from km 12 158 to km 12 965 total 807 km
After the Bulgarian border I had to ride through a very dark Tunnel before I reached the Greek border control. A few jokes and friendly words and I could cycle on a nice road (with a bicycle stripe) in direction Kavala. Along the road I found always some of this little churches - I think they are memorial signs of traffic victims. Because I left Goze Deltcev only around noon and got also got stopped by some rain I had to set up my tent shortly before dusk and far ahead the town of Graniti.
During breakfast Dimitri wondered about the fog which crawled out of the valley towards our camp site. I knew, that I will have an easy ride out of the mountains towards Kavala, the seaport on the blue Mediterranean Sea. But after nearly 60 kilometers I noticed a sign: "Hotel Lydia with camp site and mud bath". The decision to stop here was easy, because I did`t want to miss the opportunity of a healthy mud bath.
I had to wait for the next morning since the bath takes at least two hours and one has to go first to a medical examination with a measurement of the blood pressure. A thing I wanted to to long ago.
After this beautiful experience with the mud bath I took the strech to Kavala freshly strengthened and revived under the wheels. Soon I saw the city in front of me and behind in the mist, the island of Thasos. The castle and the harbor offered a very pituresque picture.
After a short break near the port of Kavala I cycled along the coast towards Thessaloniki. The whole area shone in the Greek colors blue and white. Everything looked like painted. At this time of the year deserted beaches and friendly, quiet but colorful towns lined this beautiful coast. The beaches invite to swim and laze and also a superb picnic must not be missed.
Along the coastal road the vines were hung with golden, sugar-sweet grapes. Vineyards, Almonds and Olive groves replaced each other and after a short ride I was with the lions of Amphipolis,
which set up the entrance to the isthmus of Halkidiki peninsula.
The isthmus, with the two lakes forms a marvelous landscape with various attractions such as the petrification of Nimfopetra. In the morning I also got a wonderful sunrise. The sun rose blood red over the lake and disappeared again behind a wall of fog.
To reach the city of Thessaloniki I had to cross a mountain range. Here I got a nice view point to look over the City and the plain behind this town.
Hopefully I was riding a bike in the traffic jam of Kavala. The city was very nice and colorful and my hotel was close to the market and the port.. First some pics from the market with fruits, fish, meat, clothes ang flowers. Also a dignified pope likes to shop in this place.
The cityscape is also set by the numerous kiosks and flying bakers. I will not forget the many retired "politicians" with their discussions in the most beautiful and cosy places.
Last but not least some pics from the "White tower of Thessaloniki" a symbol of the town, from the port, churches and other attractions.
After three days I desperately wanted to leave this chaos on the road, but first I had to shop some little things. In front of the supermarket I discovered this well camouflaged mantis.
After the shopping I crossed the delta of the Axios river. Here I was able to really enjoy the nature - unfortunately I got lost and had to take a detour to get back to the main road. I enjoyed a quiet night in a large orchard and that had only one drawback: I woke up early at 07:00 o clock by the harvest workers. Shortly after breakfast I continued cycling but before I could pack some apples and pears, personally brought by the farmer. Around noon I reached the idyllic coast south of the delta with colorful fishing villages and salinas full of bird life.
Three days I spent on this marvelous coast before I rode around the mountain of Olymp, seat of the famous Zeus and through the gorge of the Pinios river to the city of Larisa.
Through the largest flood plain in Greece I cycled from Larisa over Tricca to the Meteora mountain range. These rocks immediately catches the eye and leaves you astonished. High up on the top and in caves on the flanks, believers built monasteries and hermitages.
The next day I wandered around these mountains from eafrly morning to late afternoon to enjoy nature and the most beautiful monasteries.
After Meteora, I had to cross the mountain chain of the northern Pindus, still the home of bears and wolves. Nature is fabulous here and the highest pass was just a bit over 2000 meters and just scratched the tree line. It was often rainy and cold and I was glad when I could see from high above the lovely lake of Ioannina. I knew that the ugly ups and downs have now an end.
Lake Ioannina, according to a recent genetic study, is a very old lake with its own fauna and flora. The algae bloom at this time created a very special atmosphere.
In late afternoon I reached the seaport of Igumenitsa. After a swim in the sea, a wonderful risotto with seafood I could cross the Aegean Sea on a ferry to Ancona in Italy.
From Ioannina to Igumenitsa I could not drive along the highway but had to ride my bike through the mountains near the Albanian border, That meant again some days cycling in mountainous area. A beautiful landscape rewarded for this effort.
As nearer I came to the city of Igumenitsa the more I noticed the mediterreanean typ of the flora.