Greece sits on the edge of Europe and attracts many immigrants from the east. Some legal, but only ‘some’. Not all the immigrants that pass through Greece stay in Greece though, the country is used as a gateway for the rest of Europe. I read in the news recently that Greece has asked the EU for help with its illegal immigration problem as it feels it shares an uneven burden due to its geographical location.
Walking down the streets of Athens the level of immigration becomes patently clear, some streets are only populated by Pakistanis and, I assume, Indians. It was rather surprising at times to walk from an ancient Greek icon to a nearby street selling eastern spices, fabrics and, that modern Asian stereotype; mobile phones and cheap and fake consumer electronics. Continue reading Athens, Greece and immigrants→
Reaching the outskirts of Athens, the point where traffic slows to a crawl, happens many kilometers from the center, wherever that is. Athens sprawls out in every direction, completely swallowing small towns, and the center covers a large and indefinable area north of the Acropolis. As we cycled into heavy traffic and perimeter districts our pace slowed dramatically. Moments ago we were racing down a beautiful mountainside lined with conifer trees and smart villas. Now we had come to a halt as the single entry road of the decent gave way to a maze of side streets, dead ends and turnings left wanting of sign posting. Continue reading The maze of Athens→
I still have to write a post lauding Kos. We had much fun there. It’s a beautiful island with a rich history and fantastic beaches. But for now this is just a quick update to say that we’re currently pushing our way north through Turkey to Istanbul. We’re cycling long days but the terrain is tough. There are hot dry hills in every direction and the road network leaves much to be desired. Finding wi-fi remains difficult. Even internet cafes here don’t have wi-fi, just cubicles with old computers and no where to keep the bikes safe whilst we use them.
Our experience of Turkey is good overall though, the people are friendly and generous. This morning I earned 4 home grown cucumbers for pumping up a guys wheelbarrow, and we’ve met plenty of welcoming strangers.
Anyway, that’s all for now. We have to do visa research for Australia before leaving town to find a camp spot. We’re currently in Soke, south of Izmir.
After leaving our hosts in Macedonia feeling bright and refreshed we headed onto the motorway that I had read was fine for cycling on. As it happens it was. We shot down the slip-road, still unsure of what exactly to expect, braced ourselves for the gushing wind of passing lorries and onslaught of car horns and then, nothing… the three lane road, complete with a deep shoulder, was silent. A car would pass, sitting in the middle lane, followed by a lorry in the far lane, a good 7 or 8 meters away from us and so we pushed on. We carved a line straight south through the heart of Macedonia. The beautifully maintained road took us through the mountains and down into huge dry plains, the scenery was spectacular and we made very good progress. Occasionally there would be a water fountain at the side of the road. Once when we stopped to fill our bottles a Swedish couple in a camper-van ran over and shoved
The internet doesn’t seem to have caught on in Greece. Even Serbia was better connected than the island of Evia. Only my phone can access this crusty old router I’m using to post this text, the laptop and Kindle repeatedly fail so posts are becoming backlogged. I’ll try for a better connection in Athens in a few days. I’m doubly frustrated because I’ve bought some books on beekeeping for the Kindle, via my phone, but I can’t download them to the Kindle itself. I assume they’re just floating in cyber space sullenly looking for my little electronic reader. Bzzz.
I’ve already tried to write a post on Sarajevo once and utterly failed to capture a sense of what I love about the city. Most of our time there was spent in awe of the intangible quality created by a number of small finds. After all that’s how memory seems to work, patching together a series of highlight events, discoveries and moment’s of clarity. Sarajevo has many interesting things lurking in its narrow streets that you can commit to memory but is also has its share of frustrations.
In the morning, shortly after sunrise, the Sarajevans lethargically emerge from their city flats and slowly, over the course of a few hours, begin to populate the Turkish cafes. If they do eat in the mornings it happens out of sight and before they venture outside. In Sarajevo cafes don’t serve food and venues selling burek, which is the only choice of breakfast food, don’t serve coffee. So to summarise you can either smoke and drink coffee, or, for proper sustenance, dine on burek alone and without so much as a yogurt. Continue reading Sarajevo – it takes time…→
Ultralight Cycle Touring and Fully Loaded Bicycle Travel