The Road Back To Athens

Nikos Psaltiras owner of Psaltiras Wine Bar and wine and olive oil shop—legendary in Kardymili

I dig Kardymili. Tucked into the hillside on the coast in the northwestern Peloponnese an hour south of Kalamata, it is a quiet town sitting on cliffs that form a small bay with a beach and surrounded by olive groves. There are nice coffee shops, restaurants, souvlaki joints, and a handful of specialty shops run by passionate locals.

There is even an ATM machine. And a wine bar. I make one more stop to Psaltiras Wine Bar to visit with Nikos and Katarina one last time. Nikos pours me a nice agiorgitiko from Nemea and sets me up with a beautiful cheese plate.

Yet it’s time to say goodbye to my cozy digs here.

I’m taking a four-hour drive to Athens to spend one more evening with Pan, his friends, and family. The ride isn’t very exciting, except for the first hour that winds through the mountains and tiny villages to Kalamata. Then I hop on the national road and tuck behind the windscreen and motor for 3 hours to the capital.

To be honest, I almost backed out of the return to Athens. I know it’s time to head north, to Albania. But I’m not sure when I’ll see Pan again, and we can take advantage of the face-to-face time to discuss our strategy and potential locations for the TV show.

This morning, however, the trip to Athens took on great importance as it relates to this current Summer 2018 Journey. I woke up to nearly dead battery on my laptop, a MacBook Pro. I’ve struggled with the MagSafe adapter—a magnetic connector that attaches from the power adapter to my laptop.

The MagSafe is an ingenious design. If someone trips or runs into the cord it pulls the magnet away off the computer. But it’s been problematic. Lately, the adapter shows the MacBook Pro is fully charged, showing a green light. When it charges, the light glows amber or orange. I must fiddle with the magnetic adapter, moving it so slightly to find the sweet spot: where the light turns from green to amber.

This morning no amount of fiddling would get the light to glow amber. I either need a new Apple Power adapter—or the connector on my MacBook is toast. I’m confident that the adapter is the problem, as back in California I have another power adapter I use when working in my home office. This adapter has been my travel adapter. If I thought about this before, I would have brought the other adapter. My bad.

By the time I arrive in Athens, it’s hot. Over 100 degrees. I sweat in the insane Athens traffic on these narrow streets. Traffic lights only let two cars through before turning red. I’m behind at least ten cars and a delivery truck. Scooters whiz by me and the cars and truck. There’s not enough room for my bike with my Jesse bags. I would hit someone or scratch a car for sure. So I sit, my bike idles. After about 20 minutes of making my way these narrow streets, Doc alerts me through its warning light that the bike is overheating. Damn.

I pull over, turn off the engine, take off my riding jacket and sit on the curb. Checking my iPhone I realize I’m just 800 feet from iStorm, a “premium Apple Reseller” according to its website. I wait 15 minutes and then ride to iStorm.

I technician thinks there is something wrong with the connector on my MacBook Pro. He tells it will take 2 days to get a diagnostic and another four days to repair. The MacBook seems to charge fine with iStorm’s adapter, but it gets hot. I ask him to try my adapter. It works for a few seconds on the iStorm computer but then fails.



I cannot wait a week in Athens. He doesn’t recommend it, but I buy a new adapter, at about 25% more than it costs in the USA. Oh well. This is life on the road.

I meet Pan and two of the subjects for his new documentary about “post-crisis Greece’ titled “Freedom Besieged.” He plans to premiere the feature-length documentary in Athens this November.

I also meet Dimitris, a close friend of Pan from Vancouver who spends several months each year here in Greece. He’s spirited and a wealth of knowledge. Arranges for me to meet a legendary and passionate winemaker from the Nemea region in the Peloponnese.

Later that evening we have one more Greek dinner together, with Brittany, Pan, and Dimitris family. After a long goodbye and good night, I take a walk to Vintage Wine Bar & Bistro. It’s past midnight, but I’m happy to see Panos and Iza are still open. Panos pours me a 2004 wine from Northern Greece, a rare treat to try a 14-year-old wine. It’s dark, brooding and layered. Wonderful.

The last supper for me with the newlyweds and their friends.

Panos and Iza—the lovely couple that own the Vintage Wine Bary & Bistro in Athens

They close shop and I wander back to my hotel. Tomorrow, I ride to Lefkada. It will be a long ride, a good portion of it once again on the national road.

Kardymili to Athens details
Miles traveled: 170
Travel time: 3 hrs 31 minutes
Fuel Economy: 14.8 kilometers per liter
Fuel cost: 1.90€ /liter (95 octane)

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