Balkan Stage 27 Monodendri to Metsovo, Greece

Oct 6, 2022

Stage 27 of 36, day 32 of 43: 85.3 km, 1640m climb, 4:29 Moving, 5:41 Total,  59.6 kph max

Bosnia & Herzegovina211.01444

The weather has cooled off quite a bit. It got down to 3°C last night and when we started riding today, a little after 9am, it was 7°C. It didn’t feel that bad so I started with both jerseys on, not carrying anything else. By the time we were halfway down the initial 15 km descent from town, I was starting to get a little cold. At the bottom, I was frozen, especially my hands. We stopped at Noutsos Bridge, built in 1750, and spent some time checking it out, mainly to warm up!

Noutsos Bridge
Close up

Warmed up a bit, we continued and pretty soon found another of the famous bridges in the area: Zagorochoria Plakidas Bridge, built in 1814. This one has three arches. We walked down and looked under it and walked over it.

Plakidas Bridge
The newer road signs have Greek and English – very convenient!
Team Salsa visits a local tiny house someone has labelled creatively

The riding in this area was up and down, on deserted roads, and the landscape was thick beautiful forest. I never saw anything like this in the Greek Islands, that’s for sure. The spot Ype found for lunch was just awesome. He tantalized us by text first:

Sure enough, it was magical when we arrived
Detail of the water spout at our lunch spot

After lunch, Bob and I continued together, up, down and around, through some headwinds and soon came to the major climb of the day, 750m in 14 km. This one was pretty consistent, pretty, with low traffic. It did drag on and the headwinds were intermittent and strong sometimes. By the end I was feeling somewhat unpowerful.

Looking back to the nicely graded road we climbed
Looking down from the highest point on the ride at a bridge

Finally my Garmin read 0m to ascend and I cruised down a kilometer to the town of Metsovo. It’s at about 1200m elevation, with cool air and hilly narrow streets. We checked into the hotel and immediately set to work on soup and snacks.

A few of the snacks I had after riding, best was Caroline’s yummy chick pea soup

Next up was a hot shower, laundry and a nap. Then it was time for beer. The craft beer crew was already ensconced in a place downtown so I walked down and joined for a round of decent craft IPA.

We have a lot of fun on these trips…

By 7, it was dinner time so we walked a few doors down and ate. The menu had only meat dishes so Bob asked about other options. The guy said, “Vegetarian or vegan?” and we knew we were ok. I had a great salad and stuffed vegetables – delicious and filling. We had mineral water to drink and since I had just one beer at the previous place, I scored an AFD by Peter’s bike touring rules.

Cozy dinner with a roaring fire
Katie wants more food descriptions so the stuffed pepper and tomato were filled with seasoned rice with cheese and herbs. Potato for extra volume and style. My salad was “Traditional Salad”: lettuce, croutons, feta, tomatoes and some balsamic vinegar.

The owner brought us free ice creams for dessert and didn’t offer any ouzo, just excellent! We walked home, all wearing heavy jackets, wondering how cold it will be in the morning. We took a detour to the hotel lobby to stand by their roaring fire for a while before going upstairs. I will certainly sleep well tonight!

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