In more ways than one.
I’d got a shorter day planned today, about 20 miles along the coast to Akrata where I’d spotted some availability at the only hotel in town.
I slept to the sound of the sea and a later start suited me today . My good sleep just may have also been related to the size of the glass of wine that appeared when I went for some food last night-mental note, when in Greece stick to beer!
I soon reached Aigio which was a lot bigger, and busier than I expected it to be. I approached the town from a height and looked down on the port area to see a couple of massive cruise liners docked, alongside a number of small fishing boats . As I dropped down I saw that the all the shops were the same. You know Birmingham has the Jewellery Quarter, London Savile Row and Manchester the Curry Mile? Well Aigio seemed to be the unglamorous Greek capital of car spares shops. There were literally hundreds of them, side by side, all selling the same thing, some with tyres, batteries, bumpers and lights stacked up outside, some no more than breakers yards. And they were all busy, with cars double and triple parked outside. Clearly the place to be.
I stopped for a hair cut. Well a head shave to be more accurate, not only functional but a lot easier to describe to a foreign barber 😊
I was the only customer. Michael the friendly barber told me his brother was also a barber and lived in Derby, which being within 100 miles of Leicester pretty much rendered me a family member too. Or so it seemed with the hugely friendly, grinning staff members in the shop.
All three of the staff came out of the shop to see me off. Lined up side by side, they waved me off and I felt a bit bashful as they clapped me and wished me luck. I rode quickly and purposefully away just to impress them, before dropping back to my usual snails pace once I was out of sight 😊
About two miles along the main road, the route took me off into minor roads. This rang alarm bells because this was putting me in classic wild dog jeopardy. I’d avoided any dog action for a few days now by sticking to main roads and not interfering with their territory, but now there seemed to be no other option.
By now as well, I was armed with a squeezy bottle of lemon juice, some earlier research suggesting a direct jet into the eyes of any murderous canine would floor them long enough for me to flee. Of course the aim was still to not be close enough to deploy the lemon juice in the first place but it was nice to be locked and loaded 😂
I turned off the main road and tentatively entered Wild Dog Alley. Past a house and some allotments and all was quiet . Bumping slowly along a dusty track behind a factory I was all eyes. When I stopped at a junction of three or four tracks, I spent more time looking over my shoulder than the route on my phone . I was halfway through this section and beginning to relax when -well you’ve guessed . Out of nowhere they came, full of malice and territorial slobbering adrenaline. My choice of lemon juice fight, or fast pedalling flight, was no choice at all, and I was out of there faster than you can say “rabies jab”
Back to square one-having swallowed an eight mile diversion as a price well worth paying, I found myself an hour later going past the barber shop in the opposite direction, silently praying Michael and his mates weren’t still out front watching. I don’t think they’d be clapping second time around !
The remainder of the day was relaxing though . Without a cloud in the sky, it was the perfect riding temperature
The mountains to the right of me were as constant as the sea to the left, and the gently undulating route delivered me into Akrata at about 4pm, the ideal time.
This gave me time to get my kit washed and admin done in good time . I think I was pretty much the only guest at the hotel, I certainly got a cheap rate .
Later I worked out a cunning way to remember which room I was in 😂