Mike and Shelley go to Europe and ride around some

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AMEretired, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. push

    push Adventurer

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    Mike

    Thanks for the prompt response. I chuckled when I read your comment about vibration on the crash guard. Tried it too..

    I have enough usb power sources on the handlebar so I got that covered

    I am not that handy with fabrication. So will have to find other solutions

    Your idea to mount a camera on a auxiliary light mount appeals to me. Denali makes a custom light mount for the vstrom that I may just order and find a way to mount the go pro on it. Ideally I would want to place the go pro above the headlights instead off on to one side... in case the bike tips over. Would hate to break the go pro.

    May need to head down to a hardware store once this lockdown is lifted..

    I have also seen silicon covers for go pros but not sure if they are waterproof

    I have a 3+ and the additional battery I bought mounts on the rear of the camera. That battery has a port to charge the additional battery as well as the main battery. Benefit is you do not have to open the camera side cover for power. Some folks also hook up 20000 MAH power banks to the 2nd battery for all day use which you can easily place in the tank bag.

    All the best for your future rides. Hope this situation lifts pretty soon.

    Thanks.
  2. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hello all !!!!!
    How are you ? Two years ago that simple phrase was a nice greeting, today however, it can be much more. The meaning here is our fondest wish that you are all healthy and safe although perhaps a bit stir crazy. My heart remains broken at the unfathomable loss that the world has/is enduring, but at the same time we long to move again, meet you again, feel SOMETHING other than loss again.
    It has certainly been a sad and difficult time, but there has also been some light in our lives.
    So, what the hell have we been doing besides looking at the walls.
    Well, we were married!! Two dear friends accompanied us to Tofino, on Vancouver island where, on a beautiful day, we married on the beach.

    We looked at what we were given for a rental, a mini van, how nice. Shelley said something like “I am not getting married in THAT. When she came back it was with the keys to a Mustang convertible. “Now we can go”.

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    We hired a young gentleman to play our favorite song and danced on the beach.
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    what else?
    Well, the R75/6 needed a little love.
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    Much better now.
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    So there we were in the summer of 2021, trip cancelled 3 times so far and going a bit mad.
    Time to try again!!
    HOPES
    We hoped travel to Greece would be allowed and we hope to be allowed to return to Canada.
    HOOPS
    Passport as always.
    Passenger locator form for Greece, new to us.
    Proof of vaccination from Alberta.
    PCR COVID test as we could not confirm for sure that our proof of vaccination from Alberta would be accepted. This, as it turned out, was not necessary. Our proof from Alberta was accepted at Airline check in as well as for entry to Greece.

    All dressed up with somewhere to go, finally.
    August 29 2021
    We would return September 30
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    The plan is for 33 days away with 26 or so on the road.
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  3. spuh

    spuh Long timer Supporter

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    Congratulations on your nuptials and on your return to the road. I look forward to following again.

    Sounds like the border crossing was as painless as is possible today. What did you find acceptable as proof of vaccination? Kenney remains strangely adamant about not providing vaccine passports, did Greece accept a paper receipt from AHS or a pharmacy or do you have a more robust proof? It's interesting that a test wasn't required. Which airline(s) did you fly?.

    Enjoy the trip; I'm looking forward to more vicarious Balkan bliss.
  4. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hey spuh
    We flew AC YYC YUL ATH and used a print from MyAlberta as proof. This same proof was accepted as proof for entry to Greece. Keep in mind that things can and do change daily.

    Hope this helps.
    Mike
  5. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    One task in Athens was to purchase a new battery just in case. This turned out to be a good choice as the battery on the bike was “0.0 volts, go away I do not want to play”.

    This is an excellent parts shop in Athens. They had what I needed and at a decent price.
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    Errands completed, time to be tourists for a couple of days.

    Bikes everywhere.
    Some pristine and pampered.
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    Some have to work for a living.
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    Our apartment had a great view!,
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    And it was great fun to play tourist, visit the markets, eat, drink and be happy.
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    You do nor have to look far, however, to see that Greece is having a very tough summer.
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  6. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    As our Sella was in Νέος Βουτζας we needed a hotel in the area and Μάτι was close.
    Life in Μάτι changed dramatically and tragically on this day.
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    The fire at Mati is the second-deadliest wildfire of the century after the 2009 bushfires in Australia which killed 173 people. It is also counted as the sixth-deadliest in the last 100 years.

    Haunting images remain to this day.[​IMG]

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    On a happier note we were reunited with Sella !
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    On a not so happier note none of my ride report videos will play—crap. It seems embedding from Smugmug no longer is possible, only linking to an entire gallery which is not happening.
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  7. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    A few more things that work or not so far.
    WORKS
    VODAFONE SIM cards for our Android phones. 30 days unlimited data with a phone # good for Europe . These were purchased from a Vodafone pop up in Central Athens for €12 each phone. Excellent.
    MOSKO MOTO Nomad tank bag has been used as aircraft carry on, tank bag, backpack and so far cannot fault it. Excellent.
    ZUMO XT Sat nav/gps
    This is mounted on the existing BMW Nav 4 powered mount using the 3D AM mount adaptor from Italy. What a great thing it is being able to see the screen in sunlight !
    KYOCERA DuraForce hard phone used with offline google maps for times when the Garmin map is crap. No complaints.
    CARDO PACTALK COM . These units occasionally decide to take a nap and shut down com but otherwise work fine.
    VSTROM 650 (Sella). Sat for the best part of 2 years waiting. We changed the battery, pumped up the tires, threw in a can of octane boost into the tank which was full of 2 year old fuel and started riding. Bloody excellent so far.

    WORKS NOT
    VODAFONE SIM card in a Canadian iPad was a no go. Makes me wonder if @ Canadian iPhone would have the same issue. That would suck.
  8. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Saying goodby, for now, to our friend. A true gentleman.
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    We have been waiting for this for a very long time !! First day back on the bike September 4 2021. Νέος Βουτζας το Λιλαια. Not fancy, just needed to get moving.
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  9. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Our home in λιλαια was a wonderful, eclectic, artistic maisonette with a fabulous view.
    It would seem that Λιλαια, or ancient Λιλαια has history.
    From Ecotourism-Greece.com
    The modern village of Lilaia near Polidrossos is built on the ancient city by the same name, inhabited from the early Helladic period (2800-2100 BC). The fortification walls at the citadel summit indicate traces of a constructional phase before the city was destroyed by Phillip II. Another part of the fortress dates back to the rebuilding phase after the reign of Phillip II. In 200 BC the city was under siege by King Phillip V but it revolted and gained its liberty. The city was also mentioned often in the accounts of Strabo, Ptolemy, Pliny and Pausanias, who noted an agora, theatre, baths, sanctuary to Apollo and one to Artemis. Both temples featured marble statues of the gods in standing posture, made by Athenian sculptors. Lilaia was constantly inhabited until the Byzantine era but soon thereafter fell into decay and was abandoned. Today, walls from antiquity and remains of a castle that are still visible.

    At the beginning of each trip it takes me a while to get my head around riding a loaded bike with pillion in steep narrow areas and Λιλαια was no exception.



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    We were offered this spot for parking but we declined, too risky. (Not enough talent)
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    What a wonderful place!
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    Interesting but amazing shower
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    Local food and drink when we went out.
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    At home, Wine, Simple but excellent food, great company. Not one place I would rather be at that moment. I think this was the moment when we finally just stopped, took a breath and smiled.
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  10. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    The next stop was at Kalabaka as we really wanted to visit the Meteora and the monasteries.
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    From Wikipedia
    The Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six (of an original twenty four) monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. It is located near the town of Kalabaka at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains. Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List
    According to Greek mythology, the presence of the rocks in Meteora is due to the famous battle between the Titans and the Olympian gods, when Zeus used the Hecantonchires (giants with hundred hands) to lift huge rocks and throw them against the Titans.
    A slightly more modern explanation has to do with erosion and tectonik shift some 22 million years ago.
    Whichever version you choose to believe, the beauty of the Meteora and the monasteries perched atop defies description.
    How the monasteries came to be perched atop the Meteora is a history lesson in itself.

    On this day the ride was not the most challenging, however, the weather gods stepped in to keep us amused as did the maps.



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    We came to Kalabaka, or is it kalambaka or Kalampaka or Καλαμπακα ? I had a bit of a challenge with this during planning as one, or perhaps all three (or4),might be found on a map or site. Anyway, here is my decidedly unprofessional take on it.
    KALABAKA
    Locally we heard it pronounced as Kalabaka. As it is a name perhaps grammar does not apply.
    KALAMBAKA
    The spelling is Καλαμπακα in Hellenic (Greek) and is pronounced Kalambaka, Why you say? Well.
    There is no letter for “B” in the Hellenic alphabet (called the αλφαβηο I think) as we know it in English although the sound is used, this is how.The 12th and 16th letters of the αλφαβητο are Μ(μ) pronounced (M) and Π(π) pronounced (P). When ΜΠ (μπ) are used together at the start of a word they are pronounced (B) but are pronounced as (MB) if placed somewhere else in the word. This explains Kalambaka and it would seem to be correct.
    KALAMPAKA
    If the letter combination is Ignored(wrong) then ΜΠ (ΜΠ) becomes (MP) which explains Kalampaka.
    SHORT ANSWER
    τα ελληνικά είναι δύσκολα (Greek is difficult) and they all refer to the same place.

    At the end of the day Sella found a nice sheltered spot.
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    As did Shelley and I. Our VRBO was comfortable with great views.
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    AND, a 3 minute walk to a Ταβέρνα for local food and drink. Pretty much perfect.

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    That is one imposing neighbor.
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    Free to enter and well worth a visit.
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    We did visit a monastery, the Varlaam
    At one time this was the only way up!!
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    We were told that steps were available after this date.
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    Here we have Shelley sporting the latest thing in fashion for visiting a monastery.
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    The view from the monastery
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    Although we certainly enjoyed visiting the monastery it was not the highlight of the day.

    We joined a small guided hike up to the monastery and THAT was amazing.
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    Rock monster stalking Shelley.
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    Don't turn around.
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    The rocks look to be covered with dead moss.
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    But add a little water and they turn green before your eyes. What a great survival skill for such a hot and dry climate.
    Some creative license taken with photos of 2 different areas but you get the idea.
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    Pictures, at least my pictures, cannot convey the scale and beauty of this place. Super happy that we visited the Meteora.
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  11. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Thanks for the photos of Meteora I was there in 2018 on my Suzuki 1200 Bandit
  12. NSFW

    NSFW who else would love noobs? Super Supporter

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    Greece is a wonderful place and glad to see you guys are enjoying it.

    Thought of ending my tour again this month, but there's still a lot to see in the Balkans.

    Great to see pics of historical places, landmarks and attractions, keep them coming.
  13. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    The scooter rental place in Meteora is owned by a fellow who lived in Prince George for 27 years he owned the Greek pizza restaurant in PG and told me while living there he could hardly wait to retire and move home to Meteora. His son,born in Canada owns the hotel across the street from the scooter rental , thats where I stayed.
  14. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hotel Rex I think. Straight down the hill from us.
  15. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Thats it Hotel Rex
  16. spuh

    spuh Long timer Supporter

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    The Hotel Rex Murphy? :rofl

    Sounds like the owner spent way too long in PG.
  17. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Next stop Vitsa (Βίτσα). Altitude 960 meters with a permanent population around 155.
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    "Interesting" ride with some great views. The tunnels and bridges never cease to amaze me.
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    Here is a sample of our day.
    There were some challenges.
    Great start as a dog bit my foot as we started out, dumb dog. Nice ride after that until we turned toward Katara and climbed toward the cloud cover. Between the washouts and the near zero visibility it got bloody dangerous for a bit. Did not see the dog at 4.36 in the video until the last second, that could have been a problem.
    Anyway after that all was normal, sort of. The 4 homeless dogs that took a run at us needed a bit of creative avoidance, the lady waving the broom at us not so much. The goats on the road were very polite as was the tortoise. We were a bit of a mobile puddle arriving at Vitsa as the rain had found us again.

    Why Vitsa ? Because of this.
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    And this.
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    And because Vitsa is very near Monodendri, which in turn is at one end of the Vikos Gorge.
    The area is stunning.
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    THIS we did not expect to find in such a small town.
    From their site.
    Kanela & Garyfallo is a unique thematic restaurant devoted to mushrooms. Nestled on a rocky perch overlooking the entrance to Vikos gorge, the restaurant is located in the village of Vitsa in close proximity to many of the region’s natural wonders and within a 30 minute drive to the city of Ioannina.
    Owner and chef, Vassilis Katsoupas, first contracted the gastronomy bug in the renowned ‘Thraka’ restaurant operated by his family for 35 years in Athens. Combining his environmental education and culinary culture, following a 16 year journey in Canada, Vassilis returned to his ancestral homeland and created a unique space dedicated to mushrooms, the treasures of the forest.
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    Chanterelles and black trumpets with parsley, garlic and Debina wine
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    We also had.
    Mixed green salad with sautéed boletus, mustard seed, strawberry tree honey and extra virgin olive oil.
    And
    Risotto Royal, with 5 wild mushrooms and truffles.
    And perhaps a fair amount of wine and beer.

    The restaurant is also pet friendly (very) and kind to the local homeless dogs who find some food daily.
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    More to come.
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  18. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Quite near the hotel is the start of a gentle hike on the Vitsas steps. A little way along you can make a choice. Follow the yellow sign and wind your way down for an hour or so, or, follow the green sign for 80km.

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    Not a difficult decision for us.
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    Part way down is the old stone church of Saint Nicolas (Agios Nikolaos) from 1612 AD, with well preserved frescoes.
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    And this one from 1607 AD that did not seem as well preserved.
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    The reward at the end of the Vitsas steps is the bridge of Misiou built in 1748 AD to connect the villages of Vitsa and Koukouli.
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    This is one of those places that can make you feel very, very small.
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    The next hike we chose was from Vikos to Voidomatis Springs.
    To get to the trailhead and back in the afternoon we hired δεσποινίς Kiki from the Hotel who works part time as a baker for the hotel and is a full time beekeeper.
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    First a Greek coffee, then a hike.
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    You start from here.
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    With this view.
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    Actually here
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    Feeling like this.
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    And you end up here at the springs.
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    In between you have these views
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    The path
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    Thats one way to keep the tourists off the vines.
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  19. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Time to move on.
    Not all the photos here are mine, the better ones are usually Shelley’s,
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    But first Sella needed a bath.
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    The helpers needed a massage.
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    Now we can go
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    Next stop Sivota (Σύβοτα) for one night.
    Cheap, clean and an easy walk to the port.
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    And with the bonus of shaded cover for Sella.
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    Sivota’s position being just a 30 minute ride from the ferry port at Igoumenitsa made it the perfect one night stop.
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    The first part of the ride from Sivota to Igoumenitsa is really quite nice.
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    Our ride to Corfu.
    The fare was 22€ one way which we purchased on line. We picked up the Covid release forms at the port entry ticket office on the way in but you can also keep it digitally for display. Ride straight to the ferry and have the ticket scanned as you enter. Very simple and straightforward.
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    No tiedowns on this route, just wheel chocks.
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    Hang out for an hour and a half or so.
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    And you will be in Corfu (Κέρκυρα)
    Our accommodation in old town Corfu was a complete house with everything we could wish for and more.
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    The “street” in was a bit interesting and took a little getting used to.
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    We had great space as did Sella.
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    We could eat inside or out, walk to restaurants, walk 5 minutes for a swim in the sea, ride if we chose to or just hang the laundry out and drink wine. Bloody wonderful.

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    This was just a short walk from home for a swim anytime!!
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    Or perhaps come across something very cool like this youth orchestra outdoor practice.


    Greek coffee for me. Sadly not for Shelley as she is a tea drinker.

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    We did however both enjoy the food. A lot.

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    The cats always find the best places.
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    We enjoyed the daytime.
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    We enjoyed the evenings even more.
    Getting turned around and lost in old town became a daily event.
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    Here is a bit of riding in Corfu town


    The house we rented is owned by Panos and his wife Anastasia who also have Katerina's taverna in Sidari, a town at the North end of the island. During the summer they run the tavern in Sidari and rent the Corfu house, For winter they close up and move to Corfu.
    We wanted to ride at least part of the island and a visit to Sidari for lunch was as good an excuse as any.
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    No wonder I was unable to find the street sign in Corfu old town!!
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    Panos suggested a light lunch which was excellent, no wonder the place is always busy. Even though The taverna was busy Panos and Anastasia were able to spend a few minutes giving us the family history of the taverna and the Corfu house. Family history of course, this is Greece and EVERYTHING is family. Given more time we would have liked to spend more time with them.
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    We wandered a little further east and stopped in Roda, (as we discovered all roads lead to Roda), jjjjjjjjjjjjj for a stretch and photo op.
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    During the last trip we were in Albania looking at Corfu.
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    Now we found ourselves in Corfu looking at Albania.
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    Here is a sample of riding in the North part of the island.


    Never enough time. We wanted to rent a Quad for a beach day but that turned out to be a no go. If we find ourselves back on Corfu perhaps we will rent a quad for a few days of wandering, actually that would be fun.

    Sadly our time on Corfu was up and It was back on the ferry to Igoumenitsa for us, destinations Nafpaktos amd Patras.
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  20. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    I stayed a week in Igoumenitsa ! Not sure why I guess I needed a rest ,stayed at the Hotel Parthenon
    Thanks for the updates