Peloponnese and Attica, Greece

Day 68 – Thursday 01/07
Bari, Italy to Rio, Greece – 25kms Total 3367kms

After two cups of coffee on the expensive ship we landed in Patras. We first made our way to the offices of Minoan lines where we were told that there aren’t any bunk beds on their boats to Venice.
Than we went to the first cemetery were by dad is buried and lit a candle before cycling over to Rio camping. Traffic was chaotic at best in the city center.
Now I had stayed here in 2005 and it was very nice but it seems they haven’t done anything to since. It still had thick grass but also a camping dog that shit on it and a sanitation block that was the worst we’ve seen on this tour. That is a shame and they will never see us again.
On a good note we met Tim from Ireland, another like minded cycling tourist traveling through Europe.

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Sunrise over the Greek mainland near Corfu.

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Even though we had a good nights sleep we still prefer to lie on a normal bed.

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Monique enjoying the cruise right after corfu. With the Superfast XI ferry in the background.

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All the trucks had disembarked in Corfu in the early morning hours.

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Enjoying the sunshine and calm seas.

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We were both happy to back in Greece.

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Dead end road somewhere between Patra and Rio.

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Having our first Souvlaki by the Rio – Antirio bridge.

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Sunset by the beach near the camping in Rio.

Day 69 – Friday 02/07
Rio to Akratas – 64kms Total 3431kms

We finally got underway at 08:30 and it began to warm up fast. The old national road was very busy with trucks but they all gave us plenty of room. As the day wore on the the heat the humidity started to get to us and we saw that huge clouds were forming in the hills to the south.
All in all the ride today was really good despite the traffic and heat. Camping here is really good (so far).
Oh it did rain a bit later on in the evening but it didn’t last long.
AND WE WATCHED HOLLAND KICK BRAZILIAN ASS IN THE WORLD CUP   HIP HIP HURRAH!!!

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Rio – Antirio bridge early morning.

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Looking back at the village of Psathorpyrgos.

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The coastline ahead.

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Great cycling along this coast. Click to view larger.

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Looking inland, Peloponnesos is very mountainous, one day we would like to spend a few weeks just exploring this area.

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Looking back at the coastline right after Zachioritika.

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Nearing Akratas.

Day 70 – Saturday 03/07
Akratas to St.Theodoros – 90kms Total 3521kms

The ride to Corinth was about the same as the previous days ride, hot and humid, the sweat just poured off of us.
We were just glad there wasn’t much truck traffic being Saturday.
After Corinth we got on the old national road and headed for Athens, we wanted to do as many kms as possible today so tomorrow we would have it easy going into Piraeus.
There was a camping about 5kms past St.Theodoros but we went and got a room at this time machine of a hotel, I mean it was back to the 50’s or 60’s. It really needed a complete facelift but the location didn’t do it any justice, there was another huge hotel near by which was already closed. This place was really overpriced at 50 euros.

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Sunrise on the beach at Akrata camping.

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Looking back at Akratas.

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Passing through one of many villages before Korinthos.

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We just love Peloponnisos.

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Nearing Korinthos.

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On the ancient man made Korinthos canal.

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After the canal at Korinthos we had to ride a short distance on E94 before finding the old national road.

Day 71 – Sunday 04/07
St.Theodoros to Piraeus – 62kms Total 3583kms

We were promised yesterday by the manager that she would be there at 08:30 sharp but after waiting 30 minutes I went into the office (which was open) got the keys to the room with the bikes and my passport and left.
We felt bad but we were already very late getting on the road.
The ride this morning was ok just cruising along on the old national road but after Aspropirgos it got very dangerous. The old and new national roads merged and for several kms it was a 4 lane motorway with no shoulder. Even after it split up in two one going to Athens and one to Piraeus it was still dangerous.
Anyway we made it to the port and found the hotel Anemoni easy enough and put our bikes in a secure parking.
After washing up we went to family and had a great reunion with plenty of food and drink.

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Early morning on the old national road.

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The new E94 could be seen just above the old national road.
We were always worried that the hotel owner would pull up in her car demanding the €50.

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Looking back along the coast.

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Near Megara. Click to view larger.

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Near Peramos.

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Elefsina shipyards. After this place the road got very dangerous so there aren’t any more pictures. Click to view larger.

Days 72 through 76 – Monday 05/07 through Friday 09/07
Piraeus – Family reunion.

We spent these four days getting fat and lazy in hotel Anemoni near the port.
First of all we would like to recommend this place to anyone visiting Piraeus, it’s reasonably priced, clean with very friendly and helpful staff. It also has secure parking for the bikes.
We had to take care of some personal business and visit family these days so no pictures were taken.
The original plan was to leave on Thursday but there was a general strike and no ships were leaving Piraeus.
We didn’t want to ride on the national road again so we want to take the ferry to Methena and cycle to Epidavros where we’ve heard their is a good camping.
Anyway we are stuck one more day in Piraeus that leaves one less day to chill on the beach. We have allowed 3 extra days so we could check out the fine beaches of Greece.
So Thursday night we ate and drank even more 😉

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Left to Right, my nephew Nikos, us, my sister Vicky and her husband Steve. This picture was taken in our favorite tavern in Piraeus.

Day 77 – Saturday 10/07
Piraeus to Epidavros – 46kms Total 3629kms

We got up at 06:00 and were at the port at 07:00 for the 08:00 boat but because of the strike yesterday we were told that it wouldn’t leave until 10:30 we were a bit pissed but than we thought its Greece things like this happen.
Anyway we finally got on the boat but almost threw up from the stench inside so we hurried to the deck, these guys should be ashamed at the condition of the ships. Monique had to use the toilet which she found totally disgusting, and this is not the first time it seems these people just don’t give a shit about the condition of the ferries or even what the foreigners think about it what a shame.
When we finally reached Methena about two and a half hours later, we stopped at a tavern for lunch before we tackled the two climbs in the midday sun which wasn’t fun at all.
At one point we stopped for a break and this vegetable vendor came by and offered us two cucumbers to eat, what a nice guy.
The camping Nicolas is very good with excellent shade and a little beach. It’s very friendly and helpful staff but if you want to eat go into town avoid the beautiful water front restaurants extremely expensive.

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Monique happy to be finally on the boat and hitting the road.

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Piraeus harbor.

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Everyone seemed to be coming outside most likely to avoid the stench inside.

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The main port on the island of Aegina. Click to view larger.

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Little church on a small peninsula in Methena.

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The lovely village of Methena.

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Riding out of Methana.

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Methana is actually located on the East (right) side of this ancient volcano center of picture. Click to view larger.

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Saint Nikolaos church near Taktikoupoli.

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View of the coastline we have to cycle. Click to view larger.

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This whole coastline was very beautiful to cycle along.

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Cannot be seen here but Saint Nikolaos church is on top of the hill center of picture.

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More beautiful coastline near Kalloni.

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The road ahead after Driopi, Epidavros is on the coast center right of picture.

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Great cycling but it did get very hot in the midday sun.

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Epidavros from above. Click to view larger.

Day 78 – Saturday 10/07
Epidavros – Rest day

We needed to kill some time till the 14th for the boat to Venice so we figured an extra day here and one more extra day in Korinthos or Akrata.
What a life eh? Our future goal is to figure out a way to do this more often 😉

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Updating our website.

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View from the camping bar.

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View of Epidavros bay, the road we traveled yesterday can be seen across the water and the campsite is by the boats middle right of picture.
Click to view larger.

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No comment.

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Monique sorting out our budget.

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That evening it got very crowded at the camping as there was a show at the ancient theater near the camping.

Day 79 – Sunday 11/07
Epidavros to Korinthos – 64kms Total 3693kms

WOW!!!! What a day, a true wake up call for our legs. This day was tough, the first hill (getting to New Epidavros) was bad enough but after that the real climbing started just as the temperature began to climb. We were drinking 1.5liters of water every hour or so. One of the best things we brought with us on tour was the thermos, not only is it good for warm tea in cold weather but you can fill it with cold drinks (like fresh orange juice) in hot weather.
Despite the difficulties the ride today was very nice and at many points during the day we would get a very strong scent of pine which was really nice. And the views were really beautiful.
We found the camping here easy enough and after setting up camp we went for a swim which felt great after a hot day on the saddle. The camping is the same as it was five years ago when I passed through, it’s ok for a night or two.
We did think of staying another night here but decided to continue on to Akrata tomorrow, we know the camping there is better with friendly staff and very reasonable prices. Also the water is clearer 🙂

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Sunrise in Epidavros.

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Need to remember to make sure the bikes are in good order the evening before.

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Leaving Epidavros and the first climb of the day.

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The road was very undulating the whole day, down one hill and up another, here we could see the climb ahead.

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Looking back at the last hill we climbed.

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We stopped at this Monastery for a short break and Monique went inside to check it out.

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Beautiful courtyard inside the Monastery.

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We guessed there isn’t much to do around here but pray and keep the place clean.

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No comment.

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Fish farms before Sofiko. Click to view larger.

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Great riding after Sofiko.

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Monique grinding away in the midday sun. Click to view larger.

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Korinthos from atop of the last hill of the day.

Day 80 – Monday 12/07
Korinthos to Akrata – 63kms Total 3756kms

Got up slowly and got on the road by 09:00. We knew the road already from about 10 days ago or so. We took our time and rode the mostly quiet road along the coast stopping once in a while to get water or cheese pies and such. It was a nice ride and the first time either of us cycled it in this direction, and things did look a bit different 🙂
Therefore not a lot of pictures. Oh and one word about the WK final, all I can say the better team won. I was really hoping the Dutch would take the win but the Spaniards really deserved it, as they were the better team on the night.

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Riding past one of the many seaside villages along the way.

Day 81 – Tuesday 13/07
Akrata – Rest day.

Did some chores like repacking for the boat ride. We knew we’re not allowed in the garage deck while at sea and we didn’t want to take all our bags to the cabin so we just took what was needed in one large and one small bag.
The rest would stay with the bikes.
I replaced the chains and break pads. Also did a complete check of the bikes before we hit the Alps in a few days. For the rest of the day we ate, drank and swam in the crystal clear waters a couple of meters from the camping. By the way we would highly recommend this campsite, cheap and great place to chill for a day or three.
We also met this nice Dutch couple backpacking around Peloponnesos, we had a nice chat and hope to run into them again sometime.

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The camping dog, always coming around wanting to play.

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Getting the bikes ready for the Alps in a few days.

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Our camping spot.

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View from the bar.

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View East towards Korinthos.

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View West towards Patras. The waters here are very clean and very deep. Only a couple of meters in and seabed just drops dramatically.

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The camping restaurant bar from the beach.

Day 82 –  Wednesday 14/07
Akratas to Patras – 75kms Total 3831kms

We got up early enough to watch the sunrise but took our time getting out stuff together. We have all day for the 75kms to Patras as the boat is to leave at midnight and were probably wont be allowed on board before 21:00.
The ride again was very nice with great weather and nice views. I felt kinda bad about leaving Greece so soon but I’m also very excited about cycling the Alps.
We had a long wait around the port in Patras before we could finally board the ship. But everything went pretty much straight foreword without any problems. I must say that it is very expensive to get any alcohol on the ship. If you need to drink it would be cheaper to buy a cooler, fill it with ice and beer and when done give it away. One (small) can of local Mythos beer is 4 euros, I thought they jailed thieves.

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Sunrise at the camping in Akrata.

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The nice Dutch couple we met yesterday came by to say farewell.

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Views from the road.

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Taking a breather from the top of another hill.

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It did get quite warm midday 95° F equals 35° C.

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More great views before Rio.

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Rio – Antirio bridge with ancient castle in the foreground. Click to view larger.

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Sunset in Patras harbor.

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Our ride awaits. The ferry takes a day and a half to reach Venice, it leaves around midnight, sails all the following day and reaches Venice early morning the day after.

We have toured in Greece before and even had a bad experience once in 2007 were we got robbed but Greece is a very beautiful and underrated country to cycle in.  We will deffinatly be coming back to Greece in the future. The people, the food, the history and the natural beauty of the land makes this country one of the best to tour.
If anyone hasn’t toured in Greece yet we would highly recommend they give it a go. You will not be disappointed.

Continue on the Part 4 Venice, Italy to Lake Geneva, Switzerland.