Travel & Maps

Day 1, Mon 11th of April 2022 - Planning: 1 part strategic 1 part stupid

First international travel for ~3years. April 2019 we were in the north island of New Zealand.

We decided to book our trip the day after the most difficult race of my life (to date: 10/04/2022); The Tamworth Trail Blazer 60K with ~3,800m elevation gain. After pushing 165 heart beats per minute for 531 minutes pushing out ~5,700 calories and taking home both the course record, first place and days worth of pain to follow, maybe it was 2 parts stupid, 1 part strategic… 

It was a great day and I was too high on adrenaline to feel it but I was chafing and cramping so much that the next few days on planes I thought would be a good time to recover. The worst part was the chafing… definitely going to fix that for my next ultras in May and July – it actually formed a scab on the flight over the Singapore. 

Post-COVID Airports

This was actually the time when domestic airports were absolutely insanely understaffed and security lines went outside the terminals – mayhem. Luckily the international terminal wasn’t so bad (LINK). After flying strictly domestically the last 3 years you forget some of the procedures going international: taking out liquids (100ml max), passport photo not looking like you, 3hr check-in rules, etc. But you also forget the glamour of the lounges, luxury shops, duty free (~50% shops open).

The Flight

Actually not that bad… and we were flying economy on Scoot. Worst part was the screaming babies but sitting down for hours on end, watching F1’s and Kimetsu no Yaiba S2, really not that bad. It probably helped that I was still exhausted from the run that I could actually sleep every few hours.
Total rest time: 24.5h
Tamworth to Sydney: 1hr
Sydney to Singapore: 7.5hrs
Singapore to Athens: 11hrs

Places and Maps

Planning Map

Highlights from each area:

Athens

  • Acropolis – especially the Erechtheion. Private tour guide was great. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey YouTube video guide just as good!
  • Food – Mousakka, Anchovies, bakeries, everything
  • Acropolis Museum was a bit of a let down. The Greek inventions museum was awesome though.

Meteora

  • Literally everything; Monasteries, food, people
  • E-Bike Sunset Tour
  • Hiking, turtles, tracks, photos
  • Via Cordatta
  • Hotel – buffet breakfast

Kefalonia

  • Cycling up Mt Ainos
  • Melisanni Cave
  • Shipwreck beach – although we had average weather

Rome

  • Appian way run
  • Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is everywhere. Borgia tower, Mausoleum of Augusto, Coliseum, etc 
  • Food – Pasta has never been so good. Gelato – Wasabi chocolate
  • Disappointment: air quality from street smokers

Naples

  • Pizza and portion sizes
  • The Tunnel Tour followed by the Catacombs
  • Pompeii was huge
  • Disappointing: trash and rubbish everywhere and Visuvio was covered in fog. Japanese food was also horrible. 

Santorini

  • Sunset hike from Thira to the north
  • The Lost Atlantis
  • Disappointing – roads are not made for walking or cycling. Need better infrastructure. Prices also very high, recommend going to Lidl. 

Why did I choose to cycle Japan?

I have always had an interest in Japan from a young age, I assume it’s from watching all the Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, etc when I was young. This is my 3rd visit to Japan and I wanted to improve my Japanese mostly, especially the speaking component as it’s the hardest to practice when you study alone. Although I do believe taking actual Japanese classes is a better way to improve… I also enjoy hiking, so with all the mountains in Japan this was easy pick.

But I chose to cycle as I would be able to meet many people and experience many things that you would usually miss if you were to take public transport or a car. Many people I could talk and interact with. I also would gain a massive sense of accomplishment by completing something so seemingly impossible.

Where did I go?

Journey Statistics

Journey Statistics - Japan Bike Tour 2018

Highlights of the Trip

Other

Future Trips

When I was asked ‘would I do it again?’ as soon as I arrived back home, I was ready to put the bike down for a while and have a rest. It’s been over 3 years at time of writing and I’d definitely be keen to do another bike trip. I had started planning a Taiwan bike trip, which would only be a few weeks and hope to try it in 2022.

I would also like to try something in Europe, maybe in Spain and also cycling from Sydney to my home town Tamworth over a week.