The Great Return [From Greece to Great Britain]

Some of you may have read about my Great Escape [From Great Britain to Greece].  Many people had various questions about it, but the one question that kept repeating was simple: “How did you come back?”

And then I thought, that there was some space for a story about it, since it was a challenge for me.

I would try to do the whole trip in less than 3 days time.

The signals that I received for sharing this information were various, but I could summarise them in the following:

There were people who were just not impressed and considered it to be an everyday thing.

There were people that just couldn’t believe it, they were amazed and they really looked up on me.

And finally, the people who were really uneasy about it, believing it was too dangerous and I should take it easy etc.

I overstayed in Greece but I needed to be back in London before the 1st of October. I really had a good time in Greece, my back got a lot better, I had many good moments but now it was time to head back home. And that is what influenced my decision to do it as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, 23rd of September 2015, 19:30 GMT +3

I just finished loading the bike. I do not feel particularly well, I have a massive hangover from last night, I played for Until Rain supporting Leprous in Thessaloniki. Despite that, I need to get cracking.

I fill up the bike with petrol and I ride all the way to Igoumenitsa non-stop. It takes me about a bit less than 3 hours.

Igoumenitsa

After I reach the port, I head to the office in order to check in. There, there is a nasty surprise in store for me.

Despite rebooking my ferry by phone, they claim that my ferry was missed (weeks ago) and that I can’t travel unless I buy a new ticket. After a lot of frustration with a bunch of uneducated and rude Greek minions there, I just buy a new bloody ticket.

So, ANEK – Superfast, I give you the 2 finger salute. The whole situation reminded me that it was fine in Greece, but only for a while and now it was time to head home. Thieving bastards.

I board the ship, I find a place to lie down and try to get to sleep. After a while, about 30 Romanians come in the same place, making noise and knocking me. In order to keep my cool and not become a total racist, I just move place mumbling and fuming from anger.

In the end I just move close to two backpackers, proved to be Canadian and very kind afterwards. They were exploring Europe during their Sabbatical or something. I get a 3-4 hour sleep and then when I wake up, I head towards my motorbike because the ship is ready for disembarkation.

Bari, 24th of September 2015, 09:30 GMT + 2

The weather was wet. To be honest, remembering the heat in August, I preferred it. I just navigate myself to the A14 autostrada – motorway and just rode.

The weather was OK, with a few light showers until Pescara. There, all hell broke loose. It started raining cats and dogs.

I just carried on riding, but the amount of water on the road was ridiculous. It was downright dangerous. And Italians speeding holding their cappuccino and reading the newspaper at the same time didn’t exactly make me feel comfortable.

Just before Anconna, I stop at a service station to fill the bike with petrol and also grab some food from McDonalds to eat. My jacket and trousers were so wet that they were really heavy, but luckily, no water had come in. Actually the bloke working at the petrol station was really impressed about it.

After lunch, I carried on under heavy rain. The icing of the cake was the road works which made everything even more dangerous. There were parts of the road that had almost one inch of water and maybe others with even more.

If you have heard about aquaplaning, you know how dangerous it can get, especially on a bike.

After Ancona, the weather started getting better and at San Marino, the skies were clear again. I just carried on until I was outside Milan. Then I decided to spend the night at a motel near the motorway, even though that would set me a bit behind schedule.

I was knackered and the last time I had a full nights sleep was at least 2 days ago. So I did the right thing and pulled over.

Milan, 25th of September 2015, 09:30 GMT + 2

I woke up to a completely uninteresting breakfast. I also felt very tired. Luckily though, as soon as I got on the bike and started riding, I felt a lot better.

I headed towards Turin, then Aosta. Before I realised, I was paying for the Mont Blanc tunnel. Going through the Mont Blanc tunnel, is one of the most boring experiences one will encounter. You must really keep the speed limit and the distance ahead of you and it is so long. You just hope for it to finish, as the air is getting thicker.

Mont Blanc

As soon as I was out of the tunnel I parked the bike and smoked a cigarette. It was already midday and I had planned on traversing through Mont Blanc last night. That was a bit disheartening.

I had to go through all France in less than one day and arrive in Calais for my booking. As the hours and the Kilometres were passing by, fatigue started to kick in.

I was doing many stops to stretch my legs and my back. For a couple of hours there was a strong sidewind that wasn’t doing me any favours as well.

Finally, darkness fell and I was still near Reims, far away from Calais and even further away from home.

It was getting more and more difficult continuing, I was completely knackered. Then finally, I see in a sign on the motorway writing “Lens and Lille” and I realise that I am not that far away any more.

I fill up the bike for the last time outside Calais and I head for the Eurotunnel terminal.

Eurotunnel Queue

It was really packed and there have been incidents with illegal immigrants trying to cross the channel, so I waited for an hour just going bumper to bumper.

But finally, I was on the train and I just sat down on the carriage in order to rest a bit.

Disembarkation started and finally I was in Britain. Now everything is in miles though and it takes longer to do a mile than a kilometre.

Finally, I am past M25 and heading for central London. I have this idea that it would be better to do a shorter distance with traffic stopping and starting to be able to change position on the bike every now and then.

Finally, after a while I arrived home.

Time: 01:55 GMT + 1

Google claims you can do it in 36 hours, I did it in 55 hours with one overnight stop. 55 hours include ferry waiting time, Channel crossing etc.

I can’t say I enjoyed it though, it is one of the most tiring things to do and it is not cheap as well. French and Italian motorways are very expensive.

The Great Return

 

 

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