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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Travelling in Europe

    If you could travel and/or cycletour anywhere in Europe, what part of Europe would you pick?

    I'd like to travel everywhere, and hopefully eventually I will be able to, but meanwhile, I'll be limited to about 3 weeks this summer so I have to pick and choose ... and I'm a bit torn about where I want to go.

    What would your vote be? And why?

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    1 week; Loire Valley (France)
    3 weeks; London to Bilbao (Spain) (take boat back to England from here)

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    Southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Northern Italy, big mountains though

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    as you wish, skeletor. ephemeralskin's Avatar
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    i am thinking about doing: southern germany, the danube, austria, hungary, czech republic, back through germany, netherlands, belgium, england, wales.

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    I spent two weeks in Tuscany and Umbria last May, had an excellent time. Very scenic, very cycle-friendly (at least the parts I was in), lots of history and culture in Florence, which is about as big a city as I care to visit. I'm hoping that my next trip over will be longer and I will try to take in Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica, as well as the part of Tuscany north of Florence.

    In France, the Pyrenees are beautiful, and not as touristy as the Alps. That whole region has a very remote feeling to it.

    The Scottish Highlands are pretty, especially the west coast, but the weather can be iffy. The Hebrides Islands are a great place to island hop with a bicycle, take the ferries from island to island.

    Wales is very scenic, the Lon Las Cymru (Welsh National Cycle Route) is an excellent ride.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    If it's August it could be hot in the south? Of course, three years ago it was hot everywhere. August, I'd probably go for the north. Germany, Loire. Normandy. Ireland. We were just there. The part we saw it was narrow roads, impatient traffic.
    If it's hot everywhere, I'd select three regions. Tuscany, Burgundy or right where we presently live. ROussillon, Garscone. Those departments are backed up to the Pyrenees. And the traffic is respectful of cyclists.

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    Senior Member joeprim's Avatar
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    Just 3 weeks someplace not too big Ireland or Scotland. Won't have too much trouble with the language. Unless you want to see the TdF I'd skip France. Did you read Koffee's write up on Itialy?

    HTH
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    Member Zommaz's Avatar
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    Greece

    Because I think it's a beautiful & special place.

  9. #9
    Senior Member eric von zipper's Avatar
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    Geez, there are a lot of choices when it comes to Europe! How about taping a map to the wall and throw a dart at it, that would be your start point. Throw another and that could be your end point...let the darts decide! Let us know how it works out.
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    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    How about the real North Europe, such as Tour de Baltic Sea: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia (?), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany. Or the other way 'round. With your experience, it just might be doable in three weeks. Or, if you'd rather take it easy, take a ferry for part of the Tour, there are many connections accross the sea.

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    Senior Member Alex L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha
    How about the real North Europe, such as Tour de Baltic Sea: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia (?), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany. Or the other way 'round. With your experience, it just might be doable in three weeks. Or, if you'd rather take it easy, take a ferry for part of the Tour, there are many connections accross the sea.

    --J
    A good travelogue about that route is here. Many things have changed at least in former SU part of the route since 1996, but it was interesting to read anyway. No comments on Baltic States part, I made only kayaking tour of Latvia twenty years ago, but I think the Russian part isnít best place for bike touring. I prefer wilderness here. There are many places to see in St. Petersburg and I love this city, however cycling there isnít good idea unfortunately, in contrast to Scandinavian cities.

    Alexey

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeprim
    Just 3 weeks someplace not too big Ireland or Scotland. Won't have too much trouble with the language. Unless you want to see the TdF I'd skip France.

    Joe

    Well, to narrow the options down a bit ....

    France will be one of the countries I visit because I will be doing the PBP from August 20-24th. Also I enjoyed France when I was there in 2003, and I know how to speak the language much better this time, so I'm anxious to practice.

    I think I'm sort of leaning toward Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, and possibly into Italy.

    I haven't heard too much about Spain recently ... has anyone toured there?

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha
    How about the real North Europe, such as Tour de Baltic Sea: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia (?), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany. Or the other way 'round. With your experience, it just might be doable in three weeks. Or, if you'd rather take it easy, take a ferry for part of the Tour, there are many connections accross the sea.

    --J

    That tour is definitely on the list ... but probably not for this summer. I'd like to spend a little more than 3 weeks doing that one.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf
    Wales is very scenic, the Lon Las Cymru (Welsh National Cycle Route) is an excellent ride.
    I toured Wales in 2003, and loved it!! That is one place I'd like to return to ... especially a little town called Hay on Wye. It was absolutely filled with bookstores. I could have happily spent a week in the vicinity of that town.

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    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    From what I saw in a brief stay in Bulgaria, Eastern Europe is incredibly cheap. At a nice restaraunt I got soup, a beer, a nice main dish and coffee for about 6.50 USD.

    I hope to return eventually, but the cost of airfare makes me want to go elsewhere first (south america?).

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hocam
    From what I saw in a brief stay in Bulgaria, Eastern Europe is incredibly cheap. At a nice restaraunt I got soup, a beer, a nice main dish and coffee for about 6.50 USD.

    I hope to return eventually, but the cost of airfare makes me want to go elsewhere first (south america?).
    About two months ago, Air Canada had an incredible sale on ... your choice of about a dozen destinations in Europe for about $250. I almost dropped everything and went!!

    Right now Calgary to Paris is about $750 ... actually, that's not bad at all. I'm a bit surprised!

  17. #17
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    get our way Machka , look us up. We have both the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean at our back door. On a clear day one can see both. Riding down the coast is maginifique. Aug. can be quite warm. I like to ride early in the AM or after 5, should it be hot. Atop a scenic outlook over the sea, a quick sip of Banyuls energizes one for the return.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Well, to narrow the options down a bit ....

    France will be one of the countries I visit because I will be doing the PBP from August 20-24th. Also I enjoyed France when I was there in 2003, and I know how to speak the language much better this time, so I'm anxious to practice.

    I think I'm sort of leaning toward Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, and possibly into Italy.
    My absolute favorite touring region ANYWHERE is in SW France in and around the Lot & Dordogne river valleys. The landscape is gorgeous, there's tons to see and do, and as in most of France, there is a superb network of nearly-deserted secondary roads.
    I would strongly urge you to head south after (or before) the PBP, or far to the east, as opposed to simply heading toward the Belgian border. The only part of France which I have found to be pretty dull for touring is far northern France between Paris and the Belgian border.
    Other regions of France which I have enjoyed include Auvergne, the Loire Valley, Alsace, Pyrenees, Alps, Normandy, Brittany, & Provence (inland, not coastal, which has too much traffic).
    I think that a fair number of folks seem to be intimidated by, or afraid of, the French language. Since you speak some French and are anxious to practice, you'll find touring in France to be extremely rewarding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Well, to narrow the options down a bit ....

    France will be one of the countries I visit because I will be doing the PBP from August 20-24th. Also I enjoyed France when I was there in 2003, and I know how to speak the language much better this time, so I'm anxious to practice.

    I think I'm sort of leaning toward Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, and possibly into Italy.

    I haven't heard too much about Spain recently ... has anyone toured there?
    If you're going to France, you're already in some excellent touring country. If you've improved your French since the last visit, you'll have an even better time this time around.

    Never been to Spain, but the British cycling forums (another cycling forum, cycling plus) have a lot of people talking about Spain, seems like a really popular destination. Don't know about the temps in August, though.

    Hay on Wye is a neat little town, I agree.

  20. #20
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    fully agree about south west france

    And also, we've had a lot of pleasure in South Mid France - one tour in particular, starting in Saintes Marie de la Mer, in an area known as the Camargue, famous for wild white horses and for flamingoes, both prolific on Mediterranean salt flats - and then trundling a bit north east into Provence, passing over Mont Ventoux (every cyclist's pilgrimage) and up into the Auvergne. Can't go wrong, it's all good!

    We also had a wonderful trip a couple of summers ago going from Helsinki (Finland) to Stockholm (Sweden). A bit short for you - for us and a group of happy but not too gung-ho friends, it was a week of 40-60 mile days, using quiet roads and a lot of ferries among all the islands that link Finland and Sweden. (Aland archipelego). Just lovely. I'll pm you a trip report if you like.

    Otherwise, why not just come and ride with us in Sunny Bahrain on Sea? Oh....ok....ok....I see your point.....ok, maybe not then!

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    I would do South France and Corsica.
    Why? I love France, and Corsica is my favourite part of France (haven't travelled it all yet though).
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  22. #22
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    Machka,

    If you want to give your French a good workout and save on travel costs, consider a trip to la belle province. Charlevoix is awesome: Hang out in what must be the most beautiful city in Canada (Quebec), travel along the historic av. Royale, savour the villages, the Laurentian mountains meeting the sea, whales, forests, parks, and even a meteor crater. If you travel east from Quebec City to, say, Tadoussac, you can easily add an equally beautiful trip north to visit the fiords of the Saguenay River. (I have not travelled in Saguenay by bicycle because I think it would require camping, which I don't do.)

    But if it is Europe you want, France is hard to beat.
    Last edited by acantor; 02-07-07 at 10:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j3ns
    I would do South France and Corsica.
    Why? I love France, and Corsica is my favourite part of France (haven't travelled it all yet though).
    Corsica! I forgot about Corsica. Thanks for reminding me. Corsica is fantastic for biking.

  24. #24
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    Hi axolotl,
    Glad to see you still alive. The French trip is still under construction;I am still waiting for the wife to sort out her holidays. I have booked flights for Sicily in May, so I hope to make France in August. I cycled in -34 C this morning. Can't wait for the Italian sunshine. I also think Corsica is great.

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor
    Machka,

    If you want to give your French a good workout and save on travel costs, consider a trip to la belle province. Charlevoix is awesome: Hang out in what must be the most beautiful city in Canada (Quebec), travel along the historic av. Royale, savour the villages, the Laurentian mountains meeting the sea, whales, forests, parks, and even a meteor crater. If you travel east from Quebec City to, say, Tadoussac, you can easily add an equally beautiful trip north to visit the fiords of the Saguenay River. (I have not travelled in Saguenay by bicycle because I think it would require camping, which I don't do.)

    But if it is Europe you want, France is hard to beat.

    I was in Quebec last summer.


    Yes, it is Europe I want ... because of the Paris-Brest-Paris.

    And if the weather is HOT, all the better!! I'm so tired of cold, cold, cold. Even the summers here next to the Rockies are cooler than I like.

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