I woke up to my weekend in Athens with one main aim-to work hard on a way to get out, which seemed a bit counterintuitive.
So how to get my bike home? I needed to source a cardboard bike box of the kind bike shops take delivery of new bikes in. I’d then break my bike down (wheels off, handlebars turned,pedals off, racks and seatpost removed, tyres deflated), and pack it in the box so it could be checked in onto a flight .
The bike box method is a commonly used cycle touring hack, and bike shops are happy to donate the boxes if they have them. The only variable was actually finding a bike shop with a spare box, and I couldn’t book a flight until I’d found a box. Mission accepted .
I’d done some research and had a long list of bike shops to visit. I’d also noticed a small shop, “ 48-17 Cycles” (not on my list 😊) a few minutes from the hotel and thought it was worth a punt.
Jackpot. Not only did the English speaking owner Agi have a spare box, he was the only Dolan dealer in Greece and a cycle tourist himself. We had coffee and pastries and plenty of bike chit chat while he sorted the box and half an hour later I was heading back to the hotel with what I needed to get home .
The bike had been impeccable and I felt a bit sad to be packing it away. But now I knew it was safely boxed up I could get on and book a flight, and by the power of EasyJet I’d be at Stansted tomorrow evening . Time now for a whistle stop tour of Athens, on two feet rather than two wheels 😊
That evening I tried to think back to every individual days riding (some of it was a blur 😊), from rolling off the ferry into wet and hilly Northern Spain, crossing over to Barcelona, Sardinia top to bottom, Sicily, Italy, Greece, Corfu. Ten ferries, five trains and just under 1400 miles pedalled. 49 days ,campsites, hostels, hotels and B&Bs. Superb weather, route planning, getting by with terrible language skills, logistics, washing kit in sinks, missing home, packing and unpacking panniers about 100 times. I think I’d need more time to properly reflect and look back on a brilliant experience. After all the planning and endless map gazing the actual ride seemed to have gone relatively quickly in the end
Sunday was a travelling day, with one of my final Greek memories being a terrifying high speed taxi dash to the airport 😊. We weren’t even running late 😊
And with a final beer (airport pints are the best pints ) that was it. Homeward bound
And what a warm welcome I got at home-certainly warmer than the Autumn weather and very touching, especially after what was essentially a selfish endeavour, and one which needed lots of support.
So that’s it-normal service to be resumed shortly and back to work . I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, if only to document individual days and prevent them turning into a big mass that I’d struggle to remember afterwards, and I hope it’s been an enjoyable read too.
Keep pedalling 🚴🏻♂️👍
2 responses to “Athens in and Athens out-journeys end”
Really enjoyed reading about your travels and the trials and tribulations of cycling alone.
I shall miss my daily fix. X
Thank you! I’ll just have to go on another trip then!! 😊😊😊