After all the climbing this week, we were finally granted a mostly flat paved road to carry us into our rest days in Lilongwe. We started off in a huge group, laughing and joking out of camp and into an early morning chai stop. The morning brought us beautiful views of grassy plains and a picturesque river crossing (we’ll post a picture when the connection is faster!). Headwinds made the going into and out of lunch a bit tough, especially as our legs were tired from the week, but the excitement of two rest days ahead rose our spirits and pulled us the rest of the way into the city. Unfortunately as I was zoning out a bit enjoying the last 30km or so, I fell off the road and took a little spill. Day dreaming, riding too close the wheel in front of me to take advantage of the drafting, and the deteriorating edge of the road all contributed to the mishap, but luckily I only suffered a few cuts and bruises. And somehow Hans managed to jump right over me to avoid falling as well! When Kendra arrived on the scene (she and Jorg were chatting a km or so back) she was happy to see that we’d found a Coke stop (or so she thought!). No worries, she used her wilderness first aid training to patch me up in no time and we pedaled down the road a bit to an actual Coke stop and got back on the road a short time later.
The mood at the camp in Lilongwe was festive as all of us were ready to kick back and enjoy a couple of days off. We had reserved rooms at the nearby Korea Garden Hotel, but as often happens in Africa, there was a mix-up and our rooms were taken. After a delicious Korean dinner we returned to the camp, had a few beers with our co-rider Peter the Poet whose birthday was the next day, and happily curled up in our tents, knowing the money saved on our hotel roomed could be used for a much-needed massage tomorrow instead!