The sea fog is clinging along the coast today as it has been for the past day or two, so I will be headed west on my trusty tricycle today, in search of the sun. Later possibly a bit of pottering in the garden, it is so good to get out after the prolonged spell of in-climate weather. Have been neglecting my blog these past days, trouble is all that I have been doing over those days is more or less routine, short trips on my bike in the morning then frittering away the day from there.
I have been doing a bit of research on boats, trains and buses to Europe. I really wanted to go from Portsmouth to St-Malo or Cherbourg £35.00 happy with that, the bus to Portsmouth was another £45.00 a long journey on its own, but would get me to where I want to start from (my grandfather war grave, I always say hello when in Europe). However……
When I started putting figures together it was all starting to add up to around £1,000 which is pretty much what I would have expected in expenditure for such a trip, what with B&B, ferries, buses and trains. So I have scrapped my trip to Holland.
One, I have been there many times.
Two, this may be my last chance at a long cycle tour in Europe so I am going to do something I have wanted to do for years ride the Danube cycleway EV6 (Euro Velo 6).
Travelling from the Black Forest (Germany) into Austria, where I hope to stay with, and possibly go sailing, with my old friend in Vienna. Slovakia and finally, Budapest in Hungary, total distance 296Km and dependent on how much sightseeing I do, three to four weeks duration. When I had my old Folk boat I had intended to move to France and stay on the canal system, and one of the trips I had wanted to do in my boat travelling the canal and river Danube, out to the Black Sea. That never happened – life got in the way.
I have cycled a few rivers from source to mouth over the years, and one thing I have found out is that they all flow downhill. And the bonus with the Danube (unlike the Loire) it flows west to east, and therefore with the prevailing winds. My friend in Austria tells me it gets very hot there in summer (my Achilles heel), I find cycling in the heat a real challenge – On the Compostela, I suffered in the hills from the blistering heat, and found myself pushing on in the cool morning air, packing in at around midday, then if short on mileage a few miles late in the afternoon.
Checking with my friend (he is English, married to a German lass, moving to Wien from Canada, that is where we met, and where he was living at that time). Peter tells me that April-May can still be cold (the average, temperature in April, 10 degrees but can drop to 1 degree – May 16 but again can drop to 6 degrees). But better that than during the height of summer when it can get unbearable, (23 degrees and as high as 27 degrees). I am much more likely to have rain during the early part of the journey the Black Forest is notorious for rain. The start of the journey is not the soars of the river Danube, but the Baar Plateau 1094m, and it is not uncommon to find snow at this height in April, it is only later that the rivers Breg and Brigach rivers merge into the Danube, so it is a compromise.
One of the big advantages of going in April-May is that it will be much quieter and easier to get into the Youth Hostels (the schoolchildren and students are still hard at work) and travel much cheaper too if booked up early.
The other big draw for me, I can time it so I will be in Wien for the May Day holiday (1st of May) the old Labour holiday here at home is still big in Europe and more so in Austria, with lots of beer drinking and Jazz bands a real national party.
Preparation, keep turning pedals over the summer months to keep some sort of fitness. Travel very light, (stay in YH and B&B) if it is cold and wet I will need a shower, washing facilities, and a dry bed for the night. And finally, keep dodging the undertaker.
I enjoyed the company of my first real visitor in over a year. I probably blethered on and on, like Stanly meeting up with his old pal Livingston, so much to say after long isolation.
I show off our garden, still not a lot to show as yet, for it has been an uphill battle, first with the plants having to stay indoors for too long therefore they became leggy. Then when we did eventually get them out into the cold frame and finally planted out in their permanent positions in the garden, they suffered overnight frost, which claimed a few. Those plants that survived all of that, succumbed, first to the birds, pulling them out by the roots, then when the young rabbits came along they found them to their liking, nibbling them right down to ground level. Who said gardening was easy?