It was still raining outside, but as the sun rose, I woke up. Really should learn to use a blindfold or something…
While eating breakfast in my tent, there were two trucks coming by dumping a big stone pile. They didn’t care too much about me or my tent, though.
After two and a half hour I was done. The rain slows everything down, and makes the mood lower a bit, as well. Still not too late!
I managed to go 30 kilometres before the first stop, which would be consisting of eating more crackers and olives. I had a good view of a few waterfalls on the other side of the river!
The rain continued every now and then, and my not-too-good rain gear let all the water through. I found a café I decided to take a break at, as they offered tea and an open fire!
I bought french fries as well, not wanting to get my kitchen out in the rain. In the end I sat there for 1.5 hours…
One of the reasons were all the things to look at! The owner was a kind of collector, so there were all different sorts of stuff in there! The rooms were styled in an old fashion, looking really fancy. I almost asked how much a night would be, not really tempted by the weather outside.
Soon after the cafe the steep part would start. I had to stand up and pedal at a few parts, and took pauses every now and then. I even found a pretty flat part where I didn’t need to use my brakes too much…
About twenty minutes later, I had biked another 500 metres, and found a real resting stop. The reason it took so long was easy; already tired, and 16% steepness. Damn, it went slow.
There, some americans started talking to me, while waiting for their car to cool down. They offered me a lift up the hill, and I told them I’ve done this before, and actually quite enjoy it. They seemed like cool people, and were going to the same camping as me, and they told me to find them when I got there!
Soon I arrived at the top of the pass. This picture is meant to try and show what the body feels like after a climb. It’s hard to express the happy feelings when being tired like that!
It didn’t really help when everything was wet. I just hoped my panniers would keep the water out; I had rolled them as many turns as possible, especially the right bag, containing electronics and sleeping gear.
When I started going downward, the wind made me aware of the cold air, and my lack of gloves. As soon as I entered a village I stopped at a hostel and asked about gloves, but all the places were closed, and they wouldn’t sell me theirs. I went to the other side of the street instead, where a man sat in what looked like a craftsman car. He had a pair of gloves he could give me for free, and suddenly the hands felt a bit warmer. Still cold, though, but so thankful for that stranger’s help!
They were rebuilding the roads, so I had to stop at a red light for a while. Suddenly the americans caught up again! They were two cars, and the other had already gone to a camping place. The planned one was supposed to have a greater view, but the weather being all grey and cloudy, and another camping having a neat fire place, they changed place. They were actually going to go and get me, but now they didn’t have to! After showing me where the camping was at (just about 2 kilometres further) they handled me a bottle of rum for a quick sip before the light turned to green and we all pushed on.
Upon arriving, I greeted all of the ones I hadn’t already met. They were six american friends travelling together, five of them going to stay in New Zealand for a longer time, working. They had the fire almost going, and at least giving of some heat, even though most of the fire wood was almost wet. As I sat down, my body was literally steaming, but it didn’t get captured on picture…
I changed my clothes, and ate a huge amount of couscous, around 4 decilitres, with tons of raisins and almost. The fire place was surrounded by three walls and a roof, so right now I had company, warmth, help, a roof and wind cover, and actually a bench to sleep at instead of pitching my too wet tent. And I made it over the pass! Awesome!