Here at Monkeyrockworld we have an eye for adventure. If said adventure is Italian made, and also has an humanitarian backbone, we like it even more. Before closing up a long, exciting year 2009, it’s my duty to present an incredible adventure that is being overtaken as we speak.
Matteo Tricarico is an Italian with balls of steel who decided to pedal his way from Saigon, Vietnam to his city of origin, Manfredonia, Puglia, Italy. In the footsteps of a Bettinellian reversed Odyssey, and this time, by bicycle and not motorbike, the aim of this trip is not just the sheer adventure of it, but also a fund raising for disabled children centers located all over the route.
The final itinerary will be dictated by the meetings in schools for disabled children along the way and it will culminate with the visit of the institute for disabled students’ rehabilitation, “Cesarani”, in Manfredonia, Italy.
The trip started from Saigon on October 9th 2009. The itinerary follows the mighty Mekong River from its vast delta to the point where it splits in three different branches and where Phom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, lays. From here, the journey skirts the Tonle Sap Lake to Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire, today Siem Reap and it continues northwards to enter hilly southern Laos in late November. The last city visited in this country is its capital Vientiane, 20 kilometres far away from the “Friendship Bridge” linking Laos to Thailand. Crossing to the Siam Kingdom, the trip continues departing from the Mekong River which has been a travel-companion for more than 1500 kilometres.
Then, the itinerary proceeds westwards through the mountain area leading to Chang Rai, before transiting the Burmese borderline around Christmas day. A small detour southwards allows leaving the steep mountain slopes of central Myanmar to reach the flat wetlands of the Irrawaddy delta flowing into the Bengali gulf. Passing Rangoon, the magnificent Andaman sea coastline ends in the mythical Mouths of the River Ganges in Bangladesh. The crossing of these wetlands is as quick as possible to dedicate at least two full months to the exploration of the Indian subcontinent. In India, are also scheduled most of the visits to schools, therefore the itinerary is a zigzagging throughout the north of the country via New Delhi and the Rajasthan desert nearby the Pakistani borderline.
Whether to traverse the dangerous Pakistan by land or not, it is finally decided after having asked the advice of the Italian and Pakistani embassies. Anyhow, by the end of March 2010 Iran follows with the Persian desert to get across direction northwest and keeping as far away as possible from the Iraqi borderline. Passing the border with Turkey is next, through the slim strip of land between Iraq and Azerbaijan, to point directly westwards through the Anatolian rocky desert.
In early June, the itinerary officially quits the Asian continent in Istanbul, through the Bosporus strait, moving westwards to Greece along the Aegean Sea, so arriving at the Mediterranean shore in mid-July. From here, the trip continues by ferry to the south Italy and finally to the city of Manfredonia known as the gate of the Gargano promontory.
You can follow Matteo on the Travel For Aid website and make a donation, if you like. We promise to get back to you with a mighty interview in the very near future, when Matteo will sit down between one ride and the next, answering to my lousy questions.