It’s been a whirlwind of a ride through many diverse regions of The Balkans, and on crossing into Greece yesterday I can’t help feel that I’m even more confused about the land than I was before I pushed the bike through. The historical and cultural difference, as well as some spectacular mountain landscapes, has made for a plethora of memorable experiences. True to their reputation, the people have proved to be by far the most hospitable and friendly in Europe (especially the Albanians).
The Danube River is generally taken to be the northern border of The Balkans, and it was from Budapest that I rode south into the region with my new friends Povi and Eva. The weekend included plenty of challenging riding through all sorts of rugged terrain, and camping by the fire in an abandoned quarry in the evening. Entertainment was supplied by Povi’s harmonica, Eva’s soothing traditional Hungarian songs, and marshmallows burning away above the flames. When we woke we got the embers going to enjoy banana splits and coffee; I’ve come to realise that one of the downsides of cycling alone is never being able to build a fire in the evenings.