I’m now in Italy near Parma on my dash to England.
Yesterday I had the Ferry ride from hell! Just scroll down to have a bit of a laugh!
Now, back to Turkey and Greece!
I had a relaxing dinner on the shore of the Dardanelles after my visit to Anzac Cove and a nice cold beer which was most welcome!
The next morning I rode the 480 K to Thessaloniki, Greece.
When I was 18 I rode around Europe on my Matchless 250 cc bike. I visited Thessaloniki on that trip. So this journey has crossed paths with my first big bike ride.
It’s hard to believe that was 51 years ago! oh dear!
I noticed Azulo had a near flat front tyre so I pumped it up. I checked my rear tyre and noticed a six inch x 1 inch patch of rubber had completely split from the tyre and I was riding close to the inner tube!….This could have caused a nasty blow out!
I have regularly checked the tyres so this must be recent. I was lucky to have noticed it and lucky I found it where there are tyre repair places!
I had a second surprise when the front wheel was removed.( I changed both tyres)
It seems my speedo cable is NOT broken but the housing that the cable sits in that attaches to the wheel had disintegrated and had damaged the wheel itself near the bearing
That sounds awful but actually its only a problem if I want a speedometer! To get the speedo working, I would need a new wheel and housing!…… I think I can live without a speedo as I have the GPS which shows both speed and distance.
Thessaloniki is a nice town and I did the touristy stuff and also went on the Hop on Hop off Bus. Basically though I took it easy!
I noticed there are a lot of shops boarded up which is a sign of the economic issues facing Greece. There is also an awful lot of graffiti which is a shame.
On 21 August I rode to Meteora which is in Central Greece half way to Corfu, about 200k from Thessaloniki
Meteora is a simply amazing place. It is the site of six Monasteries sited on top of the most impressive limestone mountains. It is one of the most amazing places I’ve seen on this trip ….which says something!
I stayed in a fabulous little Guest House, appropriately named “Monastery Guesthouse” at the foot of the mountains with wonderful views. The little town at the baser of Meteora is called Kalambaka
There is a road that climbs the mountains and enables you to see. the Monasteries which date from the 15th, 16th and 17th Centuries. To visit the Monasteries is a bit of a climb and I’m sorry to say I whimped out. I’ve seen more than enough Churches Mosques and Monasteries lately…… which I know is a weak excuse…but..
Take a look at these photos…You must put this place on your “bucket list”
In the evening I had a fabulous Moussaka at a little restaurant…very nice. .
I left my little Guest House around 2.00 pm and headed for Igoumenitsa where i caught the overnight Ferry to Ancona Italy
.I left my lovely Guest house and headed for Igoumenitsa where I was to catch the Ferry at 10 pm to ANCONA
It is a magnificent road through literally dozens of tunnels and through attractive mountainous country
I checked into the Ferry and asked if i could upgrade to a cabin. I THINK I had reserved a seat but wasn’t sure. Anyway, I was out of luck as the Ferry was full. It seems it is the last day of the Italian holiday period and they are all heading home.
The Ferry eventually arrived but was 1.5 hours late. Still ant 11.30 pm we set sail
I had met several Italian Bikers waiting for the Ferry….There was Claudia and Darrian and Eshan and Anna who were my main friends. Please note Merry…..The wives are all accompanying their husbands on the bike…..
Eshan and Anna knew the ropes so I attached myself to them. They are a terrific couple from Bologna and about 30. They said to grab a table in the Restaurant which we did. I bought a bottle of Vino Rosso which was finished before the boat sailed….Needless to say…Yours truly drank most of it!
We sat in the Restaurant till about 1.00 then Eshan and Anna said they were going to find a spot to sleep….I said “Whats all this about “a spot”….aren’t there at least reclining seats?”
They said there were a few seats but they didn’t recline much and were not comfortable….better to sleep on the floor!
Well….EVERYBODY was sleeping on the floor….thousands of them ! Some had even put up their tent! It reminded me of the Indian Train Ride from Calcutta to Delhi!
Anyway we found a SPOT but of course I didn’t have anything to sleep on….Eshan was incredibly sweet as he gave me his mat to sleep on. How nice Is that!
So I spent the night on the floor ! The last time I have done that was on the Isle of Wight Ferry when it broke down. I would have been about 7 and it was SO exciting. Poor Mum and Dad I can still remember their horror at having to sleep on the Ferry. Sister Val and I had a wonderful time
That was then and this is NOW and believe me it wasn’t the least bit fun!
I survived the night but then the Ferry was nearly 2 hours late and I still had to ride about 320 k to Parma where I had booked a Hotel.
Worse still….when the Ferry arrived several thousand Greeks and Italians rushed to the Car deck all at once! Chaos as the door to the deck was closed till the Ferry docked. We all stood there like hot sardines waiting for the doors to open in the stuffy bowels of the ship!
When we were eventually let into the car deck we had to wait another hour whilst they unloaded the cars.
At 3.30 I eventually emerged. It was BUCKETING DOWN with rain! Eram and Anna suggested i pick up a Hotel in Bologna but being stubborn as a mule and half Scottish (I had paid for the Hotel in Parma) I decided to struggle on. The Autostrada was packed with all the Holidaymakers returning home…..This is one time when it’s great to be on a bike as I simply rode (illegally) down the emergency lane….dodging back into the correct lane when i saw a Police car!
I got to Parma at sunset about 8.00 pm but then I had to find my Hotel. I had booked a nice little place outside Parma in a little village. Needless to say I got totally lost.
Eventually I rang the Hotel and they sent someone out to rescue me!
So that was my day….Not the best I have to say but I’m safe and in Italy having a lovely breakfast with Parma Ham!
I’m heading for France today then Auxerre where I hope to meet MooN (a biker who kindly offered to give Azulo a home whilst I’m in Russia with Merry)