It now feels properly like spring, it’s getting close to 0°C at night, although it is still in the high twenties in the afternoon, and we have had some spring showers. We have been persevering with camping, and managed to find some great camp spots, even though we got quite spooked one night by a fly tipper driving right past us. Every morning it’s harder to get out of bed till the sun’s warmed everything up a bit.
We cycled down the coast, along side Mount Olympus, to Larissa. Mount Olympus was beautiful, and had a fair bit of snow. We wanted to go over a pass just south of Mount Olympus, but it would have meant camping above 1000m, and we decided we didn’t want to freeze overnight.
In Larissa we had a day off, staying with Marios (W.S) in his little flat. It was a wonderful stay, we exchanged tour stories and suggestions for both our trip home and his planned Central Asia trip next year, got a great tour of the city, visited some of the local bike shops, and went to the best, biggest gyros place in town. It was nice for us to have a bit of a rest too.
From Larissa we headed west to Meteora, thanks to a tip from Marios. With a tailwind and a flat main road we sped through the valley, and arrived in Kalambaka with enough time to do the 10km monasteries loop, in the Meteora hills. It was really stunning. A short, sharp climb took us to the tops of the hills and rock formations. Balanced on top of huge rocks were the monasteries, accessible by flying fox or a long long climb up a staircase cut into the rock. The views across the valley were incredible and everything was just so scenic!
That evening we met up with a cyclist from the UK, Dara, who was just starting his big tour. I got very jealous thinking of what he has ahead of him, and we spent a lovely evening talking route plans, best roads, and the amazing things we have experienced on tour.
The next day was short, with the clocks turning back and the cold morning we didn’t get riding till 10, but we had a nice day climbing through the hills. Our camp spot was next to a river, so I managed a freezing cold wash.
Yesterday we cycled over to Xirolimni, it was a hilly ride, but the roads were quiet and small, and the views lovely. We had arranged via warm showers to sleep in the old schoolhouse, thanks to the towns mayor. It was perfect, a hot shower, a kitchen, a village full of friendly people, and a lazy evening sat in the sun on the terrace. Every village should kit out their hall for cycle tourists, it was awesome!
Jim’s words – Track, Bracing, Castle, Amphitheatre, Monasteries, Tired and School.