“Border” Crossings…

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Spain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium (Soutien Belge Overseas HQ), The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland, Spain.

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The route was finally completed in January 2018. It could have been completed quicker but rest days were important!! Remember, you can keep supporting Soutien Belge Overseas by finding one of their t-shirts. If you would like to learn more about their work, click here. Many thanks to everyone in the city of Córdoba, Spain. We also extend our thanks to our colleagues, family and friends and those people we met on our journey through Europe for all the support along the way.

Having departed Córdoba, Spain on August 1st 2017, they cycled northwards to France and one month later, on September 1st, they crossed their first border. It took quite some time to get used to all the roundabouts and French signposts. However, there was no border patrol. Not one police car in sight. Can you believe that? The road signs were harder to read and the traffic and huge number of roundabouts caught them off guard a little. The two countries merged into one. Neither of them master the French language though so there was a lot of constant looking at Google Maps! Check here for more details!

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They then moved northwards to Bordeaux and cut across the Massif Central and north into Lyon. From there they reached the Saarland region. Some minor mishaps in France but there were some towns and villages that were really worth visiting. Especially Cahors and Conques. It was precisely one month later when they crossed their next border… Germany. Beautiful scenes. October 1st. For more details on their France-Germany crossing, click here!

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Unfortunately due to the bad weather forecast and the lack of accommodation in Germany, they didn’t make it to Cologne. Brendan was really looking forward to get there but due to heavy rains and high cost of accommodation in the city, they decided to take the quicker route to Brussels. An excuse to go back one day. It was just a few days later that they reached Luxembourg!!! This is the birthplace of the European Union! Weather was stunning. Tim made it there first. Watch him cross the border here! Brendan followed suit the next day.

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Whilst leaving Luxembourg, Tim made his way to Maastricht in the Netherlands. Brendan had to take the train as the spokes on his back wheel broke. He eventually managed a bus to Aachen in Germany and from there figured out a train to Brussels. Call it cheating if you wish but he didn’t care. He was burnt out at this stage and was fed up with all the cycling. He crossed the Belgian border on October 9th 2017 to reach the SB Head Office. For more details, click here.

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C_n6tdJXoAAOWLfThe weather in Belgium was super. We can’t complain really. We had so much good weather on the trip and very few cold wet and windy days. We managed some football too! We’d probably be able to count the number of wet days on one hand. However, as we crossed the Flanders region into the Netherlands on Day 81, we found ourselves pushing through some heavy rain. Typical eh? That was Tim’s welcome home gift!

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We spent approximately week in the Netherlands. Most of that time was resting in Rotterdam but we did manage a day trip to Amsterdam. East of the British Isles, the capital of the Netherlands bares some resemblance to Dublin in size with its vast culture and array of live music. The “Pride of Rotterdam” ferry guided us across the North Sea until we reached the United Kingdom. After a night on the ferry, we disembarked in Hull. This was the first time on the whole trip that we had to show our passports. It was also our first border where there was a queue to get into the country. A sudden change in climate also as we wound our clocks back. They had to go back two hours this time due to winter time. For more details, explore here.

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The signs were all suddenly appearing in English. Google Maps too. The weather was colder and we were back cycling on the left side of the road again. Everything was beginning to look a lot more like home! Old familiarity. Just a few days in the UK. We rested up in Doncaster, Castleton (in Peak District National Park), Lymm and Widnes. It was in Liverpool that Brendan met his younger cousins for the first time. After three nights rest in Liverpool, we took the train from Liverpool to Chester and from there onwards to Holyhead. That was when we crossed into new territory once again.

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It was one the same day we took Irish Ferries across the Irish Sea to where we crossed the English and Irish border. Winter was well under way. Dark on our arrival and time to wrap up properly now! Fore more details, click here.

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Muchas gracias a todos en Córdoba, España por el apoyo con la causa. We made it back safely. For more details, click here.

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For more details on their route, please click here.

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“We are going to have borders nice and strong. We are going to build a wall. You know that. Going to build the wall…. It’s going to be a serious wall. It’s going to be a real wall. It’s not going to be a wall that they just climb up, and you know, you see what they do, over. That wall will go up so fast your head will spin.”
***
Donald J. Trump 
(November 2016)
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