18 Oct
Day 36 - Fun on the Slopes!

Today’s Stats 

Loutra Ypatis to Amfiklia

39 miles - 4 hours 15 mins in saddle (a doddle!)

1899 miles so far!

It was so lovely to be four at breakfast and somewhat of a giggle as our very kind host at breakfast was to be found searching the garden for mint, when Karen requested any peppermint tea. Honestly, they were so kind and helpful throughout our stay and we had a really delicious spread this morning so set off ready for a serious climb during the late morning.
Our first 16 miles was a clear straight road, at the foot of the mountains ahead of us. Cotton was ready for the picking on either side and the landscape was very much arable and fertile.
We stopped at one of these typical garage come cafe places that we have become accustomed to, greeted by our support crew - hurrah. A lovely break with company and iced coffee (delicious) AND galaxy from England - my favourite, and we were off to face the climb!
HOO thought it would be about 4.5 miles and we weren’t sure about the gradient so set off mentally prepared for whatever was around the corner! We thought! The first part was steep- really hard work but then once onto the main road, the gradient was much more gentle just long and slow. After about 2 hours (we usually stop every 20 mins on a climb like this just to get off the bike and release the pressure briefly) we saw our welcoming committee at pit stop number 2! A cold drink at a garage and our picnic lunch with a view - out over the top of the mountains - glorious.
Karen and Simon headed off to our next hotel and we cycled the next 10 miles speedily, with an easy descent and flat road along the mountain plain.  Arriving in our Greek ski village (this really is a thing) there was a shock of a hill right at the end, but all in all a lovely day’s cycling and after all only 39 miles.  

Another delightful supper out together, lightened by Maddy’s candle.  We cannot believe we have only two days cycling to go, and for me, the closer I get the more precious the end goal becomes, so I go with trepidation and great care into the next 48 hours. Although I expect HOO has some little gems of hills for me along the way so it’s best to be prepared for anything!  

One bit of disappointing news today is that our dear friends Clive and Jane (Hare’s parents) cannot join us over here tomorrow as planned due to illness - we are so sorry you are not coming and send huge get well wishes. You are such a support to us and we will celebrate (hopefully!) on our return in some fitting way. ☹️☹️☹️☹️.

We also send love to Hare in Barcelona. Bet partying there is not nearly such fun as cycling 200 miles with oldies like us!!! 

Thank you all you lovely people out there for your generous thoughts and kind words. We can’t wait to be back home with you all. 

Much love P and J and K and S xxxx

Pedalling ponderings:

Forgotten to tell you these due to too much distraction from support team.

Yesterday we met a hairy Italian cyclist, travelling from Trieste to Athens, wild camping and wild eating from what we could work out as he cycled with us for a couple of miles taking bunches of grapes off the vines and eating them without pausing his pedals.

We also came across the Greek equivalent of a savoury ice cream van! Hearing a loud speaker announcing what we thought must be a campaign for a local election, imagine our surprise when a little van laden with strings of garlic, onions, leeks, oranges, tomatoes and watermelons appeared - come on you allotment holders of Hampshire, here’s an opportunity not to be missed.

As you all know, I’ve been desperate to see a wild boar and yesterday, as we came round a corner after the reservoir, a vision of a black pig charging down a hill caused me such excitement as I yelled at HOO, “Stop! Look, it’s a wild boar!” As HOO screeched to a halt and turned round on his bicycle, the rest of the field of little pink pigs joined the black pig I had seen - disappointed. 

Who said what….

Is that an airfield, I’m sure there is one around here somewhere? 

We’re not going up there are we?

That’s the fifth petrol station I’ve seen!

I’m really looking forward to my cheese pie.

Chronological Photo Reel of our Day! Starting with Dawn!

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