Spain - Portugal

June 2017

Part 1: Greece - Italy - Spain

It's hot. I mean Very hot. On the road once more for some new thousands of km. Halfway from Athens to Patra a friend calls me. Long time no talk so he asks me how I'm doing. I respond:

"I am at the tolls on my way to Portugal mate"

You should have seen the face of the lady handing me the change listening to me saying that to my well hidden bluetooth helmet intercom. A couple of hundreds of sweaty km later I arrive at Patra. At the fuel station I find out why my instrument panel was too shaky on the highway. I lost one of the two bolts that hold the front subframe. I find a repair shop and the mechanic hands me a spare bolt. A super sweet guy. Maybe my overloaded bike causes merciful feelings (when it doesn't trigger awe). I make it to the port of Patra. Immigrants everywhere. Coast guard pushes them back. A couple of them hide behind my bike till they're chased again. I drive off. At the queue of the vehicles a German car driver is too upset to see me filtering the traffic and does his best to cut me off. Yeah right...bye babe. Even the coast guards tell bikers to do so since there's no space to hide an immigrant on a bike therefore no reason to wait. At the end of the queue another German camper is too wide to leave space for me so I patiently wait till they check him out. With smile he opens the whole vehicle to the guys. He turns to me with a bigger smile. I smile back a bit wondering why all this "comradery" till I see he's got lots of biker stickers on his camper. There you go...;)

I enter the ferry, the sea is very calm, the cabin's mattresses are too bad, I had to ask them for soap since they didn't have any in the cabin and they claim that they run out of shampoo, I bitch on MINOAN LINES but lately they're all the same crap (under the same GRIMALDI group) and another long trip begins. Most western point and the highest road in Europe are included and waiting for me!

Leaving Greece behind, Patra's port is just lost in the horizon

The ferry trip is rather pleasant on such calm conditions and I take the chance to picture pat of the Greek coastline from the deck:

Impossible to miss the sunset on cases like this:

A day later, I experience hot 'n wet at full intensity but not adding any pleasure at all when she's a city - Ancona in this case. Especially since I arrive on a 2 hours late ferry and even worse been kicked out of my cabin 4+ hours earlier by the crew to clean up. The "I don't give an ef about customer service" at its best. Hot and dull day, makes me fall in love with the cool tunnels on my way to Civitavecchia. After a good night sleep there here I am next (early) morning queuing for the next ferry to take me to Barcelona:

As the ferry leaves the port I take a last picture of bella Italia - see you a few weeks later:

The ferry to Barcelona is one more annoying trip offered by GRIMALDI - they own almost all Meditarenean now. Useless mattresses, no space in the shower unless you have the size of Rihanna, 1.4 euros for the smallest bottle of water and the list goes on. No alternatives unfortunately means no competition so they cut all corners possible.

On top of the above, the ferry was flooded by school kids and as you can imagine it wasn't the best back to back ferry trip I could have. Due to port's traffic there is an additional delay which forces me to contact me airbnb host. Unfortunately he tells me he couldn't wait as he had to leave his place. No English from him (that's Spain) and poor signal onboard didn't help but somehow we arrange that he'd leave the keys under a flower pot. When I finally arrive at Barcelona it's already dark, I have to drive some extra 10s of km West of the city and I find my Airbnb where I am welcomed by two barking dogs around an hour before midnight with the last drops of fuel in my tank. Still Greek fuel - a large tank and two ferries can take you from Balkan to Iberian peninsula on a single tank! I take a shower and then I dropped dead on the bed.

Next morning, I step into the kitchen for some breakfast and I get a better view of what I rented, including its pool:

No don't envy με - that's a very shallow one and much dirtier than it looks. I wouldn't risk taking a dip but my muscles begged me to do so and I do them this favour. (A few days later I got pimples all over my face that escorted me for a week.)

I pack my stuff and jump on my bike - next destination: Valencia. Rather pleasant weather. Or at least less hot than I expected. Funny but on my way I met a river with same name as ours in Greece (Evros) which also has a "delta" like ours does. I pictured its beautiful bridge:

Puente Colgante Amposta

The day gets hotter around noon and it's time like this that a couple of trees can offer you a heavenly break:

I arrive at Valencia and meet my next Airbnb host. A friendly guy in his 60s. Takes me to his place, I leave my stuff at my bedroom and just by sitting on the bed it feels like it would swallow me. Beyond worn. I don't hesitate to take my bike and explore the city a bit as I didn't have much time in my hands - what a beautiful one! Have a look:

Short break for something funny - when painters pay attention to detail:

Let's continue with the beauty - lots of nice parks around:

The spirit of Calatrava is all around:

The above impressive creation is the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. Deserves some more:

Here's Science Museum:

The venue of Agora:

And a panoramic of the long local beach that I didn't have the time to try:

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