Hot Days on the Riverside: From Flaach to Basel to Montbéliard

Sunday 28 June 2015: Flaasch to Basel My heart is thumping GOOD MORNING as I climb out of Flaach to the clamber and clang of church bells. It’s 9:45 am and sweat rivulets down my face and back. I pass fields of corn, wheat, beetroot, sunflowers, capsicum, cows and sheep. Kirchen, a sign on the side of the road promises. A man in a bucket hat is up a ladder picking cherries into a woven basket. His wife sits at a red and white checked cloth covered table with punnets of the fruit ready for sale. Rolling down towards the river …

Continue Reading

The Rhine Delta and Konstanz to Flaach- 26th & 27th June 2015 (Days 33 &34)

Friday 26 June 2015: The Rhine Delta to Konstanz The day is stunning and summery as I ride along the Rhine Delta toward Lake Constance (or the Bodensee as it’s called locally). I turn onto a small road marked by a sign promising Erdbeere and soon find myself resting on a bench, a diminishing punnet of perfect June strawberries resting on my knee. They are all I could want: firm, full, juicy, sweet but with a fresh bit of tang as well. As I sit,eating one after another, the farmer drives past – his tractor loaded with trays of berries just …

Continue Reading

The Rhine and Lake Constance … I’ve heard of those – 25 June (Day 32)

Aldi is called Hoffer in Austria and before leaving Bludenz I get an Austrian SIM card here for less that EUR 2. Sarah and Tobi had helped me research my options – to keep using my Italian SIM is too pricey – and the Hoffer card looks a good deal. Now if I can just make it work. I’ll need help from tonight’s host with the German, I think. I won’t say that more of my German has returned but I am feeling more confident about using the little I have. My ear seems to be tuning more to the sounds …

Continue Reading

I’ve Ridden Over an Alpine Pass – Now what? Indecision in Austria (Day 30 – 23 June)

My first morning in Austria hasn’t begun well. It’s rained overnight and I wake to find a fairly significant puddle between the floor of my tent and the footprint (groundcloth) and some water has gotten into the tent as well. I think it’s a combination of a poorly chosen site and signs that this tent – beloved as it is – may be on its last legs. The rain has stopped falling but the sky is heavy and the morning is cool. As I lie in my tent and contemplate the tasks ahead I want to be someplace else. It’s …

Continue Reading

Climbing to Austria (Days 26 – 29, 19 – 22 June 2015)

Friday 19 June In Meran I seem to have left behind the last of the immigrants – everyone has been white and mostly German-speaking since I left that city for the smaller towns between here and the border. The climb is now more discernible but still, mostly – but by no mean always – gentle. From Naturns to Laas I follow the narrowing and increasingly torrid river. Cycleway-side cafes advertise Forst Beer, pretzels and sausages. And yet all around me – Italians, whether they like it or not. Late in the day I stop for a coffee and fantastic apple …

Continue Reading

On the Divide: The Cities of Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol (Bolzano/Bozen & Merano/Meran)

Days 22 – 24  (15 – 17 June 2015) Monday 15 June – From Rovereto to Bolzano I wake to the sound of the nearby church bells striking seven and pedal away at 8:15 only to stop at the first café I see. I take my cappuccino and Germanic pastry (apples, nuts, some sort of cheese) at a table on a cobblestone square with a view of Neptune’s ass – the café is behind a statue/fountain. A couple seated nearby are switching between German and Italian through out their conversation and, as I’m getting ready to go, they ask about my …

Continue Reading

Along the Adige River Toward Old Austria (Days 20 & 21 – 13 & 14 June 2015)

Saturday 13 June – Firenze to Verona I could take the train from Firenze to Verona with changes in Prato and Bologna, but manoeuvring the bicycle and the bags on and off trains and through stations is a pain best avoided when possible. I haven’t ridden in days. I’m keen to get back on the bicycle and just ride. So I set out to cover the 20 or so kilometres to Prato and skip one transfer. I won’t say it’s a mistake – because I am glad to be back in the saddle – but it’s a pretty shitty ride. …

Continue Reading

Leaving Australia – Flying Forever – Arriving Finally in Milan

The longest day in my life where flying becomes all I am. But that time now acts as a solid space between before my trip and on my trip.

Continue Reading