A lot can happen in one week. At the moment we are stuck in Thessaloniki waiting for a new wheel. My back wheel(Steven) broke which made cycling impossible. Time enough to write about all the things that happened last week. We could leave Athens relatively relaxed without taking too big roads. It was kind of hard finding the way we wanted to take, but we managed and we drove a beautiful and silent road outside the town. When we looked over our shoulders we could see Athens while we were riding our bicycles through mountains and forests. Everything was very green which was new for us because most of the nature in Greece is very dry. In the forests surrounding Athens we saw the Fire Brigade standing ready every 4 km. Probably they were afraid of fires in this area.
After one day cycling and after 4906 km on my computer it happens to me again……a flat tire during a descent. I was fortunate it was my back wheel so I had enough control to stop. It’s strange it happens to me twice in Greece within 300 km. We couldn’t solve the gap this time because there was a stretch of 4 cm wide. After changing the tire we move on again and the road changes into a ‘white’ one (a dirt road on the map). After a couple of hundred meters we see some caravans and we are invited to drink something by the friendly owners. We hesitate to put up our tents here, but we decide to go further.
Suddenly the road starts climbing very steep and Marlous is fed up with the stones and the bumpy road. She says: “I hope someone will take us up!” And there it comes; a small bus with a smiling man who is glad to take us with him. At the top the road changes into concrete again and here we wave the man goodbye. But after two km we have bad luck. My tire is flat again at the same spot. This time it is not as big as the last time so I can fix it. It was starting to get late and we weren’t close to a campsite so we were looking for a place to camp in the wild. There were a lot of small factories, red dust and trucks. Above the horizon there appeared dark clouds coming in our direction. After a while we passed by a farm and we went back to ask if we could stay on the lawn for one night. After some search for someone we couldn’t find anyone and we hesitated what to do.
Just at the moment the thunder started there appeared an Indian guy with blood all over his clothes. It was a pig farm so we think the boy was killing them. The Indian guy looked at us with big eyes when we tried to tell him what we wanted. The guy understood our request and he offered us a house for a night. We could spend the night at the farm and he and his colleague would cook us a dinner. The evening was great and the meal was real Indian and lovely. The son of the boss came by with beer and ice cream and we had a nice talk.
During this part of the trip we finally used the ‘Dazzer’. Marlous got this tool from her friends to scare the dogs away. Up till now we encountered some aggressive dogs but we always forgot to try the dazzer. Now we did and we are sure it is a good tool to scare the dogs away. Whenever an aggressive dog comes running to us I take the dazzer and I press the button when the dog is close by. Immediately the head of the dog turns down and the animal goes away. The dazzer produces a very high sound we cannot even hear, but the dogs can and they don’t like it.
We have a day of rest in Volos, which we spend in the sea and the village. The next morning we leave Volos behind and we are heading for Thessaloniki. In a computer shop, Marlous asks if she can check her email to see if her brother has become father yet. With a big smile she returns from the shop with the news that there was born a little, healthy girl five days ago. We go looking for a telephone nearby and we find one on a steep descent of 15%. While Marlous is on the phone with a very proud and new mom, an old Greek woman walks by in a black dress. She greets us and she hesitates and then she comes back with a big bow of little pies. She treats us and it feels very special to celebrate this event by eating a pie.
At the moment that you think you had everything, something new happens. During a descent I notice that my back tire doesn’t go smoothly. So I check it and I discover a hugh crack of 15 cm in my rim. Not so nice and I detach my brake so we can cycle slowly to the nearest campsite. At the campsite I find some more cracks in the same wheel. We decide it won’t be wise to cycle much further with this wheel and on the map we find out that we could take the train about 50 km further. But at the station they don’t want to take us so we try to hitchhike in the hope a truck will take us. After an hour with our thumbs up we are not so lucky, until a bus stops and a very kind driver takes us and our bikes to Thessaloniki.
We are in Thessaloniki now for two days. Yesterday we called with Cycle Trend in Groningen to ask what to do. Cycle Trend arranged together with Santos a new wheel which they are going to send to Greece. We are going to enjoy this town until we receive the wheel. But we are also looking forward to cycling again to Istanbul. It’s time for a new country and new adventures.
Athens – Eretria: 58km
Eretria – Martino(pig farm): 80km
Martino – Orio: 61km
Orio – Kato Gatzea: 107km
Kato Gatzea – Agiokambos: 94km
Agiokambos – Peratarin (bus to Thessaloniki): 51km