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From the 20th of June to the 13th of September 2017, your protagonist TripTrumpet was in Europe again, and again he had visions of heading toward his Grandma's village in Osikov, Slovakia. Would he get there? Spoiler: NO. But since this was the PLAN this time, the spoiler was preemptively spoiled. Things happen. That's a thing. Deal with it. I am. BUT let it not be said that the idea of continuing what turned out to be an odd two-part stab at the Grand Route To Osikov from Lisbon had ever stopped percolating. No, ever since I last left Europe I still had plans of return that would put MacArthur to shame: I would return! Still, questions remained. Like, where to start? How far to go? More importantly, where might I run into some interesting terrain, good food, and fertile grounds for yapping in a tongue that I more or less know on the way?

Good questions, all, and not for nothing is geography something of a habit of mine. So for roughly two years I kept looking at maps of Europe, putting one finger more or less on top of San Sebastian, Spain - as "far" as I got - and the other on Osikov, Slovakia (where I never "got to"). As evidenced by my last trip, where I doglegged from Lisbon through Porto to get to Salamanca... from which I promptly went on hiatus (read: Turkey, the Canary Islands), before recommencing for some unknown reason in San Sebastian to then only inexplicably (not true, but I'm on a roll) head in the opposite direction *from* Osikov to achieve Santiago de Compostella instead. Evidently I'm not a stickler for taking the most direct/obvious route from A to B. But the thinking for this trip nevertheless seemed to be repeatedly centering on starting somewhere in or near San Sebastian. I also deemed it important for unknown reasons to seeing some of the Pyrenees and the Alps as I headed Northeast. Throwing in an ocean - the Atlantic being the only handy one around - plus remembering an interest in Bordeaux cuz I do loves me some wine - and realizing I didn't want to start as far north as Nantes, which I'd been to before - obviously this trip was always meant to commence in La Rochelle. Always. Finally.

As for where to *stop* the cycling, *that* was always easier: Vienna. Long a city I wanted to get to know, this famed capital of empire and classical music wouldn't be too crazily distant a destination from wherever I decided to start on the Atlantic Ocean. Calling it a day on the cycling there would allow for some proper nose-sticking nearby, too, should time be available (contacts in Brno and Budapest came to mind, plus Slovakia's capital, Bratislava). With all the above finally looking good and well, the time had come to do it. That the final decision was actually made rather suddenly - one day my fingers just lingered on the map decisively - was just par for the course. That always seems to be the way of things with me. No, they don't call me TripTrumpet for nothing. Actually, they do, and most folks don't even call me that, and that's not the point of this blathering, but my point is... well, there is no point. I came, I saw... and then I sweat, I met, I ate, I drank. I observed, too. Then I wrote.

La Rochelle, France: Another Good Place To Start
Back onto the Road, Trip: Cycling To Bordeaux, France
Continuing the Cycle Tour On To Pau, France
Cycling Mostly On The Down Low of the French Pyrenees
Cycling Under the Auspices of Mediterranean France
Cycling a Slice of the French Alps
Cycling Through Ever-Changing Borders Into Austria
Vienna, Austria
Brno, Czechia
Bratislava, Slovakia
Budapest, Hungary
Bailing Out

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