Across Continents

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Shared experiences

Independent traveller? Long haul cyclist? Wasn’t sure how best to describe myself. Maybe a bit of both. Whatever the answer was, I’d not met anyone undertaking a venture similar to mine. I’d heard of others on the road, a country or two ahead, maybe one behind, but hadn’t actually run into anyone. Then Myles. He’d left the UK a day ahead of me, but had followed a very different route across Western Europe. It was not until south of Budapest that our paths had begun to touch, albeit separated by a week or so. He’d heard of my mission at a hostel I’d stayed in back in Novi Sad, Serbia, and had got in touch.

Myles

Realising we were both heading for Sofia, although by very different routes, we agreed to meet up. Perhaps, at first, just curious as to what sort of person the other was. But we’d hit it off over lunch and had decided to ride together, for a few days at least. We were, after all, both heading in the same direction towards the Turkish border.

I’d ridden with Manfred and Ute back in Bavaria. Great fun. But with Myles it was different. Shared experiences borne of three months or so trekking across Europe. Serbian dogs. The nightly hunt for somewhere to stay. Language difficulties. Even the fun of buying a ferry ticket across the Danube in southern Hungary. Myles had read my post on that one. It had struck a chord for him, which was reassuring for me. Good to know I wasn’t alone in encountering these little challenges.

Riding together had been simplicity itself. Both knew exactly what was required, what to look out for on the road to be safe. Lots of things that didn’t need to be said. We just did them. Similar strategies to locate a bed for the night. Not that there wasn’t plenty of things we could learn from each other. There was lots. But it was really about refinement. I suggested that if you could cross Europe you’d have sufficient experience to be able to continue far beyond. Different challenges. Yes. But we’d both already solved an awful lot, no reason why we couldn’t continue to do so, whatever they might be.

[You can follow Myles’ blog at http://www.mylesaway.wordpress.com]

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