|Friday 15.09.2000 - The bikes||
Tzavros - Agios Iannis - Paramonas
Our flight leaves at 6.15 am and though it is hard to get up this early in the morning, we are surely ready for our Bike Experience! Since Corfu is situated nearby Italy, at the North-West of the Greek continent it only takes a 2 hour flight to get there.
After the landing a bus takes us to the airport building, which is only 20
meters away from the plane, but apparently the Greek prefer the passengers not
to walk this short distance. It takes 10 steps to get to the transport band and
the first suitcases arrive after 5 minutes. The 3rd one is ours! We pass the
customs without any trouble and another 20 meters further we are out in the
open. The plane has touched the ground exactly 15 minutes ago and we are ready
to take a cab.
The right tone has been set, it has never gone this fast before!
Our first destination is Hellas Bike in Kato korakania, the organisation where we made reservations for the bikes. One of the cab drivers across the street agrees to get us there for the fixed price of 4000 GDR so we get in the cab for a 'short' drive of about 15 kilometres - at least that is what we expect.
However, Kato korakania appears to be hard to find and our cab driver doesn't seem to have the faintest idea how to get there. Probably thinking about his lost profit, the cab driver gets quite agitated and several times he tries to drop us off somewhere, telling us that the village has to be nearby. But he underestimates the stubbornness of the Belgian people, so we keep on driving.
When we finally arrive at our destination, Hellas Bike appears to be in Stavros, 6 kilometres back!
This time we get there straight away, we can't miss, since Horst Stiglbauer (the German manager of Hellas Bike in Corfu) has put one of his best mountain bikes in front of the house!
The fear we earlier had about the non-appropriate length and quality of the bikes disappears immediately when we see the practically new material. Just perfect!
For the specialists: Piet's bike has a 23" frame (brandless) with
full Shimano Deore LX (9 speed) group and a Rock Shox suspension. Gert's
bike is a 21" Scott Tampico with Shimano Deore components and a RST bouncy
(For those who do actually understand Dutch: we use the guide "Fietsen
op z'n Grieks, deel 6" and a map of the island on a scale of 1:100.000 from
We cycle along twisting, slightly sloping roads and take a break after half an hour on the peninsula Kontokali where we have a spaghetti with little sauce.
We continue on a rather busy road until we get to the starting point Agios Ionas. We are starting to get used to the bike and the gears now. The first ride starts rather hilly with slopes of more than 10%. Especially for Gert it is quite an achievement to arrive 40 km later at the first stop: Paramonas.
For the price of 6600 GDR we book a room in Hotel Sunset. View on the seaside is included. The sound of the waves is so tempting that we decide to take a nice swim first. We end the day with dinner and some philosophical talking under a starry sky.