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Stage Thirty One - Thursday 28th June 2012

Marinka (Bul) to Kirklareli (Tur) I really wasn’t confident where I camped last night and didn’t sleep well as a result. This left me tired on what was a tough stage. I got to the border and then pushed on to the nearest town. I was absolutely spent and filthy when I arrived in “Kirklareli” so sorted out accommodation, something I plan to do on all my stages in Turkey. I’m slightly off course now but am hopeful I find it again southeast tomorrow. Crossing into Turkey

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Thirty - Wednesday 27th June 2012

Karnobat (Bul) to Marinka (Bul) I decided to get off the busy road I was on in search of quieter roads heading due south but that turned out to be a mistake as I got totally lost and ended up getting sucked into “Burgos” anyway. I had cycled over 100km to get to 50km from where I started. But to add injury to insult my GPS packed up so I had to ask for directions and was given a bum steer in “Burgos” and travelled in a 60km circular route that brought me right back to “Burgos” again. I’m pr

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty Nine - Tuesday 26th June 2012

Lost (Bul) to Karnobat (Bul) I managed to pick up the GPS course today so am comforted in the knowledge that I am always traveling in the right direction. Today’s route took me over a torturous climb that was so steep keeping my front wheel on the ground was a challenge. I’m really shattered this evening but my stomach seems to be settling down at last. It was a late start today after heavy rain during the night which continued on late into the morning. I packed up a wet tent but in this h

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty Eight - Monday 25th June 2012

God knows where (Bul) to Somewhere further Southeast (Bul) I really am cycling blind at this point. I’m just following my compass southeast until I either pick up my GPS route or hit the Black Sea. Bulgaria seems much the same as Southern Romania inasmuch as the people in every village I pass through cease what they are doing and are transfixed on me as I pass through or stop in their village. I rather suspect that cycling tourists are a rarity in these parts to put it mildly After su

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty Seven - Sunday 24th June 2012

Zimnicea (ROM) to God knows where (Bul) It was a late start as the ferry crossing was at 11:30am and I rode today at a gentle pace due to my delicate state. I’m well off my intended course and completely lost. Finding my way around this part of Bulgaria is no easy thing, all the signs are in their own unique script and impossible for me to read or pronounce. All I can really do is keep on a southeast heading until I hit either the Black Sea or Turkey. This evening has been nothing short of

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty Six - Saturday 23rd June 2012

Izvoru (ROM) to Zimnicea (ROM) After a nervy night I got up at sunrise and was on the road for 6:00am. I made my way through “Slobozia”, “Tatarastii” and on down to “Alexandria” and then down the 51 to “Zimnicea”. When I reached the border I discovered that it was a ferry crossing across the Danube and there are only five sailings a day. So I decided to made my way back some 7km back to a pension I had passed earlier and make the crossing tomorrow as I was absolutely shattered.

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty Five - Friday 22nd June 2012

Corbini (ROM) to Izvoru (ROM) An altogether less inspiring day after the thrills of yesterday, but on the upside it was for the most part all down hill. I clearly have a bad gastric bug so the easier terrain was most welcome. I made my way along the same road until I came to the busy city of “Pitesti” whereupon I got totally disorientated and took the wrong road. On realizing I had been traveling in the wrong direction I tried to take the dirt roads to get back on track. Eventually I found

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty Four - 21st June 2012

Cartisoara (ROM) to Corbeni (ROM) What an epic day! I awoke this morning feeling quite delicate, not sure if it was the home distilled alcohol last night or the fact I've been feeling a little under the weather with a slight tummy bug over the last couple of days but I was still excited about the stage to come. The climb could best be described as gruelling. I took around four hours to cycle the 30km to the top as the heat took its toll on my weakened body. I stopped occasionally to

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty Three - Wednesday 20th June 2012

Miercorea Sibiulut (ROM) to Cartisoara (ROM) A really tough and stressful days cycling as I made my way along the busy 1 and through the city of “Sibiu”. Then it was on to the equally busy and stressful E68 through “Bradu”, “Avrig”, “Porumbacu de jos” and on to the “Transfagarasan Highway” I found accommodation in the little village of “Cartisoara” where a local family have a home with a small annex that they rent for weary travellers. They invited me to join them in their evening meal where

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty Two - Tuesday 19th June 2012

Abrud (ROM) to Miercurea Sibiului (ROM) I left "Abrud" and started the climb towards "Zlatna", through “Metes” and on into the thriving town of “Albaiulia” before taking the altogether busier 7 through “Sebes” and on into “Miercurea Sibiului” Where I checked into quite a plush hotel which cost twice as much as the place I stayed at last night but at around £20 I can live with that. I really thought my number was up today when on the descent into Zlatna a maniac decided to overtake three v

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty One - Monday 18th June 2012

Beius (ROM) to Abrud (ROM) Today was the toughest stage so far but by far the most spectacular. I made my way from “Beius down the busy E79 to “Lunca” where I took the 75 and was soon to face my first real mountain climb of the tour. In a mere 20km I climbed 1000m but the descent was through some stunning countryside as I followed the course of the river through the ski resort of “Vartop” and some lovely villages such as “Izlaz”, “Arieseni”, “Raul Valcea” “Ursoaia”, “Vadu Motilor”, the thriv

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twenty - Sunday 17th June 2012

Sarkad (H) to Beius (ROM) Today was the hottest day yet at 38c. With no cloud cover, covering up was the order of the day. I wore the desert scarf which has turned out to be an inspired purchase. I made my way across the border and into the busy town of “Salonta” and then through “Tulca”, “Tinca”, “Soimi” and on to the busy town of “Beius” where on spotting a pension and the heat sapping my strength I decided to call it a day. The woman who ran the establishment asked where I’d cycled from

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Nineteen - Saturday 16th June 2012

Biharnagybajom (H) to Sarkad (H) Another frustrating day, inasmuch as I made my way to the road on my GPS route only to find that it was also closed to bicycles. There was nothing for it but to retrace my steps some 16km in the stifling heat that was now up to 35c in search of another route. Through the back roads and cratered lanes I made my way through “Zsaka”, “Furta”, “Komadi”, “Zsadany” and on to “Sarkad” I must admit to feeling somewhat apprehensive about entering Romania after hearin

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Eighteen - Friday 15th June 2012

Tiszasuly (H) to Biharnagybajom (H) Another rain free day but boy was it hot! It was 32c out on the road and keeping hydrated was the order of the day, it is now quite noticeable how much more fluid I am taking on board. I followed my GPS course through “Kunhegyes”and on to “Karcag”, where I hit the E60 motorway and couldn’t go any further by bike, so I followed my compass in the hope of picking up a road taking a favourable direction. After spending the late afternoon and evening totally lo

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Seventeen - Thursday 14th June 2012

Galgaguta (H) to Tiszasuly (H) A rain free day! Only my second one so far but it felt so good to be out of the rain gear and feel the sun on my back. I left "Galgaguta" and made my way through “Acsa”, “Erdokurt”, “Kallo”, “Versea”, “Hatvan”, “Jaszbereny” and on to “Tiszasuly” The minor roads here in Hungary are appalling, they actually look like they have been bombed at times. I just hope my bike holds out. It feels strange navigating with my GPS alone, as without maps I’m not quite sure w

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Sixteen - Wednesday 13th June 2012

Demandice (SL) to Galgaguta (H) Gone was the heavy rain of yesterday, just showers and a light constant drizzle. Because of the rain this morning and the quiet secluded spot I found to camp in, I didn't set off until 11:00am. I really struggled today in the damp, warm and muggy conditions. I followed the GPS route but was never really sure where I was but it was uplifting to cross the border into Hungary Crossing into Hungary

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Fifteen - Tuesday 12th June 2012

Spacince (SL) to Demandice (SL) I awoke at dawn after a dry night to see storm clouds gathering, so I packed up sharpish and just in time as the rain started no sooner than I hit the road. I set off happy in the knowledge that my tent and equipment were packed away dry. This was probably the least attractive stage so far as I stuck to the route on my GPS. The course shadowed the motorway and passed through a few industrial towns. The rain today had to be seen to be believed! As I cycled up

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Fourteen - Monday 11th June 2012

Staatz (Aus) to Spacince (SL) A day of contrasts. The first half of the day saw dark skies and rain, then later in the afternoon it brightened up and the rain cleared, there were even glimpses of blue sky, something I hadn't seen in a while. An early start saw me pass through “Poysdorf”, “Wetzeldorf”, “Altlichtenwarth” and “Hohenau an der March” before crossing the border and into Slovakia. Once into Slovakia I made my way through “Moravsky Svaty Jan”, “Zavod”, “Tomkey”, “Laksarska Nova Ves”

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Thirteen - Sunday 10th June 2012

Kunzac (CZ) to Staats (Aus) Fed, dry and rested I headed out into the rain under dark foreboding skies. I cycled hard all day stopping only once for twenty minutes under a children’s play shelter to cook some hot food. Over every hill I hoped to see clear skies but twas never to be. I made my way through “Decice”, and “Jemince”. Then stayed on the 408 all the way to “Hevlin” before crossing the border into Austria and into the border town of “Laa an der Thaya”. I then cycled into “Staatz”

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Twelve - Saturday 9th June 2012

Becice (CZ) to Kunzak (CZ) I was greatly relieved that my tent survived the storm last night and that a tree hadn't come down on me but I was soaked during the night. The rain was still coming down heavy when I awoke and no sign of it letting up. I knew I had to go out in it as I was out of food and with tomorrow being Sunday I had to stock up today. There was nothing for it, I had to move on. I tried to care for my feet as best I could. There were large chunks of dead white flesh coming off

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Eleven - Friday 8th June 2012

Lnare (CZ) to Becice (CZ) Today I travelled along the quieter roads and national cycle routes (although they just follow the quieter roads with off road sections) I made my way through “Blatna”, “Skvoretice”, “Lom”, “Mirotice”, “Cerhonice”, “Ostrovec”, “Varvazov”, “Zvikovske Podhradi”. “Oslov”, “Vlastec”, Then onto the 138 through “Zahori”, “Albrechtice nad Vltavou”. Then onto the 159 through “Neznasov and onto the surprisingly large “Tyn nad Vitavou” before making my way onto the 147 to “Be

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Ten - Thursday 7th June 2012

Stribro (CZ) to Lnare (CZ) Maybe Freud was right "The Irish are beyond psychoanalysis" But the question remains “Why do I do this to myself?” Perhaps it’s my guilty past and some messed up belief that the only path to redemption is purification through pain. My catholic upbringing at the hands of Jesuit priests and Christian brothers has a lot to answer for! Whatever here I am again living in my self-imposed hell! These are dark days and these are the times that will test me. I have to sta

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

 

Stage Nine - Wednesday 6th June 2012

Hohenberg (D) to Stribro (CZ) Sitting in my tent with the rain pelting the roof, this the ninth day of my tour and it has rained on eight of them! I crossed the border this morning and made my way into "Cheb" and then through "Lazne Kynzvart" then onto the "230" at "Plana" to "Stribro" where I made camp in the woods. I must admit I'm exhausted and my spirits are low. I am genuinely concerned that I have bitten off more than I can chew. I have never suffered so much so early into a tour bef

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

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