Welcome to Greece

Trip Start May 22, 2009
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Trip End Feb 16, 2010


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Flag of Greece  ,
Friday, November 6, 2009

By far the easiest entry into a country that I’ve encountered so far, and I don’t even know the alphabet here!  What I had been expecting with every country so far, yet had  been sorely disappointed not to find, was here!  Getting off the boat and driving a bit down the street there was a tourist information office and a great store selling a map of the country.  Two things I thought would have been pretty standard at a major port, but I‘ve been proven wrong several times before. 

Mind you, even with the convenient in location, they were still not easy to get to.  I had to play my own little version of ‘Frogger’ to get across the busy 4 lane road crowded even more by vehicles ignoring the lines.  Road signs and painted lines seem to be more of a beaurocratic decoration to appease some official, rather than being anything practical to follow.  I saw several ignored stop signs and mopeds going up on the sidewalk to avoid traffic.  It definitely has a feeling of leaving the ’west’.  Even when boarding the ferry boat it was barely organized chaos.  Transport trucks backing in from several directions, motorbikes swerving  between, and soon we were heralded into the web.  Like some sort of strange ballet without rhyme or reason.   

Out of the city mess and into the countryside we headed along the coast.  Along the way we only went through about 4 no entry signs.  But the alternative seemed to be the motorway so we just squeezed through the construction regardless.  No one seemed to obey any of the other signs, and as expected didn't care about us not following these ones!

Soon we were rolling along the coast where the road’s edge dropped into the sea.  Literally!  No curb, no shoulder, no guardrail, no reflectors, no nothing.  Just the splash of the waves spraying our bodies as we drove over the heaps of decaying seaweed brought up onto the road.  Quiet and serene, but not to last long.  Rounding a curve, the road came to a sudden and abrupt end.  All we could see was crumbled tarmac and trees growing up where the road should be. 

Backtracking and weaving over train tracks, then a doubtful dirt tract, we finally found the main road.  As long as the water’s on our right, we’re heading the right direction, so no worries about getting lost. 

Thrilled to see a wide shoulder along the road, we took it.  But after a few close calls Brian noticed that cars were driving in this ‘lane’.  It wasn't a shoulder after all, but a simple strategy for making the 2 lane road into 4 for passing!

Roads adorned with olive trees almost as far as the eye can see.  Interspersed with a few orange frees so ripe with fruit you can smell it from the road.  Grapes grown more for their shade benefits over arbors than for their fruit.  Flowering plants I’ve only seen in botanical gardens are run-of-the-mill back-yard varieties.  I feel as though I’ve entered a tropical paradise!

A coastal road with mountains on one side provide for some beautiful scenery.  This morning sailing into Patras was beautiful.  The sun rising and illuminating a series of rugged islands.  I imagined and undersea range of mountains and these were only the highest peaks poking out of the water’s surface. 

Arriving at the campground we were greeted by an interesting French man.  He was great to talk to and brought us our first sampling of Greek wine!

Warm and sunny for cycling today, I’m marveling at the mildness of the evening air.  Standing along the roaring shore I was greeted with a wind coming off the water.  At the same time, it carried a cool breeze and warm gusts.  I can only hope that this continues for us!

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Comments

barb on

Welcome to a "second world" country as I term Greece! I had a good laugh at your encounters on the roadways. Just as I remember, it is complete chaos. I am SOOO glad you are getting better weather; I was quite despondent for you back in Italy!

Have fun and ride SAFE.

Love
Barb

Kit from Germany on

Hy Brian and Sharlene,
you met my uncle in Kato Achaia - a guy with a blue VW Bus. A bit HippieStyle, but actually not.. but anyway. I read some old mails from him and you were mentioned, so I visited your site. Thanks. Nice reports and pics. Love it.
My uncle died a few months ago. He wrote me before: You guys were so interesting to him, and he is convinced that Canadians are great people! ;-)
Greetings - Kit

2totango
2totango on

Thank you for the message, Kit. I'm sorry to hear about your Uncle. We do remember speaking with him and writing emails afterwards while we travelled. He was very kind to us while we were camping in Greece. He seemed a very interesting person as well. I never felt that we really knew him though.
Take care.

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