Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I ♥ Wales

Monday, 22th of August. 130 kilometres of great cycling, great unbelievable landscape – I love Wales. The nature, the smell of all this green, the structure, the hills… I think it's the best one can do if one wants to cycle through Ireland to cross Wales first. Just the language is weird, I mean the signs and all these names. I have no idea how they can be spelled, maybe if you have a laryngitis… (to proof my theory, doesn't even this word looks like a Welsh word?). All of a sudden I didn't understand nothing, but fortunately most of the signs and names are bilingual.

It was good to rest at Deborah's place yesterday. It was a really nice garden party with interesting and interested people, all of them so curious to learn more about my tour, the backgrounds of my tour and my life story at all. I think (felt) some of them really liked me, I felt very welcome. It's a good thing to be hugged or patted. During this party I became a chocolate-chilli ice-cream addict but was also able to get over it (it's just a question of how long and how much, and the latest version of the ice cream was definitely too mild – I can't believe I am saying this, but only chocolate without chilli isn't enough).

Today (now it's 2:30 A.M. but I haven't slept, therefore the new day hasn't started…) I was on the road before 10 A.M., still within Forest of Dean (A4136) which means still hilly. I made a 11% uphill (even though I needed one or another rest). I had some problems with my lungs, maybe because of the weather. The hole day it was bright sunshine, best weather for cycling. From Monmouth up to Abergavenny I cycled the B4233 – what a lovely, beautiful little road, nearly an asphaltic path. Very hilly, very green. It even smelled extremely green. You know about the beautiful outlook, but not often you are able to see it, because the road path is lined with high hedge and bushes, all of them so bulky. The good thing when you cycle such a hilly road where only every five or ten minutes a car passes you are able to cycle switchback.

Up from Abergavenny I cycled the A40. I cycled lots of hills! Not only constantly ups and downs but really uphill, so you can feel the height, the wide, the wideness, which is so great to see. Such an interesting landscape… I think I can say I cycled mountains! And it was easy cycling! Definitely a good day. I met two racing cyclists while cycling, Dave and Tom, and had some nice chit-chat, did some slipstreaming (it doesn't really help when the route is just hilly, but I was motivated to do some fast cycling for a while). I saw army men who jogged uphill while carrying a big rucksack. I go on seeing lovely old VW buses. Car drivers still greet me with their hooter, too (and even other cyclists greet). I saw a scooter who surely had some Harley Davidson relatives, as he had loads of extra mirrors on both sides of the front. Never before I have seen so many sheep. And the last ten kilometres up to Llandovery it was all slight downhill, so I was able to do easy cycling with 24 up to 36 km/h.

In Llandovery I had to learn, that my host's place isn't there but in the next village Llangadog, but who cares about another ten kilometres? When I arrived at 7:30 P.M. Jane wasn't at home (she had told me this could happen). But her neighbour David cared for me, first he brought me a hot chocolate while I was sitting at the stairs of Jane's front door, half an hour later he invited me into his flat, Jane later said this was an honour, normally nearly nobody is allowed to come into his place. But we just had a nice chat, another hot chocolate and actually he offered me his couch in case Jane wouldn't come back home, but she did at 9 P.M. I will stay here for another day, so Jane and I can spend some time together.


  1. Wales is beautiful, it has some of the best landscape (especially the Brecon Beacons)and definately the best caves in the UK.
    I sense a bit of a chocolate theme with your tour as well, Chocolate icecream one day and Hot chocolate the next. :-)
    So close to Ireland now.

  2. Hi Carmen,
    I hope I will see these caves the next time!
    Greetings and thanks for reading my blog,

  3. Hi Sanne, I'm glad you liked the chocolate and chilli ice cream! It's really easy to make, this is roughly how it goes:

    Chop up 2 or 3 chillis (from very mild to scotch bonnet and above, depending on how hard you are) and put in a saucepan with 300ml full cream milk. Heat the milk until just short or bubbling (DONT let it boil!). Let it cool down for 15 minutes off the heat.

    Take 3 egg yolks and mix well with 75g castor sugar. Add the milk, straining out the chillis with a very fine strainer. Heat up in a saucepan until the custard starts getting thick.

    Take off the heat, and stir in 200g of very good quality dark chocolate, stirring until it's all melted and smooth. Leave to cool for an hour or so.

    Stir in 200ml of double cream, blending in carefully with a wooden spoon.

    Add the whole mixture to a ice-cream making machine (did I mention this needs to be left in a freezer for 24 hours before you start?). Set it going, and leave for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how it's looking.

    Pour out into a 1l freezer box and freeze for at least 24 hours before use.

    Serve with a pint of milk and some painkillers!

    Have fun, hope the rest of the trip goes well!