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Planos, Olympia and Tripoli

Day 1, Amsterdam -> Planos(Zakynthos)

The first day, everybody had to get up (very) early in order to take the flight from Schiphol to Zakynthos. I didn't know the airport could be that crowded at 04.15 in the morning, a lot of charters are leaving for sunny destinations. We took off in the rain but landed in the sunshine, a good start!

A dutch bird getting wet

The remainder of the day was spent around (and in) the hotel's swimming pool, relaxing and getting to know the (names of the) other people.

We had diner at Dennis' place, the first greek meal...

Day 2, Planos(Zakynthos) -> Olympia

Again an early start in order to take the first boat to Kilini. A quick breakfast in hotel Petros, and of we go.

Hotel Petros Trucks coming aboard in reverse

Since the boat has only one entrance, all big cars, trucks, and buses must get on the boat backwards. Then we're off; a last view on Zakynthos and one hour later, we arrive in Kilini.

Zakynthos Kilini harbor

This is vacation: lunch in Kouroutas on a terras near the beach, blue sea, blue sky. A nice church tower in Vounargo, and then there's the drink after the arrival in Olympia. It looks easy here, but the first steep hill near Chamadio is already behind us.

Lunch in Kouroutas Church tower of Vounargo Time for a drink in Olympia

Day 3, Olympia -> Langadia

When you're in Olympia, you have to visit the excavations and the museum. There's not much left to see ("just some eroded stones") but the museum gives you an idea of what it was like.

I don't understand how they manage to reconstruct a statue based on only 2 or 3 pieces, a lot of creative thinking I suppose :)

Puzzles in the museum Remains of the temple of Zeus Remains of the palestre

Having seen all that, it's time to get on the road to Langadia. Some hills in the beginning, a nice lunch in Taverna Bertza just before Dafni, and a 20km climb to end the day since the altitude of Langadia is ~1000m.

The European Economic Community is giving lots of money to Greece. Every 10kms there's a billboard informing the passers-by how many EEC Drachmes have been invested in roadwork.

It is good to see smooth roads without the famous greek potholes, but some of the charm has gone; the roads have doubled or sometimes even tripled in width, and bridges have been constructed where the old road followed the natural curves of the mountains. One wonders why all this is done, since on those new roads, you almost see more sheep, goats, and donkeys than cars; in some places, hours can go by without seeing a car...

When we arrive in Langadia, clouds have covered the sky and the rain starts to fall. After diner, some thunderstorms followed by a power failure. People seem to be used to it, since within minutes, candles appear in the local bar and in the hotel.

Lefkochori Langadia

Day 4, Langadia -> Tripoli

The power is restored while we're having breakfast, still a lot of clouds. Some rays of sunlight pierce through which results in beautiful views. Hard to catch on a photo though, the clouds are moving fast and everything changes before you even have a chance to stop your bike.

Langadia almost in the clouds

Early starters reached Dimitsana before the rain started pouring down, but rain or not, everybody needed some sunshine to warm up. Lots of vitamin C on the local market, the village is pretty busy.

Market in Dimitsana Coffee time!

We get a 15-minute shower while crossing the woods between Stemnitsa and Tripoli; the only time we got wet during this trip.

Tripoli, the provincial capital of the Peloponnesos, is situated on a plateau surrounded by 2000m high mountains (the city itself has an altitude of only 663m). The town looks nice from a distance.

Tripoli

It is a strange city though. One would expect that it is used to tourists but that doesn't seem to be the case. Not much to see or to do, and try finding a postcard that is less than 30 years old :-)


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