Greece is the brain of Europe. It has represented the continent through time. It is the window to another civilization, to a new world.
Face to face with Turkey. Another door. A rollercoaster of big hills in the open. Toasted by the sun. With any shadow to get a rest. You cannot hyde here. Turkey shows your skills and defects. It makes you know as you are, whatever you are. It is the head of this never ending land to east, Asia.
I LOVE TOMATOES
I ride to Keşan (people stop me in the road…my beard and the colour of the skin make me feel like one more…till I open my mouth) and then ride to Tekirdag to meet Serpil.
She is brave. I think it is not easy to be a woman in some countries (just let it here). But she has guts!! She has hitchhicked through many countries alone and travel to many places. She explain me many things about muslim and turkish ideas, cooked me tasty food. She has a huge shelter full of books…woman of culture. But that’s nothing…the real importantant thing is,…I don’t know why…but mothers shine with another kind of light. And you can feel it for the first moment. Serpil means blossom and it is a beautiful name, even she doesn’t like it.
It has been so nice to meet her and take a little piece of Turkey thanks to her.
Çok teşekkur ederim/muchas gracias
ARE YOU READY FOR…
Istanbul is a monster of four heads! A beast of a hundred kilometres extension. You cannot just passed through. This city eats you like and olive!
I drive from Tekirdag to Beylikdüzü. It takes me all day, about 100/110km. It is a part of Istanbul, but 30km far away the center.
There I met Hakan. Who was so nice to let me stay in his house for that night, even he has no couch and we have to share bed…and fight for the space and blankets all nights! So fun.
We didn’t have much time to share, due he has to work and things to do early in the morning. Eventough he offers me to stay more nights…I just can say thanks man! Hope to meet again and have more time to spend together.
I leave Ofriniou beach full of energy again. With the feeling that only the law or the things that just happen could stop me.
Sometimes is a matter of trust/faith and is always in the brain. Everybody could do what I am doing, faster or slowly, taking more time in every lap, less or more km…I’m pretty sure, but it is all in the mind. Now I’m back.
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS.
It began to rain like crazy and I stopped in one of the multiple Kantinas you can find on the road. The people who was relaxing on the beach try to go away quickly.
There were this guys. Stucked with their car in the mood in the middle of a hill. They weren’t able to take it off, so I offered myself to help. We pushed the car and it moves…and that’s the funny thing…I didn’t do anything, but all three believe the car will move.
After we spend sometime talking and they invite me to a coffee. They were also from Serres, like Ritza and George…many people from there. Maybe it is a signal..I have to go one day.
FALSE DIAMANTIDIS vs FAKED NAVARRO
So great this last days. I definitely have recovered myself. I did my record of km this day…I crossed Kavala and all the coast direction Komotini. There will be George waiting for me. The guys from Thessaloniki give me his contact and it couldn’t be better.
I like playmakers and his a good one. Playmakers are hard in mind, are the heart and brain of the team and overall they are not affraid to get smashed down a big tower when they have to go straight to the goal.
That is the secret to succeed. Be a playmaker.
This days in Komotini are being like a holiday…a good weekend. Good company, some party, good food, some reagee…and even played basketball after many years. I needed. Just enjoy a bit the trip with amazing people like George and his friends. I didn’t even mind to be Manolo (manolomenendez.com) for a couple of days.
Greek people love to argue…but George reminde something: You cannot argue with the truth.
See you soon.
These were my last days in Greece. It has been hard, because here in this islands there are mermaids singing for you…asking you to stay.
You should be crazy or maybe something wrong in your head if you don’t like Greece.
I have survived. I am full of energy again. I did realized the worst has allready passed…
I feel again the power that make me move…
I feel again that mixture of fear and excitement that brings the unknown.
I stayed in Veria for one night. A guy told me about some free concerts, so I went there and enjoy of pure alternative rock music.
I went to a Bazooka concert in Barcelona a year ago. And the bands that played were a kind of, amazing drummers and a lot of noise.
Here in greece everyone has something to say and express…I like the concept of individuality in the air. You have to know if you want to argue and defend yourself (everyone counts).
The next morning I ride to Thessaloniki…were begins my slow way down to hell. I didn’t notice at all, but arriving to there I have the first signals…first knockout!
I stayed many ours under the sun and my head begins to go away when I get the wheel bump again. After repair it in the shadow, I get recovered and I finally get to Salonica, where I met a bunch of nice guys (also cyclers) who treat me as one more. I spent a really nice time with them…even to much! Because Greece is just in the other side of Spain. It is hardly the same. I began to feel like in home…
I stayed in Thanos house and we talked about many cultural stuff and we enjoy music like I used to do back in the days. Told me about many new bands and writers. He plays guitar and was about to finish his engineering career (big brain). I think he is like a little creative bomb…
As I said everyone of this guys are a world themselfs…Dimitris, Thanos, John and Giannis. I like that…
Thanks for adopting me as one more. Thanks to Giannis and his couchsurfing profile…Now I know everybody is malákas.
I leave with calm Thessaloniki…but the relax of the last days discovered all the effort done from the first day…my legs didn’t work properly. And what it was worst…my head begin to think maybe that’s been too much…and for first time, I thought to come back…
I decided to take it easy. Try to pass the wall. I’ve just realized where I was. Too far from my destiny, too far from home. I was completely stucked.
I said to myself at least try to arrive Turkey, and that’s what I did. Don’t think, just ride a bit everyday. Thanks to my family and my people in Bcn I could find the energy to find myself again.
And I had the luck to get in contact with Ritza (Eleutheria) and George.
They wait for me in Ofriniou Beach. They have been my oasis this days. I arrive there as a couchsurfer but I leave as a friend. I ate real Greek food, went to the beach, and to the archeologycal museum of Amfipoli, learn some Elenica (or tried), dance traditional Greek dances and drink Oyzo. I cooked a “Tortilla de patatas”-potatoe omelette (not an expert, but not bad) and made “Pa amb tomàquet”-not just bread and tomato.
They make me forget about my problems and focused again in what is really important…enjoy this trip called life. #B_PRESENT _LIFE_IS_EVERY_BREATH.
ELEUTHERIA means FREEDOM
My grandfather passed away the 21th. of June. I knew before leaving I won’t see him anymore.
He tought me to live my life with my own rules, as he always did.
Now we all remind him as a free and unique person.
Maybe too many days on the road or many kilometers and during the last days I have paid for them. I’ve been literally k.o. First it was the byke, later my legs and then my brain.
I entered Greece from Albania, direction Kastoria with the idea of change the wheel.
Many people helped me. As I though. Greek people are mostly like spanish (will be a problem with the time).
The man on the right invited me to breakfast. And the owner, arranged the radius for free…but it wasn’t safe to keep like this. So there was no other chance. I have to change all the wheel. But the luck wasn’t on my side and after many effort we didn’t find a wheel that works with the byke. A guy passed nearby and get interested. That’s is how I ended in another shop just hoping to find a solution and could keep on.
At least after many hours and a big headache we find a new wheel thanks to these guys.
I learnt in Kastoria that if you have a problem, greek people will heIp to you to solve it (although, they will argue for a proper solution first).
That day I have the first signal that I needed some rest…my legs were aching.
When I finally arrenged the byke I ride to Kozani…no more mountains for some km.
I stopped for a while for eat something when casuality bring Kristakis to there. I met him in Kastoria…and after a brief talking he offers me to go by car to Veria (free ride=magic).
I get amused by all the information he gives me just in this time. But I noticed what real Greek people are: They are a big brain proud of their culture. And I also lernt something important he said to me…greek politicians…should not be called greek. Because a real Greek will find a solution for their country.
I begin to think the excuse of money has allowed the system to smash not just the people, ancient cultures too.
I was really confused when I came to Albania, it has been so hard, but now I understand. After the time with Altin I did have just in mind to reach Korce and go to Greece. But I have learnt I don’t take decisions…the road talks and shows me the good path. Sometimes it is a sweet whisper, this time a big smash in the mouth. I had to choose between two roads to go to Korce (trough Elbasan or Gramsh) I was just riding and took the right side wich it was the one through Gramsh. This road has ramps of 7-10% (many), but it’s worth it when you see those picks still with snow and the green valleys. That was the time when I definitely I fell in love with Albania. I have seen the big green fields full of fruits and vegetables, but then Albania show me her big and precious undercovered mountains. I don’t know how many curves and never ending hills I reached that day.
When I arrived to Kodovjat some men told me I couldn’t cross. You can imagine. I didn’t want to believe it, even they told me for right… So I ride 10Km more of hell to Bratile to confirm what it was real. I have to come back. Three workermen died some time ago when the mountain fell down and the road still remains closed. That is how I have to go back to find Elbasan through the same torturing road. The good news was I will arrive on time to meet Eleni in Korce that wasn’t able if I have arrived earlier. I though I will never reach to Elbasan, and when I did it, I was so tired that my plans to arrive to Librazh seemed a dream. It begin to rain about 6km nearby Elbasan. So I stopped at the first kaffe I did found. And how glad I am now. That few hours there, show me the real beating of Albania. A GREAT TEAM in every corner. They just treat me like a friend. Invite me to drink and enjoy there company. They give me the strenght to keep going in this one direction road…and let me know the taste of Sweet Sweet Albania. Thank you guys I will never could continue without your push! This lovely country has roads of two directions full of their Lavazh and crowded Kaffes. You can choose go Backward or Forward…what it makes me wonder many times wich option will Albania take from now on. After all this km. Now I feel like a real Albanian. This nice guy give a real Lavazh to my byke…it looked new for a while. UNDRESSED. Taking slowly its clothes. Albania first showed me the fields, then the mountains and then the rivers and the lakes…I think Albania may do not know what they have. This is a paradise in the middle of Europe. Still virgin. There are big hills from Përrenjas to Lin and Pogradec to Korce.
I didn’t think twice, I just put the automatic and climb all them. I have learn it’s a matter of breathing and mental force. The reward it is always bigger than the effort…and at least, wich options do I have. After so many km (I don’t even know how many) neither the bike or me and the byke are the same. I need to fixed the byke before keep on on the way. And this time was completely a mess. A nice man try to fixed, but I know I need a new wheel.
KORCE I couldn’t have better company for my last day in Albania. Eleni is a Greek teacher full of energy that gave me a brief idea of what I will find next. We also have the opportunity of share many ideas and point of views. I think all teachers should be like her…she doesn’t think about herself she just focus on give the tools to all her children to face the world. It is no easy job, but she has the guts to do this and whatever she gots in mind. We agreed in many thoughts and if all goes how it is planned we will meet in Konstantinobla in few days. It will be so nice.
All students learn the letter of their teacher or something like this…we would be in good hands if we let in hers. Take my hat off, Eleni.
And then another Great Genious (Lazjon). I like this guy so much, because he does not just know many things about everything…he knows all about his city…and most important, HE LOVES HIS COUNTRY!! And not many Albanian are in touch with this idea…at least didn’t seemed to me.
He took me around every corner of the city and show me every thing I could in the time we remain together. Korce it is one of the greatest city of Albania and time will show it. Thank you so much for this master class of passion and culture…I’m on the road to learn a bit more every day and you both made it so easy.
A complete unknown country for me. I should get better informed about where I put my feet, but I usually do it like this…running always against the walls. That’s how I learn, that’s how I grow. I met this guy near from the border and let me the first contact with Albanian people. So nice, they have hot blood and happy mood all time. Even I haven’t understand yet why they always say NO with the head… In my way to Tirana I have to stop. Since my days in Makarska I have a weel loosing air, but I just pump it a bit every day. Since it doesn’t work anymore. But I did find the best mechanic ever. Man…YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO for sure. This child was an expert. With his help we arranged the pricked inner tube (the one from Croatia and the actual). He has got more squills than me. I was so happy to have such a great partner in the middle of the road.
I cannot say anything wrong about people here. They are amazingly kind. But for a while, resting on a square in Kamza, I begin to feel a little bit annoyed. Just teenegers asking me for giving them money, let them my bike, movil phone, saying I will get robbed…just remind me what was the real situation here. People is nice, but have needs. As I said before just teenegers. But make me think about of what I did see since I enter to Albania. In a 30km, hundred of Mobileri (furniture shops) and Lavazh (car washing)…all empty and everybody in Kaffes nearby the road.
I stopped in Kamsa in a fast food. This nice people invite me to a Hamburger and we spend a great time together. If any time come to Albania should go there and know them. Albanian are funny. I also have the opportunity to talk with a girl there who explain me a bit more why is everybody in the street. Many inmigrants working in Italy, Croatia and Greece and they wait to the money send from relatives. But now many have begin to come back due to the crisis. And I wonder what will be the future for the people from now on.
I decided to go direction Greece, but I take wrong direction. Eventough I decided to continue. It will be a longer way, but I could see the coast of Albania. A weird feeling invade me while I was pedaling. I felt unbalanced, so sad. I just begin to cry on the byke. Albania became a labirynth of nonsense. I always say to myself…if it hurts, it is because you don’t understand. And I didn’t.
Albania is a rich country with petrol, mineral, a lot of water and even more important BIG FIELDS to work and get food. But there’s a corrupted government that do not do anything for the real people and people I think they have lost their faith…and now they just wait, because they think nothing could be done. I cannot stop crying, but then near Düres appeared SUPER ALTIN SUFA!! He is not just a member of the National Team or 2nd position Albanian Champion. He knows well what sport has bring to him. Let him to look further the boarders, value the spirit team and overall he learn you always have to give your best. He is a fighter with a lightened muslim heart. He fights for the rights of the team and of his people. Goverment just do not pay them while they just fill up their pockets…once more. Another injustice again. I really need to find him. He is been a ray of light. He invited me to stay at his home and met his family. Here’s his cousin Ani Sufa (we will hear about this unstoppable creative young man…new albanian generation) We spend a great time during this day. I learn a lot about his religion..now I feel I’ve got a Muslim brother. And treated like a professional.
Thank you so much!!! We talked a lot about the need of things to be moved, the need to FIGHT all together.
At least reached Montenegro. I was a little bit scared about what can I find here. When you take a quick look to the map. There are big mountains wherever you look. The rain keep following me. Just arrive to Herceg Novi and didn’t leave it behind till I get the ferry. Might say quite impressive bay. All my fears became true when I have to climb the first hill before Budva…and it will be like this during many kilometers. But a miracle happened. This nice professional couchsurfer stopped his car infront of me just a few km from Budva (few km, and I have to stop for rest) and ask me if I wanna him to drive to Ulcinj. It made me the happiest man on Earth. Definitely it would have been a nightmare every meter under the hot sun. I was so glad also to know someone of Montenegro before leave. And I discovered what it has been the same song in each country, even worst. In this particular case this young fireman it hasn’t been paid for the last 6months. Now he is trying to open his own hostel. He works his lands and try everything is in his hands to survive. I told before the situation is worst due to nobody take cares of Ulcinj (wrong political decisions..again). In every place I stay people talk about the same stillness and handcuffed situation. It is so sad. People like him never give up, never loose his sense of humor and his light or love for everything and the others. But I think we could be fighters…but not silly. This kilometres are yours. Thanks man!
It has been so long since Dubrovnik. I did cross so many borders. And the weather wasn’t on my side this time. People keeps helping me. Don’t think, act. May could seem nothing…sometimes it is just a little chat… a detail, but that’s what helps me more. Keep seeing how blossom the light from nothing. Like Jasmin. Just taking a rest near his door and he offered me some hot coffee and a biscuit that will help me to get away from the storm.
Time for run and get hyde. Lately it is being hard. So much rain every day and no couchsurfing request accepted means no cultural exchange. ..but also no shelter…no hot meal.
But I can say now I have a love power source from my country. I need them, if not l will probably have to come back. But they have helped me to keep on this dream.
This are my grandparents.
They belong to another time. When the civil war and after. I usually think that is the reason they are so concerned about feed and make everybody have everything…because sometimes they didn’t have food enough or things that are so normal to us. Every generation gots their on stigma to fight against. They starved and live in bad conditions sometimes (a generation made of steel). That’s why they help me now. I have no remunerated job/I have no money. But they know quite well why I am here. Fighting against our generational stigma called system. And they helped me in this days. They send me money because they can’t stand me seeing me loosing weight or staying in the street rainning during all a week. I know my limits.
I feel full of their LOVE.
May be it is a hard part of this trip now. Just feeling like a horse. With a further goal… eating, running fast and stay in the stable until next day. But I cannot complain at all. I feel lucky and full of strength and I do my best everyday to get proffit of this chance.
This never ending road has tought me many things about men, myself and overall about brotherhood. I have been a little fucked up this days. I can travel alone…I do like travel alone, but sometimes you need a helping hand. Someone who reminds that you are not alone in this world and even more important, it is everyman’s right feel the warm of other human beings. Thanks to Internet and mobil phones I can talk with friends and family but I need help here in the road. After leaving Zadar I went direction Sibenik knowing that this time…will be fine for a while (L.Cohen sings in my head). It begin to rain 30km before and I began to loose my faith. I stopped in a small village and a nice woman gave me an amount of chocolates. Then stopped the rain and I have more strenght. That is how I arrived just in time…again. This bunch of Slovenian, call themself the 3th. Brigada Cyclista. They are rude people from the mountains. They drink, smoke and ride as BEARS. I can promise you it was hard to me to try ride behind them to Split. They couched me when I need it most. I spend a great night drinking and singing the Olimpja hymn. It was so great after many days alone in the road to have someone to share my time with. Thanks!! I have been thinking that it might be amazing to make the Tour de France next year. I’m quite sure I can afford it and also I know who I will call to made team a (I think some of my friends in Barcelona will also like the idea). Perhaps it is just a dream, although I know quite well we will won some lap. And it is well known I don’t joke with my purest desires.
FREE! I was having some rest near the road in this little part of Bosnia that I was crossing. When Florynel passed infront of me. This nice Rumanian guy is living his dream and you can see that in his eyes and in his face. He is a free man with a free soul. We shared some food, cofee and little chat. And it was so fun to discover that he also passed a night with the Slovenian…drinking their magic Homemade Energy_drink, talking about Air_Mails and another stuff. Maybe Florynel should be part of the Tour team!
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
From Rijeka I did have a brother in many cities. Jerome has been the brother that I need it. We spent great time. We didn’t planned. Just know that we will find each other on the road. We find next day departing from Rijeka in Senj by chance or not. And then in Makarska were we meet after many kilometers without talking. I just know I have to be there. We share our experiencies during the last days, but also laugh a lot and talk about many things. I’m still laughing of a poor teeneger in Makarska (how hard is to be/have been a young project of man). He wears a t-shirt praying: Sex, drugs and Rock&Roll. But it should clearly says: Masturbation, Soft_drink (not after 17h.) & TurboFolk. I should have one of this back in my younger days… We decided to meet again in Ploce.
A few weeks ago I though about what was the roll of man after supermarkets and easy open. The Slovenian guys remind what pure strengh is. As they said, in their village in the mountains, they passed half of the year cutting wood to get warm the house and the other half taking off the snow of every where. Perhaps men, we are just this…we don’t think why do we have to open that pot, we just open it. We are action, force, natural instinct, ancient brotherhood outside our houses while we are hunting our lights in the search of our new state of mind.
This time we haven’t been so lucky. He did not arrived to our meeting point yesterday and I decided to leave direction Dubrovnik to reach Herzeg Novi today. It is been a pleasure. Jerome have BIG BALLS even he doesn’t think too much about it. He just act, like real men do.