Grevena To Trikala 51 miles
5 hours 10 mins in the saddle
AND a much improved day!
Total miles 1791
Well you know you are living the high life when you get up in the morning and start your day putting on a pair of smelly sodden trainers! Despite stuffing them with newspaper and cranking up the heating, they were still soaking after yesterdays downpours- hey ho we were dry, our clothes were dry and our bikes were dry so there was some improvement as we left our hotel in comparison to how we arrived the night before. But also our spirits were improved - we can do this! Our hotel manager had been a great source of info re the dogs and as we cycled away from the hotel (up a hill surprise surprise!) we were overtaken by 2 cyclists - we have seen no other cyclists yet in Greece (all too scared of the b…. dogs!). They were also really helpful and reiterated what our chap at the hotel said …… you just have to stop your bikes and face them! Oh and not be scared! Oh funny ha ha ……
They didn’t mention pray, which both HOO and I and many friends and family (thank you) have been doing. I know it sounds dramatic but for me it has been very scary and as a lover of dogs, I cannot believe that we were going to be thwarted in the last few days by dogs. So I decided I needed to get a grip and put my faith in God, Maddy and you all and we could do this. I was not going to spend my last few days jumping every time I heard a bark or dreading what was around each bend.
We quite soon, after climbing out of the town, came across one dog. We slowed, it did nothing. Later we came across 2 who came at us… deep breath, stop bike get off and …… they had stopped and retreated. We met 2 more later and exactly the same - we stopped they retreat - now I know we hadn’t met large packs like yesterday but it has improved our confidence no end and now we both feel much more in control of the situation. Maybe we are now further away from the region where there are so many, maybe not - we will see. But we are both determined to enjoy these last few precious days, where we are fit and able to tackle all the physical challenges and know we can cope with the other hurdles that come our way. 5 days to go - we can do this - I will keep praying and please can you?! All bases covered X
Our actual day’s cycling was physical and varied. Long climb over the hills during the morning, with the Autumn landscape changing before our eyes. Interesting landforms at the top and then a long and rather up and down slog along the top before descending again into woodland. Amazing ground cover smothered in tiny pink cyclamen, a rosy blanket in the darkness of the trees, the huge mountainous and craggy hills behind the city of Kalabaka, home of a natural history museum and museum of mushrooms! Talking of which they are on the menu everywhere here, we were even in a specialist mushroom restaurant last night! Finally we had a long run along a dual carriageway to Trikala, staying on the outskirts we have yet to see the city or town maybe?
So a very varied day - also interspersed with with some amusing encounters. A hitchhiker we kept coming across waving again and again obviously between lifts, a motorbike who drove along beside me saying, ‘Where you cycle from?’ When I said England he nearly fell off and said OMG before zooming off, a man offering to hold HOO’s bike while he took a photo and I was some way away in the lay-by - we had just climbed a big hill and the man offered HOO a bottle of water and my favourite, I was waved down by an on coming camper with a young Dutch couple in, asking if I had seen their windows! They had apparently dropped off as they came down the road so thought I might have seen them! Apologising for my lack of observation, I regretfully said no and they drove away, the man saying, ‘We are in such trouble’ and I could see the holes in the side of the camper where the windows had been! I do hope they found them!
We have had a lovely meal and glass of wine, the washing is done and the bed is going to be SO comfy. We are in good heart, with the expectation of our last few days. Karen and Simon arrive on Monday - so we will have our family support crew in situ but as we know only too well, you never know what tomorrow may bring, so we will go steadily, pray keenly, talk to dear Maddy and be grateful you are all with us, willing us forward on these last few hundred miles!
Much love from us slightly battered but happy Team Maddy, P and J XX
Who said what …..,
Did I tell you I saw an old Rover yesterday?
Hello little ginger pussy cat, would you like to come home with me?
Nearly at the top of the hill!
You see these shrines everywhere- all colours, materials and various states of repair - often full of offerings from stayed to jars of honey X
Not sure they have finished the top floor yet but visitors welcome!
Hot after the hills!