn’t back on strength. But now againg the conviction was speaking; I could make it there in the end. One more day of cycling and I would catch the ferry to see my friend!
His name is Hugo, from the Netherland(s).
No worries about safety or cycling hills for the next weeks for this girl. Hugo, as a Dutch cyclist, would understand the importance of staying out of trouble (cycling mountains), and for me I was assured that I would stay out of troubles just because of him by my side. I would be safe. No question!