We have done the Transfagarasan. We have done the Stelvio Pass. Thus, in the Summer of 2015, Lars thought we were ready for the next challenge: driving to the top of Mount Olympos. It was going to be the adventure of our lives. A challenge to our fear of heights. Thrilling. Dangerous!
On that beautiful morning, I looked longingly at the mountain from the balcony of our hotel.
We drove to Mount Olympos National Park. Slowly, Lars and I started to climb the mountain. There were few cars on the road and we stopped regularly to admire the views and to take pictures.
And up and up we went… And the higher we climbed, the faster my heart was beating. Lars, on the other hand, was still relaxed; he had been here before and he knew the best was yet to come.
To our confusion the road suddenly stopped and we found ourselves on a huge parking lot with cars and campers from all over Europe. There was a crowded bar nearby and Lars went inside to ask where we could continue the rest of our trip.
And that was it. The adventure was over before it had even started … It turned out that the road had been closed some years ago and the only way to reach the top was by hiking. We did not have the proper footwear, let alone a good physical condition. There were no words to describe our huge disappointment.
The rest of the day we drove around in villages surrounding the mountain. The scenery was lovely, but we could not help but looking regularly at the top of the mountain. The top that we were not able to reach…
Lars and I went back to Olympiaki Akti, the small town at the coast where we were staying, Surely, an authentic Greek meal would make us feel better. The evening before, when we had arrived, it had been too late to go to a restaurant and we had simply ordered some pizza and bought some beers. Now it was time to go out!
It soon became clear that Olympiaki Akti was a lot more touristic than we had thought.
Lars and I saw a lot of pubs and snackbars offering every kind of junkfood imaginable. Not exactly the kind of establishment we were looking for. But finally, we found a place that offered Greek specialties. The tables closest to the beach were already occupied by locals.
And it is always a good sign when locals flock to a restaurant, isn’t it? It usually means that the food is authentic and yummy and not overpriced.
Well, maybe not. Problem number 1. Lars and I had barely ordered our meals or they served our starters. Now, we all know what that means: the restaurant wants to get rid of you as soon as possible. Too bad for them: we simply asked them to slow down and we took our time to choose, order and eat our dessert. And drink some extra Metaxa.
Problem number 2. As you can see on the pictures, all the main dishes came with French fries. Really?!? My moussaka does not need any fries…
Anyway, after a not such a bad meal, we went back to our room.
Maybe the day had not passed the way it should have. Maybe we should have informed ourselves better. But we were still on the road and new adventures were waiting for us. And then there was this view:
By the way, that moussaka was actually quite lovely!