England to Crete
England, Channel Islands, France, Italy & Greece. Non-Cycling side trip to Turkey and Norway.
September 2014 – January 2015
3.5 months cycling
We flew from Vancouver to London, assembled bikes and began the ride from Heathrow Terminal 5. We rode three days to get to a family wedding in the Cotswolds. After that, we looped northwest and south to visit friends, and took the ferries from Weymouth to Guernsey, Jersey and then on to France at St. Malo.
In France, we rode south to Nantes mainly following canals, then turned westward to the Atlantic coast and followed it south mainly on bike path, crossing the Loire estuary by ferry from Royan. We jogged inland to Bordeaux, and followed Canal Laterale a la Garonne and Canal du Midi to the Mediterrannean at Agde, then the Canal du Rhône à Sete eastward to Arles in the Camargue. We swung inland to follow Gorges du Verdon, descending to the Mediterranean Coast again at Nice.
We took a ferry to Corsica, but returned to the coast of Italy just north of Genoa after rethinking our route plan. After visiting friends in San Rocco, we accessed Cinque Terre National Park by train for a spectacular ride high above the coast. We took a train south from La Spezia to Cecina to avoid traffic and heavy rain, then crossed Tuscany, Umbria and March eastward to Ancona for a ferry to Igoumenitsa, Greece.
We crossed Central Greece from Igoumenitsa to Athens, took a ferry to Syros, then Lesvos, where we left our bikes and gear during a side trip to Istanbul and family visit to Oslo. Returning to our bikes in early January, we took boats to Crete at Chania and crossed the island to the south coast. We rode eastward along the south coast, sometimes on small tracks using GPS, then north via the Lasithi Plateau to the north coast at Irakleio. From there, we returned to Athens by boat and flew home to Vancouver.
For photos, see our Flickr collection.
Google Maps (especially good at getting us out of LHR)
Michelin Departement Maps (1:150,000)
Touring Club Italiano Regional Maps(1:200,000)
Orama Editions Road-Tourist Maps (1:150,000)
The Cretan Runner, George Psychoundakis