Mamma Mia!

Europe Part 3 | Italy, Germany, Denmark | Day 450

We have spent the last fourteen incredible months riding our bikes all over Asia and Europe. Yet something just wasn’t clicking anymore, days off the bikes were sounding better than the ones on the bikes, and eventually it became apparent, we needed a change of pace. We had pushed our bikes over 17,500ft a handful of times, crammed them in tucks, vans, and atop buses, soaked them during river crossings, and frosted them sleeping outside above altitude. We had spent four months in the mystical Himalaya together, we sweated with them across South East Asia for five months, and we traversed the Tian Shan mountains with them for two and a half months in Central Asia. The list goes on…. there’s no denying we love our bikes. Our burly steeds have taken us places in a way nothing else can. Cycling is the perfect way to travel and we would not have seen the world the same without them. But we had to listen to ourselves. It was time for a change. We will continue this grand adventure on foot, trekking in the Andes, learning Spanish, spending more time in little towns, and eating good food along the way. In Spain we made the hard decision to box up our bikes and send our babies home.

What the hell are we going to do without our bikes? What about those small little towns that no one else sees? What about those unique home stays that just seem to…happen? What about the random cowboys of Kyrgyzstan that are shocked to see us, but happy we made it to their part of the world? Will we experience the world the same as we did? are we making a big mistake? … Maybe, but we’ll just have to see. 

"What the hell are we going to do without our bikes?"

Thousands of beautiful things happen when you ride a bike across a country, including blood, sweat, and tears. Don’t let the photos fool you, cycle touring is not an easy way to travel, especially when seeking gravel roads in the mountains. And honestly, we were worn out. While South America might quite possibly be one of the greatest places in the world to ride bikes, we still have a list about a mile long of things we want to do and see without them. We are exited to travel a little different. After reducing our belongings down to just our small frameless backpacks, we gave the bikes a big hug goodbye and flew to Rome to meet Eric’s parents and Grandpa.


  

  

 

  


Checking into “The Lord Byron” hotel in Rome, our jaws dropped… We have not lived so extravagantly on our entire trip, or maybe in our entire lives (courtesy of Eric’s folks-thanks again!). Sometimes you forget how traveling can be, and wow, our time in Italy was incredible. Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps, The Vatican, The Colosseum. Rome is larger than life, and ridiculously over the top. It is touristy to the max, but there is no where else in the world like it. Fifty marble statues decorate every corner, giant ornate cathedrals and architecture dwarf their surroundings, quaint little cobbled streets with ivy growing over a family run Italian restaurant smelling of garlic and oregano, and a history that reminds me that I have achieved nothing, and never will.  

"Rome is larger than life, and ridiculously over the top."

From Rome we road tripped to Montepulciano, drank some wine while enjoying a picnic overlooking the Tuscan hillside. In Florence we saw some of the worlds most iconic art, walked around the Duomo, and drank some more wine. Onward! Portofino, a postcard perfect port town, where we enjoyed even more amazing food, and drank some more wine. To Milan! …more churches, more walking, more wine. Lake Como! We zipped around Lake Como on our own boat and scoped out famous people’s houses from afar, and drank some more wine… I think your getting the picture…



I had not seen any of my family in over a year, and two weeks wasn’t nearly enough time. We had some good laughs, tons of drool-worthy pasta, and enjoyed a number of bottles of wine together. We saw some of the most magnificent craftsmanship western culture has to offer, some of the most famous paintings in the world, and the grandest cathedrals ever built. We said our goodbyes to Eric’s family in Milan, wiped away the tears and continued on over the Alps to Germany.


 

  


We were greeted at the bus station in Munich by Tiffany, a friend of Eric’s, and her boyfriend Nik holding up a couple of signs with our names on it and drawings of little bikes. My heart sank a little bit as I remembered we no longer have our bicycles. But honestly, the logistics of getting from Italy to Germany was pretty stress free without them. Cheap flights are back on the table! We were immediately served some big ole’ german beers and bratwurst and sauerkraut. Niclas graciously let us crash at his place for a couple nights and we had a great time freezing our asses off floating down the Eisbach River in the English Garden and enjoying a potluck with friends. We popped over to Berlin to check out some street art, hip coffee shops and walked all of Copenhagen in the rain before catching our flight to Lima, Peru.

"It is an end of an era. South America is waiting, and the Andes are calling!"

Europe is done, our bikes are gone, and we are headed to South America. I think we are both a little sad, excited, and not sure what to think about our new lives. Europe gave us some good times, we saw a lot of art, history, and made a lot of friends. It was a family vacation for the books. And it is an end of an era. South America is waiting, and the Andes are calling!


  


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