Could it get any hotter!! If I’d had some tea bags I could easily have made tea with this afternoon’s water. Even after a shower and the pack sitting in our room in the shade for half an hour things were coming out of it as if they’d just been taken from a hot drier! Brutal. We were on the trail for 10 hours because we needed numerous cool down stops when we found patches of shade. That said – another really good scenic walk up and over a small mountain range. We are now in Pequin in case anyone is interested in tracking us. Getting here included some time bush waking through thorns that had us both well bloodied! We put on gattors – great in this heat – but that didn’t do much to protect upper legs and arms. Pat had one arm completely covered in blood at one point. Gee. And the spiders! OMG huge. Pat saw a dead snake. I did not, and am glad about that as we are cautious of them here as some are poisonous vipers.
At one point we met a charming little boy who Pat hired to take three of our empty water bottles and refill them for us. Very polite young man. We paid him a tiny bit for his efforts. There was no running water for miles around so we “treated” what he gave us just in case. At another point we came across some Syrian refugee kids and one threw rocks at us. Cheeky little shit. We stopped for something cool to drink at a tiny shop and the woman running the place came out and sat with us while we guzzled iced tea and something else with bubbles. She spoke no English but was very interested and pleased to visit with these two sweaty odd women tramping through her village.
Because we knew today would offer little in the way of amenities we carried heavy packs. Lunch – bread, cucumber, pears, cheese. The bread was pretty dry – it had been cooking in my pack. The cheese was running with grease as it had been cooking in Pat’s pack….. Oh yes the grapes! We also carried about a pound of grapes. Oh so good. They were the best part and had been a gift. We also each carried 2 litres of water. For those of you who don’t know how much water weighs – 1 litre is 2.2 lbs or 1 kg. You can do the math on this.
When we arrived here in Pequin we were feeling pretty tired and were wondering where a hotel might be. The guide book mentioned Hotel Maci so we asked a policeman. He told us to hop into his car and he drove us there. Great way to arrive at one’s hotel – via police vehicle. We were so glad of the ride because it was about another kilometre or so and we were really done with walking for today. Once again – the kindness of strangers! We gather from the folks here that this is not the first time guests have been driven that last bit by the local constabulary. We by the way are the 23rd and 24th Via Egnatia guests for 2016 at this particular hotel. Not as popular as a walk yet as we’d thought. No wonder we were bushwaking today.
This heavy pack carrying, bushwaking, upping and downing, mostly shadeless, hot day was tough! But here we are sipping our second beers, after pleasant showers – during which we washed oh so filthy clothes (the socks – oh my not nice) about to enjoy a wonderful dinner at a cute little hotel surrounded by a pretty garden – life is very good.
So here’s something Pat and I are going to do – and we’d love your help. No you don’t need to come carry the packs. But Medecins Sans Frontiers has challenged all its members (and Pat is one) to a walking fundraiser. If you google “MSF Walk without Borders challenge” you can read about this fund raising initiative sponsored by MSF Canada. This is right up our alley so we have registered as team “Two Women Walking.” The challenge dates are 15 Sep to 15 Oct and we expect to walk about 584 kilometres during that time as we pursue our Via Egnatia quest. We are looking for sponsors so if you’re interested you should be able to sponsor us direct to MSF. We have chosen the story of “Mohammed the Syrian Refugee” as our inspiration as this seems close to home for us at this point. You can read about all this on the challenge page of the MSF web site. This will lighten our load and make present hardships feel worthwhile.