Amsterdam (NL) – Linz (AT) / 1278 km / 0.62 Million Turns / March 3rd – March 21st, 2019
As the waitress from the pizzeria in Regensburg comes over with our pizza’s our mouths drop wide open. How on earth can a human finish a pizza this big?! We have a few things to celebrate though: today marks the day we cycled our first 1000 km, the first time we rode more than 100 km on a single day (117 to be exact), and we also reached the Danube river. We have been on the road for two weeks now, and time has flown by.
Our departure day seems a long time ago; a very rainy Sunday afternoon with many of our lovely family members waving goodbye from underneath an umbrella. After a final photo at the Magere Brug in Amsterdam we couldn’t leave our hometown before getting a last “broodje Tromp” at one of our favourite sandwich shops in Amsterdam. When we told the employee in excitement that we were cycling all the way to Asia and this was our first day, none of us really realised the absurdity and scale of this trip. He blankly replied “OK, wow, well that’s 10 euros”.
The first few days we cycled in stormy conditions and we alternated between camping and hostels. While a storm passed Holland and Germany, we were lucky the wind came from the West. It made us pretty much fly across the Limes route (the Northern Roman Empire border) to Cologne and then on towards Frankfurt and Regensburg. We frequently had the “E-bike feeling”, when we hit 25 km/h without much effort. It made us wonder how cycling will be when this wind stops or turns to the wrong direction.
With the wind being the plus side of the storm, the rain was the flip side. Boy, did we have a lot of rain these past few weeks. Our gear really got tested to the max (again after our test weekend in the Ardennes). It was a test for ourselves too. As we were still getting used to life on the bike, organising and re-organising our stuff, daily routine was sometimes harder work than expected. Packing tent and gear in the rain and cold made our hands go numb more often than not. Luckily, however, there is Warmshowers; a hosting platform for cyclists (comparable to Couchsurfing). We have had a great time with all of our Warmshowers hosts, with many inspiring stories! Besides that, a warm shower is really nice after camping in the rain two nights in a row.
So far, travelling by bicycle got us into a lot of encounters: cycling enthusiasts who marvel at our bikes and its components (Germans love their own brands: Ortlieb, Rohloff etc); bushcrafters (who camp without a tent in -5); cycling shop owners (who get so excited when they hear about our trip, they give us stuff for free!); and many Germans who started a single-sided conversation as we understood only snippets (the Bayern accent didn’t help..).
To our own surprise we manage to finish the whole pizza. One of many advantages of cycling, you can eat and eat and eat. We took this advantage very serious of course, trying all kinds of different foods so far. After finishing the pizza though, we are so exhausted that we roll back to our hotel and fall asleep straight away.
Just as when we ordered our “ broodje Tromp”, the feeling that we will live on our bikes the coming year has not yet really kicked in yet. Even when interested people are asking where our final destination is, we often state it with a bit of hesitation. Asia, sure! But where? No clue yet… Auckland? We will see, the world is a big place (as we have noticed cycling only Germany so far).
After Regensburg we cycled on to Linz in Austria, where we are at the time of writing this blog post. The last 2-3 days have been a lot sunnier, to our great delight! By the end of the week we aim to be in Vienna for a well deserved few days off the bike!
Talk to you soon!
Tom & Sabine