EV9 – bottom line

The countries

What remains after such a journey? Sorting the impressions in such a way that they don’t appear here like herbs and turnips is not so easy. I’ll start with the countries. First of all: all of them were worth it, none of them disappointed me. At most, it is difficult to find the one point that has left the most lasting impression, because that also means not naming so many others. I’ll try anyway:

In Poland I was most impressed by the cordiality and openness of the people towards the foreign cyclist, who hardly understands their language and speaks even less. And this is especially true in the north, perhaps because the people on the coast and its back country have always been more open-minded about the world through trade by sea than further inside the continent.

In the Czech Republic, it was the Moravian Karst and its often lonely landscape that have buried themselves in my memory. And fortunately, I could not reaffirm the impression of unfriendly personnel in the gastronomic sector that Uta and I had gained on the Elbe. Is there a regional difference between Bohemia (Elbe) and Moravia (EV9)? Or did we simply have bad luck in June?

Austria is for me inseparably connected with Hundertwasser. I was deeply impressed by the area around the spa in Bad Blumau, where he showed architectural ways in which people do not simply submit to nature, but can live in harmony with it.

Slovenia is a small country with only 2 million inhabitants (= twice Cologne), but has a lot to offer in terms of landscape. Here, too, it is the karst with the glittering stalactite worlds in Postojna and the breathtaking underground halls and canyons in Škocjan that has left the most lasting impression. By the way, I will definitely travel to Slovenia again, for example to visit Bled and the Julian Alps with the Triglav and to experience the caves again together with Uta.

Finally Croatia, which I touched only marginally, namely in Istria, but which we could also get to know more intensively seven years ago. Here it was just like at that time the bumpy and narrow alleys in Grožnjan, this rock-rooted mountain village, which still exhales its original authenticity and has thus engraved itself in my emotional memory. Especially in the evenings and early mornings, when they are no longer or not yet populated by day tourists.

Travelling alone

I have been asked several times what it is like to travel alone. Of course I also asked that myself. And like everything in life it has advantages and disadvantages. As a person travelling alone, I don’t need to be considerate of anyone, nor can I be a burden to anyone. It is also easier to get to know other people, but maybe you force it more for reasons of social hygiene.

If you travel as a couple, you always have the opportunity to exchange ideas, share beautiful experiences, but also process unpleasant experiences together. Quite apart from the fact that in real emergency situations, which I have fortunately not experienced, you always have a backup, someone who can take the initiative if necessary and reduce the danger to challenge.

With the blog I have of course also written a little against being alone, as it gives me the illusion of telling you something. Of course, this kind of communication is very unbalanced and directed and, like voice messages on a mobile phone, does not allow for a direct reply – conversation is definitely different! But all the more I was happy about your comments, no matter if publicly here in this blog or personally e.g. via What’sApp. That gave me the feeling to be further connected with my homeland.

Once again?

So the crucial question that emerges from all this is: Would I do it again? And now that I am back home for a few days and the impressions have slowly settled down, I would say: Yes, I would want to experience foreign regions and countries by bike again. But it would be better to do it with a partner! And what is also slowly crystallizing out is that I probably wouldn’t necessarily follow a given route like a Eurovelo anymore, but would rather choose one or more countries, or a starting point and a destination, maybe certain places I want to see on the way. But I would make the exact route dependent on the local conditions and in particular on the people I meet, their knowledge and their recommendations.

Contrary to expectations

Not everything is the way you expected it to be on such a trip. And there are positive surprises in the process:

The Poles. Aren’t they the ones who always steal our cars and plunder the bulky waste? To put it briefly: there are gangs of thieves in every nation and if things that I sort out are still used elsewhere, it has a highly pleasing effect on the worldwide consumption of resources. I experienced the Poles I met as open, warm and very hospitable. And indeed: I didn’t expect that! Once again it shows how prejudices shape us!

Car driver. I had read a lot about the low status of cyclists in Eastern Europe. In fact, I have almost always experienced considerate drivers, who overtook with sufficient safety distance and also stayed behind me, as long as the route would have been confusing and an overtaking procedure too daring. The few exceptions were between Toruń / Thorn and Hohensalza / Inowrocław as well as in Croatia. In the first case I was on a heavily trafficked expressway. Cycling is allowed here, but due to the high speed differences between cars and bicycles it does not make sense. And I think that also applies to many German federal roads. In Istria, on the other hand, I already had the impression that the increasing disrespect for the more vulnerable road user is also a bit of a question of mentality.

However, my general impression is that as a cyclist in Germany I experience less consideration than in the five countries through which I have travelled. Traffic psychologists may analyze whether this is due to the fact that I am only a “normal” cyclist in Germany and do not obviously travel as a cyclist or simply have to do with the aggression potential caused by the high traffic density.

What was annoying?

Continuous sonication: Apparently there is no café, no bar anymore where guests are not overwhelmed with music. Inside as well as outside. Since tastes are very different, it seldom happens to mine. The crowning glory is when three bars are close together and three different styles are imposed at the same time. Guys: I don’t even want to listen to music all the time! I also like to have my head free to think. Do all senses have to be flooded at the same time? Silence is nothing bad! But it does lead you to deal with yourself from time to time. But maybe that’s where the overload lies.

Microsoft: In order to update the blog, I need my small (Windows) computer and Internet access. If I didn’t have the latter, I used my smartphone as a hotspot. After all, I have 2 GB of data volume per month. Nevertheless, that was gone sometime. Also not bad, I can unlock another 500 MB for a manageable amount of money. Thought, done. And while I’m still updating the blog, the 500 MB are already used up again, because Microsoft thinks they’ll have to update me unasked! Where is the setting with which I can specify that I don’t want updates temporarily? Can’t I at least be asked whether it suits me or not?

Facts and figures
The route

Here is an overview of the entire route:

Total distance: 2135.9 km
Max elevation: 965 m
Min elevation: -2 m
Total climbing: 11831 m
Total descent: -11786 m
Download file: Ev9_gl.gpx

The above illustration is strongly smoothed. If you zoom into the map, you will notice that the track is very generalized and often cuts off curves or runs alongside the paths. The exact representation of the tracks, as saved by my navigation device, would have been much too large and thus no longer manageable with my editing tools. Even if I had, the waiting times when loading the map would probably be unreasonable, even with a fast Internet connection. As a comparison below, the data recorded by the navigation device. I find the slightly higher total distance absolutely plausible, but the doubling of the total increase is not. Of course, the digital map image on which the above information is based misappropriates some unevenness in the terrain, the smoothing probably as well, but to deduce from it a halving of the actual difference in altitude seems daring to me. I rather suspect that the recording of the sat nav brings with it some inaccuracies due to the GPS-based altitude measurement, so that the calculated altitude difference at the top probably comes much closer to the actual altitude difference than the recorded one at the bottom.

Total distance 2.391 km
Max elevation 963 m
Min elevation 1 m
Total climbing 22.520 m
Total descent 22.500 m
Max velocity 63,2 km/h

other statistics

For the one who’s interested, here’s some more information:

Breakdowns: none! – Neither broken spokes nor even a single plate. In between I have only carried out minor maintenance work, such as cleaning and lubricating the chain or changing the brake pads. Since the qualities of the way demanded a lot from my bike, my respect for the almost 10 years old VSF Fahrradmanufaktur T50 increased again. Together with the 5 cm wide Schwalbe Marathon tyres, this is an enormously robust combination!

Overnight stays:

type of overnight stay count
motel / hotel / B&B 11
holiday flat 2
camp site 17
backcountry camping 3
warmshowers 4
private 3

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator


4 Replies to “EV9 – bottom line”

  1. Hello Thomas, thanks for the detailed description, that’s the only detailed Eurovelo 9 blog I found!

    Together with my boyfriend we’ll start the trip in 3 days and we are thinking about not taking with us all the camping equipment and sleep in basic hostels since I have not seen so many campsites on the route and that will safe us weight and therefore energy! It’s our first long bike trip and we are not specially fit so we don’t want to carry unnecessary weight.

    What’s your advise on that? I see that you have spent many nights camping, was it because you prefer camping rather than hotels or because it was the only option?

    Thanks for your help and enjoy the Pyrenees, that’s my weekend playground and I feel much more comfortable there than on the bike 🙂

    1. Hi Ines,
      In my “about me” I wrote that I like biking as well as hiking – depending on the landscape. That’s the reason why I’ll walk about the pyrenees and why I biked the Eurovelo9. Especially in Poland the surrounding changes slowly, but anyway there’s a lot to see. So don’t be afraid of biking. The good thing on large tours is: you don’t need to be trained, training comes on the way!
      My overnights were mixed: Camping (even on “wild” places), hotels and private hosts. When you are a member of warmshowers, trustroots or couchsurfing you can have many private stays with the big advantage to meet people, open your horizon and have inside information for free!
      I camped, because I simply wanted to try it and also to save some money. Nevertheless there are cheap hotels in the rural parts especially in Poland, where breakfast is so substantial that it lasts through the whole day – if you are able to manage it 🙂 There should be enough options not to camp – don’t worry!
      So have a nice trip full of good experiences – you will still tell your grandchildren about it!!!

  2. Danke für die informative Zusammenfassung (ich wollte das Modewort “Review” vermeiden) 🙂 Endlich ist auch die Frage beantwortet, die mich schon seit Wochen beschäftigt: Warum schriebst Du nie etwas von Reifen flicken…? Dass du tatsächlich auf der ganzen Route – über Schotter, Sand und was weiß ich nicht noch – keinen einzigen Platten hattest, konnte ich mir gar nicht vorstellen…
    Zum Thema “Alleine reisen” habe ich mir natürlich in den vergangenen 15 Jahren auch schon zahlreiche Gedanken gemacht und du hast es sehr schön in wenigen Worten komprimiert. Zwei Artikel zu diesem oft kontrovers diskutiertem Thema findest Du auch hier: http://my-greece.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/misc/editorial/alone.html

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