Last night I committed to cycling to Mesolongi and reserved a hotel room at Avra Inn. I’m out of campgrounds for a while, and Mesolongi fell in the right place. I left the campground by 9:00 am, after having to search out the camp host to pay.
The ride today was great, mostly along the coast. Spectacular views and crystal clear water. Two 150+m climbs, but graded well. I had to stop a few times for water and food, but ever climbing, right?
Other than that I had mostly flat, with traffic light enough that I stayed on the main roads even when a smaller road paralleled my course.
By my current estimate I’m seven days ahead of schedule; my original plan of cycling across Albania was spot on. This meshes well with my updated plan of reaching Athens and taking a ferry to a Greek island or two.
I’ve downgraded my daily distance target. Normally my base is 100 km +/- 20 km. Now I’m using 80 km as the base, in part because that puts less strain on my knee, which still bothers me on occasion. Greece scales to that; every day my choice ends up being 80 km or 140.
I finally feel like I’m in a new country. Absolutely everything shuts down in the afternoon for a multi-hour lunch. I arrived in Mesolongi in that window and felt like I’d entered a ghost town. The owner of the hotel was outside in a cafe. This is the first budget accommodation that feels budget, but it’s OK. Stepping back out in the evening, the town bustled with activity, kids riding bicycles, cafes packed with people.
Scattered storms are in the forecast. The coastal road doesn’t provide many opportunities for shelter. On the other hand, I’m much farther south than the rains in Italy; while nights are still cool, temps during the day are hitting the 30s.
I have a hostel reservation for Patras tomorrow. From Patras I’ve identified only three more campground stays before Athens.