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After the bustle of Rome, Umbria was a romantic movie set. Lesley and I were charmed to see children playing in Spello’s piazza fountain, their mothers sitting nearby chatting, and old men soaking up the sun. We went through an impressive stone archway and began our 2 km walk uphill to our lodgings. Jasmine framed the doorways and covered the ancient stone walls, filling the air around us with its scent. As we walked higher, each corso had a better view of the green valley below, perfectly framed by the geraniums, daisies, petunias and verbena tumbling from the flower boxes affixed to the walls on either side.
Juaqino, the proprietor of Il Cacciatore, a delightful inn with a deck overlooking the valley, spoke little English—or so he claimed—but his gestures and the twinkle in his eye communicated well enough. “How you will ride?” He pointed to my “roto polso” (broken wrist) encased in its black synthetic brace. I had broken it only five weeks earlier,
My appreciation of the lovely people of Vietnam and Cambodia began on the first day of our tour. I observed the delightful children and particularly their hard-working mothers. As we cycled by, we could expect their kids to run the side of the road greeting us excitedly with waving hands and calls of “hello, hello.” We happily called “xin chao” in response.
Vietnamese girl on her bike and Cambodian children at their kindergarten.On the narrow-paved country road where we started our bike tour, we stopped for a moment to mingle with children exiting the gates of a school yard. A dear boy of maybe ten years of age greeted me with “Hello,” and asked my name. Smiling sweetly, he said, “Welcome to Vietnam.” His words gave me immense joy. Celebratory graduates in Hanoi were gorgeous in their gowns and red and blue robes.
New college graduates. Pretty dresses are worn under their gowns.More than half of the graduates will not find work in their field of study.
Adventure – with Support – at Every Turn
My brother and I did our first “unguided” bike tour in July – a weeklong ride from Paris to London (with a ferry ride across the English Channel) – and were delighted both by our sense of independence and the support the tour company gave us. Kevin and I had done a number of guided bike tours, and loved every one of them, but we yearned for the adventure of finding our own way each day. And we got it.
The official starting and ending points of our 225-mile ride were Notre Dame in Paris and Big Ben in London. Here we are, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as we launched our trip. Our bags were stowed aboard the tour support guy’s van, so we were carefree – except to find our way to London.Other riders were doing the same route on the same days as we, but – because we weren’t riding together behind one guide – we were a very loosely knit group. During our orientation meeting on a beautiful Paris morning, we assembled alongside our bicycles,
For my third bike and barge vacation, I was looking for a destination that was not too warm in the summer, not too hilly, not too expensive and full of interesting people and sites. The tour Amsterdam to Bruges fit the bill perfectly and I am now well on my way to joining the very intelligent and fun group of serial bike and bargers. Because the Netherlands is composed of water interspersed with land — or land interspersed with water— biking and sailing is by far the best way to navigate both the country's physical as well as emotional landscape. The Dutch are in a perpetual battle with nature and have reclaimed 2,500 square miles from the sea, rivers and marshes. That’s why much of our biking was done on polders (artificially drained areas), dikes and dams. When not obsessing with reclaiming land from the sea, it seems that the Dutch have embraced two-wheeled transportation to a degree that borders on the fanatical.
The boat we chose for our trip was the 100-year-old Anna Antal,
So you are thinking of booking a bike tour...
Good for you! But...do you bike?
This might sound like a ridiculous question, but trust us, it is not.
Many active people, who bike only occasionally, think, because of their fitness level, they could undertake a bike tour with no problems. Most of the time, that is probably the case. It is important to be prepared and know what to expect on a cycling vacation.
This blog is meant to help you decide if a bike tour is the right vacation for you.
All bike tours, regardless of the level of difficulty assume a respect for/command of the bicycle. Bikes are machines, they need to be controlled and propelled.
Do you have good balance on your bike?
Are you able to stop quickly without losing control?
Can you ride in a group? Does even light traffic cause you anxiety?
Are you physically and mentally prepared for a bike tour and for the overall travel experience?
We will discuss some of these questions and more!
Good balance, control,
So you just booked a self-guided tour, let’s say Amsterdam to Bruges bike tour because that tour is a client favorite. Even though the Netherlands has one of the most developed bike path systems in the world and is fairly easy to navigate, you have decided to keep the paper maps in your saddlebag and try a GPS system for the first time. Sounds exciting right? Ok, maybe a little bit nerve racking too.
GPS is a somewhat new and rapidly changing technology, so it’s important that you are comfortable with GPS navigation before you hit the road to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience. Because at the end of the day, a GPS is supposed to make your journey easier, right?
GPS Computer vs. Smartphone App
First, you’ll have to figure out whether you prefer to use a dedicated GPS computer or your own smartphone. Some tours offer GPS device rentals with preloaded route tracks,
Hello from Pittsburgh, PA! My name is Carol Frey and I am a contract compliance auditor. Some of my hobbies include cycling, camping, hiking, and spending time with my family and friends.
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This is my second trip with Tripsite. My first trip was last year, in 2016, when I finished my doctorate degree in Business Intelligence. Instead of attending graduation, I planned a cycling trip in the Catalonia region in northeastern Spain. I not only fell in love with Spain but cycling tours in Europe!Panoramic photo of a flower field in Spain
Tripsite facilitated each of my trips and I will use them again and again. This time, I used Tripsite to find my perfect cycling trip in Bruges, Belgium. Both of my cycling tours were on my own, and I loved every minute of each trip. My favorite tour in Bruges was a photography tour with Photo Tour Brugge. I cannot say enough about how amazing this tour was for me.
This past year was quite the year for us here at Tripsite! In addition to adding new and exciting tours, we also were able to send many new clients on their very first tour. One of the most rewarding things is hearing all about your tour when you return and there really isn't a better way than reading a blog post. Here are a couple of our favorite blog submissions of 2017.
Challenge: Bike around Lake Constance and Rhein Falls in twelve days | Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder's blog was one of the most unique submissions we have ever had. Not only did she "Bike around Lake Constance and Rhein Falls in twelve days" but she also sketched wonderful scenes from her travels to include in the blog. In addition to these beautiful sketches, her blog includes many great photos from a floating theater and Zeppelin, to colorful flower gardens and sprawling vineyards.
Read the full blog post here.
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Tripsite Traveler: Prague to Dresden -
The Anti-Cruise Cruise
A bike and barge holiday is the polar opposite of a cruise ship vacation. While on a mega-sized ship, you see the world from the top down, high above the water and leagues from the shore. The luxury and size of the ship insulate you from your environment. It's rather like watching the world from a super-sized, super formatted, flat screen TV.On the beautiful Mosel River
Not so on a barge. A barge is so close to the water that you can almost reach down and touch it. With only 22 or so fellow passengers, you develop a camaraderie that you just can’t on a bigger vessel. And traveling by bike is in many ways superior to going by bus or van or driving. It allows you to see, smell and feel your surroundings up close. You can smell the lavender as well as the horse manure, feel the wind on your back and in your face, hear the church bells and the thrum of distant airplanes,