We had a long hard cycle up the hill to Geyikbayiri but when we arrived at the beautiful JoSiTo campsite, we knew it was worth it. We were completely surrounded by nature and cliffs, with the Turkish Standard wall just over the road.
We originally arrived in Olympos for the climbing but then realised there is so much more to this valley than we thought. We stayed in Kadir’s Tree House, a very unique hostel/hotel with a great vibe and interesting decor. It is also a hub for travellers and we met many interesting people on long journeys there.
Turkey. We didn’t know what to think about this country. Tensions have been high between Germany and Turkey in recent months and there was a handful of reports in the media of Germans being rejected at the border without any reasons given.
After Meteora we rode just 50 km away to a small crag called Mouzaki. We were happy to find that the local climbing community have put a lot of effort into the crags in central Greece. Mouzaki even has a hut built next to the crag as well as wooden and stone platforms built directly next to the wall. This was perfect for us and we made ourselves at home.
Entering Greece brought back a feeling of familiarity and some ‘homesickness’. The beloved Greek letters were everywhere; street signs looked like physics equations and at first glance it looks like distances to cities are given in micrometers (wishful thinking on our part). Now, here, in Greece though, the equations made no sense – either in a mathematical or literal way. Up until now we could somehow make sense of some words using the Latin alphabet or at least try to say them but trying to put all of these variables together in one word couldn’t have been more confusing.
Albania. We hardly knew anything about Albania. It seemed like a lost world that goes by its own beat and we were excited for the unknown. We can now say that Albania is the most interesting and exciting country we have crossed on our trip so far. It is especially appealing for cycle tourists. Why?
Montenegro. Beautiful. Ugly. Friendly. Rude. Motivating. Frustrating. It had a schizophrenic personality and we were never quite sure what to expect. After leaving Croatia, we were greeted with a breathtaking view of the outer Kotor Bay with the mountains seen as shades of grey in the background. Another mouth dropping moment for us. We started cycling the first part of the bay and unfortunately, the amount of tourists packed like sardines on the beach did not fit with the serene view behind. We got so annoyed by it that we had to question whether we should even cycle the inner part of the bay… but we are very glad that we did. It was much less quiet.
After Split, we headed back south. On the way, Tanya got her third flat tire of the trip and after a quick fix, we were back on the road and cycled passed the campsite in Omis where we found Mrs. Hook (see last blog post). Cyclig on from here, we had a long stretch of coastline where we couldn’t find a place to wild camp and the campsites were completely full. Luckily, a friendly man allowed us to camp on a campsite parking lot for free.
We have had a busy week. Between surviving traffic, climbing in Omiš and seeing many wildfires, we’re glad to be spending a relaxing day on a little tucked away beach with some good Croatian music to sooth the soul. After the comfortable weekend in Zadar, we cycled out of the city in the evening and wild camped our way south. One of the things that struck us was the different perception you get when you drive the same stretch of road with a car and with a bike. All the rubbish – mainly plastic – on the side of the road was now very noticeable – stuck between bushes.
Paklenica National Park. One word – wow! We had mixed feelings about going to Paklenica as people had very different views about the climbing there. We had 8 days to spend there as Tanya’s parents were meeting us in Zadar. In the end, 8 days were just enough but we could have easily spent another week there.