Conquering Greece – Day 7 : Kalabaka to Thessaloniki

  • Weather: Cloudy then thunderstorms
  • Departure: 10h00
  • Arrival: 22h00
  • Date: 06/08/15
  • Distance: 376 km

Kalabaka to Thessaloniki

I woke still tired up but excited as this was the very last day of this adventure. Riding around is immense fun, but it’s exhausting and to be honest, I had been abusing the concept a bit and was at this point starting to get fed up with it. Having not had time to visit at least one of the monasteries, I made this my first goal of day. After breakfast, I joined bussloads of foreigners and toured around one. It was, as I expected, not that interesting : a church, a small museum of religions artifacts and very limited access to anything else.

At Mount Olympus
At Mount Olympus

Back on the road, quickly I rejoined with the eastern coast of Greece, passing around Mount Olympus in the process, Greece’s highest peak (2919m) and a special place in their old mythology. Having arrived there earlier than expected and noticing that there was a road going up, I figured I should explore and see how far it would get me. Not at the top it turns out and only a third of the way. The rest is done on foot and takes about three hours. Too bad. Had I know it was possible to hike to the top, I would have arranged things differently and done it. Another thing I’ll have to leave to my next trip to Greece. I did have a bowl of tradiţional bean soup up there and it was delicious and a very welcome departure from the gyros I’ve been eating every day.

A Greek coastal town
A Greek coastal town

Once more at sea level, I screwed around for hours trying to figure out a way that would get me to Thessaloniki through the small roads, which landed me late in the day facing an oncoming storm. This time, I decided not to ride through it as I was on a regional road with heavy truck trafic and too exposed to the winds. I found sheleter in a long-abandonned garage and waited for the bad weather to improve while enjoying the show of sound and light. It took about an hour an half before I decided to leave again, the rain had dimished to a drizzle but it was dark. With the headlights that I had, the road to my destination was a stressful one. There are not too many potholes in Greece, but there are some and I could not see them. My best chances of not getting one was to drive slow and in the middle of my lane.

Waiting for the storm to pass
Waiting for the storm to pass

Several hours late at the hostel, they had sent me an e-mail still wondering if I would make due on my reservation. I parked the bike, got a bottle of wine and sat in silence for a while, mentally drained from today’s driving.

Road tripping Greece, done!

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