torsdag 22 november 2012

Finally in Greece

I set out from Sarande with only 40 km left to the Greek border. The weather was perfect and it felt great to finally reach Greece and eventually Athens that has been the goal for the first leg of the trip.

 And Greece couldn’t have started any better, I had a nice lunch at a small beach and met some people who were taking up there boat after a fishing trip. And before leaving they gave me some food and fruit. So that was a great start for Greece and I continued on in lovely weather and on a nice road along the cost. In the afternoon I came to Igoumenitsa and cycled a little bit outside the city where I found an abandoned campsite that looked perfect right beside the beach. I wasn’t the only one that thought so because at the beach I met Ian, another long distance cyclist who was from South Africa. We had company for the evening and decided to sleep in one of the abandoned houses on the camp ground. It’s always nice to meet other cyclists, to cheer experiences and to get inspiration. The next morning when we woke up we knew exactly why the campsite was abandoned. Because we had been eaten up by mosquitoes. And looking back at that night it would have been a good idea to set up the sent where the mosquitoes can’t get in. The next morning I continued on south while Ian was staying in Igoumenitsa and wait for spare parts for his bicycle. I followed a smaller road along the cost that was more hilly but it was worth it because there where beautiful sights along the road.
 But when evening came and I needed to find a place to sleep I got on some smaller road leading away from the touristic area. After a few tries I got permission to set up my tent next to some houses where I had a nice little bench next to a light where I could cook me some dinner. The next morning when I woke up I could hear raindrops on my tent. But It wasn’t raining very much so there were no problem. I set my sight on Preveza where I sat down at a café to look up some things online and also to get away from the rain which had gotten worse. But I didn’t have a lot of time and had to find my way out of the city and under the water through a tunnel to the other side. After that I changed my mind on where to go twice and finally ended up outside of Levkas. Where at the second place I asked for permission I got a nice place for my tent on a lawn. But when the father came home he wanted me to set up where they used to grow vegetables that had a roof and dry ground. That was perfect and it didn’t matter how much it rained during the night, I would still have a dry tent. The lovely Donous family even invited me for coffee and later dinner. And before leaving the next morning they gave me some bread and fruit that filled up my bag to the max.
That day I took a smaller road that was a shortcut on the map but it was a little work uphill in really bad weather. And when I was going down the other side towards the cost still in heavy rain I almost had a crash with a goat. I was going a little fast downhill and all of a sudden a goat with big horns jumped out on the road and came right at me. But at the last moment I managed to avoid the crash and took it a little slower for the rest of the ride down the hill. And even if it was still raining a lot and I was having a terrible headwind I couldn’t be happier that day. Because I got a massage that my sister had given birth to a healthy little boy.
Yesterday I cycled in to Patra where I had made plans with a guy through couchsurfing. I had to struggle a bit with the wind. But there were no rain in sight and it’s always a great feeling knowing that I have a place to sleep for the night. The only problem I had coming here was crossing the Rio–Antirrio bridge. A man at the toll booth told me to cycle on the side where people walked. That worked great until I got to the other where I could see that the only way off the bridge was a steep staircase. The only thing to was to get all the bags of the bike and carry everything down.
And it was great to take a warm shower and have a couch to sleep on. And from here it’s not far to Athens where I plan to stay for a while and start sorting out some visas for Asia.

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