Surely it was only few days ago that I rolled off the Portsmouth ferry at Bilbao and began this trip? So it seemed, but on the other hand it felt like I’d been cycling for ages. About 1400 miles of riding, (plus ferries and trains), through Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, Italy and Greece had all led to this end day , the “A” in the “B to A” of the title.
So it felt like a big day. I’d reflect properly later, no doubt over a beer, but for now it was just another day in the saddle.
I wanted to get to Piraeus,the port of Athens but I’d realised last night that I couldn’t catch a ferry directly there from Selinia, the town I was in.Bit of a pain really, seeing as that was why I was was here in the first place. There was another port, Palouki, about five miles away, but ferries from there only served the port of Perama on the mainland, and that was miles away from where I needed to be.
Hmm. A friendly local told me conspiratorially that I could indeed get over to Piraeus but only on a “little boat, no big boat” No other details were forthcoming but how hard could it be to find a little boat in a small island port ?
Five miles later the words “needle” and “haystack” were spinning through my mind . As I approached the harbour side all I could see were big boats ,massive boats ,and Navy boats . But little boats? Nope
Then I saw these, sandwiched between their bigger cousins .But they had no signs, no ticket office,no people around and nothing to suggest these were the mythical “little boat “ ferries
Anyway, quicker than I could say “chill out,this is Greece” I’d pushed my bike on and we were on the way to Piraeus (I hoped)-the contrast between the first and last ferry of the trip couldn’t have been greater.
Forty minutes later my “little boat” chugged into Piraeus, dodging the tankers and catamarans….
And here I was in Athens. The outskirts maybe, but Athens nonetheless. The end point. Weirdly, the weather had changed and it was chucking it down, it felt like it was hastening the end .
The port was about seven miles away from the City centre and the route in was a typical mixture of busy roads, back streets and suburbs. At one point I caught sight of the Acropolis high up on a misty hill. It was still raining hard ,which was a shame
After a while the rain stopped ,but then with two miles to go, and for the first time in the whole trip, I got a rear wheel puncture . Try as I might I couldn’t avoid the need to upend the bike and fix it-this was a right pain eased by a kind lady in an adjacent office bringing me a drink and biscuits on a tray, which kind of summed Greece up for me .
And then … I was there. Done, and after a photo by the Roman Agora ruins, it was a short ride through the crowded streets to my accommodation.
I’d booked in for two nights to give me time to sort out a bike box, get packed and book a flight home, but for now I needed to get dry and get a celebratory beer
I felt pretty chuffed with myself actually, and I did indeed spend the evening thinking back on the whole trip. I’d loved it.
2 responses to “The last lap”
Well played, Tony. Well written, well enjoyed and well done. Giving a Travel Talk one Friday will keep the whole thing fresh in your mind if you are amenable to it! Your writing style flows very well and it conveys that sense of adventure peculiar to a cycle tour! Thank you.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks so much Peter, I’ve sent you a message on Twitter