Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
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Day 43 (Greece): Koutso - east of Alexandroupolis

today’s distance: 127km
total distance: 3496km
riding time: 7h

I woke up early … no wonder given the place I was sleeping in. Christos’ mother must have seen me moving around (the former workshop had windows all around, which was great for people watching the night before, but gave you the aquarium feeling somewhat) and soon she came out with some hard boiled eggs, a huge slab of cake (essentially a huge amount of yeast dough) and another Coke for the way. When the door was open the night before (more like a one-second affair) I had seen a couple of icons and religious paintings inside, figuring that the family was rather religious. She also gave me a small neclace made of a wooden cross. My own stance on religion notwithstanding, I was moved by the gesture and will keep it as my now second good luck charm.

I set out not really feeling that anything would be adequate, so all I could say was a big thank you. I bumbled around in the next village a bit, looking for some hot springs, but finding more storks and some other motives instead.


I rounded a lake, with the ocean to my right and the lake to my left. Birdwatching was great, the numbers were simply amazing. I eventually turned off the main road and got on smaller side roads, making life much more pleasant. Met someone from Mannheim in a shop that I asked directions in. Fun stuff. The guy lived in Greece, but his kurspfalz dialect was clearly discernible when he spoke Greek. Over little hills and dirt roads and little trails I got to the ocean and continued over more rolling hills to a good spot to have lunch. A church yard overlooking the ocean. Moving on I was forced away from the water only to return to it later again. I had thought I could visit an island off the coast (Samothrakis) by ferry, but I found out thanks to a nice storeowner that the next ferry would go late the next day only. Given that I was to meet up with Hussein’s family in Istanbul over the weekend I didn’t think it would be good to spend another day in Alexandropoulis so I thought I would take the rest of the day slow. It wasn’t to be. I ploughed on and have come to halt not far from a gas station the owner of which speaks German and said that I should pitch my tent on his grounds, he’d be happy to have me.

One note: today I have been warned twice of heading to Turkey. Once by the owner of a hotel (nice guy apart from the comments) who talked about rape and all sorts of things and that I should be careful of people there. “They are simply not European …” I wasn’t going to go into a big discussion with someone whose minds was so made up, but that same sentiment came across in more and more conversations and seems to be more prevalent the closer I get to the border. The two ethnic groups are living close together here and from what I heard rather well side-by-side. That’s why the comments surprised me even more. Needless to say, I think they are bunk and that bad people may be everywhere … so much for politics on this day.

1 comment

1 Jamie { 05.11.08 at 4:55 pm }

Hi Markus!

I just saw your email about this trip. I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner. I’ve been to Greece and loved it there, but it sounds like if all has gone as planned, you are probably in Turkey by now. My husband is half Greek, and I think you are right about the comments you have received about Turkey - there are bad people everywhere. There is a long history between the Greeks and the Turks, and many Greeks that I have known remain bitter to this day about the Turkish occupation, and have a severe dislike for Turkey and the Turkish people, to say the least.

I hope your trip is going well. I can’t wait to hear more about it!


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