Friday Jan 30, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
8o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Stuttgart to Istanbul, via Athens, by bicycle

By Costas Onishenko

My encounter with Reiner Herport in the village of Fylakio, Orestiada, just a few kilometers from Turkey and Bulgaria, was lucky, to say the least.

The 43-year-old German -- carrying only the most basic essentials in a set of panniers -- had already cycled 2,500 km from his hometown of Stuttgart on his way to his final destination, Istanbul.

The mistaken impression Germans have of the situation in Greece, and the Balkans in general, is why none of my friends came along on this journey with me, Herport said, explaining his solo status. But I wasnt daunted by setting off alone, and, as you see, Im doing fine so far.

His trip has no real purpose -- even though Herport enjoys cycling and has a strong environmental conscience -- other than to get to know the countries his journey would be taking him through and their people.

The way conventional tourism is nowadays, you can spend several days in a country and not really get to know anything about it, said Herport.

You can travel by airplane and stay holed up in a hotel, stepping out only to go to a beach or a restaurant. But neither Greece nor any other countries are just that, he explained.

In a few days I will arrive in Athens, but until then I will have traveled through the real Greece, the one you see here, its natural landscape, its villages and small towns.

At a first glance, Herport looks like a bit of a tree-hugger. He says he is just an ordinary guy who works as an engineer for a living.

I am not a cycling fanatic, I dont use the bicycle to get to work every day, he told Kathimerini. I just really enjoy traveling through nature. And Im not an exception. This kind of tourism is fast becoming fashionable in my country and other parts of Europe. Within the next few years, youll see a lot more people from Germany, Austria and other countries coming to Greece on bicycles. Its good for your health, but the experience is completely unique. When you struggle to get up a mountain or a hill and you reach the top, the feeling in indescribable. It fills you with confidence and gives you the strength to face many of lifes difficulties with more optimism. And of course the money you need for such a trip is also a lot less than youd need traveling by plane and staying at fancy hotels.

Herports bicycle is a simple affair without high-tech frills. All he was carrying with him was some basic equipment for repairs in case of a flat tyre or other mishaps, a sleeping bag, a few items of essential clothing and some cash.

I dont spend much money. Every so often, I stop for a coffee and a bite to eat, he said, before offering me a grape from a bunch given to him by a woman from Orestiada that he met along the way.

It just happens that people treat you. At first they try to figure out who you are and what youre doing, and then they are usually pleased. They ask you about your trip and give you something to eat and drink. I havent had any problems so far and havent faced any serious danger, Herport said.

ekathimerini.com , Sunday September 30, 2012 (14:20)  
The irrational crackdown on an Athenian food truck
Greek health cuts a matter of life and death on Samos
Revenge of disaffected Europe risks new crisis sparked in Greece
Experts warn of teenage gambling addiction
Tribute to Nikos Kessanlis, a pioneer and great teacher of Greek art
Armed with a forceful nature and an intrepid spirit, Nikos Kessanlis was a pioneer who changed the course of art in Greece, both as an artists himself but also as rector of the Athens School...
Renowned Greek singer Demis Roussos, 68, dies
Greek singer Demis Roussos, whose often high-pitched pop serenades won him household recognition in the 1970s and 1980s across Europe and beyond and who sold more than 60 million records, h...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Below-par Olympiakos succumbs to Efes
2. Xanthi upsets 10-man Panathinaikos in Cup
3. Fitch warns of a downgrade for Greece
4. Govt, PCT ease Chinas worries
5. Pension payment to be a little tight in March
6. State liquidity concerns set to grow by the month
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greece wants a debt break, but what about its poorer neighbors?
2. $11 billion wiped from Greek banks on nationalization threat
3. Greek banks rebound as gov't cites inexperience for remarks
4. Investors turn on Tsiprass campaign to end austerity in Greece
5. Varoufakis says Russia row not about sanctions, but proper consultation
6. Schulz warns Tsipras against straying from stance against Russia, ahead of Athens meeting
Today
This Week
1. Greek Elections 2015 | LIVE
2. SYRIZA heads for historic victory but without majority
3. Greek Elections 2015 | LIVE
4. Greek Elections 2015: The day after | LIVE
5. Poll shows SYRIZA leading ND by 4 pct
6. SYRIZA's win will test institutions
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.