Spoiled by tourism

@clayclaydon

I don’t know how long-term travelers can hop from one place to another every few days, always on the move and never settling anywhere for long enough to catch their breath. It seems more like torture than fun to me! We prefer to travel by settling in one place for at least three weeks at a time – it allows us to get a feel for the local life, create a routine for ourselves, and of course sink our teeth into some climbing.

So after nearly six weeks in Greece, all of this within a 100km radius of Leonidio, a week on the move through three new countries was a bit of a shock to our systems. Not only did this entail perpetually looking for new places to stay overnight, shop for food, etc, we also decided it was time to be tourists and see some stuff. And as it happens, this can be pretty stressful and expensive. First world problems!

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Croatia: Roadside crags and big achievements

Crag View Omis @clayclaydon

Our first climbing day in Croatia was atrocious. I had heard the grades may be a little harder than in Greece, but neither me, nor Clay were expecting to get completely shut down by a 6a.

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Goodbye Greece…Hello Albania!

Photo courtesy of @clayclaydon

One of the most important, and also probably the hardest things about travel is knowing when to move on to the next destination. You have to somehow time it so you’ve had the chance to make the most of a place, but also not so long that it becomes tedious.

With Greece, we nearly overstepped that mark. The weather was getting too hot, the few climbing crags that were still in the shade quite samey, we lacked novelty and motivation, and the climbing itself wasn’t going that well. In short, it was time to move on. We decided to head to Croatia and take some time off from climbing along the route.

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Turning 30 in Greece

Photo courtesy of @andrewpawlby

In the pitch black of night four excited figures made their way along the bank of a dry riverbed into the wilderness, taking care not to stumble on the stony ground. Armed with a couple of torches and a speaker full of music to drown out the eerie quiet, we were ready for an adventure. Across the riverbed, we knew, lay a sheltered cave we had seen every morning but had failed to explore until now, and it seemed like the perfect time to check it out. It looked like someone’s secret lair, with bits of old furniture scattered around the place, barely visible behind the shrubbery.

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Exploring Greece: Climbing in Kyparissi

We thought Leonidio was an undiscovered Greek climbing paradise, where we would have all the crags practically to ourselves the majority of the time, feeling ever so smug about how well we did to “discover” this place before anyone else…

…how wrong we were! Leonidio is absolutely teeming with climbers. They’re everywhere. Whenever you see a non-Greek person walking down the street of this tiny town, you can be nearly 100% positive it is a climber. And incidentally, I would say you can be around 70% positive they are German.

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