Date: 28.03.17 & 29.03.17
Blog entry date:29.03.17
Odometer: 8 544km
Avg speed: 13.8km/hr
Time on bike: 1h46min
Problems: Tear in back-rim
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)
Staying in the Hotel des Mille Collines, translated from French to Hotel of a Thousand Hills. Eva did some effective marketing for us and they gave us a room at a better rate. They later upgraded this to a suite at no extra cost, awesome!
A tour like this needs an appropriate ending. We often wondered what landmark we can use at the end. While searching for options we found the Mille Collines a landmark in Kigali of historical significance. During the 1994 genocide this is the hotel where more than a thousand people took shelter. The story is depicted in the film ” Hotel Rwanda” (although the hotel itself does not appear in the film which was shot mainly in South Africa).
The name is also very appropriate, Hotel of a Thousand Hills which fits right in with our tag-line “cycling to the land of a thousand hills”.
All of the above also gives us the perfect excuse to end the tour in luxurious accommodation. This makes up for all those nights sleeping in a dodgy hole somewhere. Finally it is an early anniversary celebration for us wich is later this week.
After all the amazing food and generosity received from the Komants it was time for the last kilometers of our tour. We had a delicious breakfast and packed our bags as we have done so many times during the last 5.5 months. Then we got onto our bicycles, cycling into the sunset 😂, (or just heading for the city).
I set the navigation onto the “bicycle” option in order to avoid the busier roads. After about 6km a voice advised us to turn right…. and so we did. What the voice did not say is that in front of us loomed a hill with ridiculous gradient 😂. Oh well, we’ve had 8500km’s of training and this hill was not going to get the better of us.
Kigali is built on many hills and occassionally we had nice views of the skyline.
Before going to the hotel we had 2 important stops to make, a pottery shop and market selling local art. All of this made Eva very happy, me too but not at the same level 😁
At last we pedalled up our final hill (more like #100 000 than 1000) and suddenly there we saw the signage for the Mille Collines. There were no bells, no firecrackers, not even someone calling us mzungu😁. It was only us and it suited us very well.
Eventually the security looked at these two funny cyclists parking their bicycles in front of the signage and we asked him to take a few pictures of us.
When we arrived at the front door we were immediately escorted away as bicycles are not allowed at the entrance. Nice welcome to the end, I guess we looked a bit out of place 😂.
At least they allowed us in and helped us to get all 10 bags and tent and folding chair into our room.
We have reached our goal and it is difficult to know what to say. We are both happy and sad at the same time. Most of you will not know that at various times we considered to make the tour shorter (a nice way of saying we wanted to quit 😁). Even as early as Malawi we had such a discussion. In Kenya, after Mt Kenya, we had many such discussions 😱. I guess in part we were naïve about what was laying ahead of is, but we finally made it and are very grateful!👍.
We thank God for the strenght and courage He gave us to continue. For His protection and for all the answered prayers. To Him the glory.
We thank you for continued support. For all the messages, each and every one, via the blog, whatsapp, facebook, email or whatever way. It is not an understatement to say that it helped to carry us, to keep persevering. It meant more to us than what you could have expected. We are eternally grateful for all the support and will never forget it!
Your generosity towards our goal of raising funds for Josiah Trust/Klipheuwel has been amazing and an inspiration for us. It also helped to keep going and make those tough days a little lighter.
We know that both scholars whom we wanted to support in this way have found opportunities and support, one on a bursary and the other on a type of learnership. Their financial needs therefore provided for to some degree.
Once we are back we will talk to Josiah Trust about the most responsible way to use the funds and report back as to how it will be applied. It might be a combination of auxilliary support to the scholars and another project in Klipheuwel. Assisting building of an Early Childhood Development (ECD) creche in Klipheuwel was mentioned to me as one possibility. We will do this via email if we have your contact, but will also do this via the blog.
Although we have reached our goal we have one last stop in Kigali at family of friends. We still need to ride there and will include a short post for that too.
Once we are back and have settled down and reflected a bit more we may want to add a last “conclusion-post” on the blog.
If anyone has read this blog and plan something similar, we will be more than happy to share any information we have. Please use the email contact provided.
Thanks for having followed.
Willem & Eva