Bicycle Trip to Greece Dr. Hans-Jürgen Weber 26.04.2013 - 17.05.2013


  

Map


26.04.2013 Haiger
27.04.2013 Rückingen
28.04.2013 Würzburg
29.04.2013 Pleinfeld
30.04.2013 Taufkirchen/Vils
01.05.2013 Freilassing
02.05.2013 Tweng
03.05.2013 Villach
04.05.2013 Bovec
05.05.2013 Ilirska Bistrica
06.05.2013 Karlobag
07.05.2013 Pirovac
08.05.2013 Omis
09.05.2013 Slano
10.05.2013 Budva
11.05.2013 Shkoder
12.05.2013 Fier
13.05.2013 Himare
14.05.2013 Igoumenitsa
15.05.2013 Paleros
16.05.2013 Platanovrisi
17.05.2013 Zakynthos

Statistics

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13.05.2013, 18. day, 112 / 2376 km, Himare

Breakfast is not offered. So I start without it. This time I don't want to take the "highway", I want to take the road through the villages.
Partially it is okay, but some parts of the roads are in a very bad shape so that I can go on very slowly. But there there is nearly no traffic.
When I study the map at a diversion, a car driver asks me where I want to go. He points to a road. I take it, but it leads directly to the "highway". I return and take the other road.
So I come to Vlore, a big city. At a cafe at the main road I get a cappuccino with whipped cream! Half of the beach promenade looks pretty, the other half is under construction. This impression I have from all of Albania. If there only were not the many waste dumps!
I follow the coastline to Orikum, then the road leads into the mountains.
Now I realize what I'm going to do. It goes from sea level up to 1027 m to the Llogara-pass. Such an altitude difference I had not even experienced in the alps. The inclines are steep and long. The signs always tell 10%, but that should mean: at least 10%! I estimate 17-20%. Furthermore it becomes colder and colder. I come into the clouds. It begins to rain heavily at 5°C (39°F). The wind changes to storm from different directions so that I barely can go straight.
This mountain pass takes me nearly to my limits. But I can't give up. 4 km in front of the top point some prankster has posted a sign: 10% downward slope! Not at all!
Finally I arrive at the top point of the Llogara-pass. In many sharp bends it goes 800 m downhill. My rear brake is sounding strange. I believe that the brake pads are done and stop to change them. I'm very cold and want to hurry, but it turns out that I don't have the correct replacement parts. So I only change the position of the pads, and it works.
When I arrive at the bottom of the road I realize that from now on the road goes non stop up- and downhill, altitude difference often 400 m. That is very exhausting and keeps me from going fast.
At 7 pm I arrive in Himare that is situated at the ocean. Here I find just near the beach a cafe with rooms to rent. When the owner watches me looking searching around he comes out and offers the room for 7.50 Euro. It is a simple room but has a hot shower and ocean view.
At first I take a cappuccino. Then I have a long conversation with the owner who is from Greece and speaks English. In a nearby restaurant which is still partly under construction I get a good and cheap meal.
The distance to the Greek border is still 90 km. I hope that the altitude differences are not so big tomorrow and that I get to Greece.

Old bridge across the Vjoyes river between Fier and Vlore

In various places the road looks like this

This is the city of Vlore

Here I get a tasty cappuccino with whipped cream!

The right part of the beach promenade of Vlore

And this is the left part

Now it goes up to the mountain pass

Snow chains required!

This is probably only meant as a cruel joke for weary bikers: it actually goes uphill for another 4 km

Arrived at the cloud ceiling
(Video -> click on picture)

View back

And again down to the ocean

You can see the island of Korfu in the distance

This is the city of Himare

View from my window at the hotel in Himare