Touk-touk, horse cart or motorbike?

Yogyakarta alley (Illustration by Charles)

We talked about it in a previous article on Java, motorbikes are very present everywhere in Indonesia. This means of transport seems indeed prized for its simplicity and independence even for the younger ones (from 14 years!). And rather useful for the steep elevation…

But it comes with inconvenience such as noise, air pollution and many accidents while the bus unfortunately seems to lose ground and that the horse cart are no longer there for folklore. As for the bike, its place remains very marginal (touk-touk and self-service bikes, incredible for Yogya!). Fortunately some elders remain loyal!

Bali, it’s over

Padangbai, here ends our Balinese week. Arrived on Thursday 9th of may by the public ferry from Java, we explored the secluded and pleasant facets of the island, following advices of our friends.
The program? Snorkeling from Pemuteran in the direction of Menjangan Island (nice since the corals are very preserved and colorful), walks in forests and between the coffee trees around Munduk and hippie tourism in the rice paddies of Ubud.

Ubud neighbourhoods

Finally, bathing and re-snorkeling on the neighboring islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida as we explore by scooter for lack of public transport. The great novelty is that we took out the tent for 4 nights of bivouac… at the top! Finally a bit ‘ of adventure ‘, away from the guest houses and our daily comforts.

1st night under tent in Temblingan, nice spot on the outskirts of a Hindu temple. With the forest around, it almost looks like the Franche-Comté 🙂 Only the dogs and the round of motorcycles (the two faults of Bali) will disturb this evening in the freshness.

Temblingan, green!

The next day will not be exactly the same mayonnaise: after 10km of walking in forest under the songs of the birds we reach Beratan by thinking of finding a corner of camping “signposted”. Anyway, we galerons, end up seeing a distant shore and we install it on the advice of a local.
Fog helps us stay camoufled until dark and we enjoy a big meal on the front (chicken skewers, peanut sauce, noodles and rice)!

Fresh dishes on the lake

A week later, after the parenthesis in Ubud that we recommend despite the number of Yankees, we find again the joys of the bivouac in Atuh Beach, on the island of Nusa Penida. The place is magical, a clear sea surrounding steep rocks and more a tourist at nightfall. It feels good!

Panorama of Atuh Beach

Yes but here, the sand is unsuitable for the sardines of our non-freestanding tent and the monkeys that rodent oblige us to decamper/re-camp a little farther from their forest end! It folds and ends up sleeping for a few hours intermittently, lulled by the wind, the sound of the waves and the cries of the monkeys who bicker.

Planet of the apes, the remake

The next day, after an invigorating morning swim and a walk, we go back on the road to the scooter-headed Kenlingking beach. And there, despite the incessant influx of tourists to the belvedère, we take a lot of eyes
! It is even more beautiful than the day before: the arms of the Earth surrounded by an azure blue sea where we can see even, by far, the rays mantas “fly” in the Bay.

Panorama of Kenlingking Beach

We attack the infernal descent with our big bags on what looks like steps (badly) carved in the rock and bamboo as a bodyguard. Once on the beach, Cléa approaches the rays mantas and Sylvain not really a fish in the sea for a penny splashout in the waves.
The night falls and we install our mosquito net on makeshift portents in bamboos. It is cool, the heavenly vault is beautiful and only the drum of the waves takes us out of our wandering lethargy every now and then.

Mosquito net on its luxurious frame !

Saturday, may 18 in the morning: Whew, the high tide did not reach our camp overnight:)

We bathe, go out, then climb the steep cliff. Penida tour is over… tomorrow, already, Lombok!

Java is rock and roll

For this second article on Java, we make you discover some sound atmospheres collected this week. Put your header louder :)!

We start with the arrival by train to Malang station:

Train Malioboro ekspres

Then the street musicians who have brightened our bus ride to Probolinggo with guitar, ukulele, congas and songs a capella:

Singing in the bus Malang-Probolinggo

In Kalibaru, night market atmosphere, with the agitation that joins every break of fasting:

Street market in Kalibaru

The famous litany after sunset:

Evening pray

Finally, still in Kalibaru, once nature has taken back its sound rights:

On the banks of the River in Kalibaru

Selamat pagi Indonesia!

After two days in the futuristic and disproportionate world of Singapore, we embark on the 2nd of May for an Indonesian getaway backpackig. Let’s go to Java! Yogyakarta, located in the South-Central of the island, allows us to familiarize ourselves gently with the Javanese universe. With a little bit of agripping, we find the streets crowded of 2 and 4 motorized wheels with uncontrolled trajectories, still there’s a nuance of “calm” compared to India or Nepal. We do not fail to make ourselves collar multiple times for a tuk-tuk ride (a kind of rickshaw in front of a bike or a moped) but resist and use our legs to visit quickly the vicinity of Kraton, historical and political downtown and taste the first local dishes: chicken in soup or skewers, rice often steamed and some vegetables (beans, cabbage or cucumbers) cooked just enough spicy and of course bananas of the market!

Covered market in Yogyakarta

We leave the next day exploring Borobudur and its temple “postcard”. It was expected: the entrance ticket is disproportionately expensive but the site is actually charming and photogenic. First Sunrise at 3am and first volcanoes on the horizon, we look forward to approaching its!

Soon we set sail to the East by bus to the city of Solo (Surakarta). Let’s be honest, we’re disappointed. The big town lacks charm, the corks are omnipresent at the moment of our journey between the station and the hostel. Fortunately the day without car on Sunday brings us a certain comfort: sandals, skates, carioles and horses are out! During this time, Ramadan launches into the streets of the city with a multitude of itinerant walkers, sails that unfortunately resemble more and more to burkas and prayers in echo several times a day. These moments of prayer rather depaying at the beginning, then become slightly invasive by their duration (sometimes several hours) and their volume (they are ubiquitous!).

Mosque of Solo on his bed of motorbikes

Further to the East, we return from balm to the heart when arriving by train to Malang thanks to our pleasant rooftop Hostel made of bamboos, to new culinary discoveries (bakso and Sate to the menus) and the colorful alleys of Jodipur district. It is also an opportunity to cross the first “counterparts” backpackers tourists. Indeed, we are getting closer to Bali…

Train overlooking the Jodipur colorful village

New stopovers of this first week decidedly urban and made of public transportation: Probollingo then Jember and Kalibaru who do not really have a particular charm but leave glimpted green forests surrounding and flirt ever more with the majestic volcanoes. We take te road to Bromo and then Ijen!

Here, believe us, our experience is up to what we have been able to read or hear. Each of the volcanoes visited at night offers us a magical experience: Bromo immortalized from afar because again in activity since 1 year ago and Ijen accompanied by a guide as close as possible to the sources of bluish sulfur. It’s touristic but still pretty darn handsome.

Sunrise on Bromo and Ijen volcanos

Thus ends these 8 days in Java, authentic, urban and relatively preserved of mass tourism, except in the vicinity of volcanoes. If you plan to mak a trip there, choose the train to cross the island (economy class is enough) and Yogya to discover the urban side. What’s next? Bali where we will try to avoid hordes of Australians and Frenchies to rather meet nice fish. To be followed!

Singapore in a gust of wind

Landing in Singapore, 4:30am, 35 °C. The bikes arrived in good condition, and reassembled quietly in the airport by our care in the freshness of the air conditioning. First stroke of pedals under the heat… We will do it!


East cost Park, relax facing downtown

After looking for a way out to downtown, we are informed that it is not possible to leave the airport by bike.
The roads that lead there are beautiful and well forbidden to bicycles…
Finally, we book a “big” taxi and here we are rolling in East Coast Park along the Strait of Singapore. We taste our first local dish and let patiently pass the first diluted rain of our trip.
Our guests Johanna & Xavier are welcoming us in a magnificent house populated with multiple figurines of the adventures of Tintin and Snowy, evening is joyful and Royal.

Figurines of Tintin and Snowy at our Belgian house

A little rest and we go back for a stroll the next day in the parks of the city.

In the evening on the way back, we spend admiring the gigantic and famous skyline after a detour in the very nice and small Malay neighborhood.
The ladder opposition is just in front of our eyes.

Eco-friendly lighting of skyline… !

Tomorrow already another country to discover…

Frühling im Westen

We had the taste to get there by the Earth and to make a significant stopover, that is how a week passed without ever we were tired of Berlin. Western capital (European at least), the megalopoly holds all its promises of city of history, arts and reunion. A pretext for a “last” escape on the old continent, with bicycles for the first time, Berlin takes its spring tunes, between the melodies of Chilly Gonzales worthy of Satie at the Philharmonie, the flowering Japanese cherry blossoms, the Badeaux of Tempelhof who braved the last winter wind, the exit squirrels at Victoria Park, the Easter eggs hanging from the branches and the sextagénaires sunbathing at Tiergarten. On our side, we store forces with pints of Pils, currywurst, döner or soups of asparagus, and a good dose of friendships or love, to choose.

Often underground, we take the city against the foot by pacing day its boulevards and bicycle lanes, paved with red, under a generous Sun and enjoying our humble experience and our guests to avoid the crowded scenes of Brandenburg or Checkpoint Charlie. not
that history is anecdotal, but Europe is no longer to rebuild (no matter how much we wonder about the amount of facades ravings in Mitte) and that is so much better. The signs of the candidates for the Strasbourg Parliament parade and we are proud to read “save the bees” rather than an umps pub for sedans.
That said, let’s be honest, the (Volks) Wagen is still Queen and it is only on the docks (of the Spree and its canals) that one feels perfectly comfortable by bicycle. Kind of like Lyon.

We will always have the same pleasure to meet with the U-Bahn, the graffs ever more eloquent and hear to succeed electro, soul, hip-hop or even rock in the same evening improvised.

Nevertheless, our curiosity pushes us to continue the journey (much) more to the East…

Chancery on the banks of spree and Fernsehturm in vanishing point

Berlin, erster Halt !

22nd of April 2019, adventure begins:)

We prepare the gears quietly… fingers crossed so that everything passes in the saddlebags and does not exceed 30kg each!

5pm, departure by train from the “House” of Franche-Comté, direction Belfort then Basel then Hamburg then Berlin!

After 18 hours of travel, we finally meet Betty the sister of Cléa and Pablo a longtime friend. It’s time for a crazy Berlin week, perfect opportunity to roder our bikes and discover famous German bike paths!

Who we are

Cléa

Initially attracted by old bikes with racing frames, I use to cycle above all as a means of urban transport in everyday life. Passing through the alleys of the cities in which I studied was the most practical and independant mode of travel for me.

Arrived in Lyon in 2016, Sylvain encouraged me to undertake longer trips in France and Switzerland. Mixing the discovery of a territory with this mode of movement so doux (just like my original region – Doubs) seduces me. Today, we embark on a long journey together, counting on our complementarity for adventure and DIY to achieve this beautiful dream.

And Sylvain

Native of Savoy, I’m in love with mountain at all seasons. I use to ski tour their and as much as possible to bike, seeking for great outdoors and alpine landscapes. For studies and then for work, I’m established in Lyon since 2007. Their too, I don’t mind pedaling, despite the exhaust pipes in the nose, to go for a drink with friends, improvise or swing.

I had the luck to ride in Europe (Scotland and Iceland) and since 2016 in France and around with Cléa! I now look forward for discovering bewitching distant lands together!

Singapore-Hanoi

Our project started in Singapore on June 17, 2019. We went up the east coast of the Malay Peninsula and then the golf course of Thailand. We passed Bangkok and then we crossed northern Cambodia and then Laos along the Mekong River.

Without a Chinese visa and attracted to Vietnam, we entered in this country at the border of Na Meo the 9th of September. Direction Mai Chau, Moc Chau, Ninh Binh, Halong then Hanoi in early October!