I was impressed with the breakfast in Glyfada this morning – A buffet breakfast and I had a little bit of everything; bread with ham and cheese, a slice of feta, bougatsa, a chocolate croissant, and a slice of cake.
I checked out of the hotel not long after breakfast. I wasn’t sure or not whether to go in to Athens itself on the bus or not. I had my ATH.ENA card (which is a bit like an Athenian Oyster card) with me so I could have done; but on reflection I decided it would take up too much time. I wanted to be on the road by 11. Besides, I was in Athens only 6 months ago and I’ll be back again before too long.
So I settled instead for a walk along the beach at Glyfada before getting in the car and getting on the road.
The journey from Glyfada had essentially 3 stages: First stage was to get clear of Athens. Thankfully the Athenian traffic wasn’t as scary as Piraeus had been the evening before; I sailed through. There were a couple of moments when I just wanted to beep the horn to express my extreme dissatisfaction at the actions of the driver in front…but I resisted tempation. I might be picking up some Greek driving habits but I’m not that Greek. (Does my horn even work? I’ve never had to use it! I wonder what it sounds like!)
Before I knew it I was on the A8 motorway. Almost as soon as I got there the traffic disappeared. It was like flicking a switch. One minute I was in a 3 lane Athenian traffic jam and 5 minutes later I was in 6th gear zipping along an empty motorway.
I stopped at Κόρινθος / Korinthos (Corinth), perhaps a little more than an hour after I’d left Glyfada, for some lunch and to have a look at the Corinth Canal.
Last week when I was on the motorway there were no tolls, due to the EU elections – but today the tolls were operational again and I came up with what I think is an excellent system to aid sorting all the coins out as quickly as possible while I’m approaching the toll booth.
€1 and €2 coins in one of the cup holders; €0,50 and €0,20 coins in another; and €0,10 in another. So as I approached the toll booth I could just reach for the coins I wanted easily and quickly – This was important because one of the side effects of driving an English car abroad is that I hold up traffic a little bit while I get out the car and walk round to the window of the toll booth; pay and take the reciept, get back in the car and set off again.
My system made progress through the tolls very efficient although I think my €0,10 pile might also have Turkish Lira and Norweigan Kronor mixed in with it as well.
The motorway A8 goes all the way from Athens to Patra now. The last time I did this journey the motorway stopped just beyond Corinth; Now it has been extended all the way to Patra – Just before Patra it links up with the Γέφυρα Ρίου-Αντιρρίου (Rio-Antirrio Bridge) – It costs €13,50 to drive across that!
Then after that I’m on the A5 – another new motorway in Greece which felt like it was deserted; I am not used to being the only customer in an entire motorway service station.
I came off the motorway near Αμφιλοχία / Amfilochia – Eventually a new motorway will link from here to Preveza and the airport at Aktio – but for now, the motorway number which they’ve given it is signed but then crossed out. So the last 30 miles or so were done on local roads.
It started raining as I came out of Amfilochia – lightly at first but it steadily became heavier until by the time I got to the bridge linking Lefkada to the mainland, my wipers were on their full speed setting and I still couldn’t really see!
I had to wait before crossing the bridge on to Lefkada; It is a floating bridge and they had moved the bridge out the way to allow boats to pass through the narrow channel between the island and the mainland.
Driving through Lefkada itself was certainly interesting; The main road was more like a river – Passable with care. Perhaps the weather is preparing me for my next island hopping adventure – That will be when I drive to the Outer Hebridges in August. A world away from Greece!
The change in the weather meant I had gone from 28 degrees, clear skies, Sunny in Glyfada; when I filled up with petrol in Athens I was greeted with a very cheerful: «Καλημέρα, καλή εβδομάδα, καλό καλοκαίρι» (Good morning/week/Summer) to being greeted with Καλό χειμώνα (= Good winter) in Lefkada.
Not long after I got out the car the rain stopped and, while still overcast, it was at least looking a bit brighter. Having spent all my cash on the motorway I needed some money so I drove back in to town to find an ATM before returning to Lygia for dinner.
I ate at one of the restaurants we’ve really liked when staying here before – I ate at Maki’s and, as it was my last night in Greece (but not my last meal – I’ll have a good meal in Sivota before I go to get the ferry on Tuesday night) – I had a starter as well as a main course.
Tomorrow – my last day in Greece but not too far to travel. The sat nav suggests it should take about 2 hours to make the 125km (78 mile) journey to Igoumenitsa.
I will probably stop in Sivota on the way and maybe I might go in to Preveza itself. I’ve got all day, and the forecast is for it to be cloudy most of the morning so the morning at least will not be a beach morning which is a shame. I’m still wearing my shorts though – I’m on holiday!
I don’t know if I’ll get another chance to write a blog for a couple of days now – I probably won’t have chance tomorrow and on the ferry I’ll leave the laptop in the car so it might be Thursday now before I post again.
I’m off to bed.
Today’s Mileage: 240
Accumulative Mileage: 2532.2