Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Unsophisticated yet happy lives.

According to Wikipedia, after the collapse of the Roman power in the west, Arcadia became part of the Byzantine Empire. Arcadia remained a rustic, secluded area, and its inhabitants became proverbial as primitive herdsmen leading simple pastoral unsophisticated yet happy lives.  On the other hand, I choose to live a life of planning paranoia and GPS fixation greeting only the herdsmen (and herdswomen) with a fleeting wave and a departing backfire from the lean running overheated boxer engine on my BMW R1150GS motorcycle.
This is possibly the  theoretical planned route recreated from the black box flight recorder and distant memories.

And so I planned a circular tour of Mount Parnon and this would be Mrs Nikos' and my first substantial ride away from the local area of Mrs Nikos Towers (aka the  Berghof (sud)). The route would take us over the plain of Xerokambos before making a left turn into the Parnonas national park.  We would then head south towards Sparta before driving on the road of 100 days and past the stone edificed monastery of Aghios Nikolaos near Kosmas.  The return journey would take us back north through Leonidon to Astros to buy a chicken for dinner.

This is the sort of nonsense that Greeks have to put up with

You are here, we are here, but where are we?

Lost again somewhere on Mount Parnon and someone else has amended the directional arrow.

Rain clouds dammit

I have never been to Monemvasia but this is a worrying development as we do not wish to go there.

I believe this filling station to be near Geraki

This scene depicts rain and that was a pity as our rain gear was 50 miles away at the Berghof (sud)

Juke box at filling station cafe

Not a single record that was recognisable but the owner managed to demonstrate his abilities at Greek dancing to many of the tunes.

We spent several hours here at the apogee of our route hoping that the rain would stop - eventually the hospitable owner served complementary tsipouro
We descended from Mount Parnon and looked for petrol and coffee.  We stumbled into Geraki and stopped at the first filling station where we were to spend the next 2 hours sheltering from the torrential down pour.  We drank coffee, deposited discretely compliementary home made tsipouro into the plant pots and Mrs Nikos danced with the Proprietor, his Mother, wife and children to Greek juke box music of the 50s.  Eventually we elected to depart as the rain had abated to drizzle.  The route to Leonido on the coast would take us over the mountain ridge (1100m) and down a spectacular gorge.

The scene just prior to our departure as the Proprietor starts to ruminate about his time in Australia with his Mother looking on.

A road side shrine to remember the last traveller who had perished by driving over the edge.

Monastery Agiou Nikolaou Sintzas in the clouds above us - I am still to this day reprimanded by Mrs Nikos for not stopping in.
Epilogue: The rain did not stop and the roads turned to soap -  I could not believe how slippery Greek roads are in the wet. There are no more photographs of this tour as the camera will not work under water. By some miracle we arrived home in two pieces and ate chicken. The ginger pussy is pleased to see Mrs Nikos.


  1. I've always felt there to be something profoundly attractive about a woman with a ginger pussy.

  2. So much history! The Road of 100 days sounds interesting. As for those road signs...they are Greek to me. HA HA!! You may have been in the wrong location, but at least you could read the signs!

    Looks absolutely wonderful! Thanks for taking the pictures you could. And should have stopped at the monastery! ;)


  3. "I've always felt there to be something profoundly attractive about a woman with a ginger pussy."

    Leading to the traditional cry on the discovery of a genuine redhead - Fire Down Below!

    Great post, Nikos, and thanks for the story. I thought it rained in Wales, but ...

  4. Oh what a marvellous juke box! It reminds me of when I was a young girl,going to the Ace Cafe with 'Biffy' Spangler. He would go outside to his Triumph and, as I heard him start it, I would put a shilling in the juke box. Then I would jump on the back of the bike, and we would roar off - we had to get to the roundabout at the Grand Central Way and back before the record finished!

  5. Nice video! I like how most ran away from you and just a couple couldn't be bothered to stop eating. -Lori

  6. Affer - haha - yes and the woman is profoundly attracted to the adopted ginger pussy who is now a German citizen - it seems.

    Lori - thanks for your kind and encouraging comments. I'm enjoying writing up the blog and doing the research retrospectively although I discover what I have missed too. Struggling with video..

    Richard - it might rain whenever I go to Wales and that now seems true of Greece too (although certainly the roads in Wales retain some grip in the wet). Thanks for your comment.

    Camilla - sadly those days are far gone due to decimalisation and MP3 players. Whatever became of Boffy Spingler?

    Best wishes to all readers, N

  7. My father, although a Hellenophile of almost Byronesque proportion, said that Arcadia wasn't all it was cracked up to be. 'A chicken for dinner'... shouldn't you be dining on lotus flowers and asphodel, or something??

    Mrs Nikos appears to be an increasing fascinating women with every picture that I see of her.

  8. I just don't know how you boys deal with all those squiggles instead of proper words. I thought you europeans were a common market - do you all write different? I know it's hard for us to understand folks from Arkansas or Misissippi, but at least we write the same.

  9. Oh I dunno. If you can read Russian, it's not too bad. At least it's an alphabet. You want difficult, try Mandarin Chinese.

  10. )))((((((

  11. Hello Gadjo

    Many things are not what they used to be but do what I do and just think of being in Arcadia as another state of mind, e.g. like being drunk on cheap local wine and tsipouro brought round by the village neighbours.

    Mrs Nikos says that it's probably the more risque camera angles causing the effect that you are reporting.

    Good to hear from you again!


  12. Big Dog

    We don't all cope with those squiggles - maybe we should adopt a neutral language in Europe such as American English?

    Best wishes, N

  13. Ahhh... the Balkans. Always a mother sitting somewhere in the background. Great photos.

  14. Dear Nikos:

    This is a great line and I profoundly wish I had the balls to openly steal it:

    "The rain did not stop and the roads turned to soap..."

    You are riding a stunningly beautiful BMW GS. What a great paint job! I have never seen one like that in the US. Are those side bags BMW factory? Most GS riders here in the States go for the stainless steel dust bins on the side. I love the look of your GS.

    If I had been with you and you rode past that monastery without stopping, I'd have kicked you in the balls. Or is it bollocks.

    Never mind. Conchscooter is my guest tomorrow and he's British, sort of. He'll tell me.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  15. John Mad Dog,

    Thanks and I wish you well in the land από τη γιαγιά μου.


    Yes indeed and thanks, my GS is from the golden age of GSs where brakes are ABS and non servo and the BMW city panniers fit a treat. I agree with your sentiments on those stupid looking aluminium leg breaking Russian space station inspired dustbins.

    Balls will do - bollocks is easily confused with rollocks.
    Regards, N

  16. Ian would have to pitch a tent before trying to decipher those road signs.
    I'm certain a version of "The Time Warp" ought to be on the juke box.
    Are the staff in the petrol station Eko friendly?


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