Hungary’s leaning tower and other beauties

Day trip in North-East Hungary Admire a fairy-tale palace, cross a floating bridge and meet Hungary’s own leaning tower on a day trip from Miskolc to Tokaj You can travel by: bicycle or car Distance: about 90 km Return trip: hourly trains from Tokaj or Bodrogkeresztúr Tokaj is a pretty small town in North-East Hungary and home to one of the best known Hungarian export items, Tokaji wine. The town and the nearby villages offer wine-tasting programs for all budgets but there is more to this area than just alcohol. Tokaj has a nicely renovated centre with lovely houses, cafés …

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Grumpy conductors and night cycling in Belgrade

Balkans cycling trip, Days 42-25 16-19 August 2017: Korçë – Ohrid – Belgrade – Subotica – Szeged We say goodbye to Albania and get a taste of Macedonia in the lakeside town of Ohrid. Then we struggle with grumpy conductors and bus drivers and ride a bike in Belgrade at midnight. After long bus rides we enjoy the last 50 km on our bicycles back to Hungary. Distance: 74 km + 13 km + 52 km Total distance: 2024 km A group of  teenagers were gathering at the hotel early in the morning to start their training. They all wore …

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Aching bodies and disintegrating gear

Day 41 (15 August): Gërmenj – Korçë Distance: 75 km Total distance: 1885 km   One more delicious breakfast by Farma Sotira and we were out on the road again. We were planning to camp in the wild for one last time because I found absolutely no information about the campsite in Kamenice, marked on my Locus map. I thought we might even get as far as Korçë, only 12 km further down the road.  The first 10 or 15 km were mostly downhill through evergreen pine forests and the road was good enough. When Anita asked how difficult the …

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Pinched grapes and a clumsy thief

Days 39-40 (13-14 August): Permët- Gërmenj Distance: 56 km Total distance: 1810 km In the morning we were thankful to see the dog didn’t take any of our shoes so we sat down in the bar of the eco-camp for a quick coffee. We gave the Greek gas cannister to our hosts in case they could sell them and we took some photos before we said goodbye. We knew this day would be one of the toughest because we had to climb up to 1130 metres from the valley (at around  350 m). And, as usual, the road wasn’t flat …

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Swimming with village lads and feeding a baby sheep

Day 38 (12 August): Gjirokastër – Permët Distance: 65 km Total distance: 1754 km It wasn’t easy to leave the comfort of the hotel room and we had to do it early. According to the weather forecast, this would be the last day of a heat wave. The overwhelmingly kind lady wanted to help us carry the bikes out to the street and then she oiled her hands trying to help me to put back the chain on Aron’s bicycle. Then we waved goodbye with black fingers and looked for a place to have breakfast. At the end of 18 …

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Another pass and some Greek déjà vu

Day 37 (11 August): Ksamil – Gjirokaster Distance: 67 km Total distance: 1689 km To cross the Macedonian border at Lake Ohrid we had to head to the mountains that separate the coastal areas from the alluvial plain of the Vjosa river. Once again we sad goodbye to the rooftop camping area (the owner says it will be covered with artificial grass soon and more shade will be provided by some special bean type). If we ever come this way again, we’ll surely stay at Ksamil Camping Caravaning even if we don’t spend any time on the beach… After the …

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Dizzying temperatures and a foaming maniac

Balkans Cycling Trip – Days 35-36 9-10 August 2017: Sidari – Ksamil We leave Sidari and head back to the capital of Corfu. This time our timing is better and we manage to squeeze two days’ distance into one despite the dizzying temperatures. It’s great to be back in Ksamil for one more relaxing day. Distance: 92 km Total distance: 1622 km Back to Albania As so often during our travels, we changed our plans again on our last day on Corfu. Originally we were going to head to the mountains directly from Igoumenitsa and reach Leskovik, high in the …

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Puncture after flat tire and a little sightseeing

Balkans Cycling Trip – Days 31-34 5-8 August 2017: Igoumenitsa – Sidari We wake up on the sandy beach and miss the early boat because of a puncture (followed by another one not long after). We spend hours in downtown Kerkyra (Corfu City) before cycling up north to Sidari. A modest distance but tough hills and yet another puncture slow us… Distance: 52+40 km Total distance: 1530 km Sleeping on the beach was not as peaceful as we expected: we were woken by stray dogs and the waves several times but at least we were ready to go shortly after …

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Greek coffee and tons of mosquitoes

Balkans cycling trip, Day 30 The day starts with a romantic ferry trip and breakfast in a forgotten village. Then we finally cross the border and arrive in Greece! Roadside dinner, mosquitoes attack us and we take a shower under the stars on our 30th day. 4 August 2017: Ksamil – Igoumenitsa (Greece) Distance: 65 km Total distance: 1438 km Our last night in Ksamil was anything but ideal. Two groups of guests arrived at the campsite around midnight and it took them nearly an hour to to put up the two simple tents. Then, when we were trying to …

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Stray dogs and rooftop camping

Balkans cycling trip, Days 28-29 2-3 August 2017: Qeparo – Ksamil A short day’s cyling along the picturesque Albanian Riviera and coffee stops in some lovely villages on the way. Then another day by the sea – perhaps we’re getting lazy? Rooftop camping in Ksamil is highly recommended! Distance: 52 km Total distance: 1373 km The day before the owner of the apartment house warned us to leave before 9. Normally I would have found it far too early but we wanted to make good use of the cooler hours of the morning so we didn’t mind. We managed to …

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