We start our Allies Odyssey with the tide out rolling across the bridge from Mont St Michel to mainland Normandy. Our trail is historic and relaxed as this Odyssey takes in more forgiving terrain and less kms per day (average 55km) giving us time to explore the epic history all around us. We pedal through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and into Germany – crossing the sensational regions of Normandy, Picardy, Flanders, The Ardennes and along the Moselle. Following and examining the two greatest historical conflicts of recent times – WWI and WWII.
This volcanic wonderland shaped and fueled the revolutionary thoughts of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, born in 1928. ‘The Man’ himself cuts a fascinating figure – equally revered and reviled around the world. Starting in Bariloche, Argentina, we follow in his footsteps; criss-crossing the Andes, circumnavigating the island of Chiloé and into the breathtaking lake districts and volcanoes of Patagonia. Then we pedal north along the exceptional Pacific Coast and explore the New World wine regions of Chile.
Hannibal Barca, one of history’s greatest military commanders, was raised to hate all things Roman. In the 3rd century BCE he went on a fifteen year campaign – a clash of the ancient superpowers – rampaging through Italy, defeating army after army with tactical ingenuity. Follow his famous elephant-led surprise attack, over the Pyrenees into France’s Languedoc and Provence. Climb the Alps and descend into Italy’s Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and finally to Rome. Experience some of Europe’s most beautiful and breathtaking routes and infamous climbs, fueled by the diverse gastronomy of world-renowned cuisines and one’s own legs!!
Richard I of England, also known as ‘Lionheart’ is remembered as an iconic hero of the Englishspeaking world. In the 12th century he led the Third Crusade against one of Islam’s greatest heroes, Saladin – it was the clash of the giants of medieval history. When Lionheart was returning home to France he was shipwrecked just off Venice. Follow in his footsteps from here, on a journey of escapades, imprisonments, ransoms, and battles, to his final resting spot at the Fontevraud l’Abbaye.
From the colourful Moroccan souks (markets) in Marrakesh to the Sahara Desert and the epic Atlas Mountains, we cross the Mediterranean, as the Moorish invaders did just over 1300 years ago. Spain’s best cycling awaits with the stunning Sierra Nevada and magnificent rolling Andalucian olive and orange groves. 700 years of Moorish occupation have left an indelible and fascinating cultural stamp, visible as we pedal through castle-topped towns and whitewashed villages, now tuned to the rhythm of Flamenco! On into Portugal and UNESCO filled Alentejo. Vines, cork forests and first class Pousadas bedeck our days as we descend into the beautiful Douro, along which we wind all the way to Porto on the Atlantic shore to complete our Odyssey.
Australia’s island state of Tasmania is full of contrasts; from white deserted beaches to rugged mountains and rainforests, wild rivers and historic villages. More than 42% of the state is National Park and much of that is World Heritage listed. We will explore Tasmania’s unique flora and fauna and breathtaking natural beauty: Also explore its European settlement history – plentiful for such a short period and unfortunately, remarkably bloody. We learn about the indigenous people of Tasmania from their descendants – hear their stories of the Dreamtime and see Tasmania through their eyes as it was pre white-settlement.
Odyssey……meaning to voyage, trek, travel, quest, crusade, pilgrimage, wander and journey.
The Odyssey…..An epic journey and challenge, an exceptional historical tale, an amazing character.
From the soaring Byzantine dome of the Aya Sofya in Istanbul, across the glittering island studded Mediterranean, to Odysseus´ home Ithaca in the Ionian Islands, ‘The Odyssey’ is true to its origins (besides its 10 year duration!) and the modern day definition of the word.
Marco Polo was not the first European to travel to Asia, but he was the first to chronicle his adventures and share it with the rest of the world. In his spirit of adventure, we take a spectacular route, cycling from his hometown of Venice across the Adriatic to Slovenia and then south through the Istrian Peninsula, island hopping along the Dalmatian Coast to end in Dubrovnik. This Odyssey is cruisy in every way – lovely riding, (always with extra loops for those who want them!), luxurious hotels and plenty of time to soak up the culture with olive oil and wine tastings, truffle forest hunting, museum visits and frequent dips in the consistently glorious teal and green Mediterranean Sea.