DAY 3 – GREECE – THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

It was so nice to sleep in a warm soft bed last night after the pain of the night before, we stopped off at Alexanderopolis and booked a cheap hotel( 30 Euro) for the night. We set off late today, around 08.30, the first item of business was to find a petrol station and fill the bike up, now, I had read on the Internet prior to this trip that obtaining petrol can be problematic in this area. Problematic is not a big enough word to describe how difficult it is to find this basic necessity, especially on a Sunday when 99% of them are closed all day !!

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After trying several petrol stations in what is a very large cosmopolitan town we eventually found one guy open, because the chain spray was left behind I bought a Litre of engine oil to smear on the chain daily. Back on the beautiful Greek roads, the speed limit here 130 KPH unless stated otherwise, progress was swift, the petrol was only 0.90 Euro per litre here, it’s 1.40 Euro in Turkey so today I did not care about MPG. Around lunch time it was hunt for petrol again, there are no petrol stations at all on the E 90 A2 from Kesan in Turkey to the roads end, 600 KM away on the Western shores of Greece. There are not many junctions either, sometimes 40 KM apart, so you really have to calculate your petrol, on this occasion we were lucky, the first village we found after coming of the motorway had petrol so we stayed a while for lunch and to oil my chain.

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Even at a steady 110 KM heavily laden, with over taking bursts to 140 KPH the old girl was giving me 60 MPG, late afternoon the weather suddenly changed from perfect sunny bike weather to a thunder storm within 20 minutes, it was also hunt petrol time again, we were unlucky on this occasion.

We pulled off the motorway at the first junction but could not find any petrol despite a 50KM search of several villages, I turned back on to the motorway and had to travel another 35 KM before the next junction, we tried three villages in both directions, but no petrol again. I calculated it would only be a matter of minutes before the old girl started to cough and splutter, I pulled in to yet another closed petrol station as the heavens opened, it was now time to use my reserve can that I have carried all the way from Turkey that my friends said I would never need….Internet research said otherwise!

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We stayed under the shelter at the petrol station for half an hour or so smoking a few ciggies until the rain passed over, I put the 3 Litres in from my reserve can giving me a search range of 70KM to find more of the precious juice. This would be a good business opportunity for someone in Greece, build a petrol station that’s open !! When the rain abated we rejoined the motorway and came off again at the next junction only 30KM distance, and YES !!!! An open petrol station…..The relief, the joy, it was almost sexual. Basking in the afterglow we decided to have something to eat at the adjoining cafe, this is when the day started to go badly.

 We had a very nice chicken thing and four large coffees, about 10 Euro. Linda, paranoid about my navigation decided to ask around the people in the cafe about my simple, stick to the E 90 A2,  almost all  the way  route plan to Albania, “Cut through the mountains” she was told, “It’s much quicker”

Despite my many objections about storms, petrol, maps and 200KMs over a high mountain range, in the interests of a quiet life (married men will understand) I gave in, and armed with no mountain road maps and a few village names scribbled on Linda’s hand, we set off deep inland.

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 All went very well for the first hour and a half untill the English road signs started to dry up in the more remoter parts and we ran out of village names scribbled on Linda’s hand, a while later I began to grow concerned, I spotted a group of bikers just leaving a cafe, I stopped and asked “Is this the road to Albania” When they finished laughing (I took this to be a bad sign) they said “Yes, but NO”   It transpires that, yes the road we have been sent on goes to Albania, but it’s not a border crossing point, the correct border crossing roads are either where I wanted to go in the first place or another 180KMs back into Greece……BUGGER!!

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 We had a map meeting at the rear of my bike then moved inside to an Internet cafe to make a map from here to where we should have been 180 KM away, the printer in the Internet cafe did not work, so we sat and swapped bike stories for an hour or so over coffee, Sakis, Dakis and George were very concerned that we were contemplating Albania given the terrible stories they new about that had befallen some travelers through Albania. The suggestion was that we load up with extra fuel in Greece before we cross the border and stop for nothing……Hmm…I too have read some bad stuff on the Internet about Albania,Serbia and Kosavo, do we really need to add unnecessary risk to ourselves, perhaps a rethink !!

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They were truly very helpful and knowledgeable, they arranged a free campsite for us for the night through their bike club www.motodiadromes.wordpress.com We have arranged to meet up on our return to Greece in a few weeks, this time we are just blasting through because we will explore and visit Athens on our return.

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We said goodbye to the guys after discussing bikes again for another hour at the campsite.

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I can whole heartedly recommend the double tent concept against the rain.

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~ by travelswithmymotorbike on May 4, 2009.

12 Responses to “DAY 3 – GREECE – THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS”

  1. The BMW R1200GS Adventure has a 30l fuel tank…..Obviously designed for Thrace on a Sunday.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Nikos,

      Yes, thats just the bike for Greece on a Sunday, thanks for the kind comment..

      Cheers

      Dave…

  2. ΠΑΙΔΙΑ ΕΙΜΟΥΝ ΚΑΙ ΓΩ ΑΛΛΑ ΛΙΓΟ ΠΡΗΝ ΤΟ ΑΡΓΟΣ ΟΡΕΣΤΙΚΟ ΕΦΥΓΑ ΓΙΑΤΙ ΗΧΑ ΔΟΥΛΕΙΑ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΔΑ.ΜΠΡΑΒΩ ΣΑΣ…

    • Hi Dimitris,

      My Greek is a bit rusty, I dont know what it says but thanks for taking the time to comment, its always welcome..

      Cheers

      Dave..

  3. http://moto-gim.blogspot.com

  4. hi David ı just started to read your trip. That is soo nice.
    I am more excited to make my trip now.

    • Hi Teo,

      Glad your aboard, we are in Spain now, it is hard to find internet cafes over here…and sooo expensive 7Lira an hour !!!!!

    • Hi Teo,

      We are in Greece now, should be back in a week after we go to Istanbul, I hope there is a coffe waiting for us in your office..

      Cheers

      Dave…

  5. Thats a really touching story, it just goes to show that there are some decent people out there after all. You would never think in this day and age that petrol would be hard to find.

    James

    • Hi James,

      The brotherhood of bikers is alive and well, Sakis, Dakis and George were great !!

      Cheers

      Dave..

  6. It was a good idea using engine oil for the chain and then strapping the bottle out of the way on the crash bars.

    J

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