Chapter 3: Old Friends Reunited!

DAY 3


Are You Afraid Of Heights?

Not so many kms that day but we had fun and relax all day long!
We left the three fortified city in order to Reach Sliema passing throug La Valletta. 
These pics were taken at the moment of our arrival, on the top of a rock on the port. If you are afraid of heights we really do not reccomend it. 
If it’s not a problem you will find a beautiful view!
La Valletta is the Capital of Malta and it’s very particular for its style. It has been built in a Baroque style with some elements of Mannerist, Neo classical and modern Architecture.
A kind of style you can find in all the island but especially here. The city is also knowed as “La superbissima” in Italian that means “the most proud” due to its magnificent baroque palces, gardens and churches. 
In 1980 has been recognized as World Heritage City by Unesco.


Happy Old Friends! 🙂

After relaxing in La valletta, eating some healty food in a local restaurant we headed towards our final destination Sliema and St Jullian.
Before to arrive in Sliema Bruno called one of his friend that we discovered was living in Malta and that he didn’t see in years!
Life is strange, you don’t see a person in years and then you meet him/her in a foreign country!
We met Luca in Sliema and we decided to have dinner all togheter in a Italian Restaurant in Sliema! No wait stop! We are not the classic italian people who eat pasta and pizza in every place we go! Ahah jocking, yes we are. 
But we try other food too. But that night pizza. Pizza a heart lefted. One of us left it’s heart to the waitress.. but this is another story.
St Jullian is well knowed for its nightlife and even if it was barely spring there was a lot of movida. We had a little bit of relax in a Narghilè Bar telling stories of the things happened in the past during our trips and our lives, just like people who don’t see for years do 🙂
Thanks Luca for the company! 🙂 


Time To Say Goodbye, Malta!

Here we are at the end of our trip. We slept in St Jullian and the morning after we had to come back to Italy.
We woke up early, we had to give the bikes back and reach the airport.
We want to thanks The Cyclist Malta for giving us the opportunity to try their services and for supporting us. 
The bikes were impeccable!
They also allowed us to try an e-bike. We never tried it and we have to say that is really exciting!
Maybe we will try them for an entire trip.. who knows!? 🙂


It has been a very beautiful experience in a place that we didn’t expect to be as beautiful as it is. 
Thanks to all Maltese people who helped us during the trip giving us information and thanks to us for reading us! Especially THANK YOU for putting up with our bad left-hand drive! 😛

See you on the road, have nice & safe travels.
Bruno & Arthur – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 1: Popeye, The Sailor Man!

DAY 1


Let’s Start!

This is the second photo we took on this trip.We had barely pick up the bikes from the bike rental TheCyclist Malta when we found the first secondary road of the trip.We were really happy, we were in Malta, survived the bus that kidnapped us (we just asked for info to the driver and then we found us staggering in a bus launched at crazy speed.To start a trip is always a moment of pure Joy, you just can’t wait to reach the first place you putted on the map when you planned it! 🙂 


First city reached: Bugibba!

The first place we reached was Bugibba, just look at the colour of the sea and the perfect weather. Very beautiful, isn’t it? No, i’m not talking about Bruno, he’s ugly and crazy as hell 😛 Bugibba, with Qawra e Xemxija forms St. Paul’s Bay (San Pawl il-Baħar). This place owes its name to the legend of the shipwreck of St Paul on the small island in front of this cove.At the beginning it was a little fisherman’s bay, now one of the renowed touristic place of the island.


Leave Us There!

On our way to Mellieha we shooted this photo while resting a bit after we have discovered to have taken the wrong road.And sometimes wrong road doesn’t mean it’s all wrong, we just get lost and discovered this little corner of peace with a good view :)What about details? Look at the blue door: doesn’t that make you want to rest on it?


The World is YOURS!

To travel is to discover,is to discover new places, old places, to discover yourself. We shoot these photos at the arrival in Mellieha: Bruno entering a gate of the Santuary of our Lady, the sanctuary, a beautiful window on the sea and Bruno fronting his fear for heights.


Hello Popeye!

The Popeye village is one of the most beautiful attractions of the island. Located a few kilometers from Mellieha rises in Anchor’s bay, a beautiful bay with crystal water. This village was built in 1980 specifically for a musical film produced by Paramount and Disney in which starred a young Robin Williams.Today is a touristic attraction for families with their children or just for people who never feel to old for beautiful things :)In the last photo you can see an Arthur facing deth after a killer climb!
THIS IS A PLACE THAT YOU CAN’T MISS WHEN YOU VISIT MALTA!
Of course we will remember Malta for its climb and crazy descents!
It was a though day, we got up early, took bus, pick up the bikes and started the trip. We have decided that our mental healt is perfectly describable with this video in which Bruno tests the widht of the shower.Buut, what is madness? 😛 

Thank you for reading, see you in the next post!

Keep pedal,
Arthur and Bruno – BikesPhilosophy


The Malta Tour


Hello dears!
In this post we will talk about our little long weekend in Malta by bike!
Malta is a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, only 80 kms from Sicily and it is the smallest but most populated states in the world.
The capital of Malta is La Valletta, a fortified city that is UNESCO word heritage: a must see!


Why We Choose Malta:

Basically we choose Malta for 2 reasons: the weather and the the possibility to visit many place in few days.The island is small and the short distance between the points of interest allows you to visit it in a short time.For what concern temperature it is perfect 365 days a year, in fact it hardly ever drops below 10 degrees.


To Cycle In Malta:

What to say? We think that the very best way to explore Malta by bike is with a mountain bike. It is the best way because there are a lot of climb and possibility to follow offroad path and enjoy the wilderness of this place. If you are not trained, another possibility, is to rent an E-bike. We had the possibility to test one for the first time at the rental shop and we really liked it.It is a good way to approach the world of bike tourism and to respect the environnement. For what concern the roads you must know that Malta was an English colony and they drive on the left. It could be a little bit tricky at first but after a day it becomes normal.
Car drivers and bus driver are crazy, they go very fast but at least they respect cyclists 🙂


The Cyclist Malta

For this trip we really would like to thanks THE CYCLIST MALTA who decided to sponsor us lending us two bikes to explore Malta.The shop is located in San Jullian and is easily reachble from La Valletta by taxi or bus. They are really prepared and willing to help for any problem or necessity. 
Take a look at the shop: www.thecyclistmalta.com

Many thanks!! 🙂


HOW WE PLANNED OUR TRIP:

DAY 1 – From St.Julians to Zebbugi (Via Bugibba, Mellieha and The Popeye Village);
DAY 2 – From Zebbugi to Kalkara (Via Blue Grotto, Marsca Scala and Marsa Scirocco);
DAY 3 – From Kalkara to Paceville (Via Vittoriosa, Senglea, Cospicua, La Valletta, Sliema and St. Julians).

Have a nice bike day!
Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 5: Embrace the ocean in Vila Nova De Milfontes!

DAY 5


Never Give Up!

We left you in the last post with our night in the beautiful Odeceixe, and after all this time we remember
every single thing of the little town.
We woke up at 8.00 o’clock, a little bit tired because of the day before,Bruno had headache and Arthur was worried about his knee after what is happened at the beginning of spring in Bologna, do you remember it? –> From Bologna To Florence

The road wasn’t hard but due of our condition we had to slow down in order to avoid accidents.
Breakfast time! Before the road of pain we had a great breakfast in a local bar and then we mounted on our bikes to reach Vilanova de Milfontes, it surely helped to restore our condition!

Nothing is better than cappuccino & Croissants, nothing. 😀
From Odeceixe to Vilanova it’s just about 45 kms-50 depending on which route you prefer to follow. We followed the one that pass through S.Teotonio and proceed toward the crossroad of Odemira. Here we decided to skip Odemira and take the N393 in order to shorten the road.

We were in the middle of the route and  hungry, but a (not great) surprise was waiting for us.


Important Lesson: NEVER TRUST THE BREAD!

Bruno’s headache was killing him so we decided to stop at the local Aldi before the crossroads.
First of all (and this is a precious advice) keep your eyes on the price! We entered in the supermarket just to buy some bread and ham. Result? 16 euros! You may say what did you buy, if the bread was made of gold and dream and you know what? It was made of nightmares! We were cutting the bread outside the
supermarket when we realized that all the bread we bought was filled with a weird meat and GARLIC! A lot of GARLIC! The positive side is that we discovered what we don’t like! That’s why we came back in the supermarket and bought some real bread! Stretching and back on the road!

It was an hard ride but we reached Vila Nova De Milfontes very early, around 4.30 p.m.


Vila Nova De Milfontes: Embrace the Ocean!

Finally Vila Nova, finally the first beach on the ocean! What a spectacle!

The beach was very particular, to reach it we had to follow a little path in the wild and pass through a lot of rock stacked on
itselves. Rock stacking is considered a form of natural art which consist in stacking rocks and create something like a tower. Look at the photos below!

We relaxed on the beach talking and taking photos, then we decided to reach our guesthouse for the night.


The GuestHouse For Excellence: Casa Do Adro!

Once arrived we received a very warm welcome from Idalia and her husband, the owners of the guesthouse.
We have discovered that this place is one of the most known in Vila Nova de Milfontes and we also discovered why!
The 2 owners are simply the best! They welcomed us with a slice of chocolate cake and hot tea! What’s better after a day riding a bicycle?
The house is really spectacular, the atmosphere brought us to our grandparents houses. It’s like a gradmahouse with a very special touch of class! Our room was big enough for two person and the bathroom is the best to have some relax: a big bathub with hydromassage!
What else? A little courtyard where to park the bikes and a balcony where to enjoy the fresh air and the free beers for the guests!
Take a look at this cozy house:


W H A T   A   B R E A K F A S T !

Vila Nova is very quite at night and to have a walk till the ocean is something you can’t miss.

We decided to have a dinner in a local restaurant and then we went back to the guesthouse for the night.

When we woke up we had the best surprise of the world! The biggest breakfast ever seen on this planet.

Just look these photo:

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Bread, jam, bread, ham, eggs, a lot of fruit, a big choices of tea, toasted bread with honey.. ALL TOP QUALITY! 

We were ready to face another day!
Thanks for reading, see you in the next post: From Vilanova to Santo Adres! We’re going to speak about
Porto Covo, a jungle and the highway! 🙂


KEEP PEDALING!

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 4: The great descent to Odeceixe!

DAY 4


All Ready To Climb!

This has been the most difficult day of the trip: No flat roads but 50 kms completely on the hills!
We woke up at 9 o’clock and after breakfast and stop at the local supermarket to buy some chocolate and some bananas, we started our day with a little climb (just to start the day with smiles on our faces) followed by a fabolous descent until Bordeira.

We knew that after the descent there would be a long ride upwind on the hills and that’s why we bought chocolate and bananas. 😀

that climb had a name: Monte Ruvio.

This stretch of road was very tough and we really suggest you to be prepared if you are going to follow this route.
We are not professional cyclists, but by training twice a week we were able to face this challenge without too many difficulty.
At the top of the hill, we decided to leave the road to do a little offroad to reach the very top of the mount. Once there we realized that wasn’t the very top but we were still happy.
Months of efforts really paid us with that beautiful view!

We started our descent to Aljezur sure of the fact that troubles were finished.


Aljezur: maybe it’s better wear a raincot? Or maybe not?

WE WERE WRONG!
Aljezur is a small village considered the paradise for windsurfing and that’s why you will see a lot of Van full of surfer.
We stopped here just to have lunch and here is where the troubles began.
Just a second before our departure it started raining cats ‘n dogs! It wasn’t really a problem because we were equipped with k-ways.
we changed our clothes and under the heavy rain we started pedal; of course the road wasn’t flat and the second part of the climb started here.
After 5 minutes struggling facing the hills, it stopped raining and we had to stop again to change our clothes because we were boiling.

C’mon rain, you hitted us just for 5 minutes?

Not even the time to change our outfit! 😀
Never never never stop in the middle of a climb or you will regret it for the further half ‘n hour because it really breaks your legs.
Despite everything we managed to survive once again and we reached the pictoresque Rogil, a little town on the way to Odeceixe with some beautiful windmills and houses adorned with azulejos.


A crazy descent on a beautiful fairy village: Odeceixe

We were really close to Odeceixe, just 7 kms on a flat road before a crazy descent long 1km on a gradient of 100 meters.
The view from the top of the descent was really awesome.

This little white village deeped into a green valley with a river in the background.

We stopped here to enjoy the landscape and then we started the crazy descent screaming like crazy.

Don’t ask us why but we started screaming as if we wanted to release all the effort we’d
accumulated. REALLY LIBERATING!
A little bit awkward at the arrival…did anyone hear us?…Who cares! we are still laughing about this funny moment right now 😀
This little white town (961 inhabitants in 2011) is considered one of the most beautiful villages of Portugal. With its white houses reminds us some beautiful villages in Greece like Santorini.
It’s not very popular in winter but from spring to autumn it’s full of people that come here following the “Rota Vicentina”.
Once arrived we found an hotel for the night runned by a crazy receptionist we are used to crazy receptionist: Italian Tour: From Bologna To Florence
We only say that we rang the doorbell (it wasn’t working) and after 5 minutes of waiting the receptionist came to give us a room. Just note that the doorbell started ringing only when the receptionist restored the electric power… 😀


Eat a lot or eat so much: That is the question

We were really hungry so we decided to have a shower and find a place where to have dinner.
Once again one of the speciality of the city was fish and we ended in the best restaurant.
We started our dinner with very tasteful raw shrimps and a fish pudding.

As main dishes we have ordered octopus with sweet potatoes (really sweet and typical from aljezur) and Maccaroni with fish (we don’t know what it was exactly but the taste was good 🙂 )
How to end your day at the best? Double cheesecake for us!

It was definitely a long and hard day for us, we did a lot of stretching along the road in order to avoid issue but we were really paid by all the beauty and the nature we saw.
Big climbs, big descents, heavy rain and big smiles! We think that every situation could be easier if you set your mind in a happy mood and don’t let the fear of not succeeding catch you!

Before going to sleep we had a walk in the quiet sourroundigs and talked a lot about these days.

We were halfway and we were happy. Nothing better before going to sleep.

Don’t stop pedal,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy


Chapter 2: Beaches and fresh fish dishes in Lagos!

Day 2


What to eat to boost you up?

dav

Sunny day!
Just a little bit of stretching to wake up our legs and we were ready for the new day: 51kms to Lagos.
We followed the main route with the exception of the first strecth of road. It was funny but dangerous.
As we said in the previous post you have to be well equipped to go offroad in Portugal.
Some roads are not easy even if you have a good gravel, for example we had to stop many times to screw the screws back in; and above all have the right wheels.

We can’t deny that it was so much fun “skating” with our bike on the shingle! 😀
After this little offroad we went back to a secondary road on the hills where we discovered the joy of long descents after big climbs.
As well as being sweaty we had to look pretty desperate, so desperate that an old lady who was selling oranges along the way stopped us to give us a couple!

Ahh vitamins! It’s so beautiful when you met this kind of person with a very big big big big x5 heart.
With this load of energy and love we continued our route trough beautiful and different landscapes: from the red rocks to cozy villages, cows and the beautiful bridge of Portimao on the Arade river.
Cycling makes you hungry, so we stopped in the first place that we found along the road.
RIGHT CHOICE: Piri Piri Chicken makes you better, a better person! 😀 and of course it will.


it’s so spicy that had  invigorated our legs to the point of making us do the last 20km in just an hour!


The Azulejos City: Lagos

Lagos, together with Albufeira and Faro is one of the most famous tourist resorts in the Algarve.
It is not BIG, but it is very pretty. It’s known for its beautiful beaches and the walls of the houses adorned with azulejos, small tiles that resemble Sicilian majolica and give a taste of freshness and antiquity at the same time to the city.

Here you will find many of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, for example the beautiful beach of Dona Ana near the city center. Look at this beauty!
In addition to the beaches there are several monuments that you can visit including the entirely covered with azulejos “Igreja of sait antonio” or the “Forte da ponta da Bandiera” from wich you can have a beutiful view of the sea.

We gave a quick look to the city and we decided to reach our resort in order to have a shower, relax a little bit and come back in the evening to have dinner!


Time To Rest:  ALDEIA AZUL RESORT

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It was half past 5 o’clock when we arrived at the Aldeia Azul Resort where we met Lucas, the most prepared receptionist about Algarve! He spent a lot of his time giving us precious tips about what to do, what to visit and what dishes try in the cities of the algarve. He was so convincing that we need to come back in Portugal because we didn’t visited Sintra! He spent some fantastic words for it! 😛
Once we did the check in he accompanied us to our apartment. Just look at the photo below?

Was it paradise?
If we have to buy an house we definitely ask for a copy of this apartment. Or Maybe a copy of this resort! PRETTY COOL!
You can find anything you need: Spa, gym, Swimming pool, tennis and beach volley courts, soccer field, minigolf and a good bar where we drunk an excellent gin tonic!
For sure, it’s good especially for families and cyclist who want some good relax.


Time To Dinner Ladies and Gentlemen!

If you choose a resort outside the city center, our suggest is to absolutely bring the lights because the roads are not enlightened. For what concern us we decide to take a taxi that for 10 euros brought us in the city center. Much safer and not expensive 🙂

As Lagos is a sea village, its speciality are fresh fish dishes!
So, don’t miss the fabolous fish soup that many restaurants propose to its clients! And don’t miss the sweet potatoes too!


The following morning we decided to get up early and take some fresh air in front of the swimming pool. What’s better for your spirit?

Dawn, fresh air, respiration exercise and we were ready for the new day! We know that every single day traveling by bike has something different from another one! We love that feeling!

We were ready to reach vila do bispo, but first passing through Sagres and Cabo De Sao Vicente, the southwest point of the European continent.

dav

Keep on traveling,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 1: Let’s Up & Down, Albufeira!

Hello people, let us introduce you to our trip.

This time we decided to tour in Portugal, to discover and live the nature in all its beauty, from the hills to the beaches.

It will be divided in 8 posts:

  1. From Faro to Albufeira;
  2. From Albufeira to Lagos;
  3. From Lagos to Vila do Bispo, via Sagres;
  4. From Vila do Bispo to Odeceixe;
  5. From Odeceixe to Vila Nova De Milfontes;
  6. From Vila Nova De Milfontes to Vila Nova de Santo Andrè
  7. From Vila Nova De Santo Andrè to Tròia;
  8. From Tròia to Lisbon.

DAY 1


Let the music play: Start the journey!

dav
Early, early in the morning, but very very early morning.
No, not this time.

REWIND

Late, late in the evening, we started our journey.
the previous days were very weird. Anxiety, joy, skirt, enthusiasm.

It was the first time that we bring our bikes and you know, first time is always the first time. 🙂
Our flight was at 7.25 a.m. but due to the distance from our houses and the necessity to arrive at the airport at least 2.30 h before we decided to sleep there.
Airports at night are something special. Very few people sleeping, other people reads, someone is smoking and someone else talks with a stranger.
How many stories, how many destinies and destination.
For what it concern us we met a friend of Arthur and we spent the night helping him to choose photos for a work and trying to place his hammock.
Yes, an hammock in a airport! Can you believe it?

Look at the photo down here! 🙂

dav
The best thing happened that night was at the wake up. A stranger left a piece of toilet paper on which he wrote that he left a bag full of snacks under the hammock!
Breakfast assured 🙂


Faro, take care of us!

dav

Time to start the journey, plane takes us to Portugal!

The flight was very easy, not as it’s happened at the return (we will talk about this, oh yes!).
We arrived in Faro on time and after ONLY two hours we finished to assemble all the parts. Please have a cup of tea, it was the FIRST TIME 😛
We really appreciated that the airport was equipped with 3 “bike stations”, very useful for assembling/disassembling bicycles.
All good! The sun was shining and legs were ready! We were so excited, all went good and we were on the bikes with our yellow bags full of clothes and useless things! Useless like the blue jeans of Arthur’s father. He says that don’t know how is happened… Useful as the pair of Bruno’s jeans in excess!


Destination Algarve: The wild nature

dav

5 kms from the airport and we were already deep in the Algarve Region. This region is very wild and the nature is simply incredible: pines, palms and dirty roads!
kinda esotic!
To reach Albufeira is really easy, it’s just 35 kms from the airport and you can chose between different roads. If you have a mountain bike or a gravel with good tires you can take the dirty roads and enjoy the wild surroundings, otherwise you can follow the normal road.

 

 

sdr

We decided to follow both. The first part in the wild passing through the salinas and the second part on the normal road BECAUSE WE WERE DYING! Jocking 🙂
The first thing you will notice following the main road is

that is full of golf resorts. Miles and miles of green fields and people driving golf cars. We will think about this when we retire! 🙂

Jokes aside, this is a renowed region for Golf!
The first day was very easy and before noon we were in the white Albufeira.


Albufeira: Fortress of the sea

sdr

Albufeira is a well known town in the Algarve.
The city was founded by the Arabs in order to be a fortress on the sea. His names literally means “Fortress of the sea”.
Born as a fortress, during the centuries it became a little fishing village and now, in the last 50 years, it has become one of the most touristic place in the south of Portugal.
This city is a little white pearl, full of narrow street, beautiful views, amazing beaches and its famous nightlife.
It’s a little bit difficult to visit it by bike because is built on a hill.
Up & Down, Up & Down, Up & Down…:D

The Main place to visit are the clock tower “Torre do Rologio“, the symbol of the city, and “Torre Sineira“, a beautiful tower with 8 bells.
Despite this town is full of churches and monuments we didn’t have enough time to visit them, so we decided to do a little tour of the city and then relax a little bit at “Praio di Peneco“.
We enjoyed the sunset at the beach and then we went to the hotel.


Welcome to the São Rafael Atlântico Hotel!

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davOnce arrived at the hotel we had the possibility to leave our bikes safe in a little storeroom behind the reception desk.
The whole staff was very friendly and once in the room they brought us a tasty dish with strawberry, chocolate, meringue and orange juices! NICE SURPRISE!

Look at its smile! 😀

We were happy, so happy that Arthur created a funny dance to celebrate the moment. We jealously guard the video, make an offer and we’ll let you know. 😛

The room was really beautiful, a room of a refined elegance and almost big as our houses!

And what about the view from the balcony?

After 2 days without sleeping on a bed it was like being in paradise! Oh, it’s a paradise even if you have slept normally the day before. Trust us.

If you need to relax and fully recover your strength, we strongly recommend this hotel for your stay in Albufeira.

Here you can find the link to book your stay, visit their website or learn more about the hotel: https://www.saorafaelatlantico.com

We suggest you to take a look to the photo tour on their website. You will not regret it!


After a good shower we were really hungry so we decided to have a walk outside. PLEASE DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE WE DID!
We stopped in a restaurant that was rated 4 stars on Trip Advisor.
As good italian boys we decided to order two pizzas, also because the chef reassured us that pizza was one of his specialities.
We’re still shaken by that experience that we don’t even want to mention the name of the restaurant. :’D
The tiredness accumulated from travelling by plane and bicycle was so much that once back in the room we fainted on the beds and we woke up directly in the morning.

Someone said morning?!

What’s better than a good breakfast?

What’s better than a continental breakfast?

dav

The buffet was so big that you can lose yourself in it.
It’s weird because when we are at home we eat just a croissant or some biscuits with a tea/coffee, while here we ate like there was no tomorrow! 😀

Too bad we stayed here only for a night .. 😥


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It was time to leave Albufeira, morning stretching, a last look to the city and we headed to our next destination: Lagos.

Thanks for your time,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Capitolo 2: La tempesta sta arrivando!

Click here for the english version!


Hey!

ecco a voi il secondo capitolo del nostro tour nei Paesi Bassi.

GIORNO 2


Arrivederci Leiden!

Dove eravamo rimasti?

E’ mattina, Rotterdam da raggiungere, biciclette e pioggia a farci compagnia.

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E come direbbe Clooney, What else?! 😀


Scheveningen

L’obiettivo del giorno è quello di raggiungere Rotterdam passando per Scheveningen, una della spiaggie più famose dell’Olanda e Den Haag, più comunemente conosciuta in Italia come Aia.

Dopo una rapida colazione ed un ultimo sguardo alla città, siamo ripartiti accompagnati da una dolce pioggia! 😀

La spiaggia non è molto lontana da Leiden, circa 20km. Per raggiungerla siamo passati attraverso la Meijendepark, la più grande area dunare del sud d’Olanda.

Dune di sabbia,laghi, foresta: Un MUST per tutti gli amanti della natura.

Finalmente scorgiamo il mare!

Magicamente, una volta raggiunta Scheveningen, ha smesso di piovere e ciò ha dato una  forte scossa al nostro umore: abbiamo corso fino ad arrivare in acqua. vestiti 😀

Il mare del Nord è freddo, molto freddo. Siamo rimasti qui per circa un’oretta, assaporando la pace che solo il mare può trasmettere.

Eravamo così felici di vedere il mare che Bruno ha dimenticato la sua Action Cam accesa sul manubrio della bicicletta! (ringraziamo ancora il senso civico olandese).


Den Haag

Dopo soli 5km eccoci in Den Haag.

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Purtroppo avevamo soltanto il tempo di pranzare e di un piccolo giro del centro, ma questa città merita più di una giornata per essere visitata.

Semplicemente MAGNIFICA!

Sai, capita davvero raramente di innamorarsi così velocemente di una città, ma qui si respira un’aria davvero positiva, un’aria cosmopolita!

Se stavi pensando di visitarla non perderti assolutamente lo shopping district ed i musei: da Rembrandt ad Escher, dal palazzo reale al Gementemuseum, dove puoi trovare la collezione d’opere di Piet Mondrian.


Rotterdam

Sfortunatamente non potevamo stare lì per sempre, Rotterdam ci attendeva ed indovina un po’ chi bussava alla nostra porta?

Nuvole, delle belle e imponenti nuvole grigie, accompagnate da un vento killer.

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Sul percorso Den Haag-Rotterdam si passa attraverso Delft, una piccola cittadina famosa per la sua porcellana blu conosciuta come Delftware e perchè Vermeer nacque qui.
Difatti a Den Haag puoi trovare la sua opera “Ragazza col turbante”, conosciuta anche come Ragazza con l’orecchino di perla.
Ma torniamo alle nostre nuvole, tanto amate nuvole che portano pioggia, la tanto amata pioggia.
Siamo arrivati all’ostello completamente fradici ma felici e divertiti. Magari Bruno un po’ meno perchè durante la tempesta il suo cellulare ha deciso di volare e disintegrarsi contro l’asfalto.
Rotterdam si discosta dal modello di città olandese che abbiamo visitato fino ad ora: Dopo esser stata distrutta durante la seconda guerra mondiale è stata ricostruita da svariati architetti, donandole così un mix di stili da renderla unica.
Cosa non vogliamo assolutamente dimenticare? uno dei più bei tramonti di sempre!

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Mmmmhh…non vi diremo cosa abbiamo mangiato.
Capiteci, siamo italiani, lontani dalla patria, in astinenza da carboidrati, e poi abbiamo scoperto che la pizzeria di Leiden era una catena.
Tempo di dormire, l’indomani ci aspettava lo step più lungo del nostro viaggio:
Da Rotterdam ad Utrecht.
A breve disponibile il terzo capitolo 🙂
Mai smettere di pedalare!
 
Arthur And Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Capitolo 1: Trema, Leiden!

Click here for the english version!


Ciao lettore!

Siamo pronti a parlare del nostro cicloviaggio nei Paesi Bassi.

Siamo stati in questo favoloso paese per 5 giorni e divideremo l’esperienza in 5 post, uno per ogni giorno in cui abbiamo viaggiato ed un ultimo che riassume il  viaggio e le nostre riflessioni:

  • 1° Da Amsterdam a Leiden;
  • 2° Da Leiden a Rotterdam;
  • 3° Da Rotterdam a Utrecht;
  • 4° Da Utrecht ad Amsterdam;
  • Sintesi finale e riflessioni sul tour.

Amsterdam

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sveglia prima dell’alba per prendere l’aereo direzione Amsterdam: era presto, molto presto, troppo presto.

Una volta raggiunta la “Città dello svago” abbiamo noleggiato subito 3 biciclette e girovagato per tutta la città.

Amsterdam è una città favolosa e c’è il rischio di “perdere” ore ed ore solamente a seguire l’incredibile rete di canali ed i tanto caratteristici vicoletti.

Siamo qui per aiutarti! Se hai pochi giorni da dedicarle, non puoi assolutamente perderti:

  • Museumplein: la famosa piazza dei musei, se cerchi l’arte dei nel posto giusto! Concediti una visita al Rijksmuseum se ami l’arte fiamminga, allo Stedelijk Museum basato sull’arte moderna e al Van Gogh Musem per ammirare la vita di Vincent, dalla nascita alla morte;
  • Dam: la principale piazza della città, composta dal “Nationaal Monument“, l’obelisco alla memoria dei soldati caduti, il Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, il Royal Palace e il Nieuwe Kerk (Chiesa nuova);
  • Canali: Si. Sono magnifici, bellissimi e lunghi più di 100km!

Non ti diremo che dovresti girovagare per la città in bicicletta, oh no, tu DEVI farlo! 😀

Ti sentirai come un vero cittadino.

Pensa che dalle ultime statistiche si contano circa 850.000 abitanti e 847.000 biciclette ed ogni anno circa 15000 biciclette vengono ripescate dal canale. 🙂

Inoltre la magnificenza delle piste ciclabili nei Paesi Bassi è incredibile, ci sono più di 32000 km di pista ciclabile: puoi andare praticamente ovunque senza mai ritrovarti in strada.


Road to Leiden

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Tempo di pedalare! Salutiamo Amsterdam passando attraverso il VondelPark e l’Amsterdamse Bos, due dei più grandi e suggestivi parchi della città. Per raggiungere Leiden abbiamo incrociato il Westeinderplassen, un complesso di laghi appartenenti al territorio dell’Alsmeer, città che ospita il più grande centro commerciale di fiori e piante del mondo.

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Pedalare in questa nazione è davvero semplice e sicuro grazie alle piste ciclabili che ricoprono tutto il territorio. Ti basterà seguire la LF routes per raggiungere qualsiasi posto o città tu voglia visitare.

Il territorio è costantemente pianeggiante, pieno di bellissime abitazioni, distese di campi verdi, mucche e canali.

Dopo 45km abbiamo raggiunto la nostra destinazione: Leiden.


Leiden

Eccoci qui! 😀

Leiden è una piccola e graziosa cittadina universitaria ricca di storia: l’università più antica di tutta la nazione si trova qui, costruita nel 1575, Einstein insegnò qui ed i padri pellegrini vissero qui per un periodo prima di salpare con la Mayflower.

Il centro città è davvero romantico ed è l’ideale per una coppia, oppure per del sano relax tra amici.

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Da italiani pensavamo che la passione per il calcio fosse certamente minore qui nei Paesi Bassi, ma quando l’Ajax durante la semifinale di Europa League “Ajax-Monaco” segnò, abbiamo cambiato idea.

L’intera piazza TREMAVA!

Abbiamo riso per 10 minuti e tutt’ora ridiamo ripensando a quella scena!

La passione è passione, dovunque tu vada.

Ora di cena, cosa possono mangiare degli italiani il primo giorno all’estero? La pizza ovviamente, come possiamo resistere senza pasta/pizza almeno una volta al giorno? 😀

Tuttavia nemmeno il tempo di accorgersene che ha iniziato a diluviare: immagina 40 persone correre verso il locale cercando di far da scudo a pizza e bibita 😀

Il tempo in Olanda a volte è imprevedibile, davvero imprevedibile, ma non è anche questo il bello di un viaggio?


Dopo aver riposato e fatto un’ottima colazione vicino alla stazione centrale, siamo pronti per raggiungere Rotterdam, passando per Scheveningen e Den Haag, conosciuta in italiano come Aia.

Il tutto è riportato nel secondo capitolo, CLICCA QUI per leggerlo.

Have safe and great trips!

Arthur and Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 3: Bologna & Florence, What’s better?!

Day 3 & 4


Home of the arcades: Bologna

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The alarm was ringing, it was time to get on our feet!
Just a little problem, Arthur’s knee was hurting and neither a strong breakfast with 2 slices of cakes and hot tea could help him.
After discussing about what to do, we decided to look for a therapist in the city before doing our next step. Luckily the knee wasn’t hurting so much to stop pedaling, but we didn’t want to make things worse.
We left the hotel, and the first thing we did was going to the only one therapist we found, but unfortunately he told us to come back at 6.pm.. It was 9 o’clock and our plan was to reach Roncobilaccio ( half way to Firenze) through appennines. We definitely couldn’t wait!

So we decided to pedal slowly to visit the beautiful city of Bologna.

What to see in Bologna, capital of Emilia Romagna.
Bologna is a small, welcoming city, it is like a warm hug from a person who really loves you. Bologna is a living city, a city in which, in the tumult of people, you can feel its blood flowing.
Its famous arcades, streets and people make it a picturesque city. This city famous because of its food and before that, because of its art. In fact, Bologna is considered the crossroads of Italian culture.
So, we’ll be brief: here’s what you shouldn’t miss if you visit Bologna for one day:

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  • Piazza Maggiore: the principal square in Bologna, it hosts the Basilica of San Petronio and it is surrounded by historical buildings. This square is really important because it was one of the first squares to be rebuilt after the fall of the Roman Empire. The inhabitants needed a space of aggregation, a space to be used as a market so the municipality bought and demolished the old popular buildings to make the current square. This sanctioned the birth of the Italian squares as a meeting place.
  • Basilica di San Petronio: one of the most known curches in the city. It hosts the longest sundial of the world in a structure and Bologna’s people love it.This church is a world record for many things: the 4th in italy by size, the 6th in Europe and the first Gothic brick church in the world always by size.
  • Torre degli Asinelli: The Asinelli tower, one of the main towers, is known as the symbol of the city. The tower can be visited by paying a free entrance. After 498 steps you will be able to see Bologna from above. A popular saying says don’t climb to the top if you are not graduated yet because in that case you won’t succeed. Would you challenge popular says??
  • Arcades: the arcades represents this city, they are renowned in all the world because of their extension of 40 kms. Just perfect to take a walk in all season 🙂

Walking down the streets, just before lunch, we met Hokito, a funny equilibrist with whom we talked for half an hour. He left his job 14 years ago to start traveling by bike earning a living with small shows along the road. It’s surprising. We really admire this kind of people! We do not know if we could ever make such a decision.

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Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.

Good luck Hokito!


 Time to make an HARD DECISION

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Once satisfied by the food we took a last look at the city. And here we are at the moment of the difficult decision, at the crossroads, the crossroads between heart and mind, between continuing to ride on the mountains putting in serious danger the knee of Arthur or recognize when it is time to stop.

It was hard to decide, when you think you are well trained, when nothing seems can’t stop you an old pain comes back. It’s life, and sometimes BIP happens. And sometimes the only thing you can do is going through it, through the rage, through all the “i could have trained better”. Arthur struggled for many hours with this thoughts… then he drinked a beer, took a coffee and an ice cream.

Basically a child, an happy child! 😀 DO NOT LET BAD THINGS RUIN YOUR TRIP 😀

We decided to to save energy and recover the knee for the last few days,so we went to Florence by train. It’s just an hour and a half of travel with a change to get to your destination.

We’re gonna talk about carrying your bike on a train in italy in a further post 🙂


What an ART, Florence!

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We do not believe that Florence needs introductions, but for all those who do not know what it is, we can say that it is simply the “Cradle of the Renaissance”.

It is in fact the Italian Renaissance city FOR EXCELLENCE, All those who appreciate art must at least once in their lives visit it and observe how a city can be artistic and expressive.

If you have only a few days to visit this beauty, you can’t miss:

  • Dome of Florence and Giotto’s belfry : Your visit should start with Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, heart of the city. It’s the third largest basilica of the world, second only to San Pietro of Rome and St.Paul of London. We assure you that you would only spend hours observing Brunelleschi‘s magnificent and majestic dome.

  • Piazza della Signoria and Loggia dei Lanzi The most famous square in Florence that houses the fourteenth-century Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civil and administrative power of the city. You will be addicted to ancient marble or stone sculptures, such as Donatello’s Marzocco or the fountain of Neptune, the first fountain in the city.After a few steps you will find yourself under the “Loggia dei Lanzi”, which was the seat of the ancient public assemblies. The Loggia today houses numerous marble sculptures, including Benvenuto Cellini’s masterpiece: The Perseo, dating back to 1554, which with an athletic gesture proudly exhibits the beheaded head of Medusa. Take a look at it:

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  • Galleria degli Uffizi: The Uffizi Gallery needs no introduction, just think that it is one of the most famous and visited museums in the world, incredibly full of priceless and unique artworks, open to the public since 1581!
  • Ponte vecchio: Symbol of the historical Florence, allows the passage over the waters of the Arno river where it narrows. The bridge is sprinkled with artisan workshops, which were once butcher shops and today are goldsmith shops. However, the shopping strip will stop in the middle, where two terraces await you. Panorama insured.
  • Giardino di Boboli: Private park of Palazzo Pitti, the ancient residence of the duchy, connects the famous palace with Forte Belvedere. 45,000 square metres of garden with museums, statues and residences. Its beauty will not leave you indifferent.

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We forgot to tell you that another essential thing to do in Florence is eating like crazy!:D

Your stomach will thank you, scout’s world of honor.

But let’s go back to our story! previously we said that due to the physical mishap we stayed two days in Florence, but we did not have a facility in which to stay the first evening and we decided to book blindly, checking Booking availability.

WE ENDED UP IN A FANTASY PLACE. The receptionist seemed to have come out from some thriller film in which he was the crazy killer: Very thin, bewildered eyes, very rapid and sudden movements, elegant jacket with sleeves covering almost entirely the hands and jeans.

Arthur asked him if by chance they had a bag of ice to try to appease the pain, but the recepetionist replied that he would have to check later because at the moment he was very very very busy. The problem was that while he was saying this, he turned and stared at his empty desk. COMPLETELY EMPTY.

In the meantime, a young man arrived and presented himself as the new receptionist on his first day in structure. Our protagonist, after welcoming the new employee, decided to accompany us to the room, climbing up the stairs when suddenly the phone rang!

PANIC! He began to run up the stairs yelling to the new receptionist (who was arrived only two minutes before) to answer the phone. In the distance we heard a shy and sketched “hello?. We laughed so much that we will hardly forget it.
That is not the end of the story! In fact, after a small evening tour in the center, we came back to the hotel thinking about how funny was the scene of the afternoon.

As soon as we crossed the threshold of the hotel we didn’t see anyone at the reception. We advanced towards the second entrance of the hotel from which on the right you can access the stairs, when an unidentified boy passed from nowhere hopping the entire hall and making strange verses. We laughed so much that Arthur risked to fall off the stairs. WE WILL NEVER FORGET THAT HOTEL!


How to end this Experience

The next day we stayed at Plus Florence, youth hostel and multicultural: Just think that the receptionists know at least 3-4 languages.

Meanwhile Arthur’s knee was almost healed so we explored the city passing by the riverside (“Lungarno”) and along the beautiful streets of the Florence.

While we were walking through Florence we were stopped by Filippo, who recognizing our BRN equipment and told us about his journey from Florence to St. Petersburg.

it’s incredible how two travel bags catch the eye: in fact we’ve been stopped several times by other like-minded people.

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In this photo you can see Arthur with a lovely couple of New Zealanders on an European bicycle tour of 6 months.

Despite the misadventure this experience has been beautiful, because the most exciting thing is that each of our adventure gives us emotions, feelings, circumstances and memories that we will always take with us and that push us to explore more and more with the bike this beloved world.

True freedom is only in yourself, never stop looking for it.

Keep pedaling,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

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