I've never been so nervous in my life! Imagine riding a 20 to 30cm wide track with raised edges, which is winding its way downhill on the rim of a steep slope, in hairpin bends and surfaced with loose boulders. F***! I study the turns intently and let my bike go in first gear, pushing the inner foot peg hard to keep it on track. The rear tire spins several times, but it helps to make the turn. I'm practically peeing my pants, but what a rush! We come to the bottom of the valley, but have to get up another hill before we reach the village of Ndigbé. Equally sharp turns, same underground but steeply uphill. Altogether, it's been the most difficult thing I've had to do on a motorbike yet. The sort of thing you wonder if you'll ever dare to do it again…
In Ndigbé, we're surprised to find a piece of tarred road. I'm glad to be able to relax for a while. But we learn that shortly after Dzogbegan it's unpaved again. We're tired and it's 4 o'clock. Better call it a day and look for a place to sleep. The sisters of the nearby monastery are happy to accommodate us with a warm smile, home-made cookies and bissap juice. What a day!
|Nicolaas buying a pile of pineapples along the road.|
For more pics, see album "Café cacao".
We switch dirt for tarmac and soon find out that Togo's entire road network could do with some rehabilitation! Riding it feels like being in a giant slalom for mixed categories of vehicles ranging from 30 to 30 000 kilos. Luckily the Togolese are welcoming - the "Bonne arrivée"'s and "Bienvenue!"'s are never far away - and helpful, whether you meet them on the road while fixing your bike, in the local bar or as a waiter in your hotel. They have this relaxed and cheerful air about them; inviting and attentive but not pushy. Despite the shitty roads and bad driving, we've just decided that we rather like it here.