When I reached Kavala, I was very glad that I had stopped at Nea Kavala instead of riding on to Kavala last night. Kaval is a truly spectacular city, build on hills that come down to the sea, with steep roads and lots of traffic. Not the kind of place a tired bicyclist wants to ride into looking for a hotel! Been there, done that, don't want to do it again.
The ride from Nea Kavala was fine with only one significant climb and good shoulders all the way. The view of the sea was nice and there were lots a flowers blooming alongside the road. When Kavala came into view, I knew I was in for some hard climbing, for some bad traffic, and for some spectacular views. I wasn't disappointed.
The worst part of the ride through Kavala was on cobblestones along the sea front with shops and places to eat on one side and cars doing insane things on all sides! After I got through that part I stopped at a fast food place for brunch. Then I rode on up a BIG hill to get out of Kavala, headed for Drama. That was hard work, but the traffic was OK on the climb - which must have taken 20 minutes or more - and the views were nice.
The views, for this mountain loving person, were even better coming down into the beautiful valley on the other side of that big ridge. And they go better still when I reached some real mountains and hour or so later.
The big valley that contains Drama, and the mountains on the Bulgarian
Pretty valley, Nice mountains!
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I missed turn in that big valley and ended up heading for Serres rather than Drama. If I had ridden to Drama, I would have avoided a lot of climbing, and missed some great, if hard, riding. I was enjoying the ride so much that, when I came to a road that led across another beautiful big valley to Drama, I choose to keep riding along the edge of those mountains. It was an exhausting but great ride for the next 20 km. Then it was just exhausting riding for the next 20 km and the last 20 km wasn't as bad ;-).
I'm at another 30 Euro a night, with no breakfast, Hotel in Seres. It is kind of fun because it - The Park Hotel - overlooks a neat park in the middle of the city. The no breakfast issue is a problem because I'm not going to be able to find much to eat tomorrow morning.
By coming to Serres instead of Drama, I have committed to use the main border crossing from Greece into Bulgaria. I hope, since tomorrow is Sunday, that the traffic will not be horrible. With luck, I should be able to make Blagoevgrad tomorrow and take a, much needed, rest day there on Monday.