This was a long time ago, and I dont remember it very well. Our route was roughly as follows: fly to Iráklio, then ride to Réthimno via Pérama; then cross country via Thrónos and the nearby monastery to Agía Gallíni (a disappointment); and finally back to Iráklio.
We had nice weather, but I dont think the cycling was anything special, and our photographs arent all that good (but weve learnt to use a camera since then). It may be the passage of time, or the lack of good photographs, but other destinations have eclipsed Crete in our memories. But Xaniá is a delightful place to spend an evening.
The roads were narrow and quiet, the climbs long and well-graded. The landscape is mountainous and arid, but with the occasional emerald pool of irrigated farmland. Tracey had been to the west of Crete in April 89 and the country is at its best at that time of year there is snow on the mountains, the orange trees are in blossom and there are wild freesias by the roadside.
The Dolomites are extraordinary mountains green pastureland slopes up to massive vertical blocks, improbable towers and great slices of grey rock. Roads zigzag furiously through the gaps between the massifs. For a climby cyclist, its a paradise.
Mon. Fly to Verona and catch a train along an attractive valley to the pretty town of Bressanone. Tues. On to Brunico via Terento. Weds. Day trips. Thurs. To Corvara. Fri, Sat, Sun. Day trips. Mon. Over the Gardena to Canazei. TuesFri. Day trips. Sat. To Bolzano via Vigo, then by train to Trento, a lovely town. Celebration meal at the Antico Orso Grigio. Sun. Train to Verona, where a little more sightseeing, then plane home.
Traceys comment: Do you think I enjoy going at this speed?
Fine weather, beautiful scenery, good food, attractive quiet towns. Some of the day trips were spent walking. (Some of the paths are a wee bit exposed.) Accomodation was easy to find, and so were pizzas.
Mon. Fly to Gran Canaria airport. Escape from the airport with the usual difficulty and have lunch in Maspalomas. Cycle along the south coast past huge apartment complexes to Puerto de Mogán, a real village with real hotels, all full. Cycle back, asking for accommodation at every resort without success, eventually arriving back at Maspalomas at 10:30, where we get the last room in an expensive hotel. Gran Canaria not so far living up to expectations.
TuesThurs. Day rides from Maspalomas. We managed to make a booking for the hotel at Tejeda. Nice picture of it with a swimming pool. Fri. Climb to Tejeda; stay in the hotel. The pool is green and stagnant. The weather has turned cloudy. Sat, Sun. Day trips. Some rain. Mon. To San Nicolás de Tolentino, where find a hotel. Tues. Take the corniche road to Los Berrazales. Stay in the spa hotel rather grand, busy with coach tours at lunchtime but quiet in the evenings. Its at the top of a rather splendid valley. Drizzle. Weds, Thurs. Day trips. Plentiful rain. Fri. Back to San Nic. Sat. On to Mogán, then climb the unsurfaced road back to San Bartolomé, where stay in a hotel weve booked by telephone. The route is hard but scenic. Sun. Day trips. Sunshine. Mon. Back to England.
We could have done without the rain and the difficulty in finding accommodation. The scenery is nice and the weather not usually so bad. Without the package tourists it would be a good destination.
Tuscany is glorious cycling country quiet, good roads and motorists that respect you. Longish climbs through big rolling hills. Vineyards, cypresses, woods, and hill towns, serene villas and farmhouses. It all looks as though it was designed by an artist.
We spent just over a fortnight there divided between 3 locations in late September. We flew to Pisa and made the awkward journey by train to Siena, from where we rode to our first destination, a cottage from the Solemar brochure at Tenuta di Monaciano. This was along a dirt track, not too easy on Traceys narrow wheels. At the junction of the track with the road was the Antica Osteria, serving brilliant food. We stayed here a week.
The second week was spent at another cottage from the same brochure at Fattoria di Mandri near Reggello. Finally we returned towards Pisa and spent a couple of nights at the Hotel Universo at Lucca.
The weather was poor for the time of year. Accordingly the Chianti vintage was bad but there was a profusion of porcini, which (cooking for ourselves) we exploited to the full.
Traceys 10 Top Tips for Tuscan Cycling
Zucchero è anche forza intelligente. (Sugar is also an intelligent force - Zucchero Eridania S.p.A.)