62km Meteora to Mega Eleftherochori
Our day was a fairly ordinary one until early in the afternoon when a red pickup truck ground to a halt beside us, as we were walking up a large hill. First a stream of Greek came from the driver, a short, dark-haired man in his 40s, followed by a smattering of German. The usual questions followed and then we asked about a cafe in the next town. We’ve gotten hooked on iced coffees and were craving one as we pushed our bikes in the hot sun. Immediately the invitation came to have drinks with our host. At first we tried to politely refuse but there was a certain twinkle in the eye of this man that we couldn’t resist so – for the first time so far on this trip – we allowed our bikes to be loaded into a vehicle and rushed a few kilometers up to the village sitting on the peak of the hill.
The ride itself was rather funny: us with our two bikes, all in the back of the pickup truck (something that would be illegal in Canada), flying up a hill and around bends, bracing to steady ourselves for each curve. When we got to the cafe we realised we hadn’t just been invited for drinks.
Our friend was in fact the owner of the cafe and proceeded to shower us not only with coffee but ouzo, beers, sparkling water, two types of vodka, tequila and hot chocolate. Thankfully this was spread out through the afternoon and evening and was also accompanied by several plates of cheese, meat, salad, popcorn and a pizza. In between all the food and drinks, we took a little trip into the hills to see a view over the area and also the many types of farms. Ostrich, turkeys and wild pigs are all being raised here as well as the more usual sheep and goats.
In Niko, we must have found the most generous man in Greece because in addition to all of these treats he insisted that we stay the night in the bar, turned up at 8am to cook us breakfast and stuffed our panniers with fruit, coffee mix and ouzo before we left. He also tried to give us a wooden chess set but that one we had to leave behind! We were sad to leave and also wished we’d known more Greek so that we could have communicated better with him.