Skirting around Prygos before heading up into Arcadia towards Olympia.
Then back to more deserted beaches.
A few more small towns and some lovely churches.
In the first village I came to, Varda, there was a wonderful fix-anything-with-anything kind of general-repair-mongery where I found and fitted a replacement gripshit, albeit having to work backwards as he only had right hand grips available. Briliant, much better thumb strain ;)
There is a very tranquil feeling here, nothing much going on or getting done. Everything on go slow for the winter till the migrating humans return in the summer to bask in the sun.
By sunset I'd made it to the most north-westerly part of the Peloponnese and camped under some small pine trees on the dunes just behind a remote beach.
Thankfully the New National Highway wasn't a motorway as I'd feared, but a dual carriageway wit a nice 1m wide sidetrack to cycle in. But pretty soon I'd found the remnant of the old road and was cycling right along the coast just feet from the sea.
Leaving Patras was a bit of a wrench, I was getting far to comfortable just strolling around enjoying the atmosphere and back on the road things did not go well. Quite a shock to the system after 3 days of dossing about and the bike was now showing signs of wear and tear. Within minutes my handlebars came loose in traffic, the ratchet on chain-wheel shifter broke and I had to hold it in gear by gripping hard with my thumb and the thigh muscles on my right leg when into cramp - which was pretty painful for half an hour until I'd pushed through it.
Although I'm no great fan of the urban environment, cities do have their advantages, and the coolest cafe I've been in on this entire trip is TAG here in Patras. The music ranges from cool mellow jazz to electro-swing, Chris Rea and Donna Summer re-mixes. With the best lattes in town and really friendly staff it's a great place to write and relax. In the evening the place is packed with students who are actually working and not getting pissed! With this kind of dedication this country has a future - as long as their politicians don't sell the people short.
Patras and the Greeks are great, really warm and friendly and the town is still packed with 'proper' shops which have yet to succumb to the out of town 'outlet' parks that characterised many of the French and Italian cities I visited.
Arriving at 1pm local time after a few hours of broken sleep on the ferry I was shattered and travel weary, having never spent more then 48hrs in one place for two months. I cycled out of the docks and straight to the nearest cafe where the locals gave me great directions to Nicos Pension where I'm staying for 3 nights to catch up with writing this blog and my journal - and sleeping in the same bed three times!
Dawn breaking over the Greek coast was awe inspiring and gave me a tremendous sense of freedom and space. It was one of those sights that it was worth losing sleep over. Shame about the pollution haze though.
I'm going to try and stick as close to the 1984 route as possible, but it could be tricky as half of it now appears to be motorway with no alternative cycle permitted route! Last time the journey ended in Naphlion after I got sick from inhaling the copper-sulphate dusk they spray on the oranges when working as a picker and consequently took the train to Athens.
Let's see what happens this time around!