Just Exploring

Little by little we make small things big. Step by step we move forward. Following the right path, the Eightfold path, makes me calm, steady and happy. Did you find yours? Everybody has one, just some must look deeper or look for it longer. Just explore and it will unfold naturally.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cycling to asia, Iran

Hello Mr! What country? Hello Mr. What do you think about Iran?

I don't have to be specifically emphatic to know that everybody who traveled trough Iran have been asked these questions billion times. So what do I think after a month spent mostly by cycling?
Iran is great and it's definitely a travelers paradise... specially the shoe stringers will love it because there is no problem camping anywhere, eating everywhere (except ramadan) and traveling in cheap transport. Bum friendly cities allows you to sleep in park and other advantages. But it's not just fun. You also get a lot of hassle and must be prepared for rip offs. Generally if you don't ask about the price in advance you can expect cosmic numbers! If you do ask don't dream about big discounts by bergaining...

Iranians are very friendly and suffer by over hospitality, so most of the time one can enjoy ones stay. We received plenty of invitations of all of the kinds -from simple tea to few days of accommodation with all the care you could wish for.

We also noticed high level of fear in the locals minds. . They are very curios, many times even suspicious... everything interests them, so if two highly visible creatures, like us on bikes, show up on the street they get more attention than a King! It definitely reaches limits unbearable for almost everybody I would say...

It is a country of strict Islamic regime, but funnily they don't observe Ramadan as seriously as Turks do. We had no problem eating on the streets of Turkish towns, even though the restaurants were closed, but in Tabriz we've been send to a hotel, but we've bought the food on street! Officially there are strict rules for everything but in reality majority of the people neglect them. They do eat, but secretly. They hide! So if the public doesn't see you, it's all right! Isn't that ridiculous? It should be based on the relationship between you and God, not you and public! The women don't wear scarf on privet parties, but when we showed up in short pants we got all the looks and even few comments...
The political situation is even more ridiculous, when cca 3% of the population is manipulating the rest, but officially they have elections -worth nothing... everybody says that the new president is just a very bad joke, nobody voted for him and suddenly here he comes... they call him monkey. But politic sucks so I'm not going to write much about it...

How can I summarize all this? Probably by saying that the Iran has two faces: the official and the real. This schism is quite traumatizing for locals and requires some time for travelers to adjust to. But if you manage you'll have good times.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cycling to Asia, week 10

Here we go again! OH how good it is to feel the air in my hair, yes the wheels are turning, the legs are doing their job... we keep on moving east, well this time a bit more southeast. We decided to make a small detour and check out the biggest highlight of Iran: Persepolis. Our plan was to cycle down there, see the old Persian city and cycle back up to Yazd, but well we underestimated the Iranian distances (and the map we have... is really crap!). On the second day of cycling from Esfahan we have found out that we're not gonna make it. Because its more than 800km of cycling, plus sightseeing, plus catching the bus to the Pakistan border and all of this just in one week... impossible. So what we gonna do?
It's simple just let the karma work for it self, or let the Iranians do what they are best in: be hospitable. At the end of the second day, after cycling some good 100km there were these two guys with a truck having a rest on the car park area on the highway. They showed us to stop, as many of them did before... sometimes we do, sometimes we don't... depends on our mood. This time Dusan had a good intuition and we stopped... YEAH all the Farsi questions: "Where are you from?" and "Are you cycling from Slovakia?" and "Where are you going?" and "OH India!!!" as hundred times before, but this time we also told them we go to Persepolis and they eagerly said that they do as well... so here we go, we have a good 300km hitch in the truck all the way to the sight. Funny part was that after they have found out that our Farsi is really limited just to the basic five questions they wanted to kick us out... but hell no! You said you're gonna take us, so you gonna take us, full stop!
How was Persepolis? Imaginary, original, majestic, monumental, reveling, useful... just imagine how much effort they put to create this original majestic stone city just to find out that nothing last for ever. Even the biggest or strongest monuments are impermanent... What a trust the locals must have had in the King and it didn't last even two centuries... this is useful thought for everybody I ques...
Cycling back was probably the best cycling in Iran. There were nice towns, mountains, deserts, friendly drivers, stupid drivers, hospitable people and beautiful mountain passes... Since we wanted to see bit of Yazd we cheated a bit again and hitchhiked. This time it was proper hand showing process, just that we had to be really picky, since we could accept just pick ups or trucks... it worked after a while... why did the driver asked for ridiculous 50$ for a 100km ride we do not know, but well we gave him a fiver and wished him to recover from the stupidity... Generally the hospitality of the locals is incredible, but on the other hand quite a few tried to rip us off... so our feelings are quite mixed. The good ones definitely overwhelm the bad ones, just that the negative memories are more sticky...
Now we are in the mud-wall ancient city of Yazd, just chill in before some crazy 14+14 hours of bus riding all the way to Pakistani Queta... we met here the other cyclists and decided to cross the border together. So now we are 5 europians heading east...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cycling to Asia, Dusan 2

Zdravim vas opat,
pisem z Esfahanu, asi najkrajsieho iranskeho mesta, do ktoreho je to zo Sturova nieco malo cez pat tisic kilometrov. Sme teda asi v polovicke cykloetapy nasej vypravy.

..takto mi raz povedal kamarat: "V Irane to zacne..."
A veru, ze zacalo. Po prechode turecko-iranskej hranicou sme skutocne nadobudli pocit, ze vsetko je akesi ine, dokonca aj klima:) Ludia posobili dost jednoliato - umiernenejsie, veselsie a uprimnejsie ako ich zapadni susednia. Teraz, po troch tyzdnoch sa vsak nasa mienka o Irancoch trochu upravila. Zije tu niekolko narodov, z ktorych sme dosial lepsie spoznali Turkov, Kurdov a Persanov. Napriek niekolkym odlisnostiam maju urcite spolocne crty a to najma stadovitost a strach z vyssej moci. Ale pekne poporiadku.
V meste Tabriz sme mali na vyber z dvoch moznosti ako stravit nas mesiac v Irane. Ak by sme chceli prejst cely Iran na bycikli (asi 2900 km), museli by sme to struhnut priamym, frekventovanym tahom na Teheran - Esfahan - Yazd - Zahedan. Uz pred Tabrizom sme si nastastie skusili, ze valit po presmradenej hlavnej ceste nie je prave to prave orechove a tak sme si vybrali druhu variantu - z Tabrizu na juh cez iransky Kurdistan a pohorie Zagros. Znamenalo to sice, ze si niekde na vychode budeme musiet vziat autobus, aby sme neprekrocili vizovi limit, no bola to vynikajuca volba.
Zatial co v Turecku sa o Kurdistane nemozno ani zmienit, v Irane je to oficialny nazov jednej z provincii. Oboch nas zaujimalo ako sa iransky Kurdi lisia od tureckych. Nasa zvedavost bola natolko silna, ze nam do cesty priviala toho najpovolanejsieho cloveka - Azada, mladeho, neuveritelne energickeho a velmi priatelskeho kurdskeho patriota. Po stretnuti s nim nasledovali tri dni neustalych navstev u jeho znamych a s tym spojene nekonecne debaty o Kurdoch - ich historii a sucasnych problemoch.. Pocas iracko-iranskej vojny sa spolcili s irackymi Kurdmi, co im vlada dosial kruto odplaca. Okrem prenasledovania a vaznenia neposlusnych "poddanych", sustavneho vypalovania lesov (potencialne ukryty pre kurdske gerily) vlada dlhodobo nepodporuje tento region - asi patdesiat percentna nezamestnanost mladych ludi.Azad nas vzal na dvojdnovy (povodne stvorhodinovy) vylet napriec celou provinciou az k hraniciam s Irakom. Z toho, co sme dosial zazili nam nariek vsetkemu Kurdi zostali v pamati ako velmi priatelsky, pohostinny, vcelku uprimni ludia. I potom, co sme opustili Bukan sa nam dostalo este niekolko pozvani a vzdy sme odchadzali s podobnymi dojmami. ..tolko Kurdistan.
V meste Hamedan si na Janciho sadla choroba a tak sme uznali za vhodne, ze on si vezme do Esfahanu autobus a ja tam dojdem za nim na bycikli. Pocas piatich dni som si teda skusil, ake to je v tychto koncinach ist solo. Najskor trosku osamelo, krajina zacala byt zrazu omnoho zaujimavejsia, no clovek sa o to nemal s kym podelit. Za nedlho som sa vsak aklimatizoval a neskor zhodnotil, ze ist sam je sice trochu narocnejsie, no omnoho intenzivnejsie. Okrem ineho som si naplno skusil, ake to je neustale reagovat na prihovarajucich sa ludi. Niezeby mi to nejak zvlast vadilo, ale Janci predsa len komunikativnejsie a dovtedy som odpovede na do nekonecna sa opakujuce: "Helo, how are you? Whants your name? What is your meaning about Iranian people? Are you maried..?" nechaval na neho. Teraz som vsak bol na to sam. Sukromie je tu neznamym pojmom. Je uplne normalne, ze jeme, niekto sa pristavi, bez opytania si prisadne a zacne sa vas vypytovat tie ich super otazky alebo sa nevypytuju nic a mlcky pozoruju - ako jeme, odpocivame.. Ludia nas oslvouju neustale. Dokonca aj ked slapeme, nie je pre nich problem pristavit sa - spomalit auto motorku a klast spominane otazky. Pred Esfahanom som mal pocit, ze mi praskne hlava. Priblizne hodinu sa mi prihovarali najma motorkari. Ignorovat ich bolo bez efektu. Stale si mleli to svoje a opustili ma, az ked som vsetko zodpovedal. Striedali sa pri mne jeden za druhym. Krkolomna jazda nie je ziadna prekazka. Najlepsi si tu, co nevedia po anglicky a stale na vas vytahuju perstinu akoby to bola automatika - si v Irane, tak predsa musis vediet perzsky (farsi).. Je to jeden z mnohych znakov toho, ze tu ludia nie su na cudzincov moc zvyknuti. Je trochu narocne nebyt k nim nevrly. Zrejme si neuvedomuju, ze patria k tuctom dalsim, ktori kladu tie iste otazky.
Napriek tomu, ze bol ramadan (predvcerom konecne skoncil) bola iranska pohostinnost velkolepa. Pocas tych piatich dni, co som bol sam som si nekupil takmer ziadne jedno jedlo a mnohe z darovaneho som este doniesol aj do Esfahanu. I tu vsak musim povedat, ze nic nie je zadarmo. Ludia vas sice pozvu k sebe domov, na obed.. Na strane druhej sa vsak na vas pride pozriet cela rodina vratane bratrancov, ujov, pradedkov zo vsetkych kolien. Vzdy je to tak trochu zazitok, no vsetkeho moc skodi.
Iranci maju tak trochu problem s mobilnym sokom. Neviem, kedy tu prisli telefony s fotakmi, no ma ich uplne kazdy, dokonca aj pastieri. Nejde ani tak o to, ze ich maju ale ze si nas neustale fotia. Teda nielen ti, s ktorymi sa dame do reci - co je vcelku OK - ale i obycajny okoloidujuci, okolojazdiaci. Je uplne normalne, ze slapeme, pristavi sa motorkar, poprosi nas, aby sme zastavili, ze sa chce s nami odfotit... Na fotke to vsak vyzera tak, akoby sa stretli strari priatelia. Zhodnotili sme to tak, ze je to pre nich asi vec prestize - odfotit sa s europanom..
Kulturne zmeny nastastie neprichadzaju az tak prudko, aby sme sa nestihali aklimatizovat. Teraz sa uz necudujem ludom zo zapadu, s ktorymi sme sa stretli v Esfahane. Mnohi z nich zostavaju v lacnom hoteliku niekolko dni az tyzdnov a nie je to kvoli Esfahanu.. Putovanie na bycikli je asi najlepsim sposobom ako sa vyhnut kulturnemu soku.
Este som chcel o politike, ku ktorej sa v rozhovoroch s miestnymi dostaneme vacsinou az pri tych najhlbsich rozhovoroch. No myslim, ze to by bol uz tento email pridlhy..

Vyzera to tak, ze v Irane sa krivka exotickoskosti zacina vyvijat exponencialne - tesime sa na Pakistan..:)

Vas Dusan

Cycling to Asia, week 9 cont.

Esfahan wasn't just chill out in the hostel... even though this was probably the highlight for me. But there were other things as well. Like the Friday anti-Israel demonstration. We can't resist, it might be risky, but lets see it in our own eyes! Every major city in Iran is holding this propaganda backed up by government . The whole Emam square was full of strong and primitive statements like "Down with Isreal" or " Down with England!" making it a big fiasco... Who IS REAL? I tried to have a conversation but the fanatical crowd was strongly narrow minded. Innocent Palestine people are suffering. First I tried to be diplomatic and said I don't have any opinion on this matter I was told that I'm human I should have one! So I told them that the problem is more complicated and Palestinians are also harming the Israeli. You should have seen the tension I've created! Wow! I'd better backup... as Dusan have said: "one who has an opinion on this issue must have got already lost in it". The square started to fill up and the crowds started to be more load. Boasting all sorts of hatred... We didn't understand much, since it was in Farsi but just looking at it was quite sad. When we were leaving people were still marching into the city with flags and slogans, shouting out loud. Some guys told us that this is just a show, that they don't agree. We've found out that there is also an anti-government demonstration as a reply, but this one we've missed.
For the rest of the week we were just sight seeing the Esfahan highlights. Yes the mosques are beautiful and the tea houses spledid, but still it's the people that make the country interesting for us.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cycling to Asia, week 9

Taking bus to Esfahan was a good choice. Not just because my illness involved into a pretty severe one. We do not travel to see sights, neither to chat with other travelers, but after two months one appreciate a bit of European atmosphere. Esfahan turned out to be the number one place in whole Iran for meeting other overlanders, out of whom quite a few use the same travel means as we do...

The overnight bus was alright except that the Amir Kabir hotel was still closed at 5am. Since I didn't know what to do I just roamed around, trying to find a park where I could stretch my bones for a bit. Fortunately nothing looked suitable, so I went back the same street and yes they've just opened... I got my bed and started the healing process... originally I thought I will just lie in the bed, but next day I've found out that there are other three bicycles in the courtyard... this is way to tantalizing to resist... so I hanged around for a bit. First I came across the magic bus people. The name was coined by me, but how would you call 30 people traveling from London to Sydney on a big orange bus with a balcony? It looked more like a house on wheels than a coach and the people resembled the good old hippie days when this road was traveled by the pioneers of backpacking...

Then I met David the Swiss! He is taking his time, that I have to say right a way. He is cycling from Basel to India, roughly as we do but he is on the road since April, so exactly double as long as we are. Well if somebody have the resources and Swiss passport that allows you to get 90 days visa in Turkey or Iran, then why shouldn't he take the opportunity to explore these vibrant countries, right? He is pretty straight forward guy asking good questions... no polite rubbish or shallow talk.

Afterward Arian showed up. This nice fella is cycling his way from Holland to India and also doesn't bother him self much with things like getting stuck in Esfahan for almost two weeks. Yes, I would like to see the man who would leave earlier if he had met a nice local girl who speaks good English and is eager to show you around. It's not difficult to fall in love with these dark-deep-eyed beauties carelessly covered with scarfs that just provokes your imagination.Some women -the traditional one- are covered from head to toes... the head scarf is properly tided and shows just the round face with eagle nose and Persian eyes. These are not so sexy, that's true, but than there are these youthful girls rebelling in the Iranian way. Usually wearing more colorful jackets and trousers, not pure black and definitely not the all covering tent-like chador. The most revolutionary and typical sign is the headscarf. In their case it's more of a delicate decoration, more like a romantic veil then a covering cloth. Lot of care is given to make sure that enough hair will be visible... no matter that the scarf falls off sometimes... Together with the unique ayes and exotic Persian faces they are just gorges. Covered enough to follow the rules, but not much to protect you from craving and thinking what's beyond? So Arian we all envy you!

Lastly there is one more bike in the courtyard, but we couldn't find the owner. No wonder when he is in Teheran. Kevin had to extend his visas so ended up traveling more by bus then by bike... He is probably the most experienced from us since he already did a south to north America journey. It took him a year and it was just two years ago so it looks like he felt in love with it. This time he is doing the Ireland South-east Asia tour with no definite destination end neither definite route. He mentioned India, China, Burma, Indonesia... all by land, so some miles will be covered while he comes back to Ireland.

Good luck to all of you guys. It's been really nice to relax, chill-out and talk with you. I feel refreshed. Like after coming home for a weekend and then starting the journey again. Just that the half is behind me already... Healthy physically and stronger mentally. There were times when I felt awkward, since all the locals acts as you have just fallen down from the moon and that they have never seen anybody doing something strange like you do... but there are plenty people who did it before us quite a few that are doing it while we are, so maybe we meet again... we all go the same direction... I'm looking forward!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cycling to Asia, week 8

After leaving Boukan we felt like escaping a prison. No, no we were treated with honor and we felt great, it's just that during the whole trip we were mostly on our own and during the last four days we lost the power to manage our time. We cycled like crazy, reflecting what had just happened to us. Wow! This was awesome.
After half of the day and one invitation for lunch, we met Balal. An cyclist going a decent 80km ride with no equipment, not even water. Originally he went the opposite direction, but because of us he decided to change that. So he went with us. Or we went with him? He invited us for a second lunch in his uncle house in a small village. Afterward we continued to Divandareh, where he invited us to stay in his brother's house. Dusan said he would refuse if he was on his own, but since I can do the talking we can accept this. It was a good 120km in a hilly surroundings. This part of Iran is beautiful but demanding for cyclists, specially after 4 days off! Mohammad, Balals brother was an advanced yogi. The whole family was very nice, but much simpler than the Boukan people. Wow if it goes like this in whole Iran, then we will have a problem... we will run out of time. 30 days visa is not much, when the hospitality of the whole nation extraordinary. But after Boukan experience we are much more careful. Next day we were invited to see the nearby cave, but this time we preferred to keep on moving.
Now we are in Hamedan. Big city with mountainous surrounding. All Iranian cities looks quite bum-friendly. We slept in a city park, together with a 50 or more local families. The same happened in Tabriz, so it looks good for us. But I've caught a flue or something... well it comes from time to time so I accepted it. The best way how to deal with the situation was to take a bus to Esfahan, there I'll wait for Dusan. He will have the opportunity to experience the solo cycling in Iran and I'll have a chance to heal properly.
I got used to cycle and not rely on public transport so much that I found it very frustrating to get the essential information on the bus station. My European mind takes it for granted that the people working there should help you, but the laid back Asians don't thing so. If you don't speak Farsi they don't feel to do any extra effort to find out what you want for them, so just finding out when the bus leaves, how much does it cost and how long does it takes took me a good half and hour -nothing really pleasant with a headache and fever. I dind't mind all the attention and three-question-conversations so far, but for the last few days I started to be sick of it. They appear to be helpful, they pretend to be nice, but it's all just a show. I can't help feeling that they just want to show off -look I can speak to a stranger, look I'm a nice guy... sorry, big sorry to the honest ones... just that today I really needed a help and everybody ignored me... to the extend that while talking to the ticket seller there where three other customers favored in stead of me, jumped in front and got the ticket, while I was trying to find out how to get to Esfahan. So what is this "Welcome to Iran" or "Do you need any help?" about? Do they really mean it, or is it all just fake?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cycling to Asia, week 7

Since the beginning of this journey I feel like an old explorer, like the Aragorn in the Tolkien's stories, just that we don't walk, we ride. Our horses are from steel and our gear is bit more advanced, but we do go to unknown territories , we go east. The morning we left Dogubeyazit for Iran, this feeling appeared again. At the outskirts of the town two big angry evil creatures attacked us. Jaws wide open, teeth looking sharp, barking and running at us. Fear and shock changed us into old warriors. Dusan the brave and Jan the valiant drew their swords and with a combative shout warded off the beasts. Adrenalin run in my blood for the next half an hour!
The border crossing was less romantic. Two hours of bureaucracy and pointless waiting was feasible just because we met three other travelers heading to Iran. The change was noticeable right behind the last gate. Surprisingly even the climate became more pleasant. We definitely left the cold Kurdistan. Everybody is welcoming us. Every single car is greeting us. People shout out of the windows. It's incredible. This is what we needed after the Turkish kids throwing stones at us. We didn't change much money at the border and the time change caused that we missed the banks in Maku. After this beautiful town in a rocky gorge there are just villages so for almost three days we were running on a shoestring budged. Like in the good old days, when we were poor students hitch-hiking trough Europe.
But Iran wasn't just about positive experiences. The lack of privacy is even stronger than in Turkey. People surround us wherever we stop. They are polite, they are nice, but there is no space left between me and Dusan. This is quite tiring. Their English is better, but their understanding is very low.
We also encountered our first technical problems. First my camcorder started to hesitate so some of the best moments couldn't be captured because the picture was shaking. No big deal, but the broken rim on my back wheel was a bit of a surprise.
I mentioned in the part 1 what a trouble I had with wheels, ended up buying the most expensive Mavic wheels day before our departure. After 4000km this "everlasting" super wheel got broken. The rim couldn't last the weight and cracked. For two and half day I went without the back brake and on a shaking wheel, hoping that in Tabriz I'll find a good alternative. Surprisingly it wasn't bad at all. You can get almost anything for bicycle here. Just that they don't always sell you what you need, e.g. I wanted to buy just the back hub. But the Novatec they had could be sold only as a pair. Why? Nobody knows! So I bought just a simple Shimano. Never mind its working good. If I make it with this wheel all the way to India, then the 150 euro Mavic wheel will be beaten by 30$ Shimano. Isn't it funny.
From Tabriz we headed to Iranian Kurdistan. We decided not to go direction Teheran, even though it might have been easier, because it would be more ordinary. Kurdistan sounds good. The choice was well appreciated after few days. Kurdish people are great and the climate is cycle friendly. Boukan seemed just like any other town, that we have passed. But we were wrong. While buying an Iranian scarf (we don't want to look like American bikers) a bunch of people surrounded us as usual. One old man with a decent German invited us for lunch. He turned up to be very noisy, the whole family was quite crazy. But there we met Azad, also a character, but much nicer. He invited us to see his family. Well alright, we stop for a short while. But after an hour or so, he offered us to stay for the night. We gladly accepted. Firstly because of our teeth problems (just during the lunch a half of my tooth felt of), secondly this looks much more peaceful family and thirdly Azad's uncle is an English teacher, so we can communicate. But the lack of privacy that I have been talking about didn't disappear. It even increased together with a total lack of time management. We went to see the dentist. He gave me an appointment at 9:30pm!!! Imagine that! Afterwards they dragged us trough the town, we visited Azad's job, then the German grandpa's job, continuing to bazzar. They introduced us to hundred of people and showed us dozen of shops. Yeah! I don't remember feeling more tired on this trip than today. I asked for a rest, but no, first we have to see the towns view point. The time we came back to Azad's home I was knocked. And of course it was just enough to have a dinner and rush to the dentist. Nobody cares that we are 10min late. We are in Iran.

The next day they offered us to go to see the beautiful mountains, but it's 4h drive so we decided not to go. We rather continue our cycling tour. But what about to see the lake, that's just 1 or 2 hours? OK, that sounds good. The plan was to leave Boukan at 3pm, but it was way pas 4 when we left the town. After 2h of driving Azad asked a Shepard how far it is to the lake. The reply was a shocking 2 hours! This is the theory of FSHE (Iranian word for chaos and freedom in one). We are not going back now... the country is beautiful, hills are high but very dry. The road changed into a gravel track, so for the next hour I felt like in Pakistan. Dusan started to feel sick. After 3 hours we had enough, but what shell we do? 15km before the Marivan Dusan left the lunch on the side of the road and we finished off the trip. The time we reached the lake it was already dark.
We went for dinner and met Azad's friend Hamam. He invited us to stay in his family house. This was the highlight of the trip. He lives with his four beautiful sisters and caring mother in a nice house. Pity that just the teacher speaks English but we entertained our selves with tongue twisters and had fun till late night. Very pleasant atmosphere.

The next day we wanted to leave, but we got invited to see the lake... ended up in Hamam's garden... leaving the town after a lunch... This time we decided not to go back the same way. The road was horrible. Instead we went the longer way trough Sanandaj. Good choice, but the time we reached the city it was dark again. Iranians are crazy drivers and Azad is not an exception, so driving another 3-4hours to Boukan could be quite an adventure. Instead we were invited by another Azads friend and we stayed for the night... this could continue for ever!!! Iranian people are extra hospitable and Azad and his friends are a good example of it. But after four days we had enough. So now you know how a 4 hours round trip to a lake can change into a 4 days journey trough Kurdish families. It was excellent, it was very nice, this is what we wanted to experience in Iran, but we got a slight overdose. We need our privacy, we need our freedom, we want to ride our steel horses and keep on moving east!

N.B. This last part is overlapping with week 8 but for obvious reasons I kept it in this article.