It has been a long trip, but I made it: I am in Sydney, Canada. Luckily, my bike also arrived without any damage.
After my uncle, Willem, brought me to the airport, I immediately checked in my baggage. For a moment, I thought I couldn’t go to Canada as there was something wrong with the ETA request, some kind of visum. I made a mistake with my passport number and misread an 0 for an ‘o’. Probably the most made mistake. Luckily, they could solve this problem and was checked in. We quickly drank some coffee and then it was time to say goodbye to my family. To be honest, that was quite tough. I thought I didn’t have any emotions, but that’s luckily not the case. My flights from Amsterdam to Reykjavik and from Reykjavik to Toronto went well. I could even lay down on the flight to Toronto as the seats beside me were empty. Lucky me! At Toronto, things got trickier. I told a guy from border control about my bicycle plans. He seemed to believe me and let me through. However, when I wanted to go to the baggage reclaim area, someone guided me to a different room. I told a lady the same story and she asked me a lot of questions. She asked for proof of my story. As my bank account and vaccination passport (with vaccinations that I don’t need in Canada) were not enough, I had to call someone to verify my story. I let her call my father, who answered the phone the second time (It was half past 1 in the night in the Netherlands). Obviously, our stories matched and I could move on. I picked up my baggage. The bicycle box was a bit damaged, but it looked ok. This is when it started to get difficult, as the box was way too big. It was like 1,80 meters wide. I tried to move through the airport, but I got stuck at every corner, so I had to take it off all the time. I had to check everything in again, at terminal 1. The terminals are remotely controlled, so I had to take a train to go to terminal 1. I manually put all my luggage in the train, without the baggage car. Luckily, people were willing to help me out. When I finally arrived at terminal 1, I decided turn my box vertically. Should have done that much earlier. I could just fit in the elevators and could just go underneath some ceilings. I finally found the check-in area and noticed that my sleeves were completely wet… I was stressed out. The guy behind the check-in desk told me that the box seemed to be too big. He asked for a measurement tool. As there wasn’t one, he tried to measure it manually. I knew the exact sized, but didn’t tell him. I underestimated every size by 10 centimeters. In that case, the maximum size was exceeded by 10 centimeters, instead of 40…. He checked it all the baggage and I needed to walk like 500 meters to another area, as the odd-size luggage belt was not working here. When I arrived there, the man was, again, surprised about the size of the box. It didn’t fit in the x-ray machine, so I had to cut it open. What a nightmare… I had to take the bicycle out entirely. There were some loose items in there as well, like my sleeping bag, sleeping mattress and helmet. He helped me taking it out and inspected everything. It was fine and he helped me to put it together. I was smart enough to bring some tape with me, so I could secure the box again and strengthen it a little bit at the places that were damaged. I ran to the security area and had my hand luggage inspected. Less than an hour remained of the initial 5 hours. The flight to Sydney was fine. While I was waiting for my bicycle box at Sydney airport, a women approached me. She asked what I was still doing at the airport. I told her that I was about to spend the night at the airport. The women and her husband, Lorrie and Leroy Hodder, offered me to stay at their house. I said that the box was quite big. They were convinced that it fitted in their car. When I took the box outside to their car, they were surprised about the size of the box. It didn’t fit in the car, and the backdoor couldn’t open. We decided to open the box and put the bike in the car. After some time, everything was in the car. Lorrie and I shared the front seat and after a minute of 10/15, we were home. They even gave me like a sightseeing tour, although I was a bit too tired to remember everything. They offered me a really warm and comfortable bed and they even prepared breakfast for me the next day. Extremely nice people! After I had put my bike together, I said goodbye to Lorrie. Leroy put my bike in a pickup truck and drove me to the first address, about a 5 minute drive.
Leroy and Lorrie Hodder, just before finishing the bike
Leroy brought me to the first address
I met Raphael and Ann-Sophie, where I will acclimatise the comming two nights. They’re a very nice young couple, both still student. I must watch out what I say about them, as Ann is following my blog 😊. They were going out for dinner with a group of friends and asked if I wanted to join. Of course I wanted to join! We ate at Montana’s, like a semi-fastfood restaurant that still gives you the feeling that you’re in a real restaurant. The food and especially the service were really good. The mother language of everybody was French, so there was a lot of French conversations. I didn’t really care and know that it’s just impossible to adapt to the one person that doesn’t speak French all the time. After dinner, we went home and played some funny card games.
Raphael, Ann, Sebastian, Arno, (... I forgot, sorry) and Vincent
The next day, Raphael and Ann made a really nice weekend-breakfast with pancakes. I ate one with the famous maple-sirop which reminded me of the pancake sirop in the Netherlands. In the afternoon, I visited the biggest fiddle in the world, also known as ‘The Big Fiddle’. That’s one of the few things that you can visit in Sydney in winter, as the rest is only open on a seasonal basis.
There she is! The big fiddle!!
It was quite could with a wind chill of -19, but my clothes kept me quite warm, actually. That reassures me for the coming days. In the evening, I made a broccoli-potato mash mix, prepared the Dutch way. Ann said that she liked it. Not sure if she didn’t want to tell me the truth, haha. On Sunday, I will make my first kilometres. I am looking forward to it and am fully prepared.