Greece 6, to Souda

Souda is the ferry terminal near Chania, about 50 km west of Rethymno. My last day of riding in Greece! How quickly it has gone by.

Yesterday evening I had a quick look around Rethymno before dinner. It has a huge fortress built by the Venetians and an old town of narrow streets. The residential part of the old town is lovely, but I was disappointed by the commercial section – full of souvenir shops, shops selling luxury goods, restaurants. You could be in any old town in Crete and not know the difference. Sad. But still a city worth visiting if you stay away from the tourist area. I smelled pizza while I was walking and that made my dinner decision.

Last night the wind roared. The windows in my old hotel shook and I had to jam paper between the door to the room and its frame to stop it rattling. The balcony furniture blew about. This morning the town was a mess of overturned plant pots and blown trash.

The wind continued as I set out. Sometimes a headwind, often a gusty cross wind and infrequently a tail wind. The road, a main two-lane route, was busy. Where the shoulder is narrow a gusty crosswind isn’t fun. In some sections this road had wide shoulders, but that was often worse and I learned something new about driving in Greece: if the shoulders are wide they are used by enterprising Greek drivers as a lane for slower moving vehicles. A two-lane road becomes an impromptu four-lane road. Very efficient, but a problem for a cyclist. You are climbing a hill and big touring bus comes buzzing up behind you on the shoulder with several overtaking vehicles beside it. It worked out, but I felt uncomfortable at times.

Otherwise an uneventful day. 52 km ride in warm weather with OK hills.

I’ll take an overnight ferry to Athens this evening. I was planning to do a bit of riding on the Greek mainland, but after spending a few days on Santorini, I don’t think I have time for that. The plan is to go by bus or train from Athens to the port of Patras, by overnight ferry to Bari, Italy, and then by yet another ferry to Dubrovnik. Then up the Croatian coast. I’ll see how how the ferry travel works out.

Some photos.

20130531-120430.jpgA small part of the fort wall, Rethymno,

20130531-120725.jpgOld town, Rethymno,

20130531-120819.jpgOld town, Rethymno.

20130531-120911.jpgOn the road to Souda – hills and coast.