(English version below)
Un cop caminades Tailàndia, Birmània, Bangladesh, Índia, Pamir, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Azerbaidjan, Geòrgia, Turquia i Grècia amb aproximadament uns 12.300 quilòmetres als peus, ara entrem a Macedònia.
Goodbye, Greece. Hello Macedonia.
For those of you keeping tabs on our journey, we can now add Greece to the list of places we walked, which includes: Thailand, Burma, Bangladesh, India, Pamir, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The latest milestone brings our tally to roughly 12,300 kilometers walked, done, finished, in the sack.
Després de Tailàndia caminàvem Birmània per encabat saltar a Àsia central per poder caminar Pamir, Tadjikistan i Uzbekistan evitant el seu cru hivern, així com també l’asfixiant monsó a Bangladesh i Índia. A continuació vàrem reprendre la ruta a Bangladesh, un pèl massa aviat per que les primeres setmanes ens ofegàvem de calor, humitat i en alguna que altra tempesta de final de monsó. Entrar a Índia per passar tot l’hivern ens va regalar perfectes temperatures diürnes, però poques hores de llum amb fredes nits i matinades on la boira espessa ens va acabar de congelar. L’operació quirúrgica de Jenn va marcar una important fita durant l’estada a Índia. Des de maig a juliol vàrem caminar Iran per creuar Azerbaidjan durant un agost severament calorós que ens va causar forces problemes, però després varev gaudir d’un molt bon setembre a través de les muntanyes, valls i rius del sud de Geòrgia. A continuació vàrem estar molt de temps creuant la llarga Turquia resseguint el mar Negre per després passar al mar de Marmara. Recentment hem creuat una part del nord de Grècia, bressol de la nostra civilització i ara entrem a Macedònia.
Mirarem de seguir publicant i informant tan sovint com ens sigui possible, però com sempre, si no podem comunicar-nos, actualitzar o publicar molt freqüentment, assumiu que estem feliçment caminant entre bones persones i sobretot, que estem bé (o molt bé).
Així doncs, faré / farem el que bonament podrem, sense oblidar-nos de tots vosaltres que molt amablement ens seguiu, us interesseu per nosaltres, ens recolzeu i doneu ànims per continuar i als que us estem MOLT agraïts.
Greece was good to us.
Although we initially found ourselves on a biggish road with traffic from the Turkish border to the town of Alexandroupoli, we were fortunate to find many smaller roads as we made our way to Komotini, Xanthi, Drama, Serres and Kilkis.
During the first few days of our month in Greece, we walked pieces of the Via Egnatia motorway (not the foot trail) that once was an ancient Roman trade and military route connecting Rome to Durres, Albania and Istanbul. If we’re lucky and patient with the way-finding, we may hike some of the Via Egnatia foot trail in Macedonia and Albania; it’s not well-marked and it may be tough ascents and descents with our heavy packs, but we’ll see if we connect our route with additional bits of antiquity.
The rest of our 500-kilometer Greek walk was on secondary roads (left behind when the main multi-lane highway was built) that took us up and down through lots of farmland (mostly with wheat fields), forested national parks, green hills and tiny villages. Many of the vehicles we saw in these stretches were tractors and small trucks filled with bread, fruit, fish or meat that serve as a mobile supermarket for villages without shops. With so little traffic, we could focus on listening to bird songs…well, at least until we reached a village where every dog would rise up, race to the fence or circle us on the street, and bark at us excessively and incessantly. We rank the Greek dogs and their constant, shrill barking right up their with their Thai cousins; barking dog noise is a significant part of our Greek soundtrack.
Weatherwise, we had good days and bad days. Summer is heating up, and several days we faced sticky, very humid, +35-degree-Celsius temperatures (95 degrees Fahrenheit). Those days killed me with exhaustion, and more than once, I swore I was packing up this walk and going to an island to swim for the rest of the summer.
But, then the sky gods heard my plea, and sent us cloudy weather, which brought temps down to the pleasant range of 18-22 degrees Celsius (64 -71F). Clouds, though, bring rain, and almost every day for 2.5-3 weeks we had to dash off the road to find cover and a dry place to spend a few hours or the night as a showers or a storm rolled through.
From a people perspective, we say “Bravo, Greece.” I’ll be writing a bit more about the kindnesses we experienced in another upcoming post, but I’ll say we were surprised at how generous people have been to us. Because of the Greeks and their many invitations to join them for a coffee, we have shedded the tea-drinking habit we picked up walking south and central Asia and are now slightly addicted to iced coffee frappes.
Greece was fun, but we must move on. We will head towards the mountains of Macedonia and make our way to Lake Orhid, where we expect to cross into Albania.
As always, we have no idea what our connectivity will be like for the next few weeks, or how soon we’ll be back online. Crossing borders means getting new money, new SIM cards and figuring things out in another language we don’t speak.
But, check back here now and again. We both have blogs scheduled in the next few weeks.
And, we are posting on Instagram and Facebook as we can. Our handle on both pages is @bangkokbarcelonaonfoot. The links are below:
Thanks for walking with us!