Peloponissos part 2

June 20th

Camping Tholo Beach to Erodios Camping near Gialova 65 kms
After a good nights sleep we were on the road by 07:00. We have learned to try and get most of our cycling done by 14:00 at the latest. It just gets too hot for riding after that.
Again we stayed on the main road till Filiatra were we turned off direction Marathopoli and just after Rikia we joined the main road for the last 10 km’s to the camping.
Many gypsies all along this area (the whole Western coast from Patras to Pilos). They can be seen around old abandoned buildings. Whole families sleeping on blankets outside, and little kids running around half-naked begging along the main road. Kinda sad.

08:30

11:00 Just before Kyparissia

At the central square in Kyparissia we stopped for an ice coffee in the shade.

By 11:30 we were on our way again all wired up by that strong iced coffee

By 12:00 we came to the Eiffel Tower (Filiatra).
It was begging to get hot now and when we first saw it from a distance we thought we were hallucinating.

Soon after Filiatra we took a smaller road that ran closer to the sea and what a beautiful detour it turned out to be.

We were treated to about 25 kms of a quiet road through olive groves.

By 18:00 we were finally set up after an exhaustingly hot ride.
The plan is to stay here for a rest day and enjoy the sea.

June 21st

Rest day Erodios Camping
Today we just lounged around and swam a bit.

The camping is situated right on the beach.

It’s very well-organized.

Many people come here for wind surfing because the bay has only a small entrance and is very shallow

Navarino bay in all it’s glory. At the bottom of that pointy hill in the center is…

the town of Pilos. and on the bottom left of the hill…

is were we need to climb over tomorrow.

In the afternoon there were some thunderstorms brewing in the hills to the east

Later on I walked to the vilage of Gialova and found a nice spot with ice-cold beer to watch the world cup.
Erodios camping is very well-organized, clean, the facilities are top-notch and the prices reflect this. After coming from the previous campings it sure felt as if we were touring in northern Europe.

June 22nd

Erodios Camping to Camping Thines, Finikounta 30 kms
We tried to leave early because we knew we had a couple of climbs today. Well to keep it short it was a wake up call for us. We weren’t ready for any hills, totally out of shape and it showed. The thirty kilometers really felt like eighty with the hills and the heat.

Starting on our first hill.

We had to ride around this brand new golf coarse.
When I talked to the locals yesterday they were so happy and proud about the new projects that are being built in the area but little do they know that these places closed resorts for people with means and they will only see a fraction of the money that’s coming here.
On the upside it is an impressive golf coarse, if we were into this sport we’d love to play here.

From the top of the first hill looking back at the camping

Pilos from above

And a very large spider

One last view of Navarino bay

Finally made it to the top of that hill above Pilos.
The sweat on Moniques back kinda tells the story. We loved the downhill

The Venetian fortress in Methoni

A view of one of the many beaches in one of the most beautiful parts of Greece

The road was a bit undulating on the way to Finikounda.
We had 3 small hills to go over and in the midday sun it was a real challenge

Another great beach just before Finikounda

And by 14:00 we were both in our bathing suits with a cold beer,

relaxing at camping Finikes.
We first came here in 2007 while on a tour from Milan to Athens and we instantly fell in love with this place. It was also really nice chatting with the owner and sharing the story of our first visit.

The place has changed a little since we were here last.

The lounge area next to the bar looks like a throwback to the sixties.

Later on the screen came down for the world cup match

After dinner we walked along one of the best beaches we’ve seen.
The camping here is very good, reasonably priced and great facilities.

June 23rd

Rest day.
The plan is to stay here for a least two days and just relax and enjoy the beach, before cycling to Kalamata and catching the bus back to Athens. But later in the evening we checked the weather reports and found thunderstorms will be in Kalamata on the 25th and Athens on the 26th.
So we decided to just have one rest day here and tomorrow head for Kalamata to an airbnb close to the bus station and catch the first bus to Athens.

Following are just some pictures of the beautiful beach in front of the camping.

Click to view larger

Click to view larger

If we’re ever in the area we definitely be coming back here.
We highly recommend visiting this place and think offseason would be best as one can imagine it will get quite busy in July and August.

June 24th

Finikes Camping to KTEL Kalamata 65 kms
We got on the road by 06:15 as we wanted to get highest obstacle of the tour, a 300 meter climb to the village of Iamia. And as we feared it was one tough climb. By the time we reached the top we were soak wet from sweat.
The following downhill was refreshing but once we reached Nea Koroni town it got really hot. From Nea Koroni to Kalamata the heat and humidity got really bad and on top of that thunderstorms were threatening from the northwest. It was so bad we totally forgot to take any pictures after the village of Iamia.

Starting the climb to Iamia, Finikounda can be seen in the center.

Another picture from further up. We stopped many times on the way up

and a little further

 

After the steepest part there was a sort of plateau

which made for some easy riding

From the village of Iamia it’s only 53kms to go

Beginning with a great downhill.

Unfortunately this was to be the last decent photograph we took on this tour.

For the ride to Kalamata we took the coastal road to Rizomilos where we got on the main Pilos to Kalamata road or number 82 on Google maps.
As predicted thunderstorms were brewing over the center of the peninsula which made the temperature and humidity soar. By the time we reached Messini we were really tired and the last kilometers into Kalamata were a pain. We were just happy it was Sunday and the traffic was minimal.
Once in Kalamata we found a kiosk next to this park were we ate some cheese pies before heading for the bus station to secure our tickets for tomorrow morning.
We had arranged for an airbnb (the nearest to the bus station) and made our way there. It was just 4 blocks. The place was great and as soon as we were alone we took a lovely shower before heading out for some dinner. But sure enough as predicted again by the time we were heading back to our apartment it began to drizzle.

Monday June 25th

KTEL Kalamatas to Athens +/-15 kms

Got up early, had to be at the station by 06:00. Now the buses of KTEL (national bus service) do not like bicycles, especially fully loaded ones because they take up too much space. Hence we took the first bus of the day to limit any hassles.
Last night it rained pretty hard and thankfully it had stopped for a couple of hours in the morning so we could make it to the station dry. The bus ride to Athens was uneventful but we rode through some heavy thunderstorms in the middle of the Peloponnese. After Corinth it was dry.
After we got to the station we loaded up the bikes and slowly made our way through the very busy Monday morning Athens traffic. After getting home the skies opened up again with some heavy showers.
We were happy with the decision a couple of days ago to cycle up to Kalamata than take the bus home on a Monday morning as the weather just turned bad for several days afterwards.

 

Epilogue

Even though we rode along this route several times before it was still a great ride. We cut the ride short by two days but in the end it was a wise decision. Besides the two days we cut were going to be spent in Finikounda beach so no big loss there. We just rented a car in Athens and found a pleasant beach at Anavyssos.
We had chosen this ride because it was relatively flat and that is difficult to find in Greece. We also wanted to check out some places we’ve visited before.
Now that we’ve retired our old touring bikes to Greece, we plan a lot more mini tours there. By using the train services and in case of emergency the bus service to get to and or from Athens.