Tried to post this this morning but the internet went out just before I could, I'm working on today's update now!
Greetings from the ferry between Patras and Bari!
Yesterday was the first day on the road after a few days of sun in Athens (well Glyfada the home town of our good friend Alex V which is just south of Athens along the water).
My wife Elisa, baby Mosi and I arrived in Athens last Saturday to find Alex waiting for us at the Airport. Unfortunately the only car he could find that would accommodate all of us was his wife's Mini. I was hoping he would show up in one of the Abarth cars, but I think he was smart and realized there would be no room for three adults, a baby and lots of luggage. Even the Mini was quite tight! We had been traveling for many hours so he dropped us at the hotel to freshen up before going out in search of food (another constant adventure as my wife and I are both vegan which leads to some challenges every now and then). We found a decent Italian place that was able to accommodate us and then later on I met Alex, his lovely wife and some friends at a fancy beach restaurant that turned into a night club. I love the fact that dinner in Greece starts as late as midnight!
The original plan had been to depart first thing on Sunday, but we arrived knowing we would be delayed a few days as we awaited the delivery of our temporary German export plates. The process of applying for and receiving our 90 day plates took a bit longer than expected, but I have to give a lot of thanks to Eugene at export-plates.com and recommend the service highly. They were about half the cost of the quote I got for the same service from the Italian company VIP (who also get German plates as that seems to be the only country that will issue temporary plates and insurance that don't require residency) and Eugene worked very hard to figure out the process of registering a Greek historical vehicle in Germany (not an easy feet). If anyone has any questions about this process I would be happy to give advice, but would really send you straight to Eugene.
After joining Alex and company for the end of their meals and some drinks I was fortunate enough to get a 2am tour of the garage we have all seen pictures of below the Alex V compound. Those of you who have seen it in person know that the pictures can't compare to the actual experience. Alex is such a humble and dedicated collector. He has some of the best cars that I have ever seen, but he drives every one of them and he has no desire to have more cars than he can enjoy. I could have spent all night going over the lovely cars he has in his collection, but I was probably most excited to see my new machines (aside from the Flavia, at the end of the Summer I will be bringing home the 1967 Fiat Moretti Sportiva that Alex did a fantastic job restoring). I can't say enough about how easy it is to do business with Alex, he is the best on every level.
Sunday was spent having a very long and enjoyable lunch with Alex and his wife and then my team was dropped off at the Athina Art Fair so we could do a little work before heading into Athens for dinner.
Monday was a Holiday in Germany so we knew we were in Athens until at least Wednesday at this point. It also happened to be the 8 year anniversary of meeting my wifge, so my wife, baby and I spent the day enjoying ourselves with a little shopping, trip to the beach (where we took our three month old into the sea for his very first time!) and then a very fine dinner at Matsuhisa which is located in an amazing resort complex about 30 minutes south of Athens.
On Tuesday I had to work quite a bit, but we still managed to return to the beach for a few hours before heading to the Acropolis in the evening for a little tourist time (I highly recommend going there towards the end of the day as it is cooler and the light is just amazing) and then dinner in the old town of Plaka. My wife was in Athens a few years ago and was amazed to find since her last visit it has become much more vegetarian friendly. We never had any problems finding great food and Tuesday night we ate at "Avocado" an all vegetarian place that is currently the #3 restaurant in all of Athens according to reviews on Tripadvisor.com (not just of vegetarian food but all food!). It has a very casual atmosphere but we were not disappointed by the delicious food.
Yesterday we spent the morning working and organizing our gear for the road trip. The plates arrived as scheduled from Germany at 11:30 am (thanks you again Eugene!) and Alex had them on the Flavia and was parked outside the hotel by Noon. By 12:30 we were on the road to Patras.
The first drive was spectacular. The Flavia is driving wonderfully and the roads from Athens to Patras were a great treat. There was no traffic and mostly views of the sea the whole way. We spent some time cruising on the highway, but the roads were also full of nice twists and turns that helped me settle into the car. I was actually sad it only took us three hours to get to the ferry as I wanted to drive all day! Compared to my Fulvia, the Flavia is a very very different machine. I love the Fulvia experience, but the Flavia has a real GT feel to it that makes it such a better vehicle for the trip we are going on. It just eats up the road and likes to cruise. The fuel injection performs wonderfully and with three of us in it and three months worth of luggage, the Flavia still feel spacious.
We loaded the car onto the ferry around 5:30pm and the boat was on the way right at 6. As we went outside to take pictures of the departure we were surprised by the most amazing display of aerial acrobatics and synchronized flying I have ever seen. A team of nine jet fighter planes twisted, turned and came so close to each other, the boat and the water that we were blown away. Is anyone familiar with this group of Greek planes? I need to find out more about them.
It was a rough night on the sea so we are running a bit behind schedule but we arrive in Bari shortly and must make it to Como by tomorrow afternoon. It will be fun to return the Flavia to Italy for a few weeks!
I'll post pictures soon.
1960 Lancia Flaminia PF Coupe 2.5, 1967 Fiat Moretti Sportiva, 1967 OSI 20m TS, 1967 Lancia Fulvia Coupe 1.2, 1968 Lancia Flavia 1.8i