So in the first half, with 16 countries visited, we have had the opportunity to do a wide variety of activities. Everything from food tours, cooking classes, concerts in old cathedrals, kayaking, biking, hiking, ziplining, late night hot springs and more! As we were getting back from biking yesterday, we decided it would be fun to throwback to our top 3 most intense activities of the trip so far…and we realized there’s a very obvious trend. Check ’em out!
Biking down the mountain in Norway from Myrdal to Flam
June 1st. The first day the mountain was open for “summer season” – so of course we took a beautiful train ride there from Bergen and planned an entire day of stunning scenery as we biked down the mountain. First day of summer season? Oh no, no, friends…it was about 35 degrees and raining. The. Entire. Bike ride. Did that stop us from having a good time? Absolutely not. Were we freezing, covered in mud and completely soaked through every layer by the end of it? Absolutely. There were rocky switchbacks, very steep, leading us halfway down the mountain followed by intense rain to the face once we hit flat surfaces. But then every time we paused and looked around us, we really couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. Scenery and experience totally worth it but definitely an intense experience!!
Biking through Old Delhi (India)
We knew India would be hot. It’s India in the summer. But we wanted to explore and experience what we could of this enormous city. So a 6am bike ride tour with a local sounded great – we’d be done by 10, we could only get so warm, right? Wrong. Very wrong. Delhi is a huge city, full of chaos and color and noise and delicious food. Even at 6am. So we spent 4 hours biking in the stickiest heat through the most crowded part of the city. It was tough. We were literally dripping sweat by the end. Would we have missed it for anything? Nope. An incredibly intimate first look at hidden gems and beautiful parts of Delhi.
Biking up and down the mountain outside Kathmandu (Nepal)
I don’t think it’s possible to convey how difficult this “bike ride” was. Part of the problem is that we didn’t *exactly* (aka at all) get what we signed up for – what we signed up for was a drive to the top of a mountain followed by mountain biking all the way down. What did we get? Biking to and from the center of Kathmandu (hello, traffic)…30 kilometers roundtrip. And bonus! The first SEVEN kilometers (just under 4.5 miles) was all uphill. No exaggeration. While we aren’t in the best physical shape of our lives right now, we didn’t think we were THAT out of shape…at the end of those 7 kms I (Elizabeth) was deeeeeeeead. Dead. 23 kilometers to go!
We knew that our timing in Nepal wasn’t ideal because it’s monsoon season but we had really lucked out both in India and Nepal with rains happening overnight or in afternoons/evenings when we were safely inside. Of course, the night before mountain biking, it RAINED. A LOT. So the roads were a disaster to say the very least. So in case 7kms uphill at the beginning wasn’t bad enough, our entire ride back down was through mud, massive puddles (imagine the width of the road covered in unknown depths of water) and over a very, very rocky road. No smooth roads in the mountains of Nepal. You know the ride was intense when we barely managed to take any pictures. We maybe took…4 or 5 pictures the entire time?
By the time we got back a few hours later, our bums were bruised and sore and we were just pooped. Again – stunning scenery; the rice paddies, mountains in the distance, cute little villages where lots of children wanted to say hello and the older Nepalese greeted us with “namaste.” But after we got back to our hotel room, all we could manage the rest of the day was showering, eating some junk food and hiding under the covers.
Yep, all three activities involve bike rides. And we LOVE bike riding. But these particular biking adventures were INTENSE in their own unique ways. Don’t worry…we have more bike rides ahead of us. Like the “winery cycling tour” in New Zealand where we take bikes to and from the wineries by the coast and stop for wine tastings. Maybe that’ll be more our speed…