Travelling by Pedalling


First week (back) on the bike

We had a very nice day in Ayuthaya with Fon and Son.  They picked us up in the morning by car to show us the old city.  Son was born here so she knows exactly where we should all go, but first we’re going to eat.

After less than 10 minutes in the car it is time for the first stop.  We stop at a small tent along the road where we get “Thai Muslim food”.  The food is very tasty, but it’s a bit much for us.  We just received breakfast half an hour ago from the gentleman who lives above the store.  He got us some kind of “oliebollen” with a sweet milky drink, satay and stickey rice.  But because we don’t want to be rude we do our best to finish our plate.

Now we go to Ayuthaya, but first another stop.  We stop along the road at a hut where people are busy preparing a kind of pancake.  Of course we have to try this again.  With slight reluctance we both take a pancake containing a kind of dried sugar strings.  Delicious!  But for now we have had more than enough food.

We arrive at a temple where there are few people.  This is not one of the tourist attractions where all tourists go, but a somewhat smaller temple with a rich history.  We learn that the peace agreement was signed here after the war between Burma (present-day Myanmar) and Thailand.

Then we continue to the “ancient city”.  This is a place where an ancient Thai civilization lived and of which only some ruins can be seen today.  You can still see old Buddha statues and old shrines.  You can still see this a lot in daily life, which shows that the old Thai culture is still deeply rooted in today’s life.

After this we stop to eat.  We let ourselves be surprised and there are all sorts of delicious food on the table.  We are all trying out new dishes.  We are really being taken in tow.

We make one more stop at a temple on an island, and then pick up the children from school.  We had already been tipped off about the temple by Paul, so we are glad we visited this place.  From the outside it looks like a church built on an island that you will be taken to by cable car.  It is very special to see how Buddhism is honored in this building.

Then we pick up the children from school.  First go through their house, where they grow pompelo, to a restaurant to eat together.  Then we are taken back to our sleeping place and we say goodbye and thank them for a beautiful day.

The next morning the family comes by to have breakfast together and say goodbye.  They wave us goodbye when we get back on our bikes and ride into the unknown again.

We start the day well, we have a nice pace and cycle through the smaller streets and avoid the major roads as much as possible.  We stop around noon for something to eat just before we cycle into Ayutahya.  It is a nice place to cycle because they also have bicycle paths here.  Fortunately, we no longer have to stop to view the beautiful sights, so we continue cycling steadily while enjoying all the old things around us.

After leaving the city we follow a river which is very beautiful.  About we see palm and banana trees along the road and everyone greets us warmly.  We have a temple in mind where we want to end the day, but that is another 5km cycling while it starts to rain.  We were also able to go back to a temple, but still decide to continue cycling.

It then starts pouring out of the sky and we are completely soaked.  We arrive at the temple, but it is very busy there.  There is a ceremony or funeral going on.  We get some crazy looks but some people also come to have a chat.  We decide to continue cycling to the next temple to try our luck there.  On the way we buy some food along the road so that we have good food later and don’t have to cook anymore.

Once we arrive at the temple, we are assigned a dry spot.  It is a place between the dogs but at least dry.  In the beginning we are barked at a bit, but after a while we get used to each other and go to bed early with a nice shower.

We didn’t have the best night because the dogs thought it was a good idea to start barking at every turn for the slightest little thing.  Fortunately, we were in time and we are reasonably rested.  After having some breakfast and packing everything up again we continue.

Not long after we started we see a monkey on the road.  There are more a bit further on.  How cool to see these animals in the wild, this will certainly not be the last time.

We keep following the river, but we have to be on the other side every now and then.  One time it is a nice sturdy cement bridge, but the other time it is a shaky wooden bridge, which of course keeps it nice and exciting whether we will make it to the other side.

We did some laundry in the morning with our laundry bag, so take a long break in the afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat and of course give our laundry a chance to dry.  We find a nice hut where we can sleep comfortably while our laundry dries.  After an hour and a half we pack everything up and continue our journey.

It’s a beautiful road that we cycle on, but sometimes it’s unpaved roads so we don’t go very fast.  At such times you have to stay focused and only pay attention to the road.  Everything is a bit easier on the paved roads and you have more time to admire the surroundings.  We occasionally see a large (and small) lizard-like, we do not know the exact name of the animal but it is very impressive to see.

Towards the end of the day we arrive at a town where there is a large street market.  We stop at the busiest stand and buy delicious food there.  We cycle on to a temple just outside the city.  The monk says he doesn’t want to host us and indicates that we have to cycle to the city.  We don’t feel like cycling back so we continue to the next temple where we are well received.  We can sleep inside the temple where they have a fan that will make it a little cooler.  This makes a lot of difference and both sleep very well.

The next morning we wake up and just as we are cleaning up, a lady walks into the temple to pray.  After a friendly greeting, we go outside for breakfast.  When the lady is ready we continue packing when the man we asked permission arrives walking with cake and yacult.  What a sweet gesture.  We are really well taken care of.  We are already very happy with a safe place to sleep and facilities such as a shower and toilet and then we get even more.

When we are busy packing the last things, music starts to play.  It’s festive music, we both immediately feel good this day.  We say goodbye and cycle on.

We continue to follow the river because we have to go that way and because it is a beautiful road, only there will be a stretch with a lot of mud.  We cycle through it and luckily we can continue, but a little further up is more and we have to lift our bikes to the other side to ensure that the mud does not get between the fenders and brakes so that we cannot continue cycling.  For now we decide to go to the main road.  We stop at a temple to clean our bikes and then continue.

We end up cycling on the main road until the end of the day.  We can’t find food on the side this time, but luckily we still have instant noodles that we can eat.

As soon as we enter a temple and look for someone to ask permission to sleep here, we are surrounded by more than 20 dogs.  They bark and growl at us and come very close.  Fortunately, someone quickly comes to help us and refers us to a nice place to sleep away from the dogs.  Today we sleep under a fan again and we have all the facilities again.  What a luxury after a day of sweating on the bik