30 Jun 2014 by Olga Brighton
Last summer we planned a trip to cycle from our home in Chamonix in the heart of the French Alps to the historical city of Istanbul in Turkey. Our route of around three thousand kilometres would take us through 9 countries: France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey, and we had one month to complete it... no pressure. That meant an average of one hundred kilometres a day to cycle and not too much time off! We had a fantastic trip and enjoyed exploring this area of Europe that was new to us.
The Croatian coast was a highlight with beautiful scenery and the opportunity to stop regularly for a dip in the sea when we got too hot. Albania was the most interesting country to see I think as it is so different to its neighbours - crossing the border we immediately noticed the difference in the traffic on the roads: many fewer cars and many more mules and bikes. In the countryside we saw people harvesting the fields with scythes and making stooks by hand which was very idyllic for us but no doubt hard work for them. We finally arrived in Istanbul and enjoyed a few days exploring the city and its many amazing buildings. The Hagia Sofia took our breath away with its age and the incredible architecture. We also made up for lost calories with plenty of Turkish Delight!
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