I’m in Mitikas. Didn’t arrive until about 8pm but more of that in a moment. I eventually dragged myself away from the cafรฉ in Nafpaktos and headed back in the direction of the bridge. It’s a very photogenic thing and I spent a bit if time snapping photos from various angles. What is it with bridges that makes them so pleasing on the eye? Even the most brutal of bridges (I’m trying to think of a good example) is worth a photo so when you get one where more than just a little time and thought has gone into how it looks, it’s photo heaven. Can’t think of a brutal bridge. Perhaps you can suggest one.
My Michelin map shows a motorway running all the way from the bridge to somewhere above the fold (the map is still in the plastic protective thing and sorry, I can’t be bothered to rip open the Velcro – there is a lot of it – and find out where it goes) so I was expecting the A road that runs adjacent to the motorway to be relatively quiet. Problem was that until half way along my route the motorway hasn’t yet been built. The dotted red and yellow bands that indicate a motorway under construction had escaped me and I only really noticed it when I couldn’t see or hear a motorway where it should be. The result was that the traffic on the road that I was taking was much, much heavier than I had anticipated. The road was also thinner than the roads had been in the Peloponnese and I felt increasingly intimidated by the speeding cars, lorries and coaches that thundered past me at speed. The road safety minister in the Greek government must have a thankless task. The driving habits of all but a small minority of drivers are appalling; mobiles used while driving, speeding (one motorist drove past me today doing at least 80km/hr in a 30km/hr zone), overtaking habits, tailgating… I could go on (and probably will in the book citing statistics when I find them) of how bad the driving is here in Greece. On reflection I’d be surprised if Greece has a road safety minister in the government.
A few interesting encounters today. I cycled alongside an archaeological dig taking place at a 2nd century BC theatre at a place called Kalydon. I chatted to one of the archeologists for a few minutes; it was the final summer of work and they were concentrating upon the stage area. I later bumped into a couple of French people – Isabelle & Samuel – who were making a television documentary about a caravan being towed to Olympia. I’m not sure why it was being towed to Olympia but they passed on details of the Facebook page and I will investigate later. I also made the acquaintance of a herd if cattle and a number if goats. Now this may sound stupid but I noticed today how much goats smell like goats’ cheese. Obviously it’s the cheese smelling of the goats but this does make me reassess my love of goats’ cheese.
Most the the goats were on the final section of today’s ride from Etoliko (missed tourism opportunity if ever there was one – just Google the location and you’ll see what I mean) and my final destination here in Mitikas.
Other things to remember to include in the book; the salt flats, the deserted roads, towns & everything else after Mesolongi. Mesolongi itself; what a cycling-friendly place it is (in contrast to Nafpaktos which has invested in the infrastructure but nobody seems to cycle; in Mesolongi people cycle in number but cycling infrastructure is non-existant; debate!). The stunning views in the final section of the route along the coast in the 30km before Mitikas.
And so to Mitikas itself. The French TV couple had said there were plenty of campsites. I have found one and it is run by a man who you would not want within 100 metres of your children. My neighbours on the site are a couple of teenage girls who see drama in everyone (OK, that’s teenage girls…). The chap who lent me the mallet to help erect the tent did speak excellent English and hopefully is looking out for my tent while I’m sitting here typing this next to the sea but if I had been looking for a contrast to last night’s boutique hotel in Nafpaktos, I think I’ve found it at Camping Ionia in Mitikas.