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!
They then moved northwards to Bordeaux and cut across the Massif Central and north into Lyon. From there they reached the Saarland region. It was precisely one month later when they crossed their next border… Germany. Beautiful scenes. October 1st.
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. 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. Brendan followed suit the next day.
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 very much looking forward to meeting arriving at the SB HQ to meet all the team at the head office. He reached Belgium on October 9th 2017.
The 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!
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.
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.
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!
It doesn’t end there however as there is still a return to Córdoba in Spain to look forward to in the not too distant future! Having lived there for three years, we look forward to reuniting with our close friends and colleagues in the city. Many thanks to everyone for all their support along the way. Watch this space!!
For more details on their route, please click here.
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