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Best of Greece

Monday, June 13, 2022 | William Wilde / Paul Kustermann | Europe

Meteora. One of the most iconic sites of the hellenistic mainland.

Arrival in Athens

Everyone has arrived safely in Athens and are eager and ready to go on the BOG (Best of Greece) 2021. Welcome everybody!

First a little briefing on the trip, the country and its culture.

First Riding Day: Athens to Arachova

We head out from the Hotel but have to drop by BMW Hellas to pick up a bike for our Journalist from Rider magazine (Greg Drevenstedt). After a bit of a delay we head out into the Athens monday morning traffic - its horrible! But after a few KM's we can get off the motorway and start head out into the more mountainous countryside. We skirt along the coast by the Bay of Corinth. The air smells of pine trees and it starts to get a bit cooler as we climb up away from the city. 

Greg and Carrie enjoying the view over the Gulf of Corinth....
.... As are Ken and Eveline
Bob has a much bigger camera than I!!
It's so peaceful up here. Just the sound of the birds....
Next stop is Osios Loukas monastery.
Refreshments are self service here!!
Ronnie is working on her tan....
.... And an artistic photo shoot
Last stop of the day is Delphi. We arrive just at the right time. Its turned slightly cooler and the tourist buses have gone
The views here are spectacular...
.... the history even more impressive
Delphi. Home of the famous oracle. Historical landmark of western culture.
Tourguide performs his famous disappearing leg routine...
Our hotel in Arachova

Day 2: Arachova to Kalyvia

"Red sky at morning, sales take warning." Seems deceiving. For all appearances it is a beautiful beginning of a wonderful day.
A shady Plaza and a welcomed pause as the day begins ro warm. Round of coffees and an overeager waiter. This is Greek hospitality.
Until lunchtime, still good weather and some good food for body and soul.
A stork nest with fresh young fledglings provide an interesting distraction.
Then as we climb into the mountains our luck begins to change. Dark brooding skys bode rain and storm
There's no such thing as bad weather, if you've got the right clothing.
After some troubles with a tipp-over and a bit of battling with the weather, we finally make it to a remote mountain village with one lone taberna that can offer us a coffee.
Nearing our lodging for the night
Home at last
At the end of a hard riding day nothing beats a cold boot beer!!
Red sky at night, sailor's delight. A grueling long day comes to a gratifying end.

Day 3: Kalyvia to Metsovo

Early morning and the air is still a lillte damp from the previous afternoon rain. But its great once we start riding as its nice and cool. We wind along real tiny little roads until the stone bridge at Pyli. After that we get better conditions and some nice long sweepers, just have to be careful about some rock debris on the road. We picnic at Meteora then go to see the Monasteris from a distance. its truly spectacular. We ride to Metsovo, get caught in rain, but the last goat tracks to the hotel get us there safely.

It's 7:30am. The sun is shining, sky is blue and we have a wonderful view over lake Platsira. Today we are riding to Metsovo.
In its time the bridge at Pyli was the only way to cross the river for 400 years
Group photo with the Pindus mountains in the background
Simply stunning views of the monasteries of Meteora

Day 4: Rest day Metsovo

"Rest days" on an Edelweiss tour could easily be part of greek mythology. Today we are riding to the Zagori region of North greece, famous for both its stone bridges and inaccessibility. In the early morning the skies are stll grey from the overnight wind and rain, but there is a glimmer of hope in the distance. By the time we set off the clouds have disappeared and the sun is shining, but it is still very windy.

Parking available in front of the church!
Riding down these cobbles probably wasnt the greatest idea!!
Our coffee stop
Its very rural here. Very quiet and peaceful with hardly anyone around.
Ken and Eveline are loving the views here

Day 5: Metsovo to Lefkada

Cows on the Road. We learn to expect the unexpected...

Day 7: Rest day Vytina

At 7:30am on a Sunday morning nothing much stirs in Vytina. Its cooler up here in the mountains but the sky is clear blue, the sun is shining and you know its going to be a scorcher. Today we are riding to Ancient Olympia, home of the Olympic games.

Very quiet in the main square
The honeysuckle is in full blossom and its pungent aroma fills our nostrils are we head down towards Olympia.
Temple of Zeus
Entrance to the stadium
Plenty of people in the stadium today!
Temple of Hera
The Palaistra. Atheletes used to train here for wrestling
This was originally a Greek bath house.....
..... that was then converted into a wine factory. Great idea!!
After visiting Olympia we stop for lunch.
View from the restaurant.
As we drive back to Vytina.....
Theres more great views to be had......

Day 8: Vytina to Areopoli

Today we are riding to Areopoli. First we drive down towards Megalopoli, a not so quant town built around a lignite mine, and stop for a quick coffee the. Then it's onward to Sparta to see Leonidas's statue. From the we cross the beautiful Langada pass and head for Kalamata on the coast where we break for lunch. From there its a relativle short hop along the coast to our destination, Areopoli

Looking down towards Megalopoli. In the distance you can see the Power station the town is built around.
One of the thousands of roadside shrine found all over Greece
Coffee stop in Megalopoli

At the statue of Leonidas. We'll make Spartan warriors of this lot yet!!!!!!
More cows on the road...
Top of the Langada Pass
Lunch stop on the beach at Kalamata
... and after arriving in Areopoli a swim in the Ionian sea
Finishing off the day with a picture perfect sunset
9:30pm and Areopoli is still full of people sitting outside eating and drinking.
It's a quaint little town

Day 9: Areopoli to Monemvasia

When we get up in the morning the sun is hidden behind the moutains still. But by 9am it's already crept above them and it's warming up. Today we have a shortish ride to Agios Stefanos. I'm looking forward to this as last time it was done in the rain! We meander through the winding mountain roads and then its on and up until we stop for coffee in Lagia. So far it's been breathtaking. After coffee we head down to the port of Gythio and then on to lunch by the wreck of the Dimitros. Then on to Agios Stefanos and Monemvasia where we will explore on our rest day tomorrow. 

Dave outside the Diros caves
It's actually warmer inside than expected!
The abandoned town of Vathia
We stop for coffee....
.... opposite the Church.
and find this beautiful interior
Wreck of the Dimitros
Picnic by Paul
Yoram couldn`t wait to get to the beach!!
Kinsterna Hotel

Day 10: Restday Monemvasia

Today we head to explore Monemvasia. The taxi picks us up at 10am, the sun is shining and we know its going to be another scorcher. As we enter the archway into Monemvasia it affords us some shade and the chance to cool off a little. Then we head inside the walls to explore the lower town. It's very pretty and very historic. Mid morning we stop for some well deserved refreshments and then head down to Gefira for lunch by the docks. It's a nice relaxing day, which is great, because tomorrow we are riding 300km to Nafplio.

Dave at the lighthouse
Lower town view from upper town
Rainwater ran down this rock face into the cistern
The rainwater cistern in the uppoer town.
Upper town entrance
Lower town square
Lunch stop at the port

Day11: Monemvasia to Nafplio

Today we leave the idyllic luxury and peacefulness of our Kinsterna Hotel and Monemvasia. Its our penultimate day of riding and our mission is to find a secret road that doesn't even appear on Google or other maps for that matter.  We stop for a coffee in Kyparissi after meandering our way through the mountains - it's well deserved. Then we depart and after a couple of Km's there it is - the secret road, winding along the coast, with a great surface, awesome twisties and no traffic to talk of. This 25km stretch of road makes our day and puts broad grins on our faces. After a quick lunch stop on the beach at Tiros we make our way to Nafplio for a gelato and then on to our hotel for the night.

Rest day is over. A briefing for thes new day.
Two of our guests had their anniversary yesterday and we sent them off with a flourish.
Bye bye to the lovely orchards and gardens of Kinsterna Hotel.
Coffee stop
This is Greece liked one imagines it... unlike all the mountains and forests and lakes and wildlife that have surprised us all along thw way.
It's a hot day today! So Greg and Bob decided to cool their tootsies off!!
Nafplio harbour

Day 12: Nafplio to Athens

A beautiful morning in Napflio at our wonderful country inn up in the hills...
Who wants to see another monumental landmark of the cradle of civilization...? All agreed. So we start of on our final ride of the trip where two more highlights await us...
EPADAURUS Ampfitheater... purportedly the most perfectly constructed in all the ancient world!
Dave orating for the gathered throngs.
Then a beautiful lunch at the coast....
And on to the Corinthian canal before high-tailing it home to Athens where we began two weeks ago.
A final dinner together and giving out some awards for special achievements. Then it's off to their respite drive homelands for all our guests. Thanks folks. It eas a memorable trip and we'r hope to see you all again one day.
Cheers from William and Paul
ADDENDUM: the Greeks even solved the world's most confounding quantum: how to fit a round peg in a square hole ;0)


Here is a collection of phots taken by our journalist colleague Greg Devenstedt

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Add a comment Rate this post
Friday, June 3, 2022 at 08:27

Our wonderful guides, William and Paul, led us on some of the most eemote, untraveled technical roads, I’ve ridden, and to excellent authentic tavernas throughout the trip.
It was great getting to know all the people on the tour, we had a lot of fun n both on and off the bikes.
Thank you for a great adventure!
David Sanders
Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 19:30

What a fabulous tour this was. Wonderful people, challenging roads, and great food - it couldn't have been better. Our intrepid guides led us to some of Greece's most famous historic sites, but the roads we took to get to them are roads that most tourists will never use. The tour could not have been better and I'll be doing it again in the near future with my wife.
Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 21:41

Love the blog posts and photos from our intrepid guides Paul and William! Each day is perfectly captured. We loved getting to know our fellow riders and getting to know Greece. Fantastic trip 5 flower rating!!!
William Wilde
Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 21:54

Hey Carrie. Great to get to know you and Greg (and all the other riders of course!). Looking forward to your article in the fall


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