Cycling the Iron Curtain

Paul Kaye had an idea. He loves cycling, photography, and Cold War history, so he decided to combine the three by cycling the length of the old Iron Curtain from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic and documenting his journey.

The 3,600 km (2,237 mile) ride took in several different countries, some of which didn’t even exist when the Cold War was on, and countless towns and villages that are now reunited after a long period of separation.

His photos of crumbling watchtowers and scraps of the Berlin Wall are highly evocative, especially to someone like me who grew up with the threat of nuclear war hovering over his head. I remember in high school when someone was talking about something that might happen in the far future, they’d qualify it by saying, “If we don’t blow ourselves up first.” I’m very happy I haven’t heard that expression for twenty years now.

Paul’s Curtainrider blog tells the whole story. The BBC has a great gallery of his photos here. He’s also come out with a lavishly illustrated book telling of his adventures.

The European Union is turning the entire route into an Iron Curtain Trail for hikers and cyclists, so get your bike ready and head out to see some history.

Gadlinks for Tuesday 7.28.09

Welcome to this Tuesday’s edition of Gadlinks. Ready for a rollercoaster ride worth of thrills and chills from around the travel world? Hang on tight, some of our favorite stories are coming this way:

  • Summer is all about hot days and delicious cold ice cream. Lucky for travelers, they serve up ice cream pretty much anywhere you might go, though they enjoy some rather odd flavors abroad. Ever considered Viagra or horseflesh-flavored ice cream? [Via MSNBC]
  • Imagine taking off for an around the world trip, with stops on six continents spanning wild extremes of temperature and activities. Ever wondered what you might pack for that trip? Here’s an insanely detailed look, with photos, of one man’s packing list.
  • Stereotypes are made to be broken. That certainly didn’t stop the team at Bootsnall from investigating 10 Backpacker Stereotypes. Did they hit the mark? Are they way off base? Take a look. [Via Bootsnall]
  • Eastern Europe was long known as the “Iron Curtain,” a reference to the all-too-real barriers separating these many Soviet satellites from the West. If you’re interested in Cold War history (and want to get a little exercise too) consider a bike trip along the “Iron Curtain Trail.” [Via The New York Times]

More Gadlinks HERE.