In the past week the tickets and information for our cycling holiday to Bavaria have arrived, which I guess means it's really happening. Their arrival also prompts another burst of excitement and equal amounts of trepidation about our trip, a look to make sure everything's as I expected and another scan through the checklist of the things we'll need to take with us.
On this trip, one way or other we'll be cycling a minimum of 224 km over six days - eek that's the first time I've added it all up, and now it sounds an awful lot! I think that'll be our minimum as I'm sure we'll take some planned (and more likely) unplanned detours during that time...
We've had some practice recently too, with a few days in Norfolk clocking up some bike miles. I'm glad we did as from that I learnt:
- My bike saddle is very comfortable and padded. And while I have my own inbuilt padding that I'll be taking with me, I don't know how comfortable the hire bike saddle will be, so I've ordered myself a gel padded seat cover incase I need it.
- Flies and insects appear to aim for cyclists open mouths and eyes. While I can take action on the first of these, I think I'll be well advised to keep the latter open. So with that in mind I've bought some new sunglasses with a lighter tint on the lens which I hope will work if the weather's not too sunny.
- In Norfolk we caught the sun, even though it wasn't overtly sunny and I ended up with some rather unattractive tan lines; while they've faded it's not something I want to repeat, so the suntan lotion will also be in the case and close to hand (that means in MOH's panniers) while we cycle.
- Wet wipes are also bought and ready to pack because, well because you never know when you might need them do you?
- We'll be cycling for six days and so will need clothes for that and while I don't wear full cycling gear (unless pedal pushers count!) I am considering buying some tops that have the technology to do the magic wicking thing, but only ones that'll avoid a repeat t-shirt tan incase the weather's warm.
- We'll also need clothes to change into when we reach the hotel, and something to wear out to dinner too; plus our swimmers as at least one hotel has a pool (which might be much appreciated for recuperation purposes!) Add to that a couple of days in Munich once the cycling's done and it's all starting to add up, though as we're staying in four different hotels we can at least recycle some of our outfits!
- Although I'm not big on full cycling gear I do wear a cycling helmet which I'm taking with me. Add to that a larger-than-I-normally-use water bottle and the same for MOH, a small cycling toolkit and a puncture repair kit then it all starts to add up. And that means just checking one bag into the hold probably won't be enough, not even with my Master of Packing skills.
Learning the lingo
When we travel we also like to have learnt at least a few basics of the language too, apart from being rude not to, we find it helps us feel more comfortable and enjoy our holiday more. It's not a lot but it's amazing how much you can pick up in a short amount of time whether that's before you go or even while you're away.
Our basics usually include: hello, goodbye, please, thank you as well as days of the week and numbers, asking how much something is, how to pay the bill and how to order something to drink whether that's water, tea, coffee, red wine or beer and the word cake often features too. Yes that pretty much sums up the essentials for us!
At restaurants I'm often found thumbing through the menu reader section of our phrase book to ensure I'm not ordering something I'm allergic too - that's mostly seafood - and because I like to know what to expect to see in front of me. And although I had German lessons at school (until I took my options) very little of it has stuck and I don't think my schoolgirl German will really cut it. Frau James, I'm sure won't be surprised to hear this, so for this trip I'm learning some German using an app - I'll let you know how I get on!
As well as learning some basics of the language I'm also reading the travel books I bought a while back. Partly so we know something about the places we'll visit and partly so I can plan the few days we have in Munich. And although we're only cycling some of the Romantic Road (Romantische Strasse) when I saw this older book - prices are still in Deutsche Marks - I thought it may come in useful, if not for this holiday perhaps for another trip.
And that reminds me, I've still to sort out some holiday reading - what would you recommend?