A Grand Cycle Tour Of Europe, Perhaps

I received an email from Pete in New Zealand earlier this week. He is a man with a great, or should I say ‘grand’ plan. He explains that he is soon to move back to Europe from down under and will be living near Turin, Italy on his return to the old continent. And at this point, I will let Pete explain his mouth-watering cycling plan in his own words;

“My ultimate dream route would consist of heading down Italy then island hop back to France via Sardinia and Corsica along the coast to Spain down to Gibraltar (possible side trip to Morocco) continuing along to the north coast of Spain to catch boat to the UK. After visiting friends in the UK I would head across Netherlands, France, Germany to Berlin and then head back down through Germany to visit some extended family and then back to Italy to finish the route. An alternate to island hopping after Italy is go the other side to Croatia up to Germany and then do my loop in reverse.”

How wonderful is that!

Now, I don’t want to stretch a comparison too far but Turin is in a wonderful position for doing any kind of cycling in the same way that my home town of Reading is just perfect if you are into trains. You can head north, east, south or west to discover new places but in the case of Turin, these are little more alluring than Southampton of Didcot. North are, of course, the Alps, south is the Italian Riviera, east is the plain of northern Italy towards Venice and west is Provence and the French Riviera. Mmm…

Pete’s plans also remind me of my own unfulfilled tentative project to hop my way back from southern Italy via a series of ferries and a bit of cycling. It never came to fruition as I had no time or money and I flew back instead but I set out my plan back in April 2009 as follows;

“Now, if you are a keen follower of this blog, you will remember way back in August 2008, I did suggest that a possible way to return from Puglia would be by ferry. And here is the route. I never looked into the ferry route in any detail last year but it looks as though it is entirely possible. Cross country to Salerno on the west coat of Italy, ferry to Olbia in Sardinia, ferry to Genova on the Italian Riviera, ferry to Barcelona in Spain, cross country to Bilbao in northern Spain, ferry to Portsmouth in southern England and then a relatively short cycle to Reading and home. Wow. I think my Puglia 2010 odyssey has just become a round trip. How feasible is this I wonder? The total ferry time is 2 days and 10 hours. I could even cycle from Brindisi to Salerno, across Spain and then from Portsmouth to Reading. The cycling there may add another 8-10 days, so in total, a return ferry journey would add about 10 – 14 days to the journey. The whole trip, from Reading to Puglia and back would be feasible in 6 weeks. I would simply have to set off more or less immediately after having finsihed work in summer 2010; the weekend of the 24th/25th July 2010. Let’s say Sunday 25th July 2010, a week earlier than I planned.”

I never did of course and my dates are, in hindsight, optomistic to say the least. In the end I set off on the 18th July 2010 and made it to Brindisi in southern Italy on the 22nd August so it is debatable whether I could have done the ferry thing and been back in my classroom on the 1st September… I do like dreaming however and hope Pete has more success with his island hopping than I did with my ferry-hopping.

Categories: Cycling

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1 reply »

  1. Thanks for the mention.

    I picked up the cycle touring bug after doing a UK End to End and have been looking to do more. I am really hoping to make even part of the adventure a reality but at the moment is in the early planning stages.

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