Greece

Arrival back in Europe after almost 2 years. The little ferry from Cesme to Chios took 45 minutes. The immigration at the harbour 10 seconds. I hand my passport through the window, it is opened by the officer and back in my hands.

We push our bikes to the bus station’s waiting hall which has an integrated café, only men are sitting at the tables playing backgammon and drinking Ouzo. The flat screen is turned on and a champions league match can be watched. Excellent, so we can kill the next couple of hours before the ferry to Piraeus leaves. It feels European but why? Maybe because everything is so impersonal?

When the ferryboat arrives which is much bigger than I expected I immediately think back of Indonesia. The chaos is not much less here when loading, unloading and boarding the ferry. People lying in every free space on the floor, the seats are occupied by people stretching out on all four seats in one row. Our seat numbers on the ticket seem to be unnecessary. Tired I sink down in a free seat and start sleeping immediately, it is one o’clock at night.

In the morning we reach Piraeus. 15km into Athens from here. After 5km the Aldi supermarket appears. Stop. Sensory overload. Edelsalami, Haribo, smoked salmon and more. Things we have not seen for quite some time but missed a little. Well supplied with goods, we continue our way into Athens. You can see the Acropolis already on the way into Athens posing on the hill above the city. Expectations of places are usually too high or too low and rarely match the reality. My expectations were way to high. Old buildings in a historically old town was the picture in my head. I found monotonous new buildings in a flairless surrounding. We had heart about the problems Greece have faced recently but was this the reason for the grim faces on the streets? Maybe just the normal metropolis behaviour? We stroll around the Acropolis and organize maps for Greece and Albania and leave the city, maybe with a little cultural shock?

Densely populated is the stretch to the Pelepones but the side road leads all the way along the coast to Patras. Shortly before Patras we cross on the newly build impressing cable strayed bridge which brings us back to the greek mainland. Bikes are allowed on this bridge and for free. Because they are for free we are not allowed to pass the toll station on the paved road. We are told to push our bikes through the flower bed around the toll station.  

Last stop Ioannina, a little cute tourist town with a lake surrounded by mountains. The city wall is still in good shape and surrounds the old part of the city and gives the it a nice flair. Even here we meet several people with fluent
German who were born in Germany. We continue through beautiful landscape towards the Albanian border and are excited about the next quite country on our path.