I live in London and in September I'm spending a week in Athens; I'm thinking about riding there and back. The furthest afield I've yet been on a bike is France and Belgium, and I suspect things change in/near the Balkans. Also, it's 2000 miles each way and I'm short on spare holiday from work, *and* this is going to be either side of a relatively energetic holiday. It looks like 4 days is the absolute minimum I could do it in if I just ride there (4 10hr days, which perhaps isn't *that* realistic, with as much motorway as I can find), but I've heard rumour of a train I may be able to get to Northern Italy from Belgium, and I imagine it would be quicker to ride down Italy and get a ferry to greece. Given the holiday in the middle, I'd probably prefer to spend a few more days getting back; I'm wondering if I can do the return over six days. So, I've a few direct questions, and a general plea for advice: * Are there any things I should be aware of that I've probably not yet stumbled across - handy timesavers/useful services, potential problems, good routes? * What's crossing that bit of Europe like? Are there any normally-unexpected delays I should take into account? * Does this sound like a daft idea and just a way to spend four days on a bike not enjoying myself? Thanks!