Unlike 2019, which saw us mostly home-bound as a result of a broken leg (the dog’s) and a ruptured Achilles (Tony’s), 2020 is scheduled to be a full-time resumption of our travel adventures.
As I write this, Joy and I are hanging out in our AirBnB on the French Riviera, two blocks from the beach. This will be our home base for the next three weeks. We plan to stay in Europe for almost all of 2020. We’ve leased a car and will spend the year exploring France and surrounding countries. Yeah, I know you’re all crying for us.
Oh, and because we never do anything easy, we’ve decided that 18 months of curtailing our travel to US-based car trips to accommodate our dog, Brighton, just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. So, we’ve brought Brighton to Europe with us! We plan to write a future post about the challenges of bringing a dog to Europe for the year.
And because that wasn’t complicated enough, we’ll also be shipping our bikes to Europe. We loved cycling in Spain and Ireland (and wee bit of Morocco) in 2017. We’ll turn in our leased car in June and spend the summer and early part of fall cycling.
We don’t have our cycling plans firmed up other than that we plan to cruise the first five legs of EuroVelo 6, which will take us from Nantest, France, on the Atlantic coast to Switzerland and Germany, and then on to Vienna, Austria. EuroVelo 6 continues all the way to the Black Sea, but we’ve got a two week Greek Island sailing trip planned for September which complicates our planning. (Yeah, you’re crying for us, again.)
Unlike our cycling trip across the US, we won’t be tackling any huge mountain ranges, as the EuroVelo 6 route runs along the Loire and Danube River valleys (wineries, castles, medieval towns). But that doesn’t mean the ride won’t be challenging. We’ll still have Brighton with us, so one of us will be pulling him along in his doggie trailer (a 35 pound dog sitting inside a 30 pound trailer). The other person gets stuck with all our gear!
One of the things that has us excited about this year is that sets of friends will be joining us for portions of our year-long adventure, and we’re trying to convince a few others to join us. Below is a rough sketch of our planned European adventure for the year. The blue line represents the driving portion, the green line represents the cycling portion, the tiny red section represents a multi-day hike along the pilgrimage route “Camino de Santiago de Compostela” in Spain, and the yellow line represents the Greek sailing portion. That takes us to mid-September. We’re not sure what we’re doing after that.
The ironic thing about this adventure is that for people who seriously downsized and simplified our possessions and lifestyle, we now own a car both in the US and in France, and we’ve also got a storage unit in each country. How embarrassing is that?
You can stop crying for us now.