'Ne' Means 'Yea'

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A few days of ups and downs make things a little difficult.  Coming out of Epidavros was literally up and down.  Several large climbs only to plummet back down to sea level each time to start the next climb.  By the time we were on our 3rd climb I was reaching my end.  Part of me is through with cycling Greece.  As much as I’ve enjoyed my time here, it’s nearing the end and I’m starting to get excited about the next part of the venture.  Climbs are just not part of it right now.  Last week, the steep climbs took us to fantastic vantage points and new places.  Today, it was just more of the same landscape and getting closer to big cities.  Never my favourite thing. 

But on the up side, we found a place to eat.  I think it was actually closed, but there were people setting up for a large wedding reception that evening and they let us in.  We had an amazing lunch with more food than we could eat and were ready to finish the ride

Working our way towards Athens is a bit intimidating in itself.  London and Paris were cities we simply trained into and toured around.  We are going to have to take our bikes into Athens as we’ll be sailing out from there and we need to find a place to stay for a few days to see the sites and fix our bikes (according to Brian ;) ).  I thought I would try Couch Surfing to give us a good base while we’re there, but no one will respond to my emails L  I guess I’m just not a desirable houseguest!   So we’re going to have to hostel it which we’re not terribly fond of.  It works, but is a lot more expensive than camping. 

But on the up side, we found a campsite for the night.  A nice spot along the beach with an owner who invited us in by his fire for a glass of wine.  Looks like the nearest train station is only 3km down the road and the trains leave every hour for Athens.  That’s great!  Get us in nice and early to the port so we can secure our tickets, and then off to the hostel to enjoy our time in Athens. 

I should have known that the 4Euro trip into Athens was too good to be true.  Missing the train by just minutes, the next one didn’t go all the way to Pireus, so we had to wait for the one after that - which was late.  I began to wonder if cycling might have gotten us there sooner.  But in the meantime we got to talk to this cute old guy who took us under his wing, telling us all the things to see in Athens and insisting on carrying my bike on and off the train for me.  It was a nice smooth ride into the city, and we were dumped right out at the ferry terminal making it very easy to secure our tickets

Finding the metro station took a little doing, but with my directions to the hostel written down I was able to figure out the lines.  No steps for the bikes yet - things were going well!  With a little help from the staff, I finally made sense of the maps and matched them to my drections.

But the metro line only went one stop - not at all what was shown on the maps.  Booted off, we were told we had to board a bus.  No way were we hiking loaded bikes up onto a crowded city bus!  I only had directions from the metro line and I didn’t really want to veer away from it.  Several attendants tried to help us find our way, and finally we were pushing the bikes up stairs to the tram line.  (Secretly the bikes have been begging us to try the metro and the tram since they haven’t ridden on either of them yet).

But all ups come with a down, and this one was 3 flights.  Down, down, down slow and steady until the last step (always the fateful one).  With a loud crack followed by plastic pieces falling on the ground another clip off another pannier broke.  Wonderful!  Two broken bags - both right sides, so we can’t even make a set.  Parts are bought, but missed the plane to Egypt by one day.  When we’ll ever see them again…I’m not sure.  Either way, they’re no good to us now! 

Found the tram and were on our way after about a 15 minute wait.  However, the line stopped every 10 feet or so and it was taking forever to get anywhere!  We were both desparately trying to hold onto our floundering bikes as the train jerked and swayed along the track getting more and more crowded and poor ladies got grease on their pantlegs.  What would have only taken 5 or 6 stops on the Metro took 25 or so on the tram.  Through feats of supernatural strength, things actually got slower.  We ground to a complete halt as the lights at the intersection ahead were out.  A complete mess of cars, trucks, mopeds and pedestrians tied up in a barely moving knot of chaos.  People left and set off on foot as we sat for about an hour.  Unhappy passengers and drivers, but passers by found it most entertaining.  Watched one man stand against a traffic light post and watch the scene for what must have been hour.  When I looked again, he had gone and bought a sandwich and was still watching.  Great exposure to Greek culture.  Cops sitting on the corner NOT directing traffic.  A man on our train screaming on the phone to the police station about the cops not doing anything.  Highly entertaining!  I wish I’d had a sandwich…

But all good things must come to an end, and after about an our we were on our way.  Deciding not to mess with metros or trams or busses we jumped off, bought a map and were on our way to the hostel.  Enough with public transportation for awhile.  For what was only about 10 kms from the port to the downtown, it took a grand total of 3 hours.  We could have walked crawled faster.

Arrival at the hostel was friendly enough, but less exciting than scouting out the views at a campsite.  Instead, we got to snuggle into hospital beds which crinkled from the plastic sheeting protecting the mattress every time we moved.  But it’s warm and dry and only a block from the Acropolis. 

No matter what goes on I’ve been learning not to get down, it’s just all part of the experience.  I’ve decided to take a little something from the Greeks in all of this.  Instead of thinking ’ne’ I need to think ’yea’.  In Greek, ’ne’ is the word for ’yes’.  So every time I start to think negative, I’ll have to turn it into the positive.   
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