The day starts like any other; we pick the slugs off the tent, I run a brush through my pony tail. Breakfast, some stretching and some pushups; a liesurely breaking of camp.
But when we get back on the bike path, it isn’t long before we realize – it’s the first of May, which is a special day for villages all across Bavaria. (more…)
It was Spring in Germany, we had a flat riverside bike path stretching ahead of us, and we were on bikes. Need I say more?
I recuperated quickly from my nightmare getting to the Steigenberger Airport Hotel, and subsequently passed a night of Cloud Nine luxury. Lily fed me, and I had a badly needed shower. You should’ve seen the water run black from washing my hair! Not to mention my dirty clothes. And there was a bed with snowy white sheets, big enough for my 190 centimeters – and Lily too! In the morning I used her pump to fix my flat tire, and somehow we found a much easier way back to the campsite. Maybe it was because it was during the day, but it probably had more to do with Lily’s superior navigating skills.
Back at camp, I began preparing for a birthday feast the next day. (more…)
We woke up at dawn on a riverside beach – right on the bike path, nobody cared – so Lily could catch a train the rest of the way into Frankfurt to be with her mom, who was stopping through on her way back to Australia. I was to find a campsite outside the city that we could stay at for more than just one night – the plan was to head off for Budapest after my birthday, a few days away.
It was nice to be up early; I pedalled liesurely toward the city. A nice German guy and his dog cycled with me for a bit and kept me on track. Nearing the airport complex – the Frankfurt airport is one of the biggest in Europe – the bike paths actually continued, with signposts even, under and around all the hectic mess of audobon on/off ramps, which is normally an impossible nightmare to bike through. Go German cycle networks!
Then up ahead I saw a pair of loaded bikes coming my way! (more…)
Including both times I crossed Belgium:
The plan was to zip back up to Maastricht to see a couple of people, then turn right around and rush across France and the Pyrenees a thousand miles in three weeks for La Criticona, the world-wide critical mass in Madrid. Once back in Limburg, I would only check in with Paul, a Belgian sailor mate I met while sailing across the Atlantic, and meet up with Patrick Buckley, son of the Irishman who welded my bike frame, who I’d promised to visit if I were ever in the Netherlands, then quick head back South. (more…)
Belgium – Paris – Belgium:
Rhone-Alps to Lyon, Lyon to Catalunya:
FIRST DAY IN FRANCE
The first thing we did in France, just across the border, was Kiss. Bien sur! (more…)
When you travel slowly, as you do on a bike, you can notice the little changes.
Sailing for two months from the Caribbean to England, the temperature of the air and water decline ever so gradually, day by day, a natural change that is unnoticable except in hindsight.
Approaching the border of a different country, one can detect shifts of dialect in the simple words of neighbors, like a bleeding language buffer on either side of the invisible line – especially in Belgium, where both Dutch and French are official languages of the state.
Geography follows this gentle course as well. (more…)
We didn’t leave right away, of course.
A couple more days at the squat in Leiden…. working the security-barricade door at a huge techno party; “Whaddya mean everyone has to have invitations? Nobody has an invitation!”…. an impromptu scavenger hunt, conceived on a whim, with our legs dangling over the canal: one broken inner tube, some cat hair, and a poster with Dutch written on it; one white flower, a high-pitched noise, and one shoestring; all found within 45 minutes on the brisk Spring streets of Leiden…. a speech, requested by our host after a Wednesday night eetcafe, about my trip and my philosophies…. one final, quiet dinner with Sandor – an oldschool squatter with the use of only one arm(still rides his bike – coaster brake – still rolls spliffs no problem and still cooks vegan gourmet deliciousness)…. some city sights we didn’t discover till our last day…. aah Leiden – one of the gems of Holland.