Home > Expedition > Riding Without Moving: Biking from Cologne to Tirana

We spent 17 incredible days riding past the Rhine, meeting people with great hospitality, crossing the Alps and passing clear water lakes in Austria. Then we thought we would conquer Croatia. But Croatia conquered us.

Travel blog by Anne Poggenpohl
We believed that our plan was simple: Riding in the early morning hours, spending 2-3 hours at the beach and riding in the afternoon towards ever beautiful sunsets. But the bora had different plans for us – Riding without moving. In first gear, we paddled downhill against the regional phenomena of the bora – a very strong wind – with a tipping pace of 7 km/h. A 60 km day trip ended with additional 20 km on our speedometer. It was frustrating. It was tiring. It was scary. It hurt. It took us some time, but we realized that Croatia will not allow us to follow our plans.
 
Still, when the nighttime was calling, I lay down content. I tried to stick to the present while my mind was refelctively flowing through the day.
Croatia certainly was a memorable incident of our travel that showed us the beauty of nature. We gave in to nature and let it be our guide.
There also was a lot more special observations on our bike trip: We realized that almost every city starts or ends with a waste water treatment plant. The best ice-cream is in Koblenz – we ate ice cream everyday, everywhere and rated it! One of the most intense auditive  rides you can take is through a long tunnel. In Montenegro there is no money to protect the burning national park, because “the water airplane fell into the lake” and the tourist office „does not know the number of the person who shuts down the fire“. And finally and always it is the people you meet along the way that make your ride special and your own ability to enjoy and see the beauty of nature.
There is a lot you learn and realize once you get out there and start listening to land, people and cultures – a lot more then instagram and google maps can tell you.
So be unbound. Be out there and cherish the unplannable.

Photos: Christoph Claus and Anne Poggenpohl
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