Archive for Greece

And so to the Ferry………………..

Posted in european trip, Greece, italy, motorcycles, travel, triumph tiger, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by Bev

I can’t remember a great deal about our journey from Athens to Patra from where we were getting the ferry to Italy.  Did we even stop………can’t seem to find any photos either.  If we didn’t stop I’ll bet I was hungry and thirsty!  (and I also would think I wouldn’t be very happy with Ian for not stopping!) I do remember this fabulous bridge tho’

I wanted to go over it but it didn’t go the way we were.

Out initial plan was to take the ferry to Brindisi but when we enquired about sailing times were told there was none till the next day, so instead booked for a sailing to Bari which was in about 2 hours time.  We were shocked also at the price of the ferry, I think they double it for 3 months of the year – why??  it doesn’t cost them any extra to sail in August than it does in April……….and the cabin prices are so ridiculously high – they add another 300 euros on the price!  (we didn’t get  a cabin!!)

I love boats, I would like to have a boat and sail all over in (on?) it.  Ferries are not boats.  They are floating “family hotel complexes”.  I HATE them (more than I hate camping!) People commandeer the “couches” as soon as they set foot on the ferry – they put their feet, luggage, clothes and whatever else they have all over them so nobody else can get on them.  Even tho’ we were pretty much one of the first vehicles on the ferry, we weren’t the first people.   Foot passengers – hundreds of them, and they had pretty much taken up every available “couch”!  The ones who really annoy me, are the ones who book cabins, take their luggage to them and then come and claim their “seating area”  – STAY IN YOUR CABIN  – YOU’VE PAID FOR IT!!!!  We managed to find a table and a couple of chairs near to the TV area – big mistake!  There were kids running around shouting and a group of around 5o Italian pensioners who completely took over.  Why do people speaking in a foreign language always sound louder than those speaking your language??  Anyway, we didn’t get any sleep and arrived in Bari the next morning very tired!

We couldn’t get off the ferry.  We were blocked in by a GS, which Ian stood admiring and I felt like kicking!  We were with all the trucks, it was very hot and the diesel fumes were choking.  It was almost empty when Mr GS arrived.  Ian and he spoke – I just scowled…..

Moaning post over!  😦

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A little bit of history……

Posted in Athens, european trip, Greece, motorcycles, travel, triumph tiger with tags , , , , , on December 3, 2009 by Bev

This could be a long post!!

Ian didn’t want to go to Athens – said it would be too hot and too busy!  I really, really wanted to go, so we did!  It was great riding into the city as we could see the Acropolis stood  right in front of us.

We had found a Hotel via the GPS which was right in the city, opposite the old Town Hall.  I didn’t hold out much hope from the name, Hotel Economy, but when we got there it seemed ok.  The reception staff couldn’t have been more helpful, but they did raise an eyebrow when I said for one night only.  The lady gave me a map and circled all the main sites  and spent about 10 minutes explaining them all to us.  They told us to park Tiger right outside the front door so they could keep an eye on him.  When we got to the room we were really pleased as we were on the top floor and  had a great view of Lycavitous Hill in the background.  We also realised that there was no way we would see everything in one day so I went and booked another night. Peak season in Athens does not come cheap –  150 Euros for 2 nights………..but it was well worth it!

Tiger was down here, directly below under the canopy

So, off to explore then

Looking at the map, the major sites all seemed to be in one area, so we decided to leave these for the next day and went off to find the Parliament building .  Statues are everywhere

We found it and had just missed the guards changing shift

As is was so  hot we decided to “cool off” in the City Gardens and try to find the original Olympic stadium (Panathinaiko Stadium)  thru’ the gardens, it was alot quieter here and we had a nice walk thru’

Panathinaiko Stadium  was originally built  in 566BC and was rebuilt totally in marble in 329BC .  It is the only major stadium in the world to be built entirely in white  marble.

Just a short way from the stadium is the Zappeion, built in 1888 for the revival of the modern day Olympics and now used as a conference centre.

Just down from here is the Plaka – OK, it’s a tourist trap but it’s fun.  It’s narrow “higgledy piggledy”  streets are lined with shops, restaurants and cafes.  Most of the shops sell the same items and are full of overpriced junk, but there are  a few decent ones.  As in all good Greek (and Turkish) tourist areas the restaurant staff try to pull you in with offers of “freebies”  I think it was the offer of  “free beer” that got us in here!

I can’t remember what we ate – I probably had chicken and Ian something “Greekish” but it was ok.  Trying to leave was another matter.  We asked for the bill and were brought plates of  fruit – melon, grapes, orange – “on the house”  While we were sitting, we listened to the waiters patter, which was always the same ” the lobster is good – special of the day” – yes, and also the most expensive thing on the menu!  We  ate our  fruit and asked again for the bill.  This time we were brought 2 glasses of red wine ( I don’t drink red so Ian had both) Next came 2 shots of Ouzo…….were we ever going to be “allowed” to leave??  I know why they do it – people see a busy restaurant and think it’s good – also we were sat on the end table, right next to the pavement, they like these tables full. We finally got the bill, around 20 Euro, very reasonable for what we had had.

The Plaka sits under the Acropolis and Ian reckoned if we kept this on one side of us (can’t remember which) we couldn’t get lost!

I wasn’t too sure tho’……….

A few night shots – The Tower of the Winds and the Roman Agora

On the way back to the Hotel we passed a Bar which had a football match showing on TV and about 15 people  in it, so went in for a drink (well, not in as it was an outside bar!) On looking around over half of the people were police officers – is the crime rate in Athens so low that the police can sit and watch football while on duty???

When we arrived back at the Hotel the guy on reception called us over and said we should remove all the luggage from Tiger – we had left one pannier and the sleeping bags on.  He said there were tramps round the area and a sleeping bag would be very tempting to them….to be honest if they wanted to go thru’ the hassle of getting the bags off they were welcome to them!  We took them off tho’ to keep the receptionist happy.

Our night view

The plan the next day was to get up early – we didn’t!  Our Hotel was only about 15 minutes walk from the Plaka so we went thru’ here again

past a couple of old churches (the names of which I can’t remember)

It took ages to cross this road to Hadrians Arch – lots of traffic.

I’m not going to write a “history lesson” on every site we visited – this blog will be long enough as it is! 🙂  You can see the size of the Arch tho’ in comparison to me

We had to pay to go into the Temple of  Zeus, we got tickets for 12 Euros which gave us access to, I think, 7 sites.

We were here around Midday – very hot and very bright!  My sunglasses decided at this time to break – so it was back to the Plaka to seek out a pair of “designer fakes”. I picked up a pair of D & G’s for 10 euros (expensive!!) We then found our way to Hadrians Library and the Roman Agora.

I had my first ever Greek Gyros in Athens – I won’t normally eat “kebap” type things but these looked good and were chicken not pork or lamb – very tasty it was too………..what have I been missing all these years……

A couple of shots on the way to the Acropolis

It was quite a long walk up to the top and when we finally got there were boiling!  Why do we buy drinks on the way, to drink when we get to the top,  but finish them on the way up?? There was a little “cafe” type place here so as we had no drink  left bought a couple of iced slushes.  9.5 Euros!!! This is the second “rip off” (after Venice) – but there was nowhere else so we didn’t have much choice.  It was funny sitting listening to people complaining.

The Theatre of Dionysus

View from the top with the Tempe of Zeus in the background

The Propylaea

The Parthenon

View over the city

The Erechtheum

Caryatids Balcony

Entrance to the Temple of Athena Nike (I think!!)

We made our way back down to the Ancient Agora

The Stoa of Attalos

The garden of statues

Statue of the Emperor Hadrian

The Temple of Hephaistos

The Acropolis seen from the Temple

It was a long walk back to our hotel from here – a few shots along the way

After a quick shower and change we were back out.  We were knackered – but not too knackered for a few beers!  🙂

Athens was amazing – as I said Ian hadn’t wanted to go but it turned out to be his favourite city of our tour.  We would love to have stayed longer but the Hotel was a bit expensive, although compared to some of the other European cities we visited, in general the prices were not too bad.  The people are friendly, and as throughout most of Greece, try and speak to you in English.  We will, no doubt, go back there one day………….

Doing this post has driven me mad!!! It keeps locking my laptop up, every letter I type it saves and it won’t put pictures on properly….ggrrrrr  😦

Rainy days in Greece………

Posted in european trip, Greece, motorcycles, travel, triumph tiger with tags , , , , on November 13, 2009 by Bev

It was quite sad leaving Turkey.  We love the country and the Turkish people are so friendly (and I suppose we’ll miss Linda and Dave 😀 ), but were happy to be back in Greece.  The first part of the trip was pretty much a mirror of  our previous journey.  DSCF2764

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and then we found these…..

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a Patisserie full of the yummiest looking cakes i’ve ever seen – didn’t know which to pick (he wouldn’t let me have 2 😦 !)

I  was quite glad we had come back the same way as it meant we would be going to Kavala (the town I had liked so much the first time) again.  It was mid afternoon when we arrived and VERY hot!

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We should have stayed here, I told Ian we should stay, but no, he wanted to crack on. And this is what happened

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It started in the mountains and only lasted a short time, but I got absolutely soaked (for some reason, some bright spark  designer decided that my waterproofs were made to wear INSIDE the bike clothes, the jacket is ok outside but the trousers not.  I didn’t really want to strip off in the middle of a thunderstorm in the Greek mountains to put them on!) I also changed colour……. much to the amusement of the petrol station worker where the photo was taken. (was hard to get them clean – toothpaste did the job in the end!)

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We got to Thessalonika and started looking for somewhere to stay.  Thessalonika is very big, very busy and very hot!  After we had rode down the the seafront Ian decided he didn’t want to stay here and was going to look somewhere else.  I was still soggy and felt like I was wearing a wet nappy (not that I know what that really feels like!) so wasn’t too happy with his decision.  For some reason we ended up in a huge industrial park.  It was around 8 o clock and getting dark.  There were also the biggest mosqitos I have ever seen flying all over us – when 2 flew into my helmet I think I lost my temper and a shouting match ensued!  About an hour later we found  a small town – only trouble was it didn’t have a hotel!  We rode around a bit more and by chance saw a large block with Hotel in huge letters on it.  It was in the middle of what seemed like a field and nothing else.  There was also a very unusual  piece of artwork on the ceiling

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The guy on reception told us not to open the balony door as big mosquitos were about – we knew this already!

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The next morning we saw where we were

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It was overcast pretty much the whole day and we rode South towards Volos.

We rode past Mount Olympus but it was shrouded by clouds so no good photos 😦

The sun did eventually come out tho’ and it was a lovely ride thru’ the mountains

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Volos is situated on the East coast about half way down Greece. The Port of Volos services some of the nearby Islands including Skithos and Skopelos.  It’s a very lively town with lots of shops and the seafront full of restaurants and cafes.

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Why do people think grafitti looks good………..such a shame!

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Then…………..

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didn’t last for long tho’ and the sun came back out.  Tiger also found a new friend

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This was going to be our first night back camping since Albania. (seems so long ago) and I wasn’t loking forward to it , but we found a great site somewhere just south of Volos on the coast.

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We sat and watched the sun go down, and had a competition – who could take the best shot 🙂  – he had the better camera, but I think I won!

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but his was ok (well, it did have me on!!)

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When we got back to the tent, a little white cat was hanging about.  Ian soon befriended it, played with it and, big mistake, gave it food!  It was very hot during the night so I had the inner and outer doors unzipped, I couldn’t sleep, he was snoring his head off.  I heard a rustling noise outside and being very brave ,  had a look out.  The stupid cat was in the tent – I didn’t want it in and couldn’t get to sleep with it playing about so woke him up.  No matter how many times we put it out, it kept coming back.  In the end, because I didn’t want it wandering about over me while I slept, we had to zip up the inner door……….still couldn’t sleep as it was like being in an oven!  Told him not to feed any more animals when we camped!

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The next day we rode further south towards Athens.

Slipping in Greece……….

Posted in european trip, Greece, motorcycles, travel, triumph tiger with tags , , , on October 29, 2009 by Bev

It was starting to get dark as we came into Greece, ahead we kept seeing flashes of lightning and there didn’t seem to be many towns.  After about 40 minutes we came across a little place with a hotel.  It looked a bit expensive, but after over 12 hours riding I had given up the will to live, never mind go any further, so we stopped.  When we went to reception the guy was very interested in where we had been and where we were going – he also offered to order us a takeaway pizza, as there was nowhere open in the town to get some food.  This was probably the best pizza of our tour! He told us there was a town called Kastoria nearby, on a lake and we should take a look there.  The hotel was great – a  real bed!   I needed it for my aching bones!

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We  tried to find Kastoria the next day but couldn’t! This is the first time Mr Garmin has let us down. We had decided that we would go to Athens on the return journey, so headed East across northern Greece.  Unfortunately, there seemed to be only one road across – a bloody motorway!  Everytime we came off it we ended up going back on, no matter where we were.  We tried going into the mountains and down to the coast but always ended up back on this motorway.  It’s possibly new as parts of it weren’t on the GPS, so we went with the flow and blasted along at the 140km speed limit.   I got bored, my ipod died, and I couldn’t take any pics!

A few I did get on our “detours”

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After passing Thessaloniki we got off the motorway – hurray – and came to a lovely town called Kavala.  I hadn’t heard of Kavala, but since know it was originally called Neapolis and dates from the 6th century BC.

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The town has  a lovely atmosphere and lots of restaurants and bars.  We had a good evening there.  Whenever we left the bike unattended we were never quite sure if we should lock it, remove bags, or what.  Ian usually checked other bikes to see what they did – if the locals lock ’em up, we would do the same.  Here, there were bikes parked all along the pavement, so we asked the guy in the hotel (yes, another hotel!!) where to park – “oh, anywhere you like” was his reply – “nobody bothers” – so we left it on the pavement fully laden – with just the tank bag removed.  When we returned to it the next day – nothing had been touched.

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I really liked this town and wish now we had stayed there another day to have a proper look around it.

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We carried on toward Turkey and Ian decided the chain needed adjusting so found somewhere to stop while he adjusted it.

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When he finished he asked me to help get it off the centre stand, so I stood on the right hand side.  Now, he can’t wait and as I was going to help him he decided to do it himself and dropped it! Not wanting to have half a ton of Tiger fall on me I jumped backwards and fell  into prickly bushes.  Poor Tiger was on his side.  Ian started running about like a headless chicken – my bike, my bike – panicking as men do and trying to get it back up.   I told him to get the panniers and top box off as there was no way we would be able to lift it otherwise.  I pulled as much stuff off as I could, while he unlocked the luggage.  Thankfully, we then managed to lift him back up and saw there was no real damge – a few scratches on the right hand pannier, but my right side foot peg had totally sheared off.  (I remembered him saying on the first day of our trip about riding without a foot peg if I kept getting on and off using them)

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Ian then decided a spanner would suffice as a foot peg until we found someone who could weld it back on . So off we went again with my foot resting on a spanner held on with cable ties.  We soon came to a little town with an assortment of  garages – this man did an excellent job and only charged us 4 euros!

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So, it was onwards to Turkey.  We didn’t seem to see alot of Greece but knew we were coming back here on the return journey.

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