Other stuff
Contact Me

Route  >>  Europe

April to May

This is how I envision the Europe leg of the trip.  Nothing's written in stone, and there's no signed contract to follow this route,  but as my old boss used to say, "fail to prepare, prepare to fail"...

Week 1
Leave my mum's flat in Wallingford (ok, not London, but close enough) on an ominously cold, grey and rainy day, towards Harwich for the ferry ride across the cold, grey North Sea to The Hague, Holland.  Continue on to Germany and the beginning of the Rhine valley, keeping close to the river to avoid any frightening hills at this stage of the game.

Week 2
Following the route of the Rhine, enjoying the old medieval towns and villages and appreciating the essential flatness and scarcity of large hills, I leave the Rhine somewhere around Mainz and head southeast towards Bavaria.  Prepare the cycling leather lederhosen.

Week 3
Join the River Danube somewhere near Regensburg and cross into Austria, continuing to avoid any major climbs!  Follow the Danube valley past picturesque villages, forested slopes and vineyards onto Vienna. "An eccentric grandmother", says the Lonely Planet, "and hard not to feel affection for". Well, there we have it.

Week 4
On and off the Danube, dipping my toes in Slovakia (Bratislava) and through some beautiful scenery and baroque villages into Hungary and Budapest. I was here 12 years ago and was so impressed I quit my job in the UK and decided to live here. Couldn't find any work so it didn't happen, and instead, by a series of unusual events, ended up in Japan.

Week 5
Relaxed (or relieved) after an unnerving limb-pulling buttock-slapping massage in a central Turkish bath, I expect I'll be on my way down the Hungarian Plains (still doing well, very well, avoiding mountains) and through to Yugoslavia and Belgrade.  My first time to this part of Europe and I don't know what to expect - looking forward to it.

Week 6
Traverse the back-roads of Serbia, winding eastwards into Bulgaria - another first for me - and then head down towards Sofia. The highest capital city in Europe so no avoiding hills this time, but what an absolutely enchanting name for a capital city. I just have to go there!

Week 7
After a trip to Bulgaria's Rila Monastery and passing through Plodiv to see the Old Town, I should, if all goes well, find myself crossing the border into Turkey and onto Istanbul. Asia's foothold in Europe, the old Constantinople.

A pat on the back, a congratulatory self-handshake... well done Steve, but don't get too smug.  You've only just started.

Return to top of page To next page