Saturday 22.8.2015 Countries:10 421km Total:4037km
We have a long day ahead of us in Greek traffic.
I asked the borderpolice yesterday how the Greek drive compared to the Albians who all drive like they have a severe case of rabies. "Oh, it's much, much better" he replied.
I have news for you Zorba: you don't. You sure as hell don't. We got through Albaina without anyone overtaking us on the wrong side once. Today I've lost count of how many times that happened. No bikers wave at us expept the fully laiden bikes that are obviously also tourists and the traffic is just as aggressive as in Albania. The Greek bikers in their t-shirts and tennis shoes are the absolute worst motorists on the road.
One of the main differences is that Albania has an acute lack of straight road, thus it's pretty easy to understand how fast you're supposed to drive to keep with the traffic, is just as fast as physically possible.
I always try to adjust to the tempo, if the signs say 80 and most of the traffic drive 110 I also drive (at least) 110. I'd rather pay a fine than get in accident for riding unpredictably.
In Greece the only thing you can be absolutely sure that no one will be driving is what's on the signs.
I think the record was 80+ on a 20km/h road and if all the cameras we flew by trying to keep up with the traffic flow are active I'll probably spend the rest of my life in jail.
When we stop for petrol I notice there is an adjacent taverna. Since it's lunchtime I go in and ask about getting something to eat.
The menu was rather limited, it was food: yes or no.
He does try his best to get across what they're serving but I just can't get it. After getting assurances that it doesn't contain either milk, cream or cheese I just go ahead and order for the three of us.
Turns out what he was trying to say was "skewer". We got succulent grilled skewers with French fries and fresh salad, it was one of the best meals I never knew I ordered.
When we get to Athens I am completely beat, even though the navigation was pretty straight forward the fact that you're constantly riding on the edge fearful of getting murdered by kamikaze drivers has completely drained me of energy.
That along with the fact that the sun has been completely scorching all day means my sweaty body and t-shirt have merged to a single unit.
After seriously considering cutting the thing of we had a wrestling match that would have been worthy airtime as a WWF grudge match.
I feel sorry for the people who got to launder my clothes. €10 for laundry service was probably the most affordable expense of the whole trip, at this point is more of a decontamination that's needed than cleaning.
We freshen up and hit the town in the quest for food. The receptionist at the hotel gave us a tip of a restaurant called Alexander the great at about three minutes walk which felt spot on.
We are of course welcomed by a friendly nonchalant Greek who when he realises we're from Sweden tells us he rode the Interrail to Sweden in his youth and sums up the Swedish weather by and I quote: "fuck" (he actually said the Swedish word fan but it's pretty much the same thing.)
It was so poetic I almost cried.
I'm a real sucker for strange names so when a dish on the menu is called drunken pork my search is over. Pork in white wine sauce. Not bad at all.
Our waiter (which by the fact that he seems very selective about his own work effort I gather is also the owner of the establishment) was a real original (and also had a bit of a roundish stature) who in a very ironic tone asked why I hadn't touched the food even though I had forced down as much and more than I could possible eat.
When we had finished a platter of fresh fruit courtesy of the house. The place was a real tourist trap but I really liked it.
It's been a long day so that sums up our evening. We head back to the hotel to get some rest for tomorrows excursions.
Sunday 23.8.2015 0km
We head out on a manic hunt for sights which there are an abundance.
The first and most obvious is of course The Parthenon on the Acropolis but on the way there we walk through the excavation of Emperor Hadrian's library.
There will be many, many photos of marble pillars against a blue sky this day.
The Acropolis is truly a manificent sight and the view of town from the rock is amazing.
Fun fact: There are no straight lines on the Acropolis where the Parthenon is.
Before we go to the Acropolismuseum we get some lunch. I have salmon in an Ouzo-sauce with a Notias saffron-beer.
With the strong anise-taste it was pretty much salmon with a liquorice-sauce but it was actually really nice. The saffron beer: not so much.
The museum was almost overwhelming, you just sort of had to keep the pace up and flow through it all or we would probably be there still.
From there we make our way to Hadrians Arch and the remnants of Zeus temple.
By now it's starting to be a bit like the waterfalls on Iceland, you kind of get spoiled by the grandness of it all but then you find yourself at the foot of something that just seem to keep going straight up for eternity and you are humbled yet again and start firing your camera like it's an automatic weapon.
The next destination didn't do much for me but for the lady who is a full on sports freak it was probably as hallow ground as when me and the bear went to the Nürburgring, it was the Panathenaic stadium.
It's an old Greek arena and the site of the first modern Olympic games.
Even if the sporting significance went straight over my head I was still very impressed by the building itself, an arena entirely built in marble which seats eighty thousand people.
On the way back we take a walk through the national gardens which were extremely underwhelming but it had to show somewhere that we are in a country in a deep economic recess and they sure didn't blow their budget here.
At the hotel we freshen up and go out to find a restaurant for supper, it was the spur of the moment thing so it didn't turn out to be very exotic.
During the afternoon I had light headache and felt more or less constantly nauseous, the heat have been pretty extreme the whole trip and it just stands to reason that now we've made our way to the southernmost point it's boiling. The heats sticks to you like your being wrapped in gaffatape and despite wearing a silly hat and a more or less constantly drinking I'm finding it very hard to keep hydrated to I'm pretty beat.
It's seems my traveling companions aren't a hell of a lot better of so we get a pretty early night.
Monday 24.8.2015 0km
Time to tick of the rest of the must-see sights that we missed, not all that many it seems since we managed to do away with most of them during our mad dash yesterday.
We head down to Monastiraki and on the way I strike gold!
I finally manage to get hold of a Hydration bladder for my jacket so I guess foul weather is pretty much guaranteed for the rest of the trip.
First up is the Agora which was the social and political nerve centre of ancient Greece. The most grand and well preserved building is the temple of Hephaesteus.
From there we take a walk through flea market which isn't a flea market at all but a just a series of small shops selling touristy and pretty boring stuff.
We head down to Keramikous which is the ruins of a site where they made ceramics. The excavation was pretty uninteresting but the museum made up for it, the live size bull statue they just "found" while building a road was worth the entrance fee.
After this we get some lunch, I get a chicken stuffed with rice and vegs. Just that and the chicken was a meal in itself but alongside where also a mountain of fries.
Easily the biggest portion of the trip and possibly even the best meal, I could hardly get out of the chair.
Now we're out of sights and spend the rest of the afternoon shopping (ok, I went shopping) and drinking coffee. I really nice relaxing afternoon.
We're out of ideas concerning supper so we agree to return to Alexander the great.
I can't remember what I ate but I do remember what I drank and that's what I usually drink and that's beer.
The bear was as always the responsible adult and waived the beer and went for mineral water along with the Lady.
When the waiter/owner get's to our table with the drinks he says water when puts down the water for the lady and water when he puts down the water for the bear and we he gets to my order he puts it down and says: and beer... for the man.
A waiter that mock your friends for you, now you just can't pay a man enough for that level of service!