The Spartan Way - Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
Ancient Spartans were known not only for their military discipline, but for their simple and unluxurious way of life. The travellers involved in this report can only be described by the latter.
This report will unfold with ridiculous detail a four-day, long awaited (by us), poorly executed (by all accounts) and enormously rewarding ride that took place from the 1st to the 4th of July 2011.
So, without further a ado, get ready for....
I'll try to finish this as quickly as I can, but, as those 4 days have put my work a bit (too much) behind, I'd suggest you subscribe to get the updates fresh out of the oven...
My good king! My good king! The oracle has spoken!
Waiting for the rest ..tserts... don't make us wait.... :freaky
Ride safe mate...και παντα ορθιος....
After a canceled European tour in 2009 due to some unforeseen family matters, I became a new dad in November the same year. This has brought infinite joy in my life and has changed everything in it, but, as a consequence, my riding time had been reduced to day trips mostly (everyday commuting doesn't count as riding time in my book), just to get some steam off..
In this one and a half year, my "fleet" had seen some drastic changes, meaning that I sold all 3 previous bikes and had gotten a newer (I also had a '96 model, needed some repairs so I upgraded), great looking, africa twin as it made no sense maintaining all that just for commuting.I saw my "Ornela" (caponord '03) and my "Granny" (transalp '92) ride away with a new owner and had settled for the "Kleopatra" (Greek Africa Queen), which could serve as a city bike but also embark on longer trips, with some limitations on the highway. The bike had long been prepped for multi-day touring but I had yet to get her on the road for good and everyday while lane-splitting in dense traffic I would whisper to her instruments "soon my dear, soon we'll be on better roads"...
The rest of my riding gang was going through the same dry spell ride-wise, with work obligations and family burdens making a "full force" outing really difficult. The only ray of sunlight in that respect (because in every other aspect he is a PIA), was my friend Yani, Ghallas from now on to avoid confusion (we're both Yani). He had actually managed to get the whole July as a Sabbatical, he is not married, leads a teenager's life, even though his actual age is closer to mid-life, he refuses to accept it... He is always the most available and I have, on several occasions, left him stood up in ride trips, as various things tend to pop up in my life when a trip approaches. He hasn't held a grudge and surprisingly even committed to this trip even though he said that it would lead to same outcome, me calling it off at the last minute.
Well, that didn't happen so Friday morning on the 1st of July, I had a packed, ready to roll Kleopatra in my garage entrance.
Besides all the gizmo, I had arranged for inter-bike communication for us, which worked out pretty well until the last day, when battery issues led to various failures...
Off we go!!
I hit some morning traffic at first...
But made it to the highway
Everything works fine, a good start!
About an hour later I reach the meeting point, the first gas station past the toll booths, Athens is already behind us, time to start having fun!
The agreed strategy on this trip was simple: Take it easy, enjoy the ride, stop wherever we feel like stopping, no fixed routes, some must way-points, avoid the main roads, free camp if possible. Being just two meant that we were extra flexible and decisions were made swiftly, even by radio, without stopping. The previous night I input a specific route with two options for the end part, Ghallas decided that reaching Kaiafas would offer some safe free camping options, as he had used the spot in the past when studying in Patras. This is the route of the day, 383km along the slopes of the Peloponnesian mountains.
Can't wait to see the rest. Nice photos & I like your writing style. This report looks to be a great one.
I hope the morgue gets better pictures of me than you do :dhorse
Anyway, as soon as we got on to the highway I pulled up my camera (I always have it around my neck and shoot while riding) and saw the batteries flying towards the rear, somehow the lid had unlocked and out they went. I didn't have any more AAs on me so for the next hours it was just Ghallas' camera in operation...
We got off the highway the soonest possible (just after Corinth, 80km from Athens) and headed for Nemea from a secondary uphill road, it was looking good already...
We headed for Lake Stymfalia and soon we had left all the ugliness of Athens behind and were sucking in the marvelous landscapes.
A bit further south we stopped for a bite (beer, sausage and fries). We were already looking a bit funny, having a good time has that effect...
Back onto the bikes and off to Ancient Feneos and the nearby lake... This is too good...
This one's already leaning by the twisties...
A ways further we got to another high point overlooking a valley. OK, we need to make another stop, new desktop in sight! :clap
All this time we haven't managed to find batteries, but at one village I spot the local "super market", I get the batteries and I'm finally back in the game!! :clap
The batteries must have been at the shelf for years, there is probably nothing in the village that runs on AAs, after 10 photos the camera shuts off after seconds, but at least with enough on/off they get the job done... It sure is interesting to ride scenic twisties with one hand and having to push the "on" button, then make sure the lens comes out, point and shoot... :deal
We stop briefly at an internationally funny sounding village to gas up and drink some fluids..
A fantastic twisty stretch leads us to Aroania,
...and then to Lampeia where we grab a coffee.. The policeman at the next table turns out he's a biker as well and after passing some tips on the route ahead leaves and stealthily pays for our coffees, we never even got to thank him... The view for the kafeneio is nice...
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