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Contents: Tours (1338)    Trails (95)    Sites (48)    Cycling info pages (155)    Organizations and clubs (71)   

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Europe (all)

This page lists all reports that for Europe including those that involve other countries too.
Click here for a list of reports that involve only Europe.
All descriptions are in English, unless otherwise noted.

Tours (continued)

To the Last Northern Point of Russian Europe
by St Petersburg Travellers' Federation, tour started 1999
Europe: Russia

Unreliable server, you'll have to dig for the story.

The natives of Kola Peninsula are kindhearted and eager to help, but there is one strange thing about them. Each time you try to ask someone about the road he puts a strange smile on, makes wide gestures and mutters something about off-road vehicles and ice roads. Sometimes our questions brought sweet memories to life: ``Yes, it was in the year before granny died, 1973 it was, and we drove 150 km to the very end of this road in a lorry in no more than a week. And don't listen to the neighbor, he just got to the middle the year before last.'' Inspired by these descriptions we took one of the ground roads north. It started from simply bad quality and later turned out somewhat between ``absolutely impossible to ride'' and ``possible to ride if you Really want it''.

Radtour Lauenburgische Seen - Unsere erste mehrtägige Fahrradtour!
by Olaf Kantorek, tour started 1999
Europe: Germany
language: de

Bericht über eine einwöchige Radtour im Bereich der Alten Salzstraße, des Elbe-Lübeck-Kanals und der Lauenburgischen Seen.

See all 6 reports by Olaf Kantorek

In giro per le Alpi - estate 1999
by Alberto Pedrotti, tour started 1999
Europe: Italy
language: it

Abbiamo visto o piú spesso immaginato tra le nuvole i maggiori massicci alpini. Abbiamo visto nascere l'Oglio, l'Adda, l'Inn, il Reno, la Reuss, l'Aare, il Rodano, il Ticino. Non un solo giorno è mancata la pioggia, non un solo giorno è mancato il sole. Dal passamontagna al costume da bagno, niente è rimasto inutilizzato. Va da sè che, se anche il racconto fosse riuscito noioso, il giro non lo è stato. I km sono stati 1130 km, circa 28500 metri di salita, per una pendenza media del 5 per cento. Sedici valichi: Ampola, Giogo di Bala - Croce Dominii, Gavia, Alpisella, Forcola di Livigno, Bernina, Albula, Oberalp, Susten, Grimsel, Furka, Gottardo, Nufenen, Folungo, Bocchetta di Sessera, Colma. Sei cime: San Matteo m 3678, Piz Blaisun 3210 metri, Gross Muttenhorn m 3099, monte Zeda 2156 metri, Rocciamelone 3538 metri, Lera 3358 metri. Le cime piú belle: Zeda e Rocciamelone. I tratti di percorso da non perdere assolutamente: la traversata dal lago d'Idro a Croce Dominii; il Passo Susten; la panoramica sopra il Lago Maggiore.

See all 6 reports by Alberto Pedrotti

Dall'Etna a Verona
by Renato Benedetti & Alberto Lombardi, tour started November 1998
Europe: Italy
language: it

Visto dal lato atletico puo' sembrare una cosa non eccezionale attraversare l'Italia da sud a nord in bicicletta, basta seguire la costa essere ben allenati avere bici da corsa ultraleggere un buono staff al seguito (ammiraglia massaggiatori meccanici) e un buon albergo con tutti i comfort per rilassarsi tra una tappa e l'altra! Purtroppo noi non avevamo nulla di tutto cio'; noi non eravamo per niente allenati a pedalare, semmai allenati a portare vassoi, con alle spalle una stagioone turistica appena conclusa che certo non ci aveva lasciato in ottima forma. Non volevamo assolutamente costeggiare il mare ma assaporare le salite che tanto facevano sudare i nostri beniamini al ``giro''. Al posto delle bici da corsa ultraleggere avevamo i nostri ``normali'' rampichini ancora piu' appesantiti da piu' di 35kg. di bagagli e atrezzi. Dormivamo nella prima pensione che trovavamo all'imbrunire, eravamo addirittura dotati di sacco a pelo. I massaggi ci avrebbero fatto molto comodo ma ancor di piu' ci mancava l'ammiraglia per borracce viveri e bagagli. Un sogno sarebbe stato poi un meccanico che ci avesse riparato le forature, visto che abbiamo bucato in tutto 29 volte!

England by Tandem
by Joe & Carolyn Stafford, tour started November 1998
Europe: UK

Taking three weeks off to tour England by tandem was the trip of a lifetime. Great riding, good weather, and lots of help from friends along the way made a truly memorable experience for us. We planned relatively short mileage days and allowed several days off the bike for some typical ``tourist'' days.

The riding in England was superb. The route we planned took us to some of the most scenic and pastoral settings imaginable. Except for London, riding in cities, towns, and villages posed no problems for a tandem. Using England's trains for covering long distances was relatively easy, but required some planning ahead to be sure space was available.

© 1998 by Joe & Carolyn Stafford
Yet Another Bicycle Tour in Southern France
by Michel Laliberté, tour started October 1998
Europe: France

A nice job, with particularly good pictures.

A solo, 21 days, 1300 km (800 miles) tour starting from Toulouse and ending in Marseille, going through the Canal de la Garonne, Quercy and Périgord (a very good place to start a bicycle tour in France), the prehistoric sites in the Dordogne and Vézère Valleys, the Aveyron uplands, the Canal du Midi, a string of medieval cities from Carcassonne to Arles, and the Mediterranean Coast.

See all 7 reports by Michel Laliberté

Bicycling Through Europe 1998 - Chronicles of Bill and Matt's Excellent Adventure
by Bill Venners, tour started September 1998

A tour through Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria by Bill Venners, from Autumn Leaf Cafe - an anthology of ideas and adventures.

From September 7th through October 8th, 1998, I rode my bicycle through the towns, forests, fields, hills and mountains of Europe. I was accompanied by my friend Matt, with whom I'd taken two previous bike trips.

This web site is a travelogue of my European bike tour. [...]

Table of Contents - Annotated links to all the pages; The Travelogue - Stories, data, and pictures from the trip; The Numbers - A table of bicycle and push-up data; The Not-Anal-Retentive Packing List - What to take (and where to put it).

Copyright © 1996-2001 Bill Venners. All rights reserved.
Cycling Belgium's Waterways - 2,000 km of mostly car-free bikeway
by Dan Gamber, tour started September 1998
Europe: Belgium

An excellent and complete guide! If you like to ride on good pavement but away from car traffic, the towpaths of Belgium offer some of the best cycling in the world. You can ride across the country from north to south or east to west with only occasional concerns about cars or trucks. Much of the way is through pleasant farmland or nature preserve, with the loudest noise bird songs or the engine of a barge. The network totals a little over 2,000 km (1,200 miles), of which more than 1,600 km provide fine riding for any kind of bicycle.

The purpose of this guide is to describe the entire network from a cyclist's perspective. Included are all waterways in Belgium, and logical extensions into France and the Netherlands, which are or were within the last few centuries navigable and where it is physically possible to ride along or reasonably close to the water. Also included are a few connecting rail trails.

Dan Gamber on the south bank of the Schelde with Steendorp in the background
Edinburgh-London
by Angelo Bandini, tour started September 1998
Europe: UK

Total luggage weight was about 15 kilos, of course I had no sleeping or cooking gear. My beloved mount is an early 80' racing Vicini with Columbus SL steel frame and Dura Ace. Gearing is limited to 52/39 up front and a six speed rear cassette ranging from 13 to 23. Blindly overestimating my level of fitness I didn't even bother adding a 25 cog. At the time I thought that England was mostly flat...

See all 2 reports by Angelo Bandini

A Cycle Tour of North-East Italy / The Italian Lakes, the Po Valley and Venice
by Mike Bedard, tour started September 1998
Europe: Italy

This is a log of a tour of northern Italy that I took with my wife Carol and two other couples (Jim & Mary Holmes and Brooke & Rosie Keneford) in September 1998. We had a rocky start due to problems transporting our bikes and a little rain but, all in all, it was a very enjoyable trip. As always, we stay in hotels or B&B's, we eat at least one meal a day in a restaurant and we carry everything we need on our bikes. We are all now ``late middle-aged''. (That's quite a euphemism. We're all around 60 years old!) Your mileage may vary!

See all 16 reports by Mike Bedard

Over the passes of Savoie (and not only)
by Milosz Wisniewski, tour started August 1998
Europe: France

A beautifully illustrated report. The whole trip lasted for 918 kms which I covered with average speed of 17.7 km/h climbing 20,310 meters vertically. I used my touring steel bike with triple chain ring (52/42/30) and 7 speed rear block (12-23). I had two bags - one on the handlebars for maps, camera and some food and expandable Trek bag on the rear rack containing all my clothes, toiletry, and spares.

See all 6 reports by Milosz Wisniewski

Passau-Regensburg-Ingolstadt-Donauworth-Ulm-Ehingen-Sigmaringen-Donaueschingen, 650Km in 8 days
by Marco Guizzardi, tour started August 1998
Europe: Germany
language: en, it

Nicely illustrated. An Italian Version is also available. (Replace '%5C' in picture URLs with '/'.)

See all 6 reports by Marco Guizzardi

Over the passes of Savoie (and not only)
by Milosz Wisniewski, tour started August 1998

The whole trip lasted for 918 kms which I covered with average speed of 17.7 km/h climbing 20,310 meters vertically. I used my touring steel bike with triple chain ring (52/42/30) and 7 speed rear block (12-23). I had two bags - one on the handlebars for maps, camera and some food and expandable Trek bag on the rear rack containing all my clothes, toiletry, and spares.

See all 6 reports by Milosz Wisniewski

Alpine Cycle Touring - A First Attempt
by Neil Critchley, tour started August 1998

The 7-week adventure had consisted of a solo cycle tour, which started in Chamonix and finished in Lyon visiting the Alpine regions of Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France.

See all 4 reports by Neil Critchley

Brig to Brig using the Lotschberg tunnel
by Marco Buffa, tour started August 1998
Europe: Switzerland

A long and wide bend on the left takes you into the last 10 kms. quite demanding both beacuse you already are on the climb from 17 km. and because during last 10 Km the average slope is > 7% and there are two flat stretches... After an harpin on the right you meet a tunnel (slope > 11%) that bicycles avoid on the right with a nice route (100 mt. are on pave') coasting some gorge that free climbers use for their training. You see the dam of first lake and you know you'll have to go up there: a set of bends help you on gaining altitude and finally you coast the lake at your right with its peculiar colour. Use the stretch along the lake to rest and don't be deceived by the the fact that you clearly see the [Grimsel]pass not so far.

See all 14 reports by Marco Buffa

Alpine Cycle Touring - A First Attempt
by Neil Critchley, tour started August 1998

The well-written, well-illustrated report of a grand tour of the Alps. The 7-week adventure had consisted of a solo cycle tour, which started in Chamonix and finished in Lyon visiting the Alpine regions of Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France. This article covers my journey of almost 2200miles.

Having cycled and mountain biked around my native Peak District for many years, I decided the time had come to venture further afield and to try my hand at cycle touring. I had both backpacked and cycled on many occasions, but never had I combined the two together. Graduating from university gave me a sufficient opportunity, since I had a lengthy vacation to fill and the commencement of work later in the year would inhibit such a trip in the future. Preparations were made, panniers purchased and on the 1st August 1998, I found myself heading for Chamonix.

See all 4 reports by Neil Critchley

Swiss Tour '98
by Olaf Weiss, tour started August 1998
Europe: Switzerland
language: en, de

In August 1998 I've made a cycling tour through the Swiss Alps. To start, my friend Rübe (Turnip) also known as Percus and I rode from Freiburg in Germany to Lugano, which is nearly Italy. From there I continued to Geneva (nearly France), where I caught up with my sister who lives there. Finally I went North to ride in the Jura mountains.

Im August 1998 habe ich eine Radtour durch die Schweizer Alpen gemacht. Mein Freund Rübe auch Percus genannt und ich sind von Freiburg im Breisgau bis nach Lugano (fast schon Italien) gefahren. Von da an bin ich dann alleine nach Genf weitergefahren, wo ich meine dort lebende Schwester besucht habe. Zum Abschluß bin ich dann nordwärts in den Jura gefahren.

Lofoten Islands Cycling Tour
by Patrick Fox, tour started July 1998
Europe: Norway

I had been impressed by the magnificent scenery of northern Norway when, during an inter-railing trip 3 years ago, we had taken the train to Narvik, far beyond the Arctic circle, and then the bus on a long and winding journey down the coast to Bod?. I think it was at that time that I first became aware of the Lofoten Islands - as I researched the places we were to visit in Norway, I could not help but notice references to these magnificent islands, which we were not to visit!

They stayed in the back of my mind for some time, but after my successful Hebridean cycling tour last summer the idea of doing a similar thing in the Lofoten islands slowly grew. Having always been a firm believer in the ancient Chinese proverb about it being better to travel hopefully than to arrive, and hence never go somewhere quickly if I can spend a few days doing it instead, it seemed an ideal opportunity to wend my leisurely way up the Norwegian coast on the Hurtigrute coastal steamer. So come early July, I packed my panniers once more and caught a flight to Oslo, from where I travelled on by train overnight to Trondheim on the coast...

See all 2 reports by Patrick Fox

Fahrradtour Skandinavien
by Helmut Vogler, tour started July 1998
language: de

A five-week tour of Scandinavia, starting in Oslo and ending in Stockholm. Excellent practical information (the summary data table, which includes graphical weather information, is just great). Gorgeous photos (including the canonical midnight sun, but plenty of other spectacular views), and a very good story make this report an instant classic.

See all 2 reports by Helmut Vogler

Around the Baltic Sea
by Erik Straarup, tour started June 1998

26 days from 26-6 to 21-7-1998 - Distance 4830 km. - Average speed 21,3 km.t.

See all 4 reports by Erik Straarup

Cycling in Corsica
by Tracey Maund and Colin Champion, tour started June 1998
Europe: France

[We] visited Corsica for 2 weeks in June 1998. We'd booked a week at each of two gîtes, and spent our final night at a hotel at Calvi. The first gîte was between St. Florent and Oletta, and gave us access to Cap Corse and the Conca d'Oro, both of which are pleasant, as are the two towns mentioned.

The second gîte was in the village of Casanova somewhat to the south of Corte, giving access to the Castagniccia and the gorges of the central mountains. This gîte no longer seems to appear in the brochures. But it is a wonderful region for cycling. The Castagniccia is made up of beautiful forested hills with ancient villages on each spur, topped by elegant campaniles. It's hard riding on idyllic lanes; paradise for the fit cyclist.

We would coast down to Corte and take long rides in the hills, stopping for delicious lunches. We'd return to Corte and fill our panniers with wine, mineral water, milk ... all the necessities of life. But it was 250 vertical metres back to Casanova, a ride which we did every day for a week. We felt that final climb.

See all 6 reports by Tracey Maund and Colin Champion

Tracey shows off her suntan at Calvi
FRA KAPP A CABO North Cape to Gibraltar by bike
by Willem van Schaik, tour started June 1998

Middle of June 1998, we [...] started the trip we had dreamed of for a long time: by bicycle from top to bottom through Europe. A view on the map shows that this journey covers 36 degrees of latitude and in total has a length of 7200 km. The trip started in Norway and from there led us through Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and finally to Gibraltar. Not the shortest route, but also an exploration of the better parts of Europe. This on-line trip-report was built up while cycling.

Camping at Straumen
French Alps and Jura 1998
by Trevor and Thea Warwick, tour started June 1998
Europe: France

An excellent report, with nice pictures, useful information, and a good story

See all 5 reports by Trevor and Thea Warwick

Around the Bodensee
by Steve Maas, tour started May 1998

See all 2 reports by Steve Maas

Cycle Tour of Tuscany and Umbria
by Allan Nelson and Konrad Orlowski, tour started May 1998
Europe: Italy

An account of a cycle tour of Tuscany and Umbria in May 1998. A day by day blow of the places we visited, how we got there (and how we didn't), pretty stuff like pictures we took, and some possibly useful stuff like packing lists etc.

See all 3 reports by Allan Nelson and Konrad Orlowski

A Little Story of Cycling in a Big Country - Dubna to Helsinki
by Axel Pichlmaier, tour started May 1998
Europe: Russia, Finland

After an official visit to Dubna, about 120 km north of Moscow, I had the pleasure to spend two days with friends on a dacha in a little village about 150 km east. [...] I set out for the unknown east. At that stage my plans were as follows: take the main road to Nishny Novgorod and then muddle yourself through in a big semi circle via Vologda and Petrozavodsk to Finland; fly out then from Helsinki. This would have been a distance of about 3000 km, ambitious enough for 18 days of cycling in the West. What I had not taken into account were the typical Russian difficulties.

See all 2 reports by Axel Pichlmaier

Scandinavia Cycle trip in Northern Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden
by Minko Oh, tour started May 1998

From Minko Oh's cycling site.

See all 8 reports by Minko Oh

Across the international border Norway - Russia
by Ulf Berntsen, tour started March 1998
Europe: Norway, Russia

A short bicycle trip from one world to another (plus train travel 36 hours from Nikel to St. Petersburg, and a bike trip in the streets of St. Petersburg).

Also see Igor Romanenko's Comments.

See all 2 reports by Ulf Berntsen

Winter Palace in St. Petersburg
Mountain-top Ruins, Pastures, and Orchards: A Bike Tour in Anatolia
by Pierre Flener, tour started March 1998
Europe, Asia: Turkey

This is the story of a one-week-long trip in Anatolia [...], much of it having been done by trekking bike. The protagonists are two university lecturers in science, both with a solid interest in history, archaeology, and simple life in nature. Virtually all the ancient 2,000 to 4,000-year-old sites we visited are unknown to the general public, because of their remoteness from the tourist trail or because of their inaccessibility to tour buses. Nevertheless, most are absolutely fabulous sites. [...] I mainly wrote up this trip report so as to show that the ``real Anatolia'' still exists. So just sit back and enjoy the story for the sake of the story. I dedicate this report to the Anatolian people, those of yesterday and those of today, hoping that they will stay true to themselves tomorrow.

See all 2 reports by Pierre Flener

Zürich - Gibraltar
by Regula Baumberger and Alois Renn, tour started 1998
language: de

Es ist schon faszinierend einen kleinen Rucksack zu packen, das Fahrrad aus dem Keller zu holen und sich darauf setzen mit der Zielsetzung Gibraltar zu erreichen. Vor allem, wenn der Startort Zürich heisst und 2800 Kilometer Asphalt in allen möglichen Modifikationen dazwischen liegen. So geschehen anfangs August wo wir uns in Balterswil im Thurgau zum Prolog - so heisst heutzutage der letzte Materialtest - trafen. Der ging über 50 km nach Zürich, bei Wunderwetter das pure Vergnügen, und das Material war perfekt. Also etwas Carbo laden, letzte Details besprechen, die leichte Aufregung spüren und dem nächsten Morgen entgegenfiebern.

See all 3 reports by Regula Baumberger and Alois Renn

The Alps East to West 1998
by Carsten Gregersen, tour started 1998

From Carsten's Cycling Web, the Web site of Carsten Gregersen.

This tour has it all: Deep Austrian lakes, steep rocks in the Dolomites, impressive Swiss mountain scenery and the gentle slopes of the Jura Mountains. Last, but not least, there is Europe's highest mountain, Mont Blanc. I have only one day off-road in the Dolomites - otherwise I go along surfaced roads. Starting out as a group of ten we eventually split into smaller groups. I ride most of the tour by myself.

See all 11 reports by Carsten Gregersen

The Fanes-Sennes nature reserve is definitely worth a visit
Copenhagen-Rome
by Louis Tousignant, tour started 1998

My name is Louis Tousignant, a Canadian in his mid-fifties, living in Nova Scotia, on the Atlantic shore. I am always on the look out for riding partners, as I plan one major trip every year, up till now in Europe, but New Zealand and South East Asia are in the wings. All my recent trips have included the following parameters: 100 km/day (give or take 20%) on average; hotels, B&B's or pensions, no camping; most meals in restaurants; start in one country, exit in another, to maximize coverage; 5 to 6 week duration (participation in one leg of the trip is of course possible for those who can't spare the time). [...]

This was my first major trip without time constraints. My last touring experience dated back to the mid-80's. In this context, I did not plan properly, beyond defining the broad outline of the itinerary: Denmark, shortest possible time in Germany therefore Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Northern Italy to Rome. I had no maps for long stretches of the trip, except for France and Italy (Michelin 1:200,000 or 400,000), and no computer on my bike. For a variety of business reasons, I had not trained to any significant degree before the trip, in fact I was green. Finally, I wrote sketchy notes as I went along and here I am, writing a trip report 4 years after the fact...

See all 4 reports by Louis Tousignant

tallabomba's Europe to Asia by Bike
by Tom ``tallabomba'' Hermansson Snickars, tour started 1998

In the fall of 1998 I set off on a long journey by bike. It covered more than 15000 kilometers and 14 countries. During this trip I was hit by rocks and cars, I was baked, soaked, and deep frozen by the weather gods. Mostly, however, I had a superb opportunity to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, meet wonderful people and enjoy the culture of widely differing lands. This site is about my bike trip from Sweden to South-East Asia via Eastern Europe, The Middle East, Pakistan, China, and Tibet. It also contains general information and links on bicycle touring and travelling in general.

Europe by bike II: Budapest to Gibraltar
by Glenn and Sheila Ord, tour started 1998

Theft Incidents:

  • Muesli and milk (fox suspected); Germany
  • Dog chewing Glenn's dinner plate; France
  • Cat burgler..feline attempt at food in tent vestibule; Spain

See all 5 reports by Glenn and Sheila Ord

Ord's Bike Guide to Europe
by Glenn and Sheila Ord, tour started 1998

From Glenn and Sheila Ord's Home Page: On the Road to Nowhere - Nowhere is the Place. With an emphasis on budget travelling - Our experiences and advice for cycling in Europe. This guide is entirely based on our 7 1/2 months (12,000 km) in 1998 across (and back) Europe: staying almost entirely in campgrounds (185 tent nights). This was supplemented by our time in Italy (April-May 1999).

See all 5 reports by Glenn and Sheila Ord

Touring Italia
by Erik Carlsson & Eric Salomonsson, tour started 1998

Touring Italia 1998 started in Linköping (about 200 km south of Stockholm). We then went to the most southern point of Sweden (Smygehuk), before taking a ferry to Rostock in former East Germany. After a short visit to Leipzig we continued through the Chech Republic before reaching Munich. Thereafter we passed the Alps via Brennerpass, Passo Costalunga (Karerpass) and Passo Rolle at 1984 slm. In Italy we passed Venice, Bologna, Florence, Pisa and Siena before reaching Rome after some 3 100 kilometres.

See all 7 reports by Erik Carlsson & Eric Salomonsson

Discovering the Alps by Bicycle - Part II: Eastern Alps and Dolomites
by Christian Gfeller, tour started 1998

This year's bicycle tour was to take me roughly from where I had left off last year all the way to Slovenia and back, traversing Southern Tyrol, the Dolomites and the Carnic and Julian Alps on the way there, the Karawanken, Grossglockner- and Zillertaler-Alps on the way back.

See all 2 reports by Christian Gfeller

Fahrradtour Skandinavien
by Helmut Vogler, tour started 1998
language: de

A five-week tour of Scandinavia, starting in Oslo and ending in Stockholm. Excellent practical information (the summary data table, which includes graphical weather information, is just great). Gorgeous photos (including the canonical midnight sun, but plenty of other spectacular views), and a very good story make this report an instant classic.

See all 2 reports by Helmut Vogler

Tour of the Alps 1998
by Jobst Brandt, tour started 1998

We took the old road that hangs in a notch carved high above the Aar in the slot below. As we climbed above the upper Grimsel reservoir of the Haslital Power Company, the Finsteraarhorn (4275m), the source of the Unteraar and Oberaar rivers, came into view to the west.

After a light breakfast under a partial overcast, we headed up the wide concrete Gotthard highway that starts climbing in town. Here, above tree line, only scrub brush, grass, wildflowers, and alpenrosen, an azalea prevalent throughout the Alps, decorate the landscape. The alpenrose, among the many wildflowers, adds a lovely bouquet of pink and red with its dark green leaves, as do the striking deep blue gentians, pale blue forget-me-nots, and many varieties of daisies and dandelions.

See all 20 reports by Jobst Brandt

Provence 1998
by Jim and Donna Felder, tour started 1998
Europe: France

Includes some photos and more photos in an attached Photo Album.

Donna and I have become pretty avid cyclists over the last two years, these few more months until our 50th birthdays being the second time in my life for a great interest in cycling and the first for Donna. [...] On our way through our research, we discovered Provence, the sunny southeast quadrant of [France]. We didn't know much about it at first, but over months of preparation and study, a tantalizing picture emerged of a regional culture that is to Paris as the Alabama we live in is to the bustling northeastern United States.

What we discovered about Provence made it our destination. The area is a land where shimmering olive groves and orderly vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, where food is one of the most important elements of life, and where the disposition of people and plants is infused with the temperate weather and the colors that have attracted artists and poets for centuries.

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