We went to the hospital to make sure nothing was broken and when we got the good news we soon started dreaming about the next step. We have expressed to each other that we need a break from the bike but we do not want to let go of the slow way of travelling. Soon we came to the idea of going hiking. That didn’t just come out of the blue. Walking a long distance walk has been haunting our minds for a long time.
It feels good to have a base in Bangkok for a while and it feels like indefinite time even though we may be in the country for 45 days. Because I can’t move very well yet, we don’t do much the first few days. We have long and interesting conversations with Tea, eat several delicious Thai dishes and think about how we are going to make our new dream come true.
My (Nina) brother’s girlfriend has been on holiday in Thailand for the past few weeks and we are looking for a way to see her again. She is going to a cultural festival in Phetchaburi with her girlfriend, so we decide the evening before that we will also go there. I’m a bit more mobile now. We take the train to the south and inform Julia that we are also arriving! It was great to see a familiar face after such a long time. Strangely enough, it also felt very normal. We feel so at home here in Thailand that it almost seemed like we had visitors… even though we were in a city that we didn’t know either. And that night it’s Q’s birthday, he turned 32 years old!!
It was a nice trip. It was 5 hours there and the next day with a delay of more than 5 hours back by train. Back in Bangkok we have already planned another meeting with Laurens. He cycled through Thailand on his racing bike for a month and we know him from home. This was his first bike touring experience and he’s really excited so he’s already planning his next trip. He is a pilot and will be flying to Bangkok soon so we asked him to help us get here from the Netherlands with our hike gear. And he wants to cycle 190 kilometers in one day with Q, while I can enjoy his hotel room, breakfast and swimming pool!
But before that we are going to do a trip with the two of us! We take the train to Nam Tok and look for a scooter there so that we have the freedom to go wherever we want. We have all our camping gear with us and go to a campsite located on the ‘Khwae Noi’ river. We stay there for four nights on the edge of ‘Erawan National Park’. These five days will stay with us for a very long time. It really feels like a vacation! We enjoy camping on a beautifully maintained campsite with lots of different birds that go wild in the morning and evening with all their sounds and the squirrels that look for food in the beautiful old tree in front of our tent. We cool off in the river, chat all evening about all our potential dreams for the future and reflect on our journey and take nice trips in the area.
We enjoyed it but it is already time to go back to Bangkok. That evening we sleep in a luxurious bed with Laurens in his hotel room. He arranged a room with two double beds. The next day the men go cycling, which will be a tough day. They start at five in the morning to be able to beat the worst heat because the last few weeks the heat has really been of a different caliber. This is the first time that Q has cycled so many kilometers in one day in his life and we are both a little nervous. Q because he is now going to cycle such a mega day at the pace of a racing cyclist and I am afraid that Q will go over his limit and something will go wrong. Fortunately I get a call that at 140 kilometers Q has decided to hitchhike the rest to the end point. He has continuously cycled above his own pace in high temperatures of up to 39 degrees and now his body is exhausted.
They arrived in Hua Hin at 3pm that day and their taxi is scheduled for 6pm so they have some time to take a dip in the sea and enjoy the place before going back to Bangkok. The next day we have a relaxed day in the hotel and around the pool.
The rest of the time in Bangkok we mainly prepared for our next adventure and just lived, making breakfast every day and making coffee on our balcony, starting the day with yoga, chatting with the lady on the corner who sells flowers in front of the temple, eat at the night market nearby or anywhere else on the street, have dinner with our friends Paul and Jam and visit Thee. And meanwhile slowly recovering because I still have some physical complaints from the fall.
But now the big news!! What are we going to do in the coming months? We have decided to do a long distance walk in Japan!! It is a hike of about 1060 kilometers called Tōkai Shizen Hodō, it runs from Tokyo to Osaka through the mountains. And after walking the trail we go to visit family on Okinawa with my Uncle and his family. We have now completed all the preparations and can’t wait to go. We were able to put the bicycles and the things that remain behind here at Thee in the attic, we received the backpacks, walking sticks and an even smaller lightweight tent from Laurens from the Netherlands. We also bought good walking shoes and some small purchases such as a small gas burner and camera bag. We have already made our breakfast for the first time in Japan because we expect it to be a bit cheaper here and so we don’t have to arrange that in Tokyo.
Late tomorrow evening we will go to the airport and fly to Tokyo after midnight. It still feels so unreal but we look forward to the peace that nature will bring us, a different culture, a different way of moving and the time we will spend with family. So see you in Japan, the land of the rising sun!