Day 202 – EU – Greece [Larissa to Rapsani]

11th September 2020
Run: 38km

A pleasant start of the day with company towards the Vale of Tempe – followed by a splendid finish in the mountains, on dirt roads and with formidable ascent

I met Christos (the cyclist from Larissa who rode with me yesterday) at 6:30am on the central square of Larissa and we headed out North East in the direction of Rapsani. The first few kilometers were a bit stressful as traffic was dense on the road in the early hours. As we progressed toward Tempi Valley (or Vale of Tempe) it got lighter and lighter, then very pleasant.

We reached the Vale of Tempe at km 27. The Vale is cut in the middle by the river Pineios, nudged between the Olympus and Ossa mountain ranges, flowing towards the Aegean sea. Legend has it it’s the Trident of Poseidon that did cut the vale through the rocks. A bit of trivia: Tempe Arizona, Sydney’s suburb Tempe as well as the Vale of Tempe Rd in Penang Malaysia are all named after the Tempe Vale of Greece. All places I should pass by during the course of the world run. I will make a point to cross all the “Tempe” places on my way!

Christos said goodbye at Tempe, as his road bike was inadequate to follow me on the dirt roads up the mountain. And I am glad he did: not only would the road have been truly impracticable, but the ascent per kilometer would have been impossible. The first 3 kilometers of ascent each had over 140m+ elevation. And as if it were not enough, this was on a dirt road made of loose stones and sandy earth. Quite a challenge with BoB the stroller and a very slow progression.

The landscapes though were truly stunning. Very dense and green vegetation with a clear view on the whole valley on one side – and a glimpse at the Aegean sea on the other side. Then out of nowhere, in the middle of these mountains I found the village of Rapsani. Such an isolated place, and quite an improbable place for a famous wine producing place. A quaint little village built of stones, with a large central place hosting trees and tables, where all the local tavernas are set.

Today’s GPS records encountered a glitch. I was going so slowly up the mountain (!) that my Garmin frequently went on auto-pause, thinking I was idle. It missed quite a lot of recording. When I transferred the data to Strava, I activated the “Distance correct” function and it added an extra 1.5km to my run. I chose from the start of the journey to report from Garmin, so I will be reporting 38km today. Not a big issue – but as I was going up that mountain, I did think it was cheeky of Garmin to infer I was idle as it was truly hard work!

Check my daily run GPS data on Garmin or Strava (icons top right of your screen) – here is the map of today’s run: