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Island Hopping in Greece

 

   My GREECE trip

"I think"

Boat & Bike Ride Journal

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Boarded in Pisaeus

 

Day 1 – Island of Aegina

 

Day 2 – Mainland Methana to Galatas

 

Day 3 – Galatas to Ermioni

 

Day 4 – Ermioni to Portocheli

Island of Spetses

 

Day 5 - Tour island of Hydra - ride Island of Boros

 

Day 6 - Ride to Epidavros &

boat to Piraeus

 

...the Canidian trip to GREECE

Boarded boat in Pisaeus

 

Day 1 – Aegina

 

Day 2 – Methana to Galatas

 

Day 3 – Ermioni

 

Day 4 – Ermioni to Portocholi, Spetses

 

Day 5 – ?

 

Day 6 - Poros

 

Day 7 - Epidarvos retun to Pisaeus

 

Trip we signed on for with Active Journies

5 Island Day tour

 

Day 1 – Epidaurus& Nafplion

Day 2 – Mycende

Day 3 – Olympus

Day 4 – Delphi

Day 5 – Meteor

 

 

 ...our guide explaining how to take the shortest path to the boat..

 

 ...relaxing in the seating area in the rear of the boat after the day's adventure...

Boat & Bike in Greece(island hopping in Greece)

car free adventure __________

 ...Ho Hum!! Just like cycling in the States...never know when one will pass a 5,000 year old stucture cycling...  

We had bicycled through Europe, or we had ridden through all of the countries which were on our "to do list." We were looking for our next cycling adventure.

I had not considered Greece for a "bicycle adventure." My wife dicovered that "Active Journey's," our favorite tour company, had a boat & bike tour in Greece. After we got into it we disovered "INSELhuptfen," a German Tour Bicycling Company was actually the organization that would support our trip.  This would be our third bike adventure with Active journey's.  They had not let us down in the past. We trusted them. We signed on.

It was our 50th wedding anaversity.  We decided to we should add to our adventure.  We would bicycle through Turkey as well.  I began to develop a self- guided bike trip in Turkey. 

 

My lack of knowledge about the world never ceases to amaze me.  I thought turkey was about the size of thge State of Montana in the US.  After discovering it was about half the size of the US I punted.  We would join a tour of Turkey.  Besides I was sure that the roads turned to dirt about two miles out of the cities.  Wow!  It turned out the infastructure in Turkey riveled the US! In fact it rivaled the US in all respects.  

 

We decided to do a bike and island boat tour in Greece  followed by a bus tour in Turkey.  We had a week after the "Boat & Bike tour" in Greece ended.  There was nothing planned for the week before the adventure in Turkey.  We had a room at the Marriott in Athens between our boat trip and Turkey. But no plan.

 

After we returned from the bike tour we discussed what we could do on our own.  Our options were very limited.   My wife began to explore tour possibilities and after a back and forth we signed onto a 5 day tour of Greece.   My wife was concerned about cost but the Marriott was costing us a bundle and we had seen Athens.  It was a wash!

 

The tour provided transportation, room, and two meals a day plus a guide at each of the sights.  The tour went to the 5 top places my wife most wanted to visit. We were in.  The tour also paid all the entry fees into the sights.  We checked out of the Marriott and got on the bus.

 

The food was good.  The rooms were good.  I loved the small towns we roamed through.  We had Australians to entertain us.  The tour turned out to be a complete success even with the bus which is something we avoid because of all the "old people!" To make things more wonderville we ate ice cream everywhere we visted on the trip. Oh, by the way, "Key Tours" was the company that we selected.  The Marriott helped us set it up. 

 

We flew to Athens.  We had two acclimation days which we used to tour the local ruins.  Awsome!!!  On our third day a car picked us up to take us to the dock in Piraeus. We met our fellow adventurers, our bike tour guides and the boat crew.  Let the fun begin!  

...an Australian, and American and a German cycling in Greece...the guide is in the center...

..found our home at the dock in Piraeus...wow!..the standing space in the cabin is 2'x 6'...it will be cozy!  

...breakfast at sea on our way to our first bike ride...Greek food is a favorite and our chief was the best...

...surprise, wine and food provided by our guides at spot above the town of Methana...great view...

...three ladies rode past me on the island of  ????...

,,,the boat stopped for two kayaking adventures...our guides & crew filled every moment with entertainment



 Piraeus - Meeting the boat at the dock - May 21, 2011

   

 "Boat & Bike,"....island hopping in Greece!!!! ,,,The picture above is of ride day one preperation,,,,,

 ...this is what we really looked like checking the bikes we had been assigned at the dock in Piraeus the day before...

Plan for the day - Today we meet our two bicycle guides and the crew of the boat that will support us for the week.  We board our boat at the dock in Pireas, Greece.  Pireas is located southwest of Athens. We are staying at a Marriott in Athens and the Tour Company had arranged for transportation to take us to the boat. Our transportation would meet us at the hotel in the early afternoon and transport us and another cyclist to the boat.

We planned to return to the Marriott in Athens after our boat and bike tour in the Greek Islands. After our return we planned to continue our tour of Greece for a week and then fly to Turkey for a three week bus tour. We plan to leave our clothes and support equipment for those trips at the Marriott in Athens while we were bicycling in the the Greek islands.

Start to the day - We went down to breakfast at the Marriott after we got up. We were a bit slow getting started because we would not be picked up by our transport to Piraeus until around 2 PM. We took our time at breakfast, which was a buffett and very good. I read the English newspaper and drank more coffee than I should have.

We went back to our room and pulled the "stuff" we had brought to support our "Boat & Bike" adventure out of our luggage. Bike helmet, bike shoes, socks, pants, shirts, sun screen, etc., etc. Once we were satisfied we had packed correctly for our Boat & Bike adventure we packed everything else into our luggage which we planned to store at the Marriott while we "island hopped." 

Today’ adventure We sat in the lobby of the Marriott with our "boat trip" luggage and waited for the tour service car.  The car would transport us to the dock in Piraeus where we would board the boat which would be our home for the week.  The car arrived about 2 PM.  We loaded our "stuff" and got into the car.  Our fellow adventurer had already been picked up at his hotel and was in the car. We introduced ourselves to our fellow adventurer as we were driven to the dock. He was from Australia.

Once we arrived we located our boat.  We checked in with our guides for our adventure. One was a man and one was a woman.  We were directed to take our luggage to our cabin and then rejoin them on the deck to checkout the bicycles that had been assigned to us.  We asked where our cabin was located. They checked for us and the "guide lady" directed us to our home for the week.

We carried our "stuff" to the cabin and dropped everything inside.  The cabin was much smaller than I had assumed it would be.  My wife and I retrieved our bike shoes and pedals from the luggage.  The pedals would have to be screwed into the crank shaft of the bikes assigned to us which were waiting for us on the dock.  I also pulled my helmet from the luggage.  My wife did the same. 

 

We left our cabin and headed back to the dock where our bikes were waiting.  Each bike had a sticker with the name of the advanturer that it had been assigned to for the week.  The bikes had been assigned based on measurements that we had sent to the Bike Tour during the sign up process.   

 

When we arrived at the dock our guides directed us to the bikes they had assigned to us. The immediate task was to determine if the tour had selected a propper fit. We screwed our pedals into the crank of the bike, made some adjustments to the bike so they fit us (length of my legs vs the standing over the bike, height of my seat vs pedals, etc.).  Actually the guide put my cleats on the bike.  I adjusted the seat to fit my body.  Adjustments complete, I climbed on the bike and rode off down the dock. I rode to the end of the dock and back several times.  Satisfied, I got off and told my helper that it was “keeper” and headed back to our cabin.

 

Bicycling notes -The "rear deck" of the boat was complete with two tables and several chairs. It was very comfortable and sitting there today, it provided an excellent view of Piraeus and the dock area.  During our adventure it served as a place to hang out for the crew and the cyclists.  The entertainment consisted of great conversations with the other guests onboard, producing notes on my computer, Suduko, cross word puzzles, reading or just watching the Greek seas pass by as the boat moved to our next ride location.      

 

We had spent two days on a boat in Vietnam during our adventure bicycling there.  We thought we knew what sleeping on a boat was all about.  Surprise!   The cabin was designed to be used as a place to sleep, take a bath and relieve onesself.  We quickly established the rule to avoid staying in our cabin for any time accept to sleep.  Lessons Learned:  When travelling on a boat "know what type of cabin to ask for."  There are choices. Note that our cabin was above deck which was a plus. 

We quickly learned that one of us had to get into bed to allow the other person to walk past to get to and from the bathroom or put their clothes on. The small space in front of the closet had to be shared.  The bunk beds in the cabin were arranged one above the other. The bottom one was about 18 inches wider than the top one which I assume was to be used to stand on to get to the upper bunk. There was not a ladder to support getting one up to the top bunk. We used the extra space as a storage area.  

 

I had learned very early on our bike trips that even with all of the excitement and adventure there are occasions when there is spare time.  I actually became aware of this on our subway trips in LA to the theater which are very unexciting but long.  I developed what I call "the boredom abatement kit" for use when things are at the least slow if not dull.  We had our boredom abatement kit with us in Greece.  We had assumed that being on a boat moving from island to island there would be periods of time when we would have to entertain ourselves.      

 

Lucky for us the Germanys who travelled with us spoke perfect English so everyone could communicate easily.  Our guides were German and our crew of course was from Greece and they all spoke "good" english.  Only the "ugly Americans" were poorly prepared!

 

Our guide told us at dinner that our route or "the islands we had signed on for to visit" had been changed.  We were told the change had been made because of bad weather in the area we were to visit.  What??  We are not fools!  We are being taken!  Those Germans!  But "what the hell" this was our first time in Greece.  One island looks like the next. So tell me I am riding the planned route and I will not know what I am missing.  But note, in the traditional American way when I get back to the States and someone says; "Did you ride "so and so" island?  It’s the best."  My response will be; "Yes! Of course! If you are going to bicycle in Greece, you have to ride "so and so island."

Today’s landscape - We had flown into Athens two days ahead of our bicycling adventure to allow us to recover from the time change. We used our recovery time to roam the city looking through ruins thousands of years old and basically the beginning of civilization and recorded history.  

We interrupted our history lesson to loose pounds gained from some of the world's best cooking by bicycling on a few Greek islands. It's time to start!   

Post ride activity - After my wife finished testing her bike we returned to our cabin to dump our bike gear and pull our "crocks" out of our luggage. The crocks would be our deck shoes for the trip. 

We returned to the rear of the boat with some of our "bordom abatement" stuff and entertained ourselves until our fellow travelers joined us.  I worked on “website notes” while my wife was busy doing a crossword puzzle she had brought to occupy free time.  

Soon more of our group, there were 8 of us on the adventure, arrived and we began to get acquainted. We introduced ourselves and entered into various interesting conversations.  We had met the Austrilian adventurer in the car on our trip from the hotel. 

We met the remainer of our bike group, a lady from Canada and two husband and wife couples from Germany.  My favorite mix of travelers, rather diverse.  I am very interested in finding out what people are thinking in the rest of the world about what is happening in the world.  I never want only one point of view on an issue if I can avoid it.    

We quickly got into conversations about cycling and why we are interested in the sport.  Soon we were called to dinner which was served at a long table just inside the door from where we sat on the back of the boat.

 

I love Greek food.  Tonight the main course was pasta with a couple of delicious salad combinations.  There was also a selection of drinks.  I do not remember the desert but I am sure it was enjoyed.  We continued our great conversation that had started when we met and and enjoyed our food.  I thought it was delicious. 

 

Before we left the dinner table our guides told us about tomarrow's ride day.  The boat would leave the dock in Piraeus early the next morning.  Our first bike adventure was a relatively short distance away.  After dinner we sat with our fellow cyclist talking for a while.  But we were tired.  Soon, we said good night and went to our cabin. 

 

Once in our cabin, we ran into each other a couple of times adjusting to “how to live in a room built for one" ”but what the hay" its better to live in a small boat cabin in Greece for a week than miss out on a Boat & Bike adventure in Greece! Our first Boat & Bike adventure has begun!  The people are great, the food is great, the location of our adventure is beautiful and interesting but the room is small!  Sounds like a great trip!          

 

return

 

  "Lessons Learned" about living on a boat.  How do the US Navy sailors live for months this way? 

       

 ...bunks & storage..note that under the bunk was sapce but not convient...

 ..looking down the 6' hall at the entrance to the bathroom... 

 ..photo taken standing in the shower...note shower floor extended to wall under toilet...  

 ...the technique adopted was to wet down, soap and rince off...reduced the flooding...

We adapted to our living space.  The closet was at the door to the cabin.  We used it for “bike stuff” that we planned to use every day and for our walk around shoes. Our other belonging were left in our suitcases.  The suitcases were placed in the 18 inches at the wall side of the bottom bunk. As the week progressed, our sleeping clothes were left on the bottom bunk and miscellaneous clothes worn on end of the day outings lay across the suitcases. A few clothes could be hung up in the closet. 



 

 Ride Day 1 - Cycle on Aegina Island then overnight to Methana - May 22,2011

 
       

 ..breakfast on the move to our first island adventure..

 ...prepping the bikes to ride our first island in Greece...

 ...our island hopping adventure has begun,,,the climbing starts soon after we exit the village...

 ...the group taking a break and catch a view of the sea below...

Plan for the day - We were told at breakfast by our guides that, because of bad weather, the route for our Boat & Bike adventure in Greece would be changed.  We would be bicycling on a different group of Greek islands, and, some of our rides would be along the Greek coast. 

Since I had not been to Greece before I would not know what I had missed.  Everything would be new to me on this trip so every experience on our ride would be interesting.    

Today we would dock in the Port City of Egina on the Greek Island of Aegina.  It would take the boat 2 hours to reach Egina from our home port in Piraeus, or the dock at Athens.   

 

We would spend the day bicycling on the island. Our bike adventure would take us to the ruins of the Temple of Aphaiais.  The Temple was located near the opposite side of the island from where the boat would dock.  The ride was estimated to be a distance of about 50 km or thirty miles.  We would return to the dock along a different path which would provide us with other sites to visit and explore. 

 

We would not spend the night in Egina.  After our return we could shop or hang out on the boat until dinner was served.  Then sometime after setting down for our evening meal we would head for our port for the evening, Methana.  Methana is located on the Greek mainland.  The boat trip to Methana would take about two hours.     

 

Getting Started - We were up at 7 AM (Greece time).  The boat was already on the move taking us to our first adventure on the bike. We went to breakfast in our "travel pj's" as we called them.  They were workout clothes that were confortable to sleep in but gave the impression once out of bed that you had dressed to go to the gym rather than to breakfast.  One of our "dual outfits" to reduce our road clothing.   

 

We walked the short distance to the boat's eating area.  Breakfast was being served.  We found a place at the table and sat down.  We had our typical interesting conversation with our fellow cyclist as we enjoyed a great breakfast. 

 

I started with boiled eggs and cereal.  I then enjoyed some lunch meat, cheese and bread along with other goodies that were served.  The cheese and meat were served ale cart.  No sandwiches. We were also treated to juice and a great assortment of fruit.  And of course I had coffee which is my staple in the morning.   I can’t say enough about Greek food.  It is very good!  French food is my favorite with Peru and now Greece a close second. 

 

We had Europe, Canada and Australia represented in our breakfast conversation along with our German guides.  We got the view from around the world on every topic discussed.  I find these conversations very interesting.  Our guides interrupted to tell us about the day’s ride.  Our guide informed us again about the change in our "tour plans."  We were told that we would not be heading for the Cyclades which we had signed on for.  Bad weather was making it a bad idea for boat travel in that area of the Greek Islands. 

Our guides briefed us on the "cycling" iternery for our new adventure and then detailed the ride that was planned for today.  We were told that our new plan had us starting on the island of Aegina. He estimated that the dock in Piraeus was about 2 plus hours by boat from the dock in Aegina.  The bike ride would be about 30 miles in length.  We would visit ruins at the top of the climb. 

We finished our and breakfast and hung out on the deck with our "bike buddies" until we saw Aegina in the distance.  As we approached the town we went back to our cabin and dressed in our bike clothes.  We returned to the setting area in the rear of the boat with helmet, gloves, etc. needed to support the ride and waited.  

Today’s adventure - After the boat docked we went to the dock to find our bikes.  They were being transferred from the upper deck of the boat to the dock.  Interesting to watch.  We located our bikes and hung the saddle bags that the "Tour" had supplied on one side of the back tire.  After the "bike bag" was onboard, I got on my bike and rode a couple of loops around the dock area to verify that my bike and I had "bonded."  I returned to the where all of my fellow cyclists were standing ready to ride and waited with them. Soon our guides signaled that we were ready to begin today's adventure. 

Before we left the dock our guide gave us some information about today's route and our goals for the ride.  He gave us a quick recap about our exit from town and our route.  We saddled up and followed him off the dock and down the street into the village.  We rode through civilization (the village) for a few blocks before heading north along the shore.  We exited the town and continued for a few miles following the island shore as it turned east.  We continued east along the shore for several miles climbing occassionally. 

We reached the road which would take us to the ruins of the Temple.  We turned onto the road and we began to climb steadly up.  It was only a few miles to the Temple of Aphaia but it was a tough climb. The grade was somewhere in the order of 6, 7, 8 percent.  I cranked along at a rate which prevented my bike from falling over.  I was crawling along at an 8 mile an hour pace.  To make matters worse a stiff wind blew directly into my face as I climbed.

We reached the ruins and joined the group that had assembled with the guide.  There were a number of riders waiting with the guide when I reached the site of the ruins. 

Once everyone had assembled our guide provided us with a brief history of what we were going to see explaining various aspects of the ruins which were of interest.  He then released us to explore. 

The group broke up and wandered through the ruins taking pictures and discussing what they saw.  The ruins covered  a large area and as we had found in Athens are very interesting once soeen explained to support what one is looking at.    

On our return we headed across the island to the dock where the boat was waiting.  We were returning from the top of the island which made for a quick desent.  I felt like I was an awsome cyclist. 

After a few miles we came to a hugh building.  We stopped and our guide tbuilding that was a Monstary.  We stopped and again our guide gave us a brief history of the place.  We were then released to explore.  I took numerous pictures in and out of the Monstary.  It was hugh and quite interesting. 

There was a baby being baptized inside the Monstary.  We asked if we could take pictures and they said "yes."  Very surprised I took several.  Not sure if I would have been allowed in America.    

We regrouped with our fellow cyclist and continued on our trip to the dock.  The road was trinding downhill and we continued to make good time.  We stopped for a few pictures but were soon back in the outskirts of town and soon back on the dock.  I left my bicycle to be brought onboard by the crew and headed for the "living room" on the back of the boat. 

I felt dehydrated and got some water and sat on deck drinking my water and schmoozing with my fellow cyclist. It had been a good first day of cycling.  I had had all the cycling I could handle for the first day but I continued to think about the fact that we were not riding what we had signed on for for the first day!  What had I missed????  Today had been great so how can there be a better route?

Today’s scenery - Today's scenery  began as we left the the dock in Piraeus.  We joined our bike group at the back of the boat for a relaxing plesant view of the water as we sailed to Aegina. 

We docked at the smale town of Egina which we would discover would on our tour to be a typical Greek town on tour which offered a look at Greek schulper and life. 

Our bike ride took us along the coast then up to the highest point on the uisland.  We were treated to the beautiful blue of the ocean   below as we climbed.  The "early" Greeks also enjoyed the view building their palaces on the highest locations of the islands.       

Bicycle notes While shopping in the towns near the dock we tried to get a feel for the population, or maybe I should say Greek culture.  I am always struck by how isolated we are in the United States from the world.  We have absolutely zero understanding of what the rest of the world thinks.  Or, again, maybe I should say I have no idea!  I have found it very interesting in my travels that everyone, and I mean everyone, is exactly like me.  The population of the world are all hoping, looking and thinking about the same things.  Security, personal success and a chance to make those things happen. 

The boat needed a dock to tie up to on each of the islands we visited on our Island Hopping adventure in Greece.  Each of the small villages that was located at the "dock" was packed with "tourist shopping" places which provided all manner of things to buy.  The villages also had resturants and "fast food" shops where food and other goodies could be purchased.  We quickly (on the first day) got into the routine of shopping for jewelry to remember the trip by and buying ice cream which has become a must on a bike trip for us. 

Traffic was light on the ride.  The road surface was good until we turned to go to the ruins.  We climbed to the ruins and had a great view of the ocean.  I found it interesting that all of the ruins were built some distance from the water’s edge.  Would assume for protection but I have not pursued an explanation.  

The "quick" people (best cyclist) were watched over and lead by the male guide.  The female guide had to follow behind and watch out for the stragglers like me.  Could be a German thing, male leading the "good guys" but  I don't know.  The female guide took over the front on one of the last two rides, I don't remember which.  But, she was  an excellent guide!  She knew everything about cycing, cycling equipment and what to expect on the ride.  She was very supportive.  Just reporting my experience as one of the "slow" people.  

The weather was warm but not hot until we rode into town on our bikes.  The afternoon the weather turned a bit humid on the ride or I noticed it more.  When we got on the boat the angle of the sun made it difficult to find shade on the boat. 

Post ride activity - Our chief on the boat had prepared a great lunch for us when we returned.  After a short wait for everyone to relax from the exit from the dock we were called to 'lunch."  Our guide told us that we were eating "lunch" so late that it would be our dinner as well.  If we were hungry later we would have to find something in town. Sounds like "double" the ice cream to me!

After lunch (dinner) we exited the boat and headed into town.  The bikes had been left for us on the dock if we wanted to ride into town.  I had enough cycling for the day so we set off on foot to explore the town.  We shopped and tried to get a feel for the population, or maybe I should say Greek culture. We finished our tour and shopping and decided we were ready for ice cream.  We always enjoy ice cream as often as possible on a bike trip.

We were accompanied by the Canadian lady and the Australian gentleman.  The "slow" person guide had accompanied us as well and knew the location of an ice cream shop that provided sandwiches if required with the ice cream.  We sampled some of the ice cream selections.  Unable to decide on what flavor would be the best we decided we should have a portion of each of the ice cream selections we favored to make sure we did not leave anything to chance. 

It was getting dark so we began to move back along the streets to the boat.  We stopped along the way for more ice cream.  When we reached the boat we dropped off our "shopping support" atire and dressed in our workout clothes.  We headed for the rear of the boat to meet our fellow mates.  Our "fellow mates" being an "Austrian term" I had adopted.  

We found our "mates" discussing the day's adventure and we joined to add our thoughts about the day's excitement.  I was tired.  It was a "good tired."  The day's adventure had provided sufficient difficulty to make one believe they had achieved a "physical" goal and the interesting discoveries along the route of history and environment provided excellent take aways for home.  

After covering all the important world events with our fellow adventures, we excused ourselves and went to our cabin.  I fell into my bunk in my "pj's/workout clothes" and quickly fell asleep.  It had been an interesting and fun first day in Greece!!             

return



 Ride Day 2 - Methana to Galatas - May 23, 2011  

 

       
 ..the tour group provided a saddle bag to carry "whatever one wanted" on a ride...we carried our water in the bag...
 ...it was unusual to find traffic along our bicycle route in Greece. We were riding on the mainland on this trek which might explain the activity....   ...little humor on the trail by the guides during a discussion of today's  route....
 ...only encountered small patches of poor roads along today's route...but we did enter a dirt road for a brief time on one of our rides...

 

Plan for the day – Two rides are planned for today.  The first will start from where the boat is docked  in Methana.  We will bicycle through the small peninsula of land that connects Methana in the Saronic Gulf to the Greek mainland.  The route transitions onto the Greek coast from the peninsula and we continue our ride along the Greek coast until we reach Galatas.  We will stop along the coast and eat lunch on our way to Galatas.  When we reach Galatas we will ride through the town and continue to the Greek ruins that are bit west of Town, Troizen.  

As we bicycle along the cost to Galatas our home for the evening, "the boat," will move to the dock in Poros which is located on the Island of Poros across a small straight which separates the island from Greece and the town of Galatas.  We will spend the night on the boat at the dock in Poros.  When we return to Galates after our exploration of the Greek ruins at Troizen ,we will take the ferry to Poros.  There will be time to explore and find ice cream in Poros after our return.   

Getting started – We got up and dressed in our bike clothes to prepare for the days adventure which would begin immediately after breakfast.  We had our typical interesting conversation with the other cyclist on the tour as we enjoyed a great breakfast.  I can’t say enough about how much I like Greek food. 

We had Germany, Canada and Australia represented in our breakfast conversation with us, the Americans.  We got the view from around the world on every topic.  It was very interesting.  And, our guides (both German) told us about today’s ride during breakfast. 

While we enjoyed breakfast the crew placed our bikes on the dock.  After breakfast we went back to our cabin to grab our bike gear and went to the dock to saddle up.     

Today’s adventure - Our guides gave us a quick recap on the dock about our exit from town and the route we would follow to Galates.  The group began to ride following our guide through town.  One guide, the male, rode with the lead riders and the female rode with those of us who were a bit slower, me.

On the ride from Methana we climbed along the shore across a narrow piece of land which took us to the larger, main peninsula which would take us back to the mainland.   We caught an occasional glimpse of the water through the foliage as we rode.  There was little climbing and the group basically stayed together on the ride.   

We stopped at an "eating place" along the coast to have lunch before we entered Galatas.  We had a great conversation with the group as we ate our “goodies.”  I believe that we paid for our lunch (not the tour group), but actually I do not remember.  I do remember the food was good and the conversation with our fellow adventurer’s was enjoyable. 

After lunch we continued our trek toward Galatas.  After our respite we saddled up and continued along our route until we reached Galatas.  We wasted little time in Galatas working our way west of town toward the ruins of Troizen.   

It was a difficult climb to the ruins.  It had been a cake walk from Mathana to Galatas but now it was time to appreciate bicycling.  We continued to climb until we reached the ruins.  The ruins consisted of one small building.  I believe it was the Tower of Diateichisma.  After seeing the ruins on Aegina I must admit these were a bit disappointing.

Our guide told the myth about a son and father who lived at Torizen.  The story goes that the son was to sail to confront "some evil person" who was trying to take the throne from his father.  He and his father agreed that upon the sons return from his confrontation with the evil "guy" he would signal his father if he had been successful.  The agreement was that when he returned he was to sail with black sails on his boat if his mission had failed.  White if he had been successful.  The story goes that he was successful and eliminated the bad guy, but he forgot to switch the sails on the boat from black to white.  Apparently, he became involved with a woman during the elimination period of the evil one and he forgot to change the sails on his way into port to meet his father.  He sailed into port with the black sails still up.  His father seeing the black sails killed himself in despair. Women!  How many great deeds have been spoiled!  

The ruins had not been taken care of like the others we had visited in the short time we were in Greece.  The grounds were overgrown with grass/weeds and small shrubs.  I got the impression that these were the ruins that no one cared about.  But what do I know?  I looked up the site using Google on my return and found that the ruins had been left in their current state because the "researchers" did not want them disturbed until they had satisfied themselves that everything of interest had been protected.  Sounds like a sales pith from American.  "The house looks like a dump but we are trying to save its hertiage." 

We walked and climbed through everything and took numerous photos of the site.  After the group was satisfied we had seen everything of interest we returned to the road on our bikes and headed back to the dock and our home, the boat.  It was a quick trip downhill from the ruins to the ferry in Galatas.  After a short wait, we caught the ferry to Poros.  When the ferry reached Boros we saddled up again and rode as a group to the dock where our boat was parked. 

Once there I left my bike to be hauled onboard by the crew and boarded.  I left my bike stuff in our cabin and went to the seating area in the back of the boat.  I felt dehydrated and got some water and sat drinking and schmoozing with our fellow cyclist.  

Today's scenery -

Bicycle notes - On a bike trip we eat everything.  At home we attempt to eat the right things and maintain an acceptable weight.  But it’s interesting that the cycling day reduces the time that food is available and the exercise uses a lot of calories so there is no weight gain on a bike adventure!

We had a great view of the ocean from the ruins.  again I must say that I found it interesting that all of the ruins we had visited were built some distance from the ocean.  I would assume for protection but I have not pursued an explanation. I “Googled” to find out about the while sails, black sails story but could not match the story to the location we cycled to!  I am going to go with the tour’s location. 

Post ride activity – Our cook on the boat had prepared a great lunch and we were soon called to lunch. We were eating lunch in the late afternoon and were told that dinner would not be served tonight. If we were hungry we should find something in town. 

After lunch we headed out to shop in Boros.  The bikes had been left for us on the dock if we wanted to ride.  I had enough cycling for the day so we set off on foot to explore the town.  We shopped and tried to get a feel for the population, or maybe I should say Greek culture.  I am always struck by how isolated we are in the United States from the world.  I have absolutely zero understanding of what the rest of the world thinks and does and I think the rest of the Americans I associate with do not know either.  

We were accompanied by our Canadian companion and the Austrian gentleman.  Our guide had accompanied us and knew the location of an ice cream shop that provided sandwiches if required with the ice cream.  We sampled some of the ice cream selections.  Unable to decide on what flavor would be the best we decided we should have a portion of each of the ice cream selections we had found very tasty to make sure we did not leave anything to chance. 

After pigging out we exited to the street.  Our guide suggested we climb up to the clock tower above the town and take in the view.  Steps ran though the town and then continued up to the clock tower.  The four of us climbed with our guide to the tower. 

Once we reached the top we walked around to the shore side of the tower where we discovered that the crew had set up tables which were covered with food and several selections of wine.  It was a very pleasant surprise.  We sat with our fellow traveler’s for some time telling “stories,” talking and enjoying the food and drink and taking in the view. 

When we had exhausted the conversation and eaten our share of  the "surprise meal," we thanked our guides for their great idea and descended on a steep set of stairs back to “dock level.”  We sat on the dock and relaxed looking at the scene around us.  Our bike buddies arrived one after the other at the dock and joined us.  We remembered the sandwiches we had bought with our ice cream and ate them.  Can't eat too much food on a bike trip.  Darkness approached, we lost our view, so we decided it was time to head back to the boat. 

We passed the ice cream place on the way and stopped for more ice cream.  We hung out on the boat when we returned and talked with our fellow "mates" (an Australian term we had learned to use) for a time and then said goodnight and headed to our cabin.  It had been a great second day on the bike in Greece.  I was soon asleep.  It is never dificult to get to sleep on a bike trip!

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May 25, 2011 - Ride Day 3 - Galatas to Ermioni along the Greek Coast - 25 miles

       

 ...start of the day on the boat...great conversation, great food, great trip...

 ...relaxing on the short ferry to Galtas to begin our ride along thr Greek coast to Emorni

 ...mirror attached to the eye glasses...easily moved to see everything behind/beside the bike with a slight head turn...

 ...never know when a shopping opportunity will present itself on a bicycle ride...

Plan for the day – We are docked at the port in Boros.  We completed yesterday’s bicycle adventure in Galatas but our boat docked at Boros located across a small strait from Galatas.  We took the ferry from Galatas to the Island of Boros after completing yesterday’s bike adventure.  

Today’s cycling adventure will continue from Galatas along the Greek mainland to Ermioni.  Ermioni is 25 miles further along the Greek coast.  We will meet the boat at the dock in Ermioni where we will stay overnight. We will have lunch on the boat and then explore the town.

Start to the day – We got up and put on our bike clothes.  It was our understanding that our bike ride would start immediately after breakfast.  We went down to the stern of our boat in our cycling uniform.  We took some entertainment from our “boredom abatement kit” to keep us occupied while we waited. 

We were soon joined by our fellow adventurer’s and we entered conversations about “world events” which affect the world’s population.  I found the view of our fellow cyclist about the world interesting. I wanted to listen to what the concerns were in their respective homes. 

Breakfast was served and we headed into the dining area to enjoy the Greek food and continue our conversation. During the meal we paused to listen to our guides describe the day’s riding adventure.   We would ride 25 miles along the Greek coast, and as we had experienced it could be all climbing and miles of up can take it’s toll. 

Today’s adventure – Our bikes had been unloaded by the crew while we were enjoying our breakfast.  We made a quick run to our cabin to collect helmets, riding gloves, etc. and headed for the dock to collect our bikes.

We rejoined our fellow adventurer’s and rode to the ferry.  After a short wait we were heading back to Galatas to continue our bicycle adventure along the Greek coast to the town of Ermioni.

We exited Galatas and began to ride along the coast.  Our ride began on the flat and continued after leaving Galatas.  As we continued along the coast we experienced a coupled of small but difficult climbs followed by a long uphill grade.  After we reached the top of the long slow climb it was downhill to the flat which continued until we reached Eriminio.

The ocean or strait was on one side of us as we rode.  Our boat passed us moving toward Ermioni as we rode.  Very large hills began at the roads edge and towered above us on the landward side of our route.

Our route entered an area of rolling hills which were covered with olive trees.  Our guide had told us that the early Greeks had cut the large forests in Greece to support construction and the forests had been unable to recover.  As we entered Ermioni the yards of the houses along the route were surrounded by red and yellow flowers and a large sugar cane type plant.  

The ride was difficult but interesting.  I adjusted to the climbing and felt good about the effort.  The group did not split up as they had the day before.  I think because of the effort.  

We stopped for a snack at a small “eating place” along the route.  We sat at tables outside with a great view of the ocean. We ate and talked about our adventure with our fellow cyclist. The food was Greek so was by definition very good.  We relaxed and recovered.  

After we had our fill of food and stories we got on our bikes and continued our ride.  Our route continued near the coast for the rest of the way.  All roads into the coastal towns “seem” to lead to the dock.  We rode into Ermioni and as we approached the dock we saw our home.                  

We reached the dock in Ermioni about 2 o’clock in the afternoon.  Plenty of time left in the day to shop and visit with the Greek population.  We left our bikes on the dock for the crew to stow onboard and went onboard to change into our shopping attire. 

Today’s landscape -

Cycling notes – Our ride had been described by the guide as difficult but I must be getting into shape because I did not feel exhausted.  I know this is an excuse but I take my bike with me when I can on bike rides.  It is very light.  I can pick it up with one hand and carry it over my head.  The bikes supplied on the rides by the tours weigh a “ton.”  Bottom line!  It’s the equipment not me!      

The road surfaces were good or supported cycling.  There was no shoulder so sharing the road with two cars would have been a bit dicey. The wind was not supporting us and added to the difficulty of the climbing. 

There were no Greek ruins along our route today!  I should have kept my comment about “poor ruins” to myself yesterday.  Am I bad!!!  Should I tell the guide I missed not visiting Greek ruins today?

The humidity was not bad.  There were no bugs. We had clear skies during the ride and the temperature was tolerable.   It rained a bit later in the day after we had finished our ride.  The forecast for rain may have been why the shorter route was chosen. 

A bicycle tour group is fun to travel with.  Everyone participates in the discussions; cycling, off bike activities, etc.  No one is left out.  There is always very good harmony in the group. I also think cyclist are good company because they are curious about their fellow travelers and want to hear what they have to say.  They are not self-centered.  It’s not “all” about me.  

The crew and guides were excellent.  I suppose to be successful at getting people to pay one to exhaust themselves’ climbing hills on a bike one must have skill dealing with people.

Today on our ride and walking in town I saw a “million” cats and many dogs.  We were adopted by a cat a couple of years ago.  He basically moved in.  He did ask in his own way.  He would sit at our full glass door in the back and look at us with that “look.” Every time we would walk by the door we would get the “meow” and the look.  After two days of feeling “bad” we let him come inside.  Now he owns the place.  We pay someone to drop by and feed him while we are on a trip. We understand the need for a cat.

We took a look at one of the cabins below deck on the boat.  We wanted to determine if the added cost of a cabin above deck was worth it.  I had to bend over to stand up in the cabin.  I am 5 feet 11 inches tall.  Not that big! There is no window.  I think we made the correct decision to pay a bit extra for an “on deck” cabin.  

Post ride activity – When we finished changing into our shopping clothes we went to the dining area.  “Our chief” had prepared a great lunch. We had “pasta” along with all of the other goodies that was typically served at each meal.   We were told that since lunch was being served late that we were on our own for dinner.

I was a bit tired so after lunch, I went up to the deck area on top of the boat to relax on the “air filled” mattresses which covered the deck area.  I fell asleep and was snoring away until I was awakened by rain.  I went down to the rear deck and wrote notes about the day’s ride and talked with my fellow travelers.  

When the rain stopped we went into town to look for ice cream.  As we roamed around we shopped.  We spotted ice cream.  We stopped and selected our ice cream.  We continued to explore and also bought two “shaved” chicken sandwiches at a second place we planned to eat for dinner. 

After our tour we returned to the boat and ate our sandwiches.  We discussed the day’s adventure with our “fellow mates” and what we expected to do tomorrow.  After we had listened to and told stories of our adventures on the road we said good night.  I was a bit exhausted.  The ride must have taken more out of me that gave it credit for.  My earlier snooze on the top deck indicated that I was tired.      We went to our cabin and went to bed.  I was soon sleep.  Another graet day in Greece!!!

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May 26, 2011 - Day 4 – Ermioni to Portacheli on the Greek Mainland, Island of Spetses

 
       
       

Plan for the day Today's adventure will be a continuation of the ride we began two days ago along the Greek coast.  Today we ride from Ermioni to Portocholi a distance of about 10 miles down the coast.  At Portocholi we will meet the boat and head to the Island of Spetses. 

At the port We will bicycle around the Island of Spetses visiting or exploring the “Bekiris Cave” along our route.  After our visit to the cave we continue our tour of the island completing our loop returning to the dock and our boat in the early afternoon.  Today’s route on Spetses is approximately 15 miles in length. 

After we return to the dock and both cyclist and bikes are onboard the boat will head for Hyra where tomorrow’s “shopping” adventure will begin after breakfast.    

Start to the day – We were docked in Ermioni. We got up and went down to breakfast in our bike clothes.  We would leave right after breakfast for a quick 10 mile ride to Portocholi. 

We met our group at breakfast.  There was no time to relax and talk this morning.  We did have a good conversation at breakfast.  Our guide gave us the plan for the day.  As soon as we has satisfied our appetite, my wife joined me and we returned to our cabin to collect helmet, gloves, etc. and head down to the dock where the crew had placed our “ride” to Portocholi.  Soon everyone joined us and the guide told us a brief recap about today’s adventure and we were off.    

Today’s adventure - Today’s route would continue along the Greek coast as it had for the last two days.   The route to Portocholi was up and down.  The road basically followed the terrain.  We were riding on back roads that presented a few tough short climbs.  It was also overcast and looked like rain could start at any time.    

The group stayed together during the first part of the ride.  Our male guide had told us that he wanted to take a side road along our path to check it out for future rides.  The group broke up when we reached the intersection of the route our guide wanted to test. He had described as a quick ride along the proposed route. 

The two male German cyclist and the Australian cyclist joined the guide on his quest.  I chose to stay with the group rather than hold up the guys.  We continued on “today’s route” and we did not see them again until we stopped because of the rain.  When we met them again they told us that they had experienced a very hard rain on their route.  I was pleased I had not gone.  Slow in the rain is a bit of a bother.

But, I had my own adventure!  I discovered on a “shallow” downhill run that my bike handles had come loose.  A bit of pressure would cause them to rotate.  They were not completely loose but with a bit of pressure they moved. 

And, with the animals off exploring with the animals, I found myself caught riding alone between two groups of cyclist on the road.   The “quick people leftovers” were ahead of me riding with the female guide and the “less quick” riders were behind me.  I was concerned about riding with handle bars that could easily become useless resulting in unhappiness for me.  Since the gears and brakes are supported by the handle bars they could malfunction as well. Oh joy!  

I decided to hell with it.  I would continue to ride.  I was careful (not applying downward pressure on the handlebars) as I continued hoping to get back to the boat in good physical condition and have the problem resolved. 

The rain had washed out large ruts in the road and it was downhill back into town.  In other parts the road was muddy.   And, to make it more fun there was a sharp bend in the road at the bottom.  Oh joy!  I gently held onto my handle bars while applying the breaks down the hill hoping to maintain an acceptable speed at the turn but not slip off the road due to the mud.  I was successful and reached the bottom and made the turn without mishap. 

The road improved remarkably after the bend.  The reason for the improvement was that we were coming back into civilization.  Soon the road was paved and smooth.  Houses began to appear along the route.  But, God could only do so much to support me and it began to rain hard. 

As I continued along the street I saw that the lead group had stopped.  They were setting on the patio of a restaurant waiting for the rain to stop.  I pulled in and joined them.  The others soon caught up and joined us.  We waited until the rain stopped before we started to ride again. 

While we waited I told the guide my “handle bar dilemma” and she pulled out a wrench and repaired same.  She was not happy that I had not stopped riding and waited for the other guide to perform the repair.  Oops!  I am lucky she did not take my bike away and make me walk to the boat!

As we waited in the rain at the café we enjoyed cappuccino and of course Ice Cream!  The guys arrived at the restaurant as we were enjoying our treats.  They joined us and after we finished our “goodies,” the rain having stopped, we hopped on our bikes and completed the ride to the dock.   

Once the rain stopped we continued as a group to the boat.  The rain had made us late and we had a ride scheduled around Spetses!  We boarded and the bikes were pulled on board and stowed.  As soon as all the equipment and passengers were on board the boat pulled away from the dock and we were off to our next adventure.       

Once we were onboard lunch was served.  We communed with our boat buddies accompanied by the great conversation we always shared.  As usual the cook had produced great food.  We discussed the problems of the world.  During the discussion our guide told us that the town on Spetses where our boat would dock during our adventure was the only town of any size on the island.

After our meal we prepared for the afternoon ride. 

After lunch the boat stopped a few miles from the dock in Spetses and the crew launched the kayaks again.  Those who wished to paddle or swim participated.  My wife was again in the water and I took photos of the event.  I don’t know how long we were there but the time was sufficient for the boaters and swimmers to further exhaust themselves.  After all the participants had their fill of “water sports” everyone was back on board and we continued to Spetses.  It had been a fun break.   

As we approached the dock we located our bike gear and prepared for the scheduled bike adventure.  We were to stop at a small chapel on our ride and tour.  When we got to the chapel it was closed.  We missed it by half an hour.

Briefly stated, the afternoon ride proved to be difficult.  We began our ride along a flat coastal area along the coast.  Then we came to a 180 degree turn and we began to climb up the side of the hill above the town and away from the ocean.  Our route took us through canyons and around sea inlets as we climbed.  The climb to the top was long and difficult.   

Once we reached the top we followed a series of rolling hills and climbs as we rode a cross the top of the hill above the town.  There were short flat areas as we followed the route along the top.  Flats were interspersed between the climbs. 

We stopped to take in the view and our guide told us we would stop to visit a cave that Greek people on the island hide in during “some war” on our way back down to the boat.  The road turned down and we rode down again to the ocean shore.  We rode through a resort as we continued along the road near the shore and then reached a “cave

We were now separated from the town and our home (the boat) by the hill we had just climbed and dropped to the bottom of.  We started our return and we began to climb.  Again the climb was a challenge for me.  But I must have been getting used to the torture or my body had given up and decided not to transmit the pain to me but just to punt and say “what’s the use.”

It was the most beautiful ride that we had experienced so far, in my opinion, in Greece.  The color of the ocean was a light blue in places and a dark blue in others.  Beautiful!  The foliage was a gorgeous dark green.  There were stunning views in every direction I looked. 

The road we were riding on was narrow but there was “no traffic” or very little that I remember.  The surface of the road was good which was very much appreciated based on the hill climbing and descending we experienced.  The downhill was a real hoot and the absence of loose gravel on the road was very much appreciated.

The turns were sharp but when I have climbed to exhaustion I loose most if not all of the caution that prevents me from being foolish on a bike and I begin to let it fly descending beyond my skill level.  Yahoo!!!  At one point we were skipping along on the downhill looking down on the road we were riding on which always gives one an idea of just how steep the decent is!   

The terrain made it a quick return to the dock.  The raod returned to normal and we entered Spetses and rode to the dock.  We got off our bikes and congratulated ourselves on a job well done.  We left our bat for the crew to haul onboard and retired to the deck to recover and talk about the day’s adventure.  It had been a good riding day!!   

Today’s landscape -

Cycling notes - The boat moved very smoothly across the water.  The sound of the motor is more obvious than the swaying of the boat.

 

When we go on a bike trip my wife always buys some jewelry to remember the trip by.  I always buy a coffee cup.  She remembers the trip each time she wears her jewelry.  I enjoy a "pot" of coffee each morning and select a cup from our world travels to bring back memories. 

 

We had found the scheduled times for closing museums and other sites in Greece very confusing.  Places that we wanted to visit closed early in the afternoon and some closed at noon.  The closing times made it impossible to schedule one’s day.  We even experienced one case where part of a museum we were visiting was open and another (about 25%) was closed.  They did not appear to have that need to squeeze out every dime from the tourists that the Americans have.  

Post ride activity – After the bikes were onboard we boat moved away from the dock and we headed for Hydra.  I sat with my water listening to the group talk about the ride.    

The chief fixed dinner and it was served.  We ate and chatted about our riding day.  It had been a bit dicey to say the least and I really had fun!  After we had finished our meal the crew surprised my wife and I with a “Fiftieth Anniversary” celebration. The trip to Greece had been planned to commemorate our 50th Anniversary but I thought we were the only ones who knew.  We had booked the tour through Active Journeys who we have worked with before on other adventures and we must have slipped up talking with them and they passed it on.  Anyway it was a great surprise.

I loved my gifts.  I got a "coffee mug" with their logo on it.  It is the souvenir to add to my coffee mug selection.  I love it!  As I said before, I have one for each of our bike trips which I use regularly for my morning coffee and they remind me of our adventures.  This cup was very special.  We also got T-shirts that the tour sells to its customer’s which has their logo on it.  Again I collect T-shirts whenever I ride on a sponsored ride.  Again it is special.  (I hate to wear my T-shirt I got for my fifth anniversary because I don’t want to wear it out!  Maybe I will hang it on the wall so I can enjoy it.)  Oh!  By the way my wife got the same!

We arrived at our destination but there were no spaces available along the dock.  If the boat had to drop anchor in the harbor.  There would be no shopping in the town tonight!  As we sat on the deck snacking on nuts and candy (from our boredom abatement kit") waiting for the chief’s latest creation to be served a “tight” spot opened up on the dock.  It would be a tight squeeze but the skipper decided to park the boat there.  

A small motor boat was lowered into the water from our boat with a crew member.  His job was to run around the boat and prevent it from getting into harm’s way and help guide the skipper during the docking process.  There were crew members assigned on each deck of the boat who communicated with the skipper in the control room by shouting.  The Captain was not polite and railed at anyone guilty of the slightest mistake. I watched the crew move the boat with difficulty up to the dock without striking one of the other boats docked nearby.  It was a dicey process but they were successful.  I found it very interesting to watch.  

After all of the crews effort to park the boat at the dock we did not go ashore. Too much anniversary I guess!  Its Thursday!  Our bicycling adventure in Greece is almost complete.  It has been a great ride. 

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MAY 27, 2011 - Day 5 – Visit Hydra; bicycle on Boros; sleep Epidavros  

 
       
 ...no motor vehicles on the island of Hydra...the heavy stuff is carried on the back of a mule...the rest by you!
 ...the boat stopped for water sport on the way to bike ride for the day on the island of Boros...
 ...the group saddling up for our adventure on Poros...
 ...there was a bit of climbing to the ruins on Poros...luckily our earlier rides had prepared us...

Plan for the day - Today's adventure will begin with a visit to the island of Hydra.  There will be no cycling on Hydra.  As I understand, there are no roads or at least none that will support the type of cycling we hope to achieve on Hydra.  We have given until noon to explore and shop.

 

At noon we exit Hydra and return to the boat.  We then head back to the Island of Boros where we will ride to the ??? ruins.  We will return to the boat from the ruins and stay at the dock in Poros for the night.    

 

Getting started – Our boat had docked on the east side of the island of Spetses last night after we completed our bicycle adventure around the Island.  When we got up the boat was on the move to the island of Hydra for today’s first adventure.  The boat had begun the journey to Hydra as we slept. 

 

Breakfast would be served at 8 AM.  We got up and went back to the seating area in the rear of the boat in our "PJ's." We brought “stuff” from our “boredom abatement kit" to keep us occupied until breakfast was served.  I worked on sudoku while my wife did crossword puzzles. 

We were soon joined by the other adventurers and entered into an interesting discussion about what “Americans” think about various world endeavors.  I enjoy these conversations.  It allows me to use the information to test what I am told back home in the TV, radio and newspaper.   

We were called to breakfast and the discussion continued.  Our guides interrupted our discussion during breakfast and told us what they had planned for us today.  We would dock at Hydra which was the only town on the island of ???  We were told there were no automobiles allowed on the island.  Everything that had to be moved had to be carried by someone walking or on the back of a donkey.  

 

Our guide told us we would leave Hydra at noon and head to Poros.  On Poros we would bicycle “up” to the ruins of ????  After exploration of the site we would return to the boat and spend the night at the port in Poros.

 

We were not scheduled to arrive in Hydra until 10 o’clock.  We enjoyed a lazy breakfast followed by a return to the “patio” for more Sudoku, crossword puzzles and world affairs.  I was a bit tired.  I excused myself and went back to our cabin and slept the rest of the way to Hydra.  Our cabin was small but the bunks were very comfortable and I slept well every night.

 

As we approached the dock in Hydra we went to our cabin to change into our “shopping clothes” and returned as the boat was being docked.  Hydra would be  shopping only.

 

Today’ adventure – As or guide had predicted we reached Hydra about 10 AM.  After the boat docked we were off to go into town to tour and mingle with the population, and of course to shop. My wife purchased her first jewelry as we were touring Hydra. 

The town was very interesting. There were more shops it appeared to me.  More places to browse and more of a selection.  I believe I was told it is the only town on the island so that may have been why it was large and appeared more organized.  It could also be that it is a popular tourist location since there are no automobiles and people want to see civilization in action without “smog.”

Mules were used to move goods around the town and I am sure carried what was needed into the hills. Some of the mules were loaded to the max.  I only saw one carrying a human which I would assume indicates that people are fit and able to get where they need to be on their own.     

We completed our “shopping” tour about noon and returned to the boat.  It had been a very interesting experience.  A good interruption to the cycling.  Now it was onto Poros where we would ride to the another set of ruins on the Island.

We had lunch on the boat as we headed for Poros.  Our guides described our ride on Poros to us during lunch.  After lunch we retired to the back of the boat with our entertainment articles and waited.  As we approached the dock in Poros we went to our cabin to drop off our entertainment and dress in our bike clothes.  We returned to the rear of the boat with our bike gear and waited with the others as we docked.

The bikes were unloaded and we collected our machine and waited for the guide to signal our start.  We exited the dock in Poros and followed our guide through town.  We turned and began to climb inland. We had been trending up before we got out of town but the route was “considered flat” as we exited town and we continued on the flat after we were outside.  We encountered a couple of tough but short climbs as we continued along the shore. 

Once we turned to climb up the side of the hill (mountain) that ran along the side of island where we had started our ride the climbing became difficult.  We had a great view of the ocean as we climbed. 

The group did not split up today as we had on other days.  I don’t think it was caused by the difficult climbing because the German men were in very good shape and I would believe could have dropped us easily on the climb.  They were being kind.   

Todays scenery - 

Bicycle notes - On the island of Hydra there was only one town.  The government had set the island aside for tourist.  There will be no more construction and the population has been frozen at approximately 3,000 people.  We were told there were no cars or trucks allowed.  We did not see any.  The island was left as close as possible to what it had been for the last 1000 years or more. 

 I enjoy looking at the homes, stores, vehicles, food, dress, etc. at each of our stops because it gives me some prospective of the life of a citizen in the region. I always assumed based on the reporting from the area published in the newspapers in the States that the people in the countries I visit are different from me.  Well as has happened on "all" of our trips, and is why I enjoy the travel as much as I do, I was wrong. The Greek's are just like me.  We are pretty much striving for the same things in life. 

We had lunch only again which I was beginning to love.  It was always huge.  Everything you would want to eat and the salads and bits pieces that were served are my favorite.  Very good!  We all told stories about today’s adventure.  It had been a great ride.  It had been a difficult ride but one of those challenges that you are proud of.  Makes for a great day. 

Post ride activity - The boat had pulled away from the dock heading toward tomorrows adventure.   We relaxed and told stories on the deck.  After a short ride the boat stopped again so those who wanted to swim or kayak could.  My wife was again in the water and I took photos of the event.  I don’t know how long we were there but the time was sufficient for the boaters and swimmers to exhaust themselves further.

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Day 6 – Ride to Epidaurus and back, and return  to Piraeus  - May 28, 2010 

 
       
...the crew unloaded the bikes each day before a ride from the upper deck of the boat...not an easy task!!
...Bren leading our guide up to the ruins at the top of the island...
 ...setting in the olymic stateum at the ruins in ????? 
...the group returning down to the dock and the boat to return to Athens...

Plan for the day The plan for the day is to ride to the Greek ruins in the morning and return to the dock in Piraeus overnight.  We are docked at Epidaurus on the west side of the Saronic Gulf.  The ride of the day would take up to the top of the hill (mountain) to visit the ruins of Epidaurus.  We will tour the ruins until we have had our fill and then return along a different path across the top of the hill we climbed to the ruins returning down to the town of Epidaurus where our boat is docked. 

We have a brief time to shop and visit Epidaurus.  Once everyone is back on the boat we begin our return to Athens (Piraeus ) in the afternoon. The plan is to leave before lunch and eat on the way to back to Piraeus.  We will sleep on the boat tonight and reach the dock while we are still sleeping.   

We will have breakfast with our fellow adventures after we get up.  After breakfast we will return to our cabins and pack our clothes.  We will return to dining room and dock to say farewell to the crew, our guides and our fellow adventures.  A car will pick us up on the dock and return us to the Marriott in Athens after breakfast.     

Getting StartedWe got up and dressed in our bike clothes and went down to breakfast. Our cook continued to impress with the quisene.  We ate and discussed today's adventure with our guides  and fellow cyclists.  We were to visit ruins which were world renowned.  We were told the amphitheater was especially awesome.  The crew was unloading our bikes and when we finished breakfast we headed to the dock to saddle up for the day's adventure.  

Today’s Adventure Our bikes were waiting for us on the dock.  After a brief discussion with guides about the days bike adventure we got on our bicycles headed to today's adventure.  After leaving the dock we rode through the town of Epidaurus following our two guides. 

The ride through town was flat.  We continued on the flat for a few miles after we left town.  The flat would not last long. After a few flat miles along the coast the road turned.  We were soon climbing up and along a hill that ran behind the town.  At the top of the climb would be the ruins of Epidaurus.  The climb was difficult and the foliage along our route was very thick.  On other rides on the Greek Islands we could see the ocean on the assent but the foliage hide the ocean on today’s ride.  

The climb to the ruins was difficult but we had gotten stronger during the week.  We knew what to expect and adjusted to the difficulty.  We had been challenged on other climbs during the week and knew what to expect.  Today was no different. 

We reached our goal (the top) and rode to the entrance to the ruins.  Per our guides instructions we left our bikes at the parking area at the entrance to ruins.   We had to have a ticket to get into the ruins but our tour had taken care of the fee.  Our guide purchased tickets for the group and we were handed one as we approached the entrance to be collected by the attendant at the gate.  

After we left the entrance we walked a few yards along a path to where we could see the ruins.  They were awesome!  The theater was my favorite.  It was all there.  Appeared that nothing had been removed.  I was told to stand at the bottom of the theater and talk in a regular voice and I could be heard "clearly" at the top.  It was not apparent where I was standing at the bottom of the theater if what I had been told was true or not.  To confirm this hypotheses, I told my wife that I would climb up near the top and then she could talk to me from the bottom.  It worked!!!!

I also liked the Olympic  Stadium.  The sides of the Stadium consisted of dirt piled at 45 degrees where the or less where the fans sat to watch the contestants in the stadium.  The seating ran all around the stadium accept for the entrance located at one end of the stadium where the participants and spectators entered into the stadium.  The seating areas were covered with grass as was the field.  We walked down the center of the field where the Greeks  had competed 1ooo of years earlier.  Quite a rush!     

The complex consisted of numerous building which were in various states of dis repair.  It was very interesting.  We toured the sight for an hour.  It was great!  The cyclists had spread out over the entire complex and our guides rounded us up one by one for our departure.  We assembled by our bicycles and when everyone was accounted for we saddled up and left the parking area of the ruins.  I should note that there were several buses and numerous cars in the parking lot.  many people had come to visit the site. 

We returned to the boat along a different path or I should say we continued along the road we had climbed to the sight on.  On our way back we rode a little up and a little down as we rode across the top of the hill (mountain) above the town.  Once we reached sea level again we rode through town to the dock and our home (the boat).  It was our last time on a bike in Greece!

We parked our bikes on the dock for the crew to return to the boat.  We headed into town to shop and locate ice cream.  Our guide told us we only had a short time to explore before the boat was scheduled to leave for Piraeus.  In addition to the time limit, rain was threatening so we terminated our shopping after a brief tour.  We of course purchased ice cream and carried it back to the boat to enjoy.  We relaxed in the seating area on the back of the boat and talked with our bike buddies while we enjoyed our treat.   

When everyone was back on board, the caption after a brief wait backed the boat away from the dock and began to slowly move out to sea.  Soon we were cranking through the water.

Bicycle notes We continued to be lucky on our Greek adventure.  We continued to miss the rain that had changed our attennary from our ride.  It only sprinkled on us again today.  But, the fortunate escape from the rain that we have experienced on our riding days wad due to the guides.  I am convinced that they saved our Greek bicycling adventure.  They have kept us from riding in rain every day.  I have ridden in the rain several times on bike trips before an it is no joy!  .

Traffic was very light on the climb up to the ruins today and on the way back down to the boat.  We rode hard in both directions.  That is if you give me some slack and call “8 miles an hour riding hard” both up and back to the boat. 

The temperature was cool today which helped to make the climb more "tolarable."  I am sure the threat of rain helped with the temperature.  There is always a good side to everything.  

The sceneryThe foliage along the road on the way to and from the museum was quite different from our other rides in Greece.  I would call it spectacular.  The road sides were filled with large trees which were very green.  We had been blessed with a view of the ocean on many of our other rides which were spectacular.  But the green surrounding we rode in today was a very pleasant change.    

Port ride activity  I was tired when we got back to the boat.  The bike ride had been difficult and we were on our way home.  I decided to go upstairs and relax on the blue cushions that covered the upper deck area of the boat.  My view was the dark gray skies as we sped toward Piraeus but I was soon asleep.

I awoke to very dark clouds and sprinkling rain.  I returned to the cabin to retrieve my camera.  I went to the sitting area on the back of the boat (which was sheltered from the rain) and took photos.  After I had satisfied my photo record I went back to our cabin and again fell asleep.

In a couple of hours I was awakened by my wife. “Lunch is being served.”  I made my way to the table where our bike buddies had started to eat.  I found a seat and joined in the conversation while eating the great Greek food.  It was a feast.  We had great food as usual thanks to the great cook we had on board.  We were served a variety of salads, cheese, soup, potatoes and fish, plus all of side dishes of fruit and vegetables.  The food was great.             

We reached the dock in Piraeus sometime during the evening.  I was again asleep.  The plan was to stay overnight on the boat at the dock. Tomorrow we would get up and go to breakfast.  Hug or guides and fellow riders.  Thank our crew and chef.  Recall stories of our adventure.  Then go to our cabin and pack, return to the stern and hug everybody and get into the car which would be take us back to the Marriott.  What a great adventure!

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"car free adventure"