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Athens 2 Amsterdam

Athens 2 AmsterdamFour friends cycling across Europe from Athens to Amsterdam.
Follow along with Patrick Burns, Justin de Benedictis-Kessner, Donald Hess and Dave Young as they make this incredible journey across Europe. Learn more about them here.

Day 21: Arnhem to Amsterdam. The finish!

Day 21: Arnhem to Amsterdam. The finish!

August 19, 2019

Before going to bed last night, rain was on our minds. For the last few days, rain was predicted in Amsterdam and the forecast hadn't changed. We knew that it was unlikely that we could avoid it, but we were going to do our best to minimize it. 

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Day 20: Bonn to Arnhem: But almost is not done.

Day 20: Bonn to Arnhem: But almost is not done.

August 19, 2019

Our night at the Centro Hotel Residence in Bonn, Germany was presided over by a rather stern receptionist. She was adamant our bicycles not be kept in the room despite our persistent requests. As we laid down to sleep, Dave became increasingly concerned over the safety of our trusty steeds and we snuck down to the basement garage under the cover of darkness to carry them up 5 flights of stairs. 

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Day 19: Mainz to Bonn

Day 19: Mainz to Bonn

August 19, 2019

"After some rest and necessary laundry in the historic town of Mainz, we took off early this morning headed towards the Rhine River, which we knew we would follow for the remainder of the day's ride. Leaving these towns in the pre-dawn light is always a fun spectacle: four men in matching bright jerseys on bikes navigating on cobblestone streets, dodging delivery drivers and early commuters going the opposite direction."

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Day 18: Bad Margentheim to Mainz

Day 18: Bad Margentheim to Mainz

August 16, 2019

Rolling out of Bag Mergenthein was foreshadowing for the rest of the day. We coasted through the old town and would find ourselves popping in and out of adorable old towns with towering church steeples and homes with classic half-timbered architecture. We wondered how many of these little towns are overlooked by tourists traveling by highway. 

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Day 17: Mainburg to Bad Mergentheim

Day 17: Mainburg to Bad Mergentheim

August 16, 2019

As Art Cahn predicted in the comments from yesterday, the day was going to be beautiful for riding. The temperature was perfect, just below 60 degrees, and the clouds were clearing. The terrain was very scenic, rolling hills with a series of small farms. 

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Day 16: Salzburg to Mainburg

Day 16: Salzburg to Mainburg

August 14, 2019

We woke early to the gentle murmur of the Salzburg streets with gas station chocolate croissants to tide us over until breakfast. With the shortened days of alpine climbing behind us, we have many miles to make up if we are to get to Amsterdam on schedule. This means multiple 100-130 mile days in our future.

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Day 15: Mauterndorf to Salzburg

Day 15: Mauterndorf to Salzburg

August 14, 2019

After two lower-mileage days of climbing, we woke up this morning ready to attack our third planned "short" day of climbing: 70 miles from Mauterndorf to Salzburg with a large climb within the first 10 miles. 

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Day 14: Villach to Mauterndorf: One epic climb

Day 14: Villach to Mauterndorf: One epic climb

August 13, 2019

After the most challenging day so far, the first day in Albania, we decided to rework our itinerary to shorten the days we would be ascending over the Alps. Justin did most of the planning when we took some extra time in Kotor, Montenegro. Today was the most obvious realization of this plan. Our distance was shortened to only 55 miles because of one epic climb

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Day 13: Ljubljana to Villach, first day in the Alps

Day 13: Ljubljana to Villach, first day in the Alps

August 13, 2019

If you have been referring to the image we posted of our updated route from Day 7, we neede to amend it last night. We were supposed to spend tonight in Tainach, but there was nothing in Pols or the vicinity. My sister Diane spoke to a lovely woman in Pols who told her that there was a huge motocross race in/near Pols this weekend and she said everything within 50km of Pols is book

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Day 12: Novi Vinodolski to Ljubljana

Day 12: Novi Vinodolski to Ljubljana

August 09, 2019

After 11 days of hugging the water, today begins our turn inland, away from the coast and into the mountains. We started with a bit of excitement and a bit of trepidation.

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Day 11: Zadar to Novi Vinodolski

Day 11: Zadar to Novi Vinodolski

August 08, 2019

Improvements on all fronts today with health: my fever is completely gone, and my stomach issues have mainly resolved themselves. It's amazing what a couple of days of extra sleep and some handy medications can do (thanks, all three MD's I'm biking with!). Don is much improved from his sickness as well, and back to his normal of charging up hills and looking back at the top wondering where everyone else is.

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Day 10: Split to Zadar: Getting our Groove Back

Day 10: Split to Zadar: Getting our Groove Back

August 07, 2019

Heading out of the bustling downtown of Split was a bit confusing. After a few missteps including a short stint on a highway and some industrial back roads, we were on the right path out of town. We made good time until we got to the cutest island town of Trogir. A proper English breakfast awaited us, followed by a healthy dose of gourmet ice cream! Can't stop, won't stop!

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Day 9: Neum, Bosnia to Split, Croatia

Day 9: Neum, Bosnia to Split, Croatia

August 06, 2019

We got off to a later start than planned. Although not mentioned explicitly in Patrick's last post, we still had lingering GI illnesses that actually worsened overnight, hitting me and Justin a second time. I had to leave our dinner early, and, when it became apparent that I was becoming very sick, Patrick recommended azithromycin, which I started. Patrick had packed a wide variety of medications for the trip, which was now coming in handy. 

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Day 8: Kotor to Neum

Day 8: Kotor to Neum

August 06, 2019

After a much needed rest day in Kotor, our four well-rested adventureres started back on their journey northward - although the night's rest was punctured by the timbering percussion of the annual Kotor Karneval, which lasted until 4 am outside of Don's window. 

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Day 7: Rest in Kotor

Day 7: Rest in Kotor

August 06, 2019

And on the seventh day, the bikers rested. After our arrival in Kotor last night, we all passed out very quickly (as the photos from yesterday can attest). We needed some sleep and rest for the legs. But after a week of waking up early every day, it was hard to sleep in. 

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Day 6: Rinas to Kotor

Day 6: Rinas to Kotor

August 06, 2019

Last night was the first time we slept in separate rooms. We all crashed so hard we never made a plan for the morning. I woke up at 6 am in a panic thinking I was the last one up, but instead, I was the first. Phew! I got everyone going, and we left our cute airplane - themed hotels by 6:45 am. We moved efficiently through 25 miles before realizing we needed calories if we were to continue. 

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Day 5: Vlorë to Rinas. Recalculating.

Day 5: Vlorë to Rinas. Recalculating.

August 06, 2019

Last night we looked ahead at the route we had planned to ride today and became very discouraged. Our destination was Tirana, the capital city, but we could not find a good route that didn't include this 2600ft climb at the end of the day. 

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Day 4: Corfu to Vlorë; Flesh Pistons and Sea Bass

Day 4: Corfu to Vlorë; Flesh Pistons and Sea Bass

August 02, 2019

After a magical evening in Corfu, Greece, sleeping off the meat sweats from a spectacular dinner, our 4 intrepid adventures awoke early to attack the day.

Spirits were high as we basked in the glowing light of sunrise and boarded a rather phallic vessel bound for Saranda, Albania. This would be the first visit to the "land of eagles" for all of us.

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Day 3: Menidi to Igoumenitsa

Day 3: Menidi to Igoumenitsa

August 02, 2019

We started the morning all packed up and ready to go and walked outside our hotel to where we had locked our bikes overnight and - thought they were still there, which was a relief - we noticed that (1) my front tire was completely flat, and (2) Dave's front brake was interfering with his wheel. Difficulties before we even started riding! I fixed my flat and Dave played around with his brake until he was satisfied that it was rideable. 

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Day 2: Diakoptó to Menidi

Day 2: Diakoptó to Menidi

August 02, 2019

Today was a long day. We set off early knowing we were going to try to cover 120 miles and to avoid the heat as long as possible. We skipped breakfast at our hotel and decided to grab a bite at a small cafe 20 miles in.

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Day 1: Athens to Diakoptou

Day 1: Athens to Diakoptou

August 02, 2019

We didn't get to bed until 1:00 am last night but set our alarms for 6:10 am today, trying to balance enough sleep with an early start as the temperature was to reach the mid 90's and we had about 100 miles to cover. Although we felt we had sorted nearly everything, there were still a few last-minute decisions: "Should we bring the extra sunscreen?" and a few firsts that would quickly become routine, such as strapping our seat packs to the bike.

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Day 0: Arrival in Athens

Day 0: Arrival in Athens

August 02, 2019

We found Costas ready to let us into our ultra cool indoor/outdoor bohemian rental complete with trees and a sliding roof in order to put our bikes together.

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All Packed up and on the Way

All Packed up and on the Way

August 02, 2019

The two of us in Boston met last night to pack up our boxes, while Dave and Patrick in their respective cities did the same. It's tough to pack up the delicate bike machinery to both fit in narrow rectangular boxes and be appropriately protected during transit!

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