Greece greeted us with “the coldest autumn since over 10 years” – according to the locals. Our first week was a constant ride in storm and rain with next to no visibility on the roads. We crossed Greece in the north and our initial plan was to cycle further south to Trikala to meet with people from the university regarding our project. As the weather got constantly worse and accommodation throughout the country were rather expensive, we decided not to go south but proceed to Thessaloniki and from there straight to the Turkish border.
When we arrived in Thessaloniki, we met up with other cycling tourists and the first time since the beginning of our trip we spoiled ourselves with a fun night out in a bar. Right after that fun evening we moved to a couchsurfing and spend a few more days there, talking about mental health to a lot of great people, some of them political activists like us. And then, just right in time, the sun came back, and we left the city exploring more of the countryside. Feeling a bit too lucky, reality was catching up with us again.
We decided to take some back roads which turned out to be covered with spikes from cotton plants (we did not even know before hat cotton has that sharp spikes). In one day, we had to fix 18 flats and obviously we did not come that far. We had to get a whole set of new inner tubes for Jan´s bike before we could proceed. Meanwhile, a friend we met in Thessaloniki caught up with and we cycled on together.
And the next days our group even grew more picking up another friend from the bike group. The next day, all the four of found ourselves in front of the border to Turkey 😊
Greece might not have been the most spectacular country we have been passing, not the country with the best wild camp spots and definitively not affordable if touring on a low budget. But it has been special in a different way – the first time since we started our tour, we made real friends. People we could rely on, people who accompanied us and people we will stay in touch with. For this, Greece will forever have a place in our hearts.