The journey, not the arrival, matters.
-- T.S. Eliot
|On the road in the Peloponnese|
We’ll I just might disagree with Mr. Eliot on that statement after taking a rather posterior-numbing road trip to a Greek island last week. The arrival was joyous, as after 6.5 hours in the car, it had seemed a long time coming. Especially when the travel time was estimated to be much less.
But the unknowns such as real travel time are what make road trips around here fun and interesting!
Despite the fact that ‘all of Europe travels in August’ (or so we’ve been told) we chose to set out on August 1st. We were living in Europe now and as the old saying goes, ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do. . .’
|We headed north from the Peloponnese|
While I usually just tell you about where we’ve ended up, I thought today you might like to join us on the journey itself. So hop in and buckle up: you are supposed to wear seatbelts in Greece.
Hi Ho Silver and Away. . .
Lefkada is part of the Ionian island group (named for the sea in which they are located). The better known island of Corfu – thanks to cruise ships stops – is further north. While Americans it seems have yet to discover the wonders of the other islands in the group, I can assure you they are magnets for European and Asian visitors.
Each is distinguished by its stunning beaches, charming towns are alive with shops, restaurants, tavernas and lounges and more remote villages still provide a touch of old-time Greece.
|Pumpkins and gourds for sale|
|Always travel with a 'map in the lap'|
|Approaching the bridge from Patras|
|Crossing the bridge is a treat|
Then on to experience another feat of construction in this area a few kilometers to the northwest: a tunnel that is nearly 3-kilometers long and that cuts through an entire hill. It is so long they offer a customer service stop and list radio stations on which to get emergency information should something happen in the tunnel. (Not my favorite part of the trip!)
|Will there be a light at the end of the tunnel?|
|Along the sea our route took us|
Driving in GreeceA number of you’ve indicated you plan to visit Greece and many have asked or commented on driving. So here’s just a bit of information for you folks:
The roads vary dramatically. For some distance you might find yourself on a two-lane road, the type shown in the first photo. The mainland and Peloponnese are also laced with an increasing network of divided, four-lane highways – these are toll roads and you’ll pay amounts ranging from 1 - 3+ euros at regular intervals to drive on them.
|Not for the faint of heart or timid drivers|
A Word to the Wise: This year the Greek government passed a law requiring International Driver’s licenses (permits) in order to rent a car. Travel chat sites and FB have been filled with debate on whether they are really needed or not – some companies yes, others no.
While the rental car companies may not ask for them, believe us (first hand experience) if the police pull you over for a random check of your car’s paperwork – they will want to see the permit.
In addition to the car's registration and insurance papers, the police wanted to see the driver's international permit. For Americans, they are easily obtained from the AAA auto club office near you in most large cities.
|Island ahead. . .|
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