Taking his diary with him on his Greek Odyssey, Kris Goodbody tells us the last of his Greek memories
We stumbled off the boat into the merciless heat of a Greek afternoon, wine still sloshing in our stomachs, and hazy memories of planned day-trips with Turkish truck drivers and lawless wrestling matches with hordes of wry Italians. It was in this unenviable state that we made our way to the nearest internet cafe for the dual purposes of planning out our route and availing of their air conditioning.
On sitting down I noticed that the gentleman to my right was openly viewing the sort of gay porn that would make Boy George blush. After a brief meeting with the lads it was decided that it’d be sleeping arse-to-wall and with one eye open from then until Athens.
The days on the bike were some of the toughest on the trip so far; temperatures prancing around 40°C and the threat of a bumming from every angle can do terrible things to a man. For the first time on the trip we managed to become separated into two groups after an ill-advised turn on my part; while half of our group managed to find a campsite, I was left to make my bed in the car park of a rural pub.
The last night before we made the push for Athens we spent on an out-of-the-way beach with the dim lights of the city in the distance; I recalled our first night where we slept at an old pub in Courtown where I imagined where our last night might be spent, a continent away. I went to sleep struggling to imagine a better place.
Our trip had brought us from country roads winding their way through rare days of dappled sunshine back home in Ireland, to seemingly endless, barren stretches of highway ploughing through the deserts of north Spain; from seeing cities slowly rise and build as we coasted through their hinterlands toward grand centres, to gripping tightly to sweaty handlebars as we juggled imminent danger and magnificent views on treacherous mountain passes; from sleeping on rough ground in pit stops on the edges of motorways; clutching knives for the impression of safety, to drinking all night to the sound of street music in sleepless cities. It had become a collection of experiences worlds apart, tied together by the constant roll of wheels towards our goal.
That was the goal we had reached as we stood on the deck of a ship pulling out of Pariaus Harbour. I remember fleetingly looking towards Turkey, imagining the Bosphorus and the new continent that lay on the other side with a whole wealth of experiences waiting…waiting, of course, for another time as I was headed for the Cyclades Islands and a month of kite surfing and drinking with some good friends.
As I write this six months later, nostalgia is creeping in and I can guarantee myself that my memories will only become more gold-tinted and romantic as the years go on – because very simply, those six weeks of cycling were fucking unbelievable.
Read all five instalments of Kris’s diary at http://short.ie/kris.