All kinds of challenges

Thunderstorms, dogs and mosquitoes are daily challenges that have to be mastered. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our time on the Peloponnese.


The bikes are packed and we have said goodbye to the Aldemar Hotel and to all our friends to get back to our usual cycling routine after our break at the hotel. We start with mixed feelings. On the one hand we are looking forward to discovering the world again with our bikes, on the other hand it is a strange feeling to leave all our friends behind. It is almost like a second goodbye. After one or two days we are back in our bike travel routine. We have decided to cycle along the coast of the whole Peloponnese. As the Israeli borders are still closed, we plan to spend more time in Greece, as the temperatures here are still bike friendly even in autumn.

The Peloponnese is hilly, as our whole trip has been. Coastal strips alternate with pretty villages, some of which Sara remembers from a trip in 2004. We also pass through endless olive groves and in these agricultural zones we repeatedly make the acquaintance of dogs. So far this has never been a problem, although there have been (stray) dogs in all the countries. But in Greece they are much more active. They run towards us barking at full speed, which is always a frightening sight. In the end, they always stop at a distance of 1-2 metres and just continue to bark at us. Big mouth, nothing more. Nevertheless, it's always an unpleasant experience where coolness is called for. But hey, we still have all our legs and so far our bags have no bite marks.

We cycle around the first finger (the Peloponnese looks like a hand with 3 fingers and a thumb) relatively quickly and are a bit underwhelmed. At the start of the second finger, the weather becomes unstable. The air is muggy, the cloud pile up, the thunder rumbles. This weather is challenging for us. The choice of the campsite to spend the night must be well considered, unfortunately the tent is not a safe place from lightning strikes. Next to Kardamyli we spend the night on a lonely beach. Towards evening a German vanlifer arrives and we spend the evening with him. At night there is a heavy thunderstorm. The German has to move his van in the middle of the night, otherwise he would have been stuck in the mud in the morning. The next evening we also seek shelter from the thunderstorm and find it in a closed beach bar. There we pitch our tent under the wooden roof and have a relaxing night despite the gloomy clouds. By the way, the whole beach is lined with camper vans, so much for wild camping being forbidden... And another stormy night follows immediately, this time we have chosen a camping site, where we are usually well protected. We are glad that our tent is not there, where a big branch falls from a tree during the thunderstorm. Luckily no one was hurt. These thunderstorm periods keep us on our toes. They shape our day and also our nights.

Despite the weather, we can enjoy the stretches. The second and third fingers convince with wild landscapes, villages of stone houses, sweaty ascents and rapid descents, pretty coasts and friendly people. For example, a farmer who, during a break somewhere in the middle of nowhere, gives us figs, grapes and tomatoes en masse. Far too much for the two of us, so we pass some of it on at the campsite. Unfortunately, we also see clear traces of this summer's forest fires. Whole areas are black and burnt, what a sad picture.

Besides the dogs, we experience another animal challenge at the transition from the second to the third finger. We cycle through orange and tangerine plantations and can hardly save ourselves from mosquitoes. There are large swarms everywhere. The only way to get throug is to keep your mouth shut and don't forget the glasses. We don't lack protein on this day. In the evening we pitch our tent next to two vans at a windy spot by the sea. The two couples are also from Switzerland and we spend a cosy evening together. In the morning it looks dramatic. The sky black, the wind stormy, the sea turbulent. Perfect staging for photos. Fortunately, we only get a short downpour. We are treated to a delicious breakfast and then say goodbye to the Swiss. And theres a new spice in our kitchen from now on: "Aromat" - thank you very much!

In the south of the third finger lies Elafonisos, a small island only 5min by ferry from the mainland. It has one of Greece's most beautiful beaches. There's a lot of hectic when loading the ferry. We don't understand why, the ferry is not nearly full and we are absolutely on schedule, but you don't always have to understand everything. On the island we spend the night on a camping site that is already half deserted. The season is definitely over. The beach is really worth seeing, but due to the weather, which is thundery again, we skip swimming. After the short detour to the island, we return to the mainland and drive a few kilometres to Neapole Boion. In this small town (of which we don't have a single photo) we stay 4 nights in an Air BnB. We allow ourselves a few days of rest and want to organise and clarify a few things. The landlords live directly below us and speak hardly any English, which doesn't stop them from asking us every time we meet them if everything is okey. We are in good hands.

On the first evening Sara receives a text message from the Greek authorities with a storm warning. We should read the information on the homepage and behave accordingly. Doesn't sound very good. Heavy thunderstorms with lots of rain are forecast for the next few days. We are grateful to have a roof over our heads during these days. The days are grey, wet and thundery. Rarely has a simple, not very cosy Air BnB been such a blessing. And so we spend the days planning, editing photos, reading etc. and waiting for our guest, who will visit us soon. More about this in the next blog.