Our Covid-19 test results are negative: so we are allowed to enter Greece. We are cycling through Greece for 3 weeks and experience unprecedented hospitality. From free drinks to a stay in a luxurious 4-star hotel.
It all started before the climb to Ano Poroia. At the house where we stop for a break, an old lady waves to us. Her son is working outside. We start talking. We explain with hands and feet that we are on a world tour by bicycle. They give us 2 large bottles of ice water for the last climb of the day.
Robert and Lidwien are waiting for us on the large square in Ano Poroia. We drink beer and are invited to stay for a few days. We can sleep in their house at a beautiful location with a view over the mountains and Lake Kirkini.
Via Lidwien we receive an address in Thessaloniki where we can leave some of our belongings so that we can cycle with less weight through Greece.
Siesta with Thomas
We are on the road for a few days and arrive in the village of Sfikia. We drink a frapin at the café To Patriko. The owner Thomas offers us a bed in his house above the cafe. It will rain for the next 2 hours, there are no hotels on the next route and it will rain again tonight. We accept Thomas's offer to stay for the night. Thomas asks if we want to cook. He closes the cafe at midnight and puts a bottle of wine in the fridge.
At 0:30 am we are having spaghetti with tomato, spinach and parmesan and fried aubergines.
On the way from Sfikia to Servia we stop for coffee at a place where time has stood still. Are we sitting at a cafe or is this someone's house? We're not sure. However, we are very welcome and even receive bread with feta for the road. The coffee is on the house as well.
Before Elati we stop in a small village for coffee and breakfast. We start talking with 4 older men and the owner of the cafe. They offer us a tsipouro.
In Elati we stop for the night. A family sits outside at a house. They give us a glass of water. Soon we sit on their terrace and get all kinds of snacks.
We tell them about our world tour. An acquaintance of theirs is also a fanatic cyclist and lives near the border of Turkey in Alexandroupolis. They contact him and we get his phone number. Later we are more than welcome to visit him.
We ask about accommodation options in the village. We can initially sleep at the farm of the owner. But suddenly there is a change of plans. They called their son and he said they should treat us as if he were at home.
They don’t need to be afraid of us. People on such a world tour can be trusted.
We are allowed to sleep in the family apartment on the 1st floor. There is a sofa bed and a shower.
We get 2 sandwiches, milk and coffee for breakfast. These people are the best. We say with hands and feet that we slept well and that this breakfast is a good start to hit the road again.
At the Meteora in Kastraki we spend the night in guesthouse Papastathis. We are invited to dinner with the lady of the house, Konstantina. In the morning we wake up with a view of the mountains and the monasteries.
Invitations and drinks
In the village of Kalliphonio we are allowed to sleep on Kris and her husband's balcony. In the evening we get a beer and in the morning there is coffee with a croissant. In the next village with supermarket and café we stop for our second breakfast. A regular customer offers us a frapin.
Shelter from the rain
In the mountains it unexpectedly starts to thunder and rain. We put on our rain gear and continue cycling. In the next village we ask if we can take shelter. It looks like more rain is on its way. We get a cup of coffee while we wait for the rain to stop.
There is no laundry service at Hotel Olympic in Delphi. We have a large bag of dirty clothes. There is no launderette in Delphi. The other hotels don’t want to help us either. We take the laundry bag to restaurant Phivos. There we make one last attempt. The waitress asked around whether someone would like to run a washing machine privately in the village. Unfortunately no one does! She eventually offers to do it herself.
At the temple of Athena in Delphi we start talking to Sylwia. She is from Poland and lives in Athens for many years. We are welcome if we want to sleep and shower at her place.
In Aliartos we can sleep at a chapel. A German-speaking neighbor brings us crackers, 4 hard-boiled eggs, snack tomatoes, bell pepper and grapes for breakfast.
In the small village of Pili we look for a place for the night. There are three churches, but all of them are locked. At a restaurant we are initially allowed to sleep on the terrace with canopy. A moment later this offer is withdrawn. The priest of the adjacent church does not want to help us either. A cleaning lady is working at a school with a canopy. We knock on the door, but she doesn't hear us.
We ask a lady who just wants to drive off for a place to sleep. She tells us to go after her. Katerina shows us the veranda of an empty house. She skypes with the owners. It’s an Italian couple who live in Brussels and speak Dutch. We tell them our story on which we are even allowed to sleep inside. A bed and a shower. How lucky we are. Later the couple's niece Katerina brings us food. A complete meal with even a dessert after. Unbelievable! What hospitality!!
We are invited for breakfast at 8 am. Thanos, Katerina's husband, welcomes us. We don't know what is happening to us. A table full of delicious homemade dishes is set up. Katerina even baked a cake. It’s still warm.
We enjoy the delicious breakfast and get to know Katerina and Thanos better. He is a winegrower and they also grow their own fruit and vegetables which they sell in Athens. We get the leftovers of breakfast for lunch.
Also 2 pomegranates for good luck and 2 jars of jam and another jar with quinces.
We say we are already fully packed, but you cannot refuse something like this.
4 star hotel
Gerard van Grinsven, Ben’s old friend and classmate of Havo Oud Vroenhoven, gave us 2 nights in a hotel in the center of Athens as a present. How lucky we are!! We are very happy with this.
In Athens we meet Sylwia, who we met in Delphi. She shows us the beautiful narrow streets of Anafiotika. She tells us about her passions. She stimulates others to start cycling by setting a good example and offering cycling lessons.
She treats us to souvlaki and beer. Too bad we could only see each other for such a short time. We leave tomorrow and Sylwia has to get up early to go to work. We have a nice memory of our conversations.
We enjoy all the hospitality, encounters and treats in each country. That makes our world tour very special.