Day 153:Jablanac – Rijeka(116km) – Distance travelled so far 9,054km “Too many bikers”

A bit groggy this morning after sleeping on the side of a hill we prepared for another day on the saddle.


Mike packs away the bikeamper

Cycling the coast we came accross numerous touring bikers. Some driving incredibly fast. We came upon a biker who had actually come off his bike and slid underneath the roadside railing. Thankfully he seemed to be unharmed.


A common sight of a group of bikers


Senj


A quick coffee


A nice bit of engineering connecting the mainland to one of its numerouis islands


Ice-cream break


Who da man

We camped outside Rijeka, 15kms from the border. Slovenia tomorrow. We’re flying through the countries now……

Day 152: Zadar – Jablanac(130km) – Distance travelled so far 8,938km “Cycling the Croatian coast”

Arriving in Croatia on the morning of the 29th Michael and Brian decided to chill out in Zadar for a few hours.That afternoon they met with Paul and Liz for a coffee and after a few hours catch up they headed out of town in search of a camp spot. Paul will be staying with Liz for the next few days.


Mike, Liz, Paul( with new hair-cut), Brian in Zadar


Our quaters for the night. Check out Brians new tent

The following morning, Brian and Mike headed up the Croatian coast. Check out some of the nice pics of Croatia.


Lunch stop, in Pag


Pag

 


More coastal cycling


We may struggle to find a camp spot in this terrain


The Sun Goes Down Do do dodo do doooooo

After an impressive days work we found a small grassy patch close to the road and put the heads down for the night…..

Rome

We both agreed, our days spent in Rome were memorable. The city itself was thronged with tourists, but this certainly didn’t take anything away from it’s charm. Accommodation was exspensive, food was cheap so we were quite happy.

We took in as many sites as we could in our days in the capital, such as the Colosseum, The Old City, a tour in the Vatican City which included St.Peters Sq and the Sistein Chapel.

 


I love to shop


‘So your father was a Wouman, eh?’


Brian outside the famous Colosseum. Whats that in the background???


……The Champions League throphy

 


Inside the Colosseum


Man U supporters sing and drink before the game. Who are ya, who are ya…


Mike bought a Barca jersey


Monumento Vittorio Emanuele II

 


Daniel O Connells heart buried here.

During our stay, we arranged to meet our good friend from O’Briensbridge, Co.Clare, Ger Jones, studying in the Irish priest college, Rome. It was great to meet Ger for a few hours. He showed us around as much as he could, and explained some very interesting facts about the city.

We also had an unexspected meal with Ger and his colleagues in the college. Afterwards, they kindly gave us a donation for our charity which they had collected over the lenten period.

Thanks again Ger for everything


Ger (second from right) and friends, giving donation


Part of the old aquaduct


Donagha, son of the great Brian Boru, buried in a church in Rome


Heineken Colosseum mmmmmm

After leaving Ger we headed off to find a location for the game. We had been informed that there would be no official big screen in Rome for the game. Finding a place proved to be difficult but with only 15 mins to kick-off we found a small outdoor pub close to the stadium completely filled with Barcelona fans. We were among friends….


On the metro to the game

Halftime analysis

2-0 Barcelona. Lionel Messi, you legend


Barca fans enjoy the game


St. Peters Sq

Day 148: Pescara – Ancona (164km) – Distance travelled so far 8,808 km “Thaireland Split!”

Well…Paul leaves Brian and Mike and for the next three days will head on up to Ancona and then across to meet Liz in Croatia. With an increasingly more dodgy back wheel, he finally finds an Italian man named Carlito who lives in the Padre Pio region of Italy….Blessed Carilto…Please help fix this wheel once and for all. With careful attention Carlito does indeed fix the wheel…(Carlitos way!!!)…Grazia n’ Ciao bella Carlito


The final throw of the dice for Pauls wheel….Come on!!!!!!!!!!!


Carlito and gorgeous wife…(cannot remember your name..sorry!!!)


Radom shot….On route to Pescara…


It does exists!!!…I’m not tellin lies!!!

After a tough 160km to Pescara and now another 180 odd kilometers to Ancona, Paul chills out for the next 2 days on route hugging the East Coast road all the way. The weather is scorching hot and tanning up as good as Tom Jones is pretty easy indeed…

Brian and Mike head to Rome to soak up the atmosphere of the Champions League final and maybe do a bit of site seeing.

Roll on Croatia and some more of this glorious weather…Noice!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 147: Apricena – Pescara(157km) – Distance travelled so far 8,644 km “Long hard day”

Feeling a little groggy from the night before it took us a while to get into the swing of things. The target todoy was Pescara which lay a worrying 150km away. We put the heads down and covered an impressive 70kms before lunch.

We took a break at Termoli and chilled on the beach for a while. Cycling on the Italian coast has been a pleasurable experience. When we have a lunch break its nice to take a dip in the Adriatic Sea.


Italy has been flat all through this stint


Locals enjoy the beach outside Termoli


A small hill on the way to Pescara


Cycling is made easy by cycling on the coast


A flyover under construction in Pescara

Day 146: Barletta- Apricena(111km) – Distance travelled so far 8,487 km “The hottest day yet”


A morning view from brians tent


Big into keeping fit in Italy


Bus stop break


Temperatures are arisin….

Todays cycle was extremly difficult. The day just seemed to get hotter and hotter as time went on. As the sweat rolled from our tired bodies, we poured water on our heads, backs, any where that would keep us cool.

Unfortunately, our map is not very detailed, and our perception of how far the next town is, wasn’t the best. At one stage during mid-day, we all ran out of our supply of water. Cycling through the countryside, the next town seemed so far away. Luckily we came across a small shop/pub in the middle of nowhere and cooled off for an hour or two…..

Now knowing how far we were from Apricena, we ploughed on.


44 degrees. Ouch………..


A driedup water well. No surprise here

3 broken men finally arrived into the town of Apricena. Turned out to be a nice little place to spend the night. There was a small music festival going on in the town, so we set up our tents in a field and headed out for 2 beers….just 2!!


Apricena festival


Two locals enjoy the entertainment


Are ye laughin?? I’m laughin


A pro

Day 145: Bari (Italy) – Barletta(80km) – Distance travelled so far 8,376 km “My God, Italy is hot”

We arrived in Italy after our overnight ferry at about 9am. We decided to chill on the beach in Bari for a couple of hours before mounting our saddles once again.


The Adriatic Coast


Drying our tent in the sun, while relaxing


Hot hot hot hot…..stuuuuuuuuffff!!!!!!!!!


Stopping for an ice cream


Watch that cacti bouys…


The port town of Trani


Filipo- a friendly Italian


Entering Barletta


Preparation for beach camping


Outside Barletta


God, we love to camp…..

Day 144: Ioannina – Igoumenitsa(92km) – Distance travelled so far 8,296 km “Another mountain packed day”

Another very hard day of numerous climbs which meant slow progress. We arrived into Igoumenitsa at 8pm weak and weary with one hour to spare till the ferry to Italy.


“I can do 40 miles to the gallon with this bad boy”


Ioannina Castle


Mikes bike keels over while attemping to save a small turtle


I don’t think so!!


Paul posing while waiting for Mike


..as does Brian


Joy all around…he made it.


We think the heat is affecting our heads!!


Master Splinter to the rescue once again


A 40 km descent to Igoumenitsa


The first living snake we have seen on the trip


Igoumenitsa


All aboard

We all agreed that Greece has been one of our favourite countries and definitely worth a visit again.

Day 143: Metsova – Ioannina(52km) – Distance travelled so far 8,204 km “Unexspected half day cycle”

Our original route was to cycle up along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea travelling through Albania, Montenegro and on up into Croatia. Knowing that the Champions League Final was due to be played in Rome, we decided to head for the west coast of Greece to get the ferry to Italy.

Our planned destination today was was the ferry port of Igoumenitsa, as we thought it was managable 110km away.

After a tough 8km climb in the searing heat, it was all downhill to the lakeside town of Ioannina.


We love freewheeling

Upon arriving into Ioannina we came across a signpost for Igoumenitsa…..92kms!! Our predictions were far out so we decided to call it a day and stay in Ioannina for the night. No complaints from us, as we were enjoying Greece very much.


Hiding from the sun in a kebab shop

Day 142: Grevena – Metsova(65km) – Distance travelled so far 8,152 km “Scorching hot, challenging mountains and an angry farmer”

As predicted the night before, the thunder showers rolled in. Within an hour of falling asleep, the thunder roared and the rain came down. For the first half hour the tents stood up to the challenge, but Brian soon noticed numerous trickles of water flowing into his quaters. To prevent himself and his sleeping gear getting wet, he put on his jacket and stuffed his gear inside. For the next two hours Brian remained awake, kneeling up in his tent.

Paul and Mike awoke the following morning to a very tired and grumpy Brian!!


Leaving Grevena


Greece seems to be getting much hotter

The first 17kms the road was flat, but the day quickly turned into a gruelling uphill challenge. For the next 32kms the road meandered up to an 1,800m pass.


Seems they have road vandals in Greece also

The tough ascent coupled with the rising temperatures was proving very difficult for all three of us.


Mike takes a break, and cools off


More climbing at a mere 7km/hr

After 4 hours of hard climbing, we finally reached the top and had a well deserved decent into the town of Metsova.


Metsova

While getting a bite to eat in Metsova, we all agreed not to do much more cycling for the day.


Leaving the medevil town of Metsova


Some more meandering roads


What beautiful scenery


The highway below us, tunnels through the mountains


Searching for a place to kip for the night


Brian, the movie-star..

A couple of kms outside the town, we thought we had found a nice place to pitch up for the night. Further investigation into the spot we noticed what seemed to be a fairy ring, so superstition got the better of us and we moved on…..


Fairyring. 


Finally a good spot for the night….so we thought!

We found, what we thought, was a good place to camp for the night atop and old nonused bridge.


Camping on the bridge

As the day drew to a close, and light turned to dark, we decided to light a fire. Our campspot was very close to the road and we were very visible to any passers by. Unfortunately, the farmer that owned the land we were on drove by and noticed our cousy fire….idiots!!! By now the time was 930 and the farmer wanted us off his land.

We pleaded with him to let us stay, as it was very dark and it would have taken a very long time to pack all our gear up and find another spot….In the end he came around and agreed. Phew….No more camp fires for us…….