is approximately 72km, took the metro to
station "Pallini", cycled towards the sea, from Rafina to Nea Makri
following the coast, then to Schinias Olympic Rowing center. From there
inland through the mountains to Marathonas village and further more
inland to Marathonas lake and dam. Finally a few more mountains to go
down to Kifisia and take the train back home.
gain was not bad, mostly downhill for the
1st 20km, then flat for another 20km, uphill for the next 20km with
400m. gain and the last 12km a few ups and downs. It was mostly the heat
of 40 degrees Celsius which melted everything :)
Reaching the sea from the inland road I was situated north of Rafina
and this was the 1st beach I saw, placed between a bar named "Cavos"
and a greek eatery taverna named "Argyri Akti"
After having a short rest had to keep on going
A bit further there was a beautiful marina with another small beach
There were kids fishing and wind surfing going around
One of the kids thought Im a tourist and asked me in broken English to take his photo :D
The place was really beautiful so decided to have a short break and have lunch on the swings by the sea
Kept on going through the coast, there were nice patches of sand here and there and a few more marinas with people windsurfing
Reached Nea Makri marina
After Nea Makri there was a beautiful bicycle style lane going through the coast named "Xrisi Akti"
Nice beach bars here and there providing umbrellas and drinks for a small fee
It was time to divert a bit from the coast inland to go visit an
archaeological site, the Tomb of the Athenians from the Battle of
The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC around these plains,
during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the
citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by
Datis and Artaphernes. The battle was the culmination of the first
attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek
army decisively defeated the more numerous Persians, marking a turning
point in the Greco-Persian Wars.
Reaching the site you are greeted
by Miltiades who was elected to serve as one of the ten generals of
that battle and he is the one often credited with devising the tactics
that defeated the Persians. (source WikiPedia)
For a €3 fee you can check the most important of the remaining
monuments on the plain of Marathon, the Marathon Tomb, traditionally
known as “the Pile”, of 9 m height and 50 m diameter, which covers the
bones of the 192 Athenians who fell at the battle of Marathon.
the soil, the excavations have revealed the cremated bones. Inside the
tomb, traces of feasting have also been found. According to the
traditions, the winners collected the dead from the battlefield, put
them on a funeral pyre and they attended “perideipnon” (the funeral
banquet) to honor their bravery. Outside the tomb Athenian teenagers
offered every year wreaths and sacrifices to the memory of the killed
soldiers. (source visitmarathon.gr)
After getting my archaeology dose I went back to the coast on my way to
Schinias and had a lunch break here to rest from the melting heat.
Reached Schinias to visit the Olympic Games 2004 Rowing Centre. With a
total length of 2250 meters and a capacity of 14,000 seats it was once
full of life but now... its completely deserted and falling apart...
such a pity for such a beautiful place to have such a fate. I was
completely alone to go around, went inside that building to find the
half lit toilets on the basement which gave me the creeps as if playing
Resident Evil game.
Had to finally say goodbye to the coast, take the inland route uphill
for the next 20km heading first to Marathonas village. Small little
hidden white churches like this one (Saint John) were scattered
beautifully all along the way.
In the village of Marathonas there were a few more monuments referring
to the battle of Marathon and some art as this is the starting place for
the Athens Marathon. Although thought to be historically inaccurate,
the legend of the Greek messenger Pheidippides running to Athens with
news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event,
introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between
Marathon and Athens. The last piece of art from Japanese artist Masaaki
Noda, "The Spirit of Hermes". Two metal plates emerge from the base and
grow in a helical and spiral arrangement, evoking Hermes' wings and the
Athenian attack. Artists impression is of the day of the battle, the
Athenians exceeded themselves against a far more numerous enemy and,
ignoring the danger, attacking with dazzling speed, not unlike that of
Hermes' wings; with equally dazzling speed, the young Athenian runner
raced against time and covered the 42-kilometre distance at the speed
of lightning in order to bring the message of victory to Athens before
he died. The sculpture is erected in the plain of Marathon, near the
starting point of modern-day athletic events, initiating a dialogue
with the memory of the land.
Had to continue going uphill and cross a few short mountains on the way to Marathonas lake and dam
Finally reached Marathonas lake and dam.
The artificial lake
of Marathon - the benchmark of the city for decades - was created in
1931 and served as the primary water supply for Athens. It was formed
from the construction of the Marathon Dam at the junction of Charadros
and Varnavas Torrents near the town of Marathon. Varnavas was the main
water reserve of the Greek capital until 1959.
The rapid growth
of the population of Athens, however, forced the Greek government of
that time to operate additional supply connection to the lake Yliki,
while from 1981 on, most of the water supplied in Attica, is provided by
Mornos artificial lake.
The area of the lake is 2450 acres and
its maximum depth reaches 54 meters. The lake collects water from an
area called the drainage basin area of 118 sq. km., with an average
runoff of 14.400.000 m³ per year, with average annual rainfall of about
580 mm. The average inbound volume of the lake is 12.000.000 m³, while
the maximum reservoir capacity is 41.000.000 m³ (of which only 34
million can be drawn).
The crest of the historic dam (whose
construction began in 1926 and ended in 1929) has a maximum height of
227 meters above sea level. The Marathon dam was built by U.S. company
ULEN (which maintained by contract, the ownership of the water supply
company of Athens until 1974).[source visitmarathon.gr]
After having an energizing fresh orange juice on the nicely situated
coffee place I crossed the dam and had a shot from the other side as
Kept on going uphill with more hidden small little churches here and there
At some point a beautiful panoramic view of the lake and dam was revealed
With mountain Penteli on the background I crossed through and started descending to Agios Stefanos on the way to Kifisia
The road going down are very dangerous as they are very narrow
leaving no space for anything (two lanes narrow road), I was sad to see
this cat being hit by a car and loosing its life in front of my eyes. I
immediately stopped the bike and tried to go to her but the cars were
speeding so fast and not caring, I almost got hit by one and had to jump
on the narrow sides for safety. The cat had a critical hit on the head
with lots of thick dark blood flowing, it was convulsing and then
another car went through and completely ended its life... I stood in the
middle of the road with the hope that the next car will stop (guess
human life values more than cat life because you will go to jail after)
and with the help of a wooden stick I managed to get the dead cat out of
the street. There was nowhere to bury her around there so I was very
sad to leave her on the side of the street, at least her dead body
wouldn't become splashed again and again...Kept on going and reached
Kifisia where I took the train home with a few signs of heatstroke
although I kept myself hydrated with endless fluids and power drinks.
Apart of the sad cat incident it was a great ride through many beautiful places! Recommended :)