I rode north out of Athens through Kifisia to Nea Palatia then caught the ferry to the island of Evia (or Euboea depending on your preference). I hoped to avoid the coastal mainland traffic by biking up the island and Evia did not disappoint. Although the mountain range in the center of the island made me glad to have gotten into shape in Ethiopia. A rainstorm soaked some of my gear in my poorly packed bags, but also gave me some dramatic views of the Aegean.

After three days of biking up the island, I crossed back to mainland Greece by another ferry to Glyfa. I rode over a coastal range and then onto the plains of Thesaly. The wheat and cotton fields of central Greece don’t figure strongly in the international public image of the country, but they are lovely and the many farm roads and villages make it excellent bike touring terrain.

I spent three nights as a guest of Alex, a Warmshowers member in Farsala. Alex took me biking up to the walls of the ancient Farsala associated with Achilles and the Myrmidons. He’s developing a single track trail down the mountain back into the city, but I was not ready to try it on my touring bike so we just took the old road.

I then headed on toward Meteora, but passing through Palamas I was stopped by a gentleman who spoke no English. He was very eager for me to come with him while he tracked down someone he wanted me to meet. Eventually I found that there is another Warmshowers host, Chris, in Palamas and he was expecting cyclists to arrive that day. I had been mistaken for one of the other cyclists by Chris’s neighbor. Since I was stopped, Chris’s brother Manos offered to let me stay in a spare room of his and I accepted. I wanted to meet these other cyclists and hate to turn down such generous hospitality.

The other cyclists were Dave and Uschi from Canada and Germany respectively who had been riding for eleven months in North and Central America and now Europe. They blog at woiperdinger-on-tour.blogspot.com. Among other things, Dave carries a full sized sitar behind him on his trailer, which he played for us in Palamas that evening. The next day we rode our unloaded bikes together to Meteora and back. I wasn’t sure of my route so just went along for the day ride, then decided I wanted to spend a little more time in Meteora. So the following day I headed on again on my own back to Meteora where I spent the night. I got in a tour of the monastery of Great Meteora and nunnery of Roussanou, but the highlight of the visit was just the chance to bike and hike around through the enormous rock structures upon which these monasteries were built 500 or more years ago.

From there my route continued north through Kozani and then past huge coal mining pits and electric power plants to Ptolemaida, my last stop in Greece. From there the border with the Republic of Macedonia was an easy 60km or so.

 


 

 

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