Unforgettable Days Cycling In Europe, Part 2

By Jane Mountain | October 5, 2013

As you know, we are both quite fond of nature and we like to preserve her resources whenever we can. With that in mind, we bring you a second day of recycled posts.

For those of you who are new here, this should be a great introduction to our trip. For those of you who’ve already read every entry, we hope you enjoying revisiting to our most exciting moments so far.

Here’s Unforgettable Days Cycling In Europe, Part 1 in case you missed it.


The people that you meet on a trip like ours, be they crazy, kind, or somewhere in between, can often make or break a day. In Lithuania, we had the good luck to meet Swiss cyclist Jean-Yves, with whom we spent a few fun days.

Stephen and Jean-Yves, deep in conversation about GPS apps.

Stephen and Jean-Yves, deep in conversation about GPS apps.

He was a great addition to our little touring party, and a few things he used to say have become daily catch phrases for us.

We discussed the world and its problems, including environmentalism, the deep emotional aspects of cycle touring, the ins and outs of the Swiss government, the problems with the Swiss Army (it’s not just about clever knives you know), and the finer points of many aspects of yoga.

We hope you’re doing well J-Y!

Read all about it in: Three Is Company Too

We’re not usually into the big tourist sites, but the evening we spent at The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg was truly unforgettable. Being in St. Petersburg represented the achievement of our Rome To Russia goal, and we have dreamed about visiting The Hermitage for years.

Outdoor hallway, The Winter Palace.

Outdoor hallway, The Winter Palace.

I especially enjoyed The Winter Palace, which gave us the chance to time travel back through decades of interior design.

I love to walk through these spaces imagining how it was to live there and what the people were like who used the items that fill these rooms.

Also, the photo opportunities were unending.

See all the photos in: The Day Of A Thousand Pictures

Many of Stephen’s favourite trip moments have come while teaching yoga, and both of us remember each class vividly. One of the most spectacular was on the waterfront in Helsinki.


Almost all the students cycled to class, we had gorgeous weather to practice in, and a little picnic afterwards.

As you may know, I’m not always a fan of chatting with strangers, but at least I’ve had a lot of practice doing that on this trip. When it’s with people who do yoga and ride bikes, it’s easy.

Then we got on the bikes and headed out into Finland.

Read all about it in: In And Out Of Practice

There have only been a few days during which everything fell together perfectly, as though the universe were rooting for us. The day we spent cycling and sailing in Åland was about as perfect as a day of cycle touring gets.

After appreciating the moss, the heather, and the silence for a while, we headed back towards the ferry. We stopped at these cool granite picnic tables to cook some dinner and take a little break. A picnic table is a small thing, but it makes such a difference when you’re camp cooking.

Granite picnic tables, perfect spot for dinner.

Granite picnic tables, perfect spot for dinner.

Even the rainstorm that day couldn’t have been more perfectly timed.

Read all about it in: The Small Things

All the days we spent with our friends Sara and Markus in Malmö were great, but we had an especially perfect day one Sunday.

Sara and Ted, digging into some lunchtime goodies.

Sara and Ted, digging into some lunchtime goodies.

The sun was shining and we had nothing on the agenda but going for a lazy walk, eating a picnic, drinking beer, and even taking a dip in the sea.

Sara and I wisely avoided the chilly water, but the three boys jumped in. Ted was a little shocked and dismayed by the cold, but Markus and Stephen loved it. Sigge just hung out in the pram.

We loved being able to have a little window into the lives of some “real” Swedish people and the chance to feel completely at home.

Read all about it in: Sweet Swedish Sunday

This final memorable moment is all my own.

I looked down at my chain, only to see it sagging. Had it come off? I looked closer. Oh, damn. I could see the ragged end of the chain hanging down to the ground, broken in two. I was in the middle of the forest. Night was coming on. My chain was broken. I had about three swallows of water left. And I was alone.

I know I will remember this experience (and the way I handled it) when we encounter new difficulties in the coming months.

Just me, my bike, and I.

Just me, my bike, and I.

Did I panic? Did I scream? Did I collapse on the forest floor in tears?

Find out in: Bawl And Chain

And there you have it folks. Six months of cycle touring encapsulated in two short posts. Of course, this doesn’t nearly touch upon all of the great times we had, so you should probably just start at the beginning.  

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