Alone: Olive Grove to Beyond Xanthi. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

January 23, 2014

Alone: Olive Grove to Beyond Xanthi.

I was gone from the olive grove as soon as it got light. About eight thirty I push the bike off the road and breakfast looking out to sea. Apology for no coastal landscape shot and having to look at one of me instead.
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WHEN I PULL into a Lidl it is nice to see two other loaded touring-bikes parked by the shopping-trolleys. The bikes are a cheap German make and they've a pannier mix of Ortlieb and Vande with great big bags on top at the back, making me think what all have they in those bags.

Away way too much on those bikes. They're a young couple and if they continue to cycle-tour, they'll learn that less is better.
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I wait, thinking they'll soon be out. But after five minutes, decide to wait no longer and enter through the sliding door. Being a large Lidl, I miss any likely candidate touring-cyclists in the shopping aisles, so scurry round hastily. Luckily there are only three or four other shoppers, no big trolleys or wandering small children to negotiate my way round. I put bread, sheep cheese, mandarins and a bottle of coke in the cardboard box and rush to the check-out hoping not to miss them. Though on putting the items on the belt, I see them sitting on the windowsill having a break before continuing.

Of course the first question is, where are you from; although I suspect the answer will be Germany. And Germany is what the girl replies. She and her partner are cycling to Istanbul like me. But while the girl is talkative, asking me did I cycle the Adriatic coast, the boy hardly opens his mouth and appears anxious to get going again. Or, perhaps I'm rattling on about my tour, myself and didn't ask them about theirs' and themselves. Selfish me, me me. The excitement of meeting other cyclists gets the better of me. In any case they seem happy with their own company and soon cycle away, leaving me to eat a snickers bar and pack the coke, bread and other bits away before continuing, assuming I'll catch them up, but I never will see them again.

Even though there's blue skies and not a hint of rain, it will be raining within two kilometres. Is this what this sign's telling me!?
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I ride all of the forenoon with the coast on the right and stop for lunch on a cliff top rest-place, just before the town of Kavala with an ancient citadel high upon a headland jutting out to sea; besides, the busy modern town-centre and beachfront and lunchtime traffic jam. My way is uphill from the waterfront, passing underneath an impressive aqueduct. Then onward is coastal plain, the road a fair bit inland though, passes a mixture of small fields with grazing sheep and newborn lambs, olive groves, industrial warehouses and white smoke plumes of a fertilizer plant. The afternoon pleasantly warm and sunny.

Time.
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By the time I reach the next town, Xanthi, the sun is sinking behind me and although the road bypasses the town itself, there are houses and commercial buildings just about everywhere. I need something to eat too before looking for somewhere to camp.

I cross over to a Carrefour hypermarket on the left and meet a local cycling couple, Stavros and Cristobela they tell me there names are. They have their mountain bikes locked out front and Stravros tells me we'll ride to Alexandroupolis in Summer, while Cristobela protests "he ride alone as I not ride that far"

I left them both with blinking lights on their bikes riding back towards town, while I continue east. A couple of kilometres on from the hypermarket, just as I think it's proving impossible to find a place to camp, I come to a large grove of eucalyptus trees, in which I push the bike far in where no one will see me.

These guy were enjoying the sun and were quite photogenic, but they thought I was up to no good and soon ran away before I'd the chance of a second shot
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Today's ride: 123 km (76 miles)
Total: 9,898 km (6,147 miles)

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