Days 0 Through 10

Day 0

Not the smoothest of starts haha. All the flights were on time, everything was going well, I even got a window seat. When I got to the airport in Lisbon things look alright. Then I went over to the baggage claim and waited for my stuff. Nothing showed up. That was no problem though, as I knew there was a good chance my hiking backpack and bike box would both be sent over to the oversized baggage spot. Well I got the bike, but not the backpack. After waiting for an hour and checking all of the different spots I could possibly think it might be sent, I went over to the lost and found. No one knew where it was, but they were pretty sure they could find it and get it to the airport within 24 hours. This sucked a little bit, but I again not that big of a problem, since I arrived a day earlier than I really needed to, just incase I had anything happen. They said they would send me an email when I could come over and pick it up. Never got that email, and then I overhead someone at the hostel talking about strikes at the airport. Turns out the company that is in charge of handling lost baggage just went on strike for at least the next two days.

I had it all figured out. I was going to get into town a day early as to avoid any complications, get the bike ready to go, and leave out for the first day on New Years Day. It was going to be perfect, starting the first of the year, made so much sense. Haha I even pulled a couple all nighters before I left so I could get graduate school applications sent out and everything ready to go for New Years Day. Ya... That´s not looking likely now. I got the bike, but all of the tools I need to reassemble it are in my lost bag, so I just left the boxed bike at the lost and found until I get my other stuff. At the moment I´ve just got a helmet, a front bike basket, an industrial strength towing strap, my wallet, my phone (minus the converter for charging), and the clothes I´m wearing. Anyway, I fully expected to have obstacles on the trip, just didn´t think the first problems would happen before I even started. On the flip side, Lisbon is a cool place, and if I don´t start biking on the first, I can go hard on New Years Eve. Happy New Year indeed...

Day 1

Well it wasn´t exactly the way I pictured it, but I started the trip today. I still don´t have my bag, and my bike is still at the airport, but I really wanted to have New Years Day be the first day, so I decided to head over to Cabo Da Roca (the westernmost point in continental Europe) and do the first part of the trip by foot. In keeping with my rules, I´ll pick up where I stopped walking when I finally get everything ready to go. Still no word about my bag. I showed up at the airport yesterday to see what was going on with the strike, and was surprised and confused to see a guy working who told me he was currently striking. Anyway, I desperately need that bag. Until then, I´m on vacation indefinitely in Lisbon.

The official starting point

Day 2

Not much to say. Spent all day trying to figure where my bag went. I officially entered "phase two" of my baggage search. Haha still not sure exactly what that means but I don't think I like the sound of it... Ended up needing to go back to the airport for the third time. They're pretty sure its not in Lisbon or Porto Delgado but they don't actually know where it is. The new theory I got today was that it didn't make it on the plane in Boston because it was raining. Haha sounds pretty lame. Looks like the earliest I could possibly get my bag now would be Saturday, since that's apparently when the next flight from Boston arrives. My biggest win of the day was definitely jumping through all the red tape to get my compensation allowance. 140 Euros in cash, I'll take it.

Day 3

I lasted as long as I could, mostly out of spite, but I finally had to go buy a second set of clothes. I felt so defeated as I went to check out haha. I´m really starting to think that this missing bag is probably in Boston, and tomorrow the next flight from Boston arrives, hopefully with my stuff... Also, the hostel I´m staying at is closing for maintenance starting in two days. So tomorrow is shaping up to be a bit of a make or break day. It´s either get my bag and be on my way, or deflate my hope and be forced out of the hostel. If the bag doesn´t show up then, I´ll need to think of taking some more drastic actions. I´ve been starting to think of a contingency plan on the small, but increasing, chance that I never get my luggage back. Ever. More on that plan if necessary, but lets just say that it would be an extremely suboptimal way forward.

Life at the hostel in Lisbon is not too bad. Actually, it might be the nicest hostel I have ever stayed at - a full kitchen, bar, pool table, Foosball, harbor view balcony, computers, TV´s, one of those fancy espresso machines... Made lots of friends too. Trying to get my trip on track by day, enjoying Lisbon by night.

Day 4

Today I received the best email I have ever seen:

     Good afternoon Sir,

     This mail is to inform you that the missing bag belonging to AHLLISSP10779 has arrived to Lisbon airport today on the 04 January.

I rushed over to the airport and sure enough there it was, just like I left it. Looked great. After two hours sitting in the airport and piecing my bike back together, I triumphantly rode out into the streets of Lisbon. Got the bag, assembled the bike, and I'm heading on my way first thing in the morning.

Unpacking everything at the airport

Day 5

The first day of biking. I started the day feeling pretty great. 50% of this trip was just showing up ready to go, and I had finally accomplished that task. There I was, right where I left off walking, stoked to be heading out for good. As I expected, the first day of biking was hard. I knew it would be, bit that still didn't make it any better. My initial excitement soon gave way to exhaustion. By the time I got into town for the night I was dead. I could barely walk, had the chills, and felt like throwing up. Every muscle in my body was sore. Despite drinking as much water as I could, I still felt dehydrated. Again, I fully expected all of this, as I've been through it multiple times before when starting a trip cold turkey like this. Nevertheless, this knowledge didn't help much as I sat in the shower dreading the prospects of getting up the next day and doing it all again. Reality started to sink in, I am going to be biking all day, pretty much every day, for the next 240 days. Wow, sounds exciting and terrifying at the same time haha. Overall though, I was just glad to be out on the road. Let's go to China

Day 6

Someone once told me long distance bike trips go something like this: The first day of biking is really hard. The second day is even harder. On the third day it will be so rough you will want to quit. The forth day will be a little better, and by the end of the first week you'll be having an awesome time. Keeping this in mind I decided to make the second day of biking an easy day. A simple, flat 50 km stetch. It was indeed an easy day. Got into town, ate lots of protein, drank large amounts of water, and hoped my body could start building the muscle mass I desperately needed to continue the trip.

Day 7

Today it rained. It rained basically all day. I was unsuccessful at figuring out a good way to get my home made bag cover on, so my bag got drenched. Luckily most of the stuff inside is in waterproof bags, so it turned out ok. But ya I got soaked, and the rain caused some problems with my bike too. The brakes and gears got a bit screwed up, the chain started squeaking, and my front axel started to come loose. The day had some nice moments, but to be honest it was not the best day. The rain made biking slow, and I got to my destination town after dark, wet, cold, and soar. To make matters worse, the towns only hotel had gone out of business. It was too rainy to camp, so i started entertaining the idea that I might have to bike ahead into the night until I could find a town with a place to stay. That could take hours... Luckily, after talking to several people, I was directed to some random cafe a couple miles out of town that had a little sign that read "dormidas." Sure enough, they had a room I could take. Haha almost forgot, big milestone reached today, I officially 1% of the way across Eurasia!

Day 8

Yes. I was waiting desperately for this. The first fun day of the trip. I was stressed about my missing bag in Lisbon, exhausted on the first days of biking, soaking wet yesterday, but today was great. Blue skies, no rain, some sun, and a healthy body. Not much else to say. Today was awesome. Plus I officially entered Spain. 1 country down, 15 to go.

Day 9

Another good day. I'm on a role. Nice road, good scenery, incredibly friendly and courteous drivers, life is good. Got into town a little earlier today and had time to take care of some finances and buy a Spanish sim card for my phone. Finally have internet access for the first time since my first day biking.

Day 10

It turned out the owner of the hostal I stayed at last night was kind of into biking. On my way out we talked for a bit and he gave me some information about the roads and terrain in the area. He said he'd be following along on the blog, so a shout out to him, although I don't think he speaks any English... Hola a mi amigo a Hostal Hernan Cortez. There we go, that should work. Anyway, as I left town I was surprised to see a lot of other bikers on the road. I soon realized I had fortuitously stumbled upon a scenic biking route haha. Great views and light traffic, perfect. Towards the end of the day I rode through a valley towards my destination for the night- old school buildings surrounded by terraced agriculture, cool place to stop and a relatively cheap 18 euro hotel room too. Everything about today was great except for my right knee, which started getting pretty soar towards the end of the day. I'll have to keep an eye on it, and if its problematic tomorrow I might have to give it some rest.