It’s been a while since we last posted; we’ve been running about Europe trying to sort ourselves out. From today we’re in Southern France, staying at Isobel’s grans holiday home to de-stress for a while!
From Sofia we travelled to Grevena on a coach, bikes precariously stored in the luggage compartment. We managed to wild camp the first night off the road by an old barn, waking every so often when a stray dog barked near our tent, and when Isobel managed to get stuck in her sleeping bag.
We woke before the sun came up and started cycling toward Ioannina, using our trusty compass and map – it was one road, straight to the nature reserve we were hoping to visit. Somehow we ended up pushing our bikes up a mountain for 3 hours, just to come back down again the same way as we had gone so far north we were nearly in Macedonia. The way down was much more fun though; the brakes randomly stopped working so we mostly just hoped we wouldn’t meet a car.
Defeated we stayed at a hotel in town for a few nights and decided to try and ditch the bikes and backpack as originally planned, and try again on the bikes another year somewhere a bit more suitable, like Holland.
Thankfully in Greece the weather was lovely, our hotel was 5-star luxury, we ate really good kebabs with fresh orange juice for every meal, and we sat in the sun by the river while we waited for the coach to Igoumenitsa to get the ferry to Brindisi, Italy.
Brindisi is at the very heel of Italy’s ‘boot,’ and was very warm for April. We wandered around the town for a week, eating Ferrero Rocher ice-cream and cooking pasta on our stove in our hostel. On the last day we had pizzas at a restaurant on the marina in the sun, before flying to Milan. We stayed only one night in Milan, in a ridiculously overpriced hotel which didn’t even have wifi. We didn’t get a great impression when we arrived; it was night, and the police were urging us to leave quickly as it was a dangerous area, but the station and square was quite pretty in the morning. From there we got the train to Marseilles, France, where we stayed overnight in a very dirty, rundown hotel (the sheets hadn’t been washed and there was used toilet paper on the floor), which may or may not have been a brothel, and had a huge dead rat outside…
But we left promptly in the morning after a fitful night’s sleep (most of it spent worrying how well the door lock worked), and have now arrived at the holiday house near Nimes, after a lovely family gave us a lift from the station when we realised there were no buses. We’re very excited to shower after staying at that hotel last night, and will probably be spending the evening in the pool and eating pasta… And maybe watching Vampire Diaries online (again). Here’s to a few stress free weeks of clean bedsheets and actual food!