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

If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

dscn4089.jpg(I never saw the 1979 movie, but the title stuck with me.) On Wednesday, the 12th of July, Marianne and her husband Hans had invited me to dinner. I spent the morning waiting for the rain to stop. After lunch in my room, I rode to the Mauritshuis palace, officially the “Royal Picture Gallery”. I planned to visit it, the Escher Museum and take pictures of the Binnenhof (Parliament) and maybe another museum. The plans fell apart quickly. Continue reading

The Main: Regensburg to the Rhineland

DSCN3830On Friday the 9th of June, I enjoyed breakfast in the lounge of the Brook Lane Hostel with Arianna, a pleasant, intelligent, German-American touring cyclist. She is a special education teacher, riding down the Danube during the two-week Bavarian spring break. She rides every break she gets, and was able to dispense a wealth of useful information to me about riding, living and working in Germany. Continue reading

The Danube: Vienna, Austria, to Passau, Germany.

DSCN3750Tuesday, 30 May – The expected front came through during the night, while I was translating in the hostel. With beautiful sunshine and a full extra day available, I decided to take a quick ride out to the Schönbrunn Palace to visit the gardens. Daniel had recommended that to me after coming back from the Vienna Philharmonic concert there last week. Continue reading

Danube Detour: Eisenstadt to the Vienna Woods

IMG_20170520_185716On Saturday, the 20th, the forecast called for stiff headwinds and colder temperatures, so I was not sure how long the day’s ride would take. Only 67 km, but riding uphill 400 m into the wind had me worried. Rain was supposed to start after dark, so I was sure that I could have my campsite pitched and ready in time, regardless of how slowly I rode. Continue reading

Danube Detour: Bratislava to Eisenstadt

DSCN3595Tuesday morning, the 16th, I rose early, excited to be on my way again. Crossing to the right bank of the bank of the Danube, I quickly found myself in Austria on a dedicated bicycle path that led south into the fertile floodplain. The wind was out of the southwest. Had it been any stronger, it might have posed a problem from the outset. But the air was warm, and the day was sunny. I revelled in the fresh air and the smooth pavement leading me among the wind farms. Below the turbines, immense fields stretched to the horizon. I recognized corn and rapeseed, but not most of the other crops. This early in the spring, it all looks like a lawn that needs mowing.  Continue reading