Greece Lightning – Cycle touring the length of Northern Greece

We made it into Greece a few days ago and have now arrived at Kavala. It has been such a friendly country so far. It makes you realise how they came into such financial troubles, when everyone insists on giving us free stuff. Free fruit from roadside stalls, free internet in cafes, free coffee and advice on routes and places to visit. Most of all everyone tells us to free camp, we haven’t had much chance on the trip so far, but in Greece we can camp anywhere, or so the locals keep telling us. We camped in glorious mountain meadows after the Albania border, behind stunning beaches, next to ancient olive groves, this was mainly on the amazing Island of Thasos, where the olive trees can be up to 1000 years old. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We have found yet more wild cherry trees to snack on by the roadside. We entered from Bilisht, Albania into Krystallopigi, Greece. Then headed south east to the coast, all down hill from the ski resorts to coastal resorts. The roads into Thessaloniki is border by a huge, rich orchard area. The trees were loaded with fresh ripe fruit, a few apricots might have gone missing…. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This sadly also brought with it huge refridgerated lorries rapidly exporting to all of Europe. These lorries had little interest in avoiding cyclists. So we detoured into a train station. There was no timetable. We detoured into an internet cafe. The online timetable showed that a train was running and the next one was in an hour. Marion had stayed outside as a group of kids had gathered in the village to spy on our bikes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We then proceeded to train station, set up the camp stove and cooked dinner as we waited. The train rushed us for €2 into the city centre we were glad to avoid the lorries but spent a while navigating the busy city roads, finding our hostel.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The roads out of Thessaloniki were busy but fresh fruit stalls fuelled us to the coast again. We camped in a random disused campsite, with abondoned buildings just set back from a beach, it made for a creepy night. The coast had some nice spots for swimming so we made plenty of stops along the way.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Today we get a ferry over to the island of Kasos for potentially our first day off the bike in 25 days! The legs are starting to feel it a bit too much now! Sadly we didn’t have the day off… Not sure if the budget cuts are responsible but Greece might need some new signs OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We camped in the trees behind this beach. A great spot although someone mentioned there being lots of snakes which spooked me a bit.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We called into Alexandroúpoli but again busy roads led to a short train journey, equally as cheap as before. We then road out to the Turkish border. On the last night in Greece we stayed at an hotel that was best described as traditional Greek, super helpful but a little dated. We set off early for Turkey to avoid the increasingly hot midday sun. The Turkish border was heavily armed and involved a large number of checkpoints and visa booths. Luckily as always us cyclists got to queue jump.   Goodbye Greece, I suspect we will be back to cycle here again we loved it.

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