Gone Bike About...

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On this trip we cycled three months in Europe on the way to Latin America and three months again on our return. This certainly justifies a little rant and rave about the places that made an impression on us.

We have decided to exclude meals and accommodation in private homes to eliminate long queues on your doorsteps at unearthly hours of the morning! You know who you are and your personal touch was greatly appreciated. Thanks a million!

Breakfasts

Best – Glasgow, Scotland Fresh juice, coffee, Earl Grey tea,  bacon, sausages, black pudding, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans (optional!), potato cakes, muesli, fresh fruit salad, yoghurt, cheese, and cold cuts in addition to the standard continental breakfast.

Runner-up – Ireland  Irish fry-ups in B & Bs came in second place, not far behind.

Picnics

Best – France and Spain These two countries are a cyclists’ dream when it comes to shopping for picnics. Villages aren’t far apart and abound in local specialities ranging from cured duck and homemade cheeses to olives and oysters fresh from the beach. Yum, yum!

Dinners

Best – France and Spain The same two countries win hands down again for their multi-course evening meals. We gorged out on fresh seafood, patés, hearty casseroles, paellas, duck and tapas, to name but a few. And of course, for Kurt, the exceptional local wines added an extra touch after a long day on the bike!

Most Scenic Routes

Tarn Gorge, France 60 Km of gorgeous, colourful rock formations along the Tarn River, where all the traffic is on the Kayaks below.

Picos de Europa, Spain A few days worth of gorges, alpine scenery, caves and cute villages was definitely a highlight of our trip to Northern Spain.

Ria de Aveiro, Portugal For some quiet coastal scenery, it’s hard to beat the Ria de Aveiro, where the colourful painted boats on the white sand beaches are picture postcard material… and it’s all flat!

Brittany coastline, France Pink granite boulders, tonnes of medieval towns, castles, lighthouses, megalithic tombs, cliffs and beaches make for very entertaining scenery. The only drawback was that the weather was just as varied.

Favorite Sites

St. Just, Brittany, France Dating back to 4500BC, St Just is an amazing site of megalithic burial chambers, standing stones, passage graves and dolmens. A full afternoon is required to view the lot.

The Guggenheim, Spain The Guggenheim art museum in Bilbao is a must see for it’s unique architecture and imposing impression. Let yourself be inspired by its shapes, texture, curves, colour and reflections.

Palais Ideal, France A prime example of what one man, with a creative idea and a determination to match, can achieve. Absolutely unique, and fascinating to visit.

Cudillero, Asturias, Spain This cute, colourful fishing village built back up the hill is a great place to explore, before wining and dining in style. ¡Buen provecho!

Medieval towns, France We found it impossible to single one out. What they all have in common is a beautiful plaza where you can enjoy a tasty sandwich in the shade of a tree. Then, they always have some little treat in store for you… more would be telling!

Favourite Cities

Oporto, Portugal A beautiful waterfront location, ornate churches, decorative shopfronts, azulejos detail and its proximity to Atlantic coast beaches make Oporto a very enjoyable destination.

Lisbon, Portugal Lisbon boasts huge plazas, wide boulevards, stately buildings, as well as impressive museums and monuments. Walking round this laid-back city, it’s hard to believe it’s the capital.

Barcelona, Spain Now that’s what we call a city!  Soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere in this happening melting pot. Enjoy a cafe on the Ramblas, check out the Gaudi legacies, stoll along the beach and gorge in excellent catalan cuisine… and that’s only for starters!

Bordeaux, France If you like tranquility in a beautiful city, give Bordeaux a go. And don’t forget to check out the local vineyards.

Amsterdam, Holland As trendy as Barcelona, Amsterdam has the added charm of canals and barges… with most commuters on two wheels.

Brussels, Belgium The European parliment brings quite the international feel to this city where the senses are constantly being teased by aromas and mouth-watering delicacies.

Best Cycling Infrastructure

France, Britain and Switzerland all have beautiful marked cycling routes, but it was only when we hit Holland that we realised what perfection really is. We can’t judge Dutch drivers, as we seldom crossed their paths!

Worst Drivers

Galicia, Spain If it weren’t for the northern coastal road in Galicia, we wouldn’t have to mention bad drivers in Europe. Save yourself a life-threatening situation in Galicia and stick to the mountains, where traffic is reduced to a few cows!

Europe part 1 (plan/map)

Europe part 2 (plan/map)