Total from Bewdley: 4735km: Daily Total: 134km; 1100m of climbing.
Today was the day we made it to our detination for this part of the trip (sorry to ruin the punch line). It was a day that had little else to commend it but was none the less unforgettable. I knew we had at least 130km to go, the forecast was for a continued ferocious headwind and we would be on main roads all day. It was all those, plus the most maniacal 2 hours cycling we’ve ever done.
Continue reading Day 27: Tekirdag to Istanbul
Total to date: 4601km: Today – 106km; 1450m of climbing and against the wind all day!
This was, by some measure, the toughest day of our trip. It started fine as we packed up having only been interrupted by one barking dog (and no humans, barking or otherwise) in the night. We were on the road by 7.30am starting from seal level on the northern side of the Gallipoli Peninsular, the Saros Korfezi, where my grandfather fought the Ottoman troops in WW1 (and contracted the TB which finally led to an early death). We began a gentle climb out of the village towards Sarkoy. Did I say “gentle” – well it was to begin with and then got steeper and steeper as we topped out at 320m.
Continue reading Day 2: Kavakkoy to just beyond Tekirdag
Total to date: 4495km; Today: 120km and 900m of climbing
Today was a mixed day. Principally it was a day dominated by wind – headwinds, side winds, blustery winds and occasional tail wind (see later) but mainly headwinds (of course).
Continue reading Day 25: Alexandroupoli, Greece to Kavakoy, Turkey
Total to date: 4375km: Day total 114km; 900+m of climbing
Another day in the saddle and a few more inches on the map towards Istanbul. We cross into Turkey tomorrow and have 2 1/2 days cycling left to get to our destination. This part of the ride is almost entirely absent from the Guide Book and so we both (foolishly) assumed there would be little to see.
Continue reading Day 24: Camping Natura (south of Xanthi) to Alexandropolis
Total to date: 4261km: Day total: 138km, 85 miles!!!!!!
This is written by Bernie: Today was a sort of non eventful day but also a mega day. We completed 85miles – the longest I think I’ve cycled, certainly fully loaded.
Continue reading Day 23: Oficina Beach to Camping Natura, south of Xanthi
Total to date: 4123km: Today – 112km: 400m of ascent
Today started with a massive thunderstorm – observed from our hotel room in Thessaloniki. We adopt the “no camping in major cities, when ill or when it is raining” rule. Here we hit all 3 with the same overnight stay!
Continue reading Day 22: Thessaloniki to Oficina Beach, 10km East of Amfipolis
Total to date: 4011km: Day total: 47km
There had to be at least one dud day and this was it. David woke in the night with a stomach upset and emptied all contents repeatedly. We both slept little thereafter but David was very tired and weak in the morning. We were in a motel in nowhere in particular and so were keen to get to Thessaloniki.
Continue reading Day 21: Pela to Thessaloniki
Total to date: 3964km: Today: 121km (a record for this trip); 700m of climbing (but quite a lot of descending too)
Today was – like Gaul – divided into 3 parts. But first a photo to show how stunning the morning light can be.
Continue reading Day20: Florina to Pela (40km short of Thessaloniki)
Total to date: 3843km: Day totals: 87km and 980m of climbing
Today was a day of mixed feelings. We both felt sad to be leaving Albania, which as David said yesterday was a revelation and really enjoyed the country. Perhaps we will come back. But we also had the prospect of a new country and new experiences. We had not thought much about Greece in the planning as we thought we would only get as far as Thessalonika, which is now only a couple of days away. But having ruled out a round trip in Montenegro (too many mountains and too hot, even for masochists like us) we gained a couple of days and, given that our planning was “conservative” (and hopefully the only conservative thing anyone can accuse us of) we are ahead of schedule. We have now set our sights are now on Istanbul so we have the whole of northern Greece to explore.
Continue reading Day 19: Korce, Albania to Florina, Greece
Total from Bewdley: 3756km: Daily total: 96km; 1200m of climbing
I am sitting in a cafe in a clean, attractive modern city which is plainly at ease with itself. There is a “beer festival” on at the moment (as it happens) and almost universally well dressed people are strolling around the pedestrianised parts of town in the early evening sunshine. If anyone had told me 3 weeks ago that this would our experience of Albania I would have seriously questioned their sanity. But Albania has been a complete revelation. We have, of course, only seen a small part of it but it has been almost universally impressive, full of welcoming friendly, people very reasonably priced and a land of outstanding beauty. So that is perhaps the main revelation to us from this trip so far – the unexpected wondrousness of Albania.
Continue reading Day 18: Librazhd to Korce
Total to date: 3660km: Today: 86km 1170m climbing.
Today was a good day, in fact a really good day. The rain storms of the last couple of days seem to have ushered in some cooler air and we both slept well with the relatively cooler temperatures, not even needing the AC, Too early for breakfast we brewed up our own coffee before setting off at about 7. Round the enormous Skanderberg Square (a famous 15thC warrior) and along the wide boulevards. Even though Monday morning the traffic did not live up to the write ups, although keeping eyes peeled for potholes and cars veering in unexpected directions was still required.
Continue reading Tirana to just beyond Librazhd
Total to date 3574km: Today – 30km.
The night was not brilliant because, following the storm,it was too hot and humid with the door to the balcony closed and we had the noise of main road and mosquitoes if the door was open. I thought that mosquitoes were not active during rain storms, but they looked for shelter and a bit of blood to suck, just like every other … (various smilies came to mind but none are printable so you will have to fill in the gaps for yourself). The air conditioning that had worked when we arrived continued to be dormant due to a total lack of electricity.
Continue reading Day 17: Fushe-Kruje to Tirana
Total: 3544km: Today 98km and 400m of climbing (a flattish day)
I am writing this looking out on a dramatic thunderstorm – pouring rain, forked lightening and booming thunder. Luckily we are under cover…..but I am jumping ahead. This morning was the beginning of our first full day in Albania and first day that felt an adventure in somewhere that was very different to Western Europe, with all the ups and downs that brings.
Continue reading Day 16: Shkoder to Fushe-Kruje
Total: 3446km: Today 112km (a record so far) – 1100m of climbing
Today started last night – at about 12.30am when we were awaken by very loud “house” music thumping out just below our room. After about 10 minutes I decided to investigate and found, to my astonishment, that the DJ had set up on the hotel balcony, just below our room and was booming sound out to the square.
Continue reading Day 15: Kotor, Montenegro to Shkoder, Albania
Total to date: 3234km: Day: 104km and 1100m of climbing
We managed as early start from Dubrovnik, much easier to negotiate our way out of the old city at 6.30am. Like all these towns and cities nestled into pretty bays and harbours surrounded by hills means only one thing to cyclists – a sharp climb from a standing start – and Dubrovnik lived up to this with a steep climb immediately out of the city then a long climb once on the main road (D8 of course) before plunging back down to sea level.
Continue reading Day 14: Dubrovnik to Kotor, Montenegro