Eastern Greece, baby fish and a very long day.

We headed off towards the main roads, with our new desire to visit Halkidiki driving us forward. We rode down the first prong of Halkidiki and immediately ran out of petrol. Just made it on reserve to the petrol station though- our luck was really in that day what with bears and all.

We spotted our first snake, about a meter long, but with its head squashed as though someone had run it over on purpose.

The prong was fairly pretty, but possibly not quite as beautiful as expected. We rode through a strange deserted tourist resort with a few rich Greeks eating over-priced fish in a beach-side restaurant- one place had a fish dish for 65 Euro. We got sneered at for only ordering coffee, and the coffee itself was undrinkable, with the grains lurking in the bottom. It was possible a very refined way to drink coffee, but I am of the Nescafe school, and I took a gulp and had to discreetly spit. It transpired we weren’t going to be able to afford restaurant food in Greece either, and we found a tiny corner shop where the lovely owner gave us a cup of her own sugar for free.

We rode down more steep dirt tracks with the bike fully loaded, and I had to get off to ease the load, leaving me to wander on my own through slightly sinister forest. We rode into a very pretty turtle reserve, and camped there for the night on a cliff edge, looking out over incredibly clear water with reefs underneath.

it helps to set the tent up when its still light.  maybe one day we will learn this.
A bright green scarab beetle got obsessed with my hair and flew back and back to sit in it.

a friendly green beetle.  he likes my hair.
our turtle reserve camping spot
poppies by our heads...
The next morning we rode round the bottom of Halkidiki, where there were horrible tourist resorts with old English couples in indecent swimwear posing in bakeries, and enthusiastic sausage sales-women. Ate veggie burgers on the beach, cooked up in the frying pan from frozen (slimy and reformed), and Adam went for a very very cold swim in the amazingly blue sea. I dipped myself in too eventually, until I spotted two jellyfish and we legged it.
adam in freezing cold water.

We found a slightly miserable campsite where the owner tried to overcharge us, and decided to keep going, hoping for somewhere better… Carried on to Thessaloniki. It was a smegpit, horrendously congested. We got very lost at rush hour, with no map and no way out.(Looking back it might have been quite a good place, but not when tired and looking to camp. There appeared to be lots of students revolting about something, with marijuana stickers and political slogans everywhere.) We eventually made it out of Thessaloniki by the ingenious method of driving in one direction until the town stopped existing, and then trying to work out where we were.

Where we were was nowhere, and we rode on and on and on, stopping at a Russian-owned kantina van selling only meat, where a Greek woman managed to translate for us and get us two enormous coffees and a plate of dredged up chips. We were tired and smelly, but everyone was lovely and waved when we left. We rode on later and later through sparse and unpopulated Eastern Greece, to a strange thermal spa resort, entirely abandoned, with one woman sweeping an empty street. It was an eerie, empty place.

We got provisions from a friendly shop-keeper on the way who told us of a campsite further down the road. We were relieved and slightly recovered with this news, and rocked up to the strange German tourist resort down the road to discover all the campsites were closed until June…

We considered beach-sleeping, but it was the 5th day without washing, and the next day was Adam’s birthday, so we knocked on doors in town and found us an apartment (in German) for 30 Euro a night with a odd Greek girl who had studied in Berlin and seemed to love me a bit too much. She lived above in a dark mahogany furniture apartment, and fed me chocolate when we left whilst telling me her life-story. We were very happy to arrive though absolutely knackered, and sat watching Saving Private Ryan whilst eating pasta.

I made us a horrendous lunch, and we tried to go out for a meal for Adam’s birthday. The restaurant below us was a fish restaurant, so we thought we would try our luck. The starter was promising, mostly. The main meal turned out to consist of 4 miniature, entirely whole, entirely dead fish, with their eyelids battered shut but their eyes intact beneath. The only other thing on the plate was a small piece of soggy lettuce. We mourned the dead fish looking up at us, and then, as the only diners in the restaurant, realized we had to eat it. We both ate them all, watched over by several curious locals and the chef, and ran away, in shock.

On leaving the resort the next day, I noticed a nice, open campsite and several promising eateries 2km down the road…

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