Tuesday April 28, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o 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)  
Our troubled democracies and how to fix them
Cyber-commuting from Petralona, Athens, to Manhattan, NYC
Consensus pulls Prespes region back from the brink
University of Piraeus tests first solar-powered electric car charging station
Strangers to Athens depict their impressions of the city
The development of modern Athens following the citys liberation from Ottoman rule began as a reflection of neoclassicism in the eyes of the Bavarians who came to the Greek capital following...
Stathis Livathinos appointed new National Theater artistic director
Greek director Stathis Livathinos is set to become the Greek National Theatetr's new artistic director. The announcement was made on Thursday following a decision by Education, Culture and R...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Greek, Turkish Cypriot leaders to meet May 2, says government spokesman
2. Austrian FinMin hopes Greek debt team reshuffle brings progress
3. Coeure says Grexit not a scenario ECB is working on
4. Greek PM says people may have to rule on creditor deal [Update]
5. Bank of France chief says negotiating team reshuffle could help progress
6. TV screens in Greece go blank as digital provider experiences technical glitch
more news
Today
This Week
1. Creditors to demand extra measures of 3 bln euros
2. Plan on the cards for flat VAT rate of 18 pct
3. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
4. Greek PM says initial deal in bailout talks 'very close'
5. No trolley buses from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
6. Half of investors expect Greece to leave eurozone within 12 months, says Germany's Sentix
Today
This Week
1. Greek government's popularity takes a hit as talks drag on
2. Denialism
3. Europe's collision course with Greece
4. It's up to the Greek government to ensure deal with lenders, says ECB's Coeure
5. Leaving the past in the past
6. Greeces day of reckoning inches closer as debt payments loom
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.