Showing posts from May, 2016

Aarau - 47° 23' 32" N 08° 02' 36" E

Kilometre 0 - Leaving Bischoffsheim After breakfast with the the Bouviers, we left their front door on our fully-laden bicycles, headed for the Bischoffsheim train station. The forecast had been for rain and the skies were delivering on their promise. Through the rain we went, refusing to let the drizzle dampen our spirits.   We were catching the 07:54 TGV to Basel, Switzerland to meet Gord and Jenny at the train station, jump on our bikes and begin the odyssey.  They met us as planned and, after a few bike adjustments, started towards Aarau and our beds for the night. Gord and Jenny are all we could want in riding (and travelling) companions - positive, adventurous, talkative (helping the kilometres fly by), experienced and capable cycle tourists.  We are glad to have organized the trip with them.  This is going to be so much fun! Town fountain in Aarau Navigating the densely-populated European cities by bicycle would be a daunting challenge, were it not for an extensive n

Bischoffsheim - 48° 29' 25" N 07° 29' 28" E

Excited girls! Two years ago, Lou (my French Goddaughter) asked if we could attend her first communion.  Having been given such good notice, we accepted with delight.  Twenty months and eight thousand kilometers later, here we are. Great excitement was rippling through all the 9 year-olds of Bischoffsheim as today is their first communion.  In the Bouvier household, the day began with gifts presented to Lou, the god-daughter de jour.  Outfits had been chosen and lovingly pressed.  Hair is coiffed into braids and buns and twisted with flowers and a thousand diamantés.  Friends and family are gathered to witness the great event. Ma Belle Filleule was so excited, she slept with her lovingly pressed clothes - much to the delight of her dear Maman. Sean and I followed along with the service, standing and sitting at all the correct times and we both managed the rhythm of The Lord's Prayer in French. The eighteen kids involved in the ceremony were proud as punch with themselve

Mont Sainte-Odile - 48° 26' 14" N 7° 24' 13" E

Passing through beautiful Obernai Visiting friends in France isn't all wine and baguettes, you know. We are here as the preamble to a big bike journey.  We have packed up our bikes and brought them from Canada.  Before we start the our tour with Gord and Jenny, we wanted to make sure we had properly reassembled them and not forgotten anything (besides proper training) necessary for full days of European hill climbing.  This morning, we loaded everything we brought into our panniers and started towards (and eventually up) the biggest hill around - Mont Sainte-Odile.  Filling up at la source de Sainte Odile At the top of the mountain is a monastery and viewpoints that look east towards Germany.  We have done this ride before (on previous visits) using our ultra-light racing bikes.  The bikes we have with us this time are more solid workhorses with racks for carrying everything necessary for multi-week trips.  Although they are heavier, they have very low gears that a

YYC - 51° 07' 30'' N 114° 01' 01'' E

Stelvio Pass (oh Lordy!) Off again! Our destination is Bischoffsheim in the Alsatian region of France to visit The Bouviers and attend our beautiful God-daughter's first communion.  Then the pain begins as we head off cycling with Gord and Jenny.  We are working on the hypothesis that one does not need to be fit to cycle tour, you get fit along the way!  As we embark on our four country, 1,300km, 21,400m vertical gain, 3 week adventure, we will certainly put this hypothesis to the test! Our proposed route is: Our route through Switzerland Basel (Switzerland) - Aarau - Bern - Fribourg - Interlaken - Guttannen - Andermatt - Chur - Vaduz (Liechtenstein) - Chur (Switzerland) - Bergun - Zernez - Stelvio (Italy) - Stelvio Pass - Merano - Bolzano - Molina - Borgo Valsugana - Feltre. In Feltre, we will be cycling the Sportful Dolomiti Gran Fondo . Our route in Italy We then have a few non-cycling days in Venice and Milan before heading back to The Bouviers in Bi

Cochrane - 51° 09' 39" N 114° 28' 38" W

At Ray's 60th So we have had a fabulous time back in Calgary!  Thanks to Karen and Jeff for allowing us to land in their spare room and use their house as a hotel (with fabulous service!).  In and out of organizing the final details for our trip to Europe, we are also finalizing Mum and Liz's visit in July which starts four days after we arrive home! Along with dull administration of life - doctors, landlord responsibilities, hair cuts and taxes, we have set up our bikes, packed and managed to squeeze in some social and cultural events such as a Radiohead Visual Listening Party ,  Ray's 60th, Michaela's Graduation Party, Book Club and a few dinners and lunches.  And we have been bike shopping!  We were equipping two of our neighbours with bikes so we can get out on the trails as the Broadview Cycling Club in the summer! With the early Spring, we scampered up a snow-free Highwood Pass on the closed Highway 40 with Gord and Jenny.  A different day saw us cruising

Ottawa - 45° 24' 56" N 75° 41' 14" W

paperwork statue ... across from parliment Here we are in Ottawa - about to embark on a week of intensive Canadian cultural immersion.  Kate is armed with her Cultural Access Pass (a perk for the first 12 months of being Canadian that gives free access to all kinds of cultural attractions) and Sean with his Capital Museums Passport which gives him access to seven museums in seven days (except one is closed!).  So here we go... Day/Museum 1 - The Canadian Museum of Nature giant jellyfish! As its name suggests, this museum is all about nature!  It is housed in the beautiful Victoria Memorial Museum Building which was specifically built as a museum.  Therefore, all the gorgeous mosaics, lead lighting and carvings are plants and animals.  The building was used as a temporary home for Parliament for four years after fire destroyed the centre block of Parliament House in 1916. Divided into galleries - the Water Gallery, The Earth Gallery, The Bird Gallery, The Mammal gallery