Friday, June 12, 2009
Green, Green Epirus
Epirus is green, mountainous, and underpopulated. Distances between taps are longer than in the Pelponnese and opportunities for buying food are longer still. The people are also a good deal more amused to see us show up in their town. Many roads though this region follow river valleys which means grades are generally mild although one of the smaller roads between Agios Pandes and Kefalohori, had a mentionable and unexpected stretch of rough dirt road.
An unsettling sight for us was the overwhelming presence of police trucks and vans out rounding up Albanians entering the country illegally through the mountains. The police seem to think we should feel safer with their presence, but I can't help but feel uncomfortable about the mentality of a person who would choose such a line of work. I certainly fear them more than an Albanian looking to improve their future. I will however say that in conversation with the police, they didn't discourage us from cycling in Albania. So, after a long day, we settled into our sleeping bags above the town of Ktismata and we dreamt about what lay ahead of us in Albania. From our campsite's view the transition was surprising. Along the border we could see the mountains changing from thick with green to bare naked right where Albania began.