Sometime in the mists of 2009, Andrew Black and I hatched the scheme to do a bit of cycle touring in Europe in the northern spring of 2010. Spring, so that the weather would be good, but there wouldn't be hordes of other tourists swarming everywhere. The plan started off as 3 months of touring i think, but over time evolved to 5 weeks. In order that he didn't court divorce, the plan was that Andrew and I would ride for 3 weeks or so, then we would meet up with Monique (his wife) and their two ankle biters Markus and Sinclair (and their au pair Liane - Monique's mother) somewhere in Norway. Andrew could then spend a few days with them while sending me off into the Norwegian wilderness, and then perhaps catch up with me for a few last days of Scandanavian pedalling.
We needed a cunning strategy for deciding where to ride and what the itinerary should be, without getting into all sorts of debates, arguments etc. The strategy that quickly emerged was that I would organize everything and plan the entire route and Andrew wouldn't complain about any aspect of it whatsoever. As it turned out, this worked admirably!
The route did turn out to be a little bit involved on the scale of things [large image of above map], because of desires to visit several different places - this was going to be our Europe sampler. Next time (!), we would certainly make an itinerary that involved less train/bus/plane connections - in fact, a plan of heading to the French Alpes has already reached an embryonic stage of development...
Anyway, we flew into Lisbon, rode north in Portugal for 3 days, trained (and bussed as it turned out) to San Sebastian in northern Spain, rode in the Spanish Pyrenees for 6 days, trained to Barcelona, saw sights for a day, trained to Toulouse, rode the Canal du Midi for 4 days, trained to Nice, stayed with a friend of Monique's mother, flew to Oslo, met up with Monique et al, trained to Bergen, rode southwestern Norway, trained to Oslo and then parted ways. After a day in Goteborg, i met up with Andrew and co in Stockholm for a final day or two. Then, I headed to the US for a week of work and a bit of sightseeing, while the Blacks headed home. Quite a trip!
Below are just a few panoramic shots that I stitched together - they don't reallly do the trip justice. If you want to get a better feeling for the scenery, and read more about the trip, you will have to delve into the links at the top of the page, which are paraphrased from the blog that I kept during the trip to keep Jacqui and Monique informed.
To summarize though, it was a ripper of a trip, and we are hungry for more!