Welcome to the very long awaited blog post from Mike & Meg’s Europe trip!
We’ve been busy having lots of fun and generally not getting online or updating the blog much, but it’s finally raining so here we are.
The trip started in late April when we flew to Hamburg. We put our bikes together in the airport and from there we rode maybe 150km to Kiel via Lübeck, over the course of 6 days. There are a few photos up here. We had great weather for April, cold but sunny and no rain, though some pretty stiff and cold wind off the Baltic sea. The riding was generally lovely, on nice tracks or quiet country roads.
In Kiel we met up with the lovely Emmy, and stayed at here cute place for a few days. We also met my folks who had driven from Frankfurt. After a bit of packing we managed to get the four of us in their car along with or gear and we started a three week tour of Norway. Originally we thought it would be nice to ride around Norway, but we’re quite glad we didn’t. It’s a beautiful country, but one best driven through!
We had lots of great adventures, too many to write quickly here. But we did a bunch of great walks, and drove some beautiful roads. We took a brilliant ferry ride down a fjord, for 4 hours (slow ferry), and drove way up North to the Lofoten islands, well above the arctic circle, and it was arctic!!
Of course I took a billion photos, there’s a rough selection up here.
After returning to Kiel we split up with mum and dad, and spent a few days riding with Emmy. The three of us set out from Lübeck and after getting me a new pedal (long story!) rode for four days along the lovely Elbe river. It was a really nice ride, and we would have kept going except Emmy had to get back to Uni to catch bats!
After the Elbe we headed to Berlin, where we were put up by the lovely Bosses in their lovely 4th floor apartment, which is bigger and much nicer than our house! We spent a day with mum and dad looking around Berlin and visited tante Hilde, who was in fine form and seemed pretty happy to see us, especially Meg because she’s so pretty.
Mum and dad headed off to Poland and the two of us spent a week camped in the center of Berlin, and generally just gadded about, it was really lovely. It was also Meg’s birthday, which we celebrated by getting her a new pair of climbing shoes, going to a nice cafe, a big chocolate shop and finishing the day with a giant schnitzel and brat kartofeln in a cute little restaurant.
From Berlin we trained too Aachen, from where we spent 4 days riding through Belgium to Brussels. Seeing as we had no idea and no map, the ride through Belgium went fairly well, though we did ride through some of the least salubrious parts of the country it seems.
In Brusssels we were excellently looked after by Tom & Amanda, including a very interesting and fun trip to a local war memorial that ended at the Soccer club drinking 8% trapist beer with the Mayor. Not to mention lots of lovely food excursions, and some great driving experiences thanks to the locals intersecting approach to road safety.
Wanting to get into France in time for the Tour, we caught a procession of trains down to Tours, on the Loire. Then spent a hot but fun week riding along the river past chateaux, and then inland to catch the first two stages. The Tour was awesome to see, and completely hectic and crazy as you would imagine!
After the Tour we rode and trained to Bordeaux, via the seaside town of La Rochelle, which was great to see. Bordeaux was also beautiful, and amazingly busy and seemingly affluent, we fit right in.
The last three days we’ve ridden overland to Pau, on the edge of the Pyrenees, over some interesting country, and over our first decent hills with gear on the bikes.
Hopefully we’ll get around to uploading some photos soon, I’m sure you’d all love to see them! But if the weather stays as good as it has been it could be some time!
If you’re a fan of the Tour de France, and of course you all are, keep an eye out for us on stage 12 and 13, hopefully we’ll have a good posy!
Posted by mike on Wednesday July 13th, 2011