Greece, A Long Wait

Quattrovelo with parachute

Part of the 202020 Velomobile Challenge

During my travels, I get photographed and filmed several times a day. This movie was taken in Gýtheio by Jarlat Hynes.

I was going to travel through at least 20 countries with my velomobile in 2020. It was going to be a straightforward and fast trip. The rule was not to transport the velomobile on a trailer or a truck, only cycle and, if necessary, also use ferries. The lockdowns made it impossible to travel without interruptions. First, I had to leave the velomobile in Poland while waiting in Sweden for several months, and then I had to wait in Greece.

This is a diary in pictures from my time 2020 in Greece. The photos have mostly been taken with my mobile phone and are meant to show you a glimpse of my trip in the country.

North West Greece

Cycling in Greece is for me associated with many uphills and downhills. Not infrequently I had to climb more than 1500 meters a day. This diagram shows a day when there were not very many hills, a pretty nice day’s march.

When entering Greece, I was tested for the Covid-19 virus and had to stay in quarantine for twentyfour hours. After that I was able to travel freely in the country.

In my preliminary route I had planned to make a short stop in Greece and continue to western Europe. But since the travelling restrictions where tougher in Italy and Spain, I decided to spend more time in Greece.

The tourists were almost completely gone, partly due to the pandemic, but also due to the tourist season ending now at the end of September.
Most of the time I spent the night in my tent, but sometimes I had the luxury of staying in a hotel. Here they generously put some cones as protection around my velomobile.
I put together these video clips in my phone and sent them as a greeting during the trip. Sorry for the bad editing … 🙂
The rides would take very long time if I stopped every time I was photographed, but I like to give the young a chance to have a good photo that hopefully will inspire them.
It feels nice to get up to the narrow mountain passes, then you know that there are downhills to look forward to.
Rion-Antirion Bridge, officially the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge, crosses the Gulf of Corinth near Patras, linking the town of Rio on the Peloponnese peninsula to Antirrio on mainland Greece.
On this beach overlooking the Rion-Antirion bridge, there were showers that I used.
I set up my tent on a plot between the houses next to the beach. Of course I left no trace behind me.

Peloponnese Region

There are still ferries even though there is a new bridge to Peloponnese. I chose the ferry and did not have to pay when the staff understood that it was a bicycle I was riding.
Everywhere I rode, I was stopped by the police. There were very nice meetings with curious questions and many selfies.
Sometimes I was able to put the mosquito net under a roof. However, this is a too small mosquito net and I will get a slightly larger and self-standing net in the future.

Ancient Olympia

The place where the Olympic flame is lit every fourth years, the cradle of the Olympics.

The ancient stadium at Olympia.
Buildings from the Hellenistic period.
Hot air circulated in these walls to create steam baths.
I spent two whole days visiting museums and excavations in Ancient Olympia..
Cats are everywhere in Greece.
The tower houses of Vatheia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatheia.
South Peloponnese.
Porto Kagio.
I was allowed to set up my tent at a parking lot next to the beach in the small village.
A lot of climbing …
Small churches everywhere.
There are a lot of houses that need renovation, but also new buildings that look like old buildings.
A Greek Orthodox Church.
It is a great feeling to be able to cycle downhill on good roads.
Peekaboo.
Boat yards are the same everywhere …
Mavrovouni Beach, Githio.
It was very hot even though I had extra tarpaulin for shade. In the future I will get a tent with two openings for better ventilation.

Crete

The beaches were empty.
It blooms a lot during the autumn in Crete. Oranges and tangerines ripen.
I had to hurry to take the picture before the truck that needed the whole width of road came.
Palaiochora.
Early morning in Palaiochora before taking the ferry to Gavdos Island.

Gavdos, Europe’s southernmost island

Arriving at the harbour on Gavdos Island.
I hurried up to the lighthouse at the top of the island to document that I completed my cycling from the northernmost point of mainland Europe, Nordkapp to Europe’s southernmost island, Gavdos. I was happy! 😊
I bought a beer at the lighthouse’s little cafe and enjoyed the memories of the trip’s wonderful moments.
I set up the tent in a remote place.
This is the view of Crete from my campsite.
Beautiful paths lead to several beaches on the island’s steep shores.
Fortunately, my neighbors had not yet learned to eat tent cloth.
When the sun was shining, it was too hot to lie in the tent.
The rainy season was approaching.
Ctenagenia vespiformis attacks and stabs an Eusparassus walckenaeri who is poisoned and dragged away to be eaten.
Europe’s southernmost point is locatad here on Gavdos Island. There is a southernmost point on the mainland as well. It is located furhter north and in Spain.
Africa is behind the horizon.
This man lives in the southernmost home in Europe.
And this is him with his hen.

Crete again

These elevation gains and losses are quite common for rides on Crete.
Chóra Sfakíon. From this beach, the locals helped many New Zealand and Australian soldiers escape after the Battle of Crete during World War II.
In bad weather, the ferry to Gavdos is canceled.
I cycled all the way up to the houses that look like white little dots on the mountain.
Never give up 😉 In Crete they take care of their olive trees. If the tree has fallen down, they let it grow through the wall.
The mountain passes are often very narrow.

Agía Galíni

My plan was to do some island hopping through Greece while waiting for the pandemic restrictions to ease. But at this point travel restrictions became stricter. I was not allowed to move between islands. Therefore, I had to stay here in Agía Galíni for a longer time than planned.

Near this small tourist town I spent over a month waiting for better times.
Agía Galíni has a well protected harbour.
I lived in this little cottage on a campsite for several weeks.
To keep fit, I did day trips up in the mountains.
Since I very often had to drive downhill more than a thousand meters of altitude, my brakes became quite hot. Therefore, I made a parachute out of an umbrella that slowed my speed.
I spent wonderful days on Crete.
Far down by the beach that you can not see in the picture, is the campsite where I stayed.
This woman with the surname Papadogi, is picking herbs by the roadside.
Cats abound in Greece. Many of them are one-eyed after territorial fights.
Old buildings are often photographically interesting.

When the snow covered Crete’s highest mountain and the restrictions became even stronger, I decided to leave the velomobile a second time during my 202020 Velomobile Challenge and travel back to Sweden. I am now waiting to be vaccinated in Sweden before I return to my velomobile. It is parked in the campsite’s supermarket which is closed for the season.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2021!

4 reaktioner till “Greece, A Long Wait”

  1. very beautiful images Alve, the colors of the Greek islands are magic, and you QV matches well in these surroundings. I hope you can continue your journey soon to discover more of Europe’s beautiful places.

  2. Very nice pictures and post. My bicycle shoes are getting a bit itchy, they want to tour
    Looking forward to read more…
    Happy New year, Alve.

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