* September 13, 2008, evening, Itea, Greece: Saturday was a completely lazy day for me. I had breakfast, napped a few times, went out for a walk, took some photos, watched some Greek TV and was generally lethargic, especially after going WFO for two weeks. Methinks I needed it. Since I was so lazy today, I made a few notes about things here. It’s very interesting watching the contrast of cultures. The majority of people start work around 9am or somewhere thereabouts, bang their doors at 2:30pm (with minimal exceptions) and open back up at around 5pm. You must time your day around that. They also stay open until around midnight or later. Such a contrast for me, however the idea of napping during the hottest part of the day sounds admirable to me. In the evenings, families and friends park their chairs outside on porches or the sidewalk and just visit. Good family bonding. It’s Saturday night and I asked the hotel clerk why he wasn’t out partying and he said that would happen after midnight, just like so many others have said - night owls! Shopping at the super markets (all are small) is a challenge, since I can only look at pictures. Dark chocolate and juices aren’t a problem really, but I tried to score some zip-lock bags and I got some sort of freezer wrap I think. With so many scooters everywhere, some of the kids are sporting loud pipes on their machines to be bad - too funny. I’ll say it again, Europe gets all the cool bikes! Even some of the scooters look like GP bikes.
There are no ice machines except generally one in the hotel bar or kitchen. You have to ask (I’m getting good at it) for ice to make drinks in your room. And water, if you ask for water while out, they will bring you bottled water - of course it shows up on your check. They kind of roll their eyes if you request tap water. They also automatically bring you bread and will charge you for it if you touch it. Don’t touch it, and you won’t be billed. So many ways to get us tourists! I’m starting to make a conscious effort at making breakfast or a picnic-style lunch my big meal for the day. Speaking of breakfast, it’s seems quite common in Greece to have the following: coffee, juice, boiled eggs, assorted breads (hard and soft) with cheese and ham slices, plain yogurt (add honey - I’m hooked), pastry breads (like pound cake, but not as sweet), and cold cereal/milk. That pretty much covers it. It’s not bad at all, just different!
Things aren’t really cheap here, although everyone says that Greece is one of the least costly countries. Everything appears to be about the same price (or more) as back home, once you figure in the pathetic exchange rate (about 1.5 dollars equals 1 Euro) A Euro here, three Euros there, and it really adds up! Once I get to Switzerland, I hear it’s so expensive that I will have to eat out of dumpsters!
I’m gong to continue my way up the west side of the Greek shores, return the poor Opel rental (you can’t take a rental car outside of Greece - odd!) back to Hertz, and jump a ferry to Ancona, Italy. Probably snag another car there. Then I need to call a place in Florence that appears to rent older KTM 640 dualsport bikes for a reasonable price. I’d love to finish out my adventure on a bike. I still have my Eurail Pass, but prefer the option of going whenever/wherever I want. I’ve already heard some stories about how different Italy is compared to Greece. It’s all just part of the adventure!
You don't stop riding because you grow old, you grow old because you stop riding.