For my new tour I am planning something more extraordinary than just a very long bike ride.
I love to be in the mountains – but I am no mountain biker, and so I must go for a hike. There is virtually nothing better than the breath-taking view from the top of a mountain – especially if it is the highest mountain in its particular range.
I want to push myself to another level. I want to be higher than ever before – as high as possible on my home continent. I want to climb Mount Elbrus in Russia with an elevation of 5,642 meters (18,510 feet).
As my parents have previously climbed two of the seven summits, I am both very proud and a little jealous going into this adventure. However, there is no need for jealousy, “If you want something – go for it,” I thought – and so I’ve decided to climb one of the seven summits as well.
Some people might say now that this is quite easy, and that’s true – there are easier ways to go there, but that’s not my style of travelling. And so I thought I could make the journey a bit more complex.
As I found out, the lowest point of Europe is in the Netherlands. I was overjoyed at finding this out, as it was also the country where I wanted to start my tour. What better place to get as high as possible from, then the lowest point?
It wasn’t originally the elevation (approximately -7 meters or -23 feet) which prompted me to choose my starting point, a place called “Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel” in the Netherlands – it was the Rhine. The Rhine is the beginning (or the end depending upon perspective) of the Rhine-Main-Danube-Channel which flows its way through 11 countries, a total of 3,500 kilometres (2,175 miles) all over Europe, until finally ending in the Black Sea.
As I have already biked through these countries, I want to instead cross them by kayak. Not just any kayak, a “Hobie kayak”, the design of which allows me to use my well trained legs and cross further, faster than if I used my hands and arms.
But nevertheless, I know that I will eventually miss riding my bike, and so I continue this trip with a bike ride from the coast of the Black Sea to come closer to the highest point.
Upon arriving at the coast of the Black Sea I will switch vehicles to the bike and continue to the east coast of the Black Sea by land. The route is not yet fixed, but I will go either via Turkey and Georgia, or Ukraine and Russia.
Finally, when I arrive at the Caucasus Mountains – the highest mountain range in all of Europe – I debark from my bike, continuing on foot to climb Mount Elbrus.
The planning for this tour is still in progress, and I will inform you with all new milestones along the way.