Gazing At Maps

posted by: Emma

We’re huge fans of cartography. Our first cycle tours in the England were completed Camping beside Lake Iznikwith the help of a mix of UK Sustrans route maps, photocopies from road atlases and the beautifully accurate OS range. After heading West in Spain, our Picos de Europa map gave us a quick refresher in the importance of reading pass indicators. Later in Bulgaria we tried reading maps in Cyrillic, and then in Edirne, Turkey Justin gave up on the hunt for a good quality map and cycled back to Greece to buy one.

Though we’re currently not cycle touring, we have still been spending a lot of time staring at maps these last few weeks.

Where we’ve been

As we left England we decided to take a photo of every place we slept and record the GPS co-ordinates of every camp spot to give us a simple log of our trip. We sometimes plain forgot to take photos, and the GPS broke somewhere in Serbia but with the data available Justin has spent the last week mashing these together. He pulled the series of tent photos out of our archive folders, linked them to aSunrise at Panta de la Baells Google map and set up a cool slideshow. Check out Where We Sleep for a country by country breakdown, and to see the complete route go to our Route page.

Now we have the technology in place we should update the Where We Sleep page while we’re on the road next year.

Where we’re going next

We’re already planning 2011’s cycle touring as part of our continuing journey east. We plan to take in some European countries as we cycle through the Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia, China and South East Asia. We’ve got a time and funding restriction of about a year of travel from April 2011. We need to sort out country visas and want to make sure that we hit critical countries in the right season.

We’re starting to research options for routes but while sorting out gear repairs we’re yet to put our full attention to the task. So far the planning has mostly consisted of:

  • Being given a map of China from Roger and Catherine before they left Istanbul, deciding that China is really big and putting the map on the shelf in our flat to look at later
  • Discussing ferries to Japan (not on the list above!) with Hando who says he would love to host us when he gets back to South Korea (not on the list above!)
  • Reading an email from Tara and Tyler who say that there is some amazing cycling in Russia where we could then cross the border into Western Mongolia, potentially adding some time to our plans for the Cycling shadow near Mionicaregion. 

We will spend a good chunk of winter poking virtual pins in our Route Map, but we’d like your help as well. If there is a place on the way from Turkey to South East Asia that you think we might like to visit then add a reader suggestion to our map.

Its really easy – to add a reader suggestion, visit our Route Map and click on the place you’d like us to visit. You can add some details about the place you have clicked on in a pop-up box. Don’t worry about making it 100% accurate on the map as we will contact you for more details if we plan to visit the spot you suggested.

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