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.
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.
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.
It was great to have a day to check out the UNESCO-listed Corfu old town.
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).
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?).
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.
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.
We rolled into Zitsa around noon the next day
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.
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.
We then explored Dilofo.
I skipped some further exploring to use my remaining energy for the climb up to Monodendri.
We camped nearby. In the morning Jeff walked down into Vikos Gorge. I was content to sit at the stunning viewpoint all by myself.
Wow, really? Beautiful stone villages and a fantastic gorge and I had never heard of Zagori before.
On the way down we poked around Vitsa.
It was mostly a cruise to one last lakeside camp before crossing into Albania.