Wednesday, 26 October 2011

It's closing time...

It’s over a month since we arrived late into Heathrow, via two loops of the channel and an unscheduled refuelling stop at Gatwick. We’re closing our Just Giving page, over the moon that you helped us raise over 300% of our original target, thankyou! With gift aid, we are chuffed to have given more than £3000 to Macmillan.

We faintly remember the smell of morning chamois cream (not as potent as day long chamois cream), wet dog smelling tents are a distant memory and none of us have been chased by a physical dog in ages. Riding to work with an actual freewheel provokes a knowing grin! We’re all back into the swing of things, and it seems ages ago since we rolled into Constanta. We had two days of vegetating and wandering around the port before frantically wrapping up the bikes in fruit boxes and cling film. We only just unpacked Flora’s this week!

We’d love to write a proper account of the trip, to do justice to the places we remember fondly and the people that shaped our perceptions of each place, but just havent had the time. There are several places we’d like to revisit; Serbia in particular was a real favourite. We learnt about wars and cultures we were previously ignorant to, made friends, got smashing suntans and dangerously sporty leg definition. We averaged just over 100km a day and had just one puncture! It was very challenging at times, but hugely satisfying.

If anyone stumbles across this blog and wants to know anything about the ride – please get in touch. Make sure you go back to the first posts to see it unfold, the last post seems to end in a bit of an anti climax – we were knackered, but felt fanatastic...

We hope to plan another idiotic adventure in the future, but for now, it’s back to work, study and dreaming of stuff.

Thanks for reading,
Harvey, Flora and Luke
October 2011

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Days Thirty-One & Thirty-Two, We do like to be beside the seaside

As the river splits into its watery delta, we leave its side to bee line for the Black Sea, potentially finishing the last 150km today. We've cycled over 400km in the last 3 days to get within touching distance, but it turned out to be a stage too far, as we have a small mountain range to negotiate before we can see the sea. Still, the first signs for Constanta are encouraging.

Ferry crossing into Bulgaria, our eighth country, though we barely stay in there. 

The 'ferry' was a floating platform pushed by a nifty barge driver... ominous signs as Flora starts to feel unwell and curls up quietly.

Off the ferry, cobbled climbs, not helping Flora feel any better...

Stopping for water she clearly isn't well, photo shows post vomit tooth brushing, bless her. We know we need to find a place where she can get her head down, but each hilly kilometre is now torture.

Most exotic road user so far.

Harvey gets us into a room for the night with some clever drawings to get across the point.

Next day, Flora still isn't perfect but we decide to troop on. Half way through a truly tough and pretty awful day, we hit our most significant landmark -2875km!
A busy traffic heavy run into Constanta, lots of drinks stops, and signs regularly upping the distance to the city, we finally see the sea at the end of a road, high fives, collapse, photo for the Herald in quite disgusting but well used Macmillan t-shirts...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Days Twenty-Nine & Thirty

Another two days in one as we keep moving as quickly as we can to make the end in time. Just photo's today and we'll add comments later, we've another 150km ahead as we approach the black sea and 2875 km... the map shows 49 hill arrows on today's stretch, ace.

Potsholes aren't massive, just everywhere, hands are bruised!

 Many people we speak to are especially intrigued by Flora's efforts, and this lovely lady came back with a bunch of basil smelling flowers...

Shameless fast food endorsement / excellent embracing of silly cycling hat from flora!

The Hardware

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Days Twenty-Seven & Twenty-Eight

After a look at the map we decide we're going to have to get our heads down if we're going to have any chance of making it to the delta on time. We have a good first full day in Romania making it 120km to Calafat. The guidebook then describes a stretch of 170km with 'no facilities'. We do what any sensible people would do and decide to do it all in one day...

Cutting the corn ends in the field.
Locals giving us a welcome, suddenly horse and carts to dodge everywhere. 
Mid longest day attempt.
A nice family who ushered us into their home to fill up our water bottles with cold water from their well and grapes from the vine. 
Transporting the grapes.
"I might roll my shorts up today"

New friend

176km day, a chance we can make it over the hills to Constanta and up the coast to the end of the Danube.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Day twenty-six, to Romania!

After waking up to fantastic views, we are served a superb breakfast and head towards Romania,through some of the most dramatic scenery we have seen. on our journey.

 the morning view

 a wholesome breakfast of eggs, homemade bread, coffee and honey schnapps! apparently it makes you cycle harder.

 Flora makes a friend, we are told the dog is used to deal with any foxes that dare enter the chicken pen.
 farewell to paradise! we go again.

 the daube's narrowest and deepest point, supposedly the deepest river in the world at 82m.

What happens when Romanians get bored.

 we reach our final country! 800km of Romania to ride in not a lot of time.
Difficult to ignore this.

After only 30km on Romanian soil, we are chased by packs of hungry looking stray dogs. the advise is to just stop. We opt to pedal as fast as physically possible. eventually arriving at a place offering rooms that is open. Some odd electrical work in the bathroom, and no roof, but it dosn't look like it'll rain!?!?!? 

we get our heads down for the first time in Romania.