We are carrying entirely too much stuff!!
At least that is the conclusion we drew from having sore legs and hurting knees after crossing another mountain pass. We can't wait to get back to Germany to leave some of our gear, extra parts, and what ever else we can purge and have not needed in the last few months...or at least anything that would make this mountain-climbing-business a little bit easier.
Dejan gave us plenty of time before needing to meet up with him again at his family's house in the Soča Valley. Obviously, he knew that the route there would be absolutely amazing and that it would take us some time to ride the few miles. He was right. There were a few more historical sites, an old WWI military
After 36 hours, our ferry finally arrived in Trieste...6 hours late, but just in time for sunrise, which was lucky for us, since we were not sure where to go to at 01.30 am in Trieste anyway.
We quickly gathered our belongings and our bikes and rode into town to grab a coffee, pastry, and to get on the internet to figure out where to go.
"The longer you stay on Crete...the longer you'll stay on Crete!!", that is only one of the warnings we have heard while procrastinating to leave the Island. Apparently, there is some magical power on the island, that just sucks people in and makes people stay for weeks or months on end, if they are not careful. The warm sunny weather, the great scenery with the deep blue water on one side and the rugged mountains on the other, the laid back, care free attitude of the islanders, make it really easy to fall in love with the island. Also, it felt so good to finally wake up in shorts and t-shirts and to be able to sit around in shorts in the evening over a glass of wine without shivering. So no wonder, that it actually took a few days of waking up, looking at each other and saying..."Maybe tomorrow!" to finally leave Crete.
We were told: it is impossible to travel through Greece without visiting at least one island! Well, since we finally have nice, warm weather and we really like waking up in shorts and T-shirts, we made a split decision to take a ferry to one of the many Greek islands.
As we wake up in the morning, we can really tell, that our wild camp spot we had found last night in the dark was not very stealthy at all. Although, it was quite a distance from the main road, we could see the few cars drive by in clear sight, which meant that drivers should have been able to spot us easily as well. At least there is only little traffic going over the mountain on this
After 11 days in Meteora, a lot of hiking, a twisted ankle, and experiencing our first bad case of travel fatigue (which the topic deserves it's very own blog entry) we finally came to the conclusion that it would be the best thing is to keep cycling through central Greece to Athens as we had planned. Should we still feel like we need a break from the bike we can still decide there on how to continue.
Only a few miles outside Meteora it starts to pour on us...just in time to get us completely soaked, before arriving at our campground. Wet and cold, we set up our tent and spend the rest of the day mostly in our tent, trying to dry out and warm up.
The campground at the bottom of the beautiful and unusual rock formations in Meteora is a cycle tourer's paradise. There are sheltered tables and benches next to the tent pitches and
Our last climb out of Albania leads us straight up to the Greek border. Apparently, the border runs right along the ridge of the mountain range between Albania and Greece. So, once we finally reach the summit, we decide to spend our last few Lek that we still posses to reward ourselves with an ice cold coke and two portions of almost as cold french fries. But who cares! We finally made it up the mountain to take a rest and get to enjoy the view, before cycling Northern Greece.
As we roll up to the Albanian border, we are a little nervous and at the same time excited about bicycle touring Albania; but most of all we are curious about entering this mysterious country. On our way here we have heard all kinds of stories about Albania ranging from "Don't worry, Albanians are nice!" to "It's the Wild West of Europe! Watch out for the bad roads and drivers!" and "Be careful, there are people shooting at cars at night!"
For some strange reason it always seems customary for people to warn us about the neighboring country, just to find out that the people in the other country have the same warning about the one we have just traveled through. Maybe people should