I spend more time doing that than doing, if that makes sense. The focus of my recent thoughts has been the Spanish portion of my 2015 ride along the Eurovelo 3 from Santiago de Compostela to Trondheim (and then North Cape via the Eurovelo 1). A Twitter twit posed the following question a few weeks ago: “who is interested in a cycling journey from Santiago de Compostela?“. I didn’t like his tone and ignored the tweet but I clearly haven’t forgotten it. He suggested in a follow up missive that if I really was intent upon writing another book about such a trip (I don’t think he was a fan of the first two), I would be better off starting at the point where I stopped my 2013 journey at the Cape St. Vincent in southern Portugal. He did of course make his point in 140 (or fewer) characters…
I could kind of see his point but it would have been better made if I were planing to follow a route in 2015 along the Atlantic Coast. I wasn’t (and I’m not – I haven’t had a change of mind in that respect). I’ll leave it to others to tick off having cycled the entire coastline of Europe. I think I gave up on that ambition when I didn’t turn left in Venice and lost any credible claim to such an achievement when I turned right in Valencia and cycled off through the Spanish interior in order to be in with a fighting chance of arriving in Portugal by the end of August. Then I noticed the film trailer that I mentioned in the previous post. That team of adventurers cycled, rowed, walked and climbed in a straight line from Lands End to John O’Groats. It’s a simple but great idea and it immediately caught my attention. I like the point to point thing; that’s why I extended my version of the Eurovelo 8 in 2013 to set off from the south eastern corner of Europe at Cape Sounio (not Athens) with my destination being the Cape St. Vincent (not Cadiz). One corner of the continent to another; a real crossing of Europe.
It all begs the question as to why I am not planning to do something similar next year. I don’t have an answer to that question other than to note that it is indeed a good question. An iconic point to an iconic point. At the end of my journey will be the North Cape in Norway, the most northerly point of mainland Europe (well it isn’t but let’s not let such trivialities ruin a good story – there’s a bit of land to the west that is every so slightly further north but there isn’t a road…) so surely my starting point should be the southern tip of Europe. That can be found just a few kilometres west of Gibraltar near the town of Tarifa. The change in distance compared to that from Santiago de Compostela is only a matter of a few days worth of cycling so the timetable isn’t thrown completely out of the window but my decision is made.
My 2015 cycle will be another complete crossing of the continent from Tarifa in Spain to North Cape in Norway. (Until, that is, someone sends me a tweet to suggest otherwise…)