Day 17 already? Time is rushing past us. With the pace we have set on the speedometer, that’s only natural. But after a turbulent day on the road, we’re also glad to be able to slow down a little in the evening. In Ohrid, old acquaintances of Berthold’s kindly offered to let us stay an extra night. This allowed us to recharge our batteries for the next tour. Better still, it enabled us to take a closer look at the historic city.

Many thanks at this point to Irvine’s parents, who gave us an insight into the city and its eventful history.

Oh, Oh, Ohrid

And there was a lot to experience! The buildings of the old town of Ohrid from different centuries, the Church of St. John of Kaneo, the Church of St. Sophia and, of course, the gently undulating Lake Ohrid – a popular destination in summer.

Ohrid belonged to the Greek Empire in ancient times, became the capital of the Bulgarians in the 9th century and was later conquered by Byzantium in the 11th century to serve as the center of the Orthodox Church. It then passed to the Ottoman Empire in the 13th century. The Ottomans converted St. Sophia’s Church into a mosque – it only resumed its function as an Orthodox church after the Russo-Ottoman War in 1877/78.

The city’s other place of worship, the Church of St. John of Kaneo, is located slightly away from the city center, on a promontory. It stands on the site of a much older church, which was completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 5th century. The current church building was constructed between 1130 and 1150. It is particularly famous for its frescoes.

Ohrid can look back on an eventful history, which is reflected in the city’s buildings. And as befits an ancient Greek city on the world stage, there is of course an amphitheater.

The crowning glory of our city tour was Lake Ohrid. You have to imagine it as being cut by an invisible line: One half belongs to North Macedonia, the other is in the territory of Albania.

Two-Wheelers, Compared by Action Rate!

Around lunchtime, we got back on our saddles. Our destination: Greece (more precisely: the mountain monastery of Meteora on the Greek mainland was our destination today). We took the route in the direction of Bitola through the mountain range, which at the far end extends as far as the Allgäu and the foothills of the Alps. From there, we continued across the North Macedonian border to Florina, before finally arriving in Klambaka, Meteora, via Kastoria and Siatista. A 6-hour drive and 350 km distance.

And as always with us: the journey is the reward! At least we can be sure that we will meet exciting people. And so it is again this time: we meet Johannes from Bavaria at a petrol station in Kastoria. He was on his way back from a bike tour that had taken him and three of his friends through the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Iran. They climbed a few more mountains on the way.

Johannes’ adventure trip took 7 months. What’s more, it took place under difficult conditions in terms of comfort. To save weight, the men traveled with little luggage, some even without a tent and only with a tarpaulin (short: tarp). They also had a change of underwear and protective clothing against the weather. The rest was pure muscle and willpower, uphill and downhill.

So: Chapeau to all those who have met us on the bike and will continue to do so. We have some horsepower to drive us, for the cyclists it’s their sporting spirit. Great! Johannes should have arrived home by now – best wishes to Bavaria!

Only a Few Meters to Meteora…

The journey south flew by. Winding roads took us over the mountains and on towards Greece. There is still a lot of untouched nature here and wild animals that can sometimes suddenly appear on the road. Hikers and wild campers beware – bears and wolves sometimes seem to get up close and personal here.

After the first bend at Kalambaka, however, our jaws drop: The rock formations! Looking at pictures is one thing, but actually standing in front of them takes your breath away. Monasteries rise up from the high rock formations to the left and right. Like in a movie, and yet real!

We found accommodation for the night in Kastraki at the foot of the first Meteora monasteries. After a chat in the tavern next door, we decided to climb the mountain next to the guesthouse the next morning.

Day 17: Check!

Stay tuned with us! For us it goes from the Rhine in Germany to the Ganges in India – for a good cause, of course. You too can donate to help the Aktionsgruppe Kinder in Not e.V. campaign group to give disadvantaged children in India a future.

Berthold and I want to collect at least 1 euro in donations for every kilometer we drove – in the end this would be around 50,000 euros. The money will be used by the action group Kinder in Not e.V. to set up educational opportunities that will benefit children from poor population groups in India. We look forward to your donation!

Spendenkonto: DE40 5745 0120 0030 5199 46
Verwendungszweck: Rhein2Ganges

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