The Channel Coast: Normandy and the Mont Saint-Michel

Five hours before sunset, Intercity 13032 pulled into the station at Caen. The dark clouds made it feel like dusk as I made my way north on the bike route to the coast. I had picked a hotel a few kilometres out of town, so that I could get well along the coast the next day. It was Wednesday, the 26th of July. Continue reading

France: the last frontier

DSCN4173On Wednesday the 19th of July, I lay in my tent at 0500, ready to go back to sleep, when I heard thunder. The storm front predicted for 1300 must be early, I thought. With a little more than four hours of sleep, I decided to break camp not to have to pack a wet tent. While I struggled to wake up and get moving, the storm rumbled over the fields well to the south, and never did rain on me. Continue reading

The Danube: Budapest to Gyo̎r

Monday, the 8th of May, a heavy overcast made sunglasses unnecessary as I hauled my bicycle from the basement and my five bags from the room. By shuffling things around on Sunday evening, I managed to get more weight moved aft on the bike. OsmAnd software led me easily up the left bank of the Danube and over the great river into Buda. The sky cleared as I crossed the bridge.  Continue reading

Budapest: the BP-17 Translation Conference

The BP-17 Translation Conference main program opened on Friday morning, 5 May, at the belle époque Urania Theatre. A series of 18-minute TED-X style talks filled the day from 0940 to 2100 that night. Talks, coffee breaks, lunch and supper all took place at the theatre. By the way, BP stands for “business + practice,” although we had fun making up all sorts of other expansions of those two letters (http://bpconf.com/story-bp-translation-conferences/). Continue reading

Balatonfüred to Budapest

Wednesday the 3rd of May, I awoke to an overcast morning with the threat of more rain. The air smelled fresh as it does in a clean place with the air recently rinsed. I had planned to take the 13:59 train to Budapest, so I rose late and fixed myself a leisurely breakfast. I rode to the station (only 600 m away) with almost an hour to spare, just to be sure that I had not read any signs wrong. The station had walk-on access to the platform from the street. Continue reading

Lake Balaton: Keszthely to Balatonfüred

Monday was May Day, also Labor Day and a major holiday in much of the world – especially the former Warsaw Pact countries. I knew that everything would be closed, so I had bought some yoghurt and brioches at the 05-22 market last night for breakfast. My neighbors (two Germans, one Austrian, one Swiss) all drove off to find breakfast, I know not where. Continue reading

Into Eastern Europe: Kazlje to Keszthely

As I passed from Italy into Slovenia on Wednesday, the 26th of April, the rain began to fall lightly. The border was only 12 km from the town of Kazlje, where I would be staying with Couchsurfing hosts Marco and Arletta. Sežana disappeared suddenly. I found myself on a well-paved highway rolling gently through a thick wood. Continue reading