Travelling through Europe by bike: 13 months, 13 countries, collecting 1300€ donations per month for a UNICEF project in the Ivory Coast
1st May 2022
Have you seen our „April – our GREEN month“ posts? Every day we posted about topics that concern our environment. Have a look – in our „Menü“ or just click on the green button on our front page above! 💚🌍
26th April 2022
Grand Est – part 3: From Nancy to Luxembourg
We continued along the water which, shortly after Nancy, turned into the river Moselle. This part of France could definitely also be in many parts of Germany! Probably lots of places throughout Central Europe look like this.
We stopped in Metz for a coffee – similar number of inhabitants but totally different to Nancy, the houses‘ stone a few shades darker. As it was Easter Monday all the cafés were full, people enjoyed the sunshine.
There were no campsites open – in comparison to southern Europe, many open only in May… Puh, we hadn’t thought of that! But we got lucky – we passed a beautiful outdoor café, stopped and asked whether we could stay there for the night. So we stayed on a horse farm! 🐴😍 The only annoying thing: in the morning we woke up with (not exaggerating!) at least 70 slugs on our tent… It took as at least 30 minutes to get them off! 🙈😂
Our last day cycling in France was 19th April, the day we arrived in Luxembourg.
25th April 2022
Grand Est – part 2: From Strasbourg to Nancy
We loved the cycling route from Strasbourg to Nancy: it was all along the „Canal de la Marne au Rhin“ which is also the cycling path Eurovélo 5. Particularly the „Vallée des eclusiers“ was lovely! 🏞️🛥️
We thought we’d take three days for this route. Then we decided to try to do 110km on the second day, so we could spend one more evening with Jacob’s brother and his girlfriend who came to see us in Nancy. And, yes, we managed! 😁🚲🎉 Our personal record of kilometres in one day! 💪
Nancy is a 100,000 people-town with quite a few great buildings! Especially the „Place Stanlislas“ is impressive! And it also offers a lot for people that are interested in Art Nouveau!
Thanks for visiting, Philipp and Luisa ❤️
Next: Continuing our route towards Luxembourg – not far anymore.
24th April 2022
Grand Est – part 1: Our time in Strasbourg
We spent three days in this very international city – and immediately fell in love with it! 😍
We experienced people to be open-minded and (for the first time in France) people also spoke English with us – this might be due to its position as a European Union city, we think. It was part of Germany a few times, so many spoke German as well; but still if you want to you can speak French everywhere. We liked that!
Also, there were so many cyclists on the roads, the city is simply beautiful and we were also very lucky with the weather. Only for the second time on our tour so far we can say: We could imagine living in this city! 😊
And it were some special days for us as we met 7 friends and colleagues of ours ❤️ What a lovely stay, thanks for meeting us!
Thank you also to L’Increvable for a very uncomplicated and quick bike-check! 👌🚲
23rd April 2022
Our time in Lyon
(Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes – Part 3)
We spent some days in Lyon – with one of Jacob’s sisters and her family.
We enjoyed spending time together, had lovely lazy mornings, nice meals at home in our little house on a campsite outside the city, tried some typical Lyonnais food, walked around one of France’s biggest cities and even saw the French Alps covered in snow when we looked at the city from above!
Time just flew by! Thanks for visiting, Malli, Frida and Christoph! ❤️
Next: Taking a train to Strasbourg to meet some friends and colleagues! April really is our busiest month so far, making it all possible meant/means taking the train sometimes.
21st April 2022
Thank you for this opportunity! Danke für diese Gelegenheit! 💚 @RTL Luxemburg
From Toulon to Lyon
(Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur – Part 3 / Occitanie – Part 3)
We arrived in Toulon by ferry, coming from Mallorca. The ride wasn’t so nice for us as we felt quite sick with the waves being a bit to high…
But then the next day all was forgotten – we had such a lovely comeback in France 🇫🇷 with lots of sunshine, a lovely morning in Toulon, back to the French language and baguette and cheese!
We really enjoyed the 4 days it took us to get to Lyon!! ☀️🚲
– train 🚂 to Arles via Marseille (all went well! 💪 – even though we couldn’t have done it without each other’s help)
– lunch in Arles – our favourite French town last year! So lovely! 💛
– good cycling lanes where we could cycle next to each other and, thus, actually have a real conversation on our bikes! 👌🚲 (Unfortunately, this was barely possible in Portugal and Spain as there were not many cycling lanes.)
– sleeping in our tent again – how we had missed this! 🏕️
– meeting lots of bikepackers (like François who is currently cycling to Oslo!) – that was a rare sight in the past few months!
– lunch in Avignon – we stayed there for 5 days last year, now it felt so familiar to us 💛
– taking a train again 🚂, from Avignon to Valence, as we had already done this part of the cycling path Via Rhôna last year
– cycling along the Rhône until Lyon: quite a few cute villages, some nice Roman relics in Vienne, lots of vineyards, fruit trees and nature in lovely shades of green – telling us that spring has finally arrived 💚
Even though we had been to some bits of this route last year already, it felt completely different as nature was green and fresh and people were as well – in September this part of France has already seen lots of tourists making it quite exhausting for locals, we imagine!
We love being back! Next: Some days in Lyon with family. ❤️
ATTENTION PLEASE! ☝️ACHTUNG, ACHTUNG!
Tomorrow morning, we are going to have a LIVE radio interview with RTL (Radio Télé Lëtzebuerg) in Luxembourg! 😊
You want to listen to our story and maybe also hear some Luxembourgian?
Join us here tomorrow, Thursday, 21st April 2022, at 9am – we are on right after the news!
Ihr wollt unsere Geschichte hören und vielleicht auch wissen, wie sich Luxemburgisch anhört?
Hört hier rein – morgen, Donnerstag, 21.April 2022, um kurz nach 9Uhr, direkt nach den Nachrichten!
We are super excited! Wir freuen uns sehr! 😁😍
Thank you for this opportunity! Danke für diese Gelegenheit! @Radio Lëtzebuerg
16th April 2022
Today we cracked our personal record:
110 km in one day! 🚲🚲
On a beautiful day, along a canal in France, with some tailwind supporting us!
Like this we escape a very cold night in our tent and arrive in Nancy a day early – now we stay here with Jacob’s brother and his girlfriend until Monday.
Happy Easter weekend to all! ☀️
15th April 2022
POSITIVE THINGS we stumbled upon… in Spain (part 2):
In October 2021 we spent 21 days in Northern Spain (part 1) and already posted about our positive things we experienced there and then:
getting a snack with your drink, being on the Camino = signs guiding you all the time, cycling signs for car drivers/respectful car drivers, flour in 500g packs, great options when buying train tickets at a machine, wearing masks correctly
From January to April 2022 we spent another 81 days in Spain, cycled 1234km on 28 cycling days and did 3140km by train and 700km by ferry …yes, this was quite a lazy time for us!
Spain is the country we have spent most time in on our bike-tour through Europe!!
Some more positive things we noticed:
We saw quite a few places with great street art! And quite a bite of it concerned the environment. 💚
We chose winter as our travelling time in Spain for a reason – it gets super hot in summer! We loved that you can find water fountains with drinkable water in quite a few cities!
We have mentioned this before – unfortunately, you can see a lot of waste next to roads and in nature … We were very happy when we found signs like this one! Though, actually it is a bit sad to be happy about something like that, isn’t it? 🤔😞
Your phone battery is down? Not a problem in the underground in Madrid!
We all know recycling is important. But what to do with special objects like cables? We stumbled upon some very clever solutions!
Every country we have been to on this trip tries to make people aware of their surroundings and their impact on our planet’s health. This is one example in Mallorquin – „The sea begins here“.
Some cities are full of cats – in Palma we saw a clever way of using old recycling „bins“ to make a home for them 😊.
We love cycling 🚲 – and love it when people/companies make use of bikes for work also! 💚 Way to go! 💪
11th April 2022
Bye bye southern Europe!
We spent the past 7 months in the south and enjoyed so many things there!
Many sunny hours, local products like citrus fruit and almonds, looking at the sea almost every day, being outside so much, people being relaxed and spending a lot of time with others, speaking and learning other Roman languages, lively squares in villages and towns, beautiful landscape and nice places.
Thank you for these past months and a very special winter to us! ❤️☀️
A new chapter awaits us now. Off to central and northern Europe! 🚲🚲
9th April 2022
6th April 2022
A bikepacker’s life 🚲🚲 – number 8:
People keep asking us how much our bikes including our luggage weigh. We don’t know. And we are not sure we want to know. It’s probably something between 2 and 100kg 😉😜.
See for yourselves …
4th April 2022
Mallorca – our 4th and last week
We spent 5 days in Palma with friends. What a nice feeling to stay at a home! ❤️ We’ve realised just now how much we have missed this!
What did we do in Palma?
Relaxed at home, spent time with our friends and enjoyed lovely meals together, got a haircut 😃, enjoyed walking around in the nice old part of Palma, cycled along the seaside, prepared the upcoming weeks (as April and May are going to be quite busy).
Together with our friend Pia, we did a trip into the mountains in western Mallorca: what a beautiful area! We visited the villages Fornalutx, Sóller and its port, Deià and Valldemossa. All full of beautiful small streets with stone houses and flowers, surrounded by mountains. A very memorable trip! 💚
On Saturday we said goodbye to our friends and cycled back up to Alcúdia (our town of Covid and isolation 😉). Even though we had cycled from Palma to Alcudia before, it felt completely different as we took a slightly different route – lovely views towards the mountains!
We spent 31 days on Mallorca. The idea was to stay there to „inhale“ some more sun before we head to northern Europe – haha, we had 2 days of pure sunshine and maybe 4 with a little sunshine.
There were so many things we liked on this island! People are very relaxed. Beautiful stone houses and stone walls. Great local food – once more we dived into the world of local oranges and almonds! The landscape is very varied and beautiful. And we got to finish our experience of cycling in Spain in a positive way – with so many cyclists on the island, the dogs aren’t as aggressive as on the mainland. 😎
Unfortunately, we have to say that our stay on Mallorca has also been the worst touristic experience on our trip so far! All thanks to our beloved Germans…
Somehow this is the island of Germans, they have really invaded Mallorca! Personally, we don’t like hearing our mother tongue all the time when we are travelling, as we want to experience the foreign country’s culture and language. So you can imagine that this experience here was quite shocking to us…
We are not saying Germans shouldn’t go to Mallorca anymore. But, dear Germans, don’t behave as if this were the 17th state of Germany! It isn’t, so you shouldn’t expect people to speak German everywhere – learning how to order something to drink and eat in Spanish, or at least English, cannot be too much to ask for.
Bikepackers on Mallorca are very unusual. It’s full of racing cyclists… We do understand this – the roads are great for cycling! Though you don’t own them, dear Germans! A little more respect and a ‚hello‘ wouldn’t hurt. 😉 Again, this is our own personal experience as bikepackers on Majorcan roads.
We have had a great time in Spain these past few months – muchas gracias! 🙏
Now we are looking forward to spend some weeks in France again – Bonjour, éclair! 😉
31st March 2022
April – our GREEN month
First of all:
We are not trying to teach you, we are not trying to preach to you, we just want to give you some ideas and share our thoughts. 😊
„Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.“ This means that we use a lot more than Earth can provide us with. (https://www.overshootday.org/about-earth-overshoot-day/, 30th March 2022)
Last year, Earth Overshoot Day was on 29th July – in comparison to that, in 2001 it was on 21st September. And in 1970 it was on 30th December. (https://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/past-earth-overshoot-days/, 30th March 2022).
This said, it is obvious we all need to take action to stop this from getting any worse!
During the whole month of April 2022 we are going to publish posts concerning the environment – every day you are going to find ideas and little steps that you can adopt into your life and, thus, make it a little greener. 🌍
We are not saying it is easy to change your routines, we know it isn’t! It is necessary though that we all start acting towards a more environmentally friendly lifestyle!
Yes, governments need to act and make regulations on a grand scale. Unfortunately, politicians and governments have failed in this matter so far. It is our personal belief that, hence, every single person can make a change – we can all decide what to do every single day!
You might think „What difference can I make as an individual?“ – just think about it: there are 7 billion individuals on our planet. Multiplied, we can make a lot happen! 💪
Most governments and people are against migration. But their actions and lifestyles encourage migration – isn’t this contradictory? What about tackling the root causes of migration instead?
People will leave their home countries due to climate change and due to conflicts resulting from climate change – and that’s on all of us, especially in the Western World!
You can start today. Right now. Just think about your everyday life and how you can make a positive change – for others, for yourself, and for our planet.
We are all in this together.
Christina & Jacob
PS: Here on our website, the posts for „April – our GREEN month“ can be found in our „Menü“.
30th March 2022
[An online article was published in the blog of Christina’s hometown – so this time we write in German 😉]
Juhu, ein Artikel auf Deutsch in unserer Heimat! 👏
Im Blog von Veitshöchheim (bei Würzburg), dem Ort in dem Christina aufgewachsen und Christina und Jacob beide zur Schule gegangen sind, ist diese Woche ein Artikel über unsere Reise und unsere Unicef-Spendenaktion erschienen!
VIELEN DANK an Dieter Gürz für diese Gelegenheit!
Hier könnt ihr ihn lesen – viel Spaß dabei 😁
27th March 2022
Mallorca – week 3
Our plan was to stay in Spain for the whole month of March to take in a bit more of the southern sun before heading up to northern Europe. Mallorca is apparently called the „island of the sun“ … Well, about that… In the past three weeks we have had only one day of beautiful sunshine, but lots of wind, grey clouds and some rain. Today the sun tried to come out between the clouds a tiny little bit – we hope it will succeed in this upcoming week!
Nevertheless, it was a good week for us as we started moving again after our Covid infection. And we have managed not to cycle in the rain, yay!
What did we do?
– We took things slowly, with tours of a maximum of 45km.
– We cycled between mountains, beautiful stone walls, endless fields of yellow flowers, sheep and almond trees. We found a „Via Verda“, a path that used to be train tracks – always beautiful!
– We had a nice rest day in Artà on Christina’s birthday – with lots of delicious food!
– We spent some time in the lovely small villages of Portocolom and Cala Figuera – we were quite happy it’s still off-season as there isn’t much room to go to when there are many people.
– We enjoyed some market time in Artà, Santanyí and Campos.
– We managed to do a beach walk just before the rain – in a spectacular place: Sa Ràpita! It must be beautiful to go for a swim there!
We are almost back in Palma now. There we are going to stay with a friend this week. On Saturday we are going to cycle back up to Alcúdia from where we are going to take a ferry to Toulon, France, on Sunday morning. Our last week in Spain… A bit weird after so many weeks 😉.
26th March 2022
EARTH HOUR – today at 8.30 pm local time, lights go out in thousands of places all around the world!
Join us in having a „dark hour“, not using any electricity whatsoever for 60 minutes tonight!
Join us in making ourselves and people around us more aware of our earth and of how we can help make it a better place!
Together for our planet, together for our future.
Christina & Jacob
22nd March 2022
Good news, everyone! 👏
A few weeks ago we did a lovely interview with The Portugal News – talking about our time in Portugal, our travels and our fundraising project for Unicef. THANK YOU for this opportunity!
You can read the whole interview here – if you don’t want to read it in English, it is also available in 10 other languages!
Christina & Jacob
21st March 2022
Our first day of cycling after our Covid infection: 35km, 370 metres altitude, headwind with gusts up to 70km/h – and now exhausted legs and lungs. We are in Artà now, one rest day here, or maybe two, before we continue south. Depending also on the weather.
AND we finally made it to 5,000km! 🙌🚲
In January we thought we’d crack this by mid-February, but then other things happened: our fear of uncomfortable dog situations and the pressure of getting our Covid booster vaccination in France made us take the train a few times, we had quite a few bad weather days and thus stayed longer in some places, taking trains via the huge cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia (where we stayed longer, of course), and just now our Covid infection. But well, we are on sabbatical after all 😎.
5,000km of cycling since August. Through Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Gibraltar and Spain.
5,000km of beautiful landscape, interesting places, good food and lovely people.
5,000km of lots of sun, relaxation and happiness.
5,000km – and not a single flat tyre! We can only recommend the bike tyres „Schwalbe Marathon Plus“!!😉
To the next 5,000km and beyond! Let’s see whether we can actually make this happen again until the end of August! 🚲🚲
20th March 2022
Mallorca – week 2
We have been in Alcúdia, in the island’s north, for 14 days now – 12 of which we have been stuck with Covid. We are both ok, still recovering though. We are curious what cycling/travelling will look like in the next couple of days.
The weather has been quite bad and our days have pretty much looked like this: Sleeping in, breakfast at lunch time, watching TV/reading/sorting pictures and videos, going for walks between the rain showers (as soon as quarantine was over), dinner, watching TV/reading, sleeping. And lots of tea in between.
Looking forward to some variety in our day’s structure 😉.
17th March 2022
A bikepacker’s life 🚲🚲 – number 7:
13th March 2022
Mallorca – week 1
We took a night ferry – from Valencia to Palma. We were quite excited as we didn’t know how it would work with our bikes! We went with the pedestrians, on a bus and then walked onto the ship – our bikes didn’t fit through security checks, so we were allowed to go around it. Again, we were fascinated by Spain being so uncomplicated! 😎 Our bikes were parked down below in the ferry and we had a comfortable seat for the night.
We arrived in the very early morning – when was the last time we started our day at 6am? Don’t know… We took this chance to watch the sun rise along the coast, cycle past Palma’s huge port and watch large formations of racing cyclists pass us. Well, now we know why this is called the island of cyclists.
We had a lovely time with Christina’s parents. Together we spent two days in Palma – strolling through this beautiful city and enjoying good food.
We then continued to the north, her parents by car, us by bike. 60km, many cycling lanes or roads, lots and lots of cyclists, surrounded by mountains, vinyards and lots of fields of vegetables.
Alcúdia’s town centre is beautiful – we all fell in love with it immediately! Cute little houses with coloured doors and windows, plants in front of them, medieval walls you can walk on – spectacular views of the mountains around it.
We also visited Pollença, a few kilometres to the west, and enjoyed the lovely views of the mountains and the bays there.
Unfortunately, Christina has caught Covid…and, as of today, Jacob also. We are ok – and glad we got the booster vaccination a month ago! Isolation, lots of tea and rest, and some patience 😉
10th March 2022
3rd March 2022
Our time in Valencia
We arrived by train and left by ship. Both was not intended and we stayed longer due to that – not a problem in this city!
Valencia is Spain’s third biggest city and we feel it is equally balanced between its historical part and modern buildings. We liked this mix a lot! And we also liked that we didn’t feel as lost as we did in the huge cities of Madrid and Barcelona.
Something very special in Valencia: Due to floodings, the river was relocated some decades ago – and now the former river bed is a huge park. Such a plus for people living here and visiting alike! And the city is by the sea – what else could you want?
It is the city of paella and of horchata, a summer drink made of tigernuts. It also seems to be the city of churros (though we couldn’t find anything stating this) – everywhere you look you find them!
We arrived just in time for the start of the Fallas festivities. A festival going on from 1st March until 19th March – including street parties, street lights, marching bands, daily fireworks, people dressing up in special traditional costumes and, most importantly, the big fallas puppets (some are as high as buildings). Each year’s best one ends up in a museum, the other ones get burned in the city on 19th March.
We got the feeling this is a very important festival for people living here – it seems like a lot of fun and like people put lots of energy, creativity and money into it!
Nevertheless, learning more about these festivities, we do worry – with daily fireworks and the burning of the puppets consisting (partly) of polyester… This can’t be good for people’s health and definitely not for the environment.
We enjoyed walking around, looking out for street art, visiting various markets, having picnics in the park, going to the cinema (for the first time since France) and making use of the many cycling lanes. Such a relaxed, nice city!
Now we are heading to Mallorca where we are going to see family and friends! ❤️
27th February 2022
The Interrupters: Broken World
This song says what we feel.
Standing with Ukraine – and all other parts of the world which are currently living in a world of war, conflict and violence.
We are hoping this madness is over soon and that mankind evolves into a less primitive life form.
26th February 2022
Between Barcelona and València
It takes us 8 days to get to València – 6 days of cycling, 2 rest days.
All in all, this part of Spain by the coast is quite flat. We usually had mountains on our right and the sea on the left as we went south.
Nevertheless, we had imagined it to be different between Barcelona and València: We thought that this was THE cycling route in Spain, with cycling lanes on the Eurovélo 8 right by the coast. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Either you choose to take smaller roads through the villages (which might be nicer, but the tours take longer and the dog problem is more present). Or you take the national roads right next to the cars. Both is OK, we suppose. Maybe our expectations were too high.
What did we do/see along the road?
– The cute little town of Sitges and the town Vilanova i la Geltrú – with good weather both must be nice places to stay for a bit.
– Tarragona: an important Roman town right by the sea with lots of Roman relics (most impressive to us: the amphitheatre right by the sea), a nice old part, people enjoying tapas in the sun, some beach time in the town
– Peñíscola: This small town is on the one hand very touristic, on the other it still has its special charm with its pretty views along the beach.
– Some smaller places by the coast – nice and calm now, it must be so crowded in summer!
– We see lots of blooming almond trees, quite a few olive trees, fields of artichokes and (as we get closer to València) loooots of orange trees.
– We have mentioned this before, but we cannot say it often enough (and this is also valid for France and Portugal): We are shocked by how much waste there is next to the streets – we really wonder: Do people simply not care?
– The whole coast seems very touristic, with huge buildings made for thousands of tourists in summer – not our cup of tea… We even thought about skipping some bits with the train.
– We had thought that February would be our winter month for camping, but it doesn’t seem to be the season yet in Cataluña. In the region València it is a bit better… Definitely a big difference to Southern Spain!
With the weather not being great today, having had frightening dog situations again (and Christina is already traumatised from the experiences we have had with dogs so far) – we decided to skip 90km and are in València now! Here we are going to be until Wednesday and are going to dive into city life again!
24th February 2022
Our time in Barcelona
We arrived by train, coming from Madrid. We stayed for a whole week – counting in the day we went to Perpignan to get our booster vaccination, and also a rest day after that (which we really needed).
– big houses and streets, set up in a grid-pattern, which also means there are lots of traffic lights
– a lot of traffic
– 1.6 million inhabitants – about the same as in Munich, but it feels so much bigger!! When people move here it must take them forever not to get lost in this maze of similar looking streets and crossings!
– a lot more tourists than in Madrid
– Gaudí is the name everyone knows – an architect that left a lot of special looking buildings, a park and the famous church Sagrada Família (which has been under construction since 1882 and, supposedly, will be finished within the next ten years).
– The old part of the city, near the port, feels very big – we really liked the small, cobbled streets, shops and bars there.
– We also loved the district of Gràcia, which used to be a town outside of Barcelona until about 1900 – there are many plaças, small streets, mainly locals, street musicians everywhere, simply a lovely atmosphere. We really wish, there were more small plaças in Germany, with people sitting outside at any time of the year – well, we suppose that isn’t possible with the different kind of weather we have in Germany.
We also met a fellow bikepacker again. We got to know Emilie from Québec Canada when we crossed the border between Portugal and Spain on 12th January. She does everything more straight forward than we do – cycled all the way along the Spanish coastline, sleeps in her tent most of the time, and barely has any rest days. Well, there are just so many different ways of travelling! 😎
We enjoyed our stay in Barcelona so much! It is a city by the sea and close to mountains, a very lively city with very different vibes in the various districts. We’d love to come back here!
19th February 2022
We are back on the road!
After a two-week break from cycling, it feels really good to be on the move again! 😎
As we missed the whole Mediterranean coast between Gibraltar and Barcelona, we have decided to go south again: to Valencia and then Dénia, from where we will take a ferry to Mallorca at the beginning of March.
18th February 2022
17th February 2022
Today is day 197 of our cycling/train/ship tour through Europe – including today, there are 196 days left for us for travelling.
Wow, there is so much we are grateful for in these past months!!!!
THANK YOU for all the donations each and everyone of you has made for the UNICEF project we are supporting!!! ❤️
Thanks to your help, in the Ivory Coast, plastic waste is transformed into bricks, which are then used to build schools – sustainability and education in one. Making it possible to learn for a better future.
We have been raising 4,940€ – that’s really amazing!
Our goal is to raise 16,900€ by the end of August this year – that is 1,300€ for each of our 13 months of travelling.
We are positive that – TOGETHER WITH YOUR HELP – we can make this possible!
You want to learn more about this project?
You want to contribute to our fundraising project?
> Just have a look at our „Menü“ for more information and click on „donate here“ above.
Lots of love,
Christina and Jacob ❤️
16th February 2022
[this time for German speakers only]
Das Thema Plastik ist allgegenwärtig – leider verursacht es vor allem Schwierigkeiten für die Umwelt und die Tiere und letztlich somit auch für den Menschen… Schaut euch das Video an!
Lasst uns gemeinsam etwas dagegen tun – unterschreibt die WWF-Petition! 💚
15th February 2022
A short trip to Perpignan
Getting the Covid booster vaccination has been a constant worry of ours since the end of November – today it finally happened for us! 😊
We had to go to France for it (as it wasn’t possibile for us to get vaccinated in Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar) – but we are really happy it was possible and so easy there, simply in a pharmacy with a pre-booked appointment.
This trip today wasn’t very cheap, but we know that being able to travel at all is a luxury. Travelling during a pandemic even more so. Without the Covid Certificate we wouldn’t get very far in Europe – ours would have expired at the end of this week. Phew, that was close!
And above all, from now on we feel safer again, also regarding other people’s health. What a wonderful technology! We wished everyone on planet A had the opportunity to get vaccinated as easily as we do here in Europe.
Now we are back in Barcelona, ready to continue our travels without worrying about the vaccination anymore. At least for a while.
In Perpignan we dived into the French culture and housing styles for one day – some impressions from the lovely town.
14th February 2022
Our time in Madrid
Originally, we had never planned on visiting a huge city like Madrid (3million) by bike. Well, we came by train (8,5h from Sevilla), but cycling 7km from the main station to our small apartment, in darkness with lots of traffic, was already a bit exciting! 😉
Thanks to all our friends who have lived/live in the Madrid area for giving us some advice where to go, otherwise we would have been a bit lost. Yes, we do live in a big city in Germany, but Munich really feels more like a village and houses and streets are usually not that massive.
We didn’t want to visit any museums, but just get an impression of Madrid. So we simply walked around for three days, saw different neighbourhoods, quite a bit of street art, had tapas and (finally!) churros con chocolate. And we met a friend of Christina’s from her time in Ireland – it was so nice to see you, Sofia! 💛
12th February 2022
It is the second biggest region in Spain and will most likely also be the one where we will have cycled the most kilometres in Spain.
We spent almost four weeks there and really enjoyed it – we would be back any time!
Here are some more impressions.
11th February 2022
Our time in Ronda and Granada
On the day we arrived in Ronda we were quite frustrated – that was the day we had another dog incident and we decided to take trains for a while, we had trouble booking a train and an unfriendly train conductor. As soon as we cycled and walked through Ronda, all of that was gone – we fell in love with this town immediately! It is such a cosy town with beautiful houses, lively atmosphere, a famous bridge (and rightly so) and all is set in beautiful landscape! We’d suggest anyone to visit Ronda when you are in the area of Granada/Malaga/Gibraltar!
From Ronda we did a day trip to Granada – such a beautiful train ride! Unfortunately, the train times weren’t perfect, so we only had a couple of hours there and we spent three alone inside the Alhambra! We would have needed more time in this beautiful and very lively city, but we are glad we got to go at all.
In the Alhambra it was crazily packed, we had to queue a lot and were simply a bit overwhelmed by the crowds and the beauty of the whole site. Such an impressive place! We also liked Granada’s smaller streets, filled with people having tapas in the afternoon.
8th February 2022
Update on our trip through Spain:
The idea was to cycle all along the coast from the Portuguese border until Barcelona, which we did until Gibraltar.
2 problems have occured:
– We had another dog incident with our bikes right after Gibraltar. We are just tired of them and need a break from them.
– We need to get our Covid booster vaccination, otherwise continuing our travels throughout Europe will be very complicated or even impossible, as our Covid Certificates are going to expire mid-February. And we also want to get it for our own and other people’s safety.
We haven’t been able to get the booster in Portugal, Spain or Gibraltar – we have been trying since the end of November. We don’t want to fly to Germany for it, so we are going to get vaccinated in France, where this is even possible in a pharmacy. Thus, from Barcelona we will go to France for a day.
Hence, we decided to take the train from near Gibraltar to Barcelona. Not that easy, as in general there are not many tracks in south-east Spain along the coast (detours are necessary) and as in Spain you are not allowed to take the fast trains with the bikes. The connections with the slow trains are a bit complicated and also a lot longer.
So we took a train to Ronda (stayed there a bit), then to Sevilla (back again – enjoyed the sunny day and being familiar with the city!) and from there to Madrid where we are at the moment. This weekend we will take a train to Barcelona and next week we will get vaccinated in France. Then we will continue our cycling tour.
Flexibility on our travels 😉😎
8th February 2022
A change of plans
Maybe you noticed, we have left Huelva and Cadiz behind – the two most common Spanish ports for taking a ferry to the Canary Islands. Originally, we wanted to spend 2-3 months there in winter.
Our reasons for NOT going to the Canary Islands:
– Within the first week of Portugal we knew we didn’t want to rush through that country. We ended up staying for 10 weeks.
– In general: Going there only makes sense if you stay for quite a few weeks – if we had gone in January, we’d have had to skip a lot of the Iberian Peninsula we wanted to see.
– Taking a ferry with our bikes is not as easy as we thought. Some ferries don’t take bikes at all, others have quite a few restrictions on luggage, which would have been difficult for us. At least that’s what we found out when doing our research back in November.
– Last but not least: Taking a ferry for such a long distance (almost 30 hours) isn’t very environmentally friendly. And then we would have wanted to do some island hopping on the Canary Islands – so taking more ferries would have been necessary, as well as coming back to the continent on one.
We will continue our travels in Spain for another few weeks and then in April we are planning on making our way back up to Central and Northern Europe.
7th February 2022
From Tarifa and Gibraltar we looked at Africa for more than one week. An incredible feeling – looking not only from one country to another, but from one continent to another!
Looking at Morocco, or generally North Africa, made us reflect upon many other things as well. This does not only concern Africa, though.
We know we live in a privileged world, not having to worry about a roof above our head, food for the day, being cared for as in having a good health care system, and having a job to master every day’s life including being able to travel. And, above all, living a life without wars, famine, drouts. At least for now.
Unfortunately, not everyone lives like that throughout the world. And often it’s due to the wealth and greed of Western World countries, like Germany.
HOW DARE WE Europeans look down upon other countries‘ people wanting to live a life like we do and, thus, trying to flee from terrible situations in their own country?
HOW DARE WE make them flee? As it’s due to our well-being, consumerism, carefree and careless lifestyle that climate change is already noticeable in their home country.
HOW DARE WE let people suffer on their escape or even drown in the Mediterranean Sea, risking their life in hope for a better one, when we live life to the fullest and in extreme glut?
HOW DARE WE exploit other countries (land and people), mainly for resources, and „pay“ them with rejection and by sending them our waste?
HOW DARE WE buy the cheapest of foods and clothes, not caring for fair trade and the conditions of production – at the same time living in an expensive flat and having a big car standing outside?
HOW DARE WE think we are better than others? We have all got the same needs, we are just born in different parts of the world. And our wealth is someone else’s misery.
And this is only the beginning. The situation is going to get worse with the climate crisis making its way around the world. More and more people are going to flee their countries due to that. We need to act now.
You want to make a change? You want to contribute to making life better for people who don’t have as much as you do?
What can everyone do?
– We believe, the most important thing is to talk about it with others.
– reduce, reuse, recycle
– pay attention to fair trade and locally produced products
– pay attention to your political choice
– Support organisations that are active in protecting the climate, solidary projects and raising awareness towards problems throughout the world.
The project we are supporting on our travels is a UNICEF project in the Ivory Coast, making bricks out of plastic waste which are then used to build classrooms. Giving people work and making education possible. You can support our project here on our website.
Lots of love,
Christina & Jacob
5th February 2022
6 months ago today, we left our home in Munich. And according to the barometer of our UNICEF fundraising project, there are 208 more days of travelling left for us. Even more than six months.
Recently, someone asked us whether to us it feels like just one impression after another or whether we still enjoy the moments.
We didn’t have to think about that at all – we both immediately said that we love travelling every day, we are always very excited to get to know a new place and we are absolutely amazed at Europe’s beauty!
Yes, of course, there are some moments that are not that nice (dogs, cars, exhausting train rides, unfriendly people), but generally speaking, we really enjoy our travels!
We can’t believe what we have been able to do and see in these past 6 months and are very excited to discover more of Europe!
5th February 2022
POSITIVE THINGS we stumbled upon in… Gibraltar:
We spent 2 days in this tiny country, doing everything on foot and by bus and leaving our bikes to rest – always on the lookout for things we find positive.
In Gibraltar everyone speaks two languages, you hear a constant blend of English and Spanish when you walk around. Funnily enough, it seems like they speak a lot more Spanish, though.
When using a bus, you find signs telling you how to wear a mask properly! We think this should be placed on all public transportation services, everywhere!
Also: Using public transportation (busses) is free of charge for Gibraltar’s citizens. Hopefully, more and more people will make use of it as, in our opinion, they are too many cars around on these tight and few streets.
The Macaques are Gibraltar’s most famous inhabitants. When you visit The Upper Rock, you find signs telling you how to behave around them. This isn’t only good for yourself, but especially for the Macaques‘ well-being.
Recycling is very important and, so far, there have been recycling stations everywhere we have been to on our tour. A first, here in Gibraltar: Along with usual recycling containers for plastic, paper, glass and general waste, there is also a container for electronic devices!
Something else we saw for the first time: transgender traffic light signs.
4th February 2022
Our time in Gibraltar
Entering the country via the land route means crossing the airport’s airfield (never have done that before) and all of a sudden all the signs are in English, but people drive on the right – quite a weird feeling here in Europe!
„The Rock“, as it is called, really is mainly a rock, with houses being situated mostly on the western side as there isn’t much space anywhere else.
People seem to speak more Spanish than English, but there are quite a few things that reminded us of things we got to know in the UK when we lived there for one year:
– pub culture with chips and vinegar, pub quiz and last orders
– signs telling you where to look when you cross the streets
– they have got their own currency – Gibraltar Pounds (thus, everything is more expensive than in Spain)
– classic shops like M&S, Topshop, Tesco’s etc.
– red telephone boxes and red letter boxes
– you get food like full English breakfast, jacket potato, cornish pasty, scone, etc.
And then all of that at 20°C at the beginning of February… With views towards Africa and Spain. We felt a little bit out of place. It was such an interesting experience!
What is Gibraltar most famous for? Yes, the Barbary Macaques! About 300 of them live on the rock, enjoy the views and like to watch people and sometimes also steal a little something from them. We spent about 6 hours on the rock, walking around, enjoying the splendid views, going into St Michael’s Cave (impressive stalactites and stalagmites) and into one of many tunnels (all in all about 40km!) – mostly we spent it just watching the monkeys, though. They are really adorable and it’s an absolute pleasure to see that here they still live freely (though measures are taken to make it possible for them to be here at all – they are fed and it is a crime to feed them!)!
These two days were very interesting for us. It felt like being in the UK and then again it didn’t. We enjoyed our stay – definitely one of our personal highlights.
1st February 2022
4 days in WINDY Tarifa
The town lies at the southernmost point of continental Europe and in the Strait of Gibraltar. It’s a town at the Atlantic Coast AND the Mediterranean Sea!
We enjoyed beautiful views towards Africa and were very surprised at how well you can see it and that there are quite some mountains in Morocco right by the coast! The first glimpse of Africa was a very exciting moment for us – it felt a little bit like when we had arrived at the Mediterranean Sea in France last September. And having cycled here really seems unbelievable, when looking across the sea at a different continent…
People call it „the town of wind“ – and we totally agree! Originally, we wanted to stay for three nights, but there was absolutely no thinking of getting back on the bikes on Saturday, so we stayed two more nights. We didn’t regret that decision at all!
We strolled through the nice and cosy old parts within stoned walls (with so many bars and restaurants, most of which were closed for January, though), walked along beautiful sandy beaches, enjoyed the many beach bars and watching the seemingly never tired kite-surfers, and enjoyed the good vibes in this quite lively town. After 4 days in Tarifa, we can say that we do understand why people come here – despite the wind.
We would very much like to see the passing of big sea animals like dolphins, orcas and other whales, which happens during the summer months between here and Africa – but we don’t think we could cope with the high temperatures. Yesterday, before leaving, we had breakfast in T-shirts and were sweating already before mounting our bikes – on 31st January!
We continued east, climbed some mountains and did some detours (as all of a sudden we found ourselves on the motorway – not a good choice with bikes!) and have arrived in Gibraltar, passing a border control for the first time on our bikes… We are very excited to spend 2 days here!
28th January 2022
Take your sh*t home with you!!
Views like this one (and often a lot worse) have been accompanying us since southern France.
Spaces next to almost every big road are used as bins. By whom? Do people just throw their waste out of the window when they are passing by by car?
This ecocidal behavior makes us sick, sad and angry.
Jacob calls everyone of these people a „persona non Greta“.
Why do people hate this planet they are living on so much?
Let’s do something about it! Everyone can take action to make this planet a better planet to live on! Go for it!
27th January 2022
Spain, week 2: From Sevilla to Tarifa
Our first ten days in Spain were beautifully sunny, the past couple of days have been quite cloudy and windy with a little bit of rain.
Between Sevilla and Cádiz:
– quite flat, lots of agriculture, not many villages
– lunch in Jerez de le Frontera: the town of sherry (its name comes from the town’s name) and also of flamenco, had a really good tortilla de patata
– took a ferry from El Puerto de Santa Maria to Cádiz as, again, it was difficult for us by bike – this time we weren’t aloud to use the bridges going to Cádiz
– Europe’s oldest town (1100 BC), situated on a peninsular
– small and cobbled streets with beautiful high houses with oriels
– It used to be a very important town for Spain (15th-18th centuries), due to its position at the coast. Today it is mostly known for being a ferry harbour to the Canary Islands. And in Spain it is known for great carnival parties and for flamenco.
– It still has got 134 watch towers – we visited one and also got to see a camera obscura show, something we can only recommend if you ever get the chance to do so!
Between Cádiz and Tarifa:
– The day we left Cádiz was rainy, with lots of headwind and many unpaved roads – and at the end of the day we mounted the hill going up to Vejer de la Frontera. Quite a ride!
– Vejer de la Frontera: We spent a very relaxed, very windy day in this beautiful white village, explored the cobbled lanes, looked out for beautiful doors and enjoyed great ocean views (apparently on good days you can see till Morocco). Worth a visit!
– original plan: taking the roads along the coast, visiting some nice beaches on the way > it was so windy that we changed our plan and took the direct route to Tarifa…
What a day! 50km with strong head- and sidewinds and wind gusts of up to 70km/h with us being on the open plain. About 370m altitude on perfectly fine roads, but yesterday it didn’t matter whether we went up, down or cycled on flat paths – everything was exhausting! We fought against the wind for 5,5 hours, every minute of the wind’s mercy felt like wellness to us! Our fingers were numb from holding on tightly to the handlebar and we had to concentrate hard on not being pushed down from the road. Our bodies were exhausted after only 20km.
The landscape was absolutely beautiful – green fields, quite high mountains, lots of cows and horses and not a lot of houses. And hundreds, maybe thousands of modern windmills – no wonder they put them up here! We really don’t know how the locals cope with the wind here.
Yesterday was one of the most exhausting cycling tours ever, 50km that felt like 100km. We don’t need that again and definitely won’t get back on our bikes until the wind is gone!
So we are going to spend some days in Tarifa, the southernmost place on continental Europe! We are hoping for some good views towards Africa!
25th January 2022
Spain, week 1: From the Portuguese border to Sevilla
– quite flat, lots of water (which sometimes made us do quite some detours), natural parks with lots of flamingos and other birds
– seems very fertile: lots of orange trees, many glasshouses with strawberries, olive trees (never before have we seen that many in one place!), pine tree forests, saw Kaki trees for the first time, green fields (didn’t expect that here in the south!)
– getting impressions of Andalusian style houses in some very beautiful small towns/villages
– as soon as gone from the sea: mornings and nights quite cold, back to woolen socks and gloves until lunch time when the sun is strong again
– capital of Andalucia, biggest town on our tour so far with 700,000 inhabitants
– over 25,000 orange trees (!!)
– almost too beautiful: buildings, plazas, parks, walking around in the maze of cobbled streets
– some superlatives: the world’s biggest wooden building, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral
– nice and bustling atmosphere, even saw a spontaneous flamenco show in a park
– can’t imagine how many people are around here in summer… Or maybe not with the high temperatures?
– mornings now below 7°C (night goes down to 3°C), daytime still nice and warm at about 17°C
– for Game of Thrones fans: the Alcazar with its garden is Dorne – very beautiful!
– day trip: took a train there from Sevilla (our tickets got checked twice before even boarding the train and we and our bags also had to go through checks like at airports!)
– very cold! 0°C at 10am – here we really understood why people were wearing winter jackets (but the sun is always out during the day)
– used to be the most important and progressive city in Europe (in the 9th/10th centuries), in some places this is still visible
– very impressive and unique: Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba – a mix of a mosque and a cathedral
– for Game of Thrones fans: the Roman bridge is the bridge of Volantis (with lots of CGI)
PS: Christina has started learning Spanish as we don’t get very far with English here. Being fluent in Italian helps a lot – words are often similar, grammar seems to be easier than in Italian, but the pronunciation is more difficult and the Spanish speak SO QUICKLY!!
25th January 2022
POSITIVE THINGS we stumbled upon… in Portugal:
From November 2021 to January 2022 we spent 70 days in beautiful Portugal, cycled 1,348 km on 22 cycling days and had 48 sightseeing/rest days. Portugal was our country for Christmas and New Year’s Eve and was the country we have spent most time in on our trip – so far.
Apart from our experience that the Portuguese are very friendly and welcoming and that we fell in love with the Portuguese number one pastry „Pastel de Nata“ and Portuguese pottery, there were some other positive things we noticed:
Along the coast you often find nice wooden boardwalks – good for taking a walk (and sometimes even for bikes) and at the same time they protect nature.
Television programmes are always in the original language. This could be the reason why people usually speak English very well – and, thus, travelling is very easy in Portugal.
We cannot imagine living without the internet anymore. And while travelling, we depend on it even more. We were very happy that the connection in Portugal was so good – other countries should maybe be wondering why.
You find public toilets in many places – and usually they are very clean, too. In general, the standard of hygiene is very high in Portugal – no matter whether in restaurants, cafés, flats or at campsites.
Traffic lights that count down the green and red periods. A way of making roads safer for everyone and maybe also to calm impatient people. (Actually we have also seen this in Northern Spain as well.)
We saw some places where people are reminded to take care of their environment. More signs/objects like that, please!
Not only are campsites open in December and January as if it were out of the question to be closed, they are also equipped according to people’s needs (surfers). And trains also offer spaces for surfboards, not only for bikes.
As in Northern Spain, we felt the Portuguese are very good at wearing masks correctly and they also wear them a lot – in addition to Portugal being THE country in Europe with the highest vaccination quote, this is a good sign for fighting this terrible virus.
23rd January 2022
21st January 2022
Have a lovely weekend! ☀️🚲
17th January 2022
16th January 2022
Southern European dogs
Travelling by bike changes our view on many things. Especially what we think about dogs.
Since Southern France our experience is that dogs usually don’t live with their families inside their houses, but are in their fenced front yards, often on a leash or even in a cage.
When we pass their „territory“ by bike, they bark very aggressively, run towards us and make it very clear that we are not welcome.
This has happened to us a lot, in France, Portugal and Spain.
For us this means that we always have to watch out for dogs in front of houses. Making us very uncomfortable as
A) we have had situations when they came towards us all of a sudden, scaring the hell out of us – and on a busy road that is dangerous.
B) we don’t know until the last minute whether the gates are open. Thus, we never know whether the dogs can escape and come out to attack us… It is easy to say „Stop cycling, show them that you are not a threat to them“ when you are startled, in the middle of a road and up to three dogs come running and barking at you.
They don’t care about cars. They don’t seem to be familiar with bikes, though, and seem to hear our bikes‘ noises from far away.
Yes, we had been in Southern Europe before this trip – but not by bike!
This week was the second time on our tour that we felt like going home or at least like leaving Southern Europe. Both times because of situations with dogs…
Dear Southern European people:
WHY do you want to have a dog when you don’t want to have it with you?
WHY do you need to keep your dog in a cage or on a leash all the time?
WHY don’t you act when you see your dog(s) attacking a person?
WHY can’t you give your dog(s) more love so they don’t feel the need to be so aggressive?
We don’t want to offend anyone, but have to finally write down these words as we start to hate dogs more every day. And we know this isn’t fair to all of them. And for us, this is another man-made disaster.
PS: Of course we have also had nice or uncomplicated encounters with dogs. Usually and strangely enough, these were stray dogs that were free to walk around. Or dogs with caring owners, mostly from foreign countries.
12th January 2022
A day of crossing borders – some impressions
After having stayed in the same country for 10 weeks, today was the day – again: we crossed the Spanish border, in the very south-east of Portugal.
We enjoyed our last 30km of cycling in the Algarve, had a stroll through and last lunch in the pretty town of Vila Real de Santo António, and then took the ferry to Ayamonte in Andalusia, Spain.
We did not only cross a river and a border, but also switched back to „our“ usual time and back to Spanish.
We are a bit sad about having left Portugal, but are also very curious about what awaits us in Spain. We are staying for a night on „Christina’s“ island (of course we had to stop here!) and will be heading to Sevilla in the next couple of days, before cycling back to the coast and making our way towards Gibraltar.
We have been very lazy these past four weeks (to us it feels a bit like a four-week hibernation) and are now ready again to be back on the bikes, cover some kilometres and see new places! Let the adventures begin – or better: continue! 😎
12th January 2022
Our last week in Portugal
We continued east from Faro to Tavira (our friend Susanne by bus and us by bike) and…
– stayed in the lovely, very relaxed and authentic fisher’s village of Santa Luzia.
– spent some time on the island’s beach just in front of Santa Luzia.
– had lots of delicious homemade meals (thanks to Jacob 😉).
– visited the beautiful town of Tavira (we actually think it’s the prettiest of the towns in the Algarve) and the small village of Cacela Velha.
– cycled between fields of orange trees, avocado trees, blooming (!) almond trees and colourful fields with flowers. Hard to believe it’s the beginning of January!
– cracked 4,000km of cycling! 😊💪
What a nice area to finish our 10-week stay in Portugal! Thanks for the hospitality – you will be missed!
7th January 2022
Our time in Portugal is almost over…There are so many impressions we have been able to take in during all these weeks in this beautiful country. Here are some that remind us a lot of typical Portuguese things and the lovely time we have had.
6th January 2022
Our time in Faro
We met our friend Susanne in Faro and together we have spent more than a week here:
– lots of sunshine
– some very relaxed days
– breakfast on our balcony with fresh orange juice (with so many orange trees in the Faro district we just couldn’t resist)
– lots of good homemade dinners in our flat and a pizza party on New Year’s Eve (Jacob’s wish)
– definitely a first for all of us: January 1st at the beach – even trying to go for a swim!
– walks through the Christmassy town centre and along the marina
– a tour with a solar panel boat through the Natural Park Ria Formosa – admiring the many sandbanks and little islands and observing birds
– visiting smaller places near Faro: Olhão and Loulé – both places with a nice atmosphere
– spending a lovely day at the island „Ilha Deserta“ with looooots of shells