avoidingeurope

Thoughts and tales from the saddle - on my own in Europe.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Day 147 - Metsovo - in the Greek Mountains

My first day in Greece was something of a baptism of fire. I rolled off the ferry at 9.45am and headed East, towards a place called Ioannina. Eight hours, 60 miles, well over 1000 metres of vertical ascent in 40 degree heat and seven litres of water later, I arrived. It was without doubt the hardest day I've ever had in the saddle. I came close to complete physical exhaustion - I was consuming everything I could get my hands on at one point, in an effort to stay upright. My clothes were rigid from the salt in my sweat, once they had dried out. I had to have a day off yesterday to get over it.

I rode to Metsovo today, a ski resort, in the Winter, apparently, but how often they get decent snow at 1100 metres I don't know. I'll be riding over a pass tomorrow, at 1700 metres, then down towards the coast.

The biggest surprise for me has been that I am thoroughly enjoying Greece - I didn't think I would, for a variety of reasons. But I am - I like the mountains, I like the little stalls in the street that sell drinks and food at all hours, I like the trendy cafes with their funky sofas. I especially like the fact that I have been tooted at, waved at and generally encouraged by far more people since I've been here than in any other country so far. Struggling in the heat two days ago, numerous people slowed in their cars and lorries to check I was doing ok, had enough to drink, wasn't going to collapse. I actually was at one point, but I waved them on and gave a thumbs up, so determined was I not to 'give in'. Today, on two occasions, passing cars slowed and the occupants actually applauded me through their open windows.

1 Comments:

  • At 10:04 pm, Blogger Anonymiss said…

    we're all applauding you from back home too, P. I'm hanging out of a Maserati convertible roof, waving a "go Percy" flag, as I type. Okay, maybe that's an entirely different dream, but you get the sentiment I'm sure.

    You seemed in need of this l'il boost, so milk it for all it's worth.

     

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