Paris

August 4, 2017

We arrived in Paris and built our bikes at the airport before cycling into the centre of the city. What a lovely way to enter Paris.

And so begins another cycling adventure. Our aim is to cycle from Paris to Lisbon.

We plan to ride south through the Loire Valley and on to Bordeaux, cross the Pyrenees and enter Spain near San Sebastián. We will travel across Spain via Seville and then into Portugal.

Our good friend Cita is currently in Portugal surfing and we are looking forward to seeing her there (and maybe catching a wave or two).

Leaving Paris and all the cool bars will be our first obstacle.

Amateurs

August 2, 2017

At Sydney airport we felt like amateurs when we found out we had much too much luggage and we're facing a $1,021 excess baggage fee. We swiftly donned every piece of clothing in our pannier, smiled sweetly at the check-in girl and managed to not pay any excess at all. Lucky save!

At Dubai airport I managed to lose our iPad! This was to be our navigation source for the next three months and so it was with a heavy heart we boarded our next flight without it.

The irony of losing the device that was to prevent us from getting lost was not lost on us.

Once in Paris, to our enormous surprise we received an email from the Dubai Airport saying they had found it! They promptly put it on the next flight to Paris and were happily reunited with it. Lucky save number 2!

Thanks Emirates!

Warm showers

July 29, 2017

In Paris we were generously hosted by Scott and Sarah who are a part of the warm showers community.

This is a great website that allows cyclists to connect with hosts who understand that the most important thing for a cyclist is a warm shower and somewhere safe to store their bike.

It is often much more than this and it was particularly true of Scott and Sarah who shared their inner city house with us, cooked us dinner, gave us tips about Paris and we spent a delightful time sharing cycling stories. We arrived not knowing them and left with two new friends. Thanks.

Canals

July 25, 2017

Once we had left the outskirts of Paris we found ourselves on paths that followed The Seine. The path was rough and bumpy and sometimes non-existent but the scenery was pretty. It's blackberry season now and blackberry bushes grow with abandon along the path. Great snacks for hungry cyclists.

We left The Seine and, for several days, followed a canal that was built in the 1600's to join The Seine River with The Loire River enabling trade to flourish in France. We cycled along the tow path with Oak and Weeping Willow trees along the bank providing shade. Wildflowers grow along the path and there are many butterflies.

It is super idyllic!

We have now been cycling for seven days. Our muscles are now used to the momentum and we've finally remembered in which order to pack things in our panniers. Today was the first day I didn't collapse into a snoring heap as soon as I arrived at camp. I guess you could say we're finding our groove.

We did have a hiccup yesterday however. In the afternoon we had stopped at a bar in the historical town of Orleans. On leaving the bar we followed google maps to the nearest campsite. On arriving at the location we realised it was not a campsite but a games hall for kids. It was already 8pm and the next campsite was 17kms away. And being that we only cycle 50kms a day 17kms is a lot. Oops!

Chateau – number 1

July 24, 2017

Today we were happily trundling along the path. We accidentally took a wrong turn and almost immediately stumbled across this very cool castle – moat and all. There were a couple of teenagers walking past and Rob was so excited that he called them over insisting they should see it too. Luckily, they were as excited as us to find such a treasure.

New York

June 11, 2017

The Big Apple has been on my bucket list. I finally got to visit it with my two good mates Dana and Kate.

All the iconic images that have bombarded our TV screens came to life and were both new and yet very familiar.

With a small dose of tourist site and a large dose of cool cafes and hidden bars it did not disappoint.

It lives up to it's name of the city that never sleeps and I fell in love immediately.

Aloha

January 30, 2017

After getting away from the glitz of Waikiki we flew to the Big Island of Hawaii. This island is much less touristy and we found ourselves in a scene from a tourist brochure, palm trees, clear water and turtles on the beach.

The Big Island has been created by volcanic eruptions. The entire island is covered in lava. It makes for a hot, harsh environment. Black, jagged rock as far a you can see.

In fact, the volcano is still active and we were thrilled to see hot red lava spewing from the earth and flowing into the ocean. As recent as 2014 entire suburbs were wiped out by hot, flowing lava.

Hawaii – The Big Island

January 14, 2017

We were delighted to hang out with our mates George and Kris. They were excellent tour guides and as George is a gun surfer Rob was stoked that he could show us all the local surf spots.

Even the beaches are covered in black sharp rocks. Just getting into the water was treacherous let alone trying to dodge the rocks under the water. Rob, the brave, decided to tackle it anyway.

The North Shore

January 8, 2017

Back on Oahu we hired a car and explored the famous North Shore. We were mesmerised but the perfect tubes at Pipeline and watched in amazement the massive waves at Waimea Bay.

Hawaiian shirts, happy people, Lu ah, and the all familiar 'aloha' greeting. Most people are living on 'Island time'.

A relaxed place to be.

Vienna

September 10, 2015

We concluded our cycling tour in the majestic city of Vienna.

vienna

We have cycled 1,460kms through Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Slovakia and have now reached our goal of cycling the entire length of the Danube.

Danube 2-819

This trip reminded us how much we love traveling by bike.

Travelling slowly means having the time to stop and look at everything.

We meet lots of interesting people and and we so happily take delight in the smallest things – watching the wheat being harvested or enjoying how smooth the cycle path is under our wheels.

We were talking yesterday how life on the bike becomes very simple –  we cycle, eat, and find somewhere to camp and cook dinner on our little stove.

As we carry everything we need we have no space to ‘collect’ things

With no real plan we have enormous amounts of freedom and can stop at a local cider bar or have a swim in the river whenever the opportunity arises.


Danube 2-818

Thanks Dad for joining us. It was a pleasure having you along.

Danube 2-402

.

Danube 2-404

Slovakia

September 4, 2015

After drafting so successfully behind Dad we blew the kilometres away and reached our goal of Vienna with plenty of time to spare.

We were still loving being on the bikes and so decided to continue on to Slovakia.

The capital city of Bratislava entranced us. After all the neat little villages in Germany and Austria, Bratislava was a refreshing delight.

Danube 2-808

We decided to spend our extra days here.

Danube 2-704

Danube 2-699f

Although, the remnants are everywhere, the Slovakians have left communism behind them and the city has a gorgeous old town,

Danube 2-725a

Danube 2-692

a blue church,

Danube 2-741

and many very funky bars and cafes.

As you can see from the menu there was certainly, no chance of us understanding anything here . . . we did learn the vitals tho’ . . .

Dve slovenské rumy Ďakujem – Two Slovakian rums, Thanks.

Austria

September 3, 2015

In Austria the Danube widens and each bend of the river brings into view another castle, palace or cute little church.

Danube 2-329 new

Danube 2-756

Danube 2-654a

Danube 2-719

I think we have stopped and explored them all!

.
We often had to cross the Danube. Occasionally there were bridges but often there were ferries or punts that were especially for bikes.

There was a bell at each side of the river which you rang to let the ferry know you wanted to cross. Sure enough in a few minutes the ferry would arrive. How perfect!

Danube 2-447a

“Glocke zur Fähre” – Ring the bell for the ferry

IMG_0288

Danube 2-804

Danube 2-442

.

In many small towns, along quiet suburban streets, there were always two types of vending machines: one selling cigarettes, a thing of the past for us, and the other, a cyclists dream, one selling bike tubes!

Danube 2-422


And, our favourite, those magical ones – selling beer.

Happy campers

September 3, 2015

We have happily been camping every night of our trip so far.

The campsites have mostly been very basic and are in the grounds of the local canoe club, tennis club or soccer fields,

Danube 2-806

or, like this one, in a farmer’s orchard.

Danube 2-807

Fortunately, most of of them of them have been quite scenic.

It’s a little adventure, each night we are not sure where we will camp or what we will find. Our map has campsites listed but it is old and not very accurate.

Sometimes, to our dismay, when we arrive at the place marked on the map there is no campsite at all – we either have to continue pedalling or make do.

Danube 2-424

Passau

September 2, 2015

Passau is the end of the German leg of our travels.

Danube 2-468a

The goregous city spans both sides of the Danube.

The pastel buildings are from the 16th century and the narrow streets are all cobbled.

Danube 2-805

The many church towers and the copper roofed baroque cathedral make for a spectacular cityscape.

The very impressive Veste Oberhausen, a fortress built in 1219 sits high on top of the cliff looking down on the city.

Danube 2-467a

We loved exploring this city!

Solar

September 2, 2015

Germany is certainly ahead of Australia in understanding the importance of renewable energy. Most of the country seems to be covered in solar panels. You can see here these old barns are covered in them. This was a common sight.

Danube 2-105

.

Danube 2-347

Danube 2-345a