Travelling through Europe by bike: 13 months, 13 countries, collecting 1300€ donations per month for a UNICEF project in the Ivory Coast


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5th January 2022

Nature in Southern Europe

Travelling by bike has made us much more aware of the nature around us. There are some trees and plants that have been „with us“ for quite some time now:

since France: various kinds of palm and pine trees, olive trees, various kinds of cacti and agave (some with beautiful „flowers“ once the plant starts to die), citrus fruit trees (especially in southern Portugal)

since Galicia in northern Spain: eucalyptus trees with their delicious smell, palm kale (you can eat the leaves!)

since south of Lisbon in Portugal: cork trees (apparently, when having taken down the skin you have to wait for ten years, that’s why there are numbers on the trunks) – Now we finally know where all the cork you find in so many Portuguese shops comes from!

We are curious: Which ones are going to stay with us the next weeks and months in Spain and which will we leave behind as soon as we cross the border next week?

1st January 2022

A new day, a new year… A door with new opportunities!
Let’s make it a good 2022 – together!

Happy New Year!

All the best,
Christina & Jacob

Spotted in: Lagos, Portugal

31st December 2021

THANK YOU

We have been on the road since the beginning of August 2021. Time has passed by so quickly, this year has already come to an end!
There are so many things we are grateful for on this fantastic trip we are currently doing – by bike through Europe!

THANK YOU

… for all the donations for our UNICEF project! The big ones and the small ones – we are excited about every single Euro! From all the people we know and all the ones we don’t know personally – like Uwe Z. who has already donated three times, wow! We are so very grateful for all your support!! 4091,39 €! Let us continue!!
Vielen lieben Dank an alle Spenden für unser UNICEF-Projekt! Die großen und die kleinen Spenden – wir freuen uns über jeden Euro! Von all den Leuten, die wir kennen und all denen, die wir nicht persönlich kennen – wie Uwe Z., der bereits drei Mal gespendet hat, wow! Wir sind so sehr dankbar für eure Unterstützung!! 4091,39 €! Lasst uns weiter machen!!

… for 149 days of travelling.

… for 149 days of travelling without any accidents or real bike problems (not even a flat tire!).

… for 69 days of cycling and 80 days of rest and sightseeing.

… for 3866 km of cycling.

… for 28186 metres altitude and knees that are still fine.

… for all the lovely people we have met on tour.

… for so many hours of sunshine.

… for not a single day of feeling sick on tour.

… for all the lovely messages we have received and phone calls we have had with friends and family since we left home.

… for being able to travel despite the pandemic.

… for still liking cycling.

… for being able to spend so much time together.

… for still getting along.

… for getting a different point of view on so many things in life.

… for getting the chance to dive into different cultures and their customs, traditions and cuisine.

… for being able to take in the change in landscape and nature around us.

… for being able to spend so much time outside.

… for being able to lead such a beautiful life!

THANK YOU!

30th December 2021

Christmas in Lagos and after

The week leading up to Christmas was a very relaxed and calm week in Lagos:
– 5 days of rain gave us some time to really calm down.
– On the 24th it wasn’t supposed to rain until the afternoon, so we went to visit the famous cliffs of Lagos: it was very misty when we arrived and we could just about make out that there were some rocks right next to us – almost a bit mysterious. Within 15 minutes the mist disappeared and the sun came out – and we got to see such overwhelming beauty!
– The 25th turned out to be quite nice – we had lunch in T-shirts on our balcony and went for a beach walk!
What a different and special Christmas we got to spend there!

December 26th isn’t a holiday in Portugal and we continued cycling east, passing nice beaches, but also noticing the change of housing in comparison to everything we had seen before in Portugal. That day was our first travel day in rain since August!

We spent two days between Lagos and Faro, got to see many more beautiful beaches and caves (also the famous Benagil Cave) and even did a boat tour to get a look at the beautiful coastline from the water. We were really overwhelmed by all the impressions and the matching perfect weather!

We have arrived in Faro where we are going to spend a week with a friend.

24th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 24:

Boas Festas, Feliz Natal – Happy holidays, Merry Christmas!
We wish you all a very relaxed, happy, lovely time with your loved ones! ✨🌲

Let’s not forget: Not everyone’s Christmas is that happy. Maybe you can do something about it as well.

Spotted in: Odeceixe, Portugal

23rd December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 23:

Christmas biscuits and Christmas music – a good combination for happiness in the house!
This year, Christina couldn’t make as many different ones as she would have liked to as we have to eat them all by ourselves 😉 Even with making only half or even a third of the recipe, we have got too many… Well, we’ll be back on the bikes again soon and will enjoy our Christmas sweets until then! 😊😍

23rd December 2021

Portugal part one: the North, from the Spanish border to Ericeira

Scenes recorded at the border between Tui and Valença, in Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Aveiro, Coimbra, (no waves in) Nazaré, Óbidos, Peniche, Ericeira, Mafra and somewhere in between.

Songs:
„Put A Little Sunshine“ by Judge Dread, album „Reggae & Ska“. Copyright NGM Music.
„Where The Waves Are Highest“ by Common Rider, album „Against All Authorities / Common Rider Split. Copyright Hopeless Records Inc.
„Salzig schmeckt der Wind“ by Rummelsnuff, album „Salzig schmeckt der Wind“. Copyright Out Of Line Music

22nd December 2021

Sagres – a great place for exploring the rough and beautiful coastline of the western Algarve!

We spent a few relaxed days there:
Breakfast and lunch in the sun, cycling in the wind (sidewind is the toughest on a bike), sitting at beaches and watching waves and surfers, saying goodbye to the west coast (for now we’ll be going east for a while), visiting the most western point of continental Europe „Cabo de São Vicente“ – which might also be the furthest away from home we will be on our whole tour („This is it“).

Sagres is a small place, but even in winter there were quite a few tourists, especially young people. This place must be nice in summer with all the beautiful beaches!

Yes, we always carry this box with us, Max.

22nd December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 22:

We have arrived in our Christmas place: Lagos in the Algarve! And it’s definitely Christmassy here: lots of Christmas lights and even a stand called „Munich“ with mulled wine, crêpes, waffles, and chocolate fruits – to feel right at home! ✨

21st December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 21:

20th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 20:

Listening to Christmas music all day long… Yes, Christmas is here! ✨🌲🎶

19th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 19:

Some special Christmas trees we stumbled upon… Some tell us that we are in southern Europe 😉😎!

18th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 18:

Thinking about all the lovely things we have been doing this December ✨
Very grateful! ❤️

17th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 17:

Travelling in Portugal in November and December doesn’t mean seeing no colours. Pine trees, eucalyptus trees, palm trees and cacti make the landscape around you very green all the time.
But there are also flowers still in bloom! With all these colours still around at this time of year, it is hard to believe that it’s Christmas in one week! ✨

16th December 2021

From Lisboa through the region Alentejo to the region Algarve:

We
– left via ferry to the peninsula of Setúbal and had a lazy day in the town Setúbal.
– took a second ferry to the peninsula of Troia and cycled between sandy pine tree forests to a laguna where we started camping again (in December!).
– continued south to Vila Nova de Milfontes, a nice small town where the river Mira meets the sea. We enjoyed the incredibly good weather, went to the beach and even went for a swim (in December!)! Here the campsite was quite lively, lots of people who stay in the south for the winter.
– arrived in the first small village of the Algarve: Odeceixe. A lovely place along the river where we enjoyed a very relaxed day. We were the only guests at the campsite as it closed the day we left – almost a bit creepy.
– did a long bikeride from Odeceixe to Sagres: got up early to leave the campsite at 8am, had a big breakfast in Aljezur where we had a nice chat with a guy from our home region Franconia and his Swiss friend, went along the magnificent coast of Carrapateira where we had a nice chat with a couple from the Netherlands, took some detours as our navigation app wanted us to take a hiking path (grrr), couldn’t find a bar for a coffee and a snack anymore,… After more than 70km and 650 metres altitude, we finally arrived, knackered, but safe and sound, in Sagres at 5.30pm, just before it got completely dark. What a day!

Our first impression of the Algarve:
Sun sun sun, green hills, sandy beaches, impressive cliffs in the shades of brown and red, lots of surfers, white houses, many many foreign (especially German) cars – we haven’t seen that many since Nazaré!

We are staying in Sagres now until Sunday, our last camping experience for 2021 and also for Portugal. Then we continue to Lagos where we will stay for Christmas. For New Year’s Eve and the first days of January we will be in the Faro area.

16th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 16:

15th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 15:

Portugal is the country of tiles!
Though tiled houses are getting less and less the more we travel south, white with a bit of colour (usually blue) now dominates the villages and towns.

We have been looking for tiles that are somehow connected to Christmas – here is what we have found. The second picture was taken in the National Tile Museum, Museu do Azulejo, in Lisbon (description see in picture 3).

14th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 14:

Christmas decorations and Christmas lights tend to be very bright and colourful in Portugal. They have been our daily companion since the beginning of November. Here are some impressions! ✨

Cascais
Lisboa
Lisboa
Óbidos
Lisboa
Melides
Setúbal
Setúbal

13th December 2021

A day trip to Sintra

From Lisboa we took a train from the beautiful Rossio station, to spend a day in Sintra. We had heard that it was supposed to be nice, but we were completely overwhelmed by what we found and discovered there throughout the day. And we were absolutely knackered when we returned.

Pena Palace:
A very brigthly coloured palace from the 19th century, very far up the hills (the bus ride was really something…), mixing various styles of architecture that are somehow connected to Portugal. And Pena Palace Gardens around the palace.

Walking down nice and rocky paths towards the town Sintra, looking at the Moorish Castle from far away (8th-10th century, used as watch tower over the Atlantic).

The most spectacular part of the day was Quinta da Regaleira Estate: built at the end of the 19th century, consisting of a castle, a chapel and a hillside garden with spectacular features like inverted towers!

Ending the day in the little, but lively town of Sintra.

All in all, we can very much advise to visit Sintra, though spending two or three days there might be a better idea than squashing as much as possible into one day 😉😊.

13th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 13:

Something Portuguese:
Ginjinha or Ginja. A cherry liqueur that you can drink in its plain form OR in the original style from Óbidos: poured into a chocolate cup – a nice combination of a drink and something sweet.

12th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 12:

Christmas markets.
One of THE things to go to in Germany at this time of the year. To our surprise, we have found some in Portugal, too! Of course it feels different than at home – especially as it is simply too warm for Glühwein/mulled wine and it is strange to have the stands next to palm trees – but the atmosphere is nice and it makes us feel a little bit like home.

Cascais
Setúbal
Lisboa
Some mulled wine / Glühwein in Lisboa

11th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 11:

In Germany, people usually have real trees for Christmas and decorating it is often a family tradition. Here in Portugal we have seen Christmas trees all over the place in various styles – these are our top 10! ☺️✨🎄

10th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 10:

Looks like Santa Claus was around… 😉🎅

9th December 2021

Screenshot taken from Jamaram’s Instagram account (9th Dec 2021)

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 9:

The Bavarian band Jamaram has been a frequent part in our playlists for quite a few years now and some of you might have had the chance to see their great live shows with us! 🎉
Last year, their first and only Christmas song came out. Go listen to it, it’s definitely a different Christmas song (in German), touching many problems of our times: We have got too much of so many things like phones, meat export, airplanes, high fences, hate,… material things in general. But not enough love under the Christmas tree 🎄❤️ It’s the only things that counts!

8th December 2021

Portugal: our time in Lisbon

Dear Lisboa,

we spent 8 days with you in your beautiful streets and places, enjoyed the lovely Christmas atmosphere, loved all the cosy cafés and small kiosks with typical Portuguese food, took looooots of pictures of the iconic trams and also took the famous tram 28, walked up and down the many steep lanes and steps, went to markets, walked along the river and were fascinated by your „Golden Gate Bridge“, took in the sun whenever possible and loved that it usually was about 15°C warm, ate lots of Pastel de Nata, visited some of the many museums, went to quite a few of the many viewing points, took in all the different types of tiles on your houses and bought quite a bit of pottery from all over Portugal. Like that we will keep the good memories with us once we are back at home again. We were very surprised by how big your city centre is and couldn’t believe that no more than 500,000 people live within your walls! Every day we walked 10-15km and really took in everything around us. The earthquake in 1755 must have really been a bad time for you and your citizens, we can only imagine what life must have been like before that – but we can tell you: we and many other people are a fan of what you have to offer now. We could have stayed another 10 days and wouldn’t have managed to see and do everything we wanted to. Now we are quite exhausted and need some time to let it all sink in.

We came by bike from the west along the coast, we left via ferry towards south. We will tell everyone they should come to see you and will definitely be back!

Take care,
Christina & Jacob

8th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 8:

Nothing else to add…✨ Have a lovely day, wherever you are!

7th December 2021

Picture taken in Cascais on our way to Lisboa

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 7:

That’s what Christmas is all about: love & love & love ❤️ And immediately this song comes to mind „Love Love Love… All you need is love“ ☺️✨

6th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 6:

In my childhood, December 6th was always special, as my friend Ambra used to visit from Italy. Together we enjoyed some Christmas rituals, like baking Christmas biscuits.
My grandmother and mother have both passed their passion of making Christmas biscuits onto me – I might be the craziest of them, though, sometimes making up to 14 trays in one evening…
So for this special day of St Nikolaus, which is celebrated in Germany among other countries, I am going to share a family recipe with you.

Butterplätzchen (butter biscuits)

You need:
400 g flour, 250 g butter (let it rest outside for 2 hours), 120-150 g icing sugar or very fine sugar, 2 egg yolks, 2 big spoons of milk, a pinch of salt – and optional: some finely cut almonds / some grated orange or lemon peel

How to make the dough:
Mix all the ingredients and knead with your hands until it is a soft dough. Put it in the fridge for at least one hour.

The fun part – forming the biscuits:
Take a bit of the dough out of the fridge and put the rest back in – if the dough is too warm, forming biscuits is very difficult. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and simply make biscuits with whatever form you have got – a small glass is fine as well.

Baking:
Put the biscuits onto a baking paper and then on a tray. Put it in the preheated oven at 180-200°C (depending on your oven) – take them out when they are golden brown.

Versions:
A) sprinkle a little icing sugar on top when they come out of the oven
B) before they go into the oven: spread a little egg yolk (mixed with a drop of milk) onto the biscuits
C) do version B) and then add some sugar ornaments
D) always make two of the same form, then stick them together with a bit of jam in between (optional: and sprinkle a little icing sugar on top)
E) make the plain ones or D) and dip the whole biscuit or only part of it into chocolate

I have tried them all, my favourite versions are still C) and E). Have fun making them and let me know what’s your favourite! 😊
Christina

5th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 5:

Picture taken from unicef’s Instagram account (5th Dec 2021)

Whether you are an ABBA fan or not and whether you are a fan of Christmas music or not – this is an opportunity to do some good for children supported by UNICEF!
Go listen to the song „Little Things“ on whatever platform you’re using!
Happy Sunday! ✨

4th December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 4:

Red and green combined – Christmas is on its way!
Here in Portugal we see some familiar Christmas plants like the winter rose/Weihnachtsstern – though the combination with palm trees is new for us, of course.
We also encounter new plants that seem to be absolutely made for Christmas time. Has anyone an idea what it is?

Picture taken in Cascais
Spotted in Sintra

3rd December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 3:

Have a lovely first December weekend! ✨

2nd December 2021

Portugal, week 4:

It was a bit colder and we had a couple of days with rain and lots of wind – nevertheless, we spent another unforgettable week in this beautiful country of which we cannot get enough!

What did we do and see?
– Ericeira: rocky and very hilly coastline, famous for surfing (since 2011: Ericeira World Surfing Reserve – the only one in Europe), white houses on steep roads, the whole village seems to live off the surfers, mainly young tourists
– Mafra: Palácio Nacional de Mafra with 1200 rooms, impressive front and beautiful library
– On our way to Azóia we had some rough cycling paths… And some heavy wind at the Praia Grande where you can see dinosaur footprints in the stone – so much wind that the camera/phone had trouble focussing!
– Cabo da Roca: the westernmost point of continental Europe with a pretty lighthouse and impressive coastline
– Praia da Ursa: One of the most spectacular beaches we have ever been to! A nice little hike from Cabo da Roca with spectacular views – endless picture opportunities for Christina 😉… A must see when you are in this part of Portugal!

We have arrived in Lisboa and will stay here for more than a week. We are excited to get into city life again!

2nd December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 2:

December is also a time for hot chestnuts. Here in Portugal, but also in Northern Spain, you can find chestnut stands all over – usually you can also see them steaming from far away. We have been lucky to find local chestnuts in the supermarkets as well, so we sometimes make them at home – just cut a deep cross into them, wait until they open up and are golden brown…Voilà!

Picture taken in Aveiro
Picture take in Porto

1st December 2021

Advent Calendar on the road – door number 1:

A glimpse into Christina’s world of happy baking…
At the weekend we stayed in a beautiful place with a kitchen ready for some Christmas biscuits! ✨

30th November 2021

Advent Calendar on the road

December is Christina’s favourite time of the year. In a normal year in Germany, she would go to Christmas markets, bake lots of Christmas cookies, listen to Christmas music whenever Jacob is not around – and of course sing along loudly, decorate the house with Christmas decorations, watch Christmas films … simply enjoy the Christmas atmosphere with friends and family!

This year everything is different for us. To keep up some personal traditions on our tour, we have decided to make an „Advent Calendar on the road“ for you!

Every day until Christmas we will post something related to Christmas and/or our trip. Enjoy!

26th November 2021

25th November 2021

Portugal, week 3:

Time flies, another week has passed already!

What did we do?
– From Costa de Lavos we cycled to Nazaré: beautiful 50km of cycling lanes (yay!), crossing a beautiful area by the sea that was hit hard by a devastating fire in 2017, destroying acres of pine trees, villages and people.
– Nazaré: Famous for its waves – there were absolutely none when we were there! But it’s a beautiful, very hilly village with great views.
– Óbidos: Our favourite place in Portugal, so far! Medieval village, surrounded completely by a wall you can walk on, small cobbled streets with cute white houses, despite the touristy feel everything is done very lovingly, the Christmas feel has already arrived there.
– Peniche: Fascinating landscape with dunes and cliffs, two rocky islands off the shore, beaches with lots of surfers.

Some more impressions/ things we have noticed:
– We don’t see many tiled houses anymore, they are mostly white now.
– We had a very autumn-like week: 17°C and sun at the beach and then all of a sudden quite cold, cloudy and windy days below 12°C. We also had our first bit of unpredicted rain in Portugal – unfortunately, exactly when we had decided to sleep in our tent for the first time in weeks…
– It’s Christmas season! Here they start a bit earlier than in Germany, already at the beginning of November. Christina loves it! It’s only a bit strange for us when you come from the beach, it’s sunny and at the café they play „Santa Claus is coming to town“…
– Between Peniche and Ericeira there’s lots of agriculture and many mills.
– Why do Portuguese cities and villages have to be so hilly and steep? Porto, Coimbra, Nazaré, Óbidos and now Ericeira – beautiful to look at, but very exhausting by bike!

23rd November 2021

A bikepacker’s life 🚲🚲 – number 6:

We have got used to seeing our own bikes packed with lots of bags and sometimes we forget that people are amazed by the bikes‘ appearance… Until we see other bikepackers! 🚲

We have met quite a few of them – from Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, USA, Canada and Colombia. It’s always nice chatting with them, finding out what routes they are doing and what adventures they have already encountered.

The bikepacker in the picture is Volker from northern Germany. We met him in Biarritz, France, have been keeping in touch and met again in Spain and Portugal. He is a very impressive man, having cycled from the north of Germany to the south of Portugal in two and a half months, having managed almost 5000km!
We are hoping for many more bikepacker friendships liks this one 💛

21st November 2021

Access to education for everyone, not having to work as a child, growing up in a safe and clean environment and on a healthy and habitable planet – those are a few of our wishes for every child on earth.

The UNICEF project we decided to support on our current bike trip trough Europe focuses exactly on these aims.
The project is situated in the Ivory Coast, Africa, and combines environmental and educational issues: Plastic waste is recycled and transformed into bricks which are then used to build classrooms where children learn for their personal future and also for the future of our planet.

You want to learn more about this great project and/or would even like to donate? Please go the top of our website and click on „About us“ on the top right or on „donate here“.

Every Euro counts! Let’s make this world a better place for children! 🌍
THANK YOU for your support ❤️

PS: All the donations will be transferred immediately to this already existing UNICEF project, we don’t receive any money for it.

20th November 2021

HAPPY WORLD CHILDREN’S DAY! Our wishes for all children all over the world:

– happiness
– a loving family
– friends they can rely on
– access to education and, thus, not having to work as a child
– access to sufficient food and water
– peace
– feeling safe
– a sheltered place they can call their home
– social stability
– a sufficient health care system
– mental and physical health
– a healthy and habitable planet
– a clean and safe environment
– not having to flee from their home due to war or climate change
– not having to fight for climate justice
– politicians that listen to the young generations and do everything in their power to care for the future’s generations – experiencing the same human rights as adults
– being heard
– being respected by and showing respect to others
– being able to speak their mind
– the freedom to choose their own path for the future
– being able to fulfill their dreams
– curiosity in life
– equality of any kind
– no discrimination of any kind
– confidence

… and whatever personal desire they might have!

17th November 2021

Our second week in Portugal – what did we do?

We
– cycled south along the coast, starting in Porto, passing beautiful sandy beaches.
– stayed in Aveiro – a small, pretty town with colourful houses and canals with Venice-style-boats.
– celebrated Jacob’s first birthday at the beach! In Costa Nova near Aveiro, with a picnic and some wavespotting.
– continued to Coimbra: Portugal’s third-biggest city, white houses and barely any tiled houses, VERY steep hills (no wonder you don’t see people cycling), the country’s first university and also one of the world’s oldest (founded in 1290).
– made it to 3000km!!
– are now back at the seaside in Costa de Lavos, enjoying staying at a lovely place and a beautiful beach.

We have been so lucky with the weather these past two weeks, but also with being able to travel during these difficult times. We are very grateful and happy and will continue to enjoy every day of our stay in beautiful Portugal!

Take good care of yourselves ❤️

16th November 2021

A bikepacker’s life 🚲🚲 – number 5:

Putting up our tent
Our daily routines have shifted for this year. We don’t go to work every day and prepare ourselves in the morning. We have got different routines now – this is one of them 😊.
The video was taken in September, in Palavas-les-Flots in France. The ground was hard to work with and we haven’t got a hammer with us for the tent pegs 😉.
Real life duration: 26 minutes.

Song: „The Same Everyday“ by the Slackers, album „The Great Rocksteady Swindle“. Copyright by Hellcat Records.

11th November 2021

First impressions of Portugal after one week:

– People are really friendly.
– Everyone can speak English.
– TV: Everything is in the original language with subtitles. So cool! We wonder whether that’s why everyone’s English is so good.
– Houses are often tiled.
– Lots of pine trees, eucalyptus trees and palm trees.
– Beautiful sandy beaches with waves waiting for surfers.
– The many boardwalks along the seaside invite you to go for a walk – sometimes they are even a cycling path on our route.
– Lots of sun! People have started wearing their winter jackets – we are back to wearing t-shirt and sometimes even shorts. ☀️
– People eat lots of fish and meat.
– You can buy chestnuts everywhere.
– Our favourite snack from the bakery: Pastel de Nata.
– Porto: Beautiful (very hilly) city – we loved staying there for some days.

We got our bikes checked in Porto – we thought it was a good idea after almost 3000km and some minor issues we were having with our bikes. Now we are ready to roll again! 😎🚲

10th November 2021

POSITIVE THINGS we stumbled upon… in Spain:

We spent 21 days in Northern Spain, cycled 736km on 16 cycling days and did 214km by train.
Apart from the lovely people we met – locals, pilgrims and travellers – there were some other positive things we noticed:

Picture 1.:
At a bar, when having a drink only, you often get a snack with your drink: Something sweet when you order a hot drink, something salty like for example crisps and olives or Tortilla when you have a cold drink. We loved that!

Picture 2.:
We felt it was great not having to check the navigation all the time. We know people have varied opinions about the Camino being so well-provided with signs showing the direction. We liked it, for once. 😉

Picture 3.:
There were not man cycling paths we could use, apart from in the bigger cities. We noticed that, most of the times, car drivers were quite respectful with us being on the side of the road and we saw many signs telling or reminding them about cyclists being there with them. We felt reassured in having the right to be on the road as well and also felt a little safer. 🚲

Picture 4.:
Being on the road so much, we observed car drivers and their driving habits a lot. We often saw situations in which we were surprised that people stayed calm and relaxed. Like here on this narrow bridge: people just organised themselves, without signs telling them who to go first.

Picture 5.:
500g of flour! Travelling by bike and not having the space to store a lot of food and also not wanting to carry around too much weight: We liked the smaller packages of flour! We had never seen that before.

Picture 6.:
On top of our positive train experience with our bikes, we were also fascinated by the options on ticket machines: You can choose where you want to sit and even see where the space for bikes, wheelchairs and pushchairs is. And you can also choose your travel direction – something that we believe is very important for people who get sick when travelling backwards. Very simple and still very progressive, in our view.

Picture 7.:
Corona is everywhere and has been with us for quite some time now. Within the first few days in Spain we noticed that 99% of the people we saw were wearing their masks correctly! Something we hadn’t seen before and that we found very impressive. Way to go! 👍

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9th November 2021

Scenes recorded at the French-Spanish border in Irún, in Castrojeriz, Sahagún, León, Hospital de Órbigo, Foncebadón, Mount Irago, mountains around O Cebreiro, Triacastela, Santiago de Compostela, Ponte Sampaio, O Porriño and somewhere in between.
The part of the Camino Francés is from minute 0:15 to 5:20.
In the video the mountains don’t look steep – but, oh yes, they were! 😉

Songs: „The Last Waltz“ by Jo Yeong-wook, album „Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from Oldboy“. Copyright EMI Music Korea Ltd.
„Oscillate Wildly“ by the Smiths, album „Louder Than Bombs“. Copyright Sire Records and Rough Trade Records.

6th November 2021

We spent one more week in Northern Spain, after having arrived in Santiago. We continued south, following the Portuguese Camino backwards.

– Weather: lots of rain, fog and cold
– Routes: Some more terrible ones with a lot of metres in altitude and having to push the bikes up on steep and pebbly roads. We decided to choose the „racing bike mode“ for the rest of our routes in Spain.
– Places: We passed many small villages – some beautifully located with some very pretty stone houses, stayed in Caldas de Reis for some rainy days – lots of creative wall drawings and a nice rainforest-like walk to a waterfall, and also one rainy day in Pontevedra – beautiful old city centre with many nice cafés.
– Nature: fascinating woods of eucalytpus trees, green hills surrounding us all the time, palm trees and colorful flowers even at this time of the year.

4th November 2021

Today was a day of crossing borders: We are in Portugal now! 🇵🇹🚲

We started at 10am in O Porriño: 5°C, fog, wearing lots of layers.
The sun came out when we were crossing borders between Tui and Valença – beautiful views towards the mountains around us. We have had very cold and rainy days this past week and just CAN’T WAIT to see and feel some more sun! ☀️
People kept telling us that the Portuguese Camino is a bit boring because it’s quite flat. We are SO READY for „boring“, flat routes! Though we don’t think we’ll find them boring. We had a good start right after the border, taking the cycling path along the river Minho until Vila Praia de Âncora.
We are at the Atlantic Ocean again! 🌊We’ve been going west since we started our tour back home in Munich. We’ll be heading ONLY south for a long time now! Yay! 😎
Today we also had a nice surprise: We bumped into a fellow bikepacker, a French guy we met on the Camino 10 days ago. Jacob recognized his bike standing outside an Albergue here in Portugal. Such a joyous moment! 😍🚲

Porto is only 90km away, we’ll spend some days there and will get into the Portuguese way of life – whatever that is 😎😉!

1st November 2021

Camino – part 3, from Triacastela to Santiago:

The mountains were behind us, our only aim now was getting to Santiago! Our bodies started to be tired, we tried to pre-book our beds a bit more often and also to arrive a bit earlier, at about 5pm. All of a sudden, in Portomarin there were so many Camino people and all the Albergue were full! Was it maybe because if you want to get the certificate at the end, you have to walk the last 100km to Santiago? We even saw school classes on the Camino, all of them saying „Buen camino“ as we were passing them 😊.

The region Galicia began at the second mountain – we noticed the change: the stone houses looked different, there were stone walls between the green fields, there were many cows and sheep, the trees were different ones and we saw flowers again that we hadn’t seen since the French coast.

After 10 very intensive days on the Camino, we finally arrived in Santiago de Compostela: happy and exhausted, impressed and surprised by the beautiful city, fascinated by the many restaurants and bars and the lovely atmosphere, a bit overwhelmed by the many people. One of the thoughts we had after having finished the Camino: Maybe we would have managed the Pyrenees after all 😉.

31st October 2021

Camino – part 2, from León to Triacastela:

We actually wanted to take the train from León to Sarria, to avoid the two mountains in between. At the train station we realised that, first of all, there were no trains going to Sarria that take a bike with them and, secondly, that there were security checks like at airports and that we wouldn’t make it through them with all the stuff we’ve got with us for the year. So no train… We had drinks in León to gulp down the shock (and a bit of fear of what was about to come) and planned the next steps.

The first night we spent in Hospital de Órbigo, in a beautiful Albergue with warm-hearted people and a shared meal. Such a lovely experience! We immediately felt lucky, not having been able to take the train and, thus, not skipping this part of the Camino. Some more nice Albergue experiences with nice people followed, but also some with too many people, not enough bathroom facilities, snoring people and squeaking bunk beds.

The first mountain and also the highest point of the whole Camino: Foncebadón with 1504m. We climbed the mountain early in the morning at 1°C – beautiful sunrise, great view looking back down to the Meseta from where we came, breathtaking view down to the next valley towards Ponferrada where we later found beautifully coloured vinyards.

The second mountain wasn’t as high, but a lot steeper – we had to push our bikes all the way up! And by people’s reactions on our arrival in O Cebreiro, it was obvious that that climb was tough for everyone. The views were spectacular, though! That day we continued until Triacastela in the following valley, experiencing our first and only bit of rain on the Camino – and a cattle crossing 😉🐮.

30th October 2021

Camino – part 1, from Burgos to León:

We took the train from Donostia-San Sebastián to Burgos (no problems this time, everyone was really helpful and friendly 🚲👌) so that we wouldn’t have to cross the Pyrenees by bike and so that Christina’s knees wouldn’t make problems already at the beginning of our stay in Spain. We met a very nice Spanish guy from Madrid – learning from him a bit about Spain and its people!

Arriving in Burgos by train was, again, strange for us: landscape around us brownish and not green anymore, different kinds of trees, and it was quite cold. We had our first paella, got our pilgrim’s passport and off we went to start our personal Camino de Santiago! 😎🚲🚲

What did we notice immediately?
– Yellow arrows and different types of shell signs leading the way – no need to navigate all the time, yay! We felt like it might be one of the best-guided paths in Europe.
– People often do the Camino on their own.
– You somehow feel connected to the others, as everyone’s aim is arriving at Santiago.
– Everyone says „Hola! Buen Camino!“
– You can collect pilgrim’s stamps in the Albergue (cheap hostels with bunk beds for pilgrims), in churches, in bars or restaurants.

After all, we felt like travelling in autumn: fog and cold in the morning, sometimes sunny and blue sky in the afternoon. We had to adjust pretty quickly, as usually you have to leave the Albergue at 8 am! At this time of the year it isn’t even light yet and it’s cold… We often had breakfast at a bar until it wasn’t dark anymore. For the first time on this trip, we started wearing many layers and even bought some gloves 😉.

During the first couple of days we crossed the Meseta, a flat plateau. The altitude was ok, apart from one very steep hill with a great view. We conquered quite a few stony paths (always thinking „Hopefully the Camino isn’t like that all the time!“) – one of Christina’s bags even broke from all the jumping up and down on these sort of paths. We passed many fields and small villages and had coffee and „Tortilla de patatas“ almost every day.

29th October 2021

POSITIVE THINGS we stumbled upon… in France:

We spent 47 days in beautiful France (only 20 were cycling days, though 😉), cycled 1109 km and did 460 km by train.
Apart from the good weather, the delicious cheese and the many lovely bakeries we visited on a daily basis, there were some other positive things we noticed:

Picture 1.:
When eating at a restaurant, you always get some water for free – without even having to ask for it!

Pictures 2.+3.:
We did not have to look for organic grocery stores or organic bakeries, we found them in every town! Most of them had quite a big range of packaging-free food as well. And we even found a chain of completely packaging-free shops! 👌

Picture 4.:
Young and old, rich and poor, everyone plays Pétanque. Like here, right in the middle of Arles. Such a nice social event.

Picture 5.:
In some cities, like Montpellier and Toulouse, we saw packages and groceries being delivered by bike! 💪🚲

Picture 6.:
Following the Eurovélo-signs was quite easy. Sometimes they were even written in two languages, like here in the Basque region.

Picture 7.:
There are many signs reminding people to keep their surroundings clean. This one here was at a beach in Biarritz and as non-smokers we were quite happy about it.

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29th October 2021

France Part 2: from the Mediterranean Sea to the Spanish border at the Atlantic Ocean

Scenes recorded at: Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Canal du Midi, Aigues-Mortes, Port Camargue, La Grande-Motte, Sète, Vias, Canal de la Robine, Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Hendaye and somewhere in between.

Songs:
„The Way We Move“ by Langhorne Slim and the Law, album „The Way We Move“. Copyright by Ramseur Record.
„One Step Beyond“ by Madness, album „One Step Beyond“. Copyright by Stiff Records and Sire Records.

27th October 2021

We made it to Santiago!!! 😎

We spent 10 days on the famous Camino de Santiago:
– took the French route, „Camino Francés“
– started in Burgos
– finished in Santiago
– cycled 527km (of about 800km)
– conquered 6.300 metres altitude (of about 11.000)

We wanted to take the train in between, but it wasn’t possible with all our luggage – so we had to cycle all the way! We are very happy and proud! 😁🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️💪

For the first time ever, we cycled 13 days in a row (before the Camino we had a rest day after a maximum of 3 days)! Tomorrow we’ll cycle 1 more day to get a bit further south, before a weekend of rain is ahead of us. We’ll stay in a nice and cosy flat and will relax for a couple of days. More posts about the Camino are about to come! 😎

20th October 2021

Nouvelle-Aquitaine:

We arrived in this region by train, coming from Toulouse and getting off at Bayonne. It was strange for us, not having cycled all the way and, thus, not having experienced the change in landscape, people, dialect, housing etc. But well, the whole train ride from Narbonne „spared us“ 460 km which would have taken us some weeks by bike. 🚂

In Bayonne we dived into the Basque-housing style and relaxed way of living. You can really feel it! We enjoyed being in this beautiful town, went to one of the many chocolatiers and then continued south to Biarritz.
There is one campsite in Biarritz, 700m from the beach – it was quite full (for the first time in ages) and full of surfers. And it’s the most beautiful campsite we have been to in France! After a cold night of only 6°C we spent a lovely day in town: watched surfers, enjoyed looking at the amazing landscape along the seaside, when the sun came out we spent some time at the beach – even went for a swim in the Atlantic, like many other people! 🌊 This was quite special for us, because with Christina being a teacher, we have never been able to do that in October. 😎🏖️

Our last day in France: We cycled from Biarritz to the Spanish border, always along the coast, passing beautiful Basque-style houses, went up and down many times, had lunch in the beautiful town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz where we met the first people doing the Camino and where we had a very memorable chat with a 71-year-old Canadian guy who is currently cycling from Amsterdam to Portugal. So many nice people we meet on this Europe-trip! 😍

Again, we can say that this part of France is very different to what we have seen before. We can definitely understand why people like coming here!

Bayonne and its pretty frame houses
Biarritz
Cycling south, on the Eurovélo 1 – sometimes with quite steep paths!
Basque-style houses in Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Views towards Spain

17th October 2021

A bikepacker’s life 🚲🚲 – number 4:

Taking a train with a bike…

It isn’t always easy, we know that from train rides in Germany. That’s also one of the reasons we tried to postpone the day of taking a train as long as possible.
With our pace being quite slow and having spent a long time in France with many rest/sightseeing days, we decided to finally take a train from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Coast. In fact two trains.

The first train ride was absolutely terrible:
– no elavators for bikes at the stations (but also not for wheelchairs or pushchairs) – so we had to carry our fully loaded bikes up and down the stairs
– steep steps to get on the train (very nice when you have to hurry because there are more bikes behind you and the train only stops for 3 minutes at the station)
– very narrow doors to get on the train and through to our carriage
– no space for luggage next to the bikes

The second one was already much better:
Same level floor to get on the train, spot for bikes close to the door with enough space for luggage – but still no elevators at the stations …

We have also already taken a train in Spain and are quite surprised about how well that went! No problems here… Why can’t it always be that easy? No wonder no one takes the bike with them on trains…

16th October 2021

Yesterday was a day full of excitement, good and bad…

Our day started well, we met a nice German bikepacker at the campsite in Biarritz, had good weather, nice views along our coastal path towards Spain and a lovely lunch, including an inspiring conversation with a Canadian bikepacker, in our last French town, Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

Then the problems started: Many hills, streets without proper cycling paths often right next to fast cars and annoyed car drivers, Christina’s gear shift didn’t want to work properly anymore so she often had to push her bike up the hill, some unfriendly people at the border, lots of traffic and chaos on the streets, and last but not least our favourite: steep streets with aggressive and loud dogs right next to us. We absolutely hated it and it was the first time Christina thought „I want to go home“.
Fortunately, the evening got better as we met our new friend from the morning again at the campsite at night – he was also annoyed by the unpleasant cycling day and we spent a nice evening together.
AND we made it to 2000km of cycling (+460km of train ride)! Yay! 🚲🚲🎉

There was no sign at the French-Spanish border – so here is a picture of Donostia-San Sebastián where we spent a lovely day today.
As Christina hasn’t had any problems with her knees on this trip so far (she had knee problems in spring) and she wants to keep it that way, and as we are not big fans of „upcycling“, we have decided to do the Camino de Santiago the light way: taking the train from time to time. Tomorrow we take one to Burgos and then we’ll start cycling towards León.
We are really looking forward to and are quite excited about what lies ahead of us! 😎

13th October 2021

Occitanie – Part 2:

Coming from Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, we continued to Aigues-Mortes and were quite surprised by the town: cute little houses, completely surrounded by walls and the salines are just outside! We spent a lovely day there and learned about salt production (pictures 1+2, if you look closely, you can see the town in the background).

We went on along the seaside until behind Palavas-the-Flots where we stayed right next to the beach and also spent a day in beautiful and clean Montpellier (pictures 3-5).

On we went along the sea, passing many lakes with flamingos, having lunch in beautiful Sète (we liked it very much as it is different to the French towns we have seen so far, pictures 6+7) and staying west of Agde, where we had the windy and rough night we posted about 10 days ago.

We continued south towards Spain and stayed in Gruissan for one week (picture 8): enjoying time with Christina’s parents, staying in a nice flat, visiting the surroundings, going to the beach and eating good food. Time passed by incredibly quickly!

As it is already October now and we have been taking everything quite slowly and as it is getting colder and campsites tend to close for the season, we have decided to start taking the train from time to time. Our first train ride was from Narbonne to Toulouse – not a very pleasant experience, but it got us there quickly. We absolutely fell in love with Toulouse (pictures 9+10)! We didn’t know anything about France’s 5th biggest city and were pleasantly surprised by its red brick houses, many lovely streets with small shops and nice cafés and restaurants – that are filled with life even on a normal Monday evening! We can only recommend going there!

We have decided not to continue along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, but to go to the Atlantic Coast and to enter Spain from there. A day of crossing borders is ahead soon, how exciting! 😁🎉

8th October 2021

France part 1: from the border near Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea

Scenes recorded at Swiss-French Border, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Lac d‘Annecy, Annecy, véloroute 63, Grenoble, Viarhôna, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Occitanie, Pont du Garde, Gorges du Gardon, Camargue, Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer and somewhere in between.
Song: the Secret of Monkey Island – Main Theme
Copyright LucasArts Telltale Games

7th October 2021

If you want to see our journey’s itinerary and read a bit about our steps on our way, you can have a look here: https://www.polarsteps.com/ChristinaJacob/4232502-cycling-for-planet-a

You also find the link to it on our „social media bar“ at the top of our website.

It took us some time to get it started, after Daniel and Nina from Switzerland proposed it to us. We will try to keep it updated from now on 😉😎

4th October 2021

The past three days have been adventurous, stressful and exhausting…

It started with us not being able to find a place to sleep. In the area along the sea south of Agde there are soooo many campsites – but all of them are closed! It’s actually a bit creepy, cycling the streets with closed, gated doors and signs with „fermé“ as not many people really live in that area. Yes, it was the first of October, but we didn’t expect it to be a problem that quickly.
In our experience, wild camping isn’t done here as the coastal parts are quite well-guarded and – the much bigger problem for us as we’ve had some bad experiences – there are many aggressive dogs around. So no wild camping.
In the end we found a campsite with very friendly people and slept right next to the sea (which turned out to be a problem later).

The summer is over and so seem to be the opening hours of most of the shops and restaurants around here. Who’d have thought that even finding a supermarket could be that difficult? You can tell that for us, with Christina being a teacher, it is the first time travelling that late in summer as, usually, she is at school at that time of year.

Being right next to the beach, we said we’d do a beach day – finally! We couldn’t have chosen a worse day… During the day the waves already got bigger and louder and it was too windy to go for a swim, by the evening it was obvious that it would be a windy night. Our tent was next to the sea, only one caravan next to us, as all the other people stayed in mobile homes. What to do? We moved the tent a little and put many heavy stones around and on it. It was already very windy when we went to bed, in the night winds got up to 50-70 km/h… As you can imagine, we didn’t sleep much, even with earplugs it was loud and windy and we were constantly wondering whether the tent would hold. Fortunately, it did.

In the morning we packed all the bags already inside the tent so that we would be quicker outside where the waves got really close and everything was wet and dirty. Somehow we managed to take the tent down without it flying away, packed our bikes and left the seaside as quickly as possible. We even said no to some nice offers of coffee as we just wanted to flee…
Fortunately, inland it was a bit better, but there were some cycling parts by the sea as well and the wind came from south where we were headed, so cycling for 45km was tough yesterday. Especially, because we had barely slept.
But we made it and couldn’t be happier to spend one week with Christina’s family in a flat now!! 😍

Lesson learned: check also the wind when checking the weather. 🙄🤔😉

Video: In the evening – in the morning inside our tent – finally starting our tour in the morning.

30th September 2021

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: Part 2

Coming from Nîmes, the landscape changed all of a sudden behind Saint-Gilles and the Petit Rhône: no more fruit trees or vineyards, but flat fields of different types of grass, white horses and black bulls. Welcome to the Camargue! 😎

We spent two days in beautiful Arles: relaxed atmosphere, lovely streets and houses with coloured shutters, lots of relics from the past from the Romans AND (like everywhere in the Camargue) many, many mosquitos. If the mosquitos weren’t so aggressive, we could absolutely imagine living there! Such a lovely place! 😍

Then we went on to the famous Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. It is the only bigger village in that area and has got more horses than inhabitants, it seems. Walking and cycling by the beach, taking a swim, cooking and relaxing, watching flamingos. Time just passed by so quickly. 🏖️🦩🌊

28th September 2021

A bikepacker’s life 🚲🚲 – number 3:

Welcome to our home! We love the inside of our 3-people-tent, to us it feels like home wherever we are on our journey!

24th September 2021

Day 51:

We made it to the Mediterranean Sea!! 🌊💪We have been waiting for this for quite some time now and got more and more excited as we came closer! Today was the day! 😊 And Christina immediately started doing her favourite thing at the beach: looking for beautiful shells. 🐚

1622 km in 27 days of cycling. Emission-free. In total we spared 162 kg of CO2 compared to using a private car.

23th September 2021

Occitanie: Part 1

From Avignon we took a little detour, instead of cycling straight down to the sea – and we are quite happy about it! 😊

We cycled to the breathtaking 2000-year-old Pont du Gard, spent a day in the lovely little town of Uzès (it was market day and we had not seen that many people all squashed together in a very long time, so we hid in the little side streets) and switched our bikes with our hiking boots for the first time on this trip: The valley of the river Gardon gives great opportunity to walk in beautiful scenery, observe the always changing vegetation around you and take a bath as well. The second hike even brought us back to Pont du Gard – we were just amazed by it! ❤️
That bridge isn’t the only leftover from the Romans in this area, though. In Nîmes there were many other 2000-year-old sights, including the best preserved amphitheatre and a temple. You all know Nîmes for a different reason, though: The word „Denim“ really means „de Nîmes“ as the famous jeans fabric originally comes from there.

We are definitely in love ❤️ with this part of France! Now we are off to the Camargue and the sea! 🚲🌊😎🏖️

21st September 2021

A bikepacker’s life 🚲🚲 – number 2:

Packing up for a day of cycling… Every time we pack our bikes, we are surprised that all our small and big bags fit! We have gotten used to cycling with all our luggage – now it even feels weird when we sometimes cycle without it 😉😂.

17th September 2021

Pont du Gard, 2000 years old and still a beauty!

16th September 2021

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: Part 1

This part of France, again, is just beautiful! And yes, we are definitely in southern Europe, with nature around us changing! 🌞

We stopped in Orange for breakfast and had a look around – it is part of UNESCO with its triumphal arch and the amphitheatre. We liked the atmosphere a lot, even on a Sunday it was lively!

We continued south and stopped for a second time: in the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape where we didn’t have wine, but ice cream 😉. Wherever you looked, there was red wine – inside and outside the village! Such a nice feel to cycle between the vineyards!

Then we finally arrived in beautiful Avignon, where we have been staying for 4 whole days as the weather has been quite bad (even though you can’t tell from the pictures 😉). We are having a great time exploring the city, relaxing in a flat and making use of some luxury items such as an oven and a stove 😉😊. And Christina also got her bike fixed 💪. Now we are excited to get back on the road again tomorrow! 🚲🚲

13th September 2021

We spent the past two weeks in the French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and absolutely loved it!

Some impressions…

Cycling to Annecy and taking a break from the terrible road on this lovely bridge.
The really pretty city of Annecy and the breathtaking Lac d’Annecy where we spent four nights as we were waiting for a parcel to arrive.
On our way to Aix-les-Bains – again on terrible roads, but this time prepared with our reflective vests.
At Lac du Bourget in Aix-les-Bains, surrounded by mountains.
On our way to Grenoble – finally on a real and good véloroute – with wonderful views of the mountains.
The city of Grenoble is completely surrounded by mountains – the ones most noticeable are the pointy ones.
Yet another astonishing route between Grenoble and the small village of Saint-Marcellin (Christina wanted to go there because she likes the cheese) with thousands of walnut trees along our way.
Did you know the nut is surrounded by a green skin?
And a lovely camping spot with castle ruins and a sunset view for the night.

Near Valence the river Isère meets the famous river Rhône – many cyclists take the route between Lyon and the French coast. A good chance for us to make contact with other people and tell them about our project – we have met so many lovely people! We followed the véloroute ViaRhôna and the Eurovélo route 17, passed the cities Valence (lots of apricot trees) and Montélimar (known for the French nougat) and crossed many bridges, passed lots of beautiful stone houses and fruit fields (even kiwi trees!) until we arrived in the Provence.

All of a sudden nature around us changed: olive trees, palm trees, … Yes, we are really in the South of France! 😊🌞

11th September 2021

10th September 2021

A bikepacker’s life 🚲🚲 – number 1: Laundry days… Being creative with hanging our clothes. We do have quite a lot of laundry days as we don’t have so many clothes with us. 🌞

9th September 2021

When there is a cat around, Christina is always happy! This time, there are cats at the camping site – they even come into your tent 😻😍

8th September 2021

Bikepacking the French way… Who can spot it? 😉😎

7th September 2021

Our camping spot for the night – sleeping with a view. Bonne nuit 😴

6th September 2021

Taking a break is essential ☝️. Yesterday we cycled along the véloroute 63 between Chambéry and Grenoble and were spoilt with picnic spots with a great view! 🌞😎Mountains to the left and right, fields of corn and beans, apple and walnut trees and us in between – one of the most beautiful routes we have taken so far!

4th September 2021

Today we cracked our first 1,000 km! 🎉😁 We have been travelling for 31 days, though cycling only for 17 – the others were rest days and sightseeing days 😉. We are quite excited about the distance we have already covered and even more about the many more km to come! 🌞

3rd September 2021

Today we saw something we were quite happy about and we experienced something we were not so happy about…

1) Happy: The town Seynod is a „Ville amie des enfants partenaire unicef“ which means the town puts their children and their children’s rights into focus. Way to go! 🎉 Did you know towns can have a label like that? Have a look in your country! In Germany, for example, the initiative is called „Kinderfreundliche Kommunen e.V.“.

2) Not so happy: Today we wore our reflective vests for the first time – we cycled on a big road next to fast cars and lorries for 20km. Puh. When we finally decided to leave that terrible road, we cycled on a very rocky field path for at least 10km. What a good choice to cycle only 40km today as both was very tiring! We are hoping for better roads tomorrow 🤞.

At least the weather was much better than the forecast had predicted and the landscape was beautiful, too! 🌞😊.

Happy
Not so happy

1st September 2021

The first couple of weeks. Scenes recorded in Munich, Allgäu, Vorarlberg along the river Rhine, Churfirsten, Lake Zurich, Bern, Fribourg, Lake Geneva and often somewhere in between.

^Song ‚The Road‘ by Frank Turner, album ‚Poetry of the Deed‘. Copyright by Xtra Mile Recordings and Epitaph Records

31st August 2021

POSITIVE THINGS we stumbled upon… in Switzerland:

We spent almost 3 weeks in beautiful Switzerland. Apart from all the delicious cheese and the very friendly people, there were many other positive things we noticed:

Picture 1.: The cycling network is very good – frequently there are maps next to the roads and the red signs help you find your route wherever you are. Almost no chance of getting lost, even without a GPS device! 👌

Pictures 2.+3.: Being respectful with and taking care of each other as cyclists and pedestrians is in the focus in many cities. That makes you feel welcome and respected! 👍

Picture 4.: The ETH Zürich has started a project about cleaning the river Limat! We observed the process and were impressed what the seemingly so clean river brought to daylight. Way to go @autonomousrivercleanup! 🙌

Pictures 5.+6.+7.: We experienced Switzerland as a very clean country. You are encouraged to separate your waste correctly wherever you are and to bear in mind your personal environment. We think the governments of other countries should encourage that a lot more, too.

Picture 8.: Many cities offer free public transportation when staying there as a tourist. Great way of avoiding having too many cars in the city centres! 👏

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30th August 2021

Today was a day of crossing borders – we are in France, yay! We are very looking forward to spending some weeks here! 😊🇫🇷

29th August 2021

How exciting to wake up to this fantastic news!! The first 1300€ are completed – wohooo!! Thank you all so much for the generous donations ❤️❤️❤️

Let us continue like that! 💪🙏😎

28th August 2021

We made it to our first big destination: Geneva and Lake Geneva 💪😁😎 – with many diversions as we like it a lot in Switzerland. Tomorrow is our last day here, then we are heading to France!

25th August 2021

We were very busy at our stay in lovely Fribourg!

1) Yesterday we had our first newspaper interview and today we already found our article in the newspaper! 😳📰 Thank you, ‚Freiburger Nachrichten‘, for that opportunity and the nice talk we had! 🙏 If you want to have a read (it is in German), click on the following link: https://www.freiburger-nachrichten.ch/mit-dem-fahrrad-spenden-sammeln/ (Unfortunately, we are not allowed to republish the article.)

2) Today we had a radio interview at ‚RadioFr.‘ 🎤📻. That was very exciting for us and we are very happy with the result – thank you to the radio team! 🙏 You can listen to it by clicking on the following link https://frapp.ch/de/articles/stories/sd The radio presenter is speaking in Swiss German! ❤️ RadioFr. also recorded a little video about us, our project and our bikes, which can also be found when opening the link.

24th August 2021

On the road again…never without our Swiss fuel! 😉💪

Nussgipfeli & Schweizer Schokolade ❤️

23rd August 2021

On Thursday we did some „upcycling for planet A“ – many many hills and again almost 100km (which is a lot for us)! We are not planning on doing that again any time soon… The views were nice though, along the river Aare. We continued until pretty Solothurn where we rested for a day and had the obligatory Swiss Rösti! 😉
On Saturday we cycled away from the Jura Mountains towards the Alps to Bern where we are staying until tomorrow. We are very much in love with the city and could definitely imagine living here! So beautiful, people are so friendly, swimming in the river seems to be THE thing to do and there also seems to be a nice alternative scene – simply a great atmosphere. We don’t regret changing our route to come here!

The river Aare with the Jura Mountains
Solothurn
Arrival in Bern
Aarebar Bern

22nd August 2021

POSITIVE THINGS we stumbled upon…in Germany:

Stopping for lunch in Leutkirch two weeks ago, we ate at „blauer Affe“ and loved their way of involving local and sustainable suppliers! Way to go! And just around the corner we found a package free shop (Happy End) – great experience of shopping and a great way of reducing waste when shopping! Have you ever tried a store like that?

POSITIVE THINGS we stumbled upon…in Austria:

A local told us that basically all of the Austrian shore of Lake Constance is accessible to the public. Unlike in Germany and Switzerland, where some parts are private property. As nature lovers and enthusiasts of bathing in lakes and rivers, we like that a lot.

POSITIVE THINGS we stumbled upon…in Liechtenstein:

Alle duzen sich – und gehen trotzdem respektvoll miteinander um. Wir finden das sehr sympathisch!

English: Everyone says DU to each other (which is informal in German) – but still everybody is respectful. We think that is very likeable! (This does not bother the English natives as YOU covers both the formal and informal term of address – in many other languages it gets a bit more

21st August 2021

Just a quick impression of what it looks like when we are on the road.

18th August 2021

We spent three very relaxing and lazy days at a dearest friend’s house in lovely Zürich. Now we are back on the road: The stickers for our bags arrived, yay! Today we cracked the 500km, which happened surprisingly fast! 💪

But more importantly, we cracked the 1000€ mark, thank you so much!! We could not be more grateful. 🙏💛

Tomorrow we will head to Solothurn and then to Bern this weekend. ☀️🚵‍♂️🏞️

15th August 2021

This week we crossed many borders, passed lots of rivers and lakes and have met quite a few people we know: we left Germany on Monday, spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Austria and Switzerland, stayed in Liechtenstein for two days and since Friday we have been in beautiful Switzerland where we will stay for the next 10 days. We have been sent good weather, though cycling in the heat has also been a pain sometimes.

Austria
Liechtenstein
Switzerland: looking at the Churfirsten
Walensee

12th August 2021

Yesterday: a hot summer’s day along the river Rhine 🏞️☀️

10th August 2021

Yesterday was a long day… We cycled 76km to Lindau (via Mailand 😉) and had planned to stay for two nights and spend our last day in Germany there. However, the campsite was completely packed and all the ones close by in Germany and Austria were, too. What to do? We pushed through another 24km (yay, 100km in one day!) to arrive at the first vacant campsite in Switzerland! Knackered as we were in the evening, we had the Maultaschen we had bought for last night, for breakfast today.

Lake Constanze

8th August 2021

Have a relaxed Sunday! Warm greetings from hilly Allgäu 🚵

7th August 2021

Rise and shine ☀️☕

6th August 2021

The first 100km are done, there was lots of headwind and many hills – the one with 14% rise we decided to push our bikes up… All the preparations of the last couple of weeks have become noticeable – our bodies need some time to recover, so we will relax a bit in the next few days.

5th August 2021

After three years of planning and changing our plans many times, today was finally the day: We left Munich, our flat, our friends and family! Now we’re looking forward to 13 months of cycling and raising money with it, beautiful nature and meeting new and interesting people! To all the adventures that lie ahead of us! 🙂

4th August 2021

Is it all going to fit?

3rd August 2021

Schnell ins Bett, damit ihr morgen um 7.10 Uhr beim BR1 reinhören könnt – unser erstes Interview über unsere Reise!

3rd August 2021

Saying our goodbyes to our families, friends and colleagues – getting ready for our trip that starts in 2 days! A little later than originally planned, with less stress 😉

30th July 2021

Reproofing our tent

29th July 2021

Christina’s last day at work. Thanks for a great school year despite Covid – and all the lovely flowers!

27th July 2021

Less than a week to go, still prepping…

22nd July 2021

Siehe unten für den deutschen Text

We are Christina and Jacob, a young married couple from Munich, both 32 years old, a teacher and a pharmacist by profession. We have been on many travels in our time together, but our attitude to travelling has changed in the past few years.

Some years ago, Christina did a project about plastic with her class. Since then, the issue of
“plastic” has had a firm grip on us – we have been trying to buy and use as little plastic as possible
and, as a consequence, live an almost plastic-free life. Generally speaking, sustainability and
environmental protection have become more and more important for us. Also because of the
Corona pandemic that has led to more waste due to packaging, less use of public transport, the
question of the virus’ origin.
One year later, and with different destinations as originally planned, we are now off to our
sabbatical. We have decided to stay in our beautiful Europe and are going to travel by bike, train
and maybe also by ship. We are looking forward to travelling without stress – enjoying nature –
speaking different languages and experiencing other cultures – taking time for everything –
visiting other Montessori schools – notice and observe the issue of sustainability in everyday life
in various countries.
Environmental protection isn’t the only issue we want to put into focus on our journey, though. In
the course of our sabbatical we will visit rather wealthy European countries where going to school
can be taken for granted. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case all over the world. We are aware that
we – being a teacher and a pharmacist – are in a privileged position, also during this pandemic.
For this reason, we have decided to combine our travels with a fundraising project. UNICEF is
currently running a project that transforms plastic waste into bricks which are then used to build
classrooms in the Ivory Coast. This way, children are not only able to learn with a roof above their
heads, but also about matters of hygiene, how to create and take care of a school garden:
sustainability and education in one.
For more information about this project, go to:
https://www.unicef.org/cotedivoire/en/stories/ivorian-students-cant-wait-go-school-again-
their-new-plastic-bricks-school and https://www.unicef.org/cotedivoire/en/node/556 and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT_k9rCEiOI .
Our aim: Raising 16,900.00€ for this project.
On our website (www.cyclingforplaneta.com) it is possible to donate directly to this already existing project in favour of UNICEF. Via the button “Donate now” you will be forwarded to our fundraising page “ReCycling for planet A”: https://www.unicef.de/spendenaktion/thema?cfd=u19qb . All donations we receive will be transferred to this UNICEF project.
We are going to start in August 2021: First to Lake Constance, then through Switzerland, continuing to the Mediterranean Sea in France and then to the Atlantic Coast to Spain and Portugal. Winter on the Canary Islands. Coming back to Spain, maybe via Morocco. Travelling through France, the Benelux countries, experiencing the Scandinavian summer and then finally coming back to Germany via the Baltic states. These are more or less 13 countries – maybe we will visit more, maybe less. This is our current plan – it won’t be our last one, for sure. Because the Coronavirus has taught us: being flexible is important.

Wir sind Christina und Jacob, ein junges Ehepaar aus München, beide 32 Jahre alt, Lehrerin und Apotheker. Wir haben in unseren gemeinsamen Jahren schon viele Reisen zusammen unternommen. Unser Blick auf die Art zu reisen hat sich jedoch in den letzten Jahren verändert.
Vor ein paar Jahren hat Christina mit ihrer Klasse ein Plastik-Projekt durchgeführt, welches unser Leben langfristig verändert hat. Seitdem versuchen wir, möglichst plastikfrei zu leben. Die Themen Nachhaltigkeit und Umweltschutz allgemein sind aber auch mehr und mehr in unseren Fokus gerückt. Nicht zuletzt auch wegen der Corona-Pandemie – die zu noch mehr Verpackungsmüll, weniger Nutzung der öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel, zur Frage, woher das Virus kommt, geführt hat.
Ein Jahr später, und mit anderen Zielorten als ursprünglich geplant, starten wir nun in unser Sabbatjahr. Wir haben uns dazu entschieden, in unserem schönen Europa zu bleiben und es mit dem Fahrrad, Zug und eventuell auch Schiff zu bereisen. Wir wollen die Natur genießen – verschiedene Sprachen sprechen und Kulturen erleben – uns Zeit lassen mit allem – an anderen Montessori-Einrichtungen hospitieren – das Thema Nachhaltigkeit im Alltag in verschiedenen Ländern beobachten.
Umweltschutz ist jedoch nicht das einzige Thema, das wir auf unserer Reise in den Fokus stellen wollen. Wir besuchen in unserem Sabbatjahr Länder in Europa, in denen es vielen Menschen finanziell recht gut geht. In anderen Teilen der Welt ist dem nicht so, und dies bedeutet auch, dass nicht alle Kinder zur Schule gehen können. Uns ist bewusst, dass wir beide privilegiert sind, ein gutes Leben führen und uns auch während der Pandemie finanziell keine Sorgen machen mussten bzw. müssen. Deshalb haben wir uns dazu entschieden, diese Reise mit einer Spendenaktion zu verknüpfen. Über die Organisation UNICEF läuft aktuell ein Projekt in der Elfenbeinküste, mit dessen Hilfe aus Plastikmüll Ziegelsteine hergestellt und aus diesen wiederum Klassenzimmer gebaut werden: https://www.unicef.de/informieren/projekte/afrika-2244/elfenbeinkueste-193008/elfenbeinkueste-innovation/191144
Kinder haben somit die Chance, mit einem Dach über dem Kopf zu lernen. Hygienestationen ermöglichen es ihnen außerdem auch, alleine durch Händewaschen bereits mehr Schutz vor potentiellen Krankheiten zu haben. Ein eigenes Gartenprojekt namens “Grüne Schulen“ bringt ihnen bei, dass jeder dazu beitragen kann, der Umwelt und somit auch sich selbst etwas Gutes zu tun: https://www.unicef.de/informieren/aktuelles/blog/schueler-lernen-umweltbewusstsein/236430.
Unser Ziel: Monatlich 1300€ für dieses Projekt sammeln.
Auf unserer Internetseite http://www.cyclingforplaneta.com ist es möglich, direkt an dieses Projekt von UNICEF zu spenden: Über den Button „Jetzt spenden“ gelangt man zu unserer Spendenaktion „ReCycling for planet A“: https://www.unicef.de/spendenaktion/thema?cfd=u19qb .
Im August 2021 geht es los: Erst einmal an den Bodensee, dann durch die Schweiz zum
Genfer See, von dort ans französische Mittelmeer, an den Atlantik nach Spanien und Portugal. Überwintern auf den Kanaren. Eventuell über Marokko zurück nach Spanien, durch Frankreich und die Benelux-Länder, den skandinavischen Sommer erleben und über das Baltikum zurück nach Deutschland. Dies sind circa 13 Länder – vielleicht werden es mehr, vielleicht weniger. So ist der aktuelle Plan – es wird sicherlich nicht der letzte sein. Denn eines haben wir mit Corona gelernt, privat und beruflich: Flexibilität ist alles.


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