By Piotr Chmielinski (this article originally appeared on pythom.com)
Half a year on the Amazon was enough time for David Andres and Hubert Kisinski to learn a lot about the river, about the people living in its basin, and about themselves.
- I must admit that we have become very strong physically and psychologically - says Dawid. – The Amazon gradually was preparing us for increasing difficulties. If situations that happened at the end were to happen at the beginning, our expedition probably would not have been completed. - He adds with a laugh.
When it was especially hard, he thought about the heroes in books about the period in history that I am particularly interested in, like Gulag work labor camps and German concentration camps. The attitude of people who have undergone the ordeals that happened, i.e. to his favorite author Stanislaw Grzesiuk inspires him and makes him look at the problems from a different perspective.
- What these people went through makes them really tough guys. Sometimes on an expedition I told Hubert and myself: man, what are you complaining about. People survived the nightmares, spent many years in the camps and had the strength to live, to be happy, and we pedal the Amazon, which we ourselves chose to do and it is great. It gave me courage.
Different, yet alike, equally determined and stubborn, the brothers admit that one without the other wouldn't have completed that expedition. Supporting and complementing each other not only with the skills, but the personality and strength of character have become the best reflection of the power of brotherly ties.
- I'm glad I went on this trip together with Hubert - emphasizes Dawid. - Not only could he fix everything and cook great meals, but he often toned my impatience and dark thoughts.
And besides, Hubert is back to being himself. He is a cheerful, open and warm young man as he was before he became caught up with drug problems. The expedition into the Amazon proved for him a way of saving himself, escaping from an addiction that had possessed him.
- The Amazonian therapy allowed me to look at myself out of the box, from a certain perspective, and allowed me to recover. I started to think normally and rationally; it took me many months, only now I am able to understand and assess the scale of the situation I was stuck in. The Amazon left a kind of mark in my life-learning experience that teaches something new and something good.
What was more difficult to overcome, the Amazon or drugs? Definitely, the latter. On the Amazon you can call for help when things go wrong, with an addiction you have to cope alone, or you drown.
On the Amazon, Hubert regained most of his faith in his strength and his confidence. He felt again the persistence and consistency that he wanted to strive for.
- When we did go wrong in the jungle, in the dark, in the thicket, through which the sun was not able to break through, I could see the light. And then, with even greater intensity, with my machete I was able to cut my way through and ... actually there was a light and the solution - Hubert talks about his little bit of metaphysical experience.
Dawid and Hubert parents' apartment in Gorzow was overflowing with the smell of fried pork chops, cabbage and other savory dishes. Mother, Bozena Kisinska prepares them to welcome the sons with a typical Polish dinner.
- Sure, they missed home and home-cooked food - she says, her voice combining excitement and emotion. The guys should be in the house in an hour and a half, they have come back safe and sound, what a relief. - Get even some pickles, maybe they will feel like pickles - she calls to her husband.
Mr. Zdzislaw, like his wife, is immensely proud of the sons' achievements but is disconsolate that he could not go to meet Dawid and Hubert in the airport - shingles grounded him at home for a good two weeks. It's bad luck!
From the next room, children’s voices are heard again: when will our dad come? Hubert’s sons, Dawidek and Filipek, have been occupying a strategic place at the window from early morning. With breaks for cleaning the room, "because it must be neat and tidy to welcome dad". Time drags on mercilessly, there is nothing to occupy the boys. So once again: When is dad coming?
The doorbell sounds! Daddy! Daddy is coming!!! And Uncle Dawid!!!
Dawid and Hubert do not have much time to rest. On Saturday, March 12 they will be in Gdynia for Kolosy (www.kolosy.pl), meeting travelers and explorers, where late at night they will be talking about their Amazon biking expedition that they just finished a few days ago. By the way, the Amazonian bike, which traveled the largest river in the world, could be seen during the presentation.
Conquerors of the Amazon
Dawid Andres and Hubert Kisinski, having realized the goal of their trip, became members of the select group of people who have conquered the Amazon from the source to the Atlantic., continuously in one direction and on their own power.
Check the link to AdventureStats' Amazon River Statistics:
[Editor's note: The statistics are still in Beta and are open for discussion, corrections and additions]
Polish brothers, David Andres and Hubert Kisinski, who are attempting to cross South America by bicycle since September 2015, are traveling the Amazon by land and water. On the water, they use an innovative catamaran-like bike to pedal most of the Amazon River. The brothers started the Amazon section at the foot of Mount Mismi, Lake Ticlla Cocha.
During the 1985-86 Amazon Source to Sea Expedition, Piotr Chmielinski became the only member of the 13-person expedition who managed to navigate the Amazon River entirely from Source to Sea, about 4300 miles. Joe Kane completed the entire river by walking the first section of the Apurimac’s white water and finished the rest by kayak and raft. Zbigniew Bzdak and Kate Durrant completed the entire River by walking the first section of the Apurimac’s white water and doing the rest by raft and motor boat. Their adventure is described in the book Running the Amazon by Joe Kane, which is now considered a classic of adventure literature. Check Piotr's Profile on Pythom here.
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