Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Greece maybe broke but there's still plenty spray paint for sale

Lake near loannina
After leaving my new friend Wolfgang, another goodbye. I wandered fairly slowly through the hills on the bike, enjoying the quiet roads with little traffic, stopping for the odd photo and a small video part or two. I'm in a calm state now, the madness of yesterday's rush through Albania, now gone. No pressure to get anywhere really. Now I have no worries but as usual, I'll find something to bother me.

I'm now getting the edge of western civilization as I know it and things are going to start to change drastically. 

I start to think about the middle east, and Turkey. I can stop thinking about the film Midnight Express. Have you seen it? Scary for visitors to Istanbul. I have also been having some weird dreams involving being banged up abroad. Yes, I've seen that too. I'm sure it will all be fine and I'l avoid being locked up in some dingy jail, the worst they'll get from me is sarcasm, is that illegal here?

I'm wondering how comfortable I'll be, on my own, on my bike all alone. I'm sure it will be fine, won't it?
To keep my mind occupied I decide to make a "to do" list of things to do whilst in Istanbul. Oil change, check chain, tyres ordered or replaced but amongst all this most important item is the Iranian visa without which this trip is screwed.
Along with the visa I need a "letter of invitation" I have a letter, well I hope I do its an e-mail. There is many travel agents who take the money for this service and don't give you anything usable, dodgy people apparently. I hope mine is ok or I'll have to spend maybe 1-2 weeks here waiting for new application to be processed. I can't afford his time. I'll know if its ok when I get to the embassy.

another road sign vandalised
Anyway My first impressions of Greece are good ones. Lovely people, lovely food, beautiful countryside, wide easy roads. However, one thing bothers me. Im heading for a seaside town for lunch but as I pull off the main highway, I'm put off by the graffitti on all of the road signs. It's not sprayed everywhere, walls etc, mostly road signs. Even in the middle of nowhere, road signs have some form of mess sprayed on top. Is it a warning to tourists in some weird language. I risk it anyway.

I drive to Kavala on the coast of Greece. It resembles a hot Blackpool to me so I head inland for somewhere slightly nicer. A lot of the place looks as if it has seen better days. However I find a lovely wee hotel in the hills in a place called Krinides. The hotel is beautiful, sitting atop a hill looking over the town. The price is way too cheap. As it turns out the food is absolutely brilliant, the rooms are stunning and the owner and staff couldn't be nicer. A real genuine 5 star hotel if ever there was one. The Philipeio Hotel is named after Alexander the great's father who was from this area. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here. Truly amazing. 
View of Krinides from the Philippeio 

My wallet is full of useless currency again, my pockets have change no one wants but we're now back on Euro's. Everything else I call dim dams. Makes it easy to remember. Get weird looks when I offer dim dams mind you.
So... in all a few easy days. Hardest thing I had to do was wash my underwear but you don't need to know too much about that apart from they will need to be clean for the up and coming Istanbul traffic.

Have you been terrified on a roller coaster but were made to keep your eyes open?

Next: Istanbul without a map!

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