Friday, 26 December 2014

Greece part 2

December 13th to december 26th

December 13th, we were back to the mainland again, after 45mn ride and 45mn of ferry. After some foggy windy days, the sun was back, shining. 

We took a departmental road for some time when it stopped suddenly, at a gas station with some barking dogs... Well, we had no choice but to lift our bikes through the barrier and .... started riding on the highway. We didn't feel that "guilty" because all Greeks we talked to assured us that it was possible "highways are empty anyway". A police car past us and made no statement, which encouraged us even more. After some probably 15km, a "security car" finally stopped us and escorted us to the next exit point 2km further. 
So, we confirme that cycling on highway is forbidden, even in Greece (but we heard that you could really do that in Albania, where one can encounter cows, or make a U -turn on highway...). 
Our "escort" took some pictures of us with his phone, probably to make fun of us later with his colleagues and friends. Well, if we could entertain someone, it's a good thing :-) :-)

That day, we decided to stop at a desert beach and had a swim - the sea was so appealing: the water clear and heartbreaking blue, the scenery idyllic, just like the paradise :-)  

Next day, we did what we talked about days before: paying an hommage to Leonidas at Thermopyles, the famous battlefield of the 300. This is Spartaaaaaa!!!!

Of course there is nothing left but just Kolones, the hill where the last Spartans fell. And some nature therms where you can have a bath but we didn't care: we had much better thing in Evia :-)

December 15th, we had a great ride and arrived to Trikala with one day in advance, after some 106km. Our couch surfing host, Tommaso, is a very sweet Erasmus student from .... Belluno, 60 km from Alessio's hometown. The landlord, when he first saw our two bikes, was not very happy and asked that we'd leave the next morning. Wouah, it was a bit unexpected from a Greek, now that we'd been so accustomed to their generosity. We felt so sorry to put Tommy into troubles :-(

The next morning, we were ready to go when the landlord knocked to the door with a big cake "you can stay another day as planned, there is no problem". Apparently the night gave him some nice advices :-) :-). And we felt relieved, for Tommy but also for the Greek hospitality :-) :-)

 Tommy kindly invited us to a farewell party of some Erasmus students. It was really fun, especially when Adam tried to translate the famous czech song "Waldemar Matuska" into English, with his theatrical manner, punctuated with "I don't know" :-) :-)

There we also met Elena and Sorin, a very nice Romanian couple who graciously offered us to stay with them for the next days, when we'd visit Meteora. We had a very good time with them and Sara- their little playful daughter and Elena's mother.

Meteora is simply amazing. Now it's kinda easy to get there but we could imagine how it was difficult when the monasteries were first built and the only way to get in was by ropes that the monks may do not want to give you  :-) :-)

The Monastery of St Nicholas Anapausas

The Monastery of Rousanou

The monastery of Varlaam

!!!! Sorry for the absence of pictures below but my camera was stolen in Thessaloniki with the precious proofs of those last days!!!!

December 20th, the last day of autumn, the weather kept being to be so warm and sunny, we rode in t-shirt and had the most marvelous camp spot: up in a small hill with a "wide angle" of the paysage and an unforgettable sunset! The starry night was also oniric!!!

The next morning, just when we were ready to go down to the road, who did we see? A lonely loaded cyclist!!! It was Michael, an another Italian, on the road to India. We rode together half of the day. The first day of winter is really a disaster: cold, grey, windy brrrr. Around 3:30PM, it started to snow and we were still in the middle of the hill!!!! Oh my God!!!! We found refuge in a church, dedicated to Saint Christopher, the travelers protector!!! I saw in it a sign :-) As the door was open and nobody was there, we decided to sleep inside the small church. Hm not sure that it was a good idea because it was almost as cold as outside!!!! The only point was that we got ready the next morning much more quickly: at 8AM, we were already sweating like hell on the way uphill!

We rode for probably one km uphill when we found by the road side, Micheal's tent. He actually didn't see the "flag" we left for him but anyway, we found each other. 
We reached the highest point of 1450m at 9:30 and had a "one shot" downhill to 450m. It was freaking cold!!! I had to put on almost all my winter clothes and 3 pairs of gloves :-) :-)
And after almost 120km (118,5 precisely) we finally reached Thessaloniki where Dimitrios, our Couch Surfing host reserved a nice surprise for us: a fully equipped flat only for us!!! Wouah!!! We couldn't have dreamed a better thing for Christmas. Moreover, he invited us to join the Erasmus Christmas' Eve party (Erasmus again and forever :-) :-)) where we met for the first time someone from Bhutan!!!!

December 25th, we decided to play the tourists around the city. When we got out of Saint Sophia church, we crossed a couple of European with their bikes. Of course, we jumped on the occasion to talk: Karina and Tim are from Hamburg and are cycling to China.
We felt right away "on the same page" and prolonged the coffee break to a Christmas diner at home. We were really glad to have met them. We spent almost all day the next day on "their" yacht, lazying under the sun, talking and drinking beers :-) What a great day!!!!

We are leaving Thessaloniki tomorrow morning for some new adventures! The weather seems to  get worsened the next days. Brrrrr. Wish us luck and stay tuned!!!


  1. I hope you had a wonderful road trip, the pictures look great and everyone looks very happy, I always wanted to do a trip like his, hope you enjoyed

    1. Thank you. We really enjoyed our trip and hope you could do the same one day :-)