We would never start a summer holiday in the Vosges. Yet the landscape played no role in the choice to start in Greece. There were more decisive arguments. After the roller coaster from earlier this week (see previous blog), the next ride was also quite hilly and even a good part unpaved. Again a beautiful landscape. The 2nd half of that stage descended to sea level after which a relaxed coastal route took us to Astros.

We actually wanted to continue south from Astros towards Monemvasia and then Sparta. When mapping out the route, however, it turned out that we would then have to make >800 altitude meters for days on end and also have to cross a summit of more than 1000 meters a few times on the way to Kalamata by the sea. So it turns out to be quite mountainous here!

More than our untrained bodies like (and maybe always would) at the beginning of our journey. Cycling from Astros directly to Sparta? Also a brisk mountain ride and then to Kalamata all the way an Alpine ride. That’s how we came to the decision to go by Tripoli. From Astros in one go to 700 meters to reach the plateau on which Tripoli is located. Cycling up 28km in one piece even with an increase of ‘only’ 5% was firm. The strong headwind and over time also rain, did not leave us untouched!

The plateau here is remarkably fresh and greener than the rest of what we have seen of Greece. In the distance we even saw a snowy mountain top. There also appears to be a real ski resort 🙂 nearby.

A nice overnight stay can make up for a lot. In Astros we met a very friendly owner at the also closed campsite Thirea who even gave us a (plastic, attentive!) jar of homemade olives from her own orchard when we left! And here in Tripoli, for lack of a campsite, we have a wonderful airbnb for 2 nights.

Today a super relaxed day. Tomorrow over a series of smaller hills, but still with 900 altitude meters, to the edge of the plateau and then down and on to Kalamata. Is 90km, so it may also be that we spread that ride over 2 days. We’ll see!

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