Places

Trier: The Oldest City in Germany is an Underrated Gem

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Electoral Palace in Trier

It’s not a place that’s on the itineraries of many  visitors to Germany. Google top tourist attractions in Germany, and Trier is often absent or way down the list. Berlin has the cool factor, Munich has Oktoberfest, and Heidelberg oozes romantic charm. Perhaps it’s a branding issue. Trier’s unique features should place it much higher on Germany’s must-see lists, especially for history buffs. During our cycle trip, we spent a “rest day” in Trier and discovered a city with remarkable history, incredible monuments and laid-back joie de vivre. Here are some of the amazing things we learned about Trier. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Cycling Germany’s Mosel Cycle Route: Koblenz to Trier

IMG_8367We call it the fairy-tale route. The Mosel Cycle Route meanders past some of Germany’s prettiest landscapes, best wine regions, cutest towns and most impressive castles. As the crow flies, it’s only 95 km between Koblenz and Trier, two of Germany’s oldest and most charming cities. But traveling along the cycle path more than doubles the distance as the route hugs every swan-graced curve of the Mosel. This is a very good thing. Most of the roughly 200 km journey is like being in a feel-good Disney film with a really fine wine by our side. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Cycling Germany’s Rhine Bike Route: Bingen to Koblenz

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The pretty town of Rhens on the Rhine

The first leg of our cycling trip is on the Rhine Cycle Route from Bingen to Koblenz. Known as the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, this 65 km (40 mile) stretch is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It would be easy to knock off this short, flat distance in a day, but with dozens of hilltop castles, pretty towns and scenic views, it invites slow travel. The well-maintained bike path hugs the Rhine River and is car-free. At every bend there’s another castle towering over the endless vineyards. Little towns, dating back to Roman times, are directly along the route; they’re filled with gorgeous architecture, historic sites, tasty treats and wine and beer. If you missed my introduction to our Germany/France cycle tour, you can find it here. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

Cycle Touring in Germany and France: The 10 Things I Enjoyed Most

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Sampling the wine along the way

Mike and I just returned from a cycling trip in Germany’s Rhine, Mosel, Saar and Pfalz regions and in neighbouring Alsace, France. We dub the experience The Tour du Vin und Kuchen. My odometer says that we pedalled 1100 km (684miles). Please save the oohs and ahhs. It works out to an average of about 50 km (31 miles) per day, cycling 21 out of our 29 days. We had a planned route, but our itinerary was fluid and we booked on the fly, giving us lots of flexibility to take part in wine festivals, eat kuchen (cake) and explore the fairy-tale towns and castles. Over the next months, I’ll be writing posts about each of the regions we visited.  For now, here’s a summary of what I most enjoyed. Continue reading

Categories: France, Germany | Tags: , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Feeling the Passion in La Boca, Buenos Aires

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El Caminito, La Boca

Es la catedral (It’s the cathedral), exclaims a portly middle-aged man. He’s reverently pointing to the stadium owned by the Boca Juniors, one of Argentina’s top football clubs.  The team is much loved by fans throughout Argentina and adoration tops out here in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of La Boca. But football is not the only thing that defines this port-side barrio. La Boca is the birthplace of tango; it’s home to the most colourful street in all of Buenos Aires; and its rich history has shaped arts, culture and politics. Even on this cold blustery day, La Boca’s passion is palpable. Continue reading

Categories: Argentina | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

Tales from the Graveyard: Buenos Aires’ Recoleta Cemetery

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Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires

Recoleta Cemetery is no ordinary cemetery. Consistently ranked as one of the top three attractions in Buenos Aires, it houses 4700 mausoleums and 30,000 souls. The cemetery was established in 1822 and its labyrinth of narrow passageways contain a treasure trove of elaborate marble crypts and stunning sculptures. Recoleta is the final resting place of many of Argentina’s who’s who, including the country’s most famous first lady Eva Perón. And, it’s loaded with stories—tragic, bizarre, disturbing, heartwarming tales of the dead. Dominique, our guide from Free Walking Tours Buenos Aires had me enthralled. I bring you a few choice tales from the graveyard… Continue reading

Categories: Argentina | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

Cycling Weekend on San Juan Island, Washington: The Island that Could’ve Been Canadian!

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Wonderful cycling on San Juan Island, Washington

Back in June, I had one of my best weekends of the summer—a two day cycling trip on Washington’s San Juan Island. Just days before our departure I was perusing  John Crouch’s Cycling the Islands. I was looking for an island within reasonable distance of Vancouver, with great cycling and scenery that wasn’t too large, too small, too mountainous, too flat, too busy, too quiet, too beholden to too many ferries…Bingo! With its stunning coastal vistas, pleasantly rolling terrain, good roads and courteous easy-going drivers, San Juan is a total pleasure for cyclists. Damn! To think that this island could have been ours (Canada’s). Continue reading

Categories: Biking, United States | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments

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