Shoutout to Albania, long days and my next stop Cairo


The last 7 days were incredible. As soon as I entered Albanian territory I sensed a warm, welcoming and super friendly culture. People never stop waving at me throughout my ride across the country. Kids were running after me, everyone smiled and it felt like I was returning home from a championship. I was randomly invited for lunch while climbing up a hill, people offered me fruits and nuts as well as water along the way. Nevertheless, it seems like Albania is around 30 years behind. The roads are in bad condition, many potholes, many unfinished houses, people on wagons pulled by horses and donkeys, you rarely see a tractor.


It also seemed like many clothes donated to charitable organizations are worn down there. I saw a guy walking around in sweaters saying, “Squash Club Uster”, a local sports club of the region I live in Switzerland. People in Albania don’t have a lot. Everything, except gasoline, is very cheap. However, a surprisingly large number of people drive a Mercedes. Seems to be a highly valued status symbol in Albania. You can also find a car washing place every 50 metres in a town and people spend hours cleaning their cars. Until now, Albania was my favourite country to cycle through.


Long Days

There are just like at the Tour de France longer and shorter stages. Let me take you through my longest day so far. I camped in Kashar, a town close to Tirana, the capital of Albania. I got up at 6:00am, and with a small breakfast, it takes me around one hour to get ready for the ride. I still didn’t know how far I wanted to ride on that day but generally getting up early is advisable because then you can invest more hours of the day to get kilometres done. I left the campsite at 7:15am and headed towards lake Ohrid, which is situated in the western part of Albania. At 10:00am I was already dying from the heat. My average speed was 12km per hour and I just didn’t feel like cycling at all. I had already changed my music a couple of times and podcasts or audiobooks didn’t help much either. While climbing up a street towards a mountain pass, a guy shouted at me waving me over. Not motivated at all I was an easy target to catch. He was fluent in English and just out of nowhere invited me for lunch.

Sokol and his friend who invited me for lunch

I asked him about the road, which I was about to take and he shook his head and told me: “This is the old highway, it is long, steep and you are going to suffer with the current heat. It is better for you to take the new highway. There will be a tunnel at the beginning but this shouldn’t be a problem since local people drive carefully due to the installed security cameras and the police won’t care.” It was an easy decision for me, having a highway that only runs downward, or 600 meters of altitude to climb at lunchtime. Heading towards the tunnel a guy in an orange vest started shouting at me, STOP! I went over and told him with the innocence of a tourist that my GPS was leading me this way, pointing at the tunnel. He shook his head and told me that I needed to talk to his boss. It was clear from the beginning that the boss had no intention to talk with me whatsoever. He just pointed to a pickup truck indicating that I should load my bike on it. Super cool, I thought. I was about to be escorted through the tunnel.


IMG_3793 They dropped me off right after the 3km tunnel and it seemed like I was the only one on the highway. Highways are not used as much as in Germany or Switzerland, and the hard shoulder is fairly extensive. I felt safer than on the roads before, where cars and trucks passed me with 100km/h with no hard shoulder at all. These two events pushed my feelings again and I was subsequently having the time of my life on the bike. A friend also messaged me that day saying that the Tour de France was doing Alpe D’Huez on the same day. For non-cycling fans: This is one of the toughest parts of the tour. So, I thought why not having my own Alpe D’Huez here in Albania. I continued to cycle for hours and hours, climbing meter after meter. I finally arrived in Pogradec at 7:30pm.


With a pedalling time of 9 hours and 15 minutes, 145 kilometres and a little more than 2000 climbed meters that was clearly the longest and toughest day I had so far but it felt great.

My favourite road signs along the way… can be even better with more than 10% climbs

You might think now why am I doing this to me. I guess that’s just what I love to do, challenging myself every day, see where my limits are and push it even more when my mind thinks I can’t anymore. If you believe now that I am rushing through a country, please don’t forget that I am on a 50kg bicycle with an average speed of 15km/h. In my opinion rushing looks quite differently 😉

People I met along the road

Gioia and her Husband are walking from Milan to Athens.


Hampe and Andrej, two great guys from Aargau Switzerland spend their summer vacation every year together traveling around in their customized off-road Nissan seeking for adventurous roads and hidden places. The moment they passed me I started shouting and waving at them. They saw it and pulled over. Right away they offered me some cold water from their fridge and we talked for about 20 minutes.


Albania – Greece border crossing

My GPS suggested me a route, off the main roads, passing through small villages towards the Greece border. I asked three people before I took off if that road would be good. They all nodded and told me that I would be fine. I guess they have never been on that road, there wasn’t even a real road and I had to push my bike over the mountain to the other side, through a lot of sand and rocks. I was literally in the middle of nowhere, crossing a border with no border patrol, not even on an actual street. It sometimes feels like I am hiding something haha. Soon after passing the first town after the border the Police pulled me over and checked my identity. First, they didn’t believe that I came all the way from Switzerland but I think after I showed them my tan line, they realized that I had been on the road for some time (34 days today).

It is a good road, they said


The Greece border patrol at the Albanian border wanted to take a selfie

Wild camping Greece

My wild-camping spot

In the northern part of Greece there are no campsites at all and barely any tourists. Either I sleep in the front yards of people’s houses or I find some hidden spot to pitch my tent. I decided for the second option. I found a nice and quiet spot close to a river. Nevertheless, I have to admit that just camping somewhere by yourself, all alone in a foreign country feels kind of weird sometimes. Every crack and noise could be something. Yes, there are those times where I wish someone would be with me.

Luckily, I only saw these signs the day after, which would have given me something more to worry about


Tomorrow I will head towards the Island of Istiea and I plan to arrive in Athens by Friday. Today is my day off and I will hike up the beautiful mountains of Meteora for to enjoy the sunset. Once I will arrive in Athens I will need to disassemble my bike and to put everything in a cardboard box to fly it over to Cairo. I am not very excited about this, but since there is no ferry running anymore, it’s the only way to get to Cairo.



Ups and downs

It is a solid 2 weeks and another 1000 kilometres since my last update. During that time, I mainly cycled in Croatia, passing through cities like Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Makarska and Dubvronik. I was able to experience all of the Croatian elimination games while being in Croatia. The atmosphere was stunning! This was the first time I was in a country while its football team was playing the world cup final.

The most beautiful campingspot I had so far

The scenery along the coast is breath-taking. However, there is simply too much traffic, as the summer vacation have started everywhere. You could also call it the road to heaven…  as the number of gravestones I saw along the coastal road is just crazy. Most of them had a motorcycle engraved and the victims aged from 20 to 35. To all bikers out there: Please be careful on your bikes this summer.

Along the road you also find a terrible number of dead animals which got hit by a car. It’s especially rough for me in the mornings. The smell of decomposition makes you want to throw up.

I am really excited to move on towards the country side, staying off the highways. I have already been lucky a couple of times not to get hit by a reckless truck, bus or car driver. I will leave the coast tomorrow, heading towards Tirana, the capital of Albania and from there further up to the lake Ohrid.

Literally, there were many up and downs along the coast. It’s bumpier than I thought it would be and on average I needed to climb around 1200 meters on a 100km ride. Mentally, there have also been a few ups and downs already. There are those hours where I just ask myself, why am I doing this?

“Streets” where I need to push my bike up, this was somewhere in Croatia

There are thousands of kilometres left to go, and the heat just keeps grilling me every single day. Just to make things clear: I am NOT thinking about quitting, not at all! It’s more like damn, there lie so many more tough days in the saddle ahead of me. However, these thoughts usually don’t last long. I just have to change the music, the podcast, or simply the direction of my thoughts. I am fortunate to do what I am doing, so why would I want it to change? (maybe sometimes a motorcycle would be nice). If you ask yourself what kind of music, podcast, audiobook I listen to right now, here is a list:

Music: Nick, a friend of mine gave me all his DJ tunes, mostly house and hip-hop. What I also really enjoy is the Spotify playlist “songs to sing in the shower”. People sometimes look at me while I am singing on the bike, but who cares?!


-“unsportlich“, this is a podcast a friend of mine produces weekly about sports news all around the world. It keeps me up to date and it’s good to hear some nice Zurich dialect every once in a while

-The Economist & McKinsey to listen to some business and economic stuff

NZZ: 9 Zürcher, 9 Chreis


– the 12 Rules for Life, which is a pretty exhausting book to listen to, that’s why I mostly avoid it.

-Extreme Ownership: good book to learn more about yourself and your mental/physical abilities

-Towers of earth, Ken Follet: really interesting book to listen to, it is like a movie playing in my head


-Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman

Until now, almost everything with the bike went well. No flat tires yet, no crashes, no broken spokes whatsoever. The bike is just too heavy for the bike stand. The screws broke, so I had to get new ones from a local shop. I just got around 10 extra, because it’s probably going to happen again. Unfortunately, when the bike stand collapsed, it snapped the cable of my odometer in half. I was surprised by my craftsman skills but with some duct tape and a knife I managed to connect them again. The cable is a fair bit shorter now, but works again, wuhu!

People of the hostel in Dubvronik looked at me like I am some crazy dude

Material wise the only part of my equipment I sent home so far were my travel boots. I don’t regret it, just unnecessary weight and I already have too much of that. I will check everything again once I am in Athens. I might send home additional stuff I didn’t use.

Before I took off, many people asked me why I do it alone. I usually replied that I will never be alone. So yesterday while I was enjoying a break along the road in Montenegro, Markus showed up. He is a German teacher who cycles from Hannover to Athens in around a month. His average stage is about 150 km per day which is way more than mine. Since I have time, I don’t need to hurry that much. I enjoyed very much having a cycling partner for the day, he really pushed me. Another story happened right after that. I went to the campground and a random guy named Oliver walked right up to me asking if I was Swiss. The guard at the entrance had told him that a second Swiss guy on a bike had arrived earlier that day. Oliver is travelling through eastern Europe with his Nissan Micra, doing skydives and paragliding wherever he can. You can follow him here. By the way, he is a close friend of a good military buddy of mine. See, you meet so many interesting people along the road and the world is actually a lot smaller than we think it is.

With Markus from Germany

Physically I am doing good, my knee pain has gone. I just feel the knee for roughly one day after a break if I push it a bit too hard. However, I do have some issues with my butt now. I think some hair grew backwards and it makes it uncomfortable for me to sit on it for 7 to 8 hours per day. l am looking forward to getting some scarf-skin on my butt.

Regarding weather, I only had sunny days until now. Sometimes it rained during the night, but other than that the sun just keeps roasting me like a chicken every day. Still, I can’t complain since it will only become hotter and hotter the further south I go.

I have now booked my flight from Athens to Cairo. It will be on the second of August. I can’t wait for the Africa adventure to start. Europe is nice and easy to travel but too organized for my taste. It could be a bit more challenging sometimes but I think I will have enough of that once I arrive on Africa soil.