Despite the best of intentions, I still didn’t leave the hotel before 8:45 am. My internal clock still runs on Italian time.
My destination of a hostel in Patras wasn’t far, and check-in wasn’t until 3:00 pm, so I had plenty of time. More riding along the coast of Greece. The coastline of Greece is spectacular, better than any except the northwestern coast of Ireland. Again a couple of 150 m climbs, interspersed with mostly flat. I had a hard time with energy today; with the early stop yesterday I didn’t eat as much.
I encountered my first boar as roadkill the other day. Today I encountered my first bear.
Approaching Patras, a large highway blocked my way. I had read conflicting reports on whether I could ride across the bay or would have to take a ferry. I’ve ridden a ferry many times, but how often do I get to ride across a 2.4 km bridge?
OSMAnd indicated a footpath of some type. As I neared the bridge I stopped to review the best approach. A gentleman standing nearby came over to talk, asking the usual questions. I asked whether I could cycle across the bridge, to which he responded, “Of course” which included an anecdote of his riding across the bridge, and a long explanation of his knee problems that preclude his cycling much these days. He offered to lead me there in his car, but how hard could it be to find the entrance to a bridge?
In the past I’ve had problems doing just that, but in this case I cycled up to the entrance. Still skeptical about cycling across a bridge that’s a motorway, I stopped and asked someone parked at the entrance in a yellow emergency van similar to the one that gave me a ride through the underwater tunnel a few days ago. He also agreed, so off I went. I got blown about on the crossing; I was glad I’d taken off my hat.
I had three hours before check-in, but stumbled across a castle on the way in. Between that and lunch I used up most of the time, and the hostel was nearby.
I keep making references to various climbs and elevation, which likely has little meaning to those who don’t cycle. Here’s a picture of the bay across from Patras; this is the mountain range I just crossed:
Leaving the castle, I stopped at the hostel indicated on OSMAnd, to not find the hostel. Digging deeper, the hostel in OSMAnd not only is in the wrong place, it’s on the wrong side of town. Adding 7 km to today, and of more relevance 7 km more to tomorrow, I arrived at the hostel. I was disappointed to find it’s more a cheap hotel than a hostel.
Spent part of the evening catching up with Sam, my cycling companion for part of 2015 and 2016. He’s currently in Uzbekistan, following the Silk Road with more than 60,000 km under his wheels and a year to go on his trek around the world. He provided some useful tips for Greece from his time here.
During second dinner I met Bastian and his girlfriend, traveling from France. We talked until late into the night, from travel plans to politics.