We cycled off the Greek ferry into the old centre of Ancona in Italy and there it stood blocking our way: a super fancy Maserati funeral car! There are no limits when it comes to style! We are quite the contrast with the Italians, who clearly follow the latest (cycle) fashions. My clothes are stained and Kiran even aims to cycle back home in the same clothes he took with him when we started this trip. His T-shirt has so many holes that it is about to fall apart and several people already offered him a new T-shirt to replace it!

In Ancona we also saw a new fashion style: how to wear a mask against Corona. Everyone was wearing a mask in the streets. Some for real, but many had them under their chin or strapped on their wrist or arm.

Just like in Greece the corona virus stopped all the tourists from coming into Italy. This of course has lots of really bad effects on people that live from tourism (we spoke to many telling about their problems and we even had a woman in a cafe in Greece cheering “yessszz, tourists!” at us when she saw us come in). For us it also meant we had the Greek beaches all to ourselves, and in Italy we were only with a few other tourists in Florence, Pisa and Torino compared to normal.

Since we arrived in France, we see many more tourists and it feels very strange. We were in our first city in France, Annecy, and it was packed! Cycling and staying outside all the time, camping in the wild, still feels the best way to avoid getting Corona, but cities and towns make us unsure how to avoid all the crowds in the huge supermarkets and how to still see the old highlights.

Since Italy we’re also not that special anymore. Lots of Italians and French people discover their own country by bicycle. We cycle at the moment via the Loire on a popular route (EuroVelo 6) and have seen more cyclists with full gear in the last few days than we have seen in our whole trip from Vietnam! Before we would have a talk with cyclists we saw on the road, about each other’s adventures. In France at first it felt strange not to stop anymore to have a chat, but now saying ‘bonjour’ every 5 minutes feels almost too much!

Meeting people was always easy because we look like complete idiots to most, cycling around with all the colourful bags, a flag and now even a mascot (fake) cat named Kattie. Here on the Loire in France people don’t even notice us, since so many cyclists pass by. We even follow a route that is so well signposted you can’t really call it adventurous anymore. All in all, since France, for the first time in this trip, we feel like normal tourists. A very strange feeling, haha. We are even part of a cycle trend, almost fashionable, but not yet for Italian standards!

We are cycling from Vietnam to Amsterdam (via London) to raise money so that 26 Burmese refugee children can go to school. You can help us to help them.

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