Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Trans Euro Trail - Traverse of Northern Greece.

We’ve just had two nights on a beach just past the town of Kavala at a place called Ocean View Beach. Swimming in the sea was fabulous, warm water, blue skies and some lovely food and wine to round it all off!

 We’d dropped out of Bulgaria at a border crossing near Zlatograd. It’s the crossing all the Bulgarians use to get to the beaches at Xanthi, (some 2 hours away). The valley we drove down was lovely, we’d had a gentle warning to take our time by the very friendly border police as our van was 3.5 tonne and the road was rated to 2 tonne. We did, especially as we saw how narrow it was and that it clung to the hillside in a pretty precarious way in some places!

Once down into mainland Greece, the roads were OK. There were a few potholes and washed out bits, but it didn’t feel too different to Bulgaria at first. Once we started to enter the villages lower down though, it became very Greek!

Eventually we traversed Xanthi on it’s motorway system, bypassing the town in search of quieter places. We happened upon the beach by accident but it fitted and there was space for the van so rest days here we come!

The downside turned out to be the fact that it was Saturday night, party night on the beach in Greece. So a sleepless night ensued and left us even more groggy, still a swim and a lazy day helped out with that.

The second night and Lucy was struggling with the heat, then she rounded it off by getting stung by a wasp, which has bad effects for her, so now a very swollen hand, both of us are now grumpy with no sleep as we had a night of mosquito's followed by screaming girls on the beach at sunrise, so time to leave we felt!

We did meet a couple of cool sets of folks though, a Swiss couple and their young son who are travelling in the Renault Saviem truck and a German guy with what may have been his nephew or grand son travelling in his overland truck, complete with 1983 DR600 Dakar bike. Nice!

We drove across northern Greece heading for Igoumenista, which is a coastal ferry town just below the Albanian border. Our plan, catch up on sleep, let Lucy’s hand settle down, normally something that takes a couple of days, service the bikes and then head off.

We broke the journey up by calling in the KTM shop at Thessaloniki, Six Days Service, this turned out to be run by a lovely fella who had also been the Greek national enduro champion 3 years on the trot and now was into adventure bikes. Lyndon Poskitt had used this place to service Basil bike on his trip. We tried to pick up tyres from here and some replacement head stock bolts for my bike. We sorted the bolts but ended up going to direct to the tyre shop called OK Wheel. They were great, not cheap but we bought a front rally tyre for Lucy to try out and a Dunlop for me. Price was 135 Euro for both tyres. Both of my tyres are almost shot and I may well change out the mousses too back to tubes and save the mousses for winter use back in the UK.

We've booked onto a campsite next to the beach, Camping Drepano, hoping it'll be more peaceful. We've also found it difficult to pick up drinking water and this is the first Wifi we've had for awhile now, so we'll be here a couple of days no doubt. We'll use this time to sort the border crossing point out for Albania, which should be at Sagiame/Konispol, we'll also upload the GPX files, maps etc, then get the bikes sorted, hopefully the mosquito's and other insects will be a little less persistent and Lucy can have some time to heal and we can both get some sleep!