Saturday, 3 April 2010

MZUZU

Have you ever heard of a town called Mzuzu? Well, don't worry, if you asked me this morning I would have also said "never", but since I am writing this blog from Mzuzu, let me tell you about this pleasant town.

Mzuzu is Malawi's third biggest town and was such a nice surprise. It has clean and tree covered streets, relatively modern shops, banks, ATMs and because it is situated at an altitude of 1300 meters, the temperature is much cooler than by the lake. It has also far less bugs and humidity, making it nice to walk around without having to fight flies, mosquitoes while sweating like a pig.
Today's 136 km stage took us back to the African plateau. We did plenty of climbing, starting with a 700 meter gain over a short and steep 10 km stretch. The climb was hard but pleasant as it got cooler with the altitude. At half way through the climb, we encountered this really beautiful waterfall just meters away from the road side. I did not need much convincing to get off my bike and jump into this refreshing natural shower. Great fun and great way to cool down!
The rest of the ride was full of little climbs but it was also full of coke stops, so we had no problems of dehydration. It seems that as we progress south, we are finding more and more luxuries like cold drinks. Today most coke stops had electricity and therefore cold drinks. This is new for us. We have gone at times days without finding a cold coke... So having the luxury of picking when you want to stop for a cold drink is a treat we had forgotten.
We have now left lake Malawi and are heading for Lilongwe, the capital. We rode most of the day going up a beautiful valley covered with African trees and tobacco plantations along the hills. There is very little traffic here, making it really pleasant for us. Just plenty of people walking along the road and all so friendly, it is really true that Malawians are the friendliest people in Africa. Riding through Malawi on a bicycle is the perfect opportunity to realise how nice people are here. Everybody salutes you and wishes you a pleasant journey. It feels really good, I must say.

Gabriele, Jose and myself rode together, we made it to the finish line before 14h00 so being in a city for a change we decided to look for a good restaurant and have a huge portion of meat. That's exactly what we did. You can see we are now approaching meat eating countries, T- Bone was on the menu! After ordering and eating an insane amount of meat, we decided to come back to camp site early as we heard that tomorrow is even harder with over 2000 meters of climbing.


                                                The clean and tree covered streets of Mzuzu
                                  At a coke stop, I came accross this hand written advert outside
                                  the shop which I thought was worth putting on the blog...
                                                          Eastern procession on the road
                                 These workers busy cutting the grass along the road side offered
                                 me to share their lunch, a maize stem that was boiled in water.
                                 It is actually delicious, especially when you are hungry

This potatoe looking root is produced everywhere here in Malawi
                                         Eric and Eric passing local people during the climb.
                                         Here everybody carries something on its head
                                                            Beautiful little huts evreywhere
                                                                   Tobacco plantations
                                       As I stopped to take a picture, these two kids run towards
                                       me and were very intrigued by my camera
                                                                    he he, I love that one...
                                       During our big climb today we passed this nice waterfall.
                                       The temptation was too high, I jumped into it and enjoyed
                                       the best open air shower in Malawi... I only noticed the
                                       number 113 painted on the road. (it is also my race number)
                                       when viewing on my laptop
                                                                    The Mzuzu pharmacy

1 comment:

yaluna said...

Malawi looks beautiful. Love the waterfall picture! :)