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One of the most popular questions I am asked, is how to get from Piraeus to Athens. This is because the Piraeus ferry port is a major transport hub. People arrive by cruise ship to Athens here, and most Greek island hopping adventures also start and end at Piraeus. This guide lays out all the options to get from Piraeus port to Athens, using taxi, bus, and train. 

Arriving at Piraeus Ferry Port

Arriving at Piraeus ferry port can be a confusing experience, even for locals! As the ships dock and let off their passengers, a sea of people and suitcases froth uncontrollably. Each person is on their own mission, whether it is to catch another ferry to a Greek island, travel from Piraeus to Athens centre, or catch a taxi from Piraeus Port to Athens Airport.

But don't panic! This guide has been written so that you know all the Piraeus transfer options before you go. I've broken this travel guide into two main sections to make life easier. These are getting from the port to the centre, and getting from the port to Athens airport.

How to get from Piraeus to Athens Centre

Over the years, I have realised that people who want to travel from Piraeus to central Athens fall into two broad categories. The first, are those visiting Athens on a cruise, who may spend just one or two days sightseeing in Athens before returning to their cruise ship. The second, are people who have finished their Greek island hopping adventures, and now want to spend a couple of days in Athens. As such, I've listed every conceivable transport option on getting from Piraeus harbour to Athens.

Piraeus to Athens Prepaid Taxi

If time is limited or you can't be bothered with the hassle of joining long queues to wait for a taxi, a prepaid taxi is a great option. I personally recommend Welcome Pickups, as they have English speaking drivers, can provide extras such as SIM cards and maps, and meet you at the ferry gate in Piraeus holding up your name. Best of all? The price is the same as if you take a taxi from the line. Check out their Piraeus to Athens taxi service and price here – Athens Piraeus Port Taxi.

Journey time – Approx 20-25 minutes in a taxi from Piraeus to Athens centre.

Piraeus to Athens Taxi (Standard)

There are many taxi ranks at Piraeus Port and cruise terminals, with easily identifiable cars waiting to take passengers to their destinations in Athens. The Athens taxis are all yellow with a black and yellow sign on the roof. Beware anyone walking up to you asking if you want a taxi – these may be unlicensed! Instead, head straight to the queues.

The one downside of getting a taxi from the lines at Piraeus, is that hundreds of other passengers that have arrived with you on the ship will all have the same idea! If your ship arrives at Piraeus at a busy time, be prepared to wait!

Journey time – Approx 20-25 minutes in a taxi from Piraeus to Athens centre.

Piraeus to Athens Metro

The metro is a convenient method of getting from the port at Piraeus to the centre of Athens. The one downside, is that it can be a ten minute walk from your ferry gate to the metro station itself. If you're cool with this though, you'll find the price very nice at currently 1.40€ a ticket, which lasts for a total of 90 minutes on the metro system.

You will be going into Athens from Piraeus on the green line, and unless you need to stop earlier, you would probably get off at Monastiraki. From here, you have the choice to walk to your hotel if it is nearby, or switch lines to the blue line to get off at Syntagma Station which is the very heart of Athens city centre.

Another option is to carry on from Piraeus through to Omonia, swap onto the red line, and then take the metro to the Acropolis station. If you are staying at a hotel near the Acropolis, this is where you would need to get off from.

Journey time – Approx 30 minutes depending on where you need to change lines.

Piraeus to Athens Bus

There are dozens of buses from Piraeus to different parts of Athens, but only two main ones apply for people travelling from the port into the centre of the city. These are the X80 bus and the 040 bus.

The X80 bus is probably the most convenient with people looking for easy connections between Piraeus and Athens centre. Leaving the Piraeus cruise terminal, it has stops at Akropolis and Syntagma Square, although the service only runs between 07.00 and 21.30. Just ask anyone at the port where the bus stop is, and they will point the way. The cost is around 4.50 euros per ticket, and it could be classed as a ‘tourist bus' – you are more likely to get a seat on this one!

The 040 bus from Piraeus into the centre of Athens runs 24 hours, and tickets are price at 1.40 Euros. The chances of getting a seat on this bus are going to be slim if you are travelling when everyone else does! Prepare for a bit of a scrum, and if you are a family, keep together!

X80 Journey time – 30 minutes

040 Journey time – 50 minutes

Piraeus to Athens Shuttle Bus

If you have arrived at Piraeus port on a cruise ship, there is a possibility that a shuttle bus is included in your ticket. Check with your service provider for more details, or ask whilst you are on-board. This can be a very easy way of getting into the centre of Athens from the ferry port at Piraeus. You will need to make sure when and where the Piraeus shuttle bus takes you back to the port though!

Piraeus to Athens Hop On Hop Off Bus

Another interesting option for people arriving on a cruise and spending just a day in Athens, is to check out the Athens Hop On Hop Off bus. Generally speaking, I don't normally recommend this for people visiting Athens as it is a really easy city to get around. For people arriving at Piraeus port with limited time though, it could be ideal. You get the opportunity to stop off at the most significant sites in Athens, have your transport taken care of, and even get some commentary!

Check out more information on the Athens Hop On Hop Off bus service here – Sightseeing bus in Athens.

Journey time – As long as you need it for!

How to get from Piraeus to Athens Airport

If you've finished your cruise or Greek island hopping experience and it's time to fly home straight away, you'll need to get from Piraeus to Athens airport. There are several options available, and I've listed them below.

Prepaid Taxi from Piraeus to Athens Airport

If you have to get straight to Athens airport from Piraeus, then a prepaid taxi may be your best option. This way, you have no waiting and no delays. Your driver waits to greet you, you get straight in the taxi, and then it's off to the airport! Again, I'd recommend Welcome Pickups for this service. You can find out more here about a prepaid taxi from Piraeus to Athens Airport – Piraeus Athens Airport Taxi.

Journey time – Approx 40 minutes depending on traffic.

Taxi from Piraeus to Athens Airport

Taking a taxi from Piraeus to Athens airport is the same as if you want to get into the city centre. Simply join one of the taxi rank queues, and a licensed taxi driver will take you there. Flat rate fares should be in operation, and at the time of writing this was 54 euros during the day, and 70 Euros at night.

Journey time – Approx 40 minutes depending on traffic.

Metro from Piraeus to Athens Airport

Taking the metro from the ferry port at Piraeus through to the Athens airport terminals will follow the same procedure as getting into the centre of the city, along with a change of line. Take the metro through the Monastiraki, and then swap lines to take the metro on to the airport. Keep an eye on your bags, especially on the change over between platforms.

Journey time – Approx 60 minutes depending on traffic.

Suburban Train from Piraeus to Athens Airport

A new suburban railway service now connects Athens airport and Piraeus port. At Piraeus the railway station is next to the metro station. You can ask anyone to point the way. From here, you can take a train which terminates at the airport.

Journey time – Approx 60 minutes.

Bus from Piraeus to Athens Airport

The X96 bus from Piraeus to Athens Airport is a direct service that runs 24 hours. The price for the bus is around 5 euros, and the journey time is 90 minutes. If you get a seat when you get on the X96 bus, then the journey is reasonable. If you have to stand all the way… well, better not think about it! In a rush to get to the airport from Piraeus? You might want to avoid it.

Journey time – Approx 90 minutes depending on traffic.

Frequently Asked Questions

If the Piraeus travel guide above doesn't have enough information for you, I've also answered a few FAQ below!

1. How far is Piraeus from Athens?

The approximate distance from the centre of Athens to Piraeus is 15 kms.

2. How far is Piraeus from Athens Airport?

The approximate distance is 45 kilometres to Athens airport from Piraeus. Due to the route that has to be taken, the journey can be around 50 minutes in light traffic – sometimes longer.

3. How much is a taxi from Piraeus Port to Athens centre?

The price for a taxi from the cruise terminal at Piraeus to the centre of Athens should be around 25 Euro.

4. How much is the bus from Piraeus Port to city centre?

Depending on which bus you take, the bus from Piraeus to the city centre of Athens is 1.40 Euros or 4.50 Euros for the express bus.

5. How much is the metro from Piraeus cruise terminal to Athens?

The fare is 1.40 Euros, and the ticket is valid for 90 minutes. You are also allowed to swap lines during this time.

The post How To Get From Piraeus To Athens – Taxi, Bus and Train Information appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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Whether you're going on a one week vacation to another country or an epic RTW backpacking adventure, don't leave home without an all in one travel adapter. Every country seems to have their own different type of socket, so you need to be prepared! Here's a look at what to look for in the best universal travel adapter and where to get them from.

Why you need a travel adapter

Other than the culture, food, people, weather and probably language there are other noticeable differences among countries that can make or break a trip. One of these is the type of electric plugs and sockets that different countries use.

The difference in the shape and number of holes in the socket can be so great that you cannot plug in any of your adapters or chargers to charge your devices. This is not something you want to happen to you, especially when you're down to just a few percent charge on your mobile phone, or you need to work on your laptop!

Universal Travel Adapters

To solve this problem, some creative innovators have come up with a device called a universal travel adapter. This device has adjustable plug-in pins that allows you to plug them in different types of sockets all over the world.

** Monoprice has a great example of one here which is both reliable and affordable. **

Not all travel adapters are the same though, so you need to keep your eyes open before buying one. Here's some useful pointers on what to look for in the best universal travel adapter.

Best Universal Travel Adapter Guide
  • The number of countries where the adapter can be useful– even though universal travel adapters are designed to be used in different countries, some are still limited as to the number of countries they can be used. For example, some can work in North America and Europe but not in Asian countries. Choose an adapter that can be used in most if not all countries. This way, you will not have to purchase a new one every time you go to a different country.
How many devices can the adapter charge?
  • The number of devices that can be charged at the same time – the best worldwide travel adapter will allow you to charge at least four devices at the same time. This will come in handy if you have many devices to charge, or if you are traveling in a group.
Does the travel adapter have USB ports?
  • Presence of USB ports – what you want is an all in one travel adapter that allows you to charge your devices using USB cables and also by the usual charger. This is because many people often forget the charger but they always have a USB cable nearby. A universal travel charger with USB ports is also smaller and less bulky than one with just plug-in holes for chargers.
It's NOT a power converter
  • Type of devices it can charge – most universal adapters can be used to charge smart phones, iPads, cameras and other similar devices. Some will however not work for hair devices such as blow driers and hail coils. Ensure that the adapter you choose will serve your needs effectively.
Protect your devices
  • Surge protection – Nobody wants to fry their devices while traveling around the world. The best universal travel adapter will be equipped with surge protection so that your valuable devices are protected from damage.
Best Universal Travel Adapter from Monoprice

Here's our pick of the best all in one adapter for gadgets as you travel. It's affordable and you can also pick up some other devices at the same time that might be useful on your next trip or vacation.

** Monoprice has a great example of one here which is both reliable and affordable. *

Other Travel Charger Suggestions

In addition to a travel adapter cube, you might also want to pack another couple of things away for your next trip. The first one, is a travel charger that plus into a cigarette lighter outlet in a car. You might find this useful if you are planning a road trip in a hired vehicle.

** Travel charger for a car lighter socket available from Monoprice here **

Another great suggestion (and an item I take with me as essential gear especially for bike touring) is a powerbank. These handy little items are great not only for travel, but also everyday use such as commuting, conferences, and even time in a cafe. They come in various sizes, but a powerbank that is capable of recharging a phone at least twice is a good choice.

** Find a great selection of powerbanks via Monoprice here **

Pin this post for later:

The post Best Universal Travel Adapter – All in one travel adapters from Monoprice appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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Seeing the world is an amazing way to enrich your life and learn new things – and there some incredible places that you need to visit before you hit 30. With destinations all over the world, catering for a variety of different travellers, the possibilities are endless. Here are five of the top city break locations for under 30’s.

1. Lagos, Portugal

An incredible city that boasts buzzing nightlife and a very charming historic centre – Lagos is the ideal destination for any traveller who wants more than just sand and hot weather. Steeped in history, this city location has many different monuments and buildings to explore, such as the Santo Antônio Church and the Mercado dos Escravos (the first slave market in Europe), for you to learn more about the city's varied past.

With an amazing coastline packed with beaches, sandstone cliffs and sandy coves there are still plenty of places for you to relax and soak up the sun after a long day of exploring. Lagos has an array of beaches to satisfy everyone's needs from Portoa de Mos for all you surfers and the beautiful Praia Porto de Mos for a little bit of relaxation. There is also an excellent selection of restaurants, cafes and bars for you to discover, catering for both tourists and locals.

2. Dublin

The perfect spot for a long weekend away, due to its size and how easy it is to navigate – Dublin is a cultural hotspot with much more to it than the basic stereotypes you hear of. It’s likely you’ve been in this great city before but if you haven’t visited in a while expect to discover the great food culture that has evolved here over the years, with a handful of new, trendy coffee bars and restaurants plus a wealth of revamped historic sites.

Dublin is also packed full of educational activities. If you are a fan of poetry and literature, it is the perfect destination to enjoy historical locations, dedicated to famous writers and their work, as well as streets of traditional bookstores and pubs dedicated to literary work. You could also plan a visit to the world’s smallest museum – The Chester Beatty Library – which puts on high-end exhibitions on everything from Arabic art to Samurai.

No trip to Dublin is complete without visiting the Guinness factory – Try the Connoisseur Experience at the Guinness Factory for a once in a lifetime experience for beer lovers!

3. Barcelona

Home to one of the world's best football teams, Barcelona is one of the oldest cities in the world – dating back 2000 years. This city break destination is a cultural hub – jam-packed with interesting people, amazing food and incredible architectural masterpieces. There is so much beauty for you to absorb whilst walking around, you could wander for days and never get bored.

There is no better way to get to know this city than heading out on a bike for a few hours. Full of narrow lanes, it is the perfect place to cycle round and by far the easiest mode of transport. Whilst out on the bike look for work by Antoni Gaudi in some of the most recognised landmarks – he played a huge part in the Art Nouveau movement in Spain and you will enjoy his work everywhere.

Barcelona is also dotted with many independent boutiques, where you will find some fabulous fashion steals and unique clothing that will set you apart from your friends back home.

There are also lots of free things to do here too if you’re travelling on a budget – visit one of the museums after 3pm on a Sunday for free entry, take a look around the Gothic quarter or experience the stunning Santa Maria del Mar cathedral which is free at certain times of the day. Check out my blog post about visiting Barcelona in December.

4. Prague

Now the sixth most visited city in Europe with Romanesque chapels, Baroque palaces, stunning gardens, cathedrals, Cubist architecture and a dynamic nightlife – Prague is a place like no other. Spend a relaxing afternoon in the square watching the world go by with a beer that has been brewed in Prague since the 12th century, then experience the nightlife of the city later.

When the sun goes, Prague becomes a completely different location with a definite sense of fun, featuring some great nightclubs that allow you to dance all night long to a variety of music. If the 80s is what you seek, Cafe 80s is the perfect spot to spend your night reminiscing about the culture and those days of big hair, New Romantics and Walkmans. For more of a house music vibe, head to Mecca located in the industrial area of Holesvoice. Ideal for someone who wants one last party blow out before turning 30.

5. Rome

Truly breathtaking, Rome is a dream destination for many. Not only is it the capital of Italy but also the capital of the old Roman Empire and Catholicism itself. All of these combined make Rome one of the biggest centres for art and history in the world.

Whilst here, food will be your best friend with a range of delicious cuisines from around the world to sample and some amazing locally made ice cream to enjoy, whilst on a long walk around the sights.

A visit here would not be the same without experiencing the Vatican City. This is without a doubt one of the top reasons to go to Rome – the sites here are truly stunning. Remember to send a once in a lifetime postcard via the Vatican Post Service and don’t forget to take a photo next the beautiful foundation sculptures dotted around the city.

Feeling inspired for your next city break? Book one now and enjoy one of these perfect locations for under 30s.

The post Top 5 city break locations for under 30’s in Europe appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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On the second day of the Hercules Bike Tour in the Peloponnese of Greece, I cycled from Corinth to Nafplion. Here's some of the updates from day 2 of my bike tour in Greece.

Day 2 Hercules Bike Tour

I felt pretty fresh in the morning, and was looking forward to the ride to Nafplion. It would be a shorter day than the first, but cycling in Greece is always a challenge! I also had a stop planned at the archaeological site of Mycenae, so it would certainly be a busy day!

Cycling to Mycenae

When visiting archaeological sites in Greece with the bike, I have been used to being able to leave it just inside the complex locked to a fence. This was not the case in Mycenae though.

It certainly wasn't through lack of trying, but I just couldn't seem to be able to persuade the staff that it would be safer and easier on the inside than outside. So, I had to lock the bike to the fence outside, and hope that my bags would still be on it when I came back!

Stopped by at Mycenae on my way cycling from Corinth to Nafplio. Second archaeological site of the #HerculesBikeTour !#Travel #biketouring pic.twitter.com/SsnDHVVEQo

— Dave's Travel Pages (@davestravelpage) April 19, 2018

Visiting Mycenae in Greece

This was my second time of visiting Mycenae in Greece. It was no less impressive the second time around! As a defensive hill fort, it represents not only the heart of an ancient civilisation, but also perhaps provides a link between my bike tour and the 12 Labours Hercules myth. I explain a little more in my vlog from the day which is underneath.

Cycling from Corinth to Nafplion - Day 2 Hercules Bike Tour Vlog - YouTube

Interested in visiting Mycenae? Of course, you can visit Mycenae on a bicycle like me! Your other two best options would be to visit as part of a Greek road trip, or as a day trip from Athens.

Cycling to Nafplion

After leaving Mycenae behind, it was then time to cycle on to Nafplion. Again, I was staying in very cheap accommodation, and would be in town for two nights.

Read the next blog post in this series – Click here

Read the previous bike touring blog post – Click here

Go to the Hercules Bike Tour main page – Click here

The post Cycling from Corinth to Nafplion – Day 2 Hercules Bike Tour appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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The first day of the Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese saw me cycle 100 kms from Athens to Corinth. Along the way, I stopped off at Elefsina to see the archaeological site, as well as a brief stop at Corinth Canal. Here's an update from the first day of cycling from Athens to Corinth, along with a few stats.

Day 1 Hercules Bike Tour

It had been a couple of weeks since I had been on a bike, so I wasn't quite sure how this 100 km day would go! In the end though, everything worked out fine. In fact, I used much of the route out of Athens that I had previously ridden a couple of years earlier when I cycled from Greece to England.

Cycling out of Athens is never super-pleasant, especially mid-week, but it had to be done. The weather was pretty good for April, with temperatures being around 24 degrees.

Cycling from Athens to Corinth

My cycling route took me through the north of Athens, where I then joined the old Highway that shadows the newer tollway. There was still plenty of traffic on the road, but there was a shoulder (of sorts) for most of the way. Although Corinth was my ultimate destination for the day, first I had an archaeological site to check out.

Elefsina Archeological Site

Elefsina rather confusingly has two names, the other being Eleusis. The reason why it has two spellings, one of which sounds nothing like it is pronounced is a mystery. Which is ironic really, as Elefsina was home to the Elefsinian Mysteries – A religious initiation of which today little is known.

It is generally thought that worship or initiation at Elefsina had to do with Demeter and Persephone. There was also a temple dedicated to Artemis here. The link between female Goddesses/powers is pretty undeniable. There is also thought to have been a strong link with initiation rites related to the afterlife.

Hercules and Elefsina

The link between Hercules and the 12 Labours and the archaeological site of Elefsina is this. For his 12th Labour, Hercules was tasked with bringing back the fearsome three headed dog Cerberus from the Underworld. Before he could do this, Hercules decided to be inducted into the Elefsinian Mysteries. This was done (according to some sources) at Elefsina, hence the inclusion on my route!

My Thoughts on Elefsina

I think it's fair to say that it isn't the most visited archaeological site in Greece, but there were still plenty of people there. The site itself isn't particularly spectacular, but there were a couple of things that stood out for me. One of these, was how steps and seats had been cut out of the natural rock.

This isn't common in ancient Greek sites, which normally stand as symbols of man conquering the landscape rather than working with it. Perhaps it was the feminine influence from female Goddess worship? My conclusion is, if you are passing this way, then by all means drop by. I'm not sure I would encourage people to make a special trip though, unless they are planning their own Hercules Bike Tour!

Lunch

After leaving the archaeological site, my mind turned to food. This is not unusual – it's my favourite thing to think about! In the end, I didn't have a big lunch (which I certainly aimed to do the following day!). Instead, I made two bakery stops for a cheese pie and coffee. That sounds like optimum cycling nutrition to me!

Bakery lunch!
Coffee and pie = 3 Euro.
Bargain!#HerculesBikeTour #Greece #Lunch pic.twitter.com/LvpgbLGasw

— Dave's Travel Pages (@davestravelpage) April 18, 2018

Cycling on to Corinth

After that, it was a matter of cycling on to Corinth. There were a few sharp steep sections, but nothing too drastic. Reaching the canal, I took the obligatory photos, and then made my way to the hotel. It was a 26 euro a night hotel which includes breakfast. You can imagine how awesome it was!

Bike Touring Vlog

As part of this Hercules Bike Tour, I'm hoping to make a vlog a day. Here's the first one. Hope you enjoy, and please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Cycling from Athens to Corinth - Day 1 Hercules Bike Tour Vlog - YouTube

Read the next blog post in this series = Click here

Go to the Hercules Bike Tour main page – Click here

The post Cycling from Athens to Corinth – Day 1 Hercules Bike Tour appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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China's Belt and Road Initiative is a massive infrastructure project that aims to develop the overland trade route from China to Europe. Based in part on the old Silk Road, it has the possibility to breathe life into economies, but perhaps also change local communities. A group of students are set to discover what it's all about with their New Silk Road Project.

The New Silk Road Project

A couple of years ago, I featured two cyclists who were riding the Silk Road from Beijing to Tehran in my semi-regular ‘Meet the Cyclists‘ interviews. Recently, they got back in touch with me again about a new overland trip they are preparing for. Dubbed The New Silk Road Project, they are swapping bicycles for a 4WD, and adding a few new team members as they drive from London to China. Intrigued, I wanted to find out more, and so decided to interview them again. Here's what the New Silk Road Project is all about in their own words.

Please introduce yourselves, and give a bit of background as to who you are, and how you know each other.

Hi Dave, we’re Rob, Charles, Tom and Will and together make up The New Silk Road Project. We are all currently at universities dotted across the UK and US (Charles: St Andrews, Tom: Georgetown, Will: Bath, Rob: Goldsmiths). Will and Charles cycled the Silk Roads from Beijing to Tehran in 2016 over 114 days, I found their new project with Tom on twitter in November and we’ve run the digital can from there.

This time around the bikes have been replaced by a cylinder engine, the days cut in half (60 days), and the route plotted from doorstep to Pacific, chasing the freight trains that now run direct from Barking, East London to Yiwu, on China’s eastern ocean edge. I’ve yet to spot one in Barking but when we do we’ll pass on our wager and fire up the startline cylinder.

Tell us what the New Silk Road project is all about

We’re hoping to lay a blueprint for students interested in understanding the shape of future trade and cultural relations at an important time in their development. In ten years, the world will likely look very different to how it does now, and China’s $1 trillion infrastructure initiative in the BRI will likely be at the fore of these changes.

We’re hoping to write, record and connect up our various experiences at the more than two dozen current and emerging Silk Road hubs that we we’ll be visiting. We want to understand the way in which infrastructure intersects the social and economic aspirations of individuals.

It can’t be ignored that the New Silk Road Project does also currently find itself at a time when protectionism and insularity are re-emerging on the global stage and so in a small way the Project is also about generating connections on the ground with the individuals we meet that go beyond these narratives to open rather than foreclose dialogue.

There are obviously limitations we’re aware of as to how much we can truly connect travelling at such speed and with the privilege of movement but we’re also hopeful, adventure does after all hold a universal currency, and one better than any blockchain or coin collection I think, in its lightness to connect.

What would the rough route you are following be? How long will it take? Is it a return trip (ie – do you have to drive back again)

The route we’ve drawn up takes us through 19 countries and we’ve ambitiously provisioned 60 days. The plan is to drive the car to Yiwu and to ship it back to London from Shanghai Port at the beginning of August.

I haven’t yet started dreaming lucid of that chassis re-emerging from the belly of its cargo liner at Felixstowe but I imagine we all will at some point, mid-way through July most probably, on the Kazakh Steppe, dehydrated with one wheel missing and a tumbleweed drifting past.

The route follows the historic Silk Roads across across Belgium – the Netherlands – Germany – Poland – Belarus – Latvia – Russia – Ukraine – Moldova – Romania – Bulgaria – Turkey – Georgia – Azerbaijan – Kazakhstan – Kyrgyzstan – Kazakhstan – China.

What vehicles are you using for the trip?

Hopefully a 4×4 – we are just finalising up the details on this with Fiat-Chrysler (they own Jeep).

Have you undergone any special preparations – learning vehicle repair etc?

Vehicle repair is a definite must that we’re each getting to grips with and we’ve also taken measures to identify mechanics at each hub we will be visiting. In addition we have made special security preparations working closely with the Center for Strategic and International Studies to identify our route and any specific considerations to account for at each border we will be crossing.

With regards to connecting with individuals and organisations at each hub, we have also sent out broad invitations by email to get the ball rolling before we arrive, the bureaucracy is a slight stop-start slow-sprint.

This is quite an undertaking – how have you arranged funding?

We have received a stipend from the Center for Strategic and International Studies based in Washington, support from our universities as well as some pocket money we have saved to pay for personal expenses. CSIS are running a large project called Reconnecting Asia which we aim to contribute towards and we are in the process of working on the details of some other exciting collaborations.

What sorts of permissions do you need? Visas? Guides?

We need 5 in total, this was originally 7 as our route was to include Iran and Turkmenistan but time constraints mean't that this additional distance would risk making the project superficial. This is why we adjusted.

Sounds great – do you need a driver?!?!!!

Yes, an extra driver would not go amiss, one who knows engines, wheels and what will go wrong all the better.

How can we follow your journey?

You can follow our journey at thenewsilkroadproject.com where we will posting on our blog and gallery throughout the trip. We will also be on Instagram, Youtube and Twitter .

The post The New Silk Road Project – Discovering China’s Belt and Road Initiative appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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This is the bike touring gear I will be taking with me during my Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese. Much of this kit has been tried and tested over numerous other long distance bike tours, but there's a few new additions. 

Cycling Around the Peloponnese

I've chosen the items in my bike touring kit based on three factors. The first, is what I actually own. The second, is the region I am cycling around. The third, is knowing that I will do a mix of staying in cheap digs, camping at official sites, and wild camping.

For some people this might seems like way too much stuff. For others, it might seem far too little stuff. That's the joy of bike touring of course – One size doesn't suit all, and you can do it your own way!

Preempting Your Questions

Although I go over in the video some of the reasons why I am, or am not, taking items of specific bicycle touring gear, I thought I'd list some key points here.

  • I'm not taking a camp stove on this tour. This is partly to cut down on weight, but also it's just a 25 day tour and I'm not on a super-strict budget. Taverna food is very affordable in Greece, and I'm looking forward to trying out some regional dishes in the Peloponnese. On days that I camp or wild camp, I will most likely just have cold food such as bread, cheese, and ham.
  • I am taking a laptop on this tour. This is because I will need to work from the road, and there are some things I just can't do from a phone.
Bike Touring Gear Checklist

Here we go then, onto the bike tour gear itself! If I've previously reviewed this item of gear, then you will find that it links to another page, where you can find more information about it. Here's a quick video, with a complete list underneath.

Bike Touring Gear for Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese in Greece - YouTube

Transport

For the Herculean bike tour of the Peloponnese, I will be using a Stanforth Skyelander. This is a steel touring bike, robustly designed for long distance tours. I've used this bike previously on a one week bike tour in Greece.

Bicycle Panniers
  • Ortlieb Back Roller Classic – My Ortleib panniers are still going strong, and I'll be using just the rear ones on this bike tour in the Peloponnese.
  • Ortleib Rack Pack – The Ortleib Rack Pack is cunningly designed to fit and strap onto the rear panniers. I normally keep my tent and assorted camping gear in here.
  • Ortleib 5 Handlebar bag – I really should upgrade this to a handlebar bag with more room. For now though, it's all I've got!
Bicycle Tool Kit
  • Bike Pump – I'll be taking along my Topeak bike pump which has a pressure gauge. I've had it for a few year. Read more about it here – Topeak Mini Dual DXG Review.
  • Bike lock – An essential bit of bike touring gear!
  • Spare Inner Tube – I'll have a puncture repair kit, but having one inner tube is always handy so as to get going quickly again after a flat. I tend to repair punctures at night if it's possible.
  • Alien 2 Multi-Tool – This general purpose multi-tool has just about everything I need to make running repairs on the bike.
  • Puncture Repair Kit – Never leave home without one!
  • 2 tyre levers – Don't weigh much, and makes it easier to take off the tyre.
  • No spare spokes or cassette removal tool on this tour. We'll see if I regret that choice at the end!
Camping Gear
  • Vango Banshee 200 (Pine) – Great value tent from the UK
  • Snugpak Chrysalis 1 Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping mat (foam style)
  • Karimmor DeluxeTravel Pillow – Signs of going soft when I take a pillow rather than sleep with my head on rolled up clothes!
  • Swiss Army Knife
Clothes For Bicycle Touring Navigation

For this tour, I will be using a combination of Google maps on the phone, and a real map! No GPS for this trip – I've finally given up on the thing!

Personal Items
  • Wet wipes
  • Sunglasses
  • Lipbalm
  • Reading Glasses
  • Money belt
  • Passport
  • Wallet
Tech Gear Food and Water

Generally speaking I'll be carrying enough food for the day's ride. When planning to wild camp, I'll carry more. The same will apply with water.

Toiletries / Medical Gear

One of the great things about having no hair, is that when you travel, you don't have to take as much stuff with you!

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Small bar of soap
  • Random shower gel from hotel room
  • Travel shaving foam
  • Roll-on deodorant
  • Assorted plasters, antisceptic wipes, sudocrem
  • Travel towel
Final Thoughts

And that's pretty much all the gear I'll be taking with me on this tour! To find out more about the Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese, check out this main page ** Hercules Bike Tour in Greece **. From there, you'll find relevant links to other blog posts about the bike tour, including the concept, route, and day by day blogs and vlogs.

The post Bike Touring Gear List For The Hercules Bike Tour of Peloponnese appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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Here's a look at the route for my Labours of Hercules bike tour of the Peloponnese.  This route includes all the major locations mentioned in the 12 Labours of Hercules myth, as well as other significant archaeological sites and places of interest. The bike tour should last 25 days, and starts and ends in Athens.

Herculean Bike Touring Route

Like all bike touring routes, I have no doubt in my mind that this will get changed around and altered when I am actually out there on the road! Still, you have to start off with a rough outline when planning a bike tour, and this is mine.

As I previously mentioned during the blog post about the concept behind the Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese, my route is based on places mentioned in the Greek myth of Hercules and the 12 Labours. These form the core of the bike tour, and once I put them as dots on the map, it was then just a matter of connecting them with a route that made sense.

Cycling in the Peloponnese

The Peloponnese has an incredible landscape, which can vary from untamed mountains to secluded beaches. There's also a number of scenic routes in the Peloponnese, and so I have also tried to include them where possible.

To be honest, I'm not sure how clever this is. My experience of bike touring has shown me that anything marked as a scenic route is normally pretty hilly, and the Peloponnese has an awful lot of hills!

According to my brief research though, I shouldn't have many days of bicycle touring where the combined elevation during a day exceeds 1800 metres. So that's nice.

Map of my cycling route in the Peloponnese

Here's an interactive map of my proposed cycling route around the Peloponnese. You should be able to zoom in and out to take a closer look.

No promises, but I might even add photos etc to this map if I get time. During the journey, I'll be using a mix of wild camping, official campsites, and affordable hotels for accommodation.

I haven't marked my night stops on the map. Instead, I'll include them in a table below.

Peloponnese Bike Tour Details

Here's a more detailed look in a table format of where I intend to stop each night, and what I would like to see along the way. I have no idea if this renders correctly on Facebook or mobile phone. If it doesn't, please look at the desktop version instead!

You will also notice that there are a bunch of ‘free days' at the bottom of the cycling itinerary of the Peloponnese. Basically, I've built in these buffer days to allow for tired legs, bad weather, or interesting places I would like to stay longer. I will just slot these into the itinerary as I go. This will make the route the same, but the days on which I do stuff different. Hope that makes sense!

Date Day See during day Finish at Approx distance Notes
18 April Wed Eleusis? Korinth 95kms
Hotel booked-Acropolis Hotel
19 April Thurs Tiryns, Port at Nafplion Nafplion 51kms
Hotel Booked – Artemis
20 April Fri Mycenae, Emeia, Lerna, and Elouys site?? Nafplion 60kms all day?
Hotel booked – Artemis
21 April Sat Nemea,Kleones Free camp near lake? 70kms
Make sure I have water!!
22 April Sun Stymphalos Akrata Beach 70kms Camping ground
23 April Mon Kyrenia Kalavryta 60kms
(maybe free camping/cheap accommodation)
24 April Tues Dafni, River Ladon Dimitra 70kms
probably wild camping
25 April Wed Lampeia, Lalas Ancient Olympia 80 hotel
26 April Thurs sightseeing Ancient olympia hotel
27 April Fri Ancient Elis (stay at same hotel olympia) Olympia 80 Hotel
28 April Sat Temple of Apollo Kalamata 120 campground
29 April Sun Artemisia Kalamata campground
30 April Mon Areopoli 70
camping hopefully
1 May Tues cape matapan Gythio 100 hotel?
2 May Wed  Temple of Athena Alea Tripoli 100 hotel
3 May Thurs Ermioni 100 No idea
4 May Fri troezen, Epidavrous Port New Epidavrous 80 No idea
5 May Sat Corinth hotel
6 May Sun Athens Back home!
7 May Mon spare
8 May Tues spare
9 May Wed spare
10 May Thues spare
Bike Touring Gear

So, the next step in my preparations to cycle around the Peloponnese, is to sort out my bike touring gear. It's been a while since I used some of it, so I'll have to make sure the tent doesn't have holes in, and the sleeping bag doesn't smell too much! There'll be a full blog post about the bike touring gear I use on this Herculean Bike Tour in a few days time.

The post Labours of Hercules Bike Touring Route in the Peloponnese appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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In April 2018, I will set out on a bike tour of the Peloponnese which is in part based on the Labours of Hercules. Visiting key locations in the Peloponnese connected with the myth, I'll be using a bicycle as my only means of transport. During the journey, I'll look deeper into the origins and meaning behind the legend, as well as exploring the beautiful Greek landscape.

A Greek Mythology Bike Tour

I've always been fascinated by mythology, whether it's Greek, Norse, Aztec or Sumarian. Tales of heroes on quests inspired me as a kid, and I couldn't wait to turn the pages as I followed their journeys through books. One of the myths I must have read a hundred times, was of Hercules and his 12 labours. Little did I know that years later, I would find myself living in Greece and then trying to retrace the journey on a bicycle!

Hercules or Herakles – What's in a name?

Before I go any further, we need to talk about the name. The original Greek name would have been Herakles, or Iraklis which roughly means ‘Glory to Hera'. Over thousands of years however, Hercules has become the most common form of the name outside of Greece. To keep things simple, I'm going to use this most well known spelling of the name. If you are Greek and reading this, please note that I'm with you on the Macedonia issue, but I think you've lost the battle over how Hercules is pronounced and spelt! For my American cousins, let's not even go into should it be ‘Labors' or ‘Labours'!

The 12 Labours of Hercules

With the spelling problem addressed, let's look at these 12 labours and what order they were performed in.

Oh dear… it's another problem!

The legend of Hercules and the 12 Labours would have been oral at first, and unlikely to have been written down. As such, there is no real definitive order for them to be placed in. Most people use the order written down in the Bibliotheca by Apollodorus (probably not authors real name). This seems good enough to me!

  1. Slay the Nemean Lion.
  2. Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
  3. Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis.
  4. Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
  5. Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
  6. Slay the Stymphalian Birds.
  7. Capture the Cretan Bull.
  8. Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
  9. Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
  10. Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
  11. Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
  12. Capture and bring back Cerberus.
Where did the Labours of Hercules take place?

I can feel my headache for this project getting bigger!

At least 6 of the labours took place in the Peloponnese, but the rest took place in various other areas of the world known to the ancient Greeks at the time. One even took place in the underworld! Still, the 6 Hercules labours in the Peloponnese give me something to go by, and has enabled me to build up a rough route. I've also included some locations in the Peloponnese which occur in lesser  known versions of the tale, or that appear in the local folklore of the Peloponnese.

Scholars who are far more dedicated than me have spent their lives trying to figure out the locations and meaning behind the myths. I've got about a month of planning before I hit the road on the bike, so I've done the best I can!

Key Hercules 12 Labours Locations in the Peloponnese

Below are the key locations mentioned in various different versions of the Hercules 12 Labours myth. I've listed them in sequence based on the above order of the labours. Does that make sense?

Nemean Lion Labour Locations
  • Tiryns – One of three important ancient Mycenaean cities of the time, home of King Eurystheus.
  • Mycenae – Some versions make it unclear whether it is Mycenae the city or the wider state being referred to. I've included it here.
  • Cleonae – On the way to slay the Nemean Lion, Hercules stops off here (according to one legend).
  • Nemea – A city close to where Hercules slew the Lion.
Lernaean Hydra Labour Locations
  • Lake Lerna – Where Hercules slew the Lernaean Hydra.
  • Spring of Amymone
Golden Hind of Artemis Labour Locations
  • Ceryneia- A town about 50 miles away from Myceanae
  • Artemisia, Messenia- In one version, the hind was going to rest here after being chased all over Greece and beyond.
  • River Ladon – In one version, Hercules eventually catches the hind on the banks of the river
Erymanthian Boar Labour Locations
  • Mount Erymanthos
  • Foloi forest (Centaur Pholus hosted him)
  • Cape Malea – chased the centaurs here
Augean Stables Labour Locations
  • Elis (along with Ancient Olympia)
  • Rivers Alpheus and Peneus
Stymphalian Birds Labour Locations
  • Lake Stymphalos
Cerberus Labours Locations
  • Eleusis
  • Taenarum in Laconia
  • Emeia near Mycenae
  • Troezen  (must check out the Devil's Bridge near there!!)
  • Ermioni
Planning a route

With all the key locations in the Peloponnese connected with the Hercules Labours myth now written down, the next step is to plan out the route! The full Hercules cycling route will have it's own blog post entry which will go live in a few days.

Tour Concept Video

Here's a short video which outlines the concept of the Herculean Bike Tour in more detail.

Labours of Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese in Greece Concept and Route - YouTube

Follow my journey

I'll be making plenty of updates from the road, with photos and little video clips. If you love social media, why not add me?

★☆★ FOLLOW ME: ★☆★

YouTube:   https://www.youtube.com/user/Davestravelpages
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/davestravelpages
Twitter:      https://twitter.com/davestravelpage
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davestravelpages/

Find out more about the Hercules Bike Tour here.

The post Labours of Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese – Concept and Introduction appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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In April 2018, I will start a month long bicycle tour in Greece which I'm calling the Labours of Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese. The basic aim is to cycle around the Peloponnese in Greece, stopping by at places mentioned in the 12 Labours of Hercules. Along the way I will cycle to ancient sites like Tiryns, over mountains, around lakes, and even on to the entrance of the realm of Hades!

Cycling the Hercules Trail

This page is like the index of a book. From here, you can go through to the different blog posts I have written about the bike tour. If a link isn't active yet, it's because I still have to write that bike touring blog post. Documenting the project is probably going to be a longer process than completing the bike tour itself. With this in mind, I expect I'll keep updating this page right up until the end of 2018.

The Herculean Bike Tour of the Peloponnese

Index of bike touring blog posts related to the Herculean bike tour.

Preparations:
  1. Introduction – In this post, I write about the concept behind the bike tour. Included are some of the key locations I will be visiting in the Peloponnese related to the 12 Labours of Hercules.
  2. Route – In this post, I go over the route for my Hercules bike tour of the Peloponnese. Embedded in the blog post is a video that also describes the route.
  3. Bike Touring Gear – A look at the bike touring gear I will be taking with me on my cycling trip around the Peloponnese. Much of this gear I have mentioned in similar bicycle touring gear lists, but this one is unique to this tour.
  4. The Bicycle – I'll be using the Stanforth Skyelander on the Herculean bike tour around the Peloponnese in Greece.
Bike Touring Blog Posts
  1. Day 1
  2. Day 2
  3. Day 3
  4. Day 4
  5. Day 5
  6. Day 6
  7. Day 7
  8. Day 8
  9. Day 9
  10. Day 10
  11. Day 11
  12. Day 12
  13. Day 13
  14. Day 14
  15. Day 15
  16. Day 16
  17. Day 17
  18. Day 18
  19. Day 19
  20. Day 20
  21. Day 21
  22. Day 22
  23. Day 23
  24. Day 24
  25. Day 25
After The Bike Tour
  1. Thoughts from the bike tour around the Peloponnese

The post The Labours of Hercules Bike Tour of the Peloponnese in Greece appeared first on Dave's Travel Pages.

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