I have ridden well over three thousand kilometres between the Finnish Baltic city of Vaasa and the cobbled streets of Slovakia’s Bratislava on the Danube River. The roads have taken me through many fascinating cultural and historical cities, divided by endless agricultural fields baking in the European summer. I’ve also had my share of mountains to traverse, and despite plenty of ‘training’ in Norway, I struggled through the 800m climbs in Moravia and Bohemia. I’m now meandering along the Danube River between Linz and Budapest, enjoying the flat cycle path through a series of captivating cities and scenic countryside.
In each country I have adapted various strategies to keep the budget low. In Finland, however, I discovered how to earn money each day! Finland has extremely generous refunds for recyclable bottles and cans, and each supermarket has a machine to process the 15 to 40 cent refund for each item. As I cycled along I watched the roadside instead of the road, collecting any bottles and cans that I could spot. Cycling towards Turku over a Saturday evening and Sunday morning earned me nearly twenty euro’s, and by the time I caught the ferry to Estonia I had covered most of my expenses. So if you’re looking for an affordable way to cycle tour (as well as a way to help the environment), head to Finland with a bag!