Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovenia went pretty quickly. We did spend quite a bit of time in Germany, but not an awful lot of that actually cycling…
In Bonn we had a very exciting time, we were there for a total of 4 days, and in that time, a lot of interesting things happened! Here are links to the Newsroom articles about our time there, it was very enjoyable and they wrote about it very well! There were 3 articles written, so we will link 1 , 2 and 3. We found our time there incredibly enlightening and we learnt a lot. It really just increased our excitement and drive to do something about and for climate change.
After leaving Bonn, we cycled down the Rhine river until Mainz, where we cut across to Miltenberg, going along the Main river at some points. After that we cycled the ‘romantic way’ along the Taubertal river, which was not that romantic and quite full of other cyclists. We cycled until Rothenburg, where we paid for our 2nd campsite for the whole trip, really only because we needed a shower!
We then carried on to the Altmühltal radweg, which we cycled until a small town called Dollnstein, not far out of Munich, when disaster struck! There was some strange problem with my (Inka’s) tyre/tube which meant I got 5 punctures in the space of 3 days, and in that time, the pump broke. So there we were, with a flat tyre that had no apparent hole, only about 70kms from our destination and with a broken pump! Lucky for us, Fabian’s grandfather could pick us up that evening, and take us the rest of the way. It was however, very frustrating as we were so close, but couldn’t compete the rest of our German journey independently.
Following that frustrating incident we spent a very relaxing week in Unterschleißheim with Fabian’s grandfather, aunt and my exchange partner Lea and her family.
Our time there was full of relaxing, recuperating and preparing a bit for University in the coming year. We also bought, and received, new tyres, sleeping mats and a new pump! After goodbyes until we returned in December we went to Mitterskirchen where we spent 3 days with Fabian’s uncle and his family. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there as we went on a small cycling excursion and spent (more) time relaxing…
We left Mitterskirchen with more ‘see you in December’s and cycled up and down the Inn river valley to Wasserburg. There we stayed with a
warmshower’s host who kindly accepted us last minute.
Our journey continued the next day along the Inn until Innsbruck in Austria where we stayed with very like minded WS host. We had many great discussions about the climate, what human’s face in the future with our bad choices and melting glaciers as he is studying Glaciology. We left feeling like we had learnt a lot, and will continue to learn more, of exactly the scale at which Climate Change is and will affect us.
The Alps and the Dolomites were spectacular, and the München-Venezia cycle route we followed was a lot of fun.
We really enjoyed what we originally thought would be a possibly unpleasant and challenging route. We cannot recommend it enough, as it puts you right in the centre of an incredible mountain range, without being too physically demanding.
Despite the high altitude we were at for a lot of the time, the temperatures rarely wandered below 25, and were mostly about 30 degrees celsius. Impacts of climate change? We think yes... We took so many photos through this section that we will link the Facebook album here.
Following our trek through the mountains, we rolled into flat southern Tyrol to face an astounding 43C.
We struggled that day, it was blisteringly hot and the water in our bottles felt like we were trying to make tea… Not too pleasant, I can tell you that with certainty. This was one of the many heatwaves that had been hitting Italy and most of Southern Europe for the last month. This increased the possibility for wildfires, which turned out to be a real risk, as much of the Balkans and Portugal suffered quite badly from numerous damaging wildfires. There was a blanket health warning for much of Southern Europe, discouraging the public from even going outside, with many people being hospitalised as a result of the extreme heat. As mentioned before, but this time in a more serious tone, if this isn’t evidence of the dangers of the effects of global warming, then what is?
Only one good thing came out of this dangerous heat, and that was that when we visited Venice, it was almost completely empty for the entire day. We thoroughly enjoyed our peaceful visit and probably will not return, as we do not want to spoil our tourist-less view of this beautiful city.
Bringing it back to Climate Change and it’s impacts again (sorry, but we are climate ambassadors ;) ), in Venice we were able to see Lorenzo Quinn’s piece which emphasizes the effects of rising sea level specifically for low lying cities such as Venice, but also countries such as Vanuatu and it’s surrounding islands.
From Venice we travelled to a town close to Trieste where we stayed with a warmshowers host called Donatella who gave us some very good suggestions for travelling in the Balkans. After spending a lovely evening with her, we continued onto Trieste and then UP the mountain to Slovenia. Goodness gracious was it up! We were very lucky that Donatella also suggested an old railway track that went slowly through the almost vertical mountains to Slovenia.
Slovenia was very short, but where we cycled through was beautiful, quiet and empty of people and cars.
We had an extravagant day, having breakfast in Italy, lunch in Slovenia and dinner in Croatia. To hear about what followed in Croatia, wait in anticipation for articles to come…