Hilly day. Very hilly day! I said to Sven we should get up early to leave when it’s cool. I didn’t mean 5am early though – it was still dark enough to see the milky way! Went back to sleep and we left a bit after 7am when it actually light.
After a long gruelling climb we reached a nice downhill stretch. I was doing about 40km/h when I saw a pothole ahead, so I eased to the right to avoid it, and found myself in the path of another bigger pothole. Now, potholes are not fun on any bike, but on a bike with 16″ wheels, they are especially troublesome. Anyway, I held on for dear life (I really thought I was going down on that one) and survived – the bike seems to be intact as well.
After another long climb I returned to Geography student mode. The main road from Igoumenitsa (main port in NW Greece) to Thessaloniki (big city in NE Greece) and Turkey is like an A road in the UK, but with very big hills and lots of hairpin bends. All the traffic passes along it, from cars, campervans, buses and trucks – even the odd cyclist! At one point it is single file, and passes over an ageing metal bridge, that isn’t asphalt, but metal sheets with bike wheel sized gaps between. Everywhere along the road you can see the construction work for the new motorway, and the EU funding signs.
Along the way we were passed by 10 or 15 British campervans. All tooted and waved, and one driver even shouted “marvelous sight” as he passed by. Later on and there were more GB campervans, and one stopped to ask me directions.
Metsovo was the target for the day, and when we reached it Sven walked (no way we were cycling downhill only to have to come up the same way again) down the hill into the town with water bottles so we could camp wild when we found a nice spot. Just up the next hill and I spotted a track up to the left, with rolling grazing land. Followed that for about half a km and found a nice spot. Sven went to ask farmers for permission, and while he was gone I asked the farmer that walked by for permission.
Still trying to get parts delivered. Thought about sending them to campsite in Thessaloniki. Mum looked one up and phoned, but they didn’t speak english. They put an english speaking guest on the the phone, who turned out to be one of the GB campervan drivers. Mum said “but there must be lots of cycle tourers, are you sure it was him”, he said “weird bike, trailer with GB sticker and Union Jack”, Mum said “yeah that’s him…”!