Across Continents

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Across Europe

I’d been in a reflective mood on the ferry across the Bosphorus. Europe was now complete, crossing Asia the goal for the year ahead. The village send-off seemed an age ago. Storms on Dartmoor. Late summer in France. Biting cold in Germany and Austria. Then into the former Eastern Bloc. Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria. Tougher going, but great warmth from those I’d met. Then Turkey. Striking. Modern.

I’d enjoyed much hospitality along the way, increasingly so as I’d headed east. Greater generosity towards strangers, perhaps in part because they had a better grasp of hardship, the need for reliance on others, and in part simple curiosity. But there were quite a few exceptions, particularly so in Western Europe. Family and friends at home who’d helped in so many ways. Tim and Pierrette back in France. Manfred and Ute in Germany. Many, many others.

Just as I’d experienced changing cultures, ethnicities, landscapes and climate, I’d found my own mindset shifting. This was no longer about days on the road, much more about countries and continents to cross. Adapting to life on the road. Establishing myself as a long-haul cyclist, an independent traveller. Greater confidence in dealing with unfamiliar environments, languages, uncertainty.

But I’d never have got this far without the support of others, and not just those I’d met on the road. Family and friends back home. My parents of course, Mum now an expert in logistics, Dad a dab hand with Google Earth. And friends, those from my own village in Somerset, those I’d worked with over the years or been at school with. I’d tried my best to give at least some recognition to their help on my Supporters page.

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