Unexpectedly Easy: Athens to a Beach Campsite. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

March 15, 2014

Unexpectedly Easy: Athens to a Beach Campsite.

I had a spill, or wreck today. I'll get to that in due course. But first, I've my panniers packed and downstairs, ready to go at eight. The young woman doing breakfast however is busy rinsing utensils when I approach the counter, so I have to wait. Then she has to pop out to buy bread, so I'm kept waiting even longer when I'm anxious to get going, hoping to beat some of the Saturday morning traffic on the way out of the city. Though I won't be leaving without the hostel breakfast, which is as much bread, jam and cheese as I can eat.

There is a good kitchen in the hostel where I've been getting use to cooking my own food again as I move back into the expensive part of Europe. In Turkey and across much of Eastern Europe, it cost move to buy the ingredients in a supermarket, than to eat out. Yesterday evening I made a casserole; frying a chopped aubergine, carrot, mushrooms and onions. Then adding diced tomatoes and soya sauce and leaving to simmer in the juice awhile, before mixing in a pot of natural yogurt to make a wholesome meal. I boiled potatoes, but didn't have room for them. They'll be today's lunch.

The bread has come. I'm not really annoyed having to wait. In fact I'm a little apprehensive because of the traffic. Its almost nine when I finish off, say goodbye and push the loaded bike out the door to another glorious sunny day in Athens. I ride away along Victor Hugo, the hostel street, join the main street at the end and ride with the flow hoping to come to a junction where I'll see the way I wish to take signposted.

But, its a long street going on and on with mountains visible at the end. Seems I'm going north when I need to go west; so, at the next traffic-lights, I turn left and follow a street with little traffic, following a fence along rail-lines back towards the centre. Then after passing underneath a motorway, I come to a big roundabout with Korinthos on the sign for a width highway continuing right. A moment checking the map confirms Korinthos is about midway to Patra, where I'm going.

Its a six-lane highway without a shoulder and not that great a surface being rough and bumpy, but the traffic isn't that heavy, probably because its Saturday. In any case I'm given a wide berth by passing vehicles. Then ahead, the two outside lanes incline up and are elevated over an intersecting road. There is also a footbridge on the inside, but I missed sighting it while continuing on upon the inside lane, hoping to pass through the roundabout and straight on. But on getting to the roundabout, there is no straight through road: the only way straight on is the flyover. In frustration I turn around and lift the bike onto the sidewalk. Its then I see the footbridge. To get to it I've to cross the turn-right-slip on the inside and to do so its best to dismount. I swing my leg over quickly, hoping to be off the bike and across before the next procession of cars have reached the right-turn. But I swing a bit too quickly, losing my balance and fall flat on the sidewalk, feeling my elbow and knee sting through my clothes. The whole time I manage to keep holding the bike upright as I pick myself up again. The skin is broken on both knee and arm with a little blood on the surface.

The footbridge has a ramp up and the metal deck gives a nice buzz underneath the wheels. Not far beyond I pull into a Lidl and add to the food bought yesterday in Athens, including a tub of potato-salad; to which, I'll add the potatoes boiled the evening before.

Spring colour.
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The road onwards is gradually uphill and reduced to four lanes with an ample wide shoulder and smooth even surface. Then over the crest of the hill, there's a longer sweeping descent with pine-forest on the inside slope and the coast at the bottom across the carriageway on the left. Without realising it the road has become motorway and shortly fans out wide approaching the first toll-booths. Here I follow a slip-road down and underneath to a tee with the old road, where I turn right, seeing the sign for Korinthos. I'm already in the countryside as the old road has groves of fruit trees with in-between a braze of yellow Spring blossom to the side for a bit. Then passes tight along the coast with old railway track and a sleep slope on the inside. Then pass an oil-refinery on the coast-side with the stench of crude-oil.

I stop for lunch on a stripe of grass on the inside of the crash-barrier. Here there is a fence which is useful for hanging the tent and sleeping-bag out to dry, having forgotten to do so the days Is at the hostel.

Beyond Korinthos, having passed over a channel so I've coast on the right on the way ahead which goes through one town or village after the next with a bad road surface, having all the way along had a continuous track dug up for utilities and refilled then roughly surfaced. I keep on going until nearly sunset by which time I've reached a small coast village with a beach-park; among the trees therein, look to be about the only place to hide my tent. I set the tent between two yew trees about twenty metres from the shore and after supper of bread and cake, lay down to the lolling sound of the tide lapping against the rocks.

The channel. I'm not sure on the detail of what this is about.
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From where I camped
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Today's ride: 137 km (85 miles)
Total: 12,111 km (7,521 miles)

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