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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Fig jam and careless days

Balkans cycling trip, Days 24-27  29 July – 1 August 2017: Qeparo We thought we deserved a few days’ rest and Qeparo was the perfect place to relax. Lying on the beach, picking figs and preparing fig jam were the main programs during these 4 days. Distance: 0 km Total distance: 1321 km We felt we deserved a few days off cycling after the hard days through the mountains. Anyway, Qeparo was one of our main destinations apart from Greece because we had spent very pleasant days in this small seaside town in 2009 and 2012.  The four days were …

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Forgotten roads and moonlike dust

Balkans cycling trip, Day 21 26 July 2017: Ura Vajgurorë – Greshicë My bicycle is finally repaired properly and after a short stop in historical Berat we continue south across the mountains. The route offers a row of surprises, good and bad, as we learn to ride our bikes on roads with potholes and huge stones covered with ten centimetres of fine dust. Distance: 70 km Total distance: 1218 km Crossing the central mountains of Albania is not an easy feat unless you have a 4-wheel drive because there are very few paved roads. This was the reason why I abandoned the plan …

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Rural idyll and smell of oil

Balkans cycling trip, Days 19-20 24-25 July 2017: Golem – Ura Vajgurore More visits to repair shops, donkeys, lovely lakes and delicious cakes. A long and tiring but also relaxing journey from the bustling tourist resorts and industrial cities to Central Albania’s farming country with a drop of oil. Distance: 102 + 10 km Total distance: 1148 km To our surprise, there was thick fog in the morning by the sea and it also meant that it was a little less hot. I had to start the day with some maintenance: I noticed a big cut on my saddle so …

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Dust and getting lost

Balkans cycling trip, Day 17 22 July 2017: Ulez – Vore From the green mountains down to the plain. A long and exhausting day with a little from everything: crazy traffic and deserted dirt roads, big city crowd and goat herds, getting lost and luckily finding a nice hotel in the end Distance: 84 km Total distance: 1001 km I was woken up by the sound of cowbells before sunrise and I didn’t feel like going back to sleep. I sat down on the concrete wall over the lake and watched the fishing boats on the lake. Later a woman …

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Shivering and lazing

Balkans Cycling Trip, Day 11 Just a cold, rainy day when we all we did was wait for the sun to appear from behind the clouds. 16th July 2017: Plav by the lake Distance: 0 km Total distance: 658 km This was the first day the bikes didn’t move a metre; they stayed chained to a bench as we left them the day before. The weather in Plav was so unfriendly, cold and windy all day, that we preferred to walk the 2 km to the foodstore and back. Still it was good to have a break from cycling and …

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Lake Plav greets us after tunnels and rain

Balkans Cycling Trip, Day 10 Another light day cut short by the rain. We ride our bikes towards the Albanian border in a hidden corner of Montenegro. As we pass through dark tunnels, we enjoy the stunning landscape and the atmosphere of small towns. And the views from our campsite by Lake Plav make us stay longer. Day 10 (15 July): Bijelo Polje – Plav Distance: 68 km Total distance: 658 km Start the day with rakiya! We woke up to a cool morning under the fruit trees and soon we were sitting with our host family drinking coffee in …

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