|Dates:||1 May 2017 - 11 Dec 2017|
|Duration:||7 months, 2 weeks|
Not a lot to report today!! It's been cold and drizzly and callum spent most of the day working on the bikes. His wheel hub seemed to be the issue from the other day.
So with my time, I wrote a new blog post.... https://driftingontwowheels.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/a-snapshot-4-days-in-france/
I know I always talk about food. It's my new passion and I'm going to be a fatty 🤣 but we had theeeee best chicken stew and dumplings tonight for tea. My chef is top dollar. The sunset is of our beach across the way 👍
Last night we shared a meal with our camping neighbour, Jackie from France. He is an aircraft mechanic but loves to travel in between contracts and so has a few months off. He is here until Tuesday and plans to do a cycle tour in New Zealand this coming January. So we exchanged some travel stories and ideas :-)
Today has been another relaxed one involving a visit to the car boot sale, then crashing on the sun loungers. We had the most delicious food this evening too.....home made burgers, with grilled onion, peppers, courgette, cheese and fresh guacamole. It was divine!! X
Took the bike out for a little 40km spin today to La Herradura & back. Callum's bike almost instantly started making a racket, once we set out, and so he turned back for some bike mechanics. I could have too, but he encouraged me to go and enjoy the day. It's been a super hot one today.....and so I went to visit one of our neighbouring towns La Herradura, ate some lunch on the beach and took a look around. The riding was the best part though. It's so much faster with no bags and the coastal riding here is fab!!
The Christmas markets have started and the lights are on ☺️ it seems the most popular Spanish Christmas tradition is to celebrate a visit from the 3 kings which happens on the 5th January and is the day when most children receive their presents. In Most towns, there is a parade on this day where a float travels through distributing sweets and goodies.
The sunset on the walk back from town today was stunning!
A sunny walk up to Frigiliana today via the estuary. Lots of white houses and mountain views. 👌
Thinking of ideas for our return (home/work/life).... too many ideas and no idea how to do any of them 🤣
Listening to an Irish artist in Fitzgerald's and drinking some red. 🥂 We braved the evening cold to escape the caravan for a rare night out!!
Went for a lovely ride today to Torre Del Mar. It was ace to get out on the bikes without all the weight and this beach resort was lovely. People were cooking fish all along the sea front on these BBQ boats, it smelt so delicious!! X
I lost! I hate losing! And so does callum, and so we are officially at Tennis war. 😂😂 In other news, it's been a nice sunny day. We did some beach yoga and ate a lovely meal of fish, asparagus and creamy mash potatoes. Tomorrow, we plan to go for a cycle to Torre del mar.
More rain today, but we got back on the bikes for a little ride and found an indoor swimming pool & sports centre. We've booked a game of tennis for tomorrow, which I'm almost sure I will lose at, but let's hope I don't! Callum is too bloody good at sports and I dislike losing!! Lol
We also went for a jog along the coast and I have been practising my Spanish. I still cannot string a sentence together well. I'm sure it will come though.
It's raining cats and dogs today as so we are caravan bound! 😂 Found a windsurfing place nearby though and so hope to have a try at that soon! Staying in one places feels very strange....but good! X
Reaching the peak of El Cielo today at 1500m. It was an awesome view from the top with great visibility. We could see Africa again. :-)
Feeling it now though! We went for a drink at a bar on the way back, so callum could watch England play rugby and I was instantly drunk. I think we may ache tomorrow.
We went for a little wander about the town today and did our first ever joint food shop, for our new temporary home, the caravan 🤣🤣 callum is hilarious when food shopping. He is one of those people who like order.....certain foods go in certain places in the carrier bag?!..... I however, am NOT!! I loved watching him lose his mind by me throwing our goods into haphazard places. 😍
We also saw this lovely bridge and have been looking at routes for a walk up the mountains tomorrow.
It's been hot today :-) 25 degrees in the day 🌞🌞
It's getting really cold in the evenings now and so today we asked the campsite lady if she had any little caravans to rent, as we like it here and would like to stay warm!! She had one little place free and so we have taken the plunge and hired it for a Christmas break. Nerja seems like a great place. We are by the mountains, beautiful beaches and the town looks good too. So this is us! All being well, we're here for xmas, at a bargain rate of €9.30 per night in a caravan.
Callum trying to beat me at Petanque. There is also a table tennis table here and we are currently on 2-2, I'm sure this will soon change! This campsite is ace. There are loads of games, a living room with sofas, books and maps, lots of fruit trees including bananas and avocado, we have our own outdoor table and chairs. What more could you want! The coastal town of Nerja is ace too. We would quite happily stay here for a while!
Although I aren't at home for a cuddle, there is only one photo that can make today's gallery. My nephew fletcher was born today 😍😍 6lbs 15. Being held by my beauty of a niece Lacey Mae. Proud auntie. Can't wait to meet him in person.
I love eating lunch on the beach ❤️❤️ these views! X
Today's visit to Granada City by bla bla car & bus. A definite one off! We saw the cathedral and an outstanding view of the Alhambra from San Nicholas, wondered around the little market stalls, and took a look in some art studios. We also Treated ourselves to a tasty cappuccino and ate Danish blue & Jamon baguettes in the park.
All in all a good day, and first experience of bla bla car, a good one!!
The last supper......
Ken & Denise took us to a nice restaurant at 1,200 metres yesterday, to spoil us with a 3 course meal and a glass of wine overlooking the beautiful sunset over the mountains. It was gorgeous!
Tomorrow we get back on the bikes and head further west along the coast.
This week has involved more almond picking, walks, reading, drawing, writing, eating & drinking wine. Yesterday we spent the evening with ric, a friend of Ken & Denise's who told us of the delights that Portugal will bring. We are excited and are looking forward to being back on the road. We will leave on Sunday after a good 2 week break from the tour.
The photo is a picture of our village from a hill at the side of the valley. We went for a sunny walk this afternoon :-)
I haven't drawn for so long, I love it, and miss it!! So today I made use of my birthday present from my mum and had a go at drawing spud the dog.
All the proportions are out, but for my first attempt in a long while, it's not soooo bad!!
We had a delicious Sunday roast today with home made Yorkshire puddings. Delish!!
Day off! We made the decision to ride down the painstakingly long hills to have a day on the beach. It was lovely, 20 degrees for most of the day!!.....then we faced the climb back up. Urghhhhh!! We did it though and wondered how on earth we did it last time with all the panniers on.
I asked callum if it was worth it for a beach day, and he said mmm I don't know. He's stupidly fit, so you know it must be hard if that's his reaction.
All in all a good day, and now we have a glass of red to complete the evening :)
Ohh and the seats, i just like the photo. Typical of the Spanish hehe.
Today we had the morning off and the house to ourselves before starting work around 3pm. So we got some sun terrace time and our washing done. We have been sorting the almonds and bagging them up ready for sale this afternoon. From what we've done so far we have around 300kg to sell. So our hosts are pleased. We had an amazing lunch of good old English fish and chips today. Delicious!!! X
Day 3 of picking almonds in the valley. Today me and callum did 7 large sacks full, and then once we were finished for the day took a walk over the hills to the next town Rubite.
However we didn't quite make it to the town. Two large dogs were on the track on the way down, going berserk at us, and so I wouldn't pass by them. I have become terrified of barking dogs that chase us on this trip lol.
So we returned, and I started my new book from the last book exchange we found.... 'little princes' by Conor grennan. It's been another lovely day of sun.
The view from our temporary house in the mountains. It's so remote up here you could here a pin drop.
This photo makes me laugh a LOT 😆..... So today we did our first day of volunteering, picking almonds....it involves putting down a net and then hitting the trees with a big stick to shake them all off. Then collecting them all into big sacks. It's basically like playing a big game of piñata.
Almonds are a good thing to grow here because they don't need much water. Afterwards we visited Motril town centre whilst Ken and Denise went food shopping, and they took us for a beer at the bar on the way home.
Climbing to our volunteer placement today in Los Gálvez felt like one of the hardest climbs we have done. 10km, straight up the hill side and it was steep! Other mountains we have been over have had switchbacks to ease the elevation but this was relentless! Lol.
However we got here, safe, sound and sweaty! It's very remote, and completely silent out here. We are starting almond picking tomorrow and will start at 8am, working til lunch and then having the afternoon to ourselves. Today we've been shown around and took spud the dog out for a walk in the hills. So far so good :-)
Our lunch spot today, like the knights of the round table :-)
A man the other day told us that, for the next 70km we will be riding through 'plastic world.' I wasn't sure what he meant but now I do!! This whole area of coastline is covered with farmland and plastic sheeting. This doesn't sound too bad, but it looks awful. There are acres of plastic sheeting, lots of really ugly fencing and tons of rubbish that people have just dumped. Sofas, tv's, mattresses, even food?!
Thank goodness we were out of it by lunchtime to sit at our beautiful round table beside the sea. We start our volunteering tomorrow! Excited to learn some new things! X
Someone stole our camping chair and then wouldn't leave callum alone lol. Maybe we can fit her in our panniers.
Today was pretty miserable riding. It rained and we had LOADSSSS of wind in our faces all day. But we arrived at camping 'Las Vegas' safe and sound. Although it is far less glamorous than camping Las Vegas sounds.
Some people from the Netherlands have given us some hot soup, bread and cheese. And guava for pudding. These people really look after us wherever we go. So we have this and our chicken noodle dish for mains 👍cycling makes you hungry!
Today we rode through more of the 'Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural park.' It was a hilly start with some 10% inclines but more beautiful views from the top. The natural park has lots of cactus and is mainly desert type land.
We passed through Almeria and are now on a campsite right on the beach. Another good day in the saddle :-) two more days before we start our help exchange.
Yesterday was a 6 month milestone and we hit 10,000km. Today we added 50 more very hilly km to that, and some more absolutely gorgeous views. It's been so hot today. I've felt like I've done some really physical hard work lol. Then a whole heap of washing by hand once we arrived, means I'm ready for a sit down and some camp food! X
We waved goodbye to Paul and Wendy this morning and rode to our next sunny Spanish destination - majorca. It was beautiful riding today, we saw so many orchards and olive farms and then we were greeted by the sound of waves crashing onto the beach.
When we got to the town we found a brown leather wallet on the cycle path, it contained €300 euros and some cards. After lots of riding around, to see if we could see the owner, we decided to hand it in, all money enclosed at the police station..... Good deed done for the day. I hope the guy gets it back.
This evening we have been handed two gin and tonics from a Yorkshire couple camping across from us. People are amazingly good to us. We had to hand in the wallet for this reason. Travel karma.
Tonight we had the luxury of staying with Wendy and Paul in Huercal-Overa. They were going out for Halloween but said we could go anyway and so we met them at a local bar before Paul showed us back to the house.
Wendy had cooked us a roast dinner, with home made Yorkshire puddings!! So our evening consisted of a hot roast dinner, we got to have a nice bubble bath, and then were able to watch a film (Logan) on the Kodi before going to sleep in another unbelievably comfortable bed.
Wendy is an author who has just published her second book.....it was inspiring to talk about how she did this and it has made me excited at the prospect of writing one myself.
They waved us goodbye with a packed lunch for today's ride too :-)
We are trying to learn Spanish one step at a time haha :) every days a school day.....
We said goodbye to our very lovely campsite neighbours this morning and set off for more riding around the pretty mountains. We travelled past Murcia and reached our end destination after 65km......a really dingey campsite.....but it's the only one in the area and so we shall be thankful for a peaceful nights sleep!
We ate lunch today on AstroTurf. Pretending we were having a little picnic on real grass in the park. Grass is a bit non existent in Spain. It made me realise how much I miss the lush green fields of England.
We got a bit lost today (my fault), and I brought far too much cheese than two people ever need. Communication error at a market, and then I was too scared to say no I don't want it haha. So I've been a bit grumpy, I feel so silly not being able to speak Spanish!!
However when we finally got to our campsite, a lovely German couple made us some coffee and gave us a whole packet of biscuits. They must have seen I looked miserable. :-) I love how little things like this can turn the day around......
Oh and the ride...look at those amazing views!!
We rode 74km in the hot hot sunshine today and up many continuous hills. It was nice riding in the countryside though, and this evenings campsite is ace. We have a pool, lots of picnic benches and this beaut - Jessie the sheepdog, for company! there are also some chickens, who came and helped theirselves to some of our oranges this evening. :-)
Tonight we stayed with our hosts Kike, susanna and their two beautiful children Isla (6 months and Juan 2 years). We shared a lovely meal with them and got to learn a bit more about life in Catalonia. Their house was absolutely stunning, it had a photography studio upstairs, a children's play room and some very cool furnishings. I told Kike he can come and design our future house.
Lovely people, amazing photographer.
We had far too much wine last night and so the start of the day was a little shaky! However when we both came round we had a beautiful natural park to enjoy and an ace ride out of Valencia city via an excellent cycle path.
We're on another campsite tonight in a holiday resort, but it's like a ghost town at this time of year. Nice place though!! We have a host lined up for tomorrow and are ready for some good old fashioned sleep.
Had such a fun evening with Kate & Mike, my cousin from London. They were visiting Valencia on holiday and treated us to an amazing meal out. We are so lucky to have such good family & friends!!
Valencia is amazing!! I love this city :-) it has such a relaxed atmosphere for a city and has lots of history as well as some really cool new builds. And the cycling is fab too.
And the birthday treats continue, courtesy of my awesome brothers 😘🍹🥂 thank youuuuu xxx
We made it to Valencia!!!
Our campsite this evening is pretty grim, so we decided to go and cook tea on the beach instead. We avoided the major roads today and did lots of coastal riding which was pretty. We've booked a hostel for Valencia now, so looking forward to exploring the city tomorrow. Going to sleep early so we can try and wake up for an early start. It's 50km to the city...::Our watch alarm has broken though so we're relying on the sunrise to get us out of bed. Haha (fingers crossed!)
We do cycle sometimes honest!! Taking another break on the beach after a shorter day of riding today. We rode about 50km on that bloody road (N340)..... it's been really hot today and we had a late start which instantly makes us lazy. This evening we have taken a walk into town and sampled some local beer. We will be in Valencia in 2 days time all being well.
Today we rode through the delta de l'ebre natural park which was lots of flat wetlands, rice fields and home to lots of wildlife and beautiful birds. Then we got back onto the infamous N340 (a road which seems to go on forever and join every place in Spain) until we found an €8 campsite in benicarlo. We were the only tent on there, and there were hundreds of campervans mainly from the Netherlands and Germany, all cashing in on the cheap camping.
I didn't like waving goodbye to them this morning. But happy to have had 4 days with my mum :-) and of course hotel life was amazing!!
Now we are back in tent world, the rain is pouring but we have chocolate and the sound of sea waves crashing for company. I had a new book for my birthday called wild, and so that is my evening sorted.
Feeling sad that tomorrow we will be parting again for another six months. But I'm sure the time will fly.
Lovely birthday :-) we spent a full day at the beach and tried stand up paddle boarding for the first time. I was proud of myself for not falling off for the whole hour, and got to laugh at callum who found staying on a bit more tricky.
In the evening, we ventured into the town for some cocktails. Long Island ice tea for me 🍹
Today we took a stroll to the local market and then came back along the beautiful beach. Callum brought new socks :) less smelly ones I hope!! The sun has been out and everybody is in holiday mode! We played some pool in the evening and mum won us a bottle of cava at the bingo 🤣👍🥂 xx
4 nights in a hotel!! This is super luxury for us :-). A present from my mum for my birthday. We also have a buffet breakfast and tea to look forward to and I get to spend the next few days with her. Fabulous!
I shall be 28 this year, but I'm going to stop counting.
Day off today, as we are a couple of days early for meeting my mum in Salou. So we checked out the local beer festival in Torredembarra and spent some time on the beach. :-) we've seen a few British people here on holiday and there are some Geordies on our campsite.
We rode through Barcelona today, along the coast to the city centre and then further inland to skirt around the motorway, huge port and airport. There were more demonstrations today as we passed through so we rode in the opposite direction! Riot vans and lots of crowds of people were out on the streets.
We are now on a campsite on the other side of the city :-) it took us all day to go through. Lol.
Resting our legs 👌🌞 day off!!
Tonight's campsite activity is "how to make the perfect sangria" haha. We shall be partaking in that.
Today we had a day trip into Barcelona as our campsite offered a free shuttle bus there and back. So we had a day without the bikes, and got to see some of gaudi's architecture, the Olympic village and the view of the city from above at Jardins del Mirador.
We had some pizza out for tea, and treated ourselves to some Estrella. Luckily we were just leaving the city as the demonstrations started. Tractors with Catalonian flags were on there way, potentially to block of the nearby roads. And the police vans were all ready for what was about to come.
Our legs were soooooo tired today from the walking. We might treat ourselves to another day off tomorrow as we still have 5 days before we need to be in Salou.
Our campsite had a free wine tasting session this evening so we went along to check it out..... I think the guy leading the session must of liked us because we ended up with 3 bottles. It was really interesting to learn about the production and different outcomes. And who doesn't love wine :-)
We go to Barcelona tomorrow, for a day trip minus the bikes :)
So today we got hosted by Gulliem, from Santa Coloma de farners, Catalonia. He told us when we met him that his house is a squatted house in the mountains. So for the first time in our lives, we stayed the night in the squat with 4 other housemates. They had 3 dogs, one little kitten and had spent the last 10 months doing up an old farmhouse with 5 bedrooms. They had managed to get a water supply going, and battery powered lighting. Today's new addition to the house was a tiled bedroom floor and a stereo.
We all ate dinner together - beef, rice and lentils and they told us about the current difficulties with the Spanish government. Catalonia is currently having a referendum for independence and there has been lots of conflict recently. They were all for independence.... we slept really well in a real bed.
We made it to the Spanish coast. It's gorgeous!! The ride down the Spanish side of the Pyrenees was a lot more difficult than going up on the French side though. The sandy paths were really steep and more for mountain bikes. But it was ace to camp there overnight.
I Feel really happy to be here, as this is going to be our more settled place through the winter. We have a volunteer placement near Granada and we hope to learn some Spanish. Let's see how it goes. We have a host tomorrow too which is always nice.
The campsite lady today gave us a €6 discount when I told her what we were up to, and two free beers from the bar. 👍
Crossing the Pyrenees mountains today, only through the smaller hills though. We crossed the col de panissars at 567m and are now camping in the hills, just off a cycle path. There has been LOADS of wind today. We had 20km of quite sold head and side winds which was quite difficult, and then as we turned to cross the Pyrenees and the winds helped to push us up :-)
But here we are in Spain, we made it to our 18th country!! It's the place we plan to spend the winter and hopefully learn some language.
Always going for a swim in the sea, even when it's freezing!!!
Found a really pretty place to camp this evening at the side of the canal. In between two lakes. And we have the sun set to look forward to yet.
Today's riding was through nice country lanes and lots more French vineyards with just a bit of headwind but nothing too difficult.
Tomato and chorizo pasta for tea with some eggs too, for extra protein. All is good.
53km, headwinds and half a day on the beach ☺️ this part of southern France is much nicer than the east (in my opinion anyway!) much more chilled out and pretty.
Last night in the natural park we saw flamingos and a little beaver came swimming down the canal. It was beautiful.
After yesterday, we took it really easy today! I think we rode 33km before finding an open campsite. So callum fixed the tent pole and then we called it a day....and to celebrate had some beers and another big quiche 👍
The riding today, although short, was really pretty along the coast. And I had some nice face times with my mum & one to my dad too.
I think we plan to wild camp tomorrow, so let's see what happens.
What a day!! We got up and 7 and packed away quickly as we were wild camping on a farm. We found an information centre to eat some breakfast....Then somehow, we have ended up riding for 95km and didn't get to a campsite until 6pm. Done in!!
Nearly all campsites close on 30th September and so we have been searching for somewhere all afternoon that is open. In the end we rode 10km backwards to find a campsite, so we could have a shower and charge the phones.
We came out of Camargue natural park this morning after seeing more pink flamingos, some bulls and lots of horse ranches. Now back to the seaside :)
Eating cold ravioli from a tin because we don't want to get any more rained on whilst cooking. And outside this tent there are hundreds and hundreds of mosquitos!! We rode to Camargue national park today, but had to go through a huge industrial area to get here and then got heavily rained on. It is wet land and so the mosquitos are rife.
We have broken a tent pole this evening too, rushing, putting it up.... but hopefully it will still work for a while. We are camping on farmland this evening.
In positive news, we saw pink flamingos in the wild :-)
Saying goodbyes to Augustin this morning after a nice breakfast of coffee, croissants and pan au chocolate. We also got to try one of their organic aubergine marmalades. Afterward we had a tour of the farm and met Rosetta the pig.
Visiting Marseille harbour last night before we went to a cycle touring photo exhibition. Augustin, our host this evening, has two friends who cycled the length of the Americas and they are opening their exhibition this evening in a vegan cafe. They did a talk about their trip, but in French so we couldn't understand it, which was a real shame!! There were lots of people there though and they put some Food on. Then we rode back to Augustin's farm for a delicious ratatouille.
Having an afternoon of sun by the pool. We only did 37km today and called it a day. It's been hot today and it took a while to get through Toulon. We're just off to have some food and then going to take a look at the town.
Camping on a fig farm this evening. Such a nice relaxing place and we can eat some of these delicious fruits. Callum made us pork and salad wraps with a sweet fig glaze. Delicious!!
The riding today was pretty, through natural parks and vineyards. Callum got chased by a huge dog though, and I fell off in the process trying to run away haha. So I've got cuts on my leg but Callum's is fine! He beat the dog in the race to escape 😂
Missing home a lot today .....
We rode 54km from Menton today through Monaco, Nice and we are now on a campsite just outside Antibes. It's really flash around these areas with expensive cars revving around and hundreds of super yatchs. It doesn't impress me half as much as callum though! We also saw some travellers today hiking along the road with their drums, rain sticks and 2 donkeys. They impressed me more haha x
And wella! We are back by the sea side in Menton, Southern France. The Mediterranean looks beautiful. Ace ride down to the coast again today, through the curves of the mountains. Then back up a huge hill to our campsite. As always I am goosed!
Felt a bit uneasy today because I thought we were going to get robbed, but callum came back just in time and we left the area of Ventimiglia. Now we are on the pretty coastal route and will ride towards Nice tomorrow :-)
We reached the top of the col de tenda today which was 1870m. The highest mountain I have ever been up and by bike :-) it took us 15km of switchbacks to get there this morning but it was worth it. Definitely a highlight of the trip!!! Maybe my favourite day altogether.
Now we are back in France after a fast decent and are pitched up on a camping municipal. Back to the land of patisserie's and all varieties of tinned goods. Not forgetting the Brie and Camembert. Mmmmm x
Exploring Lamone, a pretty little winter ski resort. I can imagine it's full of life here when the snow falls. It's beautiful and has made us want to go skiing x
We had breakfast with Lucia this morning, cereal, croissants and coffee and then made our way to cycle into the mountains. We hope to cross this small section of the alps tomorrow. So far, so good. Although a tunnel that doesn't allows bikes leaves us a big climb in the morning over the col de tenda. It will be worth the views tho we think :)
Exploring Saluzzo town centre after callum put a new cassette and chain on his bike. There was a market ok today and so we saw this as well as the churches and castle before coming back to Lucia's apartment to relax :-)
Yesterday we emailed Lucia, a warm showers host in Sulzanna. She was going away with her boyfriend this evening, and so couldn't host us in the usual way but offered us the keys to her apartment anyway. How amazing is that!!! So tonight we get to cook our meal in a proper oven, eat at the table, take a bath and lounge on the sofa. Heaven. We will never be able to thank her enough. Complete trust in the cycling community :-)
We did 71km today in the sunshine.
We woke up at 7am this morning, ate breakfast in the bird watching hut and were ready to set off around 8 until we realised I had a puncture. So callum fixed this and then we set off with a belly full of coffee and croissants. Today was the longest ride of the journey so far. 100km to make past Turin and to a campsite that was open. These are a bit less regular now the high season has ended.
I am tired and pretty grumpy. It's raining and the storms are back. In need of some sleep! X
After riding to an area just before Vercelli, we spent a lot of time trying to find a place to camp that wasn't over run with these little fellas. The natural park we planned to stay in, was absolutely covered with them. We couldn't eat our tea there as there was about 50 on the picnic table lol.
This bird watching hut, was just by the place we camped in the end. A lot less caterpillars and where we had breakfast the next day. The area is really flat wetland that is used for growing rice, so it must be the right habitat to attract so many.
Tonight we fell asleep to the storms.
Breakfast with our host family, before heading towards vercelli :)
Staying with our host Nic, and his parents guseppi and Andreana. We have had a wonderful 3 course Italian meal and I am stuffed! Real Italian lasagne and risotto too!
We also visited Nic's friends in the local winery and got to sample a few different red wines. Now it's time for sleep in our double bed with crisp white sheets. Heaven!! X
Camping Class, on the smaller lake of Pusiano. Tuna, rice and tomato based sauce for tea followed by.....a nice big bar of CHOCOLATE :-) yum x
Lunch spot at the beautiful Lecco lake. All three lakes we have been to so far are absolutely stunning. Iseo was the smallest and least touristy and so for this reason, probably my favourite. I never realised how built up it was at Garda. The area we went to had its own adventure theme parks.
Today was soooooooo miserable. We got soaked from a huge down pour of rain and were still riding when it went dark. We have tried to find a place to wild camp all evening, because the nearest campsite seemed much too far and expensive but this is much harder than you would think in Northern Italy. Literally all of the land is either mountainous or occupied, from our experience anyway.
We thought we had it sorted when we arrived at lake lecco, we found a quiet cycle path with some benches and trees. Then the police drove right down the path we were about the camp on, checking the area for people like us it would seem! So we paid the €24 at 9pm and went on riverbella campaggio.
We went for showers and it turned out you have to pay for this too! 50 cents for 5 minutes of hot water to shower, wash your dishes, wash your clothes. Anything! So Annoying....but I did sleep like a baby after our day of getting wet, lost, and grumpy lol :)
And it was all resolved, when we had this view. Perfecto! Xx
The view from our camping platz this evening! No photos can do it justice.... 'lago d'iseo' is stunning! We left Keita this morning after having breakfast and coffee and back to the cycling we go. We followed an itialian cycle route to the lake from Brescia which took us through the hills and vineyards. We even had some sneaky grapes :-) Northern Italy is doing well!
Keita was happy for us to stay another day to be able to explore the city of Brescia and so we did! This photo was taken from the castle, with an absolutely amazing view over the city. He cooked us some pasta for lunch and then callum repaid the favour by cooking a fish dish for dinner. He has also washed our clothes today so we will smell a lot better :-) brilliant host! X
Today we had our first host since Germany, courtesy of warm showers. Keita, half Japanese and half Italian has his own art studio, concentrating on printmaking. He is super talented and welcomed us to stay in the studio for the evening. We had an aperitif of cheeses, bread, olives, ham and cured sausage and spent the evening chatting with some wine. We also met a few of his friends. Our bedroom in the loft is ace!
Reaching Garda lake felt like another huge milestone for the trip. It's so pretty! Even with these rain clouds about to come over us..... We left mantova this morning after meeting a lovely French family, also cycle touring. They have one year off with their two children which I think is amazing!! The kids were cycling too. 😍
Farm camping in Mantavo. We met an Italian hostel owner along the way who rode the last 20km with us to the city. His name was Nicholas, and because of a literary festival his hostel was fully booked out but he showed us the way to the city and the supermarket. Callum has brought us two litres of wine for 59 cents each lol. I wonder what this is going to taste like?! 🍇
Had one of the worst nights sleep last night. We slept on an island just off the river, in the middle of a tree plantation. However I found it really eery, and kept thinking the trees were going to fall down on us lol. Drank a good strong coffee this morning to try and resolve my tiredness! We're going to mantova today to a campsite so I am hoping we get there early, for sleep!
Ferrara castle :) we went for a little explore of the town after leaving our campsite in the morning to continue along the river Po. An old Italian man told me he loved me, whilst drinking his can of larger on the bench. Haha.
So tired this morning! We did a long day yesterday, nearly 90km I think and then had storms in the evening meaning a late nights sleep for us. We are both reading good books at the moment though, so we were both glued to these while the thunder blasted around us. I wonder what today will bring....
On a campsite at 3pm all showered and the sun is out ☺️ time to relax!!
Choosing to wild camp this close to Venice was slightly problematic, but after lots of riding round we found a nice natural park. It's way too expensive to camp here!! We had some nice coffee and chocolate filled croissants on the bench this morning before setting off to chiggaio.
Visiting the little town of Jesolo just outside of Venice. Enjoying the riding in Italy so far. Colourful houses with shutters and roses, and hundreds of fields of vineyards. Plus beautiful rivers and ports and it's flat!! What's not to like. X
We very nearly got caught in another storm today, but after getting brave and asking a nice Italian man called Lorenzo, he let us camp under his huge wooden gazebo in the garden. They live on a vineyard and were very quick to help us in the pouring rain. Now we can watch the storm whilst staying dry :-) callum is cooking us some fish with tagliatelle and tomato sauce.
Spent another day on camp Aqueilia after storms were forecast all day. They didn't arrive until the evening though, but they came with such heavy rain and lots of lightening. It was lucky not to flood our tent. New waterproofing needed asap!
Not a bad way to spend the afternoon after visiting the pretty town of Grada and now Aquileia :-) this is certainly a little taste of luxury!! X
Waking up to this beautiful sunrise this morning on the Italian coastline, just out of marina Julia. We're on a nice cycle route now along the coast which will hopefully get us to Venice. Last day of sunshine before we are due some storms x
My bike mechanic. He swears a lot but he fixes bikes well haha....I've had a new cassette and chain today, new break blocks and cables and new gear cables. Hopefully my little touring bike will be working sweet as a nut after this. :-) Callum's doesn't need replacing yet, he says this is because he rides better than me.....hmmmm!!
Callum sporting his crazy cyclist look, crossing into Italy. No border crossing like Croatia and Slovenia.
Cycling along the D8 from the border of Slovenia all the way to Trieste, Italy. Definitely recommended if anybody wants to do a short ride as part of a holiday. It was gorgeous! X
We cycled back over to Slovenia today and are on a lovely campsite in Lucia with a beautiful port and beach. We also found a nice cycle route that will take us all the way to Triest. We got some more sunbathing & swimming time in before the sun set. High season is over this weekend so things should start to quieten down a bit and hopefully camping will be a bit less expensive!! Still no luck with warm showers hosts! Not sure what happened but we haven't had any joy since Germany..... fingers crossed for next time. X
A very short ride today and tea by the sea. We are wild camping this evening so I do hope we can sleep tonight. I've emailed loads of hosts today too so fingers crossed we get a bit of good luck for tomorrow in Koper.
We said goodbye to Ben this morning and our lovely apartment in Pula :-( .... and back to tent world it is!! We did an easier 40km ride today to get us back into the swing of things and ended up on a garden campsite called 'sports & rest'. The owner loves climbing but is currently in hospital with a broken leg!! :/ So with some phone translation and a visit from his sister, we got a place to live X
Ace day off with these pair of loons 😆
Pebbled beaches and crystal clear water. I think we're in paradise. This was Darko and Branka's boat resting on the shore whilst we took a swim :-)
Yesterday we were lucky enough to meet two of the kindest people, Darko and Branka from Croatia. They looked after us for two nights, fed us, gave us a safe place to sleep and took us to explore the coast on their boat. We only met them by chance on the street, after a campsite refused to let us pitch our two man tent as they were full. Now I am extremely thankful they turned us away! What a great couple and an amazing few days!!
Having a day off in the beautiful Icici. We went for a walk along the beach, did a bit of sunbathing and read our books. When we arrived here yesterday, a really nice lady from the Netherlands gave us two cold beers and let us charge our phones in their camper-van. People's kindness continues to amaze me.
The ride into kraljevica on the Croatian coast was hard!! Had to get over some big old hills in the rain and then the ride to the bottom was just as difficult, down a really unsteady dirt track for miles. I couldn't move my hands to press the brakes anymore! However when we got to watch the sun go down with this beautiful view, it was all worth it!!!
Got saved by this little Croatian picnic area yesterday. I'm not sure you are allowed to stay there overnight really but we didn't have much of a choice.....after the hardest climbs of the trip so far, we were in need of a resting place! We think a warden came to inspect the site, but they just left us to sleep and drove back off.
Would you just look at this face!! 😘😂 callum before a good old beard and hair trim!! Welcome to Michelle's barber shop.
Callum & the Castle :-) Croatia / Slovenia border. Lots of hills, lots of sun, but amazing views!! X
Ohh my goodness. A bed!! A pivoting fan!!! Hammocks and lounge chairs!! And some cute little kittens. I am in heaven. We took respite in a youth hostel that was £15 for a double room. Good one Croatia! Long ride today, along the D3. A really long road that took us right into Zagreb. We were doing really well and then it took us about 2 hours to find the hostel haha.
We crossed the border to Croatia today and for the first time (other than a ferry crossing), had to show our passports at a border. We've been through all the other countries with no border control at all..... campsites are really sparse in Croatia so we didn't know if we would find one between Hungary and the City of Zagreb. Luckily a bar owner let us camp on his land, which was previously a campsite but was no longer being used for this. So we had a lovely lake view again, to watch the sunset :)
Staying on a thermal spa campsite, so we got to take a dip once we got here. There have been thunderstorms this evening though so we took shelter under a little wooden canopy. Good riding today, the temperature calmed down a bit so it wasn't so gruelling!
Feel like we're on holiday camping on lake balaton. Everybody is here getting a bit of summer sun :-) we have had a very easy day in the high heat today. We've had a few really rubbish nights of sleep over the past two nights, it seems everybody wants to party. So a shorter day was a must!! X
Reaching lake balaton and going for a little night walk :-) it's been so hot today. 38 degrees and 91km was painful! We didn't intend to go that far but we went the wrong way! X
A swim in the river after a hot day of riding is theeeeeee best. Hello Hungary. 👍🚲
A bit of R&R was just what the doctor ordered in the 38 degree heat. 👌🌞
He's a good little chef. Went to Tesco to buy the shopping and then cooked me tea and poured me a nice glass of wine. Whilst I put my feet up and read my book 👍rest day tomorrow, in Bratislava, on a campsite by a huge lake full of water sports.
Having a good look around Vienna and a little beer and picnic in the park. It's HOT!!! :-) and the city is beautiful! However the spar shop was lethal. Lots of commotion and a man being thrown out!
Sharing the evening with Frank and Michaela, a really lovely cycle touring couple from Germany. Thank you for the beautiful wine!! X
The route along the Danube to Vienna. So pretty! This is meant to be one of the most beautiful cycle routes in the world. Feeling lucky👌
Crossing the border to Austria :-) the instant contrast is huge. Posh houses and extremely well kept land. The campsite also went from £2.30 for the both of us in the Czech republic, to £18 in Austria lol
Tree swing, sand pit, volleyball net and a slide into the river. If only it wasn't pouring down with rain haha. Thank goodness for our canvas house. On our way to Austria tomorrow.
A peaceful nights sleep in a much more friendly location. A lady even gave us some apples and bananas this morning to keep up energised for the ride. Restoring my faith in humanity! :-) it's a shame it's given out rain all day though! X
Annoying that somebody tried to slash Callum's tyre in the night!! We've got a shiny new replacement though, and it didn't stop us for long :)
This was taken just outside our campsite in Rabyne where we got to take a swim in the river. It was full of tiny fish, like the ones in the foot spa shops. They came and nipped at your legs lol. We had some nice sunshine this evening and the hilly ride out in the morning gave us these beautiful views :)
Eating out is a rare occasion but being as the Czech Republic is so cheap, we had a treat :-) Pizza in Prague. Our campsite tonight is in an old mans back garden. There is a street where all the houses have converted their gardens to campsites lol x
Should have got some much better photos today. It's been like riding through a fairytale. Pine woods, hills (the Zittau mountains) wooden houses, rivers and lakes. Czech Republic is amazing (I realise I say this about everywhere, but it is!!) We're on the way to Prague now, should be there by tomorrow all being well. We stuck to the roads today after cycle routes took us through grassy farmland and on mountain bike trails. Pushing the bike is no fun! X
Day 1 of the Czech republic. Possibly going to be one of the first countries we have been where people don't speak as much English. And we can see the mountains. Scary!! X
We could do with some of these in our local parks! Maybe we will have to chain them down tho lol. We have nipped over to Poland today and are now camping in the Czech Republic. 3 countries, 1 day, crazy! Xx
Camping. Hot shower and the bikes are fixed :-)
Riding south along the nuesse river. More beautiful woods and farmland, and lots of hunting huts. The sun has been blaring today. We went for a paddle in the river to cool down.
Forced to stop by another puncture. My bike this time. Waiting for the bike shop to open at 9.30am in the morning. Nice place to be stuck though, Forst is really pretty x
First puncture of the journey at 4671km, on Callum's bike. Caused by glass and it did his tyre too, good job we had a replacement!!!
City visit to Berlin. What an ace city full of history. It's sooooo huge. We managed to get round most of it though in two days but I wouldn't mind another visit in the future. Love the east side gallery. X
Our night sorted :-) Another good day along the D11 cycle route today. Saw a fox, a woodpecker and lots of beautiful lakes. Tomorrow (all being well) we will be in Berlin!! Can't wait to explore.
Started with rain this morning, rained all day and is still raining now. Throwing it down to be exact. But thank goodness for our little wooden shelter and this amazing place :-) Cycle route to Berlin is wicked! X
Waren- Gorgeous little German lakeside town. Looks like we're in for some rain though with that cloud!!
€18 to camp in Germany tonight. Pretty steep! However had the best shower and feeling fresh haha. The route today was amazing. Let's hope tomorrow is more of the same!! X
Spending the day in Trelleborg, on the beach after all the ferries were sold out. So the midnight ferry it is for us. 6 hours of sleep on a boat should do the trick! Then on the D11 cycle route from Rostock to Berlin tomorrow. Fingers crossed it's a nice one! X
Wild camping in Sweden is loads harder than we expected. The places we have found so far, beaches, woods and nature reserves all had no camping signs despite the free roaming laws. So we are just off a housing estate. Hopefully it's a quiet night tonight.
Lots of ace sculptures in Malmo, Sweden.
Reaching the most northern part of our journey through Europe. Heading south now, for hopefully lots of sunshine before winter.
The Ride out of Copenhagen was beautiful following the national cycle route 9 along the coast. We will get the boat to Sweden tomorrow after a week in Denmark. It's really nice here though, I will miss it!!
We've had some sun today after many days of being rained on, so we took a swim in the sea. And this is the view from our camp :)
Having a beer at Nyhavn listening to the accordion in the sun. Copenhagen is pretty cool! X
Another cool wooden hut to sleep in and watch the thunderstorms. On route to Copenhagen.
I love it here. Our ride along the coast today in Lolland, has been one of the best of the journey in my opinion. And no rain this afternoon!!
Lolland is beautiful ☺️ despite a full day of rain, and get extremely wet. We have these gorgeous log cabins in the woods for our home tonight, complete with camp fire to warm us up and hot chocolate 👌 In Denmark, these designated 'shelters' are free to use for hikers and cyclists
It's pouring down with rain! Stuck in the tent, with Callum's smelly feet. And to add to the misery it cost us €22 for a 2 man tent for one night because there are no other campsites around. Urghhh.
Camping In the 'Lake District' of Germany. Everybody swims in them, even when it's this cold!!
Staying with the Maas family in Schenefeld. This family were so kind and generous to us, way beyond anything we could have ever expected!!!
We had our own private hut in the garden, complete with shower, toilet, kettle, coffee, tea and hot chocolate!!! We had a BBQ with them, went to swim in the nearby lake and met friends and family. Bernd spoke about his own cycle trips. They even washed our clothes for us, provided us with breakfast and even a packed lunch. We were super spoilt!
The family also told us how they had raised £300,000 over the years to build a school in Tanzania. Amazing people!
Marlin & callum watching the light show in the botanical gardens. Beautiful place to visit!!
Visiting Hamburg City, much nicer than I expected!! We stayed with Marlin, a really friendly and chilled out host who did a cycle tour on her own from Germany to Spain. Impressive to do it by herself, not sure I could!
We cycled to a cool place for tea, and then went to a light show in the park before bed.
The variety of houses we have seen across Europe so far is mad!! From huge chateau's in France, cute little thatched houses in Holland and now these huge farm houses in Germany.
It's been another miserable day of rain and cold weather though. Germany doesn't look half as pretty as other places without the sunshine!! Off to Hamburg tomorrow and hopefully we can get a host. (Fingers crossed!)
Got soooo lost today!! Think we rode about 95km. Probably 20km just getting lost, looking for a campsite that looked really good, Yet when we arrived it housed 300 travellers haha. They were friendly tho!! Gave us free beer and some bratwurst from the party that was going on. A couple of them could speak some good English so we were fine!
Got rained on all day! I suppose not everyday can be a sunny one lol
Wild camp! Wishing we had the luxury of the house on the lake again..... These trees are a good shelter from the rain though, and we have wine and chocolate cake for pudding. Not all is lost! X
Callum having a much needed bath in the lake. 31 degree highs today, we were sweaty!! But we made it to Germany ☺️🚲
Staying with our hosts Ineke & Rudie in their extremely beautiful home on the lake in Wildervank. We were able to go out for a swim from their decking.
This bed was better than a 5* hotel, I was so sleepy and cosy I didn't want to get out!! The smell of freshly baked bread in the morning, resolved that though :-) good times.
Staying at one of the best campsites of the journey tonight for €10. Really chilled, really clean, they have reclining lounge chairs, ponies and even a mangle. Really missing home today tho!!!
On a really quiet campsite just outside the little town of won's.... we finished early today (2.30pm) and so have been to explore the port and beach. Went for a paddle and ate two whole cornetto's.
Eating what u want is nice!! Wonder how that will work when I'm not cycling anymore.
Makkum beach resort, Friesland. 30 degrees!
Early 6am start to cross a 32km causeway, completely surrounded by the sea and here we are in the Friesland province of Holland. Sunshine is back out, highs of 32 degrees today! X
Lovely day off at Petten Beach, followed by BBQ, red wine and cake. It's been a good day 👌definitely broke the budget today tho!! X
Steak, potatoes and mushrooms for tea. The sun is out and we are having a well deserved beach day break tomorrow. I cannot wait!! Flip flops at the ready!! 🌞🌊 x
This evenings campsite is lovely. 5 minute walk from the sunny beach 👌🚲😎
Spotting deer in the woods. Amazing moment!☺️
Another 'paal camp' in the woods and a little walk before bed 🌷
After a day of getting lost..... we made it to the beach and the sun is out 👍🌞
Cute little pit stop for dinner on the canal ❤️ more Camembert & French baguette for us lol x
Rotterdam, central station parking for the bikes. We could learn a lot from this country x
'Paal camping.' Basically wild camping spots that are legal spaces marked with a Pole. Not sure if these are all over Europe or just in Holland, but this one is pretty cool by the pond :)
Sampling more coffee in Eindhoven. I am definitely converted, well done Europe 😆 x
Crossing the border to the Netherlands on Monday, marking a full six weeks of travel. The cycle paths here are outstanding, everybody bikes everywhere and they look pretty blinkin cool in the process! On the other hand, we look mental. Cycle helmets, clothes and shoes are not very fitting here lol x
I have the best chef, even his camping food is a delight! Belgian waffle and chocolate for afters, and we get to eat it by a lake watching the sunset 😊 travelling certainly has its moments! X
Having our own local tour guide of Liege! Thank you Julie, and for all the steps 😆
A little coffee break and look around the city - Namur, Belgium ❤️ then we are following the Meuse river all the way to Liege :)
Dinant. Absolutely beautiful little hidden gem on the river Meuse. ❤️ tomorrow's cycle route is all along the river too. Fabulous. X
Never mess with a campsite lady and her shower key!! X
A morning Visiting Bastogne city centre & memorial of the battle of the bulge. Had a day off the day before due to lots and lots of rain!! However we made it to Belgium in one piece 😊 x
Staying with Duarte, Anick & family. Such amazing people in the little town of Ell, Luxembourg. We couldn't have asked for better hosts xx
Exploring Luxembourg City. Lovely day off the bikes ☺️ x
Camping on a beautiful carp lake, callum wants to fish but we haven't got anything to do it with. You can see them in the water though, they are huge!! This is definitely one of the nicest ones we have stayed on so far! It had forecast storms but we are hoping we have avoided them (fingers crossed) x
A huge walk to Champagne city centre, after a gorgeous ride by more rolling hills and vineyards. ❤️☺️ ravioli and salad for tea with a splash of beer 👍 this life is good ☺️👌 x
Riding through the region of champaign, vineyards, sunshine and some rolling hills 🚲☺️
Watching the sun go down over Paris 👌 x
And we made it to Paris 👍🚲🇫🇷
Staying in the beautiful city of Versailles with our warmshowers host Paulin :) today has been a scorcher!!
Exploring chartes cathedral
Another glorious day of sunshine. So tired today though, ready for shower & bed!! Look at that view from our tent though 👌 x
Sunshine & beer!!! A well deserved rest ☺️
Watching my first ever cycle race, the tour de manche :)
Camping in the valley of Mortain :)
Amazing hosts Anne, Benoit and sidonai :) xx
Visiting Mont st michel, what a stunning little place this is. Callum wants to come and stay on here one day x
At Cora getting lunch. This has to be the biggest shop in the world!
A full day of heavy rain getting absolutely soaked to the skin!!
'coq Hardi camping' 😂
Sneaky beer in the sun 👍🇫🇷
These views 👌
Another evening of camping in viva la France 🇫🇷
Defo the hottest day so far!! Ride into France was gorgeous! X
We made it to France :)
Catching the ferry to roscoff ❤️ .....nervous!! X
Fowey. I love this place!! X
Last night of camping before we head off to catch the night ferry to France tomorrow :)
Staying at the lads new pad in Newquay. Thank you boys :)
We made it to the boys in polzeth 😆
Going to see the sea 😆🌞🌊
A nice lady let us camp on her farm for free :)
Host 3 Allan & Maggie :)
Quick beer before we go and find our 2nd host, Ian in Long Ashton.
Staying with emrys & laura
Campsite number 2
Day 1: Camping in ironbridge
|Dates:||1 May 2017 - 11 Dec 2017|
|Duration:||7 months, 2 weeks|