Lampiri to Patra

Trip Start Apr 01, 2008
1
25
36
Trip End Sep 23, 2008


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Flag of Greece  , Peloponnese,
Thursday, May 29, 2008

I left the camping site relatively late today. Got my laundry done and enjoyed a lazy morning on the beach. Five Km or so into my ride, on a beautiful coast line road with very little traffic I began to make out a figure in front of me. Wiping my eyes off the accumulated sweat and grease I tried to reaffirm what I seemed to be looking at.
Yup, there was a tall skinny guy with a "Tembel" hat, biblical looking sandals, a little old fashion back-pack and a long wooden stick walking towards me. He waved, I stopped. I was sure he was Israeli.
"You're from Israel!" I said
"Yes, and you?"
"I'm from Israel too" I said in English, now recognizing a slightly French accent.
"I am going to Israel, to Jerusalem" he said.
As it turns out, the guy is a genuine pilgrim! Left his apartment in Paris four months ago and started walking towards the Promised Land. I was amazed. He has been living on very little money, dining and sleeping along the way either with locals or in parishes. He has found nothing but welcoming, warm people, he said, especially in Italy. "It is easy to meet people when you are going by foot, he said, might be a little more difficult on a bike." Funny, that was my exact feeling about biking as apposed to other modes of transportation, but I guess going by foot is really the ultimate "slow" and human friendly traveling mode.
"How do you find the Greeks?" he asked me, with a worried tone.
I laughed. I remember the exact same feeling coming into Patra [as I got back to Patra today I was once again amazed by how nasty some of these guys can be, there must be a good explanation for this, maybe there city was burnt down by tourists long ago...].
"You have to get used to the Greek attitude, a little stern but warm on the inside". I told him that it will get better as he goes east. We exchanged information and I gave him my parents address in Jerusalem. What a remarkable guy! He took four months off from his studies in the University (studying Civil Engineering) to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. By foot! (And sea, in the appropriate places).
 
As we parted, I looked over my shoulder watching him walk away with his wooden walking stick beside him, continuing east. If it wasn't for some internet references and email exchanging, a passing spectator could have thought he had walked right into the 11th century (that is, if you imagine my bike as donkey or better yet, a mule). Two travelers pass each other on the road; headed in different directions, yet on strangely similar voyages they exchange information and blessings. 
 
I arrived in Partra around noon and then caught the ferry to Cephalonia at 20:30. I am planning to stay a bit on the island and then start heading north, along the islands, gradually making it back to the mainland.
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