The plan was to head towards Rio (near Patra, not De Janeiro) The legs started whining around the 60k mark, so I told them to settle down cos mind is boss, but then compromised as they were bitching about the wind, slowing my enjoyment of the ride, and so I told them we’d stop at the first hotel after 80 km. So here I am; Hotel Themisto. The only guest…. Greeks take Easter very seriously, and not many places have been open – it’s family time. But – they let me in.
Post WWII many Greeks left this coast for the USA, Canada and Australia. It must have broken their hearts; the sheer beauty of the coast is unbelievable, and it’s still relatively unspoilt by tourists. I guess that there’s little industry other than basic agriculture, but still – it’d have hurt to leave, Dunno if life is better where they are, either; possibly.
So – 2k years back JC took one for the team (didn’t work, as we’re apparently still guilty cos Original Sin – bummer, JC – all that for nothing….) – But the Greeks are into the resurrection like you can’t believe – except for lamb. Every hamlet has been spit roasting them like there’s a famine coming, and every other house ditto, accompanied by bouzouki, zorba and hanky dancing. Not a good day to be a Spring lamb, but there you go. So I cycled along to the smell of rosemary, garlic, roasting lamb, and the sounds of all things Greek. Like, der… I know where I am, KK? Here’s a typical barbie –
Rumour has it that this was for a family of 6, plus a couple of uncles and a granny.
The ride itself was glorious – as stated, a slight head wind, but the old coast road follows to coast, sandwiched between the sea and the mountains; scattered along the route like garnets are red pantiled villages and the occasional mini harbour. Not much open though; Easter Sunday is more observed here than in OZ, and commercial activity is minimised. I did pass a bakery early on, just outside Corinth, and grabbed a hot spanakopita fresh from the oven and a “black” coffee – thick and sweet; the next 5 ks I averaged 30 kmph…. Plus I bought an egg salad roll for ‘ron. Lucky.
The motorway hugs the cliff side, and is a fantastic piece of architecture. Males me think about how slowly the Pacific Highway is getting done; Greece, with fuck all money is slamming out a road and rail network that is world class, and doing it quickly. We really are being bluffed by our fed/state governments.
Tired and hungry, I found the Themisto Hotel and pulled over; it looked shut, but there was a note on the door saying in Greek and English, “we’re in – ring the bell” So I did. The hotel owner and all his relatives and theirs too filled the dining room, which must have sat 80. He booked me a room, sold me a beer, and I’m now upstairs. No food, and I’m not sure I’ll find any anywhere close, so I’ll just find somewhere in the morning and have a big breakfast.
And that’s it; another sunny, easy day. I could get used to this 🙂
See you down the road.