So we found ourselves in Igoumenitsa in the late morning. We’d had a morning coffee on the ferry, good it was, though expensive. But now Greece, coffee is different. Gone is the delight of Italy where the only choice to be made is whether to add extra hot water to the espresso. Espresso and a glass of water on the side, or add hot water and call it Americano. Either way is fine, and as said, even the motorways service areas in Italy provide coffee as good as in a decent restaurant in London. So back to Greece, we found a place offering breakfast which was ham, cheeses, bread, butter, olives, fruit juice and mixed friuts, and added coffee, here our coffee of choice is Freddo Espresso, essentially espresso over ice.
Suitably fortified and caffeinated it was time to hit the road. It would be the last day of going fast. By now it was approaching midday, we expected to be in Kerkini by 5pm or so. The Egnatia Odos is an impressive piece of engineering, and as motorways go pretty spectacular. It traverses a few moutain ranges, goes up to ski resort altitude where the air was unsurprisingly a little chilly. Some of the views were amazing, not as impressive as some views on the old highway, but that road takes many hours longer and we have done it a few times in the past. Of course there is an even older highway, Via Egnatia, a Roman thing constructed back in the day for much the same purpose.
It got hot as we dropped down onto the Macedonian plain, passing Vergina and the tomb of Philip (which is amazing), then Pella (less impressive but the name invokes so much history), then around Thessaloniki, before the last leg to Kerkini.
We got there, booked into the hotel, then went out on the bike with our friend Vasilis. Not far, around the lake, and to take in some views and share a beer. Lake Kerkini is a magical place.
Then out again for dinner, before an early night to catch up on missed sleep and because we were going out birding on the lake early the next morning.