331.- 332.Day: Break Days: Quebo

14th – 15th of April 2019:

In the afternoon, we drove the bad quality road back and stopped in a few villages, since Dio wanted to check the prices of some exhibited wooden doors or some vacant houses. Back at the fuel station, we were glad to be on the asphalt road again. Directly behind the fuel station there was a shelter where we installed our mosquito net and spent the night.

Since the people around the fuel station were very friendly and we anyway wanted to finish some things, we stayed for a rest day there. We could wash ourselves in the toilet, use the electricity and use the small shelter as a resting place. A security officer joined us for the night sleeping on the floor.

330.Day: Campáta-Quebo

13th of April 2019:

Luisa, our acquaintance who left us her flat for our stay in Bissau, invited us for a short trip to a beach in the South. Like this, we finally got the opportunity to meet her. Therefore, we cycled a bit further than Quebo, deposited our bicycles and drove with Luisa and a local friend called Dio across the bumpy dirt road. The car with 4WD fought through the sandy, rocky and narrow road, until we suddenly reached a beautiful, lonely beach. We swam in the shallow water and Dio, who could communicate with the local anglers, organized some fresh fish for dinner. We enjoyed a few beers, grilled the fish and appreciated the silence on the beach, accompanied with interesting conversations.

329.Day: Gobije-Campáta

12th of April 2019:

A partly emigrated Mauritanian invited us for two sweat tees and afterwards we continued the struggle back to the main road. The dirt road got partly even worse as the day before and we needed a high level of concentration. We passed extremely rudimentary settlements, who had huts constructed out of simple branches and bushes.

Shortly before reaching the long-desired asphalt road, we read that we were in a national park called Dulombi. On the main road, we cycled approximately 10km until the waterfall Saltinho, where the river passes under a bridge and drops down several meter high cascades. After a refreshing bath, surrounded by half-naked women and children, we played around with a few kids until we were hungry.

328.Day: Ché Ché- Gobije

11th of April 2019:

The sun was already in the zenith until we said goodbye to all our new friends in the village, bought supplies and filled our water bottles. The condition of the gravel road got worse and we had to some struggle across the rocky hills and deep gravel. From time to time, there was a short downhill, which rather reminded us of a hiking trail than a road. Scenically, it got clearly hillier and there were sparse, rocky parts as well as short sections in dense forests.

In a small village, there was some kind of party going on, some men made music, and women sang accordingly. In regular intervals, a woman got up and danced energetically to the authentic rhythms. Dozens of nicely dressed kids and women gathered, either standing or sitting in a huge circle.

Quite drained from the bumpy ride and at the same time we were glad to have arrived without any breakdown, we decided to stay in the village Gobije. By foot, we walked to the river to cool down our overheated bodies.

326.- 327.Day: Break Days: Ché Ché

9th- 10th of April 2019:

In the evening before, we could not buy any bread and therefore had to organize breakfast the first thing in the morning. The baker was not there and so we bought a few fried pastries and told Lamarama, the French-speaking village tailor, we would like to eat the meal that a woman just prepared and looked delicious. He said that would be no problem. We just had to buy the fish and bring it to her. Later, a fully packed motorcycle arrived with fish to our tent, accompanied by three guys. We bought ten fish and asked if they can bring it to the woman for preparing the meal. As we agreed, the food was ready around two o’clock and we sat down on the typically broken imported chairs from China.

Before we could try the new dish, the host tested with our spoon, if everything was all right. This seems to be a tradition in these latitudinal lines and puts a smile on our faces each time. The fish balls with mango, onions and rice were delicious. We relaxed in the shade and observed families collecting cashew nuts. Every few minutes, a nut including the fruit crashed down from the trees and we sighted each time they did not hit us.

The inhabitants of this small village close to the river are Muslims; belong to the tribe of the Fula. They mostly migrated from Guinea Conakry. Many domesticated animals live in the village and all the people seem to live close together in peace and are happy about the things they own. The tea culture is important and celebrated to the excess. One can wait easily two hours for the tea to be ready. In the last evening, we watched part of a Champions League game in a small, hot corner, filled with kids and teenagers.

325.Day: Gabú-Ché Ché

8th of April 2019:

Quickly, we reached Gabú, the second largest city of the country and the last decent city on our way to Guinea. In a restaurant, we ate our usual breakfast, which consists of a baguette with omelet, onions and mayonnaise. On the side, we updated our blog and took advantage of the fast internet connection.

In the greatest heat, we climbed our bicycles, left the bumpy main road and turned into a side road. This gravel road was in a good condition and followed dead straight the cashew plantations and small authentic villages. After some kilometers, we stopped in a village to refill our water bottles. Hesitant and shy the men approached us and soon we were surrounded by a dozen starring men. One of them spoke French and interested as he was, translated the many questions his friends were asking him. When we left, we shook everyone’s hands, since none of them wanted to miss the possibility to shake the hand of a white man.

In the late afternoon, we reached the shore of the Rio Cocoli and bargained a fair price for crossing with the too small pirogue. On the other side of the river, we searched for an ideal spot directly on the water in the shade of the trees, cooled our bodies in the too warm water and settled ourselves.

324.Day: Mate de Cão-Gabú

7th of April 2019:

In every village, even if it was tiny, children and even adults screamed «Branco» in our direction to greet the passing white cyclists friendly. Today, we realized again that Guinea-Bissau had not even a population of 2 million inhabitants on an area a bit smaller than Switzerland. From time to time, there was a village with some small shops, a mechanic and many people waiting for the heat to pass in the shade of a big tree.

Shortly before Bafata, we reached a plane with hundreds of rice fields, watered all year by the nearby river. Since a long time we have not seen a green landscape like this. Besides, we had to climb some hills, which brought some change to our cycling day.

323.Day: São Belchior-Mate de Cão

6th of April 2019:

Already at 10AM, it was so hot that sweat came out of all our pores. After almost 20km, Adrian realized that he had breathlessness and we decided to not continue for the day and stay in at a river in a small village.

The family received us as if they knew we would visit them today. Despite a huge language barrier, we tried to communicate and smiled at each other. In the afternoon, there was suddenly a child with a bowl of rice with some sauce and said this is for us. Afterwards, we played with the kids and swam in the salty river.

Finally, we saw how the cashew nuts were roasted. They took a rusty, perforated metal plate and put it on top of a fire and place around a kilogram of nuts on it. After a few minutes, an oil came out of the cashews and resulted in a huge flame on the metal plate. Then, the hard working girls extinguished the burning nuts on the ground, cooled off and at the end pealed. The cashew apples, attached to the nut from below, appear in a yellow, orange or red color and this accessory fruit is good to eat just like that. Guinea-Bissau is one of the largest producers of cashew nuts worldwide. However, the poor country exports them unprocessed and therefore creates an extreme sensibility on price fluctuations for the local farmers.

The dinner was rice with a little bit of sauce with fish flavor, as for lunch and was brought to us without hesitation, incredible! The chief of the family even accompanied us back to our tent, which was only 50m away and made sure nobody was able to steal anything from our equipment during the night.

322.Day: Bissau-São Belchior

5th of April 2019:

We left Bissau too late and punished ourselves with the increasing air temperatures. Already after some kilometers, the oppressive heat made us drink liters of water and our heads were glowing like a fever patient in a hospital. In the shade, we took a break from time to time and refilled our bottles with fresh water from the wells.

At a toll station, the soldiers wanted to get money from us, because we passed the barrier just leaving a few centimeters of space, instead of cycling around it. We laughed loudly and made clear that we do not pay for anything, since the claim was ridiculous. After a short discussion, they gave up and allowed us to pass. After almost 90km, we gave up and found a beautiful spot directly next to a garden of local women.

Shortly before dawn, two women who worked in the gardens came back, explained us in a theatrical way that there were “kobra”, and pointed to large holes in the soil. We were too lazy to move all our equipment and were convinced that we were safe.

319.-321.Day: Break Days: Bissau

2nd – 4th of April 2019:

The perfectly located house of the shared flat of the Portuguese expats was ideal for us to organize the visa for Guinea-Conakry and to get to know the city. The calm capital is home to some colonial buildings, a large cathedral and a run-down port.

We planned the route for the next weeks and treated ourselves with a culinary variety in comparison to the simple food choice in the countryside.