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Frankfurt to Barcelona by bike

GERMANY
Day 1: Frankfurt Airport to Jörg and Andrea's, 24 km
Heading out from Wiesloch. Thanks, Carol!
Day 2: Frankfurt to Wiesloch, 102 km
Day 3: Wiesloch to Pforzheim, 72 km
Day 4: Pforzheim to Villingen-Schwinningen, 150 km


SWITZERLAND  
Day 5: Villingen-Schwinningen to Freienstein, 95 km 
Day 6: Freienstein to Bern, 153 km 
Day 7: rest in Bern 
Day 8: Bern to Lausanne, 105 km 


FRANCE 
Day 9: Lausanne to Corbonod, 110 km
Day 10: Corbonod to Voreppe, 102 km 


It's been a week into my tour from Frankfurt to Barcelona and I've hardly had a spare moment to write. I wondered whether it's even worth keeping a blog for this trip, but decided to do it, even if my posts are few and far between. This trip has been fantastic so far, and I want to share my experience with you, my reader, as well as my future self! 


Nicole and I decided not to bring a tent with us on this tour and instead stay with people along the way. So far, this has worked out quite well for us, although it requires an amount of planning that we're not used to. Also, with a tent, you can easily stop early if the weather's bad or you want to stay in a place a bit longer, or ride later into the day if the wind is at your back or you have lots of energy. Without, it is important to get to where you need to go every night, which takes away some of the spontaneity of cycle touring. But it certainly has its benefits. In addition to the comfort of daily showers, home-cooked meals and warm beds, this way of cycle touring allows you to meet some great people. Most of our hosts have been from Warm Showers, an online hospitality community for touring cyclists. Nicole and I are constantly impressed by how great a concept this is. Every host we have had has been so warm and inviting, truly making is feel at home in their home. And because Warm Showers is a site specifically for cycle tourists, there is always common ground between us and our hosts: it's fun to swap stories about cycle touring, share routes and get to know like-minded people!Cycling through Germany and Switzerland was pretty great. Unlike Canada, these countries have extensive biking infrastructure, allowing us to ride along bicycle paths a lot of the time. It is possible to cross Germany only using the bike paths, but we used roads a good deal as well, since the bike paths are sometimes unpaved and often poorly signed, making it frustrating to get to our destination.  


Yesterday we crossed the border into France and, so far, it has been beautiful! We cycled today from a small village called Corbonod to a another called  Voreppe. We are in some serious mountains now, and today was probably the most fun day of riding yet. We had a few ridiculously long and, in parts, insanely steep climbs, but also some amazing descents. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video would be worth at least a million: I wish I had one in order to show you how insane these descents are! The hills are steep, the road is winding, the view is spectacular--and you get to take it all in at 70km/h. An experience at once terrifying and exhilarating!Right now, we are relaxing in the home of our second French hosts, Alain and Thérèse. Being here makes me really wish I knew how to speak French. Nicole was in French immersion, so she has been the one doing most of the communicating since we entered the French part of Switzerland. I'm actually surprised by how much of the conversation I can understand--almost all of it--but it's so frustrating not to be able to join in. In a way, it would almost be better not to understand a thing, so at least I wouldn't know what I was missing. In any case, I am inspired anew to refresh my French language skills. Perhaps a course in Toronto? In the meantime, Nicole has been doing an excellent job as my teacher and translator! :) 


The plan from here is to ride almost directly south to the coast and then follow it to Barcelona, where we hope to arrive by July 12th. I will try to post as often as I am able!

3 comments:

Alex said...

Are you riding Margarethe, or has she retired? Or, some third option?

Agnes Bolinska said...

Yup, still Margarethe! She's still going strong! :)

Alex said...

Hurrah!