The Po River: Cremona and Piacenza

Palm Sunday morning, the sun bathed my shoulders as I walked to the high spots of downtown Cremona. The town was smaller than I expected from the night before; before long, I was several blocks past the Violin Museum run by the Stradivari Foundation, and doubling back. The air felt fresh, and traffic was almost non-existent. Continue reading

The Po River: Bologna to Cremona

Friday dawned sunny and cool, but warmed as I rode the Piana Padana to Modena and then to the little town of Rolo near the Po River. I wore my short-sleeved Camino de Santiago pilgrim’s bicycle jersey, but long pants. My hosts would not be home until 18:30, so I had time to stop in Modena at the Enzo Ferrari Museum, a modern complex built around the famous car designer’s birthplace. Continue reading

NOVELS ON SALE!

Many of you have enjoyed the travel and the languages in this blog. Many also enjoy bicycles and bicycle travel.  There are two special events this week close to those activities: Continue reading

Shall we ride by the rivers?

With travel still restricted, the Freewheeling Freelancer is riding in circles around the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, ready to take you on another tour. While we wait for borders to open up for Americans, I propose to take you back three years to the tour I called River Run 2017. It features a ride along the great rivers of Europe, and certainly qualifies as armchair travel for a pandemic. 

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Ronda, Mallorca, and Barcelona, then home.

2016-dawn-over-rondaOn a Wednesday in mid-October, the sky was turning from black to indigo then to blue. We got up too early for the hotel breakfast, and rode into Ronda. By now the train station in the capital of the Pueblos Blancos was familiar, but the day was not off to a good start. The ticket agent, backed by the various personnel in the station, did not want us to take the train to Granada. It turned out that the train station in Granada was being renovated, and that there was a substitute bus service for the last three stops on the line. They insisted that the buses would not take bicycles. Continue reading

Andalusia and the Pueblos Blancos

2016-ayamonte-ferryOn a Wednesday in mid-October, the dark clouds that had been gathering all morning turned to rain as we left the ferry landing in Ayamonte, Spain. We rode to the bus station, where we hoped to make up lost time by taking the bus at least to Huelva, the next big town. Lucky for us, it turned out that it was a national holiday in Spain, so there were few passengers, no competing luggage, and light traffic. The DAMAS driver let us put our bikes in the bus and took us all the way to Seville. We also outran the rain.
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El Camino Portugués: Obidos to the Algarve.

dscn2188On a Monday in early October, we rolled out of the medieval city of Obidos in the predawn darkness. After some dead ends and backtracking, we located the empty, unmanned station. Watching a brilliant dawn, we waited for the 07:10 train to Aqualva-Caçem. It never appeared. Continue reading

El Camino Portugués: Porto to Obidos

dscn1982Wednesday in late September: a memorably great day, and the first seriously warm day since we left San Sebastian. We got separated at first, so that we crossed the Douro River on different spans of the Luis I Bridge. Using our phones to effect a rendezvous outside the port wine tasting rooms on the Gaia waterfront, we made our way to the Atlantic on the south bank of the river. Continue reading

El Camino Portugués: Santiago to Porto

dscn1843Back in 2013, Cheryl rode the Camino Francesa and the Via de la Plata, the latter stretching from Santiago to Seville. This time, remembering the ugly suburbs and industrial zones south of Santiago and the heavily travelled N-550, she suggested taking the train to Vilagarcia de Arousa. After Vilagarcia, we biked the Michelin three-star roads of the Rias Bajas peninsulas. Continue reading

El Camino de Santiago: Ribadeo to Santiago de Compostela

dscn1748Friday,  we awoke to threatening skies. With dawn at 0730, once again we did not get up early enough. We struck out from Ribadeo past the beautiful beaches west of town. Light rain followed us all day. However, the only two times that it poured heavily, we managed to be under cover, including lunch in Foz. Continue reading