January 16

Very cold night last night.  Think it was probably about minus 4, and it meant that I woke up three or four times in the night to readjust, or add more layers.  By the end of the night I was right down inside my bag with the silk liner completely covering me.  Will make sure to add more layers next time we wild camp in the hills!

As we were breaking camp this morning, two more friendly dogs came and said hello.  One of them was barking at us most of the night, but when the sun rose, he brought a friend along to come and check us out.  Deciding we were safe, his friend came down to sniff around camp and have a cookie with us, while he kept watch from the top of a nearby hill.  We boosted off around 9am, and had a nice downhill and a ride through the nearby valley which was absolutely freezing.  The cold of the new day, coupled with the wind chill biting really affects you and I was desperate for a hill to climb so I could warm up.  Well, the hill was quick to appear and we were soon climbing.  It’s funny, but I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like not having constant sun.  So far on this trip, almost every single day we’ve spent with clear skies and beautiful sunshine.  Today went quite quickly – we only had two hills to fire through and then we began a nice long, gentle downhill into Ioannina, where we arrived about 1230.  After the intense climbing of the past four days, we decided to find a cheap hotel and, €35 later, we found a room at the Hotel Paris where we were able to lock our bikes up. 

I’ve spent the past few hours looking at our route to Kalabaka, which I’m a little concerned about at the moment.  We will probably take the E92 up to Metsovo, an overall rise of about 500m, and from there jump onto the motorway, which apparently has a good hard shoulder, which should take us through a few tunnels and we can jump off just before the little village of Panagia.  From there, we’ll be on the other side of the mountains, so the route onwards to Kalabaka should be easier, and from there it’s flat to Larisa – we could be in Larisa by Sunday if everything goes well. 

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