Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Back in the USA

We dragged our host through most of Athens and saw as much as we could see in one day. The Acropolis was absolutely amazing, as was the Archaeological Museum and some of the other ancient sites around the city. Athens is truly a unique city, the architecture is quite depressing and graffiti covers most of it, mixed in with in with some of the most important sites of the ancient world, it creates quiet a dichotomy. We spent one night drinking cheap wine from a hill overlooking the acropolis and the rest of the city, and worked hard to dispel some rumors about the US to some Greek students (supposedly George Bush was trying to make all Americans get some sort of bar code tattoo to track us). We spent the better part of a day pushing our boxed up bikes in a commandeered shopping cart to our host's house which we thought was only 1.5 k from our campsite, turns out the address we had was right, but the city was wrong. 10 km later of pushing and we had our bikes safely stored. Athens is not a bike friendly city and we hardly saw any bikers there, thus so one really knew how we could get our bikes to the airport, roughly 30 k out of town. Every one's car is tiny as are the taxi's (which are notorious for horribly ripping off tourists), bikes are not allowed on public transport, and the metro has stopped running to the airport as well. Luckily out hosts aunt saved the day and showed up on time (a rarity in Greece, where being on time is considered being "English" as opposed to being late, "Greek") and expertly tied our two massive bike boxes to the roof of her sedan. No extra charges from the bikes and little hassle on the plane both times makes me want to always travel with a bike. We will get our pictures posted on here ASAP so stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


one word to sum up greece is hot. we have been waking up at 430
everyday and start biking in the dark. we rountinely bike by bars
that are still pumping out music and serving drinks from the night

after a scenic 4 hour 40 km climb over langada pass, we spent the
afternoon touring the ancient byzantine city of mistras. from there
we spent the night outside modern sparta, which is a far cry from it's
storied name. from there it was two more hilly days to isthmia,
where we found out the only way to stay cool in the day is to take a
cold shower every ten minutes until the sun sets. we then did some
highway riding to where we are now, the terminus, athens. tomorrow
is a day of bike packing followed by a day of touring the city then
back to new jersey. we made it, 8 countries, 2700 kilometers and all
sorts of permenant awkward tan lines.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Across an Ocean and Back

Against all common sense and parental recommendation we ate a plate of small fish fried, oysters, mussels, 3L of beer, 4 gelatos, and half a bottle of an unknown Croatian aperatif and loaded up on the overnight ferry to Bari, Italy. With this viscious the chum in our stomachs and our deck only tickets in hand we made camp in the child's playpen in the bar. We awoke half hungover to the creaking sounds of children playing on bouncy horses. Italian customs left us with a bad taste in our mouths for the country after a man in a pink shirt who may or may not have been an official accosted Steve for cigarettes as well as asked him to put his bike through a metal detector. We enlisted the help of a local street side melon mechant to point us towards the city center. After taking in the sounds (everyone yelling), sights (no one working), smells (fish), and tastes (gelato+coffee) we decided to load up onto another ferry back across the Adriatic to Patra, Greece. Our planned ferry, on the Ionian King, was cancelled due to a mechanical problem (likely not enough passengers to warrant a profiatble journey). Lucky we a competing ferry company (which we later we discovered was run by the same company) was leaving 2 horus later. Clearly maritime law was in effect, because hoards of teen tour groups got plastered and thus kept all hands on deck awake. Steve and I found a found an adaquate campsite on the starbord side, outside, and adjacent to the staff entrance to the kitchen which greeted us to a stronger horseradish smell whenever the door was open. Upon arrival in Patra we again slipped through customs into the bustling port city, where we embarked on a utilitarian 120 km ride on the national road to Ancient Olympia. After seeing the sights of the ruins at Olypmia and Steve losing to himself in the 192 meter sprint (jog) in the ancient stadium, we are prepared to traverse the Peloponeese to Kalamata, home of the olive. We will then prepare for the biggest climb of the trip over Langada Pass (1543 meters, all from sea level) to Sparta. OOOOPA!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Croatian Rivera

We awoke the in the picturesque beach town of Bol only to find out that the ferry we had planned on taking to the isle of Hvar was no longer. This meant a casual 2000ft climb back to the other end of the island for a ferry to the mainland. We then motored along the Croatian Rivera before making camp in Bosnia. To our disappointmentwe did not get our passports stamped at the Croatian-Bosnian boarder seems to be as loose as a wizard's sleeve. Our picture taking at the welcome to Bosnia sign seemed to have upset the border agents and we were shooed away and it was off to our campsite, which may or may have not been used since before the war. Morning in Bosnia led to an afternoon in the unbelivable walled city of Dubrovnik, a city of ineffable magic. From here we will board a ferry to Italy. more to come.

Bike Croatia

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Dalmatian Coast

Now in the enchanted city of Split. We are still in awe of the splendor of the Dalmatian Coast. Our journey south through Croatia has involved camping on the coast over looking Istria on the Island of Krk (yes, no vowels), island hoping across Rab and Pag, a caustic moonscape of an island, known for its salty lambs cheese, Pashe Sir. From Pag it was back to the mainland and a quick coffee on the streets of Zadar. From Xadar we ended up in the resort town of Pakostan, where we spent the night on the beach front lawn of the surprisingly friendly former Croatian Solider and international soccer star Yordan. After taking in the intoxicating smells and sights of the Sook in the port city of Sebirnk, we spent the night outside the walled city of Trigor. After getting lost in circuitous passages of the city and dinning on the city's famous black risotto, we were off to Split. From here its off to the Island of Brac, famous for its white stone (trivia: The white house in DC is made of stone from Brac),. After Brac its off to the Island of Hvar, then back to the mainland for a jaunt through Bosnia and Montenegro. Caio!

Julian Alps

Our host, Albert, in Ljubljana sherpaed us out of the city to the impossible beautiful Lake Bled. Albert told us as we passed one campsite "this used to be the best camping in Yugoslavia, now not even the best in Slovenia." From there we set off into the foothills of the Alps to Kranjska Gora. We spent the night in an abandoned campsite lurking below (what we believe was) the tallest moutain in Slovenia, Mt Triglav. The next morning we climbed steeply to 1611 meters to Vrsic Pass, where there was still some snow. After 175 kilometers we were lost and tired in our destination Sezana, Slovenia. It was getting dark when the Kareem Abdul Jabar of bike touring, Marco, stopped us and helped us find our host, Aleksander. Marco has toured all over the world and extensively in Africa. He told us he was going to Croatia to bike soon but "not with you, with girls." We woke up the next morning to leave the EU and head to Croatia.