Monday, August 17, 2009

Bikespedition – 2009 (April 23 – August 5)

Miles: 1501
Countries on Bike: Greece, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia
Countries on Foot/Train/Plane: Serbia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein (Sweden and Iceland)

From April to August I visited Europe in a wild trip

Part 1 – Greece A: TEFL Shuffle (April 23 – May 23)

In Greece, Section A, I visited the ruins of Athens and my lifelong goals of seeing the Akropolis and Mycenae. I also got my certificate to teach English as a Foreign Language at TEFL-Corinth. At the Corinth Canal, I bungee jumped from the bridge.

Part 2 – Greece B: Across the Peninsula (May 23 – May 31)

In this week I cycled across the Peloponnesian Peninsula. From Corinth I visited Akrata, Patra and Ancient Olympia. Then I cycled to the Killini port to catch a ferry to Kefalonia.

Part 3 – Greece C: Rolling with the Turtles (June 1 – July 7)

For one month I volunteered with the Mediterranean Loggerhead Sea Turtle. I spent nights walking beaches and marking their nests while tagging sea turtles that had come onto the Kefalonian beaches to nest. Days were spent working in the environmental center in Katelios and visiting hidden beaches that were only seen by turtles and volunteers.

Part 3a – Boat Rides (July 7 – 9)

I had to take three boats through three countries to transport Schwarzfahrer and myself from Sami, Greece to Split, Croatia.

Part 4 – Croatia (July 9 – July 25)

I road from Split to Zagreb while visiting three national parks – Krka, Plitvicka Jezera and Paklinica. I saw the old cities of Split, Trogir, Sibenik and Zagreb (highly underrated) and bungee jumped for the second time – off the Sibenik Bridge.

Part 5 – Train Rides and Proverbial Rides (July 25 – July 28)

Took a train from Zagreb to Sofia. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to Sofia, since my passport was stolen in Serbia. Then spent the next 3 days in Belgrade.

Part 6 – Alps, Falls and Home (July 28 – August 5)

I traveled by plane to Zurich. Where I visited Liechtenstein and the Rheinfall and visited my friend Raphael. Then by plane traveled home through Sweden and Iceland.

A complete review can be found in my special bikespedition-2009 blog. But highlights can be found below.

In 1501 miles cycling, 14 boat rides, 15 tram/subway trips, 8 train rides, 2 international bus trips I visited 9 countries: Greece, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Sweden and Iceland.

I slept in 22 places: 2 hostels, one apartment, 11 campgrounds, 2 hotels, a cottage, on the deck of 2 boats, a room over a tavern, on a train and in one friend’s apartment.

I also did countless hours of hiking – both for the turtles and my own edification. I kayaked over 50km, rowed and used a Croatian wooden boat each for a hour. I swam in 4 seas and 2 rivers. I also took 11 rides hitch hiking.

The highest point I attained (other than aboard planes):
1. Mt. Enos, Greece 1628 meters (5,341 feet)
2. Gaflei, Leichtenstein 1509 meters (4,950 feet)

Highest point I reached on bicycle
1. Lubovo Pass, Croatia 975 meters (3,198 feet)
2. Boske Ostanje Pass, Croatia 925 meters(3,035 feet)

Longest Day Cycling
Patra – Olympia 85 miles (137 km)

Worst Day Cycling
Duga Resa – Zagreb

Toughest Day Cycling
Paklenica National Park – Outside Gospic (Including the Boske Ostanje Pass)

Best Trip
1. Plitvicka Jezera National Park, Croatia
2. Argoloid (Mycenae, Nemea, Nafplio and Argos)

Toughest Climb
1. Boske Ostanje Pass, Croatia 925 meters
2. Akrokorinthos, Greece 609 meters

Best Campground
Camp Cikada, near Plivicka Jezera,

Worst Campground
Worst – Argostoli Beach, Greece
Worst for the Money – Camp Jezera, Murtar

Best Bike Mechanic
Pantelis -

Top Speed
38 mph (61km/h) on the Krka Loop Ride

Silliest Thing I did
Flip over a turtle

Most Frightening Moment
1. Sliding down the cliff while trying to climb Mt. Enos
3. Bungee jumping the first time
100+ km days

5 things I’d do again
1. Plitvicka Jezera National Park
2. Krka National Park
3. Bungee jump over the Corinth Canal
4. Kayak in the Ionian Sea
5. The whole idea

5 Things I’d do if I could do it over again
1. Not get my passport stolen
2. Not reschedule parts of my dream trip
3. Learn psi vs bar
4. Ship 50lbs back to the US
5. Bring a better tent

5 favorite views from the trip
1. Anywhere in Plitvicka Jezera, Croatia
2. Overlooking Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia, Greece
3. Sitting in the park at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens
4. The stars in Mreznicki Brig, Croatia
5. The gorge we went through on the train ride back to Belgrade, Serbia

5 most annoying people (or groups)
5. The French people sitting on the stairs at Perahora who got pissed when I wanted to walk down the only way to the site.
4. Family who made me walk the speed of their 5 year old most of the way down from Manta Pec in Paklenica.
3. Serbian Guy at the Information booth in Belgrade Train Station who told me there were no ATMs or Bankomats in Belgrade.
2. The guy who stole my passport.
1. The American woman who had to be talked into the 3 more euros to go to the museum at Olympia. Site – 6 euros; Site+Museum – 9 euros. She didn’t want to waste 3 euros to see the best collection of marble statues in Greece. And, she probably wonders why Europeans think Americans are idiots.

Money I made it home with
7 CHF - $6.56
180 ISK - $1.43
30 SEK - $4.19
10.45 HRK - $2.04
15 euro cents - $0.21
167 SRD - $2.89
Total - $17.32

Best Picture:
Akrata Beach Sunset
From Vrachati - Akrata

Best Pic of Me:
1. Boske Ostanje Pass, Croatia
From mmm...maybe not

2. Bungee Jump at the Sibenik Bridge, Croatia
From One Short Ride

Silliest Pic
Monkey Men
From Katelios

Best Group Picture
From Argoloid 2

Alas, I have now returned from the trip and look to the next step in life.

Tino Pai,


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