Out of the Peloponnese into the central mainland. I guess that technically the Peloponnese peninsula is an island – the Corinth canal cuts it’s land link with the rest of Greece. Today I’m at the other end of the peninsula, leaving the Hotel George to cross the Gulf of Patra by the Rio-Antirrio bridge.
First problem; getting onto it. There is no cycle lane over the bridge, though there is no signage stating that you can’t cycle over it. Given the wind and the traffic, I thought it wiser to use the pedestrian footpath – there’s one either side, though both have flights of stairs
to access them, and there is no lift. So – carry the panniers up a flight, then get the bike, and repeat until we’re all on the bridge deck. Once up, it’s an easy pedal, though the wind gets very blowy. Great views across the Gulf, and a great way to get to the mainland.
Once across I turned left, through Antirrio, and then left again onto the old road towards Mesolongi. A pizza slice (stale) and a hot coffee from a cafe at the first petrol station as I had no breakfast, then the first steady climb up to a plateau; a 4k grind to the top, then down into the next valley, and repeat. And repeat.
Not too bad, as the road follows the shoulders of a broad river valley, but every now and then you drop, and have to climb.
Another great ride; the most challenging yet, as my legs are letting me know they’ve done lots of work. As is typical here, every few hundred metres there’s a sign denoting some ruin or other. If I stopped to see them all, or even a decent sample, I”d be travelling this region for the next 50 years. Here’s a typical one; no one knows what it is, who built it or when, or what happened to it; just one of the many mysteries of Grecian history. I prefer sites like these to the Parthenons and the Delphis – no scaffolding, no rebuilding, no hordes of tourists, buskers and beggars; just a quiet hillside where you can sit and ponder, and feel small and transient. I should have brought a picnic and a bottle of red.
Which I got at the next village. For a while the old road parallels the motorway, and is brand new, missing villages entirely. At some unpronounceable locale there was a cafe attached to a petrol station, so I had a toasted cheese sandwich and a glass of Macedonian red.
I’d earned it.
26 km later I hit Agrinio. A big town, but lots of high rise, and a convoluted central district of narrow streets. I found a pub ( the Esperia) and booked in. After a brief walk around the town – saw nothing of note, but lots of crappy graffiti, I walked back to the pub, and had my first meal since Athens – vegetable balls in yoghurt, followed by salmon linguine. Yum.
It’s nearly 9:00 pm, and I’m weary. I have no idea how I’ll get out of here tomorrow, but I’ll worry about that in the morning. I want to head towards Arta.
It’s been a long, but fun day. More to come too 🙂
See You down the road.