Everybody loves Grease! There’s no doubt about it; the way John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John portray America’s 50s is simply… excuse me? Oh you meant Greece! OK ok ok, let’s go!
You don’t need us to tell you about Greece, most humans have either been or have had to sit through 2 hours of yapping from someone else who has and if you haven’t, well, we really don’t want to do that to you so, to sum it up; Greece is amazing, book now your flight for next year. But first finish reading this… please 😉
It was mid-August and we had been touring up high in the freshness of the Bulgarian Rhodopes Mountains and camping near wonderful lakes when it daunted on us that it would be hot in Greece, and it was. As a reminder of this, our last day in Bulgaria was, from the words of Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam; “It’s hot. Damn hot! Real hot! Hottest thing is my short. I could cook things in it. A little crotch pot cooking”.
Funnily enough, and to show you how the universe works sometimes, we were feeling so worn out by the heat the day we crossed the border that we decided to stop in the very first village after which, apart from being the only in Greece to have two graveyards (or so we were told) it’s also statistically the coldest of the Hellenic Republic. In fact, upon arriving we were greeted with fresh water and sandwiches (yes, you heard right) by some friendly locals and we asked if it was possible to wild camp by the nearby lake and they warned us not to go there because of the cold at night, even in August. Koula, the local shop owner, kindly offered a spare room, we heart-warmingly accepted.
And here goes our first point about Greece, well actually, the first one was that apparently there’s only one village in the whole country with two cemeteries, but the REAL first point is… People! We love Greek people! Why? Well, similarly to the Serbs they like to meet and speak to others. There wasn’t a campsite, village square or beach we didn’t stop where someone approached us and talked with us for a while. We were offered drinks, barbecue food, birthday cakes, accommodation and lots more, and all with a friendly smile.
Secondly (or thirdly… we shouldn’t have mentioned that stupid anecdote about cemeteries!), another feature which made a massive impact on our time there was the Greek philosophy about camping; we had read that it’s technically illegal and we were told that it’s actually not but the matter of the fact is that it was always super easy to find a spot and most of the times on a beautiful, deserted beach. They, beaches, are different in Greece; having thousands of kilometres of beach line means that most of them are totally deserted, in the good sense. We spent many incredible nights watching the moon and stars and sleeping with the sound of the waves all while feeling like the king and queen of the world.
However, if wild camping is not your cup of tea fear not because Greece is full of campsites ranging from hippy and cosy to massified but still very decent. More than often they are very well equipped with amenities such as shared kitchen and fridges (gotta love it) or cheap washing machine service and which will not leave a hole in your pocket. Oh, and those which are on the beach have free deck chairs and shades. I mean… Come on!
Gastronomically we also had a blast in Greece but something which has left a mark in our trip there is yogurt. We have all tried greek yogurt at some point in our lives and have our own point of view about it but of course there it’s different. From the first time we tasted their goat greek yogurt we fell in love with it and we really hope to taste it again before death’s sweet kiss. A word of warning though, if strong, intrusive goat flavour is not what you’re after you might not enjoy it as much as we did …
And lastly, it goes without saying that Greece has sites to visit like mushrooms in a Smurf village. We daily cycled past, around, towards or through this ruin or that World Heritage Site and, shamefully, we didn’t stop that much but I’m sure that real bike tourers reading this will not criticise!
To summarise, Greece is definitely a top destination for any biketourer. It’s just got everything to have an excellent time and it’s a 90% excellent mix of pleasure, both for the mind and the body, and pedalling. Just make sure you have good tyres though: those damned thorns…
We also have an amazing YouTube channel with lots of different videos (in lots of different styles) from the road; 421adventure on YouTube
And please don’t forget that part of our adventure consists of fundraising and raising awareness for two incredible NGOs so please help us to spread the word and, of course, if you’re feeling generous, donate here; DONATE