A word or two from our Tour Leaders in Straubing – 2
We had a rest day and a half as today we rode a mere 60 km from Regensburg to Straubing. The group has grown accustomed to riding an average of 100 km per day rain or shine, so this brief day is a nice treat and a welcome change.
They all seem relaxed and content and I canâ€™t help but smirk a little when I think of the challenges they have ahead. Unlike our expedition through Africa, where things start tough and rugged and slowly become more comfortable as you progress to Cape Town, the Orient Express starts in the western comforts of France, Germany, and Austria, where we cycle into places like Straubing â€“ the cycleway at the main entrance and a full service bike shop a 5 minute walk away, and a grocery store across the street.
This will all change in eastern Europe where amenities are fewer and further between, where people and cars are less familiar with cyclists and how they behave on the roadways. Where the campsites and hotels donâ€™t necessarily match up to what we have experienced so far. The roads are rougher, the mountains are taller, and itâ€™s likely to be damn hot as well. But, all that aside, eastern Europe for me holds much more interest and exoticism. These are places that seemed to have not changed in hundreds of years. These are exciting places that force us out of our comforts of western living and into something slightly different. We will see isolated farming villages, urban sprawl, skyscrapers and the beautiful Black Sea Coast. We will experience the remnants of a communist past and the warmth of the Muslim peoples of Turkey.