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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed July 2019
    Belinda Oh

    Tough but worth every drop of sweat!

    I wanted a challenging but fun cycling trip and that’s exactly what I got! Cycling past beautiful scenery, idyllic towns and villages, on largely quiet roads, was absolutely fantastic and not something I could experience at home. The roadside freshwater springs that we used to cool down and refill water bottles was a fairly unique experience for me as well. There was a decent amount of uphill every. single. day. But as the week progressed, it felt as if I were getting a little bit stronger and almost used to climbing. And the thrilling downhills made the grueling uphills worth it! We stayed in what I thought were very nice hotels every night, often with beautiful mountain or lake views! The food was great—it may have been the healthiest I’ve ever eaten on a trip before! :) The hybrid bikes we used were great and made me feel confident and secure on the occasional bits of road that were less than perfect.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After the big 12km climb, having lunch al fresco on the mountainside with amazing views of Lake Ohrid – I was able to really take in the distance and elevation we had just successfully climbed!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arjan had an amazing pride and love of country that I found admirable! He shared a lot of his knowledge of Albanian and regional history and politics that provided the extra touch that I appreciate from local guides/leaders. He admitted when he didn't know the answer to something we asked--good since he probably could have just made up anything and we would have been none the wiser! :) Arjan was also a strong cyclist and (along with the other extraordinary cyclists in the group) inspired me to make sure I’m in better cycling shape for the next trip I take! And Elvis (our driver) was always at the ready to help us out and provide the fueling snacks and water we needed to get through the week--I enjoyed chatting with him in the evenings!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lot of uphills! But after most of the uphill climbs, there was a downhill, so power through the climbs and your efforts will be rewarded with exhilarating downhills! Overall, go with the flow, try not to think/worry so much about each day's climbing or distances, cycle at your own pace, and remember to enjoy the views as you go along!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Overpackers beware, a few of the hotels did not have elevators, so make sure you’re able to comfortably carry your bag(s) up/down stairs! That said, it does help to be prepared for all conditions—my trip was at the end of June and it was sunny, hot, and slightly humid some days, cool/comfortable in the evenings, we had rain suddenly cool us down one afternoon, and at the top of the 12km climb it got windy and chilly, so expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Rosie Wych

    Albania

    Lots of varied cycling in a mountainous and scenic area. Routes almost always along quiet roads with good surface. Nice to stay along the way in all sorts of places - mountains, towns and lakeside.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The stunning scenery on the ferry ride to the start of the cycling.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A very capable cyclist who led the group and checked that all were ok. Everything along the way was well worked out and ran smoothly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Needs a level of cycling fitness and helps If you enjoy hills.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for a stiff first day - although it sounds short it is uphill almost from the start and is rather a shock after two days of getting up at 5am. A lakeside swim is a welcome refresher at the end of three of the days.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    terri wells

    WOW the best trip ever!!

    This was my first cycle trip......sure wish I would have started doing these treks 20 years ago. The Northern Albania/Macedonia bike ride was very challenging....steep climbs, thrilling descents, beautiful mountains/lakes. Our accommodations were quaint and comfortable. The food was healthy and oh so good! I was very impressed with organized structure of this trip. Our guide, Dimo, was the best! I made 13 new UK friends, and loved every minute riding, dining, drinking and laughing with all of them. Exodus will by my 1st choice for traveling every year.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making the 6,000ft cycle day

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dimo was the BEST! fun, friendly, from the area
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Martin Hall

    Northern Albania and Macedonia August 2016

    After riding the southern Albania trip last year I had to go for this one. It was a fantastic trip over the mountains with beautiful views every day, the lakes, the mountains, the valleys. It was a bit tough going at times but it was worth the effort. The scenery was quite different to the southern trip. I'm glad I did both. Macedonia was different again. Lots of small farms with their goods on display by the roadside. Ohrid, UNESCO town was very picturesque overlooking lake Ohrid.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing out of Ohrid to the plateau overlooking the Lake and seeing the tiny villages bellow. Also for me it was making it up the steep sections on days 2 & 3 without getting off.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was very fit, he often had to drop back to help someone with a problem, then ride up to the front again.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, you need to get fit riding up 10% hills (1 in 10) and be able to ride up long hills before you take the trip or you may not enjoy the tough sections so much. Some of the shorter gradients reached 14-16% (indicated on my Garmin). You do get some good down hill bits to recuperate, and there are stops for people to catch up. Age is not the problem it's the fitness that counts. Ride at a speed your comfortable with, don't try to keep up.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our trip was in late August and the weather was great, sun every day with morning rides starting at around 19deg to 30 at the end of the days ride.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Elspeth Barley

    Northern albania and Macedonia cycling

    Wow - certainly a challenge, but so worth the sweat of the uphill undulations! Stunning scenery, beautiful lakes and very comfortable accommodation all the way. Go do this trip - it will push you - but it is worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting off the bike at the end of each day knowing I'd done my best and it had been good enough. I genuinely thought I'd be in the bus, but I made it. A great team from Exodus motivated us all the way and the company was such fun. Standing on the top of some of the hills and looking down at where we'd started from was a great feeling of achievement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great giggle! He could out cycle everyone and make it look easy!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit.................do lots of uphills in heat!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't expect the countries to be behind the rest of Europe - they most definitely are not. Be prepared for some children to be very capable of knowing rude words in English and also throwing sticks. The vast majority were lovely and friendly, but the odd ones were nasty - to women and men.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Matthew Sims

    Albania June 2016

    Great trip - challenging but very rewarding.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning scenery throughout- way beyond expectations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent- a relatively new trip but well organised and suitably flexible where necessary.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Albania is as safe as anywhere in Europe - don't be put off by any reports to the contrary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are thinking about it - do it. You will not regret going.
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