There’s something wonderful about rolling out of a tent in the morning. Views across fields and mountains, fresh air… and for Friedel especially this morning there was a double happiness that we were able to get up at all after an overnight scare from the weather.
What started out as a normal evening turned into a fierce rain and lightning storm that lasted well over an hour and, while Andrew stayed perfectly calm, playing the role of the strong man, Friedel was having a fit as every flash of lightning lit up our tent like a light bulb.
Let’s face it. When you’re camping with bicycles (no car to take refuge in) and in the middle of nowhere without buildings to run to, there’s not a lot you can do to minimise your risk of being hit in a lightning storm and the thought of being fried by a bolt from above was frightening.
Thankfully we weren’t the tallest things around. Most of the lightning was drawn to a mountain a few kilometers away. But it was still plentiful enough and close enough to make a very strong impression in our little tent in the middle of a field with just a few trees around us.
Around midnight the storm died down and we got back to sleep, very happy to see the dawn arrive a few hours later. The day improved considerably as we arrived in nearby town on market day.
What looked like just a few stalls at first turned out to be streets and streets filled with booths selling everything from fruit and vegetables to tempting nuts, olives and sweets, plastic buckets, tools, fabrics and on and on and on. We browsed for quite a while, picking up all sorts of edible goodies to fill our panniers and then, after a quick email stop, set out to conquer a mountain pass in the early afternoon.
Our job of getting over the peak turned out to be easier than expected and soon we were pedalling through small towns in a valley filled with fields where horses grazed and men packed up the year’s harvest of onions, peppers and a multitude of other vegetables into large red mesh bags, to be sold on to market traders no doubt.
With winter closing in, the nights are coming in quickly as well now so by 4 o’clock or so it was already time to find a camping spot. This time we stopped by a vineyard, watched a troop of goats come through and then zipped up our tent for the night – hoping the dark clouds over the nearby peak don’t mean more lightning to come!