July 12 to 25rd
A stop intended to be of around 4 nights became a little longer!
The journey out of Macedonia to the NE Greek coast was quite long but was all on motorways. Progress was so fast that we went further than intended and we reached our final Greek destination, Alexandroupolis, in one hop. Alex’ was chosen for one reason, it is only 40k from the Turkish border and it has become our intention to visit Istanbul as part of a tour group, leaving our home and transport in Greece.
The journey down from the FYRoM was notable for the very new Greek motorway that was very devoid of traffic and, referring back to the complexities of Balkan politics, the sign that greeted us we entered Greece having just left the country of Macedonia 5 minutes before – ‘WELCOME TO MACEDONIA’
Our campsite is the city’s municipal campsite and is quite big, but with trees and hedges has a cosy feel to it as only a few other pitches are visible. It is right on a sandy beach and has warm or hot weather.
The idea of a coach tour to Istanbul originated from our Greek German neighbours in Lichnos, who recommended booking a trip from Alex to Istanbul – albeit a Greek trip but we were sure we would manage. Sadly we arrived here on the Friday to find that the tour is weekly and starts on a Thursday! So here we stayed for the week before setting off for Istanbul. We took advantage of our stay to arrange for some new (replacement) credit cards to be sent out to us. Sue had given one to an ATM earlier – Day 1 I recall – and back in Lichnos another machine managed to corrupt mine. The cards did not arrive before we set off for Turkey, were not here when we returned and still have yet to arrive. The Post Office’s 72-hour service has been thwarted by their Greek counterparts going on strike on 2 separate days – the package has sat in Athens for the past 4 days at least. So here we stay! We do have other sources of money fortunately. As you can see from the photos that it has been a hardship staying here. We now know the town quite well, have had the time to search out shops that sell particular items that we are after – all embracing large supermarkets have not arrived here yet, and have given both bikes a good servicing, cleaned the car etc etc. However, to be honest a lot of the time has been spent reading, doing puzzles etc.
Just a little aside, we all know the problem at home of laptop cables, recharging phones etc. Well at home you often have the recharging devices permanently plugged in somewhere out of sight. In caravan there are a limited number of sockets and even so you do not want the place littered with cables. I did a count, we have 3 computer devices, 2 phones, 2 camera battery chargers, toothbrush charger and 2 kindles – 10 devices (life was simpler on a bike) Hopefully I know have a better solution, but the shelf above Sue’s side of the bed look’s like a stork’s nest of cables.
Yesterday we cycled about 20 miles to a wetlands centre at the Evros Delta, alongside the Turkish border – we could only visit half of it as the other half was too close to the border for foreigners! The outbound trip was quite grueling, hot with a strong headwind. Somewhat foolishly we did not take food with us, assuming that we could find some there. Not the case, and a combination of heat exhaustion, lack of food found Sue feeling very wobbly indeed. On our way back a good portion of calorie laden baklava cake sorted us both out. Not quite as we both suffered from thigh cramp shortly after returning – we did not do our winding down exercises!
One thing that has happened with our enforced encampment here is that we have changed our minds on our next destination as we are going to re-enter Turkey for a few days to visit Gallipoli and the Dardenells – then we will turn for home with Bulgaria being our first port of call.
Oops! Almost forgot! We celebrated our Ruby Anniversary here with a meal at the campsite Taverna – no expense spared. Wow! Frightening is it not! We might look old but we do not feel it – well not that old anyway.