The Route : It is September of 2014 and my goal, is to travel around Peloponnese with my bicycle.
I started this journey one hot morning, from Heraklion and almost at noon i was in Rethymno, where my good old friend from school Giorgos, is waiting for me. Giorgos is a really cool guy, who gives me full freedom inside his house. For two days i go around in the town and and take lots of rest. Thank you very much Giorgo! 🙂
(Giorgos and me)
I continue, on a cloudy midday and i reach Chania, just before it gets dark. Stefanos which i met him at the hospitality website for cyclotourers warmshowers.org , is waiting for me. Stefanos is very hospitable guy and welcomes me heartily at his house. We discussed for some time together, before we go to bed, because we should get up early the next morning.
(Stefanos and me)
Early at the next morning, we had our breakfast and Stefanos went to his job, while i headed for the village that my grandparents used to live. We both didn’t have much time to spend together, but i have a very positive impression of Stefanos. Thank you very much! 🙂
Two hours later i was at the village, where i rested for a while and early in the afternoon i continued to Kissamos, that the next morning i would take the ferry to Peloponnese. Very close to the port, there was a beautifull small beach, where i slept under the stars. I woke up before the dawn, got ready and boarded on the ferry. We spoke before on warmshowers and we met inside, with Vagelis and his little daughter Melina. We had such great discussions and games the three of us, until we reached Githio. The first impression i had from Peloponnese, left me with my jaw hanging, because the view from the ferry was amazing! We got off and we loaded everything, including the bicycle, on Vagelis car and he gave me a ride until Plytra, where his house is and we said goodbye. Thank you very much Vageli and beautiful Melina! 🙂
A little bit further was my next destination, Korogonas Ark. Alexandros and Maria where waiting there for me, along with their dogs. Korogonas Ark, is a spiritual eco-community, that starts now it’s journey. The two days i spend there, I helped as much as i could, in the building of their very beautiful COB house. Thanks a lot guys for the lovely hospitality 🙂
(Me making plaster, out of clay, straw and manure!)
(Maria, me and Alexandros)
So after that, my real wandering in Peloponnese starts. After some great hills with impressive views, I reached the unique landscape of Monemvasia. If you are ever passing by, do yourself a favor and wander around the narrow streets in the old castle and enjoy the time travel that it offers! I pitched my tent at the beautiful beach of Gerakas, and charged my batteries”, for the ascent on the mount Parnonas that would follow. I started very early in the morning, going up. I met several people on the way, saying to me “be strong…” And i trully needed to be strong. When i managed to reach the top, i found a wonderful landscape, full of fir trees and pure oxygen. I took a lot of breaths and started going downhill, having in front of me an enormously beautiful landscape with terrific view. I was very tired when i reached the first village and i asked some people where can i set up my tent. Surprisingly everybody suggested me to do it in the villages square(!) and so I did. The next morning, the colors of the sunrise combined with the outstanding view of the sea from up the mountain, filled me with thrilling emotions, really hard to describe. I reached the sea and moved towards Leonidio and after that to Tyros, where i slept on the beach next to the village. Next stop was in Astros, where i arrived at noon and another Giorgos, from warmshowers this time, was waiting for me.
(Astros as seen, from an old castle window)
For two days there, Giorgos his mother and his grandmother spoiled me, by helping me with everything i needed. Thank you very much all of you! 🙂
(Giorgos next to an old armor)
I left Astros full of life and kept going through Argos, to Elpidohori(Hopeland), a splendid eco-community into nature, which Erato has created through lots of efforts.
(Entrance of Elpidohori)
(A nice spot in the land of Elpidohori)
(The entrance of the COB house)
My stay there, was so peacefull and relaxed, that i couldn’t resist in Eratos proposition, to stay for one more day. For as long as i was there, I was wandering around the garden that Ilias(a greek guy) was taking care of, at the tree forest, inside the most beautiful COB house i have ever lived in, i was helping Erato with everything she needed to be done, resting and for those reasons i had three fantastic days there. Thank you very much Erato for everything! 🙂
(Erato and me)
After Elpidohori, i passed by the ancient theater in Epidavros. This huge structure with its perfect acoustics, even now leaves you speechless, and the coolest part is that, it is 2.350 years old…
The next days i waved goodbye, to the extraordinary nature of east Peloponnese and got in the urban landscape of the north coast. In three days i reached Egio and went straight to the house, that i would stay there. I had been expected from Mrs Chrysa and Ntinos, who they are my good friens Marizas, mother and brother.
(Ntinos, Chrysa and me)
Mrs Chrysa treated me like being her own child and cooked for me, almost all day(greek mothers…)! While me and Ntinos were watching series on his computer. I rested a lot these days, we discussed, we laughed and i can honestly say that i miss them… Thank you so much, both of you! See you next time 🙂
So i moved forward and 60 kms ahead, i stoped in a field, next to a football field. I stayed there for two nights, because of the bad wheather. Afterwards i continued to the west part of Peloponnese and when i reached Alfios river, i rested at he close beach, where a surrealistic scene was occuring, while i was watching the storm approaching the shore.
I slept there for the night and the next noon, with an improved wheather, I was headed for Kaiafas beach. I was totally speechless when i climped on the massive sandhills, with the impressive view of the huge pine tree forest. Also i saw one of the best sunsets of my life on those sandhills. From this point and on, nature was once again amazing and i was really greatful for that 😀 I continued to the south and after i passed by Marathopoli, i saw a very nice field with grass and olive trees. I asked the people that were living next to it, if i can set my tent up, in there. It was the house of Mr Giorgos and Mrs Katerina. Mr Giorgos told me that i could also at his garden and he opened the door for me. I slept there and the morning after, they treated me with coffee and breakfast. We discussed for a lot of time and when i left, they also gave me food for the road. Thank you very much, be well both of you! 🙂
(Mr Giorgos and me)(Shadow=Mrs Katerina 😛 )
I continued for the south passing by the beautiful Methoni and i slept on a beach near Koroni. The next day at noon, I was in Kalamata and i met with Filopimin from warmshowers. I found him on his balkony at the fourth floor, enjoying a panoramic view of the beach below and the massive Taigetos mountain on the left. Filopimin is also a cyclotourer and shared plenty of his ideas and tips for the road. The one i liked and i’m definitely going to use, is to carry a hose with me, so that i can shower every day, in any tap that i will find. He is an awesome guy, with good sense of humor and a perfect host. Thanks a lot brother! 🙂
(Filopimin and me)
I hit the road once again, after the two days in Kalamata and reached the gorgeous Mani. In Kardamili, there will always be on my mind, a rare landscape in and out of the village. Here there are awesome beaches, one after another! I continued forward and i reached Agios Nikolaos, where i spent my last night outside, in the beautiful nature of Peloponnese. The nest morning i passed by Areopoli and after a spectacular ride i reached Githio, where Stavros was waiting for me. I don’t know what to say first for Stavros… Incredible human being, with a unique sense of humor, spiritual but also he steps on the ground. We did yoga, we ate, we laughed, we swam in the sea and we had great discussions. He also cooked pasta(greek kind) with trout(!), for me to eat on the ferry… An incredible thank you, for everything! 🙂
(Stavros and me)
So as we were sitting in Stavros balcony, we saw on the horizon, the ferry that would take me back to Crete, comong our way… Every beautiful thing has and ending and this is how the Peloponnese fairytale ends for me.
You ask me if i was tired…? Of course i was tired. If i lost my comfort zone…? Of course i lost my comfort zone. If i reached my limits…? Of course i reached my limits, several times. If it worthed the effort…? Of course it did and a lot more than that! I wouldn’t change a single thing, from everything that i experienced, on this one month in Peloponnese. Not only the good stuff, but the bad as well, like when i was going up the mountain under the hot sun for 50kms long, when i was still up on that mountain and it got dark, with nowhere to sleep into and also, when i had a very strong headwind for 70kms on my face and a lot more. I wouldn’t change those things as well, because this is how you overcome yourself and your boundaries.
Though, the one thing that i will never forget after this journey, is the people i met, that they were offering their hospitality without even knowing me, that they were filling up my water bottles, giving me instructions on where to go, giving me stuff for free, without asking anything in exchange. The ordinary people next door, those are the real heroes! I love you and thank you all so much, from the bottom of my soul.