All bicycle tours are special, but this one is a bit more so to me than many of the others. It was our first overseas cycling tour, and Rachael and I were both fresh with the excitement of doing something that felt very adventuresome and daring. We were inspired for this trip by Bruce Ringer’s great Cycle Touring in New Zealand, which had just been published the year before we started planning. New Zealand was actually a fallback idea for us though – our original vision for our first overseas tour was to cycle from Paris to Athens by way of Switzerland, Italy and Yugoslavia. That trip fell apart with the beginning of the Balkan wars and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, something I’ve always viewed as a personal loss – it would have been remarkable to pass through Croatia, Kosovo and Macedonia before the region fell into chaos.
Here’s the complete journal; and overview maps: