BBC History Magazine

September 12, 2009 15:56 by Ben

Sorry it has taken ages to update our blog. Our computer broke - too many bumpy roads - and we have been filming and riding all day every day recently so we haven´t had a chance. But Danny wrote this for the BBC History Magazine blog:

And Hasdrubal (Javier Roca) from the Cartagena Carthaginian and Roman Society sent this very good photo.

An authentic send off and a brutal first days cycling…..

September 8, 2009 16:00 by Sam

Our final night of comfort before getting on the bike for the next 10 weeks was spent with the Carthaginian society of Cartegena. We arrived at San Remo restaurant to a raucous greeting from around 40 Carthaginian warriors in full armour.

They shouted and screamed for us as we entered the building (of course prompted by the camera!) They really didn’t have a clue who we were and were a bit surprised to have three randoms in odd coloured shirts turn up to their dress up party. However they were brilliant company and it was quite an honour for the 3 of us to interview Hannibal, Hasdrubal and Mago themselves!

The next morning we flew out of Cartagena at 11am after being sent off in style again by the Carthaginian society and things were going to plan…… Thanks again to all those who turned up in the morning and for the great dinner the night before especially to Antonio president of the society.

The first day was supposed to be a 90km ride through pretty southern Spain to warm us into the long journey ahead. However 10 hours later we were still on the road, had ridden through some of the worst tourist traps and were wondering whether we would ever get to the campsite…..our technology which we were relying so heavily on, the GPS systems had led us far astray, something we only realised later that night when we found we had gone in loops and in fact rode closer to 150kms regularly in completely the wrong direction. We straggled into camp after the sun was well down and all of us felt the pain as well as great apprehension at the ride ahead…

And so it begins...

September 6, 2009 10:43 by Ben

Jason our very nice fixer picked us up at Murcia airport yesterday in a mammoth luxury camper van. Its only defect was the roof reaching a harmonic at 120km/h that deafens everyone inside. Danny then proceeded to eat the biggest Buey (Ox) steak any of us had ever seen in preparation for our first day of filming down on the harbour at Cartagena. 

Its a very Spanish town, unpretentious and friendly and down on the water its pleasant although boiling hot this morning when Robin, John and Jason with particular dedication helped us through the first few shots of the documentary. 

They then went off to get some other footage around the town and we visited the few Punic landmarks that remain of Hannibal's Spanish capital. The Punic rampart that protected the only land access to the ancient city was the most impressive - it was right next to a medieval Christian necropolis with skeleton men painted all over the walls. There is also a modern statue of Hasdrubal, Hannibal´s brother-in-law and the founder of Quart Hadast/Cartagena.


You Packed Me All Night Long

September 5, 2009 17:11 by Danny

Thanks to Ben and Sam the packing was relatively easy, but lasted until about 3am in the morning.  Packing up a touring bike to take onto a plane, as you may know or can guess, is quite an ordeal with mudguards, pannier racks, wheels, handlebars, peddles etc all to be taken off and boxed.  This has been the sobre reality of most of the last two days - a constant state of packing and preparation, punctuated by film schedule checks, script modifications and website updates and mail outs - fantastic!  And we have been so lucky, thanks to our Granny, to have her more than comfortable house as our Wood Brothers London HQ - it would be hard to find a nicer place to pack a bag.  That lovely relief set it when the prep was all done and now, thanks to production managerial whiz Alex, we have arrived in Cartagena, to a wall of 35 degree heat, where Hannibal's trail starts...

Wood Brothers, 2 days to go!

September 3, 2009 16:33 by Danny

It's never too late to test the equipment. Outside their temporary headquarters (Granny's home in London), for the first time all three Wood Brothers have their bikes laden with panniers for a test run in London traffic. 

For old times sake, they return to Sam's former workplace, the British Museum and snap a photo in the forecourt before collecting a few miscelaneous items like bike stands and plain T-shirts, from different locations in London. A pannier did fall off along Kensington High Street, and Danny quickly followed it, to the amusement of a group of people queuing at a bus stop.

The day before, Ben and Sam tested their tents in Richmond Park.  For some reason, Danny didn't attend this exercise.

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About the authors

Danny, Ben and Sam Wood are three brothers who followed in the footsteps of three ancient Carthaginian brothers Hannibal, Hasdrubal and Mago. They cycled from Cartagena, Spain to Zama, Tunisia - the route that Hannibal and his army took over 2200 years ago. Along the way they filmed a documentary to be aired on the BBC in July 2010.


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