Author: Camilla

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The fog is trick as pea soup

• 21:32, September 12, 2016 • Athens, Greece

“Arrrgghh,” yells Andreas, surprised, suddenly aggressive and slightly scared. It’s the last thing I hear, before I face the situation myself. It is Saturday around noon in the Greek mountains. We have entered a dense cloud. They fog is heavy and we can see perhaps 25 meters ahead. It is cold, cold enough for my breath to fog up my visor. The tiny droplets of the clouds condense on the outside of my helmet, making matters even worse. We’re riding on the old main road, connecting the larger towns in the valleys. It winds through the now mostly abandoned villages in the mountains. There is a brand new motorway with grand bridges and tunnels, which we dutifully ignore, since we don’t use motorways as a matter of principle. The road is worn, sometimes even gone, which is a bad match to the dense fog. We are the only ones stupid enough to be on this road.

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Andreas continues, speaking fast, “watch out for the dogs, they’ll attack you!” In that instant, I see a large silhouette in the middle of the road. A cow. And another one. Between the cows are the silhouettes of the dogs he warned me about. They seem strong and hungry. They bark threateningly at the sound of our bikes, while the cows are still like statues. Everything is in grayscale, and Andreas’ tail light has disappeared in the fog. I am alone. My left thumb instantly finds the button for the horn and I press it desperately into the handlebars. I pull the clutch a bit and twist the throttle, in the hope that it makes me sound scary. I hold my breath and steer the bike in between the cows. Andreas was right. The dogs jumped at me, barking wildly. The thought of their teeth in my leg made my heart race and arms shake. I might also hit them, crash, and then be attacked.

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Despite the initial shock, we both made it through without a scratch. This was the first of two meetings with aggressive dogs on the road, but in the second instance, the dog fled after I honked. I had won.

We eat lunch with a view to Meteora, a fascinating rock landscape. Amazing view from a less amazing spot. We are at a supermarket parking lot, covered with trash and wild dogs – though peaceful and shy this time. We prefer to enjoy our sandwiches standing. I wonder what the dogs are doing there, until and old man feeds it a sausage from his grocery bag. And another one. And another one. The dog carefully inches forward to the food. Four sausages in total. Pure candy for a homeless and hungry little dog.

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It is cloudy, but at least it’s not raining and the fog has disappeared. We keep going to today’s destination, a local Greek family. Mom, dad and two kids. Here, too, we’re met by a barking dog, but this one is friendly and lets us in. We ring the doorbell and a friendly looking man and his teenage girls give us a warm welcome. We sit at the terrace and enjoy the view of the mountains. Pure relaxation. The girls are going out, so they leave the terrace for a while. Giorgos and Maria, our hosts, invite us to come to a local cafe, far out in the middle of nowhere. Very nice place. Music and Greek coffee, a strange grainy substance which is surprisingly good. Bites of delicate pies from the Greek kitchen. All great after today’s adventures. Before bed, Giorgos makes us a deliciously fresh tomato salad with feta homemade by Maria’s parents. Real feta, yummy!

After breakfast and Maria’s home-brewed Greek coffee, we set off on our bikes once more. This time to our final destination in Europe, Athens. We’ve now spent 86.08 hours on the bikes, riding 4324 km. We look forward to the next stretches.

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