I’ve been bicycle touring across Europe for almost four months now and I’m having a blast! (See the most recent photos here.) But I’ve still got a long way to go. So today, rather than tell you about where I’ve been over the past four months and the experiences I’ve had along the way, I thought I’d take a moment to show you where I’m planning to go in the future.
The overall plan for September, October and November is to cycle from my current location in Istanbul, Turkey and ride all the way to Krakow, Poland while crossing through Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and the Ukraine.
It should be noted, however, that I won’t be cycling the entire time. Instead, I’m breaking my travels by bike into four major segments. As you will see in just a moment, each of these four segments of the trip consists of a period of bike touring followed by a period of rest.
Istanbul, Turkey – Varna, Bulgaria
The first leg of the trip is a 10-day, 500 km bike ride from Istanbul, Turkey to Varna, Bulgaria.
Getting out of Istanbul is going to be a nightmare and will probably take several hours. I’ll be hot, sweaty and somewhat frightened for my life (the traffic here is a little scary at times). But once I make it outside the city limits, the vehicle traffic should die down a bit and I will be able to enjoy myself on the bike.
I’ll ride north out of Istanbul for several days before crossing into Bulgaria and making my way to the coast of the Black Sea. Cycling up the coast, I’ll ride through the beach-side city of Burgas before arriving in Varna – the first of four scheduled rest stops.
I’ve rented an apartment in Varna (thanks to the website at www.airbnb.com) for eight nights… and while I’m there I plan to see the city, do some computer work and maybe (just maybe) spend a little bit of time on the beach. I’m seriously not a beach person, so while most of the people in Varna might be there to relax in the sun and play in the water, I may be off running around in the nearby mountains or something. We will see!
Varna, Bulgaria – Brasov, Romania
After eight nights in Varna I’ll leave the Black Sea and cycle inland toward the center of Romania. I may decide to cut through Bucharest, the Romanian capital, but if I do, I won’t be there for very long. My plan is to go around the city (or maybe even cut straight through it) before heading north into the mountains and cycling towards the tiny town of Brasov.
Once in Brasov, I plan to take the second of four scheduled breaks. I’ve already rented an apartment in the city (again from airbnb.com), so I know that I’ll be there for 11 nights. During this time I will be working, resting and riding my bicycle around to nearby attractions – such as “Dracula’s Castle,” which is only 30 kilometers away from where I will be staying.
Brasov, Romania – Ternopil, Ukraine
After my time in Brasov comes to and end, I’ll hit the road again for the third leg of my eastern European bike tour. This part of my travels will take me across north-eastern Romania and into Moldova. I’ll spend a day or two in Moldova’s capital city of Chisinau and then cross through a small section of Transnistria before entering the Ukraine.
I’m looking forward to my time in the Ukraine and I hope the weather in mid-October will be perfect for cycling. Fingers crossed!
To be honest, I don’t really know where I am going to go in Ukraine or where I will be staying. I might go east toward Odessa. I might head north toward the capital in Kiev. I might just hang out in the western woods near Poland and Hungry? I don’t really know! As a placeholder for the moment, however, I’ve designated the city of Ternopil as my third resting place, where I will once again rent an apartment, get some sleep, ride my bike and do a little computer work while I’m there.
Ternopil, Ukraine – Krakow, Poland
Finally, sometime around the beginning of November, I will leave my rented apartment in the city of Ternopil (or wherever I happen to be in Ukraine) and cycle for about one week to Krakow, Poland. This portion of my bike tour is the shortest leg of the journey over the next three months – only 460 kilometers. That said, it’s going to be November when I do this and I expect it to be cold, cold, cold.
I don’t want to be cycling around Poland in the wintertime, so the plan is to rent another apartment in Krakow, Poland and to use that apartment as my home base while visiting some other parts of the country between November 9th and December 10th. And that, for the most part, is my plan for the next 3-4 months.
As you can see, I’ve taken what would be a substantial amount of riding (going from Istanbul, Turkey to Krakow, Poland) and broken it up into four major sections – each section consisting of a period of cycling and a period of rest in a rented apartment.
The next time you hear from me I’ll be in Bulgaria!