Sunburn and one spectacular tumble aside, it’s good times all the way when one family takes the train from London to the start of their freewheeling Italian cycling holiday
I’d like to take credit for the brilliant notion of travelling by train to our summer holiday in Italy, but it was my wife who came up with the idea. By family consensus, our two best holidays ever have involved either overnight trains (Moscow to St Petersburg and back) or cycling (along the Danube) and she had found a way to combine the two.
The kernel of the holiday was six days’ cycling along the Adige River in the South Tirol. At this point, I need to stress that we’re not keen cyclists at all. I, my wife and our children, who are 13 and 11, cycle slowly and complainingly and mostly dismount if there’s a hint of an upward slope. But on that previous trip along the Danube, we’d been won over by the sense of collective adventure. There was something wonderful about inching our way to Vienna under our own steam – staying at different hotels each night – and the unpredictable encounters along the way. What I loved above all were the days that were free of devices, but full of shared incidents, schnitzel and cake.