Our kids had already selfishly grown up, left home and as a consequence there always seemed less excitement to be involved in at home.   Then in 2014 our final link to any semblance of a bustling family life disintegrated when our gorgeous Labrador dog Ember unexpectedly died.  This got us thinking, with such a big void to fill and no home ties.  Why not celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary with something a little bit more interesting than the usual meal out?

It was on this premise, after an evening discussion (yes! accompanied by a nice bottle of wine), we decided, on the spur of the moment, to announce to everyone who knew us that we would be attempting to cycle 5,000km across the entire continent of Europe; from The Atlantic to The Black Sea.  So what, that neither of us owned a bike or had cycled more than an occasional family day out, way back when the kids were young!  Surely even (slightly) older people like us could attempt an epic challenge like this, who knows we might even succeed.

Our trip would be a self-sufficient journey, we would camp and cook for ourselves and carry with us everything that we needed, normally the domain of rugged and bearded explorers.  It was not a record breaking attempt by any stretch of the imagination! But as two late forty something non-cyclists, it was definitely going to be a challenge.  On our trip we would be stopping to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the places we would pass through.  We were determined to get the most out of this experience.

Unlike other more serious adventurers, we would not dine on bread and jam alone.

We would not grow beards……………