RACE REPORT WK SUN 25 MAY – SAT 1 JUN 2020
As ‘lockdown’ continues, so too does the virtual race around Europe for the North Belfast Harriers. Both the solo and the socially-distanced miles have accumulated to travelling nearly half-way round the world at this point!
‘One club, One Team, One Community’
Commencing the third week of the European tour on Bank Holiday Monday, NBH started almost on the Swiss/Italian border. From here we travelled south skirting the bottom of Lake Como as we completed the first step into Milan.
Once in Milan we turned our attention to the east and take the road to Brescia, then passed through Peschiara del Garda on Lake Garda. Our next stop was in Verona to see Juliette’s Balcony and then on to Venice.
From Venice we headed to the south west where our next major city was Florence and then it was off to Pisa and that famous leaning tower.
6140 miles along the route took the harriers in to the centre of Rome. As at this stage we had travelled 6139.42 miles. Staying in Rome we ‘visited’ the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pallatine Hill, the Spanish Steps, The Trevi Fountain, St Mark’s Square and Vatican City.
NBH feet started out on the road south west to Florence before heading due west to Pisa. From here we headed due South parallel with the Italian coast through Tuscany to Rome.
Comparisons were made between a certain leaning tower in Pisa and our own leaning clock in Belfast.
At this stage of lockdown, the club members were again reminded that the roads were getting busier and the continued need for social distancing.
Day 17 meant saying goodbye to the Italian capital. From Naples after about 140 miles then we visit several places in quick succession. Mount Vesuvius, Pompei, Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi all along an incredible stretch of coastline. From Salerno we then head due South towards the toe of Italy to the town of Messina from where we will take the ferry across to Sicily.
Overnight was in the town of Cosenza in the far south of Italy. We as a team of 137 club participating members have covered 6914 miles in the space of 18 days, often enjoying the local cuisine along the way.
The local weather mimicked the hotter European climes meaning that there were fewer ‘miles’ covered. Nonetheless, we took the ferry to Sicily and travelled about 80 miles to the south of the island. From here we ‘took’ another ferry, heading for Valletta in Malta. On arrival in Malta we made a short trip to the Blue Lagoon before returning to Valletta and taking another ferry back to Sicily. From Sicily we headed back into mainland Italy heading for Brindisi on the Eastern coast from where we grabbed our last vessel over to Corfu. Lots of ‘running’ on water over these few days!
At this point we left Italy through the port of Brindisi and into Greece via Corfu. We had then started on the road to Athens and reached a small town called Vonitsa.
Plans were made to reach the coast and head across the Adriatic to Corfu and on to mainland Greece. In Greece, we travelled through Patras, Corinth and then Athens. Boarding the ferry to Charia in Crete, NBH made the crossing to Sitia (165 miles), stopping briefly in Rhodes before heading to Marmaris in Turkey. Izmir, Bursa ad Istanbul were all on the map too.
Courtesy of FB NBH News/Events – Heather Wilson, Diane and Andy Taylor
The beginning of Week 4 started off in Turkey with plans to then pass into Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia.
We left North Macedonia late morning passing into Albania and headed for Tirana via Elsban. Once through Tirana we made tracks for the border with Montenegro and the city of Podgorica which we passed through towards the end of today. We finally took our rest in the town of Danilovgrad.
We started in Danilovgrad in Montenegro before heading for the coast and yet another border. This border led us into Croatia and to the city of Dubrovnic. We then made plans to head further north into Bosnia and Herzegovina towards the city of Sarajevo.
I hope that you are all enjoying our trip around Europe. During the course of today we will pass the 9,000 miles mark. If you add to this the over 2000 miles that we covered when doing the circuit of Ireland, we are over 11,000 miles.
We started out on the final stretch to Belgrade before heading into two new countries and visiting two major cities. The initial stage of today’s journey took us across the Romanian border to the city of Timisoara before heading North West and across the second border of the day into Hungary and the city of Budapest.
The stags’ journey started in Budapest, a beautiful city where east meets west on either side of the Danube river. From here we travelled North West along the banks of the Danube until we crossed the Slovakian border to visit the city of Bratislava. At this point we intended to turn due west and very quickly cross another border this time into Austria and in just 42 miles, finding ourselves in the city of Vienna. Our route subsequently led us to the city of Graz (anyone feeling like a challenge when we arrived was invited to take a trip to the castle, only a ‘few’ steps away for a team well used to being on their feet!) and on to the Slovenian border.
The mountainous terrain hindered the speed of progress and club members spent overnight in a small town, in Austria, more accustomed to winter visitors, called Flachau. The scenery was nothing short of spectacular.
Another Saturday in Europe saw us start out in Graz. Not sure if it was at the top, the bottom or the middle of those steps but definitely starting somewhere!
As expected, this was a big day for our mileage and we sailed through Salzburg early on. From here we made our first foray into Germany headed for Munich before turning East for the Czech border and the city of Prague. After Prague we then crossed the German border for the second time and this time we ran through the German city of Dresden. Surpassing all expectations, the club ‘reached’ Berlin today, the last point before embarking on the fifth week of our European Odyssey.
Progress … NBH on tour!