Kitzy's Corner - Home from Greece
It finally got too much. I found that I just didn't want to cycle any more,
I was just too worn out. So I got the train to Paris where I spent a
touristy day walking around the city and seeing the sites. A tentative plan
had been to get the train a little way out of Paris and then continue
cycling to Cherbourg but in the end I decided to just jump on the Eurostar
back to England. There was a bit of palaver with the bike and after getting
off at Ashford I had to go to Waterloo the next day to collect it. All in
all it was a fantastic trip. Now I've just got to plan the next one!
Progress was extremely slow through Germany due to most people declaring
"But you must stay another day!". For a tired cyclist it's a hard offer to
My GCSE German came into good use, but I'm still glad I brought a
phrasebook along as in quiet moments I entertained myself by learning such
highly useful phrases as 'May I have this dance?' and 'Porter, take these
bags to my room'.
For a short time the weather cleared up and for a couple
of days the temperature hovered between 28 and 32C! The region of Germany I
was riding through had plenty of lakes to cool off in which was very nice.
spent two days with a friendly family exploring castles and zeppelins in the
Black Forest, and yesterday I crossed the border into France.
Not far to go
In the last week it's mostly been raining, it had to happen at some point I
suppose. On my last day in Hungary I woke up to the dreaded 'pitter patter'
sound on the fly sheet and the rain carried on all day. This combined with
the Headwind of the Damned did not make for pleasant riding! That evening I
stopped at a house to ask to camp and the woman who opened the door took
pity on the bedraggled cyclist she saw before her and took me to an empty
apartment in a block for elderly people. She told me I could stay for as
long as it took for the weather to clear up and I ended up staying two
nights, being grand-mothered by the residents.
The weather hadn't cleared up
but I carried on regardless, sploshing my way through the Austrian
countryside. One morning I woke up and was so shattered that I rode 25km
into Linz and found the Youth Hostel where I stayed for a night. Yesterday
morning I found my way to the house of a retired English couple who'd moved
to Austria last year and I slept at their house overnight. Today it's
still raining and after 60 very wet kilometers I stopped at a house for
water and am now staying the night. I've met so many kind people!
forecast for tomorrow is rain...
Three days after leaving Belgrade I crossed the border into Hungary. The weather's mostly been fantastic although on my second day in Hungary it absolutely tipped it down all morning. After 30km I met the owner of a motel who bought me coffee and food, and then said I could stay there the night for free! Later on in the afternoon the weather cleared up and we went to his friend's house where I was taken out horse riding. It was the first time I've been 'in control' of a horse, but it wasn't hard to pick up and I really enjoyed it.
Spending so much time on my own gives me lots of thinking time. The topic up for discussion at the moment is; If I put my sleeping bag in its stuff sack feet end first, how does it always come out feet end first? It's a mystery.
Everybody in Hungary assumes I'm German, which is actually quite good as my GCSE German is a lot better than my 5 day Hungarian! I'm feeling pretty tired, and home seems so far away, but I hope I can make it. Tonight I'm camping outside the home of an elderly couple. The Austrian border is only 25km away so I should be there tomorrow morning.
Greetings from sunny Serbia where Ronhill and Assos make cigarretes and keks
are a kind of biscuit! As you can see, today I wearily (bloomin' headwind)
peddaled into Belgrade.
I spent two days in Leskovac and it was a teary
farewell. That day I was approached by two curious boys (Nikola and Radush)
in a park, and ended up staying with one of their families. The next day
Nikola got on the phone and in a few minutes I had the next 5 night's
accomodation sorted out for me via his friends and relatives. Not bad eh?
don't know about you, but when I'm touring I find myself setting records to
try and break. At the moment it's how many kilometres it takes to spot 5
road-kill dogs (35km so far) and how many cups of coffee I can get offered
in one day (8 so far). On the subject of dogs; hot, dead dog is not a good
smell, and on the subject of coffee; I have now mastered the art of how much
liquid to leave in the bottom to prevent getting a mouthful of coffee grit.
Tonight I'm staying with two university students, one of whom is studying
English Literature. All going well I should be in Hungary in 3 days time.
You may notice a tragic lack of progess recently. This is due to the
fantastic hopsitality I have found across Macedonia and Serbia. In the end
I stayed in Veles for 3 days, and was interviewed by both the national paper
('fraid to say I made neither 1st or 3rd page) and a local radio station. I
crossed the border into Serbia two days later and haven't got very far since.
It's cold at night, but lovely and hot during the day.
Another update soon!
I'm sitting in a cosy office, munching biscuits and drinking Turkish coffee.
Yep you guessed it, I'm still alive! The day after posting my last update it
was 28C at 1.30pm! Not bad eh? That afternoon I was riding up a hill when a
car overtook, pulled over, then the occupants invited me to a BBQ just up
the road. Grilled catfish anyone? That evening I crossed the border to
donkey-powered Macedonia. The next evening I met two men who work for the
NGO center here and ended up being fed at one of their mother's houses and
looked after for the next two days! I'll get moving sometime this morning,
and may well get to Serbia this evening. Macedonia is fantastic, all
mountains and vineyards.
Bye for now!
First update and I'm writing from a 4-table cafe I've been left in charge of in a little village while the owner goes for a siesta. Earlier today I was fed and watered here (free of charge) and I've been invited in to stay the night. Greece is lovely; olive groves, mountains, sun. The olive groves are fantastic for wild camping, the mountains are gruelling but worth it at the top, and the sun... well I had a tan by the third day!
Yesterday I rode past snowy Mt Olympos and at the bottom, fed up with four days of sweat and grime, went skinny-dipping in a river flowing down from the mountain. So cold but so good!
One of the downsides of Greece are the dogs, picture an Alsation X Wolf. They roam the hillsides in packs and are hungry for cyclists calves! I now carry stones in the side pocket of my barbag.
I should be in Macedonia in two days. Bye for now!
||I think Iíve got everything packed. I started this morning and have been doing it in fits and starts. Now thereíre four panniers and a bar bag sitting by my bedroom door, ready to go. Earlier this afternoon I watched my Dad bully and cajole my bike into her box, I just hope I can remember how to put her back together at the other end! Actually, Iíve just remembered I havenít got my overshoes or water bottlesÖ.must remember those. Ok, apart from those I think Iíve got everything. Whatever it is Iíve forgotten Iím sure will come to me as I sit on the plane. I even had the foresight to mark hostels on my map of Athens for the first night.
The plane should be getting in at 12.15 local time, and then the plan is to re-assemble my bike, ride the 8km or so into Athens and find a hostel for the night. Hopefully after that Iíll still have time to do a quick explore of the city. Then start the ride homewards on Tuesday morning.
Iím not too nervous yet as for some reason it all still seems quite a way off. The plane leaves at 6.15am and Iím sure itíll have kicked in sometime before then.
Wish me luck!
||Looking forward to my trip
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