Author Archives: Ivars Brencis

About Ivars Brencis

Despite studying electrical and power engineering, being an electrician was never Ivars’ calling. For the past five years he’s been the IT administrator of the Latvian War Museum and an avid fan of geocaching, which more than explains his passion for adventure.

China, China, China. China? Everybody in China!

China is BIG. That’s why we took a 3000km train ride, two bus rides that amounted to about 1310km and the distance covered by us cycling takes the bronze with approx. 1120km. The latter number includes about 40km uphill where somebody took us and our bikes in their car. Dainis and Laura will also insist that I cycled smaller distance because I used to go up hills by holding on to some lorries, I managed to grab onto while they were passing me. Let them do it, I’m not going for the gold here.

But while Dainis is trying to figure out what he has to say about Laos, I thought that I still have to share some happenings, revelations or just random stuff about China and us. Continue reading

Vagabond life at its finest in China

After reading my previous post everyone probably barely refrained themselves from messaging me: “Why? How? What happened? Dear God!!” Hold your horses, I’ll elaborate. On a quick note – if someone hasn’t done their homework and read the previous post, do it! Anyway, it came to a close with “we ended up sleeping on the street in the center of the city”.

It all began when we decided that we have enough of sitting in the train in China. But as Laos was still too far to get to with bicycles in the Chinese visa timeframe we had. That leads to the only logical choice here – we need to hitchhike! So we started to train holding our arms up for prolonged periods of time but on one of our training sessions, my arm hit a hard metallic object. Oh, that’s the bicycle! What are we going to do with them? A simple solution – we’ll send them via the China Railway Express freight shipping like the previous time, with the difference that we will not go by train ourselves. (If someone makes the decision to ship theirs stuff like this in China based on our successful experience, be warned – we have also heard of things getting lost on the way. Luckily for us, both of the times on the other end we received all that we had sent off.) Continue reading

Not everywhere in China it is China

We entered China on a hot 14th June’s day. 你好! 4100km from home.

China’s apparently the country where people get an unsurpassable desire to burn their passports. There was a Latvian couple on a long term travel to China, and they got involved with doing that; and, as we all know, the infamous Pozharnik from Ukraine burned his passport and lived in China as an illegal immigrant for a while as well. Dainis and Laura made an agreement – if I burn my passport, they are not gonna help me and will carry on. Continue reading

One Year. A summary.

One year has passed since we left Latvia on 15th September 2014 and now, 15th September 2015 we are in Thailand, 7900km away from home.

We have crossed 12 countries, had 2 bicycles stolen and got 2 another bicycles in their place. Each of our passports has been supplemented with 8 glued visas and 28 border control stamps.

So, where do we spend our nights?

  • 141 nights with 24 Couchsurfing hosts;
  • 70 nights out camping;
  • 43 “One Nights” in Bangkok;
  • 6 nights in trains;
  • 3 nights in hotels (courtesy of our CS hosts);
  • 2 nights in buses;
  • 1 night in: a furniture shop; a Baptist church; a Buddhist temple; a cave; inside a train station; outside a train station; sea port; China Tobacco factory; a town hall meeting room; a truck; a ship.

Continue reading

Making the visas and our way out of Iran

From mountain tops to under the sea* – Tehran to Azerbaijan

*The surface level of Caspian Sea at the moment is around -27 m below mean sea level.

(If you are interested about practicalities of getting some visas in Tehran and extending Iranian visa – see the end of this article)

We got our visas for Azerbaijan really fast – the same day we applied for them. So, on the same evening of 4th May we also decided to hit the road again. Our departure had already been postponed before so now it was time to leave this concrete jungle behind without further delays. We said our goodbyes to Park Abshar and had the last supper with Simin (“You got to eat a lot because you will need a lot of strength cycling! It is goood for youu!”). Continue reading