The ΕΡΤ / ERT TV weather forecaster last night proudly announced that this weekend was ‘το πρώτο Σάββατοκύριακο του καλοκαιριού’ – ‘the first weekend of the Summer‘.
I went in to Ερμούπολη / Ermoupoli this morning and was surrounded by Greeks all greeting each other with the popular phrase ‘Καλό Μήνα’ (effectively: Happy New Month) alongside the usual loud cries of ‘Καλημέρα’ (Good Morning) as they pass their friends in the street.
That’s why I’ve given today’s blog update a title which sounds extremely odd in English, but is a very common, idiomatic phrase in Greek.
Before I left Britian I said to the office I’d get a photo of me wearing my work shirt in each country I visit. I’ve not taken any yet, so – now that I’m on Syros at the Southernmost part of my journey – I took the first photo of me in my Plumbase top. Just to show the office that I’m thinking of them (and, dare I say it, not missing the daily routine at Fairford one bit: Would they mind if I stayed out there?).
In Ermoupoli I collected my tickets for tomorrow afternoon’s ferry, I had a walk around town, and I walked to the Βαπόρια / Vaporia district of Ermoupoli – making friends with the local cats along the way.
I spent longer in Ermoupoli than I had planned – It was almost lunch time by the time I left, and I very nearly just went back to my apartment for lunch. In the end I stuck to my original plan and went to the beach.
I drove to Δελφίνι / Delfini beach – this required a little bit of off-roading as the road there from Κίνι / Kini isn’t paved; the type of road the car-rental companies don’t let you drive on, but nothing my own car couldn’t cope with.
There was a slight breeze and it clouded over a little while I was at the beach but I still had plenty of chance to swim and sunbathe, and when the Sun went in I went to the beach-bar for some lunch.
I took the scenic route back to the apartment; I’d seen a viewpoint coming out of Ermoupoli on the way over so went back past that. To get back to Γαλησσάς / Galissas from there meant going through Πισκοπειό / Piskopeio. While the road was signed for Galissas I hadn’t realised this would mean another off-roading experience.
This time there was one casualty: My Italian telepass (the wireless device which lets me through the automatic toll gates and charges my UK bank account) fell off the windscreen. I managed to stick it back on when I stopped at the supermarket.
For my final night in Syros, I ate at the Savvas restaurant which had been favourite during our first holiday in Syros in 2013. I ordered a chicken souvlaki which was very good – I think the chicken had been marinated in something before cooking. Couldn’t quite work out what, but it had a tiny hint of spice in it.
Tomorrow the journey back home to Britain starts. Up until now I have been always driving South – but now the time has come to turn round and go North. Only a short distance tomorrow; I’ve got to be at the Port in time for a 16:00 departure.
So far I have been lucky to have largely avoided traffic the whole time I’ve been away. A few slow bits in Bavaria, particularly getting past Munich, but otherwise the last major hold up was the M25. This could all change tomorrow, when I come off the ferry and hit Piraeus and the coastal districts of Athens.
Monday sees me driving in more of Athens; The sat nav suggests that to get from Glyfada to Lefkada I drive back to Piraeus and get on the A1 motorway (briefly), but then come off the motorway and drive through the Western districts of Athens – Αιγάλεω / Aigaleo, Περιστέρι / Peristeri, Χαϊδάρι / Haidari, etc.
I think the road is effectively the Athenian version of the South Circular (London drivers will know what I mean by that). In some ways I am slightly nervous at the prospect of driving in Athens but in other ways not at all; If you can drive in Central London, you can drive anywhere.
Once clear of Athens the route is simple and is mainly done on 2 new motorways both opened in late 2017 – I need the A8 (Ολυμπία Οδός / Olympia Highway) as far as the Rio-Antirrio bridge, then I take the A5 (Ιονία Οδός / Ionian Highway) as far as Amfilochia; then the last 60km is on local roads – the motorway spur to Πρέβεζα / Preveza hasn’t yet been completed.
My last night in Greece will be spent in Lefkada on Monday night; then on Tuesday overnight I leave for Italy. My time in Greece is almost at an end. 🙁
It’s approaching midnight out here so I’m going to bed.
Today’s Mileage: 21
Accumulative Mileage: 2276.8