FINAL WEEK IN GREECE

I spent the night in some farmers field. After missing my turn off yesterday and riding an extra 20km I slept great. I charged my phone some at the bakery, so I thought of checking the weather, RAIN. Just as I read that, I could here rain drops on the tent. I like having a good breakfast before riding, but I hate packing a wet tent more. So I hurriedly pack the tent and stuff before everything gets wet.

20131117-220159.jpgTHIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’VE BEEN RIDING WITH A SUNRISE.
I’m on the frontage road next to the toll highway. I’ve never seen so many dead animals in such a small stretch of road; dogs, cats, birds, some kind of beaver. My frontage road ends and the toll way is my only choice. It’s early, I’m thinking “I can do this.”

20131117-220840.jpgWHEN IS THE NEXT TIME I’LL SEE A SIGN WITH THESE CHOICES? (probably never).
I arrive in THESSALONIKI, Greece’s second largest city. I finally get off the freeway and ride along the port road.

20131117-221557.jpgAM I IN PORTLAND? MY HOME TOWN OF PORTLAND OREGON HAS THE MOST STRIP CLUBS PER CAPITA IN THE U.S.
It’s only 9am and I’m in town. The advantage of arriving early when you get a hotel room, you get it ALL day and night. I find a hotel can be good value, especially if you use your camping equipment and set up a kitchen in the room. On that note, the Greek food is awesome and a fairly good value. But traveling as long as I am, I don’t feel I can afford to go out for every meal.
I’m going to play tourist for a couple days (since I skipped Athens).

20131117-222427.jpgIT’S RAINING BUT THE BUILDINGS ARE DESIGNED SO THE SIDEWALKS ARE DRY..

20131117-222617.jpgTHIS GLASSES SHOP USED THIS BEAUTIFUL BIKE FOR IT’S DISPLAY WINDOW. (yep another bike image)
I decided to visit a few attractions, I started with the WHITE TOWER that is located along the water front. I told them how far I biked to get here and she let me in for free! with self guided audio tour.

20131117-225246.jpgTHIS IS THE WATERFRONT SHOT FROM THE TOP OF THE WHITE TOWER.
There were some photos on display from earlier events

20131117-225441.jpgYES A VERY EARLY BIKE RACE.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki was next on the list. I saw enough broken ceramic pots to last me a lifetime, but in between that:

20131117-225825.jpgTHIS AMAZING MASK HAD GOLD MOLDED OVER THE SOLDIERS FACE BEFORE HE WAS BURIED.

20131117-231735.jpgI NEED TO RE-READ THIS. WHAT?

20131117-232617.jpgTHESE MODELS OF WAGONS WERE FOUND IN A FEMALE GRAVE, 510 B.C.

20131117-234750.jpgTHIS WAS ONE OF THE FEW STATUES THAT STILL HAD BOTH ARMS AND HIS HEAD.
I was joking around (surprised?) with the clerk at the museum, that the statues had lost their arms, heads, legs but they still had their penis. I said “I guess if you only going to have one body part left, that’s the best one.” She agreed, we both laughed pretty hard.
I’m done with the museums it’s time to take the bus to Alexandroupoli. I grab a cheap hotel that I find to be one of the nicest ones I stayed in. There’s cute little pedestrian streets lined with cafés.

20131118-001114.jpgI HAD MY BEST GREEK SALAD HERE. (notice the meal came on a piece of paper, no plate!)
I ask the hotel what to do in town, no suggestions (or clue). I bike along the water front,

20131118-001534.jpgIT’S THE OFF SEASON AND IT SHOWS

20131118-001735.jpgTHE ARCADE IS CLOSED BUT I COULDN’T RESIST THE AMERICAN FLAG SHORTS
Riding around I see this road is blocked off with orange cones, “go that way.” Turns out it’s the once a week farmers market and clothes bazaar. You think the lady at the hotel would mention this? Thank you for the bicycle, you can discover so much more.

20131118-002324.jpgTHERE HAD TO BE AT LEAST 5 OLIVE BOOTHS, THIS BIG AND NUMEROUS LITTLE ONES.

20131118-002504.jpgTHE PRODUCE WAS GORGEOUS

20131118-002624.jpgAND EVEN MORE GORGEOUS!

20131118-002745.jpgDOING WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SURVIVE, THE GREEK ECONOMIC CRISIS IS REAL.
There was more hunting going on earlier, around DISKATI and ELASSONA,

20131118-003036.jpgTHEY CARRIED THEIR HUNTING DOGS IN THESE BOXES, I SAW LOTS AND LOTS OF THEM TOO.
The Farmers market didn’t have much cooked food, so on the way back to the hotel, “home”

20131118-003743.jpgI SPOTTED THIS BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN (I got 2) AWESOME!
Back at the Hotel room kitchen

20131118-054333.jpgIT’S CHEESE RAVIOLI WITH BROCCOLI AND PESTO SAUCE
It’s time to head for the border, weather forecast is windy but no rain. It’s blowing so hard I’m barely moving. The border is only 45 km but in this full on head wind it could take forever. I have a photo for this but something happened so it’s at the end of this blog

20131118-055431.jpgI CROSS PATHS WITH THESE 2 TURKISH BICYCLIST, HE TELLS ME ONLY 30KM TO THE BORDER.
I’m never going to get there in this weather. It starts raining pretty hard (on top of the wind). I pull into a roadside bus shelter (only 2nd time on this trip) and have lunch while trying figuring out how to get out of this mess? A bus pulls up, I try to get on, no way, he pulls away, shit! The rain lessens some so I start riding again and take a side road to the border.

20131118-060218.jpgI’M GETTING CLOSE NOW
I start to cross the 2 lane bridge into Turkey and spot these 3 dogs, I sense trouble. I stop and remove my water bottle. As I start crossing the bridge they start attacking me, I squirt them with the water which gives them pause as I race to the border check. This had to be a top 5 hardest days day, I didn’t think I would ever get here. If this had been the first day of Jeffs Bike Tour, there might have been no tour, today was tough.

20131118-061149.jpg
Yep, I’m in Turkey, my final destination since starting in Lisbon Portugal over 7 months ago.
THANKS FOR READING THE BLOG, BIKING ISN’T ALWAYS EASY, BUT IT IS ALWAYS REWARDING!
RIDE ON
JEFF
NEXT? FINAL THOUGHTS ON GREECE
PHOTO GALLERY IS HERE
I’wanted to post his next picture about the traffic in Thessaloniki. It took me forever to ride to the bus station, people literally park anywhere and everywhere. I got trapped on the sidewalk a few times because the cars are parked so close together, there’s no escape.
c

20131118-070052.jpgTHERE’S ONLY ONE LANE OF MOVING TRAFFIC EVERYONE ELSE IS DOUBLE PARKED. SOMEONE DOUBLE PARKED AND THAT TRUCK COULDN’T GET BY, WHAT A MESS

20131118-073525.jpgTHIS IS THE WINDY DAY OF RIDING

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