Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 3 - Tekirdag to Alexandropoli (157km)

We passed in to Greece today!

156km of mostly smooth, wide shouldered highway. There is not much to complain about here...except, perhaps, the dogs (though they were also an issue in Turkey). In my opinion, these are the biggest nuisance and the biggest danger on the road.

We discovered that one reliable/effective approach to manage dogs is to slow down to a pedestrian pace so that the dog finds you uninteresting. We call this our * cloak of invisibility * strategy.

Ok dog...there is nothing to see here.

It can be hard to hold your nerve when large dogs run up to you, barking and showing their teeth. But, it seems to work (as long as their tails are wagging). I'm not saying that its easy or perfect (I know there are some situations in which this will not work) and it can take a lot of courage and patience. I really learned that this afternoon.

Carrie had been riding about 20 meters ahead of me, just enough distance to allow four (large and very energetic) dogs to get up from their napping spots and out on the street in time for my arrival. They were desperate for something to chase.

I slowed down, but this was not enough. My cloak of invisibility was busted. I stopped. Surrounded by four barking dogs...trying not to show my fear. I have learned to coach myself to do a lot of things - not being scared is something that I'm still working on.

The 23 minutes that it took for them to get bored and go back to their napping spots (and allow me to make my getaway) felt like an eternity. A lot of very bad things pass through my mind during this time. But, eventually it paid off and I made a dash for it.


Rolling in to Alexandropoli, we met two other bicycle tourists. They were moving in the opposite direction, en route from the UK to Australia. That's going to be a long journey. We were actually able to have a conversation with them - something a little deeper than our last journey, which was with a japanese cyclist as we reached the edge of Istanbul. The conversation with the Japanese cyclist was rather brief on account of the traffic and a language barrier. It went something like this:


New Zealand!


And that was it. The brits, on the other hand, told us about their adventures so far and tips for the road. One story included a man walking from France to Israel, solo. I'm not a walker, but that would be an amazing journey. Another story related to squatting in a farm in Bosnia and getting evacuated at gun point. I think we will avoid pirate camping in the Balkans. Until then, Greece seems like a nice place to enjoy the outdoors and we have found a nice spot at a municipal campground to enjoy the stars and put our feet up after a long day.


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