Summer memories

As you can see, we did update our website a little bit. Not only the design is new but we now also own the domain thecyclingfamily.com.
Furthermore the (Austrian) media seemed to be very interested in our lifestyle. We did give a talk with the title “Cycle touring – A nomadic lifestyle” several times. You can find the result of this attention under publicity.

But now we want to show you some memories of our summer adventures. As written in an earlier post we did two trips in spring. In summer we did five more trips in Austria, Italy and Slovenia. Each of those seven trips has been between three days and three weeks long. We only went on a trip when the weather forecast was good. We didn’t want to make it ourselves too difficult. We are very happy to be able to tell you that touring with the children worked! Very often we felt happy …

… on the road and during wild camping in our tent.

It has been hot ….

And sometimes a little bit chilly …

Petra went for a one week trip alone with Esmé. She cycled together with our friends Yvo, Annieka and their son Jidde for four days. We think, that it is a very good solution to cycle with several families, the children can play together and the adults share the daily tasks like cooking, setting up the tent et cetera. For sure the ideas about cycle touring of the various families have to be similar. We love to cycle, climb passes, wild camp and we never spend a lot of money, for example, by going out for dinner. Fortunately Yvo and Annieka share most of our ideas. Petra and Esmé had a great time with them. And Petra learned something new: When you step on a wasp it helps to suck the poison out of the sting.

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Thanks Yvo for sucking on Petras dirty foot. 🙂

In general we stayed in the mountains during all our trips and we did a lot of passes …

The children enjoyed playing with natural materials …

… but making campfires is the biggest present we can give to Ben. He simply loves it.

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One of the disadvantages of wild camping is that we have limited possibilities to wash ourselves. No problem for Peter tough, he seems to enjoy taking a bath in ice cold mountain water.

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We have collected some of our most beautiful pictures of this summer for those who love the mountains:

And we are very proud to show you this video:

Everything is changing. In a couple of years we will not have to pull any trailers anymore. But for now we have to and we do it with pleasure. It seems as if Esmé got used to our nomadic life on the bike. That’s why we decided to start our next big adventure in spring 2016. We booked a flight from Amsterdam to Vancouver on 3rd of May. We keep you updated.

For now we wish you all a lot of love and happiness.

 

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Dobro došli to the Balkans

Welcome to the Balkans. (For our route see Maps.) As soon as we entered Slovenia there were no bike routes or bike paths anymore. Also the other cycle tourists were all gone. The hills and forests started, the weather got much better but the roads got worse. People are very friendly. Some get enthusiastic when seeing us, others shake their head in disbelief. In Risan (Montenegro) we meet Jelena, Bojan and their three year old son Argosha. They found us on the local playground and invited us to their apartment to have a shower. Which was great because it was our first shower since Graz. We decided to wild camp only, which is really easy because those countries are full of beautiful, abandoned nature. The disadvantage is that you can’t wash yourself properly every day. So be it.

Crossing borders

Due to the size of the countries on the Balkan we stay in every country only a few days and have to cross borders regularly. We like to cross borders. Those countries are similar but nevertheless every country feels different as soon as we cross the border. Slovenia is almost a Western country. Clean, good roads, beautiful houses. Croatia is much poorer and there is more trash next to the roads. The traces of the war are still visible in Croatia, especially in the region of Karlovac. Bosnian people are very friendly. They honked a lot at us, turned around to make movies, clapped and invited us for a coffee. But there is a lot of trash next to the road. Same in Montenegro and Albania. There is no recycling system yet, they throw everything somewhere on a mountain and burn it.

The policeman at the borders always look really severe when we arrive. But after they have seen our passports all of them start to smile. I guess because of the way we travel with Ben. Some didn’t know of the existence of a chair in front of the bike and others find the trailer a funny thing.

The maps we have of the Balkan are not too good. We crossed the border of Slovenia and Croatia three times, just for fun, but the last time we didn’t manage to find the small local border we were looking for. We cycled for about two hours up a mountain, quite steep and on a dirt road and found ourselves back on the road we started at. The next day we tried again. After we asked three times we crossed the local border. Completely deserted with no policeman. It was a climb of 7 km with 450 altimeters on a very bad dirt road. We had to walk and push the bikes a few times.

Traces of the Yugoslavian war (1991-1995)

The past is still present in the former Yugoslavian countries. In Croatia (especially in the Karlovac region) there were a lot of houses with shot holes.About three times we saw a sign “Danger! Mines!”. There are a lot of deserted and unfinished houses. We were wondering why and a German guy told us that in the village where he settled down they teased away a Serbian family. We met Zlatan, a very friendly and cheerful Croatian guy who has been fighting in the war at special forces for four years. Jumping out of the airplane and that kind of stuff. Inconceivable for us but great to see that he is still such a lively man. In Mostar shops sell war items such as military helmets and gas masks to tourists. And we met Emile, a Serbian man who returned after twenty years to the family house in Croatia. It has been burned in the war and he is rebuilding it. The location of the house is very beautiful, next to a waterfall, far away from a busy road and with a view over the fields.

Ben

I guess quite a lot of you are interested in how Ben is doing. He is doing great. We celebrated his second birthday on 11th of September with popcorn and raisins because we couldn’t find a proper birthday cake. Ben always has been a bad sleeper but since we started this trip he is sleeping 11 hours in a row most of the nights. Maybe it’s the fresh air or the noise of the wind, rain or animals of the night, we don’t know. In the trailer he is reading books and playing with his toys, regularly even telling stories. On the bike he is most of the time singing songs, learning the colors (he already knows about 10 different ones) and counting cars (up to 3). Of course he also gets bitten by mosquitoes sometimes and he doesn’t like this at all and scratches himself, especially during the night. He is very happy to be with the three of us. He very often says “Mama, Papa, Ben” in a way like “We belong together.” This gives us confidence that it is good to be on the road again with him. We feel as an harmonious and happy family.

Statistics

We are now in Bajram Curri, Albania. We cycled 1435 km in 25 cycling days and had three resting days.

Enjoy the pictures and the videos!

Ferry on Koman lake

Ferry on Koman lake

Bad weather

Bad weather

Albania

Albania

Albania

Albania

Albania

Albania

Albania

Albania

Tieri and Michele with their tandem

Tieri and Michele with their tandem

Albania

Albania

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Montenegro

Thanks Jelena and Bojan for the shower

Thanks Jelena and Bojan for the shower and the food

Montenegro

Montenegro

Peeing time

Peeing time

Montenegro

Montenegro

Bosnia

Bosnia

Bridge

Bridge?

Soccer while raining

Soccer while it’s raining

Mostar Old Town

Mostar Old Town

Mostar

Mostar

Croatia

Croatia

Croatia

Croatia

Croatia

Croatia

Croatia

Croatia

Petra

Petra

Croatia

Croatia

Breakfast with Emile

Breakfast with Emile

Us

Us

Walking on a quiet road

Walking on a quiet road

Croatia

Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Croatia

Croatia

Dinner time

Dinner time

Beauty of the nature

Beauty of the nature

Croatia

Croatia

A beautiful river

A beautiful river

Crossing a bridge

Crossing a bridge under construction

Croatia

Croatia

Bordercrossing to Croatia

Bordercrossing to Croatia

Croatia

Croatia

Beautiful old house

Beautiful old house

Croatia

Croatia

Sleeping in the trailer

Sleeping in the trailer

Camping

Camping

Ptuj, Slovenia

Ptuj, Slovenia

Drawing

Drawing

Break

Break