Sunday 17 July 2011

Why cover a man hole??

A kid in a barrow, what not to like about this photo
For the second time Doris has had a cheeky snake curl up and show aggression towards her. This time however the snake was a minor inconvenience and too small to be of consequence. So small in fact it earned its self the nick name of Trouser. Steff managed to negotiate the international time differences and a few boarders to end up in Skopje where we set out on our way through to the bustling capital city of Albania. On route we have managed some truly breathtaking vistas over beautiful mountain ranges and looking towards river valleys snaking off into the distance.

Stef's favorite Cycling Position
It must be said that steff has an aversion to up hill sections and because Albania is mostly comprised of converging mountain ranges, the going has been tough and akin to a certain trip up a modest hill in the North Saskatchewan river shed with a friend a few years ago. Needless to say it is pleasant to have the company in the evenings.

Grumpy Pants half way up a hill
Albania has truly been a gem in the rough through these parts. People are very quick to say hello and certainly lay on the horn nice and thick in their appreciation of our style of travel. They are very quick to raise a hand and give a big ol friendly wave as we idle past. For the most part I have no idea what they are saying but they seem to portray a kind heartedness with the way in which they say it. I met a chap the other day and we sat down for a beer at a cafe. Turns out the field behind the cafe, thick with maturing corn was his and his alone, to work and care for. How he had the time for an ice cream and a beer I am not sure. What I do know is that it is nice to get out of the mid day heat as it tops out around the high 30s.

Definitely not a scorching heat like you might find in Nz but still bothersome to bike through and it makes one very careful to ensure enough water is taken on board through out the day. Many people speak English here so between my caveman like noises and their movie lingo we usually get where we are going. That being said I nearly bought 4kg with of Tomatoes from the back of a car when I wanted but 4 for dinner. In the end I got the 4 tomatoes, 2 peppers and a watermelon for my troubles. A WATERMELON. For christs sake, like its not hard enough to bike on unpaved canyon roads as it is.

Nice Melon
We will make our way slowly but surely to the Adriatic sea in the next few days for some swimming in the temperate waters before heading to the mountains in the North. Montenegro is next on the country list and I am very excited to get into the Alps they have in the interior. They are famed in this part of the world for being spectacular and well worth the visit. Alas I may have some push back to this idea but we will get there I am sure of it.

Children seem to enjoy the presence of our bikes as we roll past and will often pose for our photographs with big curious smiles smothered all over there sun kissed faces. Everybody looks with a curiosity reserved for the type of people who whould never embark on such a trip. They are often shocked that we are simply trying to get to the next village let alone London.

Canyon lands, Albania
Just over 4 months to go and plenty of riding left. Bring on the mountains and lets feel the ocean breeze on our faces. I hope as we head north the man hole covers become more frequent.

Children lovin the Doris. Note the Happiest kid in the world on the Right

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