From: Vrachos Beach
Today was a real challenge from start to finish, even though we only walked 17 miles.
We intended to start walking this morning at 8:00 because there was rain in the forecast starting about 2:00. We wanted to get finished or close to it before the rain started. As Dave said yesterday, we were lucky to find a hotel open at all in Vrachos Beach. The hotel we stayed in was OK, but our rooms never warmed up during the night despite the little heaters in each room running full blast. I finally got up in the middle of the night and got my sleeping bag out and jumped in it to get some warmth. So this morning we went down to the front desk with our packs on, ready to check out and leave, when the owner said she had some breakfast for us. Since we had no idea where we would eat otherwise, we said OK and we finally got off at 8:30 having gotten one grilled cheese sandwich each.
As soon as we left the hotel we knew we were facing a steep 700 foot climb back up to the main road. While the route wasn’t quite as bad as yesterday’s adventure through the jungle, we still were walking on very steep gravel switchbacks. After making a few stops to catch our breath we finally made it to the top. Later in the morning we had a steady climb for several miles but it was manageable.
When we were within about five miles of our destination, the skies started to get dark blue like there was rain in our future. We picked up the pace in hopes of beating the wet stuff. Then we started meeting cars on the road with their headlights on, then their intermittent wipers on, then their steady wipers on, them we walked right into a thunderstorm. When we got to within about a mile of our town, it was pouring buckets and lightning close by. Luckily, right on the edge of town was a small cafe; the only place we had seen all day to eat. We ran into the cafe soaking wet and ordered some lunch. After about an hour the rain let up and we saddled back up and headed to the only place in town to stay; a place that advertised itself as apartments for rent.
This is where I have to give credit where credit is due. Dave keeps finding these amazing places for us to stay on the internet. We have a two-bedroom studio apartment that’s clean, warm, has WiFi, and only costs 40 euros ($45) per night, total. While there isn’t anyplace to eat dinner nearby, we planned ahead and it will be nutritious candy bars and water for us tonight.
Tomorrow the weather is forecast to be pretty bad. If that holds true, we may take a day off here and walk to our last town in Greece, the port city of Igoumanitsa on Thursday. Otherwise, we’ll walk tomorrow and take the day off Thursday before catching the ferry to Brindisi, Italy Thursday night.
So today is a wrap. Despite the hills, rain, and lack of significant nutrition, we’re hunkered down here in our little apartment looking forward to what tomorrow brings. Thanks for reading.