Friday, December 31, 2010


Here we go... The year hasn't started yet that Yumi and I have decided to challenge ourselves in January. No, we won't cycle across Argentina. We've decided to do a 1,000 press ups between January 1st, 2011 and 31st January 2011 .

It comes from a discussion Luke and Matt were having in the office and I mentioned it to Yumi later on that day. As a joke. I couldn't believe she was all serious about it and said "ok".

"Oh crap" I thought, "what did I get myself into?"

I hate push ups. Gimme abs or squats but no push ups!

The hardest about this challenge is that it doesn't seem to be that hard: We "only" have to do 35 press ups a day. Yeah, think about it. :)

I can hear Yumi in the distance "we start tomorrow".

Oh boy...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cycling across Japan - From Soya to Sata

As you know by now, Yumi and I will cycle from the Northern most to the Southern most tip of Japan.
What is it going to be like? To be honest, I don't know.

What I know is that it's going to be about 3,700 km long. That's about 2,500 miles, but even these numbers don't really talk to me, so I did a bit of research:
3,700 kilometers is the equivalent of:
= Madrid (Spain) to Helsinki (Finland)
= New York to Las Vegas
= John O'Groats to Lands End, a tiny bit less than 3 times
= Paris to Toulouse, times 6
= A lot

Japan's countryside is said to be breathtaking, (which is probably because of the mountainous terrain) and the best way to discover it was to cycle. It all started from the idea to cycle from Tokyo to Makurazaki, where Yumi's family is from, but then we asked each other the question "how many times in our lifetime will we get the chance to cycle all the way across Japan?". Now I think about it, maybe I asked myself this question. Anyway, Yumi agreed on the idea in no time.

Since we were going to start such journey, Yumi mentioned it would be good to do it for a charity, and very quickly, we decided to do it for Advance, for which she's been working over the past 6 years.

In terms of the route, we've been advised to avoid Nagano to Nagoya, as there are plenty of tunnels and it not so cyclist-friendly, so we'll probably go down the west coast of Japan before arriving in Kyoto.

That's it for now.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ga-la-pa...What? ... Ok!

I met my friend Philippe for a drink a few days ago and got told off for going to South America but not to the Galapagos Islands. I tried to argue that time and money would make it tough to fit it in and Philippe being the fine negotiator he is, said it'd be a good and convenience place for everybody to meet up.

"Why not?" I though; so as soon as I got back home that night, I jumped on my computer and looked into how we could add this world heritage site to our already incredible journey.

I'm not sure yet how this is gonna work, but I'm sure it will. Somehow.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Whoops - we did it again

Cycling during the hottest month in Japan and crossing Mongolia when it is barely 0º was not the best idea, so after some thinking, we've thought about a new route. it's not better, it just makes more sense! I will not dare say it's "final" though..

So, for the update, it will be China, then Mongolia, then China again and Japan.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Van in New Zealand is booked

My bank account statement reminded me that our van has been booked for New Zealand. I know it's in April, but the sooner the better, we got a sweet deal too. Woo hoo!

This is gonna be our home for a month. Don't be fooled though, it's top comfort!
3 bedroom with one en-suite, lounge, bowling alley (in the basement) and a massive garden. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

RTW - 2.0

This time it's booked, so it shouldn't change too much :)
See below:

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Yumi and I went to Trailfinder in High Street Kensington and guess what happened?

Yes you guessed, we bought our round the world tickets! Woo hoo!

So that's it, we are airborne! Well, almost.

We'll leave London on January 7th 2011 and our journey will take us to Argentina (via Sao Paulo), Chile, Bolivia, Peru, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Tokyo, South Korea, China (again), Tibet, Mongolia, China (again, again), France...and England.

Bye for now


Yumi got Jabbed!

Yellow fever, japanese encephalitis, rabies, Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid....blahblah blah.
Yumi started the jab race! We thought it's better to be safe than sorry on this one, especially when we'll be in the rainforest in Peru and in South East Asia. We just didn't expect to spent about 500 pounds on jabs alone!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Corsica '10!

Having slept 10h in the previous 5 days, (proper) holidays came at the perfect time for Thomas. Coincidence? no no no. Have no doubt: Yumi was ready for some sun and Corsican food too!

We stayed in the village, less than a km from Grandpa's house. There were no plan B, but there were no plan A either. We only wanted to fit some:
- beach volleyball
- food
- trekking
- food
- helping Grandpa in the garden
- food
- see friends and family
- food
- chilling/relaxing time

oh, and have some good food too.

It worked perfectly as we did all of the above. We love it when a no-plan plan comes together.

It was great to spend some quiet time at the local beach. It's not the most beautiful beach in Corsica, but Thomas likes it, he's been going there for 29 years after all :)

On the first day we met Thomas's childhood friends Antoine, Jeremy and Audrey, as well their other halves: Sandy, Marion and Romain respectively. Wicked time. Thomas was sleeping -at the table- by 11pm. Was it the 2h we slept the previous night or the past 5 days training 1h per day that tired him, we'll never know...

The other days were a mix of playing some beach vball, swimming, going to the villages around, gardening. We also went to the Restonica Valley, near Corte in the centre of the island. It's a great place, it's not too busy as the trails are not so easy. We walked to the  lac du Melo and the Lac du Capitello.

The views were amazing and the weather was great too. we were a bit light on water (only 1.5l for both of us) but a little swim in the lac du Capitello managed to keep us cool for the way down. We were at about 2000m and the car park was at 1200m so the way down was tough on the knees but we managed it just fine, needing only a Diabolo-Menthe to recover.

ok, and an ice cream too.
oh, and some wild boar when we got home. hmmmm. Thomas is still drooling about it! :)

We had a lovely time there and before we knew it, we were back in London, but hey, we returned to "The Old Smoke" with our heads filled with great memories and good laughs as well as figatelli, donkey sausage, pastis and some other good wild boar paté, so we won't complain about it! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Last weekend, we were invited to Maureen and Giacomo's wedding in Castiglione Di Pescaia, a little town north of Rome, so we decided to spend a day in Rome.

We started with what we do best: Eating! before walking to the Vatican and St Peter Square.

Apart from the St Peter's Basilica, the other thing you cannot miss are "The Swiss Guards".

 They have a high reputation for discipline and loyalty to their employers. Apart from household and guard units, some formations also serve as fighting troops! So basically, don't laugh and point at them when you check them out :)

The Basilica is really impressive, it has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding 60,000 people. 
I know what you think: YES! football games could be organised inside!

We didn't go in as the queue was simply massive, and we didn't feel like waiting half a day to get in. If you want to go there, get in the queue as early as you can (think about trying to get a ticket at Wimbledon on a saturday or get an i-Phone 4 before everybody else...).

See for yourselves!

We found a few minutes to post some letters. It is thought that many Romans make weekly trips to the Vatican just to post their important letters, as the Italian post is quite unreliable. Italian stamps may not be used on Vatican mail nor vice versa. It is believed that more letters are sent each year, per inhabitant, from the Vatican's postal code than from anywhere else in the world. 
It doesn't really come as a surprise when you think that the Vatican has a population of just over 800 and that 4.5 million tourists visit the Vatican every year!

We then walked across Rome to end up at the train station to go back to the airport to meet Marion and Johannes to drive to Castiglione.

Rome is a beautiful city. Castel San Angelo, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Forum, The Coliseum... So many great sites. We stayed there for a day, but it was not enough to see it all.

Go there! It was a real surprise for us (mainly Thomas, as it was his first time there), as we are not big fans of crowds and touristic places. :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Forest

Another trip, yet short and much closer to civilisation than usual...Not that we were not prepared anyway! :)

We knew it would be wet. It always is when we travel with Justin and Kasia :)

Being close to civilisation (i.e. pub) is a perfect opportunity to pack light. No worries, we'll be fine even if we forget something. We barely had spare clothing and took a summer sleeping bag (Thomas didn't learn from Dartmoor last year, when he froze his French ass in a hammock). It helped reducing our backpacks' weight considerably. Ideal for our RTW trip!

We arrived in Brockenhurst on Friday night and headed straight to the campsite (for once!). it was crazy, there were hot water and showers! We are not used to such luxury when we travel.

It was good fun as we built a shelter in the forest. The funny funny thing is that it was pissing rain when we built it, and it all stopped when we finished it. So we to our shelter. :)

We walked "off the track" as much as possible, but in the New Forest, you are never far from a track (or a massive pile of poo...).

It was a chilled out weekend, no need to rush, so more time to look around, and Yumi is now motivated to go to the forest and learn which trees/plants/mushrooms are good for you.


Friday, April 9, 2010

US Road trip 2011 - Premiere !!

We've drawn the first ish-route for our American road trip, which will be the 5th country (after Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador) we'll cross for our "Round The World Visit 2011" 

If you know any nice place to trek in or visit, let us know! Thanks!

New York - Boston - Chicago - Saint Louis - Salt Lake City - Portland - San Francisco - Los Angeles - Las Vegas - Monument Valley - Los Angeles.

6,222 miles.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scotland ! Easter Break

A few weeks ago, Yumi and I were thinking about were to go for the Easter break. Yumi came up with a great idea: Let's ask Cédric and Audrey if we can go to THEIR place in Edinburgh.
20 minutes later it was sorted. We were going to Scotland for Easter! :)

Above near the "Scots Monument" in downtown Edinburgh

We left London on Thursday April 1st by train and visited Edinburgh on Friday. We packed our bags (light) and headed to Fort William, some 3h North West of "Auld Reekie -or "Old Smoky" in Scottish-.
Edinburgh was nicknamed "Old Smoky" because many years ago, when the buildings were heated by coal and wood fires, the chimneys would spew thick columns of smoke into the air. Oh, and Edinburgh is twinned with Nice in France. Waow, who feels more clever now?

We walked in the Highlands and saw a few abandoned castles. It was good to breath some fresh air, and on top of that,  the weather was great. No Seriously. The sky was mostly blue.

Scottish Moo-moos or "Highland Cows"

Hike in the "Lost Valley".

The Lost Valley was where the Macdonalds were supposed to hide the cattle they had rustled from their neighbours, (or perhaps, where they hid their cattle to stop them being rustled by their neighbours, who the heck knows!?)

The cool part is that the geologists tell us that the lost valley was formed by the weight of ice that could not escape from the valley as the huge ice cap flowed down to the sea through the pass of Glencoe from off Rannoch Moor. The size of the valley still comes as a complete surprise the first time it is viewed.

Thomas got to kickass (himself) too

- Got crampons?
- Nope
- Doh!

After the "Lost Valley", we went back to "home" but couldn't help taking some stunning pics from "Les Hautes-Terres D'Ecosse", which -let's be honest- sounds much better to be written in French.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Last day in St Louis

Allo, Allo,

The program of the day was a short visit to the local Anheuser-Bush Brewery (Home of Budweiser and a few other brands, which equals 50% of the national consumption of alcohol. Crazy). The visit of the brewery was quick and fun...and we had a free sample.  Yay!

The plan was to go to the ice rink in Forrest Park in the afternoon. Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world, exceeding Central Park in New York City. The weather was great, it was a first try to Meli while Yumi, Tiff and Carlos hadn't ice skated in 15 years. Nobody fell and apart from sore feet and shins, everybody was all smiles.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

SLU basketball game

Brandy, Tiff's friend and a St. Louis native, came over and made us a feast of ribs, potato salad and baked macaroni and cheese.  The mac and cheese almost didn't happen as the boys forgot to buy the pasta.

While the girls had a night in, Thomas and Carlos became "Billikens" for a night. "Billiken" is the name of St Louis college teams.

Tonight was SLU vs. Rhode Island. The Americans are crazy about sports. There was the national anthem -as usual- sung by a 8,000 strong crowd. For a College Basketball game! Even our best basketball or volleyball teams don't get that in France (I won't even mention the UK here...) ! They also have a shop in the arena where you can buy the team's merchandising, caps, shirts, fleece, just like a pro team!

The Billikens were really bad in the first half, trailing RH by 10 points at the intermission, but came back and played some great basketball to claim the game by 7. The atmosphere was amazing.

It was a really good experience...

Interesting fact about the Billiken:

The Billiken is a charm doll created by an art teacher and illustrator from St. Louis, Missouri. It is an  elf-like creature with pointed ears, a mischievous smile and a tuft of hair on his pointed head. To buy a Billiken gives the purchaser luck, but to have one given to you is better luck. The Billiken was one of the first copyrighted dolls and the first likenesses of the Billiken, banks and statues, were produced in 1909. After a few brief years of popularity, like many other fad toys, the Billiken faded into obscurity.
Today, the Billiken is the official mascot of Saint Louis University and St. Louis University High, both located in Saint Louis, Missouri.

St Louis city museum...

It's some weird cross between an amusement park, a warehouse and some antique shop. We went to play outside in some tubular, fencing like bridges. We had some concerns about the security of these "bridges" but it was fun. 


Always remember to mind your head when you get there. It hurts, especially if you have no hair like Thomas...




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Botanical Gardens

So freakin' lucky!Yeaaaaahhh!

Yumi, Tiff and Meli


Swimming? Hmmm.No.

We made it to St Louis! (hey, did you know it was named afer the French King?)

We arrived on Saturday 13th, after a short stopover at Chicago. It was already freakin' cold: -8 degrees!

As soon as we arrived in St Louis, we said a quick "Hello!" to Tiffany, Carlos and the kids Meli and Catalina.

An hour later and "Titi Yumi" and I were at the Scottrade Center to watch the blues against the Capitals. It was a great game and the spectators were really living it up, our neighbour screaming every single time the Blues had the puck.

On Sunday we went to downtown St Louis; it was cold. Really cold: -13 degrees! Brrrr.
The Gateway Arch on the Shore of the Missouri River is impressive. We couldn't get to the top as it was fully booked -how? we don't know as there were only a handful of people around!- and the visibility was really bad too.

On Monday we tried the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, 5 miles down the road, only to find it closed. It was Presidents' day...

Today we made our way to the "Magic House" with Tiff and the girls. It was good fun seeing Yumi playing with electrostatic generator and the giant pin screen. We got some cool impressions with it.



As soon as we get home, the TV is normally switched on and we follow the Olympic Games. Niiiice. :)  Thomas is obsessed with hockey.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

St Louis!

On Saturday 13th of Feb we'll be going to St Louis, MO. to visit Yumi's best friend Tiff and her family.
We'll keep you updated on this, it should be another fun trip!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mount Lowe Experience

Tomorrow we'll be back in the plane, so today we thought about going to the mountains on the North side of LA. I don't know how, or where from but we heard good things about Mount Lowe. So we went there.

It was really nice. After a couple of hours we arrived at the The Mount Lowe Railway Station. It was the third in a series of scenic mountain railroads in America created as a tourist attraction on Echo Mountain. It burned down at the beginning of the 1900s and was never rebuilt.

We got some good pictures and headed back to a fast food for a deserved drink before we came back home

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Little Tokyo

Today we went to play a but more of basketball and this time Shin was with us. We left home to check out the posters available at the video rental shop where Shin works and Yumi picked up an "Up" and a "Wolverine" poster (the latter being for she says). Thomas chose the Transformer 2 one. Another one for the bedroom :)

We then walked to Yumi's primary school and found out they put new fences so we couldn't play basketball. We decided to check out her Junior high but same thing, so we went back home...and drove back to Yumi's high school to finally get the chance to play again.

After that we met Yumi's cousins at Little Tokyo for some Japanese food and also played arcade game. It was a lot of fun!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Griffith Park Observatory

As soon as we could out of the Hollywood Jungle, we went to the Obervatory, which sits on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in L.A.'s Griffith Park, it commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest.

We witnessed our first sunset of 2010 and the view was splendid.


Hollywood. AAAAAagghhh! It's nice, no really. For 10 minutes. It's full of tourists, it reminds me of London, you can't walk 5 minutes before 5 people ask you if you want to go on a bus tour and see the celebrities' houses.

Teeeeeeemptiiiiiiiiing. We resisted.

After a nice quick walk on the Walk of fame where we spotted the stars of TV stars such as Erik Estrada and Bugs Bunny. We also found Jacky Chan's, Arnie's and Marylin Monroe's :)

It was ok to do a touristy thing for once, but I guess it's not really our "cuppa tea"...

Day 5: NYE!

To finish the year on a good note, Shin, Yumi and Thomas decided to revisit Yumi's youth and go to her High School and played a bit of basketball.

We came back at about 5pm to get ready and go to Yumi's uncle place in Diamond Bar, about 12 miles North East of La Habra.

The funny thing is that, at 6pm, Thomas saw the news showing the celebrations in Western Europe and he thought they were showing last year's celebrations! Not used to spending NY in the Pacific Time Zone...

We ate a lot of good Japanese food and played dominos. :)

Needless to say we couldn't fit anything more in our stomachs!