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.
It has been such a great experience to cross this big road that goes from Rijeka to Dubrovnik. I get lost just getting out of the city and I have to jump over a fence to not get into the highway. In some way…very fun. I didn’t realized on that moment, but it was a signal of how hard next days will be.I didn’t reach my goal to Stenj since next day, after a really bad night. I did arrive early in the morning where surprisely meet Jerome!! Was nice to have breakfast with him.
Then after few km we said goodbye again. I have my first wheel bump.
It was hot, so I looked for a place with shadow nearby a camping. After hanging my first wheel of all my life, I just went inside the camp asking for cleaning myself a bit.
But there was Sasa…remind me how warm it is the croatian heart. He gave me a beer and let me charge my movil and myself_battery (after sleeping just 4h it felt like heaven).
I finally reach Karlobag, always hopping to find that last moment answer to some couch request. But didn’t happened. I found some place to sleep, but first those million hungry mosquitos and then the rain…just give me few hours of rest.
Thats how and why early in the morning I just could take a long rest near the road.
That is how I met Misho. He appears running like a real professional, from I don’t know where. We begin to talk as he warm down.
A woman, from the restaurant infront, get interested in what was all that about and again…she gets inside and gives me a big sandwich, orange juice and a salted egg. Again thanks to all that people who keeps human spirit alive. Giving without asking, sharing from their heart.
Then Misho offered me to have lunch in his house near where we were. So we went there. He went running infront of me.
Misho was a seaman. Working in many big ships. Crossing oceans and visiting thousand of cities. Now he is retired and lives in his mother’s old house in a fisherman village called Baric Draga. Now he lives his life. Do some fish pots and put some in the sea.
This days I have reached big mountains just for could watch the light and colors of the sea. But I didn’t expected to could go in a boat. But Misho takes me just to check if there was some fish.
We didn’t get anything but we eat some he pieaces fished the afternoon before and cooked in a grill with tasty roast potatoes.
Back in the days_
He complained about the few amount of fish they get now. And how it has beggined to be so much new constructions. I can see that with my eyes.
I’m very sorry to say this, but it will be a shame if becames like the landscapes of my country. Here you can still feel the freedom of nature. And even see and touch some snakes around.
He offered to stay all day and the night. That make me thing about my trip and how I did get a little obsesed in always to find a couch to stay and meet new people and know much about the culture and how I was probably missing some experiencies. I get eyed blinded due to the mosquitos, the snakes, the thousand km in my legs and the rain…about the need to couchsurfing in every place, about how did references could help me.. (I cannot give Misho one) It is more than that. It is just follow the human instinct, it is about give and share. Couchsurfing it is a tool, a really well thinked and useful tool to get to this amazing experiencie (I can asure that, if not I would not meet all this lovely people I have met). But now I have realized that the only real think it is just to be here or there just on time for meet to someone that is waiting nearby the road for you.
I was arriving to Zadar after spend a great morning with Miso. When I found Jin. We ride and talked a bit.
She has guts…travelling around the world. She continued to Zadar and I decided to stay outside the city. Knowing by heart it will be another night Mogwly Style. And it was.
I found a place nearby a restaurant. I did try to get as much comfortable I can. When suddenly a couple stop with their car just some meters from me. They didn’t notice I was there, hiddeen between the leaves, just about to sleep. And then it begin all the show…I really didn’ expected that…they fuck during more than an hour (quite well sir) and I just cannot stop thinking: oh my gosh…it will never end this nightmare. I felt dirty somehow. But I have so much fun sharing this story this days…voyeurism for eyeblinded.
After that, I fall asleep, in a few hours the fight again mosquitos begins again warning from a big storm over my head. I have to packed all my stuff and ran to the terrace of the reataurant where I spent the night.
Next morning I arrived Zadar. I also should be sorry to say this…but I didn’t feel anything. It is a nice city, of course, but I felt like in a scenario, pure atrezzo for tourist. I didn’t feel any beating of the city and anyone give me the chance to live it. I just get more in touch when I get lost getting out of Zadar when I saw the real city, with their hot blooded croatian people doing their things.
I use to thing to myself how do connect with all the other things or people. For me it is a exchange of my own reality and others, that twisted and mixed results in a new light, sometimes a tiny and small experience, just for seconds or sometimes with a fury storm called love.