The picturesque port of Geiranger, Norway!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hornindal, Norway!

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Exploring southwestern Norway until July 26th.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

We bit off more than we could chew!

We woke up to a beautiful blue sky, and it stayed that way all day! What a refreshing change from all the rain that we've had recently. 

So we decided to go for a long bike ride. I had read about a winery in a village located 15kms (9.3 miles) away. We figured we would try to go there for lunch. A 30 km (18.6 mile) bike ride isn't unreasonable, so off we went.

I knew that half of the trip was a pretty steady uphill though, so it was an ambitious plan. And I had read where someone said it was a two and a half hour bike ride from Berat, but I figured "how can it take two and a half hours to cycle 15 kms?"

Well it turns out that it can!

The first time in a while that there were no clouds around the mountain.

The first few kms were fine, but then we started a steady climb.

Looking back at Berat.

Ruth, enjoying the view.

It was a steady uphill climb!

Yes, that's the only road to the village of Malinat, Albania. And it's a steady uphill climb to about the half way point, and then down the other side... which means of course that you have to do the climb again on the way back!

And I don't mind telling you, it was tough going. We would have rather hiked it than biked it. First gear almost all the way up. It reminded me of when I was 14 years old and did a cycling tour of Nova Scotia's Cabot Trail. It was hard work.

But the scenery was fantastic!

And the weather was perfect.

Me, enjoying the view.

It was around this point where we met two guys who were probably up there working with the olive trees. The hills are covered with olive trees, and apparently 80% of the village population is involved in olive agriculture.

One guy spoke a little bit of English, and we managed to understand that there is no restaurant in the village of Malinat. I knew the winery existed, but it may have been closed for the season. At this point, we were pretty tired already, and if we went all the way there we would have to do the climb back up.

We decided we would continue to the top of the hill... and that was enough!

We found a great spot to sit and have a snack.

We are now 7 kms from Max, and about 10 kms from Berat.

Heading back down.

It wasn't even that easy going back down! No, you didn't have to pedal for about 4 kms, but it was so bumpy that it was hard on the hands. Going up, you were going so slow that the bumps weren't as noticeable. 

We got back to Max and of course we hadn't had any lunch yet so we headed right into the restaurant at the campground, looking for a bowl of soup or something. But they didn't have any soup, so we ended up with a full meal in the mid afternoon. We didn't need much dinner! I didn't take any photos, but we had grilled lamb, salad, and a glass of wine and a beer. Total was 1900 lek ($23 CAD, $18 USD, €16) for the two both us.

And, the guy who owns this place makes really nice homemade raki, so we asked if we could buy a bottle. He charged us 600 lek ($7 CAD, $5.50 USD, €5) for a one liter bottle. Good deal!

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Introductory price on the new Amazon Halo View Fitness Tracker. This should give FitBit some competition.

And in Canada...

10 comments:

  1. The best photos of the area yet from afar. I haven't seen the city up close.

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    1. The views were definitely beautiful from up there. We have a number of pictures of the city up closer, you must just have missed them. I admit we don't have many of the new part of the city as it is just a normal looking small city but we have lots there of the old part of the city and that it the best part of the city.

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  2. As a cyclist, I can tell that that was a difficult ride! For one thing, it is in the mountains, and for another, it's unpaved. That automatically makes it slower and more difficult. And I understand completely about how it's still difficult going down; actually can be worse because of the jangling on your hands and arms and shoulder. We rode the unpaved Virginia Creeper trail, and I actually preferred the uphill parts (which weren't as steep as what you encountered, I suspect), because the downhill was really tough on my hands, and the constant braking made them very sore. I didn't have any shocks on the bike I rode then either, so it was pretty brutal. You have earned my utmost respect! Glad you were able to get a nice meal after that hard effort!

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    1. Yep, you definitely understand what we are talking about. We are pretty pleased with our effort though. I think that is the highest difference in altitude that we have biked so far, in fact I know it was definitely for me, maybe not for Kevin as he biked the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia as a teenager. In 4 kms (2.5 mi) we went up over 200 m (700 ft) in altitude, there was only one section that was pretty steep otherwise it was fairly gradual but very constant. Going down was definitely hard on the hands and arms for sure but the views up at the top sure made it worth the effort. :-)

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  3. What a ride! Beautiful views! Looks like a pretty rough road! Too bad the winery was closed for the season! Sounds like it was a pretty challenging ride! Enjoy the scenery!😍

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    1. The views were amazing from up there! It was definitely a very rough road and we noticed it most on the ride back down. I am sort of happy that the winery wasn't opened because if it had been we might just have ridden the whole way there which would have meant having to ride all the way back, instead we just enjoyed the views at the highest point and the turned around. :-)

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  4. Curious about the make/model of the bikes that you have? Especially Ruth's, which seems to have the braze-ons to be fitted with mudguards (fenders) and perhaps a rack?

    Thanks!

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    1. We bought my bike back in August 2018 secondhand from a bike store in Smithers, British Columbia. It is a Norco Fae and from looking online it looks like it might be a 2011 model or around then. The fenders/mud guards were not part of the original model and were added by the store for the original owner.

      Kevin's bike is also used, one that we bought in British Columbia privately. It is a Specialized Hardrock bike and we were told it was three yeas old at the time so about a 2015 or so model.

      Hope that helps, we like them both, Kevin would prefer a slightly better quality one but for the biking that we generally do, it is doing it's job nicely. :-)

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  5. Looked like a nice bike ride! We learend the same thing in Bosnia when you think going down hill is allot faster but then there are all the bumps you have to avoid.
    Oh but the way sorry if it feels I'm spamming you guys today :-).

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    1. It was a nice bike ride, we really enjoyed it even though it was hard work. The views were certainly worth it the effort though. Yep, going down was easier but boy your hands and arms take a beating with the bumps and the bum of course!

      No worries, we are glad that you are enjoying our posts. We hope you don't have to spend too much time in quarantine!

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