Our Journey

Cycling Italia ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ into Slovenia ๐Ÿ’•

Hey,

so we have successfully made it from Italy into Slovenia and what a journey it has been so far! From the aches and pains to the breath taking scenery we have passed, it hasn’t always been easy but OMG has it been worth it! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ

So we started our trip by flying into Venice, we packed up our cheap matching mountain bikes into boxes and got on our plane. It was plain sailing getting it all through really, we didn’t have any issues with the bikes on either side and we just took our bike boxes outside and re assembled the bikes right outside of the airport and just like that we were ready to go. Off to cycle through 7 countries… in five weeks…me no training ๐Ÿ™ˆ and no idea what to except! Must be mad! ๐Ÿ˜‚

We set off to our first camp site ‘Camping Rialto’ and this was my first time cycling on busier roads. It was a bit scary at first trying to find my balance with everything on the bike and navigate my way round the roads but I pretty much just followed Mel and we arrived just fine ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’•

Now Venice was STUNNING… exactly how I imagined it would be. All the beautiful buildings all vibrant colours. I loved it. It was very me and the picture opportunities endless and I got some beautiful shots. Everyone looked like they had just stepped out of a magazine with their lovely dresses and floppy hats ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ but as beautiful as it was, on a budget there isn’t a great deal to do there as it is more for elegant dining and drinks I guess so for us 2 days there was plenty to see all the sites. Before we really set of on our cycle tour.

After our 2 nights at Rialto, we packed up the bikes again and this is where our cycling trip really began, Venice was a lovely treat but we didn’t actually cycle anywhere as bikes are not allowed along the streets there.

So we set off, I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t know how the roads would work, how my body would cope, how I would cope ๐Ÿ™ˆ how Mel would cope with me ๐Ÿ˜‚ so I will start with the roads…

Cycling on 70 mph roads is a bit scary to be quite honest, the first one we approached I did find myself shouting to Mel ‘I can’t go on that road’ but I followed his directions and got on to it and everything was fine, it’s a bit nerve wracking having huge lorries pass you and nearly blow you off the bike but you get used to it after a while, so I started getting more confident on the roads, going a bit faster. Then people started to beep their horns at me and I panicked. I was freaking out screaming asking why people keep beeping me, it had my nerves gone and Mel just put it down to them beeping at other people. It wasn’t until on coming traffic started to beep at us as well and I soon realised by all the smiling faces and flailing arms and thumbs up that it was all signs of encouragement, support and people cheering us on ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ so now when I hear a beep I don’t worry so much and just smile and wave if I can ๐Ÿ‘‹

Another thing Mel had warned me about before we left and how very true it has been… is the dogs. Dogs do not like cyclist, or maybe they do but they bark at you and it happens with every single dog you pass ๐Ÿถ

Surprisingly on our first day, we got pretty far and my body seemed to be coping pretty well. Bit of a sore arse of the seat and legs getting a bit tired but all in all it wasn’t so bad and we covered a fair distance and I was feeling pretty proud ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

Mel was always being so lovely and encouraging and seeing if I needed to stop but we just cracked on and went for miles. We hadn’t pre booked anywhere for this night though and campsites in this part of Italy where scarce. We soon realised it would be a wild camp, so we cycled on looking for a spot and as we lost light and energy was low we settled on a little bit of woods, just off a cycle path. Got the tent set up and called it a night.

This is the night I had the realisation that our camping experiences may not be anything like I had pictured. No Instagram worthy pictures for me. That’s all staged, it’s far from glamorous wild camping!

No, there were no stunning views, nowhere to shower, go the toilet. The grass was long and the bugs loud. We had cycled the entire day, we were sweaty, sticky with sun cream and bug spray and just generally gross. We got into our little tent, sticky and stinking and I did think to myself… what have a let myself in for ๐Ÿ™ˆ it wasn’t a comfortable night sleep for us because it was so hot and sticky because we hadn’t showered plus the pain from the long day of cycling had began to set in.

It was at this point the positive mental attitude has to come into play, Venice had been amazing! Cycling through Italy was beautiful, we had only just begun our journey and this was actually so exciting!!! Doing this with Mel before we get married and above all else, we are doing this for Kerri ๐Ÿ’• so we settled for the night, knowing we would need to be up early as it’s actually not even legal to wild camp ๐Ÿ˜‚ getting up early wasn’t a problem, in Italy the church bells are ringing at the crack of dawn. In some towns on the hour, every hour, all night!

Up bright and early, we packed everything up and got back on the bikes. No one would every know we were there ๐Ÿ˜Š getting back on the bike after such a long cycle was rough. I was really feeling the burn and found it hard to sit back on the bike again. It really does take some getting used to but as far as gorgeous days go, this was one of them ๐Ÿ’•

We cycled through many little Italian towns and in the distance we could see the Italian alps, the view was amazing and it’s real motivation when you are cycling towards something so beautiful. We cycled through vineyards, fields full of sunflowers ๐ŸŒป mountains and it was just a lovely lovely day.

Mel and I chatted away as we passed through all these beautiful places, being such and eager photographer I’ve had to find a balance and only stop if there is something truly amazing or we would never get anywhere, the temptation to take pictures of all the grapes was strong ๐Ÿ™ˆ

After such a gorgeous day it was topped off perfectly when we found ourselves staying at the secret garden ๐Ÿ˜ this was a garden advertised on air b&b in a tiny town in Italy called San Odorico. It was just lovely, we were met by Isabella, the mother of the lady who owned the property, her English was about as good as our Italian ๐Ÿ˜‚ but we still had a lovely conversation as she showed us round and we were very VERY happy when she showed us a room with a shower a toilet and tonnes of plug sockets ๐Ÿ˜‚ we pitched our tent, charged our devices and had the best shower after two days straight of cycling! At this point we got a chance to log onto the justgiving page and couldn’t believe how much support we had so far ๐Ÿ’• it was a perfect evening.

The next day, we knew would be tough, we were getting closer to the mountains and the paths becoming steeper and testing my ability to get up hill, some of you may of seen the delightful picture I took, red faced at the top of one of them ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ

However cycling towards these breathtaking mountains kept us going and we had found a campsite on our route. It’s much easier when you are cycling towards a place to stay I have found, rather than just aimlessly cycling until you have to stop for your aching limbs.

We reached our campsite in Germona, Del Friuli and I was just gobsmacked. It was gorgeous, like a little hidden paradise and since the first night of wild camping I had vowed I would find a spot where I would get a beautiful tent pic and this was going to be the place. We were right in the mountains and this little bit of paradise wasn’t overcrowded, it was just a handful of other cyclist really, such a nice vibe and just a lovely lovely place to stay for the night. Mel and I pitched our tent right in front of a mountain so I could get my pic ๐Ÿ˜› we had had three failed attempts to buy gas for our stove at this point and we were hungry so we had to ask a fellow cyclist if we could borrow his. His name was Tiko and he was on a tour himself and from New York. It was nice chatting with him and comparing routes. However he told us we had a big day ahead of us with a big uphill battle ๐Ÿ™ˆ

We had a lazy morning the next morning just enjoying the camp, when we set of both myself and Mel where nervous about the journey ahead but we had done well so far and wanted to push on. It was another beautiful day with many wonderful views, the cycle paths in Europe are truly amazing, great for me as I don’t love the busy roads… even with our cheerleaders ๐Ÿ˜‚

This route had lots of tunnels to go through, we followed the FVG1 from Germona to Tarvisio, a lot of which is an old train track so it was really cool going through all the tunnels. Along this route we also found an amazing spot to have lunch. Most of the river was dry but just off the track it was running and running crystal clear. Me and Mel both got straight in and it was so cold and just what we needed for our aching bodies. Was a really lovely afternoon.

However this was another day we didn’t have anywhere to stay planned, so we knew it would be a wild camp. We cycled for about 10 hours this day and up to the point were we had to just stop as we had lost light and my neck was really bad, I’ve been suffering with it quite a bit which is a real shame because I feel I’m getting better everyday on the bike but this pain remains in my neck and I struggle to turn my head to the left. Not great when on the roads, anyhoo…

We put the tent up on a bit of grass on the edge of a town in plain view ๐Ÿ™ˆ but it was dark and the tent is green so…

Up again at 6am as not to be seen, this wasn’t hard as this was the town the bells rang every hour so we didn’t have the best sleep but on we went because we knew today would be the day we would cross into Slovenia ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ˜ it was amazing being in and around the mountains we had been cycling towards for days. It really felt like we had achieved something and then as we approached Slovenia it felt even better. I saw the sign and took the picture op because I was pretty proud that we had made it. We had cycled from one country to another and I think that’s pretty cool ๐Ÿ˜Ž

It was a very strange experience cycling in to Slovenia because it genuinely changed pretty much as we passed the Slovenia sign. The temperature dropped, everywhere was greener with flowers and the buildings different. When you go on holiday to another country you expect everything to be different when you get off the plane, when you cycle you expect differences to be small and gradual but when we cycled into Slovenia it wasn’t the case. We could certainly tell we where not in Italy anymore and the minute I got there I knew I would LOVE Slovenia, as did Mel. We were both in awe and just couldn’t believe the scenery ๐Ÿ’•

We got to our camp site in the mountains and again we set up right in front of a beautiful view, huge mountains covered in clouds โ˜๏ธ. It was spectacular really. The site was amazing, it was a site called camp Spik and we really enjoyed our stay there.

The next day we went on to our next campsite on the cycle path towards Lake Bled. Now the thing we have really loved after Italy and the alps is here we have had a lot of down hill cycling and I just love it. I love going fast downhill, it’s the best. Especially when it’s roasting ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ that’s another thing, whenever I’m struggling up hill and I really do struggle, I just think ‘what goes up must come down’ then I zoom away with a big smile on my face, I actually say ‘woohooo’ every time. The only other person we’ve seen do that was a small child ๐Ÿ˜‚

We made it to our camp site, the one we are currently staying in and I found out one of my friends was going to be here on the same day. What a great coincidence ๐Ÿ˜‚ so today we met up with Kayliegh and Matt and their pals at Lake Bled and I can’t even begin to describe how incredible the place is. It’s literally like paradise, we’ve had lots of storms here in Slovenia and I fair bit of rain but the sun was shining just for the time we where there ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ I’ve never seen water like it. The colour was breathtaking and it was so beautifully clear.

We walked around the lake then we rented a boat to go out to the church and ring the bell for good luck ๐Ÿค— Matt took the first shift rowing us over there and did a great job ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ Mel took us back and was equally great and did some pretty impressive boat docking. All while me and Kayliegh enjoyed the amazing views and took selfies ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ

Today was probably one of the nicest and visually stunning days I’ve ever had ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ I think Lake Bled will be a hard one to top.

It’s been an incredible journey so far and Mel has been amazing ๐Ÿ’• if you want to put a relationship to the test go on a long distance cycle tour ๐Ÿ˜‚ my language has been atrocious here, with the heavy bike and crappy gears ๐Ÿ˜‚ we’ve made some errors along the way, he soaked our battery pack and keeps buying the wrong size gas and I have managed to leave all our adapters in the sockets along the way but it’s all a learning experience and we really are a great team ๐Ÿค—

I’m proud of how far we have come already and I am excited about continuing on this journey, ambitious as it may be I do hope we are successful. We are really pushing ourselves to do this and we have been so overwhelmed with all the support so far. We’ve raised almost ยฃ700 so far for Diabetes UK on our justgiving page and it’s just an incredibly amount. We are so grateful for everyone’s support.

You have a great deal of time to think about things when you are long distance cycling and given recent events, I know Mel and I both think about Kerri often. Memories of her, that are lovely, plus there’s butterflies everywhere here that always remind me of her ๐Ÿ˜› but it also brings sadness but with that sadness is determination to go as far as we can and see as much as we can. Kerri was all about making memories to treasure, it’s a phrase she used often and that’s what we will do ๐Ÿ’• I also think about my Dad a lot and how happy he would be to see me off on this adventure with such a wonderful guy ๐Ÿ’• we are off to visit Mozart’s place of birth soon, he would of loved that ๐Ÿค—

All in all my experience so far has been awesome and I can’t recommend seeing the world and travelling this way highly enough. If you have got the passion to travel and want to take in every single aspect of it, buy a bike and put the work in because it really is worth it. We’ve been living off croissants, pasta and pears pretty much and it’s really cheap to get around this way, especially if you don’t mind the wild camping โ›บ๏ธ you see so much and it’s just a wonderful way to travel. It’s great for you physically and mentally and I just think it’s the best way to see the world now. I’ve been converted ๐Ÿšฒ ๐Ÿšฒ ๐Ÿšฒ๐Ÿ’• I’m so looking forward to the next leg and hopefully using the warm showers website more as we head to Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany!

Until next week, ciao โœŒ๏ธ๐Ÿ’•

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12 thoughts on “Cycling Italia ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ into Slovenia ๐Ÿ’•”

  1. Hi Jen and Mel,
    I think itโ€™s wonderful what your doing. It takes me back to my travelling, Your creating wonderful memories that will stay with you forever. I remember hitch hiking across the east coast of America, from Woodstock NY to Florida Keys and back when I was 21.approx ( 2000 miles) Sleeping in some bizarre places.Seeing the most beautiful places. I remember it like yesterday.
    It is amazing that your cycling through all the countries. Great read. Your papa and Kerri would be extremely proud.
    Big ups! X ๐ŸŒŽโœŒ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’›

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    1. Thanks Carla ๐Ÿ’• hey your still always on your travels now! ๐Ÿค— Iโ€™m glad you are enjoying reading the blog and t takes you back. My favourite thing is all the little unique places we get to stay. Xxx

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  2. Wow Jen! Your blog was an amazing read! Keep up the good work and keep the pictures coming I love seeing where your at! You really are a brave chick!! Good luck Jen & Mel..
    Gemma xxx

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  3. Wonderful blog Jenny, your both doing great, loving all the beautiful pictures of your journey so far, your dad would be so proud of you, also Kerri, bless them both. Love Aunty Mary XX

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  4. I think your very brave I would never have the courage to do what your doing it looks and sounds fabulous
    Good luck with the rest of your incredible journey
    Xx

    Like

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