Friday, July 22, 2011
The road to Switzerland?
A few days ago we got an unexpected phone call.
This was odd for many reasons, the first being that the call came to our landline, which usually is only used by telemarketers. The place where the call came from was also unexpected: it was from Imatra, the last town on this side of the border, a town we would be passing through in a week or so.
On the other end of the line was Kari, who runs a bike shop over there. It's not like we're old friends or anything. He supplied us with our Trailer Bob, and gave some valuable tips on reaching Imatra. This was not the reason why he called, though.
He promptly told us the news – he had hosted a Swiss cyclotourist who had conned his journey and was now heading for our home town. And that he probably would like to stay at our place.
No chance to contact him as he had no phone. But he would appear on our doorstep in due time.
Perplexed, we kind of just agreed. Not that disagreeing would have made any difference. All we really could do was wait. And a day passed, then another. We more or less forgot about the mysterious guest, thinking he probably passed us by.
Until one late afternoon when Christoffer happened to stand on the balcony, just to witness a stranger on a bike so packed that it would have been hard to discern that there really was a bike underneath all cargo, should it not have been rolling.
We soon learned that the man knocking on our home door was called Claude. And that he was a real life hardcore cyclist. Having toured most of this little planet, he told us about his amazing journeys. You must be made of stone, should you not be impressed with his ride from Cape Town back home to his native Geneva!
Even Lina, who is remarkably hard to impress was at a loss for words when it was revealed that Claude had not only passed, but indeed stayed for a few days in her native town of Kremenchuk somewhere deep in the Ukrainian wilderness.
In the end Claude was offered a bed to sleep in, a warm shower, a meal which he ate with a healthy appetite (which is always a very good sign!). All while we were rewarded by his very pleasant company and stories.
Leaving the next morning for Helsinki, his plan was to cycle down to Turkey along the Eastern border of Europe. We followed him for a while, and bid him farewell after giving him tips on how to find the Russian embassy in Helsinki.
Best of luck, Claude! May our paths cross again one day.
Posted by Kaisa & Christoffer Leka at 4:45 AM