GR11 Hiking

Transpirenaica: Hiking the GR11

Of course I still have to actually walk the thing, but I figured I’d share some more information about the trail that I’ll be hiking this summer: the GR11. The Grande RandonnĂ©e 11 The GR11, or Transpirenaica, runs across the full length of the Pyrenees and stays on the Spanish side of the border, except for a few days where it crosses Andorra. There are other routes that cross the Pyrenees: the GR10 that runs…

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GR11 Hiking

New Adventure Announcement: Hiking the GR11 in the Pyrenees

Apparently we collectively decided the COVID-19 pandemic to be over, so that can only mean one thing…big travel plans! (aside from, you know, war in Ukraine, disastrous climate change, record-high inflation and a housing crisis we haven’t seen since….?) This blog has been dead, DEAD, since our last adventure of cycling across Japan way back in 2018. I didn’t even finish writing the series of posts about this trip so in case you wondered if…

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Japan

Day 69-71: Nara to Taki

Oh deer: Rest day in Nara Yesterday we booked a cheap guesthouse in Nara for a rest day because there don’t seem to be any campings near the town. This morning we ride the remaining 8km from our little park camping into town, find the guesthouse, drop our stuff and find two other cycle tourers from Russia there! We talk with them for a bit while we wait for the check-in to open, while they…

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Japan

Day 68: Why not camp in the middle of Osaka?

After cuddling cats in Onomichi we take another shinkansen back to Osaka, Japan’s second largest city with over 2,5 milion inhabitans. We arrive early in the evening, around dinnertime, by the time we have navigated out of the (HUGE, ENOURMOUS) train station and assebled our bikes we are starving. It takes a while to find the right restaurant and by the time we’re fed we figure we might as well go have a beer because…

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Japan

Day 64-67: Island Hopping

The Seto Sea is Japan’s inland sea and it is dotted with small islands. Over the next three days we will cycle from island to island, connected via elaborate bridges or sometimes a ferry. We start in Etajima, just south of Hiroshima. There are several cycling routes but the one we had our eyes on is, of course, closed, so we’re taking the one that goes straight over the hills in the middle of the…

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Japan

Hello Kitty Express to Hiroshima

Only in Japan: taking a Hello Kitty-themed bullet train (shinkansen) where one carriage is entirely pink and the restaurant car has a life-sized Kitty for photo opportunities. We take this train from Kyoto to Hiroshima to skip some of Japan’s most build-up areas where riding is less fun. We skip to the West. From Hiroshima, we’ll slowly island-hop and cycle Eastwards again towards, eventually, Tokyo. After the usual packing up the bike, hauling it through…

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Japan

Day 56-63: The Old Japan

Sidewalks in Japan are ridiculous. They are everywhere, even along stretches of highway, and everyone cycles on them (even though technically you are supposed to cycle on the road I think) so that is good. They provide you with a nice refuge from busy traffic. Also good. But sometimes they also end abruptly, leaving you stranded on the wrong side of the road with no way to continue. Or they’re full of plants. Or they…

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Japan

Are We Ever Going to Get Out of These Mountains?!

After our successful summit of Norikura pass (twice!) but our failed attempt at, you know, actually passing it, we were resolved to try again the next morning. We carefully counted our food options. Our ‘base camp’ was miles away from any supermarket, but with our emergency noodles and curry we would have enough food to see us through another attempt. The next morning, again, we woke up with frost on the tent and blue skies…

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Japan

Cycling the Highest Road in Japan: Norikura Pass

Planning a cycling trip is hard: you already know that almost nothing will go according to plan, and there are many uncertainties (earthquakes, typhoons, closed roads, technical failure…we’ve had all of it). But already before we started there was one big fat question mark hanging over the trip: will we be able to cycle Norikura Pass? Norikura Skyline Norikura Pass is Japan’s highest (paved) road with the saddle at 2716m, much higher than either of…

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Japan

Day 46-51: Through the Alps

Day 46: Sad Spaghetti We finally manage to leave Nikko. Although it was nice to have a day there, it just feels like we haven’t really been moving much the last few days. Not to worry though, we’re about to enter the Northern Alps and there will be plenty of challenging climbs, starting today! Out of Nikko we head straight towards a series of switchbacks going up to Lake Chuzenji, from where we will summit…

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