After travelling around Europe together to create their new book, Mountain High, Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding took a quick break to talk travel
Mountain/ocean/jungle/desert – which are you and why?
Daniel Friebe: Mountain. Obvious, no?
Pete Goding: Mountains, unsurprisingly. The ranges can be so diverse and the weather unpredictable which can make things interesting photographically. I like a challenge!
What was your first great travel experience?
DF: Trekking over the Alps to 'celebrate' my graduation from university might have been the first great one. A friend and I walked from San Remo on the Mediterranean to Trieste on the Adriatic in six weeks, crossing the entire Italian Alpine chain. At times I thought we should have just gone to Ibiza like everyone else...
PG: The first time I did a full three weeks of the Tour de France scaling most of the country and picking up a few neighbouring countries on the way. This was the most bizarre and exciting travel experience; I was barely able to speak the language and had to sleep in some very curious places. Every day was an adventure.
What was your favourite journey?
DF: From the trip mentioned above, I’d say it was the day we walked up the Monviso, retracing (albeit in the wrong direction) Hannibal’s steps.
PG: This book (Mountain High) tops it at the moment! One section of the journey was spent covering 15 of the 50 mountains, over two weeks, clocking up 10,000 miles, with two blow outs, a smashed car window, and an insurance claim on my fairly pricey 70-200mm lens (after it took a trip down the mountainside). But all in all I had a blast!
What are your top five places worldwide?
DF: Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy; London, England; San Francisco; Argyll coast, Scotland; Montreal, Canada.
PG: Cambodia; Hong Kong; Fiskardo, Kefalonia, Greece; Pyrenees Atlantique; London.
Name a special place to stay.
Daniel Friebe: Anywhere with a sea view in Manarola, one of the Cinque Terre in Italy.
Pete Goding: My bolt-hole – a converted barn in the Pyrenees.
What three items do you always pack?
DF: Usually two plug adaptors, which I have inevitably lost after two days, and my running shoes.
PG: Laptop; camera; in-car charger.
Which passport stamp are you proudest of?
DF: The one I got in Minneapolis in October 2007, just because I was going to spend three days with and interview one of my heroes, the American cyclist Greg LeMond.
PG: My Chinese visa because of the effort it took to get hold of it... Going to a communist country as a photo-journalist is not the easiest thing to do. And I was very proud to return with all my gear intact and not confiscated!
Which passport stamp would you most like to have?
DF: I’ve always wanted to go to Siberia. Do they stamp passports there?
PG: Burma. I’ve been told I may have some ancestors there... Something to do with my great great grandmother and a Gurkha...?
What is your guilty travel pleasure?
DF: The luxury of not cleaning out the bottom of my bag at the end of trips. Consequently, there’s an inch of coins, wires and other detritus that comes with me everywhere.
Which do you prefer: window or aisle?
DF: Indifferent. If I didn't have to fly, I wouldn't.
PG: I’d like to be in the cockpit one day.
Who is your ideal travelling companion?
Daniel Friebe: My girlfriend – or, if he was still alive, the late mountaineer Edward Whymper. His Scrambles Amongst the Alps is the best travel book of sorts I’ve read.
Pete Goding: My wife... Does my sat-nav / iPhone count too?
Best meal on the road? And your worst?
DF: At La Prepositura in Trevi in Umbria. The worst would be one of hundreds of rotters late at night after Tour de France stages. A sort of French Spud-u-like in Nancy in 2001 sticks in the memory and the throat.
PG: Best: Pasta and truffle oil in Florence. Fantastically fresh, and so simple. Worst: Duck confit in Gavarnie (French Pyrenees). I love duck but on this occasion the duck had it in for me!
Most surprising place? And your most disappointing?
DF: Most surprising, the Gorges du Tarn, visited by accident on the Tour de France in 2010. They left me gasping. The most disappointing, or just the grimmest place, is probably Charleroi in Belgium.
PG: Surprising: Red rock canyon near Las Vegas and the Valley of Fire were spectacular desert scenes, spending five days shooting Chris Boardman testing out bikes in the searing heat. It was more of a surprise that Chris didn’t pass out through dehydration after we forgot the water bottles one day. We didn’t forget them again. Disappointing: Puerto Vallarta. As a young naïve traveller, bad hotel choice!
Where do you NOT want to go?
DF: Paris. I think it’s romantically cursed.
PG: There are very few places I wouldn’t go... However, there are a fair few places I wouldn’t go back to, a certain all-inclusive hotel in Puerto Vallarta springs to mind.
Who/what inspired you to travel?
Daniel Friebe: Learning foreign languages.
Pete Goding: Ansel Adam’s photos made me want to explore further afield. His images of America are truly inspiring. Shooting professional cycling also gave me the opportunity to experience different cultures across Europe and gave me a thirst for more.
What do you listen to on the road?
DF: There’s a soundtrack of every Tour de France. This year, mine was A New Kind Of House by a brilliant band from Portland called Typhoon.
PG: It can range from classical music and film sound tracks from the likes of Ennio Morricone and John Barry to (when I need to up my pace a little) Muse and Rage Against The Machine. Ricky Gervais pod-casts are a real help too, to keep the spirits up.
Does any song take you back to a particular place?
DF: Natural Mystic by Bob Marley always reminds me of the golf course near Bordeaux where I worked at age 18. I played Exodus around the clock.
PG: Ennio Morricone’s theme music to The Good The Bad and The Ugly springs to mind, sitting on the top of the Alto del Angliru in north-western Spain shrouded in cloud waiting for the weather to clear. I’d flown out there just to shoot one particular mountain and when I arrived it looked like I was going to have return at a later date. Feeling a little sorry for myself the music started and low and behold the cloud lifted.
What do you read when you travel?
DF: Sadly, in Europe, mostly the local press, particularly the sports pages.
PG: Last book I was reading was Cosa Nostra by John Dickie. Not a travel book by any means but an interesting and well-researched book around the history of the Sicilian Mafia. I picked it up on the way out to Italy. I like to try and see another person’s point of view of a place and its culture or find out some history to an area if I have a moment.
Is there a person you met while travelling who reaffirmed your faith in humanity?
Daniel Friebe: Lots of people on our trek over the Italian Alps. I will admit that we did hitch-hike once or twice.
Pete Goding: You see a lot of generosity on the road.
What's the most impressive/useful phrase you know in a foreign language?
DF: “E, magari, un filo d’olio…?” – In Italian this means: maybe a drizzle of olive oil, too?
Yes, I am a ponce.
PG: Bouger les vaches – move the cows!
What is your worst habit as a traveller?
DF: Exercise. I have to exercise.
Snowbound in a tent in Antarctica, how would you entertain your companions?
DF: Readings from Mountain High...?
PG: Reciting quotes from Withnail and I would be the first thing, then move onto a game of poker.
When are where in your travels have you been happiest?
DF: Climbing mountains, particularly the Col de la Faucille in France, on my bike.
PG: With my wife exploring Angkor Wat, in Cambodia and trekking through the jungle in Mai Chau, northern Vietnam, on our honeymoon.
What smell most says 'travel' to you?
DF: Lavender in Provence.
PG: The smell you get in old grocery shops in France (musty but sweet and spicy), always reminds me of family trips camping in France.
Given a choice, what era would you travel in?
Daniel Friebe: When was Ryanair set up? Right, the era which ended the day before that.
Pete Goding: An era in the future! On occasions I could do with being teleported to my destinations. I could think of better things I could be doing with my time than sitting on a plane (as a passenger that is!).
If you could combine three cities to make your perfect metropolis, which would they be?
DF: London, Marseille, Stockholm.
PG: Hong Kong for the excellent neon in the evenings! London for the cultural diversity/food/entertainment. Carcassonne for the medieval streets and buildings.
A stunning showcase of Europe’s 50 greatest climbs, including detail on routes, maps, profile and compelling descriptions featuring places of interest along the route. From experienced club racers to enthusiastic amateurs, Mountain High is book is for cyclists of all abilities. Buy your copy on Amazon now.
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