Friday, 28 September 2007

Island hopping: part 1

After 9 nights in Athens (it took the man at bike shop a little longer than he thought it would but i am now the proud owner of a Rohloff hub gear system) i woke up early to pack up the tent and cycle to the port to catch the 07:25 ferry to Santorini. If you don't know, this island used to be a big volcano till it blew up leaving just parts of the crater rim intact. Anyway after 8 hours or so on the ferry i arrived and got off the ferry to see the crater wall looming up about 400m into the sky. (okay it was more like 285m)

As i started to trike up the f**king steep road i was glad that i had changed gear systems, 'cause now i had lower gears than i had before. This was a very good thing indeed. The "hill" was, so far, the steepest road that i have been up and if i was still using my old derailleur system then i really would of been straining my knees...

I'll be here for a week might even hire a scooter or if i am feeling stupid and have a death wish then it will be a quad bike!

update: today (Thursday 4th ) is my last day on the island. Tomorrow morning I'm up bright and early to catch the ferry to Paros for a weeks holiday with my family!

So, what's happened in the last week i here you ask, Well, on my 1st night here i manged to avoid having my right knee cap destroyed by the kick from a horse by about 4 inches ( reason 84 on why i hate horses). After that little episode a beer was in order and so was watching the rugby. Mind you the bar was charging 8 euros for a bottle of amstel so i didn't drink that much (and if you believe that then quickly run to the window to watch the pigs fly past)

The rest of the week was mainly spent sitting in the hammock, reading the papers and various books and nearly always having a beer nearby. Yesterday i did hire a little twist and go scooter for the day. I speed around the island, chilling out looking at the views. At one point i had the "pleasure" of running over a cat. Its dead and i nearly crashed but i managed to save the scooter from having a low side.....and no i didn't stop!

After Paros I'm off to Bodrum in Turkey for 20 days D&D.....can't wait!!!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Delphi to Athens

It only took me two days to get from Delphi to the campsite just outside of Corinth. It was right on the beach (again!) and i had shade and hammock i stayed for 4 days. The 1st day i walked into the modern town of Corinth, some 3km away. (yes, you read it right..."walked"...must be fit or something!) Found a bank, followed by a day old broadsheet from England and then sat in a cafe reading the paper, drinking ice coffee and watching the world go by. The following day was Sunday and it was also election day in a day was spent swimming, floating ( its the only way i can "sunbathe") and guessed right...swinging in my hammock.

On the Monday i walked the 3.5km to ancient Corinth (and it was uphill..!!!!) The place was really great. It was the quietest site that I've been too, which was a very good thing indeed! There were a few Bible groups hanging about the place but i am nothing if not tolerant :). I spent the morning there chilling out, just sitting around the site under the shade of various trees.

The following day it was back on the road to Athens. It was about 85km to the city centre, so i did it in two days! The 1st day was only about 2 hours on the road, over the isthmus canal and along the coast road to the "last campsite till Athens". The following day i took a short cut across an island and then when i got to Athens, spent about 2 hours getting very lost( i found it amazing how many places didn't sell road maps of Athens. imagine getting to Trafalgar square and trying to cycle to ealing without a map and just a vague sense of direction). After working out a good method of crossing 3 lanes of speeding traffic (don't ask me what it is...,my mum reads these!) which i used on several occasions i arrived at the campsite. The place is right next to a dual carriageway and the host is the most miserable person I've ever met...well until i met the rest of the campsite staff the following day!

I'll be here for about a week. The trike is in the bike shop getting upgrades (expensive ones but well worth it). I've yet too go site seeing....but i have time

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

From Olympia to Delphi

The road to Delphi started out by back tracking along the road i had already travelled. I stayed at the same two campsites as before but not for as long this time! I left Kato Allsisos on the Monday morning and headed north along the coast pass Patra to the town of Aiyio. I was intending to spend the night here at the campsite that was shown on my map. However i couldn't find it, so i took the ferry across the sea to the southern shore of northern Greece instead. On both of my maps there was a campsite marked just near the ferry port....guess what, there wasn't one (are you starting to see a pattern here....don't worry it gets worse!). By now it was about 14:30 and hot so i triked 10k down the road to a little fishing port and stayed in a hotel. It was only 30 euros a night and it had a balcony! For once i had a "night in". You can't beat a cheese and ham crusty roll with a bottle of local wine. All the was missing was a pork pie....i really want a pork pie, have done for about 5 days...i need help!

The following day i was on the road at about 9am after having a nice lie in. The road followed the coast line winding its way up, down, around and over the headlands. The sun was shining (can't say that was anything but expected) the sky was blue and the sea was just gorgeous. After about 3 and half hours of triking i came to the town of Itea. From here Delphi was only 16k away. Sadly the last 12k were up hill (with a vertical rise of nearly 600m), so it was time to get hot and very sweaty. Mind you it was nice to have a decent climb to go up.

So here i am in Delphi, the campsite (which has a swimming pool...nice) is about a mile out of the town. I got here yesterday (Tuesday) and I'll be back on the road tomorrow. According to "my map" i can get a ferry from Itea to a little town about 10k from Corinth (my next port of call if you like). Sounds great....I'll only have to pedal for about 80minutes in the day. Unfortunately the ferry doesn't actually exist!!!! i have about 180k to pedal to Corinth or if you like 3 days on the road....i was really looking forward to the ferry ride.

Today (Wednesday) i spent the morning going around the ancient site at Delphi. It is built on a series of terraces which wind their way up the hill for about a 100m gain in height till they reach the top of the site where the stadium is. I could tell you all about it but sod that...look at the pictures instead (

Thursday, 6 September 2007

From Patra to Olympia

It took me 7 days to travel the 140 km's from Patra to Ancient Olympia. Did i get lost, did the trike break down or was the road uphill all the way? No....when i got to the campsite at
Kato Allissos i spent 4 days there lying in my hammock, swimming in the sea (the beach was only 50m away), drinking ice cold beer and watching football at the campsite restaurant.

After 4 days i decided i should really get a move on, so i went 60k down the road to another campsite. This one was on the beach! The beer, which came in one litre glasses, was even colder than the other place. After another 2 days of sitting in my hammock....swimming...i think you get the idea of what i was doing, i got off my arse and triked for 2 hours to Ancient Olympia.

The road was easy and mostly flat. However after the 1st hour i started to enter the area that had seen the worst of the recent fires. The smell of smoke was still lingering in the air and it was strange to see the course the fire had taken. It seemed to swoop and meander along the lines of the hills. One house could be destroyed by the fire and the house 20m away was left intact, the same for the olive groves and forests.

I got to the campsite at Olympia to find it nearly completely empty. There was my tent and two others. It seems that people are under the impression that the place is shut or burned out. Its not, so come and visit!

I've been here since Tuesday ( today is Thursday). Yesterday i spent day looking around the 3 museums here. Two are of the Olympic games, modern and ancient and the third is the museum of archaeology. The fire came so close to burning the museum down (see the pictures). Today i spent the morning walking around the ruins and taking once again loads of photos. Tomorrow I'll be back on the road to Delphi retracing the journey that brought me here...could take me a while...i mean those campsites are great!