2019 European Bike Tour
Hi, It's Kristen. In September 2019 Michael and I took our love for cycling, beautiful landscapes, cultural food, and well-aged drink and discovered that all paths lead to Rome. Well, they lead all over the place. Quite literally, we could cycle on traffic-free paths in any country in any direction. But, ours started in Paris and ended in Rome.
And so it began. We checked our bikes as luggage and landed in Paris, ready to collapse from jet lag, where Michael assembled the bikes well enough for us to ride in the dark to the hotel. Tip learned: It's probably easier to just rent bikes then bring your own. It was pretty easy to assemble them, but much harder to arrange on the departing end.
If he looks tired, it's because he is. However, there is something quite magical about arriving in a city at night. Even through sleepy eyes and weary bones, the city's bustle and glow was a warm welcome.
The route began in Paris, extended east to Basel Switzerland, broke north to visit friends near Stuttgart, Germany. Then a train or two took us the heart of the Austrian Alps where we rode south through northern Italy. This photo is from Beasoncon, France. It was such a lively, old stone village. You can see that there is much pride taken in preserving historic villages.
If you are interested in bike touring overseas, I must recommend a few routes that would be a nice introduction. The EuroVelo system is prevalent in western and some eastern Europe. The routes are car-free and usually travel some of the most scenic parts of the countries. They often pass through smaller, less touristy towns and allow great insight to a local's life.The routes are well marked, as shown above. You'll meet a trove of other cyclists doing just as you are; German's especially.
I always wear my helmet, except this photo I suppose. Still in France, we enjoyed sunny days in September and averaged 40 miles a day. Our lesson learned was that we should have slowed our pace and stayed in these picturesque locations longer. Some days we did not have time to fully enjoy it, and scout the perfect photo, because we arrived late, tired, hungry, and with a different location booked the next evening.
Luckily, Michael always had time and energy to photograph me! This was a trip highlight; riding out of Austria and into the Italian Dolomites. This stretch of EuroVelo route wound through farming villages, vineyards, and smaller Italian towns whose culture has a heavy Austrian-German influence. Interesting food, great drink and lovely people.
We didn't get many shots of us together. Here we are in Basel, Switzerland.
We really enjoyed the public transportation infrastructure. We eventually mastered using the train system with bikes, we found bike lanes and routes quite easily, and used many phone app to navigate, better communicate, and book lodging. This trip was considerably easier with modern gadgets. Yet, at the same time, there was something very soothing about the simple style of peddling the day away.
Highlights included some of the more secret German paths through some of the smallest, oldest, most beautiful villages. Also, the breathtaking views and easy access to hiking in the Dolomites also made us long for more time. All in all, we are so glad to experience parts of Europe from a bike. I feel lucky for the experience.
Feel free to reach out anytime If you'd like more information, tips, tricks, or advice. We got this crazy idea from reading our friend's blog. They've cycled the U.S., South America, and Europe. For now, however, I'm fine letting this trip linger in my memory, while I rest my sore legs.
Until next time,