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Day 16 - Calais (F) to Swindon (GB)

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Sunday 4th June
------------------------Had a very slow start as the temperature in the tent was so pleasant that I didn't want to get up. Had a shower and ate the rest of my bread / ham / cheese for breakfast.My planned ferry wasn't until around 8pm and I bought a cheapo 'non-amendable' ticket so figured I'd need to buy a new ticket if I wanted to return early. Getting to the ferry port was interesting as the village I was in decided to close off the road to hold some sort of fete. Only spotted a handful of refugees / migrants now trying to get themselves into the UK from the port. Perhaps it's no longer as appealing economically or with 'The Jungle' levelled and everything fenced-off, there are probably easier places to smuggle yourself in from.My plan was to check at the ferry port to see how much an early ticket would be and if cheap then I would return early, of not then I'd go explore. The P&O lady was very nice and kindly changed my booki…

Day 15 - Reims (F) to Calais (F)

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Saturday 3rd June
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Woke-up with bad guts, didn't have to break the Immodium tablets out, but obviously that beer had it's effect. In any case, I was back on the road by 09:30. I realise, being in rural France where nobody speaks much English, that my French is pretty terrible. I can ask for most things but people struggle to understand me and when they do respond in French I can't understand anything they say - especially numbers.... and they have so many different words for bread. In a bakery I spotted a small baguette thing that I fancied - so I asked for a small baguette. The lady started pulling-out all these full size ones and I said again, no I want one of those small ones. It has some other wierd name and only once I repeated that word she knew what I wanted....On the road I fancied a coffee and saw a decent place to pull over and enjoy a coffee outside. Saw a sign saying Petit-Dejuner (spelt wrong I know) €5.  Sounded good but when I asked wh…

Day 14 - Kehl (D) to Reims (F)

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Friday 2nd June
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Said goodbye to Joachim, 67 year old cyclist Max who was cycling the Rhine from his hometown of Hamburg and the Canadian cyclists. It was another hot day from the outset and progress was good.Today's roads took me through wine country. First the Vinyards of the Alsace-Lorraine region and later the Champagne route. It was all very nice but a lot of the landscape is flat and all looks the same.After about 50 miles ominous clouds appeared on the horizon and the next minute it was chucking it down. Pushed through the rain and 5 minutes later it was sunny again and I was drying myself. 15 minutes later a bigger cloud appeared, this one looked bad so I stopped at a nearby petrol station just as the heavens opened. It was a really intense storm with strong winds, heavy rain and lots of thunder and lightening. Chose to sit it out and also put my waterproofs on. After 30 minutes it was all over until I got to tonight's stop.Arrived at a very rura…

Day 13 - Vaduz (FL / CH) to Kehl (D)

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Thursday 1st June
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Was originally woken up at 4am by the church bell just behind the campsite. I rings (loudly) every 30 minutes, even at night! Managed to get back to sleep but was then awoken by the heavy rain which continued until about 09:30. Packed all my gear-up and was on the road by 10:15.I decided to make my way across Switzerland on the small roads and get to Strasbourg again. The initial views were stunning despite it being over-cast. The roads soon became amongst the most enjoyable that I have ever ridden (if you ignore the speed limits). Couldn't have just been me judging by the number of bikes on the road. Eventually the road dropped down back into small town after small town.  All very nice but it was impossible to make good progress. I'm sure you could plan an amazing route through Switzerland, given time and a good map.Once on the German-side the road opened-up, the nice views ended but the speeds increased. Out of nowhere I hit another …

Day 12 - Ubersee (D) to Vaduz (FL / CH)

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Wedneday 31st May
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I dragged my feet this morning due to the rain which continued over night into this morning. Slowly started packing-up and the rain stopped. I decided to put my waterproof under-layers on as it didn't look promising, but after 30 minutes on the road, the sun was back out and it was hot again....Quickly hit the centre of Munich. Some lovely grand buildings there. Unfortunately there were so many roadworks all over the city that it got annoying after a while so I continued down the road to the nearest petrol station where I binned my thermal layers and had some snacks.I was making good time so chose to do the rest of the route on minor roads. To start with, it was great with spectacular German / Austrian scenery and the sat-nav picking some pretty odd (very minor) roads. Got to what I believe was massive lake Bodensee in Lindau / Bregenz. Lots of people cycling by the lake or swimming from the beaches around it. Very classy. After that the …

Day 11 - Maribor (SLO) to Ubersee (D)

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Tuesday 30th May
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Woke-up early as I wasn't tired considering the easy day and all the monging by the pool. It was another glorious sunny day and I was looking forward to getting into Austria on the back-roads. At the same time sad to be closing the loop on the former Yugoslavia. Such a diverse region - it could never remain as a single nation, I get that now. Slovenia and Croatia are the West. Just an extension of Austria / Italy I think. Croatia will be over-developed on the coast and will resemble Magaluf soon, but it does have everything. Bosnia is kind of interesting - a real mixture of cultures, a bit of a mess but I really enjoyed my time there and regret not going back to Sarajevo on my return leg. Montenegro, trying hard. Spoilt with stunning natural beauty but not really trying too hard. Albania (I know it wasn't Yugoslavia) - needs some tidying-up. Would be better in decent weather but it's very much a developing country. Macedonia - decen…

Day 10 - Zagreb (HR) to Maribor (SLO)

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Monday 29th May
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Had a lovely peaceful evening and slept like a log until 08:00. Very slowly packed-up my stuff as I knew that I had all day to cover very little distance. Set the sat-nav to avoid tolls and motorways and got to see some fantastic rural sites and to ride brilliant twisty roads. If only I had time to do the whole journey this way, but then these days there is traffic. Foreign motor travel must have been amazing 50 years ago.Unexpectedly I got to the Slovenian border quicker than I thought but I was waved through after a quick flash of my passport. Decided to treat myself to a breakfast / lunch seeing as I hadn't really eaten for a while so stopped in a small village cafe and ordered a pizza, coffee and cool drink. It has been really hot recently - I reckon 28C today at least.Took a couple of wrong turns, one down a road that appeared to be marked as closed, which indeed I found it was after off-roading 3 miles and then I accidentally went down…