What a day. We did a little over 20 kms and it was hard hot work. The temp around the middle of the day (from 10 till 3) was over 40 degrees. In a few places there was a bit of a breeze. In fewer places there was shade. We baked! Pat and I both feel we’ve never walked in hotter conditions. We sort of hope to not have a repeat performance tomorrow but it is likely we will have similar day. At least today we were able to resupply our water at about the half way mark. Tomorrow we will be carrying all our water for the full day and needless to say we’ll be needing quite a bit.
But enough whining! It was a humbling, challenging walk. We are tired and slightly foot sore but generally feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. The GPS was a must have! All the complaining I did before leaving home – I take it all back. We’d still be wandering around in the back woods if we hadn’t had it. The guide book is quite inadequate, it doesn’t begin to provide ample information about the numerous tracks and turns. We got misplaced once – because the track we should have taken was so small and insignificant we didn’t even notice it. So we were 300 metres past the turn before I looked at the GPS and realized our error. The good thing is that is was very easy to re-establish the right route.
So here’s the funny stuff from today. We walked to the bus depot and looked for the bus we were supposed to get but ended up being directed to a local mini bus. It was OK so in we got and off we went. We were eventually dumped without ceremony at the side of a busy four lane highway. So we climbed over the guard rail and used the GPS to locate where we wanted to be. Only added an extra one or so kms to the day’s walk – mostly uphil of course.
We stopped for lunch at a place that was closed but as Pat had the foresight to suggest we bring picnic supplies that was fine. Eventually a fellow showed up and we restocked our water supply. It was so hot out that the little water left in my bottle was quite hot. This fellow was quite interested in what were were doing and where we were coming from. When we showed him our intended route he insisted – all in mime – that we go a different way because of high fast water. We didn’t notice any water but there was thunder so we wondered if he was concerned about possible flash flooding. Whatever – his concern and the effort he took to ensure our safety was very kind.
When we eventually arrived in Memzote, the end of today’s walk, we did as instructed in the Via Egnatia guide book and started asking around for a place to sleep. Eventually at the local cafe/bar and no one seemed to have a clue about this concept. We are a bit mystified but unfortunately the guide book is pretty unhelpful as it give no suggestion as to where or to whom one should ask. However all was not lost. Pretty soon there was a small group of people who had a plan. The local grocery delivery guy would finish his route then come back and get us and drive us a few more kilometres to a tourist hotel. The guide book had mentioned this place. As it happened one of the men got his son to come and take us there. This all with no expectation of any payment, although we did provide a little gas money. So our first night is not what we expected, but what did we actually expect anyway. This is what travelling is about. We think that perhaps the guide book has been a bit optimistic but people are kind and no doubt we’ll muddle along quite happily.
We have just had an incredibly good dinner. We each had about eight little fish and a large plate of grilled vegetables and an enormous plate of grapes has just arrived. This, plus our room plus breakfast tomorrow has cost us 35 euros. Total. Ie 17.50 each for dinner, breakfast and a nice hotel room.
The “accommodation” trouble shooters in Memzote. The young man is our driver who took us to the nearby hotel.
Along the trail. We forded one “stream” mud heap really. Everyone we me called out friendly greetings. One family offered us a monster squash of some sort. We politely declined taking on the extra weight.