UK, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Türkiye, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, South Korea, and Japan - all countries I flew over on the first leg of my flight back home (covering a little over 9,600km), 13h later I landed in Haneda Airport for a long and boring stopover before continuing my next leg. I won't bore you with the details, but 15 hours overnight in an airport that is essentially closed (all shops closed at 8pm, restaurants at 10pm) is not much fun. Vending machines provided some amusement, and did stave off hunger, but I can say it definitely had a "The Terminal" vibe going on. With a further 9h flight covering 7,800km, the second leg was predominantly over sea, so once I took off from Japan, it only flew over Guam and Papua New Guinea before landing in Sydney - only a night's sleep and 3 hour drive to go.
Although I did a few rides in the first week, it took me quite a few days to get my baring's this time - can't really put my finger on it, but struggled to get past 2pm without a siesta. Although some may suggest, and rightly so, that you are on holiday so you can sleep whenever you want (and should rest) but for those that know me, it isn't my normal state to sit around...even on holiday (my mum tells me "just sit still"). So I flew, and landed, and drove, and got to Canberra to spend some much needed time with family, and take advantage of the Aussie summer whilst simultaneously avoiding the UK winter - perfect. I, of course, brought my bike, so on top of its travels to Germany and Italy last year, I can add an Aussie sticker to the case - the goal is to fill that side up over the next few years.
My first ride was a warm one, high 20's which i know isn't overly warm, but being slightly out of practice with the Australian summer temps, it wasn't something I was used to and found myself a little light on the water side even after only an hour or so. This ride was just a warm up (literally and figuratively) as I had a slightly longer one planned for day 2 whereby I was going to spread out from the local roads and laneways in the north of the ACT, and head down into Canberra itself for a 60km round trip through the nations capital. The weather was stunning, and with an average speed of nearly 28km/h, slightly stunned myself with the pace i was maintaining even though it continued to be quite warm. Think I drank about 5L of water that day, definitely need to sort my hydration out!
This holiday wasn't all about cycling, although I do find it a great way to unwind, but to rest and catch up with family so organised to meet up with one of my many sisters in Sydney, and get a couple of days in the most beautiful city in the world (obviously that isn't a biased view, just stating facts). So a quick 4hr train trip delivered me right into central station, and a straight walk down Pitt St guided me to my hotel for the next couple of days - just time to drop stuff off, before heading off to catch up with an old friend (the city that is). Over the next couple of days I would walk nearly 60km reconnecting with somewhere that at one point was my home - it hasn't lost it's charm, it's still amazing. In case you were wondering, yes - i did manage to catch up with my sister, albeit too brief. Will try to ensure there isn't as long between coffee's next time.
In a blink of an eye, my first week evaporated but I got to spend time with family, go for some rides, and walk around an amazing city - I need more of this and less "office" in my life. Somethings are not meant to be caged.
Sleep now, for tomorrow I ride.