It has been exactly one year since the 1st Annual Hellenic Meeting for the Members and Friends of our club. It was Sakis who had the idea and at the same time made the proposal our 2nd meeting to take place at his village of origin; Athanasios Diakos. The village is located at the mountainous area of Vardousia, at an altitude of 1,100m. The proposal meets positive response from the members and so the meeting is scheduled for the weekend 10th-12th of November…
Friday, 10th of November:
The departure from Athens is set for 10:15 pm on Friday, while the members Nikolai and Kyriakos with passenger Dimitra have left earlier since their anxiety for the excursion does not let them to wait even one more minute. Just before eleven the main group meets at the 1st toll post of the national road Athens to Lamia. It is Sakis with passenger Maria, Panos with passenger Monica, Manolis, Vagelis, Nikos, Ploumisti, Dimitris with passenger Christina and the two Cretan members who once again honoured us by their presence! The weather the last days is prohibitive but we are not discouraged and we begin out trip. We drive on the national road Athens to Lamia and we are heading to the village of Thermopiles, where the Bralos junction is located. Having already covered the first 140 km it starts raining and at the same time the weather becomes colder.
At about 1:00 am, and having traveled 20 km of narrow road with many turns in the area of Bralos, we arrive at the crossroad which leads to the provincial road that goes through the mountains Iti and Giona. From this point the adventure begins… After we get past the village Pavliani we meet fog which becomes thicker as we ride on. The light rain gradually turns into sleet. As we ride on higher altitude we meet the first snowflakes which increasingly become thicker making it, in some cases, very hard to drive. We travel at a maximum speed of 30 km/h as our visibility is less than 2 meters far. After 50 km of tiring driving we arrive at Athanasios Diakos at 3:00 am while the snowfall goes on. We drive to Sakis house, while Manolis, Ploumisti and Nikos go at the square of the village where Nikolai, Kiriakos and Dimitra wait in the warm taverna of Ravanis. Their astonishment is great when they see us covered with snow. We all gather in the house, we light the fireplace and we try to get warm with the help of Raki (traditional Cretan drink) that Dimitris and Aris brought with them. We have so many things to say and time goes by very quickly. It is 5:00 am when we decide to go for sleep.
Saturday, 11th of November:
When we wake up the following day everything is covered with snow!!! The peaks of Vardousia Mountain are dressed in a white veil! Although most points of the village are set with snow we have no problem to wonder around. Surprisingly and funny at the same time, we realize that the poster which Despinaprepared for the meeting came out prophetic (in the photograph the white tops of Vardousia are portrayed). After we enjoy our morning coffee by the fireplace we decide that we have to change our plans which included a visit to the mountainous village Artotina and make do with a sight-seeing walk through the streets of Athanasios Diakos. Later, we will try the delicious dishes of the well-known, in the area, taverna of Ravanis. So, we head at the river that crosses the village. In an area grown with high planes and firs a small river goes down the hill. The place is perfect for walking during all the seasons. We keep walking towards the main square where 3-4 tavernas exist. To our surprise, we realize that despite the bad weather many visitors have come all the way here; even from Athens.
Generally, Athanasios Diakos is a popular destination for motorcyclists as well as climbers and trekkers, and this is obvious by the different stickers by several clubs. So, we choose Ravanis tavern which is famous not only for the delicious meat but also for the ice cream and yogurt made of sheep milk and Mr. Ravanis prepares himself. Late in the evening we return home. We find the chance to discuss issues of our club, concerning future trips, the uploading of the members’ experiences on the site, the forum, which is a new function in our site, but also different issues about traveling and motorbikes.
After that, the DVD that Manolis and Ploumisti have prepared is projected. It is a presentation of their summer trip to Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Andorra. Another presentation is prepared by Nikos from his summer trip to Itlay and Sardinia. The final presentation is done by Panos and includes photos from his trip with Monica to Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. The experiences during these trips are the main subject of discussions that last until 5:00am and go with raki and honey, teasing and a lot of laughs.
Sunday, 12th of November:
The last day of our meeting starts. The weather is much better and the sun comes out every now and then. After we have coffee altogether in order to wake up, we pack our stuff. Fortunately, after 2 days our clothes, gloves and helmets are dry although it is very humid… Aris and Ada say goodbye as they have to ride to the North with final destination Florina and Epirus. We decide to visit the beautiful town of Levadia in order to have lunch before we return to Athens. Traveling through the provincial road network of Bralos to Levadia we enjoy the trip and at about 4:00pm we arrive at Kria, in Levadia. We have the chance to visit once again the old water-mill and the small rivers of the area. About 7:00pm we finish our lunch and eventually the 2nd Meeting of the Members & Friends of the Motoriders club comes to an end…
We want to thank everybody who contributed to the realization of this meeting and especially Sakis for his hospitality. We are sorry for those who could not make it because of professional responsibility and health issues. Next time…
Personally, I believe that the Meeting was successful, since old and new members had the chance to meet each other and build new friendships which is necessary for the climate in our fellowship-club. Of same importance is the fact that we had the chance to discuss some common issues and make decisions together, which will help in the future of MotoRiders Club and the realization of more trips that we will share with you –the friends of traveling and motorbikes- through our website. “Congratulations” and “Thanks” to everybody.
Motorcyclists: Sakis, Manolis, Panos, Aris, Ploumisti, Dimitris, Nikolae, Vangelis, Nikos, Kyriakos
Copilots: Ada, Christina, Dimitra, Maria, Monika
Photos: Manolis, Kyriakos, Dimitra Written by Manolis