Main -> life -> 1997 - European bike tour [sitemap]

nl eu My trip in Europe

Created 20 July 1997 ... Updated 17 December 1998
25 October 1999, replaced broken links

Plans before I started the trip

Once again, the plan is just an idea. Like last time in Australia I´m completely independent and this time even more as I´ve got my own transport: a great purple bicycle. In the Netherlands it´s called a hybrid which means that it´s got a mountainbike frame with mountainbike part but has touring wheels and all the extras to make it a good bike for long trips.

The initial plan was:

The Netherlands
    Rotterdam - Wageningen

    Göttingen - Hamburg - Berlin - Dresden

Czech Republic

Östereich     Vienna - Graz



    St. Gallen - Lugano - Geneva - Moutier - Aarua - Basel




The Netherlands
    Wageningen - Amsterdam - Heerhugowaard


June 1997
The trip started on the 19 June with Rotterdam to Wageningen, the town where my sister studies. What i thought would be only 80 kilometers turned out to be 120km so it took somewhat longer than expected but I made it. After a day in 'exciting' Wageningen I headed off for the next stop, Göttingen, which I reached 400km and 4 days later. Stayed there for two days and headed off for Hamburg where a friend was expecting me. I took it easy and did the 380 in 4 days and had a day off in Walsrode, somewhere halfway between Göttingen and Hamburg.

July 1997
schwerin After 5 days in Hamburg I went further to Schwerin, a nice, laid back but touristy place in the North of Germany. It took me 2 days to cover the 180 km as the first day was short, 60 km only. As I liked Schwerin a lot and had to do some maintenance on my bike and replace a tyre, I spent 3 days there before going to Potsdam which took me 3 days to cover the 280km.

Potsdam turned out to be really nice and as I met some nice people there I got stuck there for nearly a week. As Potsdam is close to Berlin I went there twice but didn´t like it at all so decided to stay in Potsdam. It´s a nice town, with Sanssouci park with the huge Neues Palais, the beautifull Schloß Sanssouci and other nice buildings. Unfortunately this park is a bit touristy so I spent most time in the beautiful Charlottenhof, a park around a lake with good swimming water and crowded with locals. I really liked that place and met some nice people there so had a good time. One week was not enough but as I had to carry on to my next stop, Dresden, I got after two days in Meißen, 220 km down South and only 20 km from Dresden. It´s pretty nice there and I like the former East Germany so much better than the West. So many old buildings and also old cobblestone streets and the people are in general so much nicer.

regensburg At the moment (20 July) I´m in Dresden which is a nice city, especially to see it with someone who knows her way around and shows all the good places to go to. My plans have changed a bit as time is running out. Instead of going to Switzerland via Austria and Slovenia, I´ll go there straight away after Czech which will save me about 2 weeks time and I´ll see Austria later on this year, but not by bike.

Dresden is really nice. We´ve been cycling around the area a couple of times, saw the Elbe floods, Schloß Pillnitz, der Saechsische Schweiz, Schloß Moritzburg and lots of small towns and ofcourse Dresden itself of which Neustadt is definitly one of the best places to hang out. I will soon leave from here to catch up with someone in Freiberg which is only 40 kilometers further down so I'm moving really slowly at the moment but it's great to see old friends again and been shown around...

August 1997
After some days in Freiberg we decided to take a train to Prague in the Czech Republic to see friends of Katja again. Although the weather was not that good the city was great. It's really old with lots of nice views. It must be better in springtime or autumn thuogh because there were lots and lots of tourists now and nothing can really beat the athmosphere created by a hazy morning in an old city. I've seen that in Paris and the millions of black-and-white postcards show the romance of Prague in springtime. So a good excuse to come back one day. After a week I took off again to go back to Czech but now to Plzen. As I hadn't been cycling for two weeks I got a one day rest there as I cycled the 180km over the mountains of the Erzgebirge way too fast. It was there that I decided to skip lots of things, like for instance the supposedly beautifull South of Czech and the Donau Radfahrweg to go as fast as possible to my friend in St Gallen in Switzerland. The planned trip would take six days of heavy cycling but I did the 550km in five days but it was tough; some hills, some mountains and as I took the backroads I sometimes had a ascent of 10% for a couple of kilometers and that with the sun burning on me and 30 degrees heat. The last day was hardest but a quit dip in the Bodensee (Lake of Constance) made well up for it. At the moment I'm in St Gallen where I will probably stay for some weeks to spend with my friend there and do some cycling trips, hiking trips and holidaying. The other good news is that they've also got an Internet café here so I can finally send and receive email again, awesome!

The area around St Gallen is really pretty. I've been cycling and hiking through Appenzellerland which is the start of the Ost-Schweizer Alps so for the first time in my life I've seen the real European mountains. The first week in St Gallen was mainly spent sightseeing, hiking and cycling around the area but as the weather remained too hot for my likings, the second week was spent doing entirely nothing. Well, okay, I've done some small hikes (walking around for a couple of hours) but for the rest... nothing at all. Most of the time was spent in bookshops, in parks or at the swimming lake but it's holidays and I have to get prepared for the serious 5 day hike in Graubunden, the last week of August...

Just came back from a long hike in the South-East of Switzerland, the Obergadin. It was beautifull but pretty hard as these were the real mountains instead of the Dutch mountains I'm used to. We started in St Moritz (1800 meters), the famous wintersports resort which probably became famous for it's beautiful surroundings. We walked over to the next town, Spinas (1800m), which is situated in the same valley as St Moritz but about 15 kilometers downstream. But as we wanted to do some serious hiking instead of easy walking we climbed up a mountain, walked over the saddle at 3000 meters and climbed down via the steep and slippery track towards Spinas. When we got there we discovered that the only hotel there was really expensive so we walked back, via the valley road, to Bever(1800m) where we found cheaper accomodation.

The next day we walked back to Spinas and climbed another mountain to arrive after a 2 hour steep climb at the saddle (2800m) after which we went down again and ended up in a simple butr cheap hotel in Preda. The next day we decided to take it easy and walked along the valley track towards Filisur. Filisur proved to be quite nice and especially the restaurant we took was great: we decided to cook our own pasta next to a small stream, drinking some water-cooled beer, talking a bit and enjoying life. It was great. The weatherforecast for the next day was bad so we decided to do a 3 hour walk in the vally towards the next town where we took the train to Thusis. We really liked Thusis: lots of buildings so it seemed to be a big town but we couldn't find any nice places to hang out at in the evening and as the weather was bad as well we were a bit pissed off. The next day we took the train back to St Gallen were we went to the first night of the St Galler Faescht, a big two day party.

September 1997
As it's time to leave I decided to leave St Gallen on the second of September to go fast towards Luxembourgh, where Corinne, the girl on the picture lives. I'll only have two main stops on the way and both of them are in Zwitserland so the planning is to arrive in Luxembourgh in the second week of September. So I'm on the road again...

As I had 3 days to meet my appointment in Aarau I took it easy for the first three cycling days. The first two days were used to cover 160km in total and the third day was used for the final lap. As I was a bit early I decided to leave the bike in the town and go for some sightseeing and photo shooting. The old centre is quite nice but the new areas and especially the huge hospital (where my friend works) is horrible but the stay lasted only for two days anyway. Next stop was 65km further in Moutier. This town is completely uninteresting but since I know someone living there it was worth a visit.

Again after two days -with some parties this time- I took off towards Basel and France to cover the 450km to Befort(Beaufort in French)/Luxembourgh in three days, which proved to be too much. In the one-and-a-half week stay in Luxembourgh I saw a lot, went cycling twice, did a 2.5 day hike, saw the city (80,000 inhabitants!) 5 times and spent lots of time with the two little kids of Corinne's brother. It was good fun but as I had to move again I decided to go to Wageningen in two days as I thuoght it would be possible. When I had a closer look at the map the distanced turned out to be a bit more as expected but I made it in two days anyway; 180km on the first day and 205km on the second day. As my sister wanted to leave the day after and I felt like going home as well I did the final 120km the day after so now I'm sitting here, in my apartment in Ridderkerk, completely nagged but happy to be home again.


Days been away from home: 98
Days used for cycling: 36
Total distance covered: 4100
Total weight of luggage: I don't want to know
Number of flat tyres: 3
Number of serious accidents: 0
Number of bike problems: 0

Main stops on the way:

    Goettingen - Hamburg - Potsdam/Berlin - Dresden - Freiberg

Czech Republic

    Sankt Gallen - Aarau - Moutier


    Wageningen - Ridderkerk