88km Thessaloniki to New Vrasna Beach

A lonely fishing boatWhat is it about cities that makes them so hard to get out of on a bike? Urban planners in Thessaloniki obviously never considered that anyone would want to leave their fair city by the sea with anything that doesn’t have a motor. Our pedal-powered flight from Thessaloniki started with busy and bumpy roads, covered in tar patchwork, and another stretch on a motorway. We gazed longingly at service roads alongside the motorway, which looked much more appealing to us but were completely inaccessible. An hour later and not so many kilometers down the road, we finally emerged on the north side of the city and turned along a slightly quieter route for our journey further east. Much of our path from here to the Turkish border will be along the water but Thessaloniki sits on a penninsula so we had to cross it first and to be honest, if there’d been a bus or train that would have let us and our bicycles on, we probably would have taken it. The scenery is little more than scruffy fields, filled with rubbish thrown out of car windows, split up by villages of the knackered one-horse variety. A strong headwind also made the going hard. The landscape only really improved for the last few kilometers as we rolled through a forest and then stopped in a seaside village to stay with friend we met through the Hospitality Club website. We really enjoyed our evening with Harry – a Greek man who grew up in Germany and is soon immigrating to Canada, so welcome him warmly if you’re in Vancouver! He cooked us a wonderful supper and we chatted quite late into the evening before crawling into our comfy beds.


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    What we spent: €29 waterproofing supplies, €3 coffee, €13 groceries

    Road notes: We got our waterproofing supplies for Gore-tex at a motorcycle shop called Colori, about 2km east of the centre of Thessaloniki on one of the main roads. We also stopped at a small bicycle shop on the road out to Kavala (only a few meters on your right after you turn on to the road from the centre of town) but it was chaotic and we left unable to find anything or anyone to help us. There must be better shops around but this one might do in a pinch, if you can find someone to serve you. In Thessaloniki we stayed at the Hotel Amalia, which was clean if a bit tired looking. We thought it was expensive though. Maybe because it was very central and in a big city but 70 euros for a room seems high in Greece, without breakfast.

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