Day 7 – Greece
The previous day consisted of small scenic twisty roads only. I did so many corners that day that when I woke up in the morning, I could still feel these corners in my head.
I ended up pitching my tent up at the back of the restaurant where I stopped for food last evening. As I was about to get back on the road the owners came back to open the restaurant. They didn’t speak English but managed to exchange few words and smiles and I set off towards Meteora.
This was the route I did that day:
It was about an hour ride to get to Meteora. Weather was sunny and roads were nice and twisty with some nice views along the way. It started getting warm quickly, but not too warm. As it was middle of April, weather was in the low 20’s (C) for the most of the trip making it not too hot and not too cold.
As it was still quite early in the morning, sun was still low. I came round one of the corners and this was the view I have been presented with:
I rode through Kalabaka and then towards the rocks.
The views were rather awesome with these cool rock formations. Below is the video (Meteora starts at 5:00), however I ended up stopping every few seconds for pictures:
After that I started heading towards Mount Olympus. I decided to stick to small, country roads.
I came across loads of road blocks in the past couple days – cows, horses, sheep, dogs – and today:
Tortoises. Lots of tortoises.
I didn’t stop for a lot of pictures between Meteora and Mount Olympus, so here’s another video:
Around mid-day I started getting close to Mount Olympus.
Rode through the village called Olympiada and few minutes later took a turn to the Mount Olympus mountain pass.
Although road condition looked perfect at first, there was a bit of gravel on most of the corners so I had to keep my speed down a bit.
I took loads of pictures there but I will try to keep them to the minimum here!
Finally came around the corner and there were cars parked in a small car park. I went past them, came round another corner and there was a gate to what looked like a military base. Of course I couldn’t get in there so went back down to where the other cars were parked.
This was the view from the highest point that I could get to:
And couple more pictures from the ride back down:
Video from Mount Olympus:
After Mount Olympus I wanted to stick to small country roads and some more mountain roads. I wanted to ride to Mount Ossa and then to Pelion. I had no idea what sort of roads to expect. The way that I was picking these places was that I just looked at a map and picked all the mountains I could see on the map (ok, maybe not all in the whole Greece…). Can you guess I like mountain roads?
So here are more pictures from the ride to Mount Ossa:
It was late in the afternoon – around 4pm and I started getting hungry. After Mount Ossa I rode through nice small town called Sykourio. There were a lot of pubs, caffes and restaurants. Since I always travel on low budget I didn’t want to go to any expensive place so picked some pub which was also serving food.
When I walked in, all eyes went on me. There were around a dozen of men in the pub drinking. I was the only female there. A young girl with a motorcycle helmet in hand, walking into a pub – unusual? I asked if anyone speaks English. Only one of them spoke English a little bit so I explained that I’m looking to get something to eat. They tried to get me to have a drink, but I said that I’m riding and can’t drink. Then kept asking every now and then but I politely refused.
They didn’t have a menu so I asked what do they serve and what they recommend. As we were speaking they were having a snack – meat balls that looked pretty good. Since the language was a bit of a barrier and that’s what they also recommended (meat balls with chips and with traditional greek salad), that’s what I ordered.
I don’t normally take food pictures (usually I eat it too quickly to have time for pictures), but this time I took one. It could also be that it was one of not many proper meals on this trip, sometimes I just keep going on snacks all day to keep the cost down.
After food it was time to get going through Larissa, Volos and Pelion. It was getting a bit late in the afternoon but I thought I should make it to Pelion before it gets dark and find a place to camp somewhere on the coast.
When I got to Volos I stopped in one of the side streets to set my sat nav for Pelion. I stopped on the side of the road, took my helmet off and put it on one of the mirrors. Then I decided to get off the bike. As I was getting off the bike, my helmet fell off the mirror and rolled down the street for some 20 or 30 metres. When I picked it up, one of the visor mountings was broken. I tried to fix it, spent at least half an hour trying to figure something out but no luck at all.
There was some drunk man walking by who stopped and said that he will try to fix it. Judging by the state that he was in, I politely thanked him for his offer and refused. He still stood there looking at me trying to fix it for another 10 or 15 minutes until I left, but I sort of ignored him.
When I finally realised that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with trying to fix it, I had two options. Either ride with no visor and instead use sunglasses under my helmet, or buy a new helmet. I didn’t really like the idea of riding with no visor so decided to try the second option first.
Looked up bike shops on my phone. I was lucky that I was in Volos – quite a big city – and not somewhere in the middle of nowhere, so there were some bike shops around. The bad thing was that it was getting late so I had to be very quick. I found a BMW motorcycle workshop and in the pictures on my phone it looked like they also have a shop section. It was 10 minutes away so I decided to try them. When I got there I explained what happened and they tried to help me fix the visor mounting first. After at least 40 minutes of trying we weren’t getting anywhere. There actually was no shop section but they told me where I can buy new helmet.
Since I still had oil leak (after really bumpy roads in Serbia my oil was leaking since then), they noticed it and while I was trying to fix visor mounting with one of the mechanics, they kindly washed my bike for me as it was covered in oil.
It was around 6pm by then and I really had to hurry if I wanted to buy new helmet. I wanted to buy new helmet anyway, so I had two options – either spend quite a lot on a decent helmet which I was planning to buy soon anyway, or buy a cheap helmet for now and buy a decent one when I got home.
Unfortunately I didn’t have much choice. When I got to the bike shop with helmets, the most expensive ones were around 170 Euro and the cheapest around 70. Even the most expensive ones were not even close to what I was looking to buy after I get home, so I went for the cheapest option. They asked me what to do with my old helmet; I could take it back home with me and replace visor mounting but since this helmet was quite old anyway and I was planning to buy new one, I just left it there and told them to bin it.
Sun started going down at this point and I still wanted to get through Pelion and to the coast. Even though it was getting dark I decided to do that anyway. If I didn’t do it now I would then have to skip this part and not do Pelion at all. If I did it now, I would do it in the dark but then I would have to go back the same way which I would do the next morning when it’s light. I didn’t necessarily have to go back the same way – there was another longer way round. But because I was running a bit behind with time, I couldn’t afford the way round this time.
Shortly after I left Volos, the road started going up the hill with loads of turns. Traffic was quite heavy (both ways) making it hard to overtake and making my progress really slow. But the view was amazing. I didn’t stop for any pictures since I didn’t have time, but the view with sun going down, being high up the hill overlooking coastal town Volos – was just amazing. It was over an hour ride to get from Volos through Pelion to Chorefto, where I wanted to stay for the night.
But with the sun already going down I was hoping that I could maybe find some spot to camp closer than Chorefto. Well, not for at least half an hour past Volos anyway. There were lots of small villages, pubs, clubs and hotels located high up the hill, one after another. Since in was Friday night, a lot of people were out to party. It was all really nice looking, but not ideal for me when I just wanted to quickly find a place to camp. I guessed that hotels there would cost a lot.
Finally after what seemed like forever, all pubs, clubs and hotels ended and I was finally on what would have been a scenic road if only I could see anything (it was almost dark at this point). The fact that it was almost dark was making it even harder trying to find a place to camp. I was still trying to look around to find something on the way instead of riding all the way to Chorefto. But no luck. Ended up getting Chorefto which was my original destination anyway, when sun was almost completely down.
There was a campsite. The only entrance to this campsite that I could see was a gate, which was closed. But I guess that’s even better – cheaper – for me. I was at the coast so I could just put my tent up beside the campsite, at the coast – for free. No shower? No problem, I will just go for a swim in the morning. It may not be a proper shower but it will do the job. No toilet? Who needs the toilet, it was dark anyway.
This was my spot for the night:
Part 5 coming soon…