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Welcome to my travel blog

Here you will find journals, photos, maps and videos of my trips. A couple of years ago I cycled over 16,000 km through Europe, South East Asia and Australia. And I have just finished a new trip, cycling from Tallinn to Vienna through the Baltics and Poland!

Matthew McDonald

09/06/2013: Medina, Morocco

Finished Base Camp 13! Awesome tour through the south of Spain and Morocco...

see all notes
02/02/2013: Dælenenga, Norway

Great day sledding in Oslo!

16/10/2011: Vienna, Austria

Finished! 4,028km, one puncture, one crash and a broken seatpost, rack, spoke and tyre, but I'm in Vienna!

05/10/2011: Grzegórzki, Poland

Saw 5 castles today, that has to be some sort of record...

29/09/2011: Śródmieście, Poland

Just arrived in Warsaw!

09/09/2011: Palanga, Lithuania

Having a day of in Palanga after a few days of rain and headwind...

01/09/2011: Vecrīga, Latvia

Arrived in Riga! Just passed 1,000km for the trip too

27/08/2011: Pärnu, Estonia

Arrived in Parnu after a 150km day, lots of which was into the wind... time to relax!

19/08/2011: Kalamaja, Estonia

Starting off on a new adventure... cycling from Tallinn, Estonia to (probably) Vienna, Austria... stay tuned for updates

11/05/2011: Newport-On-Tay, United Kingdom

6 hour train ride home from Stonehaven after a 4-day cycle tour of Scotland...

Lake Como

Saturday, January 30 2010
(in 2009/Italy)

In July 2009 Duncan, Adam and myself spend a week in a great apartment on the shores of Lake Como. We went cycling almost every day, circumnavigating the lake and exploring the nearby cols. It was great!

We cycled 480 kilometres in five days, with over six kilometres of climbing.

After this, Duncan and I cycled back home to London over 12 days - check out the entry on that as well.

Some stats -
Day 1, Southern Triangle. 73km, 1,468m. Two passes at 1150 and 900m. Epicity 21.9
Day 2, Swiss Visit. 103km, 1,010m. Across to Lugano, down to Como and back. Epicity 20.9
Day 3, East Side. 83km, 1,163m. Around the back valley, fantastic local lunch. Epicity 19.9
Day 4, Two Arms. 123km, 691m. Flying down the east coast of Como. Epicity 19.2
Day 5, The Balcony. 98km, 1,737m. Up to 1400m, then down 18% to Campiano D'Italia. Epicity 27.2!
 
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Crossing Europe by Road Bike

Saturday, January 30 2010
(in 2009/Germany)

After cycling in Como for a week Duncan and I cycled back through Europe to London. (Duncan bailed out at Brussels). Along the way we crossed the Alps, the Black Forest, the Rhine, and cycled through Italy, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and England. We also found time to drink an old friend under the table. Can't wait to do it again!

We cycled over 1,500km in 12 days, or 2,000km in 17 days if you include the cycling in Como as well. In all, we climbed well over 16 kilometres!

Day 1, Splugen. 105km, 2,215m. 50km to Chiavenna then nothing but up... my first Alp crossing! Epicity 32.6!
Day 2, Freidrichshafen. 167km, 742m. Breakfast in Switzerland (just), lunch in Lichtenstein, dinner in Germany. Epicity 24.1
Day 3, Schiltach. 158km, 1,380m. Along Lake Constance then rolling hills of wheat. Epicity 29.6
Day 4, Baden-baden. 90km, 1,047m. Offroad climbs and windy descents in the Black Forest. Epicity 19.5
Day 5, Heidelberg. 107km, 319m. An easy day and a big night. Epicity 13.9
Day 6, Binden. 136km, 550m. Massively hungover, a long long way and it spanked down rain. Epicity 19.1
Day 7, Bad Neunahr-Arwheiler. 123km, 350m. Along the Romantic Rhine and a funny town to stay in. Epicity 15.8
Day 8, Maastricht. 160km, 1,000m. Big day, nice paths, and another big night out. Epicity 26.0
Day 9, Brussels. 116km, 736m. Dead straight, dull road but interesting towns. Epicity 18.9
Day 10, Brugge. 107km, 380m. Ghent is lovely, nice canal route but massive headwind. Epicity 14.5
Day 11, Dover. 124km, 236m. Headwind somehow got worse, and so did the roads. Epicity 14.7
Day 12, London. 147km, 1,436m. Surprisingly nice ride to Canterbury then tired legs sprint home. Epicity 29.0
 
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Back to work

Wednesday, August 13 2008
(in 2008/England)

It had to happen sometime. After four hundred and seventy-two days not working, it is time to re-learn the windsor knot because It is back to the grindstone on Monday.
When I last wrote I was in Katherine, in the Northern Territory of Australia, having just been turned back by the incessant headwinds. From there I took 'The Ghan', a great train which runs straight through the centre of Australia, and which is really cheap if you book an economy ticket only a couple of days before it leaves. Lots of beautiful scenery and one extremely annoying smelly stupid fat man who wouldn't leave me alone later, I was in Adelaide, there was 800 kilometres to go and it was suddenly winter.

The Ghan

I knew I lugged those cold weather cycling clothes all through Thailand for a reason - the weather was kind and I was actually pretty comfortable by day, but at night things were pretty tough. A thin tent and a thin sleeping bag meant I had to put all my clothes on to get through the night, and even then I was getting very early starts in the morning because I started shivering at about 5. I tried unsuccessfully to use my little stove to keep warm and after nearly burning myself alive in my tent at 3am one cold morning I pondered upon whether there was somehow, some way to take the heat produced by the stove and maintain it in a safe fashion about my person throughout the night.
The next day I bought a hot water bottle.
I usually camped in paid campsites in the larger towns - Ararat, Horsham, etc - but one night I was stuck in the middle of nowhere so I wild camped near this disused track away from the road. I was pretty chuffed with the nice quiet position until about 4am when the local freight train came through on the track about 10 metres from my head. Primal urges to 'get out! get out! the train is quite definitely going straight through the tent!' had to be suppressed by my groggy frontal lobe.
On the second last night I made it to my brother Vincent's house in Ballarat, and the last night I stopped at another brother's house, Ian, on the outskirts of Melbourne. I was quite surprised how pretty the scenery was on this out-of-the-way route into the big city. The final day, 21st June, was an easy thirty-three kilometres into the centre of town, Federation Square, to be met by my family and friends.

Home!

The next six weeks went quickly - 2 weeks in Melbourne, 1 in Ballarat, then back to London and three weeks looking for a job. I made some improvements to www.macamat.com and you can now see videos of the trip from there, and see the trip broken down into cycling and other transport.
A few quick stats and some best-ofs: (I will post a stat-riddled journal on the website soon but won't email it)
Kilometres: 15,381
Europe / Turkey - 6,029
South-East Asia - 6,044
Indonesia / Timor Leste - 1,928
Australia - 1,380
Metres climbed - about 82 kilometres. That's almost to space, people!
Days actually spent cycling - 284
Countries visited - 27 (19 while cycling)

Toughest cycling: Indonesia, Albania and Australia.

Prettiest ladies: Croatia, Armenia, Turkmenistan and Croatia again.

Most environmentally unconscious: Indonesia is a clear winner, but a gold star for Uzbekistan for almost emptying a whole sea.

Most annoying locals for cycling: Vietnam and Indonesia. Hello mister!

Friendliest: Albania, Iran, Cambodia, Italy and Australia

Wackiest Dictators: Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran

Best food: China and France

Jannah at Gori

Thanks for everyone's encouragement and thoughts during the journey. That's all folks... but probably not forever!

Mat

ps. It's crazy to see Georgia in such chaos right now, and especially the town of Gori stuck in the middle of it all, which Jannah and I visited and thought was a bit rough around the edges but quite nice. I remember the hotel was very old world classy. Now there are a bunch of Russian tanks cruising the streets.

 
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Bin el-Ouidane
 

The Base Camp 13 Gang
 

Sledding
 

Sailing for my birthday
 

Roller Stroll
 

Coupe Icare!
 

Vercors 1
 

Col de la machine - Guy
 

Col de la Machine - view
 

Auch