Dreams Deferred – The Danube

Leaving the Alps behind, we headed towards the Danube.  When we were deciding on our route through Europe, this is the one section that I (Deb) really wanted to do.  Mac wanted Verdun, France.  Colburn wanted the beer route in Belgium.  Lucia wanted to go to Prague.  I wanted the Danube.  Much like the EuroVelo 15 along the Rhine River, the Danube path (part of EuroVelo 6) has very low gradients, lots of infrastructure, and great opportunities to amuse theRead more

The Alps Part I: Switzerland

By Colburn The bicycles are now dirtier, worn and yet still running smoothly despite our 1650km of trails, paths, roads, and sidewalks. The worn tires tell a bit of a story. It was in the Alps when we began to see the tires show the mileage and make us see just how far and over how many types of paths we are traveling. During our three-week trip through the region, the water fountains, train travel, and spectacular scenery were theRead more

Cycling in France

Leaving the cool of Ireland behind, we boarded an overnight ferry to France then had to take two trains to get to our starting town in France, Mauberge.  As I mentioned in the Ireland post, getting on and off ferries and trains is a very stressful situation for bicyclists, and this was no exception.  We were, however, able to make it through the process and truly enjoyed the open borders policy for the Shengen Area.  Unlike the land border crossingsRead more

Luck of the Irish – Ireland

Sometimes everything goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t.  We knew going into it that the weather in Ireland in May can be unsettled. It can be a fabulously beautiful time with the most spring colors across the Emerald Isle or it can be cold, wet and miserable.  After our amazing good fortune for weather in Scotland, we were hesitant to believe that our luck could hold out.  Fortunately for us, we were blessed with extremely good weather for the entirety ofRead more

Walking 96 Miles – The West Highland Way of Scotland

As a family, we really like to walk.  We have trekked in Colca Canyon and the Inca Trail in Peru, Torres del Paine in Chile, the Mustang and Annapurna Regions of Nepal and the Routeburn of New Zealand.  Each trek was a physical challenge as well as a mental one.  Colca Canyon had a knee-crushing continuous 3,000 foot descent on day one and similar oxygen-sapping ascent on day three.  The Inca Trail taught us to be wary of steps, especiallyRead more

Understanding Oma

My mom was the eighth of nine children born and raised in Maastricht, a relatively small town (population 120,000) in the southern part of the Netherlands.  Maastricht is not just a quaint little Dutch town, it is an old town.  From early in the 1st century BC, Maastricht has had continuous settlement for  nearly 2000 years.  There are old churches from the 11th and 12th century still in use in Maastricht.  There are parts of an old bridge from theRead more

Fitting In

With few exceptions, our entire first year of travel was spent in areas where we were always easily identifiable as “foreigners” or “tourists”. You get used to it after a while. In fact it can be wonderful because there is a kind of pity given to foreigners that helps when you’re lost or clueless as to what to do in a particular situation. Except for our time in Argentina and South Africa, we have always stood out for our size,Read more

Biking the Upper Rhine

450 km of the Rhine completed, 800 km to go! Perhaps up there with hiking Colca Canyon in Peru and to the Mirador de las Torres in Chile, biking through the upper portion of the Rhine route ended up being one of the more challenging physical activities we have undertaken.  Listed as an “easy” and “suitable for families” route, we thought that it would be the perfect introduction to cycle touring.  Relatively short days of around 50 km per day andRead more