Panniers and pasta: a foodie cycling tour in northern Italy

In 2018, our writers cycled from Bristol to Bangkok, staying with locals in 22 countries. They remember Italy fondly for its warm hospitality – and fabulous carb-rich cuisine

We had been on the road for a month. Our final descent out of Switzerland was breathtaking and, as we raced down the mountain, it felt like we were leaving winter behind us. Road markings flashed beneath us. We were fast; the weight of loaded panniers adding momentum. Thawing snow lined our route, glistening as it melted on either side of the tarmac. We shared the road with drivers who passed leaving plenty of room to spare, some acknowledging us with a polite nod or raised palm.

Italy was now visible. Our fifth country in as many weeks. As we freewheeled, we chatted about how cycling across borders reduces culture shock: you travel so slowly that countries simply dissolve into one another. That theory was instantly shattered as we crossed into Italy. Everything transformed within metres. The energy of the traffic around us changed: horns blared as drivers sped out of Como in the early evening light, some offering a cheery shout of “bravo” or “buon viaggio”. But, after an initial jolt at the border, it only took a day or two to adjust to local driving styles, something that was repeated in all the countries that we would later pass through.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

TRAVEL DEAL UPDATE:

A cycling tour of the Normandy D-day landing beaches

Taking in the heroics and horrors of the D-day sites is a moving experience for our writer and a fitting way to mark today’s 75th anniversary

Precariously small landing craft lurching about in an unruly sea. Young men’s faces set in a mixture of determination and trepidation. The beach before them a morass of tank traps and barbed wire. “As our boat touched sand and the ramp went down, I became a visitor to hell,” US private Harry Parley later recalled.

The horror and the heroism of the D-day landings came home to me once more as I watched a film at the Musée du Débarquement (D-Day Landings Museum) in Arromanches-les-Bains. Seventy-five years ago, on 6 June 1944, this small town was at the western end of Gold Beach – code name for one of the five stretches of the Normandy coast chosen for the allied invasion of German-occupied France.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

TRAVEL DEAL UPDATE:

Sculpture from the saddle: a cycling and art tour of Belgium

Only in bike-mad Flanders could they create an installation like Limburg’s Cycling Through Water, part of an art trail designed to regenerate the region – and be seen from a bicycle

A ring-necked duck swam by at eye level, the water rippling beside me without spilling over the high metal sides of the Cycling Through Water bike path.

This 212-metre concrete path is 1.5 metres deep and slices a pond in two, allowing cyclists to pedal straight through it. From a distance, the position of the path creates the illusion of people magically gliding through water. I pedalled along, steering with one hand, the other dipping into the water. Then I nearly fell over – a dyspraxic Moses.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

TRAVEL DEAL UPDATE: