Adventure

Crossing Europe On Trains, Ferries… And A Bike Called Reggie: Part One

Warning! There are some pretty pictures and videos in this post…

…but I also need your opinions.

Scroll to the foot of the post for more information…


I don’t write murder mysteries. This is why I have no problem in revealing to anyone who hasn’t read Spain to Norway on a Bike Called Reggie, the book’s penultimate paragraph.

The MS Lofoten docked in Bergen the following Monday afternoon. I stayed overnight in the city before catching a ferry to Hirtshals, in Denmark. Following a somewhat convoluted train-hopping journey down the length of Jutland, I returned to Hamburg to pay a second visit to my friends Dominic, Annet and their children. More beer was consumed before I caught a succession of trains through Germany and the Netherlands in the direction of the coast. There I discovered that ‘Rotterdam’ as defined by P&O Ferries differed by some 20 km from my definition of Rotterdam so it was back on Reggie for a short, flat trip along the river to where the overnight ferry to Hull was waiting beside the dock.

A pleasantly prosaically perfunctory account of my journey – of several thousand kilometres – from northern Norway back home to Britain. It was, as suggested by the use of the expression ‘somewhat convoluted‘, a little more involved than the short paragraph would imply. Briefly (although not as briefly as in the extract…), I caught the fabulous Fjordline ferry from Bergen in Norway to Hirtshals in Denmark (via Stavanger)…


…followed by a large number of trains (note the number of tickets – there were engineering works taking place on the main line and a detour was required via most train stations in Denmark) through Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein in Germany to Hamburg…


…then, after a couple of days staying the friends in Hamburg, three more trains through Germany and The Netherlands to Rotterdam…

IMG_6658IMG_6661

…before another short cycle, an even shorter ferry ride across the sea canal west of Rotterdam and a longish cycle to the Hook of Holland…


…a ferry across the North Sea to Hull…

IMG_6676

…and, finally, a train from the east coast of Yorkshire to Huddersfield station (from where I cycled home).

I loved every minute of the journey, despite its comical complexity. Here’s my diary for that week:

IMG_6679

Great fun was had!

For anyone who, like me, has a serious dislike for taking their bicycle on a plane (or rather seeing it disappear down the shoot of destiny in the direction of a baggage handling facility at an airport – see number 7 in my list of Top Tips for Cycling Europe), combining a long cycling journey with trains and ferries can be the answer to all your problems. It all comes down to the attitude of the ferry and train companies and their willingness to constitute the problem-free filling in a cycling – ferry/train – cycling sandwich. As you can see from reading the above, back in the late summer of 2015 as I made my way home from Nordkapp to Huddersfield, without exception, every single company that transported me and Reggie – Hurtigruten, Fjordline, DSB in Denmark, Deutsche Bahn in GermanyNederlandse Spoorwegen in The Netherlands, P&O Ferries and Trans Pennine Express here in the UK – did a faultless job.

The reason I’ve brought all this up now is because I was recently asked to contribute my thoughts about travelling by train in Europe from the perspective of a cyclist for a report called The Great Train Comparison. It’s published on Wednesday 23rd May and makes for interesting reading. All will be revealed in a few days in Crossing Europe On Trains, Ferries… And A Bike Called Reggie: Part Two.

Opinions needed!

In the meantime, I’d be interested in your thoughts and experiences of combining cycling and train travel. Have your say and I may well quote you:

IMG_6697

Advertisements

2 replies »

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s