So, from the jaws of potential disaster comes another pleasant surprise. In this case it is the small coastal town of Nafpaktos. It’s quite bustling on this Monday morning as the residents wake up to another week at work, play or (let’s face it for most of the Greeks you see) sitting in a bar drinking coffee and soaking up the sun. (Lest I provoke some diplomatic incident can I just say that I’m sure the Greeks are no more or less industrious than the rest of us. OK, the Germans are probably a bit more industrious…)
Nafpaktos, which should surely merit an entry in the dictionary of places with silly names, even gets a positive write up in my guide book. The harbour is a delight and from my vantage point here in the square I can see the sprawling Venetian castle dating from the15th century. It’s nice to see something historic that isn’t referred to as ‘ancient’. I don’t have the inclination to push a fully-laden bike up the hill to explore it in more detail but it look very pretty from down here. The town is also very cycle-friendly. It has cycle routes, signage and even a bike sharing scheme. Just a pity that as I tried to cycle along the main street earlier, many residents had interpreted the markings on the cycle lanes & signage as a licence to park their cars in them. Mmm… I pinged my loud bell at each one of them in disgust. Bearing in mind the use of the horn here in Greece however, I suspect the point was lost upon them.
Before leaving the hotel – cracking all-you-can-eat breakfast by the way – I studied the map while strolling half naked on the balcony. Too much information? You didn’t need to know where I was did you? I’ve decided upon a route towards Albania that will keep me close, mostly very close, to the coast. There is a campsite marked on the map at a place called Mitikas. I couldn’t find a reference to it on Google however (there is another place called Mitikas over in the east with a campsite) so I’ll just have to hope. The town does also have hotels. Slightly further north is Paleros. Ed Cox who is cycling from Bristol to Brisbane did pass on a contact in Paleros but I haven’t heard anything from him. I wonder where Ed currently is as he said he might be in the area around the 7th. Today is the 8th I think. I’ll look out for him as I cycle.
Lots of today’s route is lined in green which on a Michelin map means ‘scenic route’. After yesterday’s drab relentless trapse from Olympia to Patra I am hopeful of something more pleasant on the eyes although that does usually mean that it is more strenuous on the legs.
So, while you’re contemplating my toned calf and thigh muscles here’s an arty picture of Reggie and the castle in Nafpaktos.