What a day. Tent was soaking with condensation, but I still left at 8am and made the 40km to Thessaloniki in 2 hours – 20km/h average!
On way into Thes. I saw a sign for internet, so went there. It was a trendy darkened cafe/bar, and only had computers in the back. The owner said “no internet” – I said the sign clearly says internet, he said “no internet, you go left and 200m, internet”. Ok then. Didn’t find that, so asked the doorman of the Holiday Inn, he said not around here, but in centre. I asked someone else, and found a place 50m down a side street filled with sex shops, peep shows, xxx cinemas and the like. I went in to another darkened bar, and the owner again said no internet and virtually escorted me out the door.
I carried on to the centre, and asked at a ticket kiosk for the internet. I was told around the corner. I went in to another darkened bar, could clearly see people on the internet in the back. But again I was told no internet – it is broken. I asked if it was broken everywhere in Thes. She looked me up and down, and said “yes probably”. Damn, 6 days cycling with no shower does have a downside, either that or there are some dodgy “internet cafes” in Thessaloniki!
I gave up on the internet, and went to cycle on towards Asprovalta. Just down the road I found a nice internet cafe, rows of computers, and people on Facebook and Gmail and stuff. Went in, and hey! got to use the internet.
Thessaloniki, it turns out, is another big city like Milan that doesn’t want people to leave. All the signs are useless unless you’re going to Athens. I asked for directions, and was told the end of the road and left. Went there and it was the motorway bypass. I turned off at the first place, and asked a firefighter at the fire station for directions. “You want to take the mountain road to Asprovalta!?” he said, and looked me up and down. “By bicycle, I think for you it is too hard”. Well, I haven’t cycled from London, over the Alps and northern Greece to be told a 500m pass is “too hard”.
Continue in what I think is about the right direction, and ask again. Get meaningful directions, and go over tough, but manageable mountain pass. Coming down though, I notice a bulge in my rear tyre. Turns out the same thing is happenning as before when it went bang, but I caught it in time. I fortunately kept the old burst rear tyre, and manage to bodge a fix on this one with a section of the other. Hope it lasts to Istanbul.
By now it was 5pm, so 2 hours of daylight left. Still 60km to campsite on the coast which was target for the day. If I race there, it could be done in 3 hours. I took 4, and arrived in pitch black. The receptionist said to pick a spot, which is easier said than done at night!