Cycling through Sardinia was a great experience. In a way, as I said in my previous post, it was a tad lonely, but I also got a lot of time to think and clear my head, especially while I was cycling. It wasn’t the first time I’ve travelled alone, but it was the first time I’ve ever done a multi-day bike trip, and I did it alone. It was also the first time I’d ever been somewhere where a fair number of people spoke English, and I didn’t speak the local language. I learned a few things about myself, and about life, while I was away.
1) My independence has limits. It was really nice cycling in the day and I didn’t mind being alone most of the time, but after doing it for a while it would have been nice to have some company. I also might have taken a few more breaks if I hadn’t been alone, though maybe it was good I didn’t as I really got to test my athletic ability! The nights are what got to me a bit though. A lot of the places I stayed were very small and there wasn’t much to do in the evenings. So, I spent time hanging out in hotel rooms. Having a friend there would have been nice.
2) In other ways, I’m more independent than I thought. I don’t usually like to ask for things. I’m not outgoing in that way. I usually just try to figure it out on my own or sort through it on my smartphone. This time though, I didn’t want to add up a ton of roaming charges, and I didn’t know my way around, and I hadn’t loaded enough maps. I had to ask for things a lot, from how to get to the next town, to if there was a hotel in the village. I don’t speak Italian. Most people didn’t speak English. I was amazed at how well I was able to get by on knowing a few words of Italian and pointing and making hand gestures, and at how outgoing I was.
3) I don’t need to look attractive all the time. When I was biking, I looked like hell…helmet hair, sweaty, tired, etc…and I didn’t care.
4) I don’t need to buy things everywhere I go. I’m a mild shopaholic, meaning I love buying things but it’s not a problem in my life or anything. Usually when I travel, I pick up at least a few things along the way. This time I didn’t have any luggage space. I don’t feel that I missed out by not picking up a new pair of shoes or something like that (I rarely buy things that seem like souvenirs…mostly I just get clothes, but different ones than we have in Berlin).
5) I pushed my physical limits. I strapped my backpack to the bike most of the time, but sometimes I carried it on my back and was still able to bike for hours, and I was able to carry it a lot too. I thought I’d only be able to cycle 30-50 km a day with all the hills and stuff, but I was able to average 60. I was able to ride up the hills for the most part..I had to walk up a couple of them, but that’s mostly because I made the mistake of stopping at the bottom, and you need momentum to get up hills on a bike. Even when I had the backpack strapped to the bike, I still had to pedal that weight. I was tired a lot of nights, but the next day I was still able to get going, and keep going. I did the trip super fast, and I know I could easily have done it for a week.
1) Berlin drivers aren’t as bad as I thought. They’re still not great, but they’re not the worst, and the super-organization of German roads really is a saving grace.
2) I fully appreciate how well things work in Germany. I never really appreciated how organized this country is, maybe because I’m from a very organized country myself, and I tend to travel in big cities, and big cities tend to have things running a bit smoother overall. I’ve sometimes felt glimpses of how well things work here, such as constant London Underground fails (random line closures, etc). But going somewhere else, and outside of a city at that, made my appreciate Germany and Berlin. You always have great signage here, so you know where you’re going. Things are planned out very well. The roads are very good. Trains and busses are almost always on time and if there’s something wrong, there’s very detailed information as to why.
3) If you’re going up a particularly difficult hill, you can be sure you’ll be rewarded with a nice, comfortable downhill draft eventually 🙂