Balkan Stage 34 Tripoli to Epidaurus, Greece

Oct 15, 2022

Stage 34 of 36, day 41 of 43: 115.8 km, 1121m climb, 4:45 Moving, 7:00 Total,  67.1 kph max

CountryDistanceClimbing
Slovenia352.25149
Italy29.3346
Croatia950.911,430
Bosnia & Herzegovina211.01444
Montenegro29.3185
Albania688.29749
Greece791.212,935
Total3052.141,238

I slept pretty well in the hotel in Tripoli until just before 7. We packed up and went down for breakfast. It was crowded and small, so I ate in a lounge instead. I had a nice call home with Katie, then we all went next door to the funny garage where our bikes and vans were stored. Marc and Ype both independently told me about the poster on a nearby store that I just had to see.

Here’s the poster and a screenshot of Google lens translating it to English

We started riding at 9am after Wilbert told us that the weather would get better through the day so there was no rush, we should stop early and often, etc. We started riding with a local Greek rider but he only went about 10 km with us. After a kilometer in town, we were out on a nice country road under thick grey clouds. It was cool, double jerseys with shorts and full gloves. The pavement felt good and fast, as did my bike and me. It’s amazing what a double rest day will do for you. I caught up to a bunch that had left before me and we stopped pretty soon for coffee. Sigi and I didn’t have anything but everyone else pounded coffee or espresso. As we watched the others cruise by we laughed about trying to be last.

The ride in the morning was easy and fun, more down than up, and had a beautiful descent that four of us cruised together at 60 to nearly 70 kph, smooth and free. Then we had a little climb, very scenic on deserted roads.

We came upon an ancient bicycle wheel press
The scenery and the sky looked like this
Tom riding under a bridge
It was raining lightly when I took this – dark skies in all directions except where we are headed – rain soon stopped

We rode along some more and came to the shoreline – it’s the Aegean Sea here, the Argolic Gulf.

We stopped to talk to some fishermen and see their catch. Beside the octopus he had one flounder left unsold

We had a little food then continued but found lunch set up about 300m further along the shore. It was a beautiful spot with people coming by to walk down to the beach to photograph the flamingos. My photos don’t do them justice so are not included here. After a great lunch, we turned inland and cruised on. There was one climb, a bit over 300m, which we broke up by stopping to pick and eat some beautiful ripe figs.

A couple of video clips shot by Sigi

We descended then took a short detour to a pretty amazing ancient (4-500BC) theater that is in good condition. It’s called the Theater of Epidaurus. Henk drove his van to the parking lot so he could watch our bikes while we all went in. After some ice cream, I went in with everyone and we marveled at the theater. Bob proposed a race to the top and I was sure the ultra-distance super runner (he’s run up to 100 mile events) would handily beat me, but my balance and fitness somehow allowed me the win.

Theater of Epidaurus
After our race

The theater has amazing acoustics. We could hear someone talking from the center of the stage from the top even though it was windy! We checked out the museum and a few more of the archeological sites there, then remounted for the final 20 km to camp at the beach in Epidaurus. It was mostly downhill but had some squirrely winds, mostly the bad kind. We pulled in around 4pm to our second to last campsite of the trip.

Setting up camp right next to the beach
Kevin’s photo of my blog writing office, next to camp with nice strong WiFi and a fine wheat IPA courtesy of Ype’s recent shopping trip

Soon enough it was time for dinner and Caroline gave us another fantastic one. With two kinds of wine and yummy dessert and a nice marmot ceremony after. We hung out talking for a while but it never lasts too late as people are tired, definitely including me. I think that one of the best features of this campsite is that it’s about 10m from the sea side meaning that instead of dogs or chickens or bells or calls to prayer, we should only hear the beautiful wave noise tonight.

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