January 17

Friday night Ryan and I decided to go for a few beers in Ioannina, and as we sat and relaxed, we decided that our legs were pretty much spent and it was best to give ourselves a day to relax.  The ride over the mountains is going to be really tough and if we want to get it done in a day, we really need to be on top form.  We went to a couple more bars, including a taverna style place, where the old ladies were all going crazy clapping along to the band.  We crashed around midnight and got a great night’s sleep with the heating turned up super high. 

In the morning we went out to get a couple pasties and we found this excellent greek bakery.  If there’s one thing I’ve fallen in love with in Greece it’s definitely the bakeries.  This one had an excellent cheese and bacon croissanty thing and some kind of honey pie.  Well holy shit this honey  pie was incredible.  It was like an enormous, incredibly rich, baklava.  And when they said honey pie, they meant honey pie.  It was dripping with honey when you picked it up, and there was proper honeycomb inside the pastry.  It was actually tough work finishing the thing, as I felt it was sticking to every part of my anatomy on it’s way down, but it certainly filled me with enough sugar for the next month. 

Ioannina is a beautiful town, and it had some great ruins, so we happily spent a few hours poking around these.  There are the remains of a Norman tower, some Byzantine fortifications and an Ottoman citadel with the final resting place of Ali Pasha, the man who had the castle in Albania constructed.  I really enjoy looking at castles at the best of times, and so Yannena was a great place to wander around.  It’s a beautiful city, sitting right beside a lake, and there’s a university here so it’s got a really good energy, with some cool street art as well. 

We didn’t spent all day wandering around, and instead went back to the hotel to chill out and have a nap. A couple of cheap gyros for dinner, as is becoming a trend, was all we needed and we intend to get an early night tonight so that we can get cracking tomorrow morning as early as possible. 

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