The really observant would have noticed that I’ve already diverted from Eurovelo 8. and this is the first day of cycling. There are reasons for this.
Eurovelo 8 in Greece is not signposted anywhere in Athens. Makes it hard to follow. And I had a couple of “must see” items – the Corinth Canal, first started by Nero way back when, and the bridge crossing at Rio, which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with Epirus; this is one of the longest suspension bridges on earth, and I want to add it to my collection of “been there, done that” crossings.
It’s also prettier than EV8 – it follows coastlines, and hugs cliffs – like a much longer, and way more scenic Great Ocean Road (sorry, Victorians). As there is a new motorway all along to Patra, the coast road is fairly quiet, traffic wise, though it does make you work harder – steep climbs, steep drops, sharp bends.
I got away from Omonia around 8:00 am – later than I hoped, but sooner than I expected – all the last minute packing problems, re-balancing weight across panniers and such. The hotel didn’t do breakfast; I’d bought an egg salad roll last night, and I washed it down with a coffee from the stall next to the hotel. As it was Easter Saturday, traffic was lighter than usual, but still deadly for the first couple of kilometres. Athenian Greeks are not patient drivers. I had a couple stop, get out of their cars and shout at me – They make no allowances for bikes, or tourists – but I apologised, smiled sweetly, then carried on. Truly – getting out of Athens into the ‘burbs is a scary thing, especially as the road signs are in Greek script, and most of the drivers (male) are way high on testosterone.
About 5 km from the city centre it changed. A genuine bike lane, and I got my first glimpse of the Aegean Sea – full of freighters, as Piraeus is a working port, not a resort town. A slight glitch shortly after, when I missed a turn, but soon back on track, enjoying the ride.
It took about 25 km before my legs got loose, the bike settled down under me, and I hit the groove – zoned into the scenery, legs spinning easily under me. No traffic hassles either. Here’s a typical picture of the coast road –
Pretty special cycling. Lots of roadies out too – got lots of waves.
I made it to Agii Theodori then stopped for lunch – a pub full of people having Easter lunch. I had a schooner of beer, and a plate of deliciously cooked calamari. Yum.
A fairly short ride from there to Corinth – I stopped to take a look at the canal – an amazing piece of engineering.
Dumb software I’m using has decided not to let me upload any more pictures, so follow the link.
Got into Corinth Centre, booked into the Appollon Hotel, near the railway. Absolutely shattered, but I walked along the seafront, found a bar, and had a couple of glasses of red and a sandwich. Corinth is much cleaner and nicer than Athens – no refugees, no angry youth; it might as well be a different world.Many years back Corinth was the capital – it’s not lost anything by surrendering that poisoned chalice.
Hot shower, then bed, I hope the legs work in the morning 🙂
See you down the road.