The bike is now booked on the transport ship – along with a fun night out in Savannah – and that makes it feel like this is really happening now!
I have spent hours and hours, very literally (being immobile after surgery paid off), trawling through AirBnB listings and Booking.com to find some reasonable accommodations all over Europe. And I have to say, I’ve been able to book some really cute places. I’m super excited to stay in them and share the photos with you all 🙂
I really enjoy using AirBnB to book stays. I just love the communication with the owners. I definitely feel that you get a more personal experience. They genuinely want you to enjoy your time with them and I have had some great messages from property owners welcoming us and already giving tips and ideas on where to ride and good routes to take 🙂
So why AirBnB over camping? That was the BIG decision!
If I’m honest, it all came down to age and weight. Not my weight! The weight of extra camping gear 😉
At the risk of alienating the real adventure bikers out there, I have to admit that, while I really love the adventure of camping, I didn’t want to camp for the whole time. We’re getting on a bit in years(!) and while I certainly do enjoy the freedom of the outdoors and the whole camping experience, the lure of a comfortable bed was too much to ignore. When we camped for two nights back in October it was great – except it took about an hour before I could stand up straight each morning and walk comfortably. My poor old back and hips suffered and that was with a good air mattress that was actually very comfortable to sleep on.
While we will still enjoy a few nights at a time, long term camping is out for us now.
Also, we had to think about the kerfuffle of it all. It’s all very well to set up camp and stay a few days, which would work well while we’re up in the Alps but as we travel down through Croatia and up through Italy we are only staying one night at a time. Could we really be bothered with setting up and taking down every day?!?
That would take too much away from our actual riding and exploring time.
Then the question was maybe we can do a bit of both? A few days camping and a few days in AirBnBs or a hotel. That’s where the weight comes in. You’ll see from my previous post when we were planning our Ecuador trip last year, that, given his ‘vertically challenged’ status, Iain has to be super aware of being able to balance and have the strength to hold up, control and maneuver the bike. Of course, the new bike with the lowered suspension and different center of balance has been a great improvement on the last one. He is (almost) able to be flat footed and it has been easier to balance and adjust as the different center of gravity make the bike feel lighter (even though technically it isn’t). However, he’s all for travelling as light as possible and, if we weren’t going to be using the camping equipment enough we had to weigh up the pros and cons of whether it was worth taking it.
Ultimately, the cons outweighed pros and the decision was made: AirBnB all the way!
…and then, on Instagram, I started seeing fab pictures of people sitting outside their tents with breathtaking views and in total peace. It was like Instagram had conspired against me. My heart began to yearn for camping again!
However, the plus side of not camping is that our lovely friends Jac & Jase are coming to join us for the four days we will be in Sardinia. That would not be happening if we were in a tent!
As far as planning goes, accommodation wise we are all booked up for the 8 weeks we will be out there touring and I’m pretty much organized with the England legs of the trip. Huge thanks to all the wonderful friends who’ve offered beds along the way!
Can’t wait to get over there and see everybody and start this amazing adventure 🙂