Author: Chris and Gabs – September 30th, 2018
Cycling for… 88 days
Pedaling over… 2916km
Through… 6 countries
Currently… approaching Italy!
Raising so far… £3,077.81
As wild camping is forbidden in Germany, finding places to camp proved a little more challenging. C&G would usually ask farmers or locals if they could camp in his/her field or garden for the night!
The most beautiful area has been…
The River Rhine is surrounded by beautiful castles, mountains and farmland which is full of delicious fruits and vegetables, some of which the famers would allow C&G to use for their evening. Gabs particularly enjoyed trying the famous Black Forest Gateau!
C&G found the history behind a town called Lorelai in the Rhine region particularly interesting…‘The story goes that a young lady with long blonde hair and a beautiful voice was called Lorelei. She was a mermaid who fell in love with a human so came ashore in the form of a farmer’s daughter to see him. However, the young man did not love her back. So from then on she sat on a rock overlooking the river serenading the water with sad songs. The beauty of both her voice and appearance was so enchanting that she distracted the sailors and caused them to crash their ships into the rocks and drown.’
Language barrier or just farmers fun…
C&G were looking for a place to stay so asked a farmer but he spoke no English.
This is often the case for C&G which is why they have language cards in 67 different languages that have helpful phases to assist them with their travels.
They used their language cards and he nodded his head to signal yes! (Fab, they thought…) He led them to a small lawned area at the back of a church where they set up camp for the night.
They were thrilled that their tent and banner were getting so much interest as they were in a prime spot by the church, right in the centre of the village.
All was well until a priest came running over asking questions in German! Luckily a young German boy walked past and translated for them. It turned out that the land the farmer offered belonged to the church. The priest was very nice about it but to this day, C&G wonder if the farmer did that on purpose to amuse himself – but for them it all added to the fun and games of their travels!
Generous German hosts
Maria and Burt
C&G were in a place called Grefrath calling into a bike shop, as they entered a lovely lady came dashing over as she was very interested in their bikes. Maria, an employee from the shop, insisted C&G stay overnight with her. Chris said that ‘Maria was one of those people that has a heart of gold’.
The Family in Mainz
C&G were struggling to find a place to stay when they were approached by a German man that was very interested in their tour. He welcomed them to stay with him and his family down the road in Mainz. That evening, they kindly invited C&G to join them at the Mainz Wine festival.
Black Forest Family
C&G were looking for a place to camp in the Black Forest buteverywhere was on the edge of the mountain. They were about to give up until a lovely family invited them to stay! They were a larger family which included their 94 year old Grandmother. C&G enjoyed sitting with them around their dining table and sharing stories.
C&G feel that the Swiss Alps has been the most beautiful place so far. The cycling has been tough but stunning. They found the Swiss extremely friendly and felt that locals had a genuine interest in their story.
Chris.. watch out for the..!
‘’We were Cycling in the Mountains of Switzerland and stopped to look at some young goats. However, Chris didn’t quite notice the electric fence…which he described as having enough voltage going through it to drop a horse! He won’t be doing that in such a rush any time soon.’’
What a small world…
‘We were approached by a lady in a Swiss supermarket carpark. She had lived in Switzerland for over 30 years but was originally from near Blackpool in a village only 2 miles from where we lived! Her mother also lives in the same place as Gab’s mum, what a coincidence!’
Later that day C&G knocked on a door of a stranger asking for a place to camp and were kindly offered their garden right on the lake.
Later on they discovered that the lady from the carpark earlier that day was actually the best friend of the lovely strangers whose door they randomly knocked on! What a small world.
Do as the locals do!
In Switzerland its quite a regular sight to see locals floating down the river…it’s a tradition, especially in the Basel area, to put your clothes in a dry bag after work and float down the river Rhine – so of course C&G gave it a go!
Thoughts and feelings…
Chris said,‘so far everything is great, we are certainly getting stronger and fitter by the day. Gabs’ bike is 60kg and she has managed to cycle every mountain pass without getting off, mine is 95kg.’
After a full week of climbing mountain passes, Chris’ legs began to feel tired so they had a day off in Wassen before hitting the Gotthard Pass.
‘On the whole we are much stronger and fitter than 9 weeks ago, especially Gabs! You don’t really notice as you are cycling everyday, but you can see your body shape physically changing with weight loss and muscle gain, so no need to worry about how many calories you eat, more the merrier!’
Chris and Gabs plan to cycle to the Italian lakes and then through to Venice!