Leaving Tirana I headed once again for the coast; the lure of simple navigation, keeping the ocean to the right hand side, the relative ease of camping on the beach; the guarantee of a swim morning, noon and evening and the promise of boundless sunsets made for an easy choice.
Having crossed the Alps in some pretty cold weather Kyle and I agreed to spend a few days at Lake Bled to rest our legs and enjoy the scenery. Slovenia is a very beautiful country and Lake Bled is the centre of attention, popular with tourists from across the globe. We arrived on Friday evening to a busy lake and expensive campsite. Chatting with a few folks on the grass down by the water we learned that the hostel over in town would cost less and provide much more. So with our new friends Lauren and Kendall we set off to check in at the Castle 1004 hostel.
Living with the weather is as much a part of the challenge as any other aspect of a world cycle. Your waking hours are spent in it, your movements can be determenined by it and your sleep can be disturbed by it. The weather is your everything. Obvious as this may sound, the last few days have been a stark reminder that on a long trip you really need to be prepared for the worst and ready for anything.
At length, I finally made it to the boat. What a week. Since leaving the family home from the Village in sleepy rural Staffordshire on a fully laden bicycle it feels more like I’ve been riding a rollercoaster than a bike. I’ve toasted friends’ birthdays, drank endless cups of tea with Grandmothers and conversed with World cyclists. I’ve not even left the country and I’ve already been gifted numerous meals, stayed with a wonderful couple in Rawdon (thanks Dave & Sue) and been loaded up with more cake than you can shake a stick at. People are lovely. I feel blessed.
Finally the time has come to set sail and leave Blighty. Heading out from Nottingham with a crew of seven destined for Sherwood Forest and our first night of wild camping, the sense of relief was palpable after what had been a frantic week of final preparations for both of us. A week that included moving house, collecting last minute equipment and a brief appearance in the local paper. Talk about last minute.