After bobbing around in Thailand, England and Germany, Lucy and I decided to split up. Just for a couple of weeks, that is. After being in the saddle for so many days, it was time to stretch the legs before we would embark on another epic trip later this summer – but first things first. While Lucy enjoyed the time off, not having to pedal for hours every day, I remembered that northern corner of the United Kingdom I never had the time to properly visit, while I had lived in England. The itch was back and I packed up to visit the rugged coast of West Scotland.
We left Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital, on the weekly ferry towards Palermo in Sicily and arrived early in the morning. The weather was clear and cold as we rolled down the ferry ramp and into the city. We did not book any accommodation and only had a few hours to see the city before heading towards more rural areas to pitch our tent.
The ferry arrived on a clear but cold Saturday morning in Olbia, on the North East coast of Sardinia. We chose to cycle south on the east side of the island which, although tougher, promised a more dramatic landscape with high mountains, rugged coastlines, hidden coves and crystal clear waters.
After spending time with Lucy’s family we caught a flight to Venice on a Tuesday evening and arrived in dark, foggy Italy. The visibility was so poor we only could see the massive buses seconds before they overtook us. The only route took us along a big A-road, which seemed rather suicidal in these conditions and so we decided to try our luck down a dirt track between some fields. After pushing and staggering through the darkness, we gave up on reaching the city and set up camp at 2am.
On a Monday morning in September we handed the keys of the flat to our landlord. ‘I’ve cycled in Vietnam in the early 90s’, he said.‘It was the hardest and the most rewarding thing I have ever done.’ Then he snapped a picture of us and waved goodbye while we set off with all our remaining belongings stuffed in six panniers.