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…)
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…)
I stood saying goodbye on the windblasted deck, as the engines sluggishly turned over and began to push us out to sea. The railing vibrated gently as the gulf between the ship and the dock became wider. I was leaving a piece of myself behind; cutting off and pushing away. Committing another sad sayonara.
A dull melancholy sank itself upon me, as the lighthouse slipped farther and farther away. I’ve always loved Ireland, but never really knew anything about it. Now I’ve got a reason to love it, and it wasn’t easy leaving.
I heard they were building a motorway through an important historical site, the Hill of Tara, the seat of the ancient Irish Kings, just northwest of Dublin. I also heard there was a group of protesters camped up there doing an ongoing solidarity vigil and keeping a sacred fire going. I thought, “Now that sounds like my kind of place,” (more…)
By the time I was ready to get back on the road, Dawn was ready to come with me! I tried telling her how tough it would be, how cold and how wet… what an introduction to bike touring: winter in Ireland. (more…)
“It’s time to face reality, Charlie. Time to swallow your pride. You haven’t a choice – you must go back to America.” The social worker at Limerick Regional Hospital had taken on my case, and wanted to see it to a resolution. But going home was all she could offer.
I had to disappoint her. In fact, she was so worried that I’d be stuck on the streets, I had to use the phrase “moral objection to flight technology” just so she’d be convinced I was a lunatic beyond help, and be able to sleep at night. (more…)
Going by my detailed map, on which I am 90% sure of my location, I just passed something called Ballyhane – maybe the name of a nearby farm? I put away the map with a shrug and shove off. I turn left at the T-intersection and, just as my topographical Ordnance Survey xerox map predicted, the elevation starts to rise quickly. It’s not raining anymore, so it’s not long before I stow my raincoat to cool off. At a turtle’s pace, I pass a driveway where a surprised-looking man tells me, “That’s a hard ride…” (more…)
The rain did not improve. If anything, it was more frequent in Ireland. I’m pretty used to it by now, but it’s not all that comfortable. Campsites are soaked; wet ground, wet wood. I’d get done with a day of cycling, set up camp, and all I’d want is a hot cup of tea, a sweet steaming mug to take off the chill and sooth my aching muscles… but everything is so wet that it takes me forty-five mintues to start a fire with a tea candle and a windblock. Taking breaks in the pouring rain. Wishing I could take a photograph in the rain. I rued the day I gave up my little campstove for its weight – just for that cup of tea, aah. (more…)
The rain really started to fall when I arrived in Wales. The old fellas on the stoop don’t seem to notice, though, unless there’s a tourist there to joke with. “Fine Welsh weather,” was always my response: “Why would I come to Wales to see sunny weather? That’s not the real Wales, now is it?” And the misty summer rain, rolling like folds of grey wool over the hilltops, really was a fine sight to see. The dripping branches and sodden moss of the forest was a magical product of such a wet environment. Rainy weather – it’s just something you have to get used to. (more…)