Taking the coastal road and leaving Evia behind.
End of day 6: 22th of April, 2012.
Distance covered so far: 277.01 kilometers (173.13 miles).
With the latest rewards after a hard day’s cycling still in my sight, I woke up bright and early and was ready to hit the road again! My intention was to reach the coast and ride alongside it as far as I can.
The road now is flat. I can finally enjoy the route in a much more relaxed manner and it’s the perfect place to do that. The road is fairly curvy, but the straight stretches are long. On my left side there’s nothing but fields and mountains in the distance, whereas on my right I am accompanied by that very same, endless row of plane trees that are forever cooled down by the waters of the river Kireas. It is beautiful, quiet and peaceful.
I followed the signs towards the so-called “Great Plane Tree”. I had to get off the road, carry my bike while walking across the somewhat raging river, pass through dirt paths and gravel roads before reaching the isolated location of the Great Plane Tree. It was a strange setup. The tree is located in the middle of a small clearing, which is fenced around with a man-built 3-tier wall of medium-sized rocks. One could say it looks like a pagan ritual site, or where the green leprechaun would store its pot of gold, right at the bottom of the rainbow. In its pure form, it is a humongous, 800 year old plane tree hiding behind the river. There is a big cave formed in its trunk and some of the biggest tree branches you have ever seen are lying dead by its side.
I was glad I made the stop not just because I got to see it, but because there was also a geocache hidden there, which I was very happy to find!
Not long after I set off from there, I bumped into another cyclist. Her name was Christina and she was headed to the coast, so we rode the rest of the distance together.
The roads were hilly once again, so having someone to chat with made it significantly easier and we got there in no time.
Where is “there” you will, rightfully so, ask. It is the seaside village of Limni and I can only describe it as “just what I needed”.
It is built right on the hill that trickles down to the beach. From what I’ve been told, and from what I’ve seen so far, it is the only village of Evia that has the picturesque style of a Greek island (Our islands are known for their unique style and architecture. I will probably ride through those during another journey). I sat at a café by the water with Christina and a friend of hers and enjoyed some good company, the cool breeze and the beautiful view. I was very happy to have reached there and was trying to take in as much of it as possible.
Riding through the village, I found a lot of elements that reminded me of island life even more. Quiet cobbled streets,
a man beating an octopus (FYI, that’s what you do when you pull it out of the ocean, to soften its tissue and make it yummy.),
abandoned, stone houses…
This truly is a gorgeous little place and would love to visit it with friends some time in the future.
After a few hours of chilling in Limni, I got back on the road and headed north. The remainder of the distance to be covered in Evia is pretty much entirely by the coast.
That means beautiful scenery, perfect temperatures and hardly any tough climbs all the way to Agiokampos where I will catch the ferry that will take me off the island. On the way there, I also fell in love with the village of Rovies.
It’s a tiny village by the sea, with some of the most wonderful people around.
Everyone is smiling and welcoming and utterly helpful. I met Billy the carpenter/bartender/sailor, Dimitris the baker, Lambros the cook and bumped into various others that made my day. I spent the night there, in my tent, inside a pine tree forrest right on the beach and loved every minute of it.
(Ok, maybe not every minute of it. I got a horrible night’s sleep because of the wind and the various creepy noises, but other than that it was perfect.)
The following morning I set off bright and early, had my usual breakfast, was offered some snacks for the way by Dimitris and a few hours later I was in Agiokampos, ready to leave Evia behind and move on to mainland Greece.
I feel I have gotten a pretty decent understanding of what this island had to offer and I feel proud to have ridden through it. Still, I wave goodbye knowing that there is a number of locations I wasn’t able to visit and still want to: Karystos and its petrified forrest, the beach of Agia Anna, the waterfalls just south of Limni, Chiliadou beach and many more. I very much want to come back with some friends (in a car, next time round) and visit not only those, but also Limni and Rovies too once again.
Farewell, beautiful Evia. You haven’t seen the last of me.
Things I learnt:
- Beauty in nature can make me cry.
- Playing dodgeball with bugs flying at you while riding is fun, but you hardly ever win.
- Evia has many hidden secrets, all worth to be discovered and enjoyed.