Bicycle touring Greece: Corfu and the Zagori villages

After the elephant destroyed my bicycle, I scrambled around a bit to get a new bicycle put together in time for my tour with Jeff. The frame, fork, and rear rack came from Germany (thank you, Seb, for the delivery!). I sourced many parts from Turkey, but the brakes and brake levers came from China (those plus the frame and fork were actually all made in Taiwan). Spokes ended up being the last hold up (half from Germany, half from Turkey). I managed to get out for a very short ride (10km?) before boxing the bike up for my flight to Corfu.

IMG_20220402_165253 by bryandkeith on flickr

Jeff from Boulder flew to Tirana and pedaled south for a couple weeks to meet me in Corfu. It’s the first bicycle tour we’ve done together. We’re about three weeks into it now, and it’s still going well.

IMG_20220404_154748 by bryandkeith on flickr

Jeff’s a much better bicycle mechanic than I am which is great since I’m on a new bicycle with new (to me) fancy technology like through axles and (mechanical) disc brakes. At this point the only lingering problem I have is ghost shifting on my rear (10 year old) friction downtube shifter when I stand.

I had beautiful cool weather for the short ride in from the airport to the accommodation that Jeff had booked for a couple nights in Corfu.

IMG_20220403_141230 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220403_150954 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220403_142614 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220403_142801 by bryandkeith on flickr

It was great to have a day to check out the UNESCO-listed Corfu old town.

IMG_20220403_144905 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220403_150009 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220403_150332 by bryandkeith on flickr

It was worth walking over to the old fort (early 15th century Venetian) to get views of the city and understand Corfu’s defensive position between the old fort and the new fort (16th century, also Venetian).

IMG_20220404_105034 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220404_105709 by bryandkeith on flickr

It was also good to have a rest day after my overnight flights from Antalya (via Istanbul and Athens), but what I didn’t realize at the time was that I was actually starting to get a bug of some sort (flu?).

20220403_185251 by bryandkeith on flickr
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IMG_20220404_120748 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220404_175221 by bryandkeith on flickr

The next morning we had a very short ride to get the ferry to Igoumenitsa, a city I pedaled through 11 years earlier with no comment.

IMG_20220405_083059 by bryandkeith on flickr

Igoumenitsa still doesn’t deserve a comment. Jeff and I started pedaling uphill to Zagori. The uphill felt harder to me than it should. Still not realizing I was sick, I wrote it off to the fact that it had been over six months (back in Artvin!) since I had last pedaled a loaded touring bicycle uphill.

IMG_20220405_155403 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220405_162536 by bryandkeith on flickr
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We rolled into Zitsa around noon the next day

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and were invited by an American warmshowers host, Anna, to stay at her place. Her husband, Kostas, is the excellent village baker. His spanakopita is fantastic.

Kostas the baker by bryandkeith on flickr

We stayed two nights because of the rain, and by this time I realized I really needed to rest.

The uphill continued to get to the famous Zagori villages. The first site we visited was the stone bridge at Agios Menas.

20220408_124744 by bryandkeith on flickr

We then explored Dilofo.

IMG_20220408_134812 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220408_140448 by bryandkeith on flickr

I skipped some further exploring to use my remaining energy for the climb up to Monodendri.

IMG_20220408_165841 by bryandkeith on flickr
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We camped nearby. In the morning Jeff walked down into Vikos Gorge. I was content to sit at the stunning viewpoint all by myself.

IMG_20220409_105427 by bryandkeith on flickr

Wow, really? Beautiful stone villages and a fantastic gorge and I had never heard of Zagori before.

IMG_20220409_141358 by bryandkeith on flickr

On the way down we poked around Vitsa.

IMG_20220409_144430 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220409_143603 by bryandkeith on flickr

It was mostly a cruise to one last lakeside camp before crossing into Albania.

IMG_20220409_175434 by bryandkeith on flickr
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4 Responses to Bicycle touring Greece: Corfu and the Zagori villages

  1. Curt Bradner says:

    Nice! I love it that you still have Madden Packs on the front of your bike – so sad they went out of business – they made great packs, we also still use ours.

    • Bryan Keith says:

      Curt,

      The reason I still have those Madden front bags is because I was touring with only rear bags in Sri Lanka so they didn’t get destroyed by the elephant. Last I saw a friend of mine in Boulder, Kira, was still using some old Madden packs that I gave her.

  2. Mike Painter says:

    Looks great! So many interesting places to see in the world!

  3. Jennie says:

    Wow–you never cease to amaze me!

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