We’ve now had four days biking out of Athens. I’m beginning to understand why I don’t run into many Greek travelers. Why would they leave their own country? It has definitely exceeded my expectations. The countless islands, the exquisitely colored sea, mountainous topography, and orchards of olive, lemon and orange trees everywhere. Rural life with its country lanes and traditional lifestyles evokes memories of a simpler world.
Today we started to see more vineyards. Some had big fields of poles which held netting above and also smaller netting halfway down that the vines were trained to travel on. I assume the netting above were protection from birds and below to make picking easy. Other orchards we saw were more traditional.
We haven’t had anything but great food anywhere here. And friendly people. However, like everywhere, there is reality to life here. I may not tread much on that since we will only be here about eight days. It’s what’s harder to see for casual travelers like us. But bike travel does put you closer to it.
Two nights ago we could only find one hotel to choose from. We were happy to find one. In Greece it’s illegal to wild camp. The campgrounds we’ve found are still seasonly closed. It will be another week before everything opens up. The hotel that night could have opened in the 50’s and still looks and operates the same. The dining room was mostly taken up by old men drinking beer, downing ouzo, or sipping coffee. Most were chain smoking cigarettes. All were watching an old large screen TV with the volume raised so the people next door could hear. The patrons obviously were old friends. Easy conversation continued between them whenever there was a lull in the squawking TV. An older culture that reminded me so much of my home town of Grand Marais decades ago. We didn’t appreciate the smoking or the sound blaring but could recognize the importance of the meeting place this hotel marked for this older generation.
Tonight we are in a lovely seaside town called Mytkosia. Just had a simple but wonderful homemade meal of shrimp, potatoes and salad at a very small restaurant operated by an older couple. Our best meal yet. More later in another blog. My eyes want to close till tomorrow.