Jan Hilmar


Jan Hilmar

I'm a mathematics PhD student with an interest in bike touring. Just returned from my first tour - 2 weeks from Berlin to Lepel (Belarus), an amazing experience!
For more about me, visit my website: www.cyclotomic.org.uk

Europe » Slovakia » Bratislava Region July 6th 2010

After some breakfast with coffee and mosquitoes, we get back on the bikes and drag our weary feet on down the Donau towards Bratislava. We stop for a first break in Hainburg/Donau, where we buy some supplies and meet some Australian bike tourists on the way to Belgrade. The road continues along the Donau to the former border - which is now nothing more than a few empty houses, leftovers from the past. Near Bratislava, the path crosses the Donau over a massive highway bridge and then gets lost in the city of Bratislava. After getting lost on a tiny path ending in someone's backyard, we manage to find a bikepath following the Donau back to Devin, where it apruptly merges with the main road. The path picks up a bit later again, and makes for ... read more
Watching the rain...
The stream

Europe » Austria » Lower Austria July 5th 2010

Great expectations and a long ride are on today's programme: leaving from Vienna, we want to make it all the way to Stará Turá in Eastern Slowakia. Of course, it takes ages to get everything ready: I still need some supplies (and my bike which had a broken spoke repaired!) from the bike shop which doesn't open until 10am - neither does the outdoor store where I still need to get some fuel for the Trangia. While Richard goes out to buy some food stuffs, I go on my treck of the various shops to get everything we need. Finally, around 12:30pm, we're all packed up and ready to go. Confidently, we start out along the Donaukanal from Vienna centre towards Bratislava. When we get to Neu Albern, signposting of the route stops, and we of ... read more
View up the Donau

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjanesbær July 4th 2009

Last day on Iceland! We'll spend it in style: after killing ourselves cycling around the place for (almost) 2 weeks, today is going to make all of it worthwhile - especially yesterday's torture ride to get here. In the morning, again we are woken by rain. So, again, we decide to do the reasonable thing: sleep in, and wait for the weather to come to its senses, and stop the rain. And it works! At 11am, we are, once again, the last people on the campsite, but the rain has stopped, and so we can have a nice dry breakfast, pack up, and hit the road. The ride is easy: first of all, the Blue Lagoon is only 2km from Grindavík. Secondly, the wind is now truly on our side, blowing - as yesterday - from ... read more
Blue Lagoon, outside
Small is beautiful

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík July 3rd 2009

What a rude awakening! Starting from 6am, rain starts gushing on the tent, and the wind shakes the tent, even has us worried that the whole thing might take off. We try to get some more sleep - the bus doesn't leave until 9 - but by 7, there is no point, so we get up and start packing up, all the while trying to keep the tent from taking off. Breakfast is cancelled, since there is no point trying to make coffee in that kind of weather. Plus, the bus leaves from the petrol station, so we can just get some coffee there. Arriving at the bus stop around 8 (the whole packing went faster than expected), we get our second nice surprise of the day: everything is closed. No coffee, no breakfast, not a ... read more
Icelandic friends
The road to Keflavik

Europe » Iceland » South » Vík July 2nd 2009

For the first time, we our of the tent before 9 - because it's too hot! The sun is burning on the ten, and soon there is nothing to take off anymore, we have to get up. Hendrick and Carlo also soon come crawling from their tent, and starting getting some basic supplies ready for a bus tour into the interior, before heading on towards Skaftafell. We have some coffee and breakfast, then get back on the bikes, and follow the ring road back to Vík. The road first passes through rolling green hills, but soon lava fields are all we see - for the next 50 kilometers. When we take a break at a rest stop, we meet an American cyclist who is touring Iceland all summer long. Envy! Ah, to have the time... Just ... read more
Stony fields
What a beach!

Europe » Iceland » South July 2nd 2009

In the morning, we're woken up by - rain! For the first time in over a week (aside from day 1 in Reykjavik), it's raining! So we decide to do what any rational person would: continue sleeping, and wait for it to ease off, which it does around 11. So we carefully pack up everything, have breakfast at a covered bench and table nearby, and head down to the ring road. Seems like our idea worked: tail wind! And no more rain! How much better can it get! At this speed, we'll be in Kirkubæjarklaustur in a matter of a few hours, may even make it all the way to Vík today! But somehow, we don't travel too fast: the landscape that only yesterday seemed dull when seen from the bus is now overwhelming. Feeling the ... read more
Straight as a board

Europe » Iceland » South » Vík July 1st 2009

After yesterday's fun day of headwind-cycling, we decide to try and use the headwind - which seems to be the predominant direction the wind here - to our advantage. Since we had planned to get to Skaftafell, and then take the bus back, why not turn this on its head, take the bus to Skaftafell, and then cycle back along the south coast with tailwind? As it turns out, the bus stop is also directly at the campsite, so we don't even have to work hard to catch the bus - simply pack up, and make sure we stand ready at 11:40 for the bus. No problem: the bus is almost empty, plenty of space for our bikes, and we get tickets to Skaftafell. The road continues straight, but soon starts climbing quite rapidly up a ... read more
Heart in the rock
Basalt columns

Europe » Iceland » Southwest June 30th 2009

As yesterday, we have a good sleep in, and are again one of the last tents on the camp ground by the time we finally crawl out of the tent. Good thing the sun doesn't shine too much in Iceland - that way you can sleep as long as you want without getting roasted! While I start packing up the tent, Nadine goes shopping for some groceries. On her way to the store, she already notices that the wind isn't with us today... On the way out of town, we stop by the petrol station - I need some new burning liquid, enough with uncontrollable flames and sooty pots! They don't have much, so I opt for some charcoal lighter fluid which the clerk assures me, will burn. We'll see... The sky is cloudy, but no ... read more
Behind the water
Green & Waterfall
Hmmm...cheese sandwich!

Europe » Iceland » Southwest June 29th 2009

After a good night's sleep, we are woken up by the lawnmower, cutting the grass all around us. When we open the tent, it turns out that we are the last ones on the campground! No need to rush though, first we have some breakfast and the ever-important cup of coffee, before we start packing up again and get ready for our first full day of cycling after the break. The road leads south along the same road the bus brought us yesterday. The scenery isn't too impressive - mostly fields, and pastures, alternating between cows, horses, and sheep. The wind isn't on our side today, and by the time we reach the ring road, we're almost out of water, but manage to push through to Hella, the next largest town on the way South - ... read more
Follow the sign!

Europe » Iceland » Southwest June 28th 2009

Another day, another try: the alarm rings at 7, and we drag ourselves out of our sleeping bags. Stefan and Elinborg said something about breakfast last night, but they don't seem to be up for it now - there is no sound in the house. So we pack up, and start moving everything out of the house. We even find the back entrance to the cellar, to get at the bikes. Once everything is loaded up, and the bikes are ready to go, Stefan and Elinborg appear. But time is short, and we really want to catch this bus today - none of us is in the mood for yet another day of Reykjavik! Off we go to the bus station, arrive much too early again, and manage to squeeze our bikes on the bus to ... read more
Iceland horses

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