Greece, lesson 2! Kourouta to Olympia

Another great ride, with more serendipities. It was an early start from Kourouta and along the beautiful sea front it was deliciously cool! Whereas this side of Katakolo was a well developed seaside resort, the other side, just south of Pyrgos was in a sad state of disrepair and neglect, with empty shells of villas amongst other simple and what would have been grand dwellings.
I asked my way from a nice man with a gun…. He was only after birds! Another man though, said he stayed at home with his gun because of his fear of being robbed. The road disappeared in broken tarmac onto beach, so it was time to turn around and head for Pyrgos… I had hoped to stay on the minor roads, but as it turned out, it was just perfect.
At major junctions with sign posts in Greek I stop and take my time! As I looked around, the angels had planted a bright shiny irresistible bike shop behind me!! In I went and was given such an enthusiastic and warm welcome! Not only that, but they spotted that my chain had done its best and was now seriously finished. A quick replacement and loads of really helpful details on the next leg of the route, which only local cyclists can accurately provide.
They didn’t charge for the labour.
THANK YOU GUYS IN ‘PLANET CYCLING’ Pyrgos . Your generosity and enthusiasm recharged my batteries. Aren’t they gorgeous!! (see pics)
More good luck to follow. Hopes dampened at the locked gates of a campsite in Olympia, after a late afternoon steep climb, so I headed for the Tαβερνα (tavern) and met Erica, a lovely Swedish woman gave me oranges and directions to my current plot, in camping Diana.
The elderly proprietor is called θοκιδεδες (Thoukeededes) and his learned introduction went like this ” history begins and ends with Touseededes! I quote Nietzsche ” he said, and described the history of the Spartan wars of the Peloponnese and then continued to enlighten me with the roots of Potheelato… The Greek for bike… pod – by foot; Lato – movement.
He and his wife Lea have been running this spotless, solar powered site for over 30 years and are humbly so pleased that I am staying for 2 nights. ” It is better for us ”
I am building myself up for a 40 k climb (2000feet over 40k) starting Monday, and going ever so slowly.
I confess to being nearly in tears the other day, thinking I had obviously bitten off more than I could chew. It is moments like this when friendly unexpected human contact and encouragement seem to fall into my lap and bring me round. I found just such company in a lovely seaside cafe in Dhouneika, which got off to a gorgeous start because of a discreet picture I had painted of one of the wonderful characters at a table there. I found myself sharing the nature of the journey and this too, revives me. Not only that, the company included a keen cyclist who was so supportive and encouraging about the hills. The generosity of the waiter moved me to tears. “I give you tomatoes and water and dessert” only accepting payment for my main course.
This weekend though, I shall just gently explore the ancient sites, maybe do some painting, catch up with the blog (thanks to an abundance of wi-fi facilities) and enjoy the festivities of Greek National Day on Sunday.

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I think traditional shepherding is very sensible……

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