Long Stay in Athens

Trip Start Apr 11, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Monday, July 23, 2012

This biking thing is kind of getting to me. I avoid doing things as if I was exhausted. I guess I might be getting travel fatigue. On Santorini, I had pretty much decided that I would ditch the trailer and half my stuff. Then, I would just take the bike on trains and buses, only using it when I felt like it. I have since changed my mind, though I do intend to ride a lot less. I have always enjoyed riding for fun without the trailer, but recently, I haven't even been able to enjoy that. Of the nine days I spent in Athens, I really only left the hostel to sightsee or ride for four of those days. That’s me taking a break from "work."

There isn’t much to see in Athens other than the Acropolis and a few other sights nearby. On Sunday, I saw the change of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Greek Parliament. That was worth seeing. If you ever see a video of it on Youtube, you will see the pigeons everywhere on the square. There is a reason why they are all over the place. People come and feed the pigeons, and if you have food in your open hands, the pigeons will fly up and land on you. I tend to see pigeons as dirty pests, but apparently a lot of people enjoy this activity. Most amusing was the way some kids would freak out when their parents put food on the kids’ heads for a nice photo opportunity. I have a feeling some of those children might grow up to have an irrational fear of birds…

Athens is surrounded by hills, so the two bike rides I managed were fun and away from traffic once I got out of the city. The first ride was out to Marathon. It was an enjoyable ride, but I can’t imagine actually running that same distance. On the ride back to the hostel, I got to ride through rush-hour traffic in Athens. That was the first time I’ve ever lane-split on my bicycle. If motorcycles can do it, why can’t I? The next ride was into the hills to the NW of the city. I thought I could ride up to the peak at 4000 feet, but it turns out no paved road goes there. Too bad, for I’m sure the view from the top would be amazing.

Upon learning from people at the hostel that travel through the Balkans is mostly by bus, I decided against heading up there into a complicated transportation situation. Switzerland is where I wanted to go, but the riding there would mean a journey of 1500 miles. Then, to add to that, I discovered that prices in Switzerland are beyond crazy. Budget hotels start at $150 and campsites go for $50. No way I was going to be able to spend three weeks there as I’d hoped.

My new plan was simple and neat. I would fly to Milan, then stay in Italy and just ride across the border into Switzerland on a couple short trips. That way, I could get cheap food and lodging while still being able to see that stupidly rich banking country. I had not intended on flying within Europe at all due to the difficulty, cost, and danger of transporting my bike in this manner. Yet, when I found it would only cost $175 to fly to Milan with the bike, I booked the flight. One simple, short trip with no changes would be much easier than any other way I could think of. You can see how on-the-fly my planning is.
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LeAnn on

Except for the Acropolis, it could be CA

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