Posts Tagged With: Other riders

Day 2 of Sightseeing in Dublin – 28 May

This morning we had to change hotels, to the Arlington hotel, where all the  riders will be tonight. Plus this morning is the first riders meeting.

Leaving the hotel I was amused by a sign about Gin.

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At the meeting we got to meet the other riders and listened to the rules. We have 4 Greggs doing the ride! As well as Shirley and Dan and Michele and Tony, I also know Gregg and Laura who did the South American Colombia to Cusco. The meeting was meant to be 9:30 to 11:00am but it ran over as Gergo, the tour leader, was spouting the entire European cycling rules chapter and verse. At 11:15 I left the meeting as I had planned to meet Shellbe to do some more site seeing.

We went to see an exhibition in Stephens Mall featuring the potato famine, but when we got there we found it was £45 to get in and see a few photos so we decided not to. During the Potato famine 20% population was killed (over 1 million). The potatoes were no good to eat because of potato plight. Largely because of the potato famine the population  today is half of what it was in 1840, which was between 8.2 and 8.5 million. According to 2017 statistics the population is now 4.749 million. We did have a look around Stevens Green mall, it had an interesting layout.

We walked around Trinity College grounds (University ) but didn’t go into the library where the books are stacked from ground level up to 4 stories. We wanted to go and see the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript which contains the 4 gospels of the New Testament done by monks, but the line was huge so we decided not to.

We did go to Stephens Green Park, where instead of ducks in the lake it was mostly seagulls, and despite it being duckling season there was not a single duckling to be seen. I suspect the seagulls!

We walked through the town and stopped and had a cup of tea at a book shop that reminded me of the unity book shop in Wellington, on the way we saw a few buskers. There was a man playing spoons, we probably left just before the Morris dancers!

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We went to the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland, established in 1198. I had seafood chowder which was like vegetable soup with hunks of salmon. It was nice but nothing like the chowder I am used to. Shellbe had goat cheese salad. Shellbe got a text to say her flight was cancelled, and despite trying she couldn’t get another flight and ended up having to stay another night.

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Shellbe came out for dinner with Brett, Tony, Michele and I to a really nice restaurant called the Elephant and Castle restaurant. I had a really nice chilli burger. Then Shellbe went to an airport hotel and I did a last re-organisation of my bag, ready to start the ride tomorrow.

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Day 26: Cologne to Wesel

121 km – 193 climb, 367 down.

121 km and basically flat, so should not be a long day but! So much navigation today, there were 4 pages of navigation notes, both sides of the page.

We had breakfast with Maureen. Maureen was born in Ireland but has lived in Johannesburg most of her life, but is now in the process of moving to Portugal. This is Maureen’s TDA first ride. Maureen was a communications advisor, but is now retired and lives with her husband and two Labrador retrievers. Her husband doesn’t like touring.

There was pouring rain when we woke up, and it looked rainy, but apart from a few spots we managed to avoid it for the morning. There were a few places where it had clearly been pouring not long before.

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Monheim am Rhein

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Private garden patches on the outskirts of towns and cities

We went out of Cologne, first of all past the big Ford  factory (the number one employer in Cologne), then through the countryside and skirted through the outskirts of a couple of towns, and then had to go through Düsseldorf (which sounds like it should be a school house in a Harry Potter novel).

Düsseldorf is huge city, population bigger than the whole of NZ – 5.16 million. It took about 2 hours to get through the city and outskirts. This is where the 2017 Tour de France bike rides starts this Saturday.

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Düsseldorf city centre

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Düsseldorf city centre

The whole city is busy with preparations, the Main Street there was a row of tents going up. There were temporary over bridges over roads being constructed, and rows of group barrier fences waiting to be erected in the fields.

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Tour de France preparations underway for the Grand Depart from Düsseldorf

After Düsseldorf we were back in the country, then through a smaller city, Duisburg. At this stage the rain, which had been threatening all day, was looking more and more likely. By now we had done 80km, so at least we avoided the rain for two thirds of the ride. It poured for about 20 km, there was flooding on the road and we had to be really careful going through small towns with cobblestones. We got soaked, but luckily it was still about 17 degrees C.

As we were coming out of one of the towns a young brat on a bike rode straight into Brett and swerved at the last moment, then did the same thing to me.

We stayed at a great hotel called Welcome Hotel, we had a suite with a lounge, balcony, kitchen, bedroom and shower, and thankfully plenty of places to hang wet clothes. However there was terrible internet and I couldn’t get on.

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Welcome Hotel in Wesel.

Germany has two million refugees, the population in Germany is 81.41 million.

We have a really nice buffet dinner, high quality food which was really nice. I had some salmon and chicken and vegetables, and a selection of cheeses, plus sparkling water.

We had dinner with Peter and Catrina, John W, and Yvonne (Scott was feeling sick).  Henry Gold, the owner and founder of TDA, has come for a few days and we had a great chat with him after dinner about the South America ride.

When I got back to the my suite, I was really tired but I felt I needed to sit up in the lounge for awhile at least to enjoy the space.

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Restaurant artwork decorations

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Day 22: Heidelberg to Mainz

101 km, 150 meters 👍 up

Yvonne is better and back riding. Poor Graham is not looking forward to be confined to the truck.

Thankfully there was no convoy out of the city. Not long into the ride we went past the city zoom and they have glass fences into a couple of enclosures. In one of them was a nest with storks – adults and babies . It was really great to see storks again.

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Stork chicks on the nest at Heidelberg Zoo

We followed a range of bike paths for the day, through fields and villages, and then the most of the rest of the day was along the river Rhine.

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Negotiating some single track

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Rheine village

The path was often very uneven with cobblestones, which are hard to ride on. We saw a number of river cruise ships, and other river ships carrying coal and oil and scrap metal. The ships were going approx 20 km/hr, so we often kept up with them for quite awhile.

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Rhine River traffic in Neirstein

There were lots of sandy areas on the river shore, and lots of people having picnics along the shore. There were a number of other cyclists, quite a few doing self supported touring.

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Riverside village called “Worms”

Just after the lunch stop, we had to ride across some fields and then change to another bike path. Just at the intersection there was a house with lots of ornaments, a seat covered with knitting, and a bike with a knitted jersey.

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Cosy bike

Riding along the river the path weaved in and out, at times right by the river and at other times running parallel through fields. Brett was riding in front and he followed the path round a hedge, I followed him and was nearly hit by a car. The car had swerved to avoid Brett and crossed over to my side of the road. I wrenched my bike to the left, and gave my sore arm a huge jolt which was quite painful. Thankfully no other damage.

We left the river and rode through a town, and then came out into a vineyard that we rode through for the next 10 km, it was beautiful.  Apart from the bit we were riding on, it was very hilly and the grapes were planted in terraces stretching up the hills. They had a number of tractors with covered carts on the back that seated about 10 -12 people, full of people wine tasting. You could hear the people laughing and could see a number of these winding their way up the hill. It looked like fun.

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Coming through the vineyards approaching Mainz.

The last 15 km was back on the river, and then through the town to another IBIS hotel. Thankfully a slightly bigger room than yesterday.

There was a building over the road that had a large grass roof. On the list of chores for the owner: mow the roof!

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Mainz township – building with grass on top

We had dinner at a place around the corner from the hotel, as IBIS doesn’t serve dinner. I had dinner with Brett, Judy and Tim, Ed, John J, and Cathy. Dinner was Liverwurst soup – it looked horrid and tasted nasty and didn’t eat it; a lovely fresh salad; and totally unexpected: a really nice piece of salmon with sauce, spinach and rice. Dessert was ice cream and strudel. I didn’t eat the strudel as the one in Croatia has spoiled me for ones that are not as nice. Sparkling water.

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Mainz

Introducing

John H is from Victoria, Canada. He is a retired ED doctor who worked in Seattle. He is married and this is his second TDA ride.

Ed is from New York, he owned Liquor store, is retired now. He has no children and has done one TDA ride before.

John Hemm

Dr John H and Dr Peter H were both at Med school together

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Edward and Brett: Heidelberg to Mainz

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Day 21: Rest day in Heidelberg (23 June)

I enjoyed lying in, feeling a bit tender after yesterday’s ride, so am very pleased to have a rest day to recover.

At breakfast we were told that Graham is ok, but has a broken bone in his face and will most likely not be able to continue riding. Graham is going to be discharged from hospital later today. Caught up with Yvonne, and she is feeling much better.

After breakfast we looked at getting the hotel to do the laundry, but it really is only an option for people who just want a couple of items done. I worked out to get mine done it would have cost €70! So off we walked to the laundromat. To do both of ours at the laundromat it cost us €18 combined. I always take my iPad and do a bit of of catching up with the blog.

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Rest Day chores

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Laundry price list from the hotel

This morning before breakfast, I had a messenger call with my 11 month grandson Jasper, and daughter Tracey. Jasper was very excited to see me, and kept trying to get into the iPad where I was. The day after I get home is Jasper’s first birthday celebration.

Walking through the city I noticed the number of apartments that have trees and shrubs on their balcony.

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Shrubs on apartment balconies

I have also noticed the increased rate of smoking, the cigarettes on display, cigarette advertising, and also there are a number of cigarette machines on the street in the villages and cities. I was a bit surprised as was thinking children could use these, but apparently you have to put ID with proof of age in before you can purchase.

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Street cigarette machine

After doing the laundry we had a drink at an outside cafe with John W, and then decided what do to for lunch. John wanted pasta, and Brett and and I decided on a picnic. We had a lovely lunch with a baguette roll, blue cheese, brie, small cake of dark chocolate, and a Bordeaux wine (we actually wanted a rosé, but there was no chilled wine to be had, so settled on the red). It was very relaxing to just sit and do nothing for awhile. Then back onto catching up with emails and the blog.

At 6 pm we went down to the hotel bar for a beer, while we waited for a couple of Brett’s friends from a previous tour, who we were going out for a meal with. As we were having a beer, Graham turned up looking bruised and battered. Graham has no memory of what happened, but there was no car involved. Graham suspects he hit the curb the wrong way.

He remembers coming to and having two locals helping him up. They asked him if he knew where he was and he said no. They then said “You’re in Germany, doing a bike ride from Athens to Amsterdam” (They got this off his riders plate on his bike), and he said “Don’t be stupid, why would I be doing something like that?”.

Graham is not sure what he will do as he has broken a cheek bone around the sinus, and is not allowed back on a bike for a couple of weeks. While a group of us were talking to Graham, Janice came in and I took a photo of him and her “The concussion twins”.

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Graham and Janice – the concussion twins

Also in the bar were Tim and Judy, also from Wellington NZ.

Just then Brett’s friends arrived. They met on the Aussie section of 2014 Trans-Oceania. Lydia is originally from Townsville, Queensland but is now living with Joachim in Germany. Joachim is German. Lydia is working as a Librarian and Joachim works in IT. They are both keen marathon runners and triathletes. John W also did this ride, and came for dinner. We went to a really nice Thai place, I didn’t get the name. I had tom yum soup – it was nice and spicy, and green curry which was very nice.

Then back to the hotel to pack and get ready for another 3 day stretch.

Introducing

Janice is from Townsville Queensland and this is her first TDA ride. She is retired, she worked as a student advisor counsellor at the University. Janice’s partner was going to come on the ride, but couldn’t get a health clearance to do it, so is doing the pilgrims work in Spain instead.

Tim and Judy are from Wellington NZ, they have 3 children and a labradoodle and a poodle. This is their second TDA ride. Tim is an actuary and Judy is a mother. They are heading off to Cuba for another two week ride after this trip.

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Tim and Judy

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Day 16: Garmisch-Partenkichen to Munich

103 k to ride with 409 meters to ride up and 603 meters down

95% of the day was on bike paths. The paths ranged from paved, to rubble through forest, fields along lakes, and towns.

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Bike path along Lake Starnberger

The last 25 km into Munich there were hundreds of bikers. These ranged from mountain bikers, families with babies in seats or carriages attached to the bike, other touring bikers, individual riders of all ages and sizes, and a number of them going really fast.

Along river Isar coming into Munich, there were so many people swimming and picnicking along the banks. About 25 km there was a raft full of people drinking, playing loud music, and even a barbecue on board.

A number of the cyclists were going really fast weaving in and out between other cyclists. It was the first time I have been more concerned I will come to harm from fellow cyclists rather than a car!

Some paths on the way in were steep up or downhill and some were very rocky rocky, and I would get off and walk. One bit you had to ride up over a bump, between a gap in the fence, which other riders seemed to be able to do with no trouble. I of course had to get off and wait for a gap. I commented to John W that I would never make a mountain biker, and one mountain bike rider who had waited for me to come through was laughing and agreed.

We got to Hotel Holiday Inn at 2pm, and the rooms were not ready so Brett, Graham, John and I (later joined by Tony) waited in the bar with a cold beer. This is Tony’s first TDA ride, he is from USA and is an organic farmer and hobby wine maker.

Riders leaving in Munich are Tom and Miriam, Walker, The Sydney Aussies (Tony, Kerry, Robert, Torpe (in the picture from yesterday with Daryl. Torpe is retired, he used to own a kitchen ware and related goods, store his real name is also Robert), Alex and Daryl), and Tony from USA

Interesting I was also somehow on the list as leaving the ride in Munich! I was asked when I wanted to box up my bike! Just as well that was quickly sorted, as otherwise I may have had no accommodation tomorrow night!

We had Dinner at restaurant called Wirtshaus In Der Au. First we had a wheat lager beer called Erich Sattler it was really nice. Then we had a Wine called Cronos red, with the house speciality which was Duck and pork crackling dumplings, sauerkraut, and gravy.

We had a really friendly waitress who had hitchhiked from Invercargill to Auckland, and commented that many friendly NZ males were happy for her to stay over at their places. I’m sure this had nothing to do with the fact she is young and pretty.

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Waitress at Wirtshaus In Der Au

Two weeks later I am still wearing plasters on two of the bites from the second riding day. I suspect they were sea lice which I reacted badly to, at least I don’t seem to be adding to the list of afflictions.

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A home on the shore of Lake Starnberger

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Day 15: Innsbruck to Garmisch – Partenkirchen (aka GAP)

64 km of riding, with 815 meters up and 666 meters down

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Today’s ride

My arm and wrist is very painful today, which is most likely because like an idiot I stopped taking anti-inflammatory as I thought I no longer needed to take them. I am back on them now.

The first hour of riding was along flat bike paths, and we rode 21 km. The next 20 km took two and a half hours! This was spent pushing the bike up 17% gradients with slippery gravel, riding when able to and and pushing my bike down hill, with rockslides, gravel and some steep gradients.

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Pettnau, Austria

At some point we crossed into Germany, some of the other riders said it was when we went through a field full of cows with bells.  https://www.facebook.com/tdaglobalcycling/videos/10154728790261314/?pnref=story

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Tidy farmhouses in Krün, Germany

There are lots of other cyclists going both ways on the bike trails, some are friendly, some look like they are having a horrid time, and some ride two abreast and only swerve at the last minute back into single file, which is a bit nerve wracking.

The last 15 km on was mostly tar seal, so despite the 2 1/2 hours to do the 20 km we arrived at the hotel at just after one pm, to find the rooms were not ready. We got changed and walked into the city centre to catch up two of the riders, Daryl and Alex, at an Irish Bar. The Irish bar had the most amazing view of the Dolomites.

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At Garmisch- Partenkirchen – view of the Dolomites in the background

When we arrived the TV was on, playing the NZ national anthem then the Maori All Blacks did a Haka. It was quite nice hearing and seeing it over the other side of the world.

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Maori All Blacks on the TV at an Irish Bar

I had a lager and Brett had a Guinness and got given a bag of Guinness chips (or chippies as we call them), they were seriously delicious.

Daryl is one of the Aussie 6 from Sydney, and had been here a couple of weeks before the ride doing training. Daryl does ultra marathons where it goes over three days. Day one swim in the ocean 10 km and bike 150 km, day two bike 240 km, day three run 84 k (2 full marathons). Daryl is in his late 60s and the last one of these he did was last year, and he currently holds the record for his age group. This explains his incredulous look when he saw me sitting outside the hotel when he arrived. “Take the truck did you?” he asked, and when I said no he wanted know where I had passed him (the Aussie group stopped for coffee at the top of the second 20 k). Daryl is retired but was a stock broker.

Alex is also one of the Aussies group from Sydney, he is the oldest in the group at 74 but is a very strong rider, and often leads the Aussie peloton. Alex is also retired and had a career in some sort of advertising.

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Alex and Anthony

On the way back through town we stopped at a Chocolaterie called Amelie, it was amazing – so many different types of chocolate, and so many tasting platters! Yum!

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Chocolaterie Amelie

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Chocolaterie Amelie

Back to the hotel for a shower, and then we went to dinner where we had the most unfriendly waitress ever, and she stayed consistently unhelpful and unfriendly for the evening.

 

Initially I was sitting with Jeff and Dianne, Robert, Graham and Brett. However it was so noisy, and there was quite a long wait so Dianne and Jeff left to eat elsewhere. Robert is one of the Aussie 6, and I never got round to getting a photo of him. He is a psychiatrist who works both in private and public in Sydney.

Dinner was a nice tomato soup, followed by mushy vegetables and tough chicken, with lovely mushroom sauce, and fried potato medallions. Dessert was fresh fruit and sorbet, all served with a frowning, unfriendly waitress. The waitress asked where Jeff and Dianne had gone, and I said they were having problems with the noise and hearing. Her response was “People with hearing problems shouldn’t travel in groups”.

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Jeff and Dianne, with Miriam (in high vis)

Tomorrow we get into Munich, the end of this stage. A number of riders finish here, including Anthony the cardiologist and his wife Kerrie who is a maternity nurse, who provided assistance when I had the tachycardia the first day riding. I had been planning to get them a bottle of wine all trip and finally did so today. I gave up trying to explain to the wine waiter that I was buying it for another table, as I wasn’t getting anywhere, so just ordered it and when it arrived I took it over to them.

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Kerrie (left), and Torpie and Darryl (in blue shirt)

We are staying at Mercure Hotel.

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Editor’s caption: I received no caption for this photo. Nor is there any mention of it in this blog entry. However, I am doing my due diligence and including it here for your enjoyment. 

 

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Day 12: Cortina d’amezzo to Brixen

68 km – 680 meters climbed up and 1,290 meters coasted down

We had the most amazing views of the Dolomites most of the day today. For the first 30 km we were on a rail trail, so pretty easy gradient. The trail is used in summer for cycling and in the winter it is used for skiing.

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On the bike paths

There were what I thought were old railway stations approx every 6 km, but it turned out they are actually houses. There were families living in them, and it was the job of the father to check the section of line he was responsible for every morning, and confirm it was free of avalanche etc and safe for the trains. This would be done over the phone. Also, he was in charge of maintaining that section of the line.

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On the rail trail today

There were a number of tunnels to go through, it reminded me of the Rimutaka Incline in NZ (but the tunnels were lit). There were quite a number of other cyclists today, heading both ways.

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Tunnels on the bike path

We stopped at a monument showing the different climbs on three of the peaks. The climb grade is an 11, which is pretty serious. It has the name and dates of people who have done the climbs.

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3 Peaks Category 11 climb in Parco Naturale Tre Cime

You can go hiking up in the middle mountains, and walk between mountain lodges without having to come down. There are no roads up to these lodges, and they pull the food up on things that look to me like ski lifts, they have big balls instead of chairs that the supplies go in. The lodges have big dormitories that can sleep up to 200. The thought of that is like waking up in a nightmare!

The bike trails are a mixture of rail trails and bike paths, rather than one large trail. A number appear to go through people’s properties – at one place between a barn and a house.

There were lots of cows wandering around with bells on so they can be found.

We are still in in Italy but the buildings and the furniture are very Austrian.

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On the way from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Brixen

We have had the largest groups of cyclists out on the paths I have ever seen. We were playing leap frog with a group of about 25, as we would each be on different trails and then keep intersecting. I was surprised at how well some of the cyclists were doing, until I noticed they were on E bikes (electric bikes).

One of the riders got an instant fine of €17.5 for riding through a tunnel with a sign saying “cars only” – there was an alternative route for bikes and walkers next to it.

We stopped at a Cafe with seating outside, attached to restaurant. We had the most amazing apple strudel I have ever tasted. It was nothing like anything called apple strudel I have ever had before.

This place also has the award for the most beautiful cafe or restaurant bathroom, with a great big marble basin so big you could almost have had a bath in it, and a range of soaps and hand lotions, and real hand towels.

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An old fort as we approached Brixen

I had dinner with John, Walker, Tom, Graham, and Brett. Dinner was salad from a salad bar, pasta with tomato sauce, shoulder of beef with apple and horse radish sauce, tiramisu, washed down with sparkling water.

The Internet is not my sending emails again! Frustrating as I can get emails and use Facebook. I wanted to send email to two friends who are having surgery before they had it. I tried being in the room, and the bar, and the restaurant, and just can’t get anything to send.

Introducing

Jeff and Dianne from Colorado, USA. Retired, they had a business setting up video links etc. They have 2 children and have done 7 TDA rides, they are not currently planning any more. (Editors note: but do they have any pets?! I’m pretty sure this is the first time you haven’t told us about a rider’s pet status!). 

The name of the hotel we are staying at is the Temhof Hotel.

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View from the room balcony in Brixen

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Day 11: Maniago to Cortina d’amezzo

The whiteboard said 120 km, with 2600 meters up and 1100 meters down. I was not sure what the gradient was going to be and was a bit daunted as we set off from the hotel.

We pretty much started climbing straight away, with some sections not so steep. At about 15 km I realised I must not have done the top on one of my water bottles up properly as I have lost it. Hopefully we will pass a shop so I can refill the bottle I have.

We seemed to go up and up and up and up, some tough gradient. At about 30 km we had some very pretty lakes and not much of a gradient for awhile, but then the climb began again. We had a couple of small tunnels, so it was nice and cool inside. At an average speed of approx ten km/hr this was going to be a long day.

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Old rail trail

We passed through a number of villages, and all the houses had impressive stock piles of wood ready for next winter.

At 52 km we went through quite a long tunnel, but it had gaps on the side and way below it was a very pretty town. We had a fantastic 10 km downhill to the town, then climbed up to turn and leave the main road, to go along a side road along the river to the lunch stop.

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Big climb Day. Check out Kaye’s eyes “WTF have you got for me around the corner you bastard hill?”

At 1:30 pm, after 5 and a half hours riding, I got to lunch. By this stage I had climbed 1,330 meters with only 68.5 km ridden. At this stage, looking at my riding speed I wouldn’t get to the finish until 8 pm. Taking into account my cold and my sore arm, we decided Brett would ride ahead and I would take the truck.

The only problem with that idea, is that on this trip there is a lack of infrastructure and the truck can only take 4 riders – and 6 riders wanted a ride. We tried to order a taxi, not but not surprisingly a driver from Cortina (60 km away) was not keen to come to pick up people from a ‘river’, with not great directions and language barrier.

The next option was to get the dinner truck (the one that goes straight to the hotel and flags the route to come back) which meant a couple of hours wait. Then this wait would be even longer as Gergo, who was driving the dinner truck, had to go and pick up Tony who had come off his bike. We were not clear about why he couldn’t then continue to come and get two of us. So then we had a bit of a standoff: none of the 6 of us now want to start riding, as another hour has past and we will be looking at arriving at 9pm instead of 8pm.

Without any other solution apart from two of us riding, and not wanting to be involved in deciding who that will be, I asked John W if he is prepared to hitch hike with me.

John W and I set off taking our helmets (but not our bikes as they can go on the rack on the back of the truck) with us to hitchhike. To start we had to walk back the 3 km to where we left the main road – while wearing our cycling shoes.

Luckily once we got there the 12th car stopped for us. The male driver was Italian and spoke no English, he wasn’t going as far as Cortina but agreed to give us a lift to where he was going. He wanted to know where our bikes were, but with the language barrier we were not able to explain.  We did manage to convey that we had accommodation in Cortina, and John knew how to say it was a beautiful country.

We thought at least if we get to a town we will be better off. Well bless this man, there may have been a language barrier but he took us into the middle of a town about 20 km from where he had picked us up, and dropped us off at a bus stop. We offered him money but he wouldn’t take any.

So there we are at the bus stop trying unsuccessfully to read the bus timetable in Italian, when a bus turned up.
We asked the driver “do you go to Cortina?”
“No” he said “3 minutes”, then got out of his bus, locked it, and went across the road!
So then John and I are wondering does he mean he drives the bus to Cortina but not for 3 minutes?
Well exactly 3 minutes later the bus to Cortina arrived! To say we were happy would be an understatement! The bus took us to Cortina and dropped us off in the centre of town at the bus stop. Then we just had to find the hotel! Would you believe, right there in front of us: orange flagging  tape! Which we followed the 2.5 km to the hotel.

We arrived at the hotel at exactly the same time as a Brett, who had of course made excellent time not having to wait for me.

Tony, the rider who came off his bike, was unharmed but broke the hanger for the derailer and had no spare! Luckily the bike shop in Cortina, whilst not having the correct one for his bike, managed to fashion one to fit.

On arriving at the hotel I immediately had a cold beer with John W, Brett and Walker (all four of us did the Trans Europa in 2012).

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Safe arrival beers: 2 riders, 2 hitch hikers!!!

Afterwards, I had dinner with John, Walker, Brett and Graham. We had pasta with tomato sauce, Chicken schnitzel  (nasty and dry), Strudel and ice cream, and Red wine called Pinot Nero

The Hotel we are staying at is called Menardi Hotel.

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View from the balcony

Introducing
Walker and his Wife Carol – both retired
Walker and Carol did the 2nd half of the 2012 TransEuropa
They are from USA. Walker was an investment banker and Carol a music teacher. Carol is on a singing tour (she is in a choir) of the UK, whilst Walker is doing the ride. They have 3 children and 2 grandchildren, no cats or dogs.

John W and Marilyn (doesn’t ride), they have 2 sons, no pets
John is an almost retired university professor from Vancouver, he still does some consulting. This is his 4th TDA ride.

 

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1956 Olympic ski run

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Day 10: Trieste to Maniago

123 km: 800 meters up and 430 down

This is the start of another four day section, and this was the easiest of the four days.

Instead of having to take notes from a whiteboard like previous trips, this trip we get them passed out in their already printed version. Some riders pour over them, highlighting certain bits, others – like me – shove them in their pocket to be taken out if needed if there is confusion about which way to go.

We started at 8am with a convoy, which was meant to be for 4 km but after 1.5 km most of the convoy was out of sight due to having to stop at the lights. As Gergo doesn’t flag or give notes for the convoy to ensure riders don’t go off on the their own, it was just by good luck and guessing that we managed to stay on the right track.

The first 18 km was along along the coast, then we turned inward and took the last view of the Adriatic Sea (the top of the Mediterranean). The next time we see the sea we will be in the Netherlands.

We went through a town called Palmanova, which is an excellent example of a star fort from the Renaissance. This was built by the Venetians in 1593. The whole town is walled, and there are only entrances/exits through the walls.

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An aerial view of Palmonova (picture source)

This is also where the Trans Europa ride we did in 2012 intersects with this ride, the Oydessy. In 2012, we came through here on the way to Venice.

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Walled town of Palmanova, inside the south gate

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Cathedral in Palmanova square

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North-west gate out of Palmanova, onwards to Amsterdam

There was a big market in the square with lots of stalls selling food, clothes, cooking ware, and lots of fresh flowers.

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Market square inside Palmanova

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Through the palace gate to the Villa Manin

Where we stopped for lunch there was a man trimming his hedge who was chatting away to all the riders, and telling to make sure that they stopped in the next town Mortegliano to see the biggest bell tower in Europe.

 

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The locals reckon this is the tallest bell tower in Europe, Mortegliano.

One of the TDA staff Ozgur had made homemade lemonade for lunch, which was very thirst quenching. It’s made from lemonade, honey, water and soda water.

 

In the afternoon the breeze from most of morning was replaced by beating sun, it was 35 degrees C and felt hotter.

There were lots of very long straights, broken up with interesting small towns. All the town were deserted and the shops were shut as it was siesta time.

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Beautiful riding today through the agricultural flat lands north of Venice.

Whilst going around a roundabout I was bit/stung by bug (through my riding top!). I wasn’t sure what it was, but took an antihistamine just in case it was a bee or a wasp. Luckily I did, as later that night when I had a look I had a big welt.

The last twenty km of the day seemed to go on and on, a bit of an uphill gradient, and into a bit of head wind.

Although we were riding towards the Dolomites, because of the heat haze we did not get a view of them until about 8 km before the end of the ride, where they slowly started to appear through the haze.

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Approaching Maniago and the end of the flatlands. Next 3 days climbing up to Passo del Brennero and entering Austria 🇦🇹

We got to the hotel at 5pm and found out dinner would not be until 8pm. To start off with I could not find my bag anywhere. I looked through the bags twice, and was starting to get really worried. I then went through the bags again, bag by bag. I had never noticed until now that my red bag is actually half black. The bottom half is black and it was upside down. Relieved, I went off to the room to get cleaned up.

The hotel room had a nice big bath so I had a relaxing soak and then I intended to have a quick nap, but ended up sleeping for two hours. I was more tired than I would have expected, as not much climbing, but we had had 9 hours in the sun and although there was not much climbing there was no real downhill, so we were constantly peddling all day.

Dinner was tomato pasta, grilled pork and potato, vanilla ice cream, washed down with sparkling water.  I had dinner with Brett, Miriam, Tom and Cathy.

Introducing

Tom and Miriam, retired they live in New York, and have 3 sons and one grandson. No pets. This is their 4th TDA tour. Miriam was a lawyer and then taught law, and Tom was an engineer.

Cathy is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She lives with her partner Peggy (who doesn’t like bike touring, so is not on the trip). They have no children and have a German short haired pointer. Cathy has done 2 previous TDA rides and is an ED doctor.

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Tom and Miriam on the left, Cathy on the right

Tomorrow is going to be a big day, 130 km and 2600 meters climbing and I am feeling a bit daunted. We are going to be climbing through the Dolomites.

The Dolomites are the mountain range located in north-eastern Italy, and form part of the Southern Limestone alps. The Dolomites are also known by the name The Pale Mountains, they take this name from the carbonate rock dolomite. The rock was named for the 18th century French mineralogist Deodat Gratel de Dolomieu (1750 to 1801) who was the first to describe the mineral.

The Dolomites are renown for skiing, mountain climbing, cycling, and BASE jumping.

The first week in July is the Maratona dles Dolomites, where in a single day, road bikers climb all 7 mountain passes.

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Day 8 – Malinska,Croatia to Trieste, Italy

119 km – 1,430 climbing and 1452 down

I woke up feeling a bit jaded after the last long day yesterday, plus the 3 days of riding already this section. I am really looking forward to a rest day tomorrow, especially as we will be in Italy.

For breakfast I had black tea and toast. Well sort of toast, really warm bread, as even after being put through the toaster three times it still was not what I would have called toasted, but by that time there were people waiting … so I didn’t feel I could put it though again.

To start off the day of course a climb, and then some a reasonable downhill followed by a big uphill, but with a reasonable gradient. At about 30 km, after 10 km climbing, we came to a turn where to the left was to go down and to the right we would have kept going up. We went left to go down through the city of Rijeka.

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Port of Bakar

After going through Rijeka at 38 km, to lunch at 71 km, it was all up. Mostly a reasonable gradient, but it was steep from 66 km. At 50 km I realised that I had lost one of my water bottles and I only had half a bottle of water left! I was hoping there would be another shop, as half a bottle of water wasn’t going to last the 20 km to lunch.

At 55 km there was a pub so we called in there and bought water. Two other riders were there, Greg and Maureen. Greg’s wife Janice is on the trip as well but they don’t ride together as she is faster than him, so he rides with another rider Maureen. I told them about my water bottle and Gregg asked was it a blue camel back bottle, which it was. Turned out it had come off my bike on a bit of bumpy road and a passing motorist had picked it up, and recognised that Gregg had the same trip placard on his bike and given it to him. Thank you kind Croatian motorist 😀 I was so relieved to have my second water bottle back, and the nice man at the pub filled them both up for me.

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Time for a beer in Slovenia 🇸🇮 before entering Italy. (Kaye just had sparkling water)

Then back out in the heat to ride onwards and upwards. This seemed endless. At 67 km and 69 km I had to get off my bike, I was done! Gregg said that the climb finished at 80 km, I was not sure I had another 10 km of climbing in me!

At 71km I got to the lunch truck. Thankfully the Slovenian border did not require all the cyclists to go across in a group, otherwise I would have had some very annoyed fellow cyclists waiting for me, as I was the second to last to lunch. Brett came in after me as he had stopped just around the corner at the money changer. Caitlin (TDA) and the other 4 riders at lunch didn’t believe me when they asked where Brett was and I replied “I dropped him on the hills, as he couldn’t keep up with me”.

After lunch we crossed the Slovenian  🇸🇮 border. We were in Slovenia for 30 km, then headed into Italy.

After the border crossing there was quite a steep upwards gradient. At 75 km I was thinking “I am not going to be able to cycle another 5 km uphill” – at least 3 of the other riders had gone in the truck. At 76 km I was close to tears, riding at an average speed of 6.5 km an hour, which would be almost another hour of this. I gritted my teeth and carried on, one pedal stroke at a time.

Then at 76.5 km there was a down hill, I was thinking “hopefully it will last at least a km
– well it was pretty much downhill the rest of the day to Trieste 👍👍👍

There was uphill, but generally you had a good speed and could get up most of the hill for free, and nothing involved granny gear (the smallest gear) for more than 2-3 minutes at a time.

At 103.5km we crossed the border into Italy 😀  🇮🇹

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At the Italian border – 3 countries in one day on our bikes.

Grego (TDA tour leader) had recommended that we turn at 112.1 km and do a 10 km detour to see the Lipica horse Museum. The Lipica horses are white when they are adults, but when they are born until they are two they are black. Given that we were already estimating 5pm to get to the hotel we decided not to make the 10 km detour, however if we had known that from 112.1 km it was a continuous downhill we would have made the detour.

We arrived tired and hot at 5pm as predicted, at the Urban Hotel. Thankfully it was Saturday so we did not have to contend with rush hour traffic coming into Trieste.

The room is comfortable, but no view unless you count a concrete wall, but I am just happy to be here.

After a shower the first task, as always, is checking out the laundry situation. There is a laundromat, or Lavanderia as called in Italy, around the corner but they don’t do it for you. We checked they are open on Sunday, so will leave it until tomorrow.

We went for a walk, first of all we went to Italy’s largest sea facing Plaza called a Piazza del Unita d’Italia, where they were having an outdoor concert. We decided to have a cold beer at a bar on the corner of the plaza. It wasn’t until we were sitting down that we noticed the bar was blocking the lovely concert with its own music. We stayed there and had the beer, which came in a huge glass, as there wasn’t anywhere else to sit in the square. As it was very hot afterwards we went for a walk along the sea front. So many boats/yachts, and 2 super boats worth a few million each.

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Reward for a hard earned thirst 🍺

We went into a place called “Eataly” which is like the Mediterranean Food Warehouse in Newtown but 6 times the size.

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At Eataly

So far the whole trip I have seen no stray dogs, and only a few dogs with their owners in the places we have passed through, but in Italy there are dogs everywhere. Still no stray dogs but every second person here appears to have a dog of some shape or size. They are allowed in the food court and restaurants, everywhere you look they are snoozing under tables. or as in the Eataly walking with their owners, nose on full twitch.

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A dog inside Eataly (Editor’s note: A greyhound!!! Woohoo! Look at its little white socks)

They seem welcome everywhere, apart from one restaurant where there was a sign “no dogs”! Guess what the outcome was? Unlike every other place that was full, there were only two diners in this restaurant!

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No dogs = no diners! 

We decided to have dinner there, it was pretty good. Wine was a white Bastianich Friulano. This came in a wine bucket with slushy ice pellets which is much better at keeping the wine chilled than ice cubes.

To eat we had Orecchiette con pesto and gambeni, and Tagliolini con scampi alla.

After the big glass of beer I needed to use the restroom. I locked the door and then it wouldn’t open again. I tried it every setting numerous. times but it wouldn’t open! Unbelievable! So then I resorted to kicking the door and shouting help! Someone must have heard me as an attendant came and unlocked the door and let me out. She asked me if I had tried unlocking the door. There were many responses to this, and I chose putting up my hand and walking past her to the sink, where I couldn’t make the water work. Luckily the tap in wheelchair toilet worked.

Then back to the hotel to bed, with the luxury of a sleep in and no riding tomorrow.

Introducing some of the TDA riders

Scott and wife Janice from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. It is both their first TDA ride. President of big fishing company .
Janice and Scott now work with indigenous people restocking Salmon reserves. They have no pets and no children.

Yvonne and husband Scott from Alaska, this is their USA 3rd TDA ride
Yvonne is a retired epidemiologist and Scott is a retired Economist. They have 2 daughters and their eldest daughter has done 3 TDA rides.
Yvonne is Chinese and is struggling with the food on the trip as she does not eat bread, milk, cheese, cereal, or processed meat – which has been pretty much the food so far. So today in Trieste she will be able to eat food she likes.

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Waterfront outside Hotel Jadran, Sibernik

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