WOOHOO!!!! Today was my first day back on the bicycle after 19 days of rest and recooperation and it was AWESOME!
Gorgeous scenery, great riding condition, fantastic friends, delicious coke stops, and a border crossing. What more could you ask for?
Kari, Hans (my friend from Italy who joined this section), Joerg, Paul, and Christina all rallied behind me as we departed from the Mbeya Hotel. I felt like a 6 year old riding a bicycle without training wheels for the first time. I was tentative and nervous of the traffic, but especially the people that would jump out from the side of the road. After leaving the valley of Mbeya, we started a 20 km climb up lush forested areas. Halfway up the hill we stopped for chai – a VERY sweet tea – and I was reunited with my EFCB crew of Kim and Pete. Memories of coke stops in Sudan came flooding back – so much has happened since then…
The afternoon riding was through rolling hills of tea plantations. Brief rain showers knocked down the humidity and Lake Malawi appeared in the distance as we started a 12 km descent to an afternoon stop of roasted bananas before we reached the Tanzaia/Malawi border. All that coasting left us hungry, so we stopped for our final meal in Tanzania – the famous chip (aka french fry) omellette with Stoney’s (ginger beer) – the perfect combination of salt and fat and tasty flavors.
The border crossing was remakably uneventful and in a free blink (no visa fees) we were in Malawi. 12km into the country we arrived at the Rice Paddy Camp to complete a 123km riding day! SO GREAT to be back on the bike!!