Way to Phnom Penh // Droga do Phnom Penh

No useless babbling here… What I meet on the way is dust, towns, villages … and lots of friendly people, encouraging me to cycle harder with their smiles. The capital city itself greets me with a big fire, traffic chaos (it seems the city sprang out so fast that there was no time to built traffic lights!) and with my friends from Battambang who host me here, too.

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Tutaj bez zbędnych opisów… Po drodze – kurz, miasta, miasteczka … i mnóstwo przyjaznych ludzi, uśmiechem zachęcających do wzmożonego wysiłku. A sama stolica wita mnie pożarem, chaosem komunikacyjnym (miasto nagle tak się rozrosło, że nie starczyło czasu na wybudowanie sygnalizacji świetlnej!) i … znajomymi z Battambang, którzy i w Phnom Penh mnie goszczą.

Kampot

I tag along a group of artists, who organize workshops for kids…

This is the main reason why everyone comes to Siem Reap and to Cambodia in general. The legendary Angkor temple complex… I hope that the photos will reveal at least a fraction of how majestic the temples feel but also how relentless time is and how intrusive the nature… In a way I am also lucky to be here at this particular moment – the crowds are smaller due to coronavirus…

Practical tip: tourist centre where you purchase entrance tickets is way away from any entrance – better think about it, especially if you are planning a one day visit only. Btw, one day is just enough to see all the temples if you are moving around by bicycle.

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Oto i główny cel, dla którego przyjeżdża się do Siem Reap i w ogóle do Kambodży. Legendarny kompleks świątyń dawnego imperium Angkor… Mam nadzieję, że zdjęcia, choćby w minimalnym stopniu, oddadzą majestatyczność…

Way to Siem Reap // Droga do Siem Reap

Taking a bus would be the easiest way to go… Or (more expensive and slower) morning tourist boat… But I decided to check whether I could get there by bike. And yes, it is doable but not all the way. At some point, where all roads end I had to negotiate a boat with local fishermen to take me to the next town where I can get back on the road. It cost me 7 USD, though you could probably negotiate it even lower. And then – through the fields and dust I go, back on the main road and to Siem Reap herself.

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Najłatwiej byłoby się wybrać do Siem Reap autobusem… Albo (droższą i wolniejszą) poranną łodzią turystyczną… Ale ja postanowiłem, czy i jak daleko da się dojechać rowerem. I da się – dosyć daleko. Niemniej jednak w pewnym momencie muszę…

First Contact // Pierwszy kontakt

Cambodia welcomes me with a slight disorder (btw, the rumours about border officers trying to charge for “express” visa service have proven to be true; my non-express service took around 5 minutes though), omnipresent in side roads of Poipet border town (make sure to stray away from the main road for a while, to witness how everything is being constructed and overconstructed in anticipation of future tourist invasion).

Those thick lines on the map look trustworthy… And they kind of should, however, most of those roads are under (re)construction, which will not only slow you down but also throw a lot of dust in your face…

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Kambodża przywitała mnie lekkim rozgardiaszem (przy okazji sprawdziły się pogłoski o nienachalnym, acz obecnym zwyczaju dopraszania się o uiszczenie dodatkowej opłaty za “ekspresowe” wystawienie wizy na przejściu granicznym; moja nieekspresowa usługa zajęła jakieś 5 minut), utrzymującym…

Thailand… one more time (cycling from Bangkok to Cambodia). // Bangkok raz jeszcze… Rowerem z Bangkoku do Kambodży.

Assumption Cathedral, Bangkok // Katedra Wniebowstąpienia:

Lumpini Park, Bangkok

Chatuchak Market

Wang Saen Suk (Buddhist Hell // buddyjskie piekło)

Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan (+the town of Chachoengsao)

In between // Pomiędzy

Philippines one more time // Filipiny raz jeszcze

A short post this time, mostly photography-filled. And divided into four sections: Lake Taal volcano eruption – Tablas Island – Banton Island – Back to Manila via Lucena + bonus (timetables of ferries connecting different towns/islands).

Tym razem krótki wpis, przede wszystkim fotograficzny. I podzielony na cztery części: wybuch wulkanu-wyspa Tablas-wyspa Banton-droga powrotna do Manili przez Lucenę + bonus w postaci zdjęć harmonogramów kursów promów między poszczególnymi wyspami/miejscowościami.

Lake Taal Volcano Eruption // Wybuch wulkanu na jeziorze Taal

Tablas (Romblon province)

Banton (Romblon province)

On my way back to Manila via Lucena // Z powrotem do Manili przez Lucenę

Ferry timetables // Rozkłady jazdy promów

Prespa, Elbasan

After returning to Ohrid (btw, the road between Skopje and Ohrid provides quite some views!) I hop back on my bike and cycle in the direction of Greece. I make a little stop on the way at Prespa lake, so peaceful and calm this time of the year… And I pick up a few apples from local gardens…

I reach Elbasan through snow (only a short part of the route, luckily for me), which makes me dream of warm Greece even more. The town is a short walk and it’s the mountains around that make it a worthy place to visit. I do try to enjoy the architecture but it’s quite depressing how it is left to rot…

Po powrocie do Ohrid (a trasa między Skopje a Ohrid jest miejscami bardzo malownicza!), wsiadam z powrotem na rower i ruszam w kierunku Grecji. Po drodze warto zrobić sobie przystanek nad jeziorem…

Shkoder

Partly rotten, partly renovated, Shkoder welcomes me with carts full of junk, Romany camp, spacious boulevards, all turned up pavements, pavements where little entrepreneurs sit… and so do lots of gentlemen who wait for something non-specific and they are killing their time with a game of domino… Later on I discover the neat pedestrian walk, mosques, churches… And the lake, where you definitely want to take a tour and hike up some nearby mountains… If the weather permits, that is….

And then, in the early morning, I discover an earthquake.

Nobody is panicking though, those things just happen in these parts of the world.

And I am impressed with the way that Albanians get organized to help those affected by the calamity… I am lucky to meet the great people from EKO Mendje (local NGO) and I join them, documenting their actions. People are bringing groceries, blankets, mattresses, whatever…

Kotor, Montenegro

(and Herceg Novi on the way, with its lovely compact old town, just the right place for a short break)

The Bay of Kotor makes your jaw drop when you ride/drive in… And this is only the beginning. You have to check out the old town (as well as nearby small towns!), where you can find old Italian villas, cats, churches, winding little roads, cats, countless restaurant and pubs, cats, cats… And the Ladder of Kotor, the trekking trail leading above the town… Each bend of the Ladder is a beautiful view of the city and the bay, each step is a new goat jumping around. The wind is blowing, the clouds are running across the sky… Nest to the tiny church up the hill lays a donkey, waiting for you to take photos… Against the fortress wall stands a ladder and next to it it says you aren’t allowed to climb…

Sarajevo I have heard so much about the strange magnetism of the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I got off the bus and started looking for that Sarajevo magic… First the hostel disappeared in mysterious ways… I was going up and down the streets, receiving conflicting responses from random people. They were all kind nevertheless, always ready to offer a drink… I made it. Inside the hostel I met Charles, the king of hitch-hiking (and a bunch of other colourful characters, including Korean busking guitarist and Venezuelan stone dealer). And it would have been a neat place but: 1. no alcohol allowed 2. a single toilet for the whole hostel (=apartment turned into hostel) + one Kiwi backpacker with constant gastric problems. Changing the hostel. Along with Charles and a different Charles not from France we knock the door of Eternal Flame Hostel… And we are firstestest guests. New owners, Ben and Eda are still finishing up paperwork, still…