It is not unusual for the question of why we undertake these journeys to be mooted. Although for many the answer is simply that we are quite mad or masochistic, I like to think this is not the only reason, although I accept that a level of insanity is probably a prerequisite.
It is probably the journey itself which is the attraction; the never knowing where the day will end; the physical challenge of unknown terrain; the comradeship which accompanies the necessary self –reliance; the many and varied people we meet on the way; the satisfaction of finishing what you have begun. And most of all we are grateful for the fact that our health continues to allow us to participate in an activity that we so thoroughly enjoy.
All three of the journeys we have made have been immensely satisfying but also very different. The first was very long and required a good deal of steely commitment; the second was physically less challenging as following rivers tends to be quite flat, but it took us into new areas of Europe and ended with an intimate acquaintance with the health service provision in Hungary! And this final one has certainly been the shortest but physically the most demanding in view of the crumpled nature of the topography of Northern Spain. (Hills, hills and even the odd mountain).
We have been privileged to visit some of the most beautiful cities in Europe and to traverse diverse and stunning landscapes. We have received an unprecedented education in history, geography and cross cultural understanding in a very practical way. Riding a bike has given us the freedom to simply stop and explore aspects of nature, culture and the kindness of many nationalities. We look forward to planning and undertaking further little expeditions for as long as our health and strength will allow. Methinks I will take a slightly close look at the geography of the next one and make sure that my ‘granny gear’ is functioning!
It would be gratifying if you, dear reader, would join us for the next venture so watch this space and many, many thanks for all your supportive comments.