A vacation at a monastery is in some ways different than a vacation at a holiday resort.
For starters, instead of sleeping late, we get up quite early. Like really early. The reason for it being that the first temple program is at five o’clock. It is as rewarding to attend as hard it is to make it there. Somehow sleep is at its best just at that hour.
But there is a certain feeling of softly singing devotional songs all while the sun slowly makes it up over the mountains that surround us that cannot be duplicated any other hour of the day.
The other part, which on the other hand makes it quite easy for a tired cyclist to stay at Audarya, is that three meals are served daily and enjoyed communally. The meals are nothing short of excellent, and big enough to satisfy someone who for the past three months has operated under the maxim that whenever there is time you eat, and if you for some reason should not be hungry, you sleep.
The only thing I’ve found myself pining for is some orange juice or lemonade. But in the end I think my teeth will thank me for this small break in the intake of sugary liquids.
It is also funny to notice how the body reacts after having been punished for some time. Especially the last days were ones during which we pushed ourselves a bit more than might have been wise. But then again we had a goal to reach.
Now after a day off the bikes our bodies seem to recover from the initial shock, and the fatigue of passing trough some 13 states begins to set in. Every movement is slower and more deliberate than one would hope for. The muscles ache and our knees feel tender.
I guess all of this is our bodies telling us it is time to rest for a while. So we’ll stay here for two more days, and then pick up on where we left. It should be a two and a half day journey to our end point in San Francisco.
Which is kind of crazy thing to think about – two more days of cycling and we have actually crossed the whole continent.
And looking at the map, it looks like we’ve done it the long way. (Should we have taken the southern route we might have saved ourselves something around a thousand miles and probably more than a few excruciating mountain passes.)
But all of this is neither here nor there – now we here on a beautiful mountain ridge, and we will make the most of our stay here. Which means participating in the programs at the temple and hopefully being able to help out in some small way. As well as recover from all that we’ve been through during our trip so far.
And as every bike traveler knows, efficiency is the key to everything. So we have strategically pitched our tent right by the temple, which gives us at least five more minutes of sleep time in the mornings.
Nothing like planning ahead, right?