From Crete to Australia by bicycle

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How many people wish to leave on a long journey and return after two years, after seeing half the world? For most people this is a dream never to come true. A Greek woman, Eirini Kokkinaki and her Swiss partner, Fabian Quiblier, set off on June 1st of 2006 to go from Crete to India by bicycle.

Once they reached the shores of India, they thought that they had already accomplished something unique and impressive; therefore, there was no reason to stop. After cycling for two years they reached Brisbane in Australia.

they left Crete and they travelled to Australia by bicycle
Fabian Quiblier and Eirini Kokkinaki in Australia with their bicycles
Their first goal was to spend six months away from Crete seeing the world in a more unconventional way. Eirini Kokkinaki said that when they set off they didn’t have any particular plan in their minds. Reaching India was the original goal, but they had no idea if they could make it up to there or not. Their adventure lasted for two years, since they decided to continue further on. They finally reached Australia, full of experiences, images and feelings.

Eirini Kokkinaki and Fabian Quiblier described their interesting but also very emotional journey from Crete to Australia. They talked about the connection with the different people they met during their journey, the different cultures they met, the harsh and fun moments. The first impression for Eirini is still the strongest one, as they crossed the sea and arrived in Turkey. Contrary to common belief, they were both accepted with amazing hospitality and warmth. Eirini noted that people in villages and small settlements understood better their efforts, since they, themselves, are people of labour and can fully appreciate everyone who tries hard to succeed and accomplish his goal.

Both Eirini and Fabian talk about the warmth in people’s eyes. People in India, Turkey, Middle East, China… “These people are not terrorists, says Fabian. Yes they are rebels, but they claim something that belongs to them. We passed by the forbidden passages in Iran, but the locals protected us. Our bicycles were our open passports. Two wheels facilitate communication, they sharpen your thoughts and brain, they make people trust you more.”

15,000 kilometres by bicycle

During these 15.000 kilometres, they had to change tires 12 times and of course deal with several difficulties. The most common everyday things were an adventurous issue for them, but they managed to deal with them effectively and patiently. They were contacting their people in Greece mostly via Internet.

Eirini is not a professional athlete, she was not used to biking that much. “My body changed’ she says. “I am astounded by the love of the locals, the so many different things, the thousands different moments that passed. When you bike, time is different. When you travel everything is different. You don’t lose track of time, because time becomes a part of you.” She also mentioned that despite the harsh moments, they never got sick during these two years, they didn’t even have a simple cold. They didn’t fall from the bicycles not even once, although none of them is a professional athlete.

22,000 pictures from their bicycle journey from Crete to Australia

During their journey they took more than 22.000 pictures, pictures of beloved people and places. They decided to pick 120 of those pictures and present them to the world. The exhibition of their photographs took place at Saint Marc in March 2009. They both decided to share their feelings with other people, sharing pictures that depict the reality of their amazing journey, the discovery of other cultures, civilizations and people.

“They say that we are amidst a crisis”, says Eirini. “Ιf we take a look around us, if we see all the other people, we will see that we are rich”…

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