Day 1

From:  Athens

To:  Elefsina

Miles:  15

Total:  15

What a great first day Dave and I had today. The weather was great, the walking was good, and  it was just a fantastic way to start off our adventure across Europe. 

The day started after a not so good night of sleep. I got to Athens Sunday and haven’t adjusted to the eight hour time change so I was up and down all night. Dave didn’t sleep any better even though he got here on Saturday. However, we met for an awesome breakfast and were out the door at 7:40 to start our first day on the road. 

The weather forecast was for temperatures in the low 30s to start the day, but it was more like upper 30s when we left, and not a cloud in the sky. There was a chance of rain and snow later in the afternoon so we hit the road early to beat the weather. 

The first couple of hours were right through the heart of Athens. The streets were pretty quiet that early and we had sidewalks to walk on for a few miles. When we got away from the city center there were a few miles of walking on some busy highways but we were able to avoid all the trucks. We made great time all morning and reached our destination, Elefsina, by about 1:00.  Elefsina is a nice little suburban town and is home to the largest oil refineries in Greece.  It also has a military airport. After an amazing late lunch at a local cafe, we checked into the Elefsina hotel and called it a successful first day. 

Tomorrow we continue west down the Greek coastline and should be seeing an area that had major wildfires a few months ago. Not sure if the hotel we have picked out is even there after the fires. The weather is forecast to be sunny and dry with highs in the upper 30s. Sounds like a great day for a walk. Thanks for reading. 

OBTW: We posted a video today. You can view it by clicking on the video tab on our website or search ”thewalkingaggie” on YouTube.

Looking west from the center of Athens.
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WD -1 John’s arrival in Athens

Dave started his day by taking a hop on hop off tour of Athens. The highlights of the tour were the Acropolis/Parthenon and Temple of Zeus. John arrived around 3 pm and had no problems with his flights or connections. We made a quick trip back up to the Acropolis/Parthenon after John got settled in. We also both got Greek Vodaphone SIM cards for our phones, so please don’t try to use our stateside numbers to contact us. We plan to grab a light dinner and make it an early night so we can start walking bright and early before the bad weather rolls in around 3 pm. The forecast says snow is possible and according to our tour guide this morning it rarely happens and people don’t know how to drive in it. It sounds like the city shuts down just like when it happens in San Antonio and Tallahassee.


Dave’s shout out today is for the other charity we are supporting on our walk, the Red Cross. Hurricane Michael is old news to most of the country, but many of the citizens in the panhandle of Florida are still trying to get their lives back on track and homes rebuilt. I know the Red Cross of Northern Florida is still actively working with those in need. If you would like to make a donation, the link is on our home page.

Thanks and feel free to comment on any of our journal entries.

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WD -2

Lots of info here today so it will be much longer than our normal 2 to 4 line update and shoutout you will see as we walk. Dave had a 2 1/2 layover in Frankfurt and then a 2 1/2 hour flight to Athens.  All signs are in English and Greek at the airport.  No passport check in Athens but it was checked in Frankfurt.  It must be all that is needed for the EU.  There was no one at customs control so no hassle there either. The Metro Station is basically attached to Airport and was a short walk from Baggage Claim.  One of the photos you see today was all along the entrance to the metro from the airport. I thought it was the perfect sign for our arrival! The metro ticket agent spoke English and signs are also in English as well.  Then it was 15 stops to Syntagma Square downtown. The square still had its Christmas tree up as you can see. The hotel was less than a block from the metro station. It was a cold afternoon but Dave still did a little bit of walking to familiarize himself with the area before heading to dinner at a small Italian restaurant called Brigante around the corner that makes fresh pasta. It was excellent! Then it was off to bed after sending best wishes for John’s safe travels and arrival in Athens tomorrow. Dave’s shout out for today is to reemphasize the first of the two charities we are walking for, the Gary Sinise Foundation. Another great example of the wonderful things that Gary supports is when his organization sent 600+ Gold Star families to Walt Disney World to heal together during th holidays. Again if you would like to support his organization the link is on our home page.

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Walking Day minus 3 (WD -3)

WD -3

Dave is at the Tallahassee airport to start his adventure. If all goes well he will land in Athens tomorrow and meet up with John when he lands on Sunday.

Today’s shout out from Dave is to John and Wyn Ball as well as his lovely bride Lisa for allowing him the opportunity of a lifetime to accompany John throughout Europe.

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December Update

Happy Holidays!  John and I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  John asked me to provide this month’s update.  It will be our last prior to our arrival in Athens.  What an exciting win for the Aggies over LSU.  John was at the game and I was watching the seven overtimes at home.  Wow! 

It has been a busy time for both of us since the last update making final plans for the walk.  After discussions with John, we have decided that if you all would like to make a donation this year while following along on our walk please donate either to the Gary Sinise Foundation or the American Red Cross, North Florida Region. 

The Gary Sinise Foundation supports our nation’s military and first responders.  I was stationed at US Central Command and saw first hand the support the Gary Sinise Foundation provided to a severely wounded Army Sergeant when they provided him a new home with special features for his disabilities from combat related injuries.  Gary does work all over the United States for our nation’s heroes. The link to the donation page will be posted in the next few days.

 I also witnessed the support the Red Cross is providing in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael when I worked as a volunteer and delivered basic necessities to Red Cross shelters in the devastated areas such as Port St Joe, Panama City, and Mexico Beach, Florida.  Many families not only lost their homes, but their livelihood when the businesses in these small towns were destroyed.  It will be many months if not years until these communities recover.  If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross, North Florida Region, here is the link: 

 https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/the-walking-aggie

Links to both charities will also be posted on our home page.  There is no pressure to give and we haven’t set a goal.  We know that any amount will help and appreciate a donation of any size. 

In case you missed last month’s update here is a repeat of some basic administrative info to help you follow along on the walk.  Please take a look at our website, thewalkingaggie.com, if you get a chance. It has all the details of when, where, why, and how they will walk from Athens, Greece to Oslo, Norway. On the website you can see the planned route by clicking on the ROUTE tab. Also, the GPS tracking device John used on his walk across America will be used again and has already been activated. That device can be monitored by clicking on the tab WHERE ARE JOHN AND DAVE, also at thewalkingaggie.com. If you click on it now, it only shows John’s current position in San Antonio but will start tracking their position every 10 minutes starting 7 January in Athens. They’ve also included contact information, bios, and FAQ, just to acquaint you with their plan.

Since this is the last update before we walk, I also wanted to thank our families for giving us this opportunity to walk through Europe.  Without their understanding and sacrifices, we would never have this opportunity.  Thanks again to all following along and have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

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November Update

November is here.  Only two months until John and Dave head to Athens, Greece to begin their trek across Europe.  They’ve both turned up the intensity of their training walks and will be ready for 20+ mile days starting 7 January 2019. 

October was an eventful month for both guys.  John and wife Wyn went on a three week trip to Australia and New Zealand.  They missed a couple of Aggie football games, but the trip was well worth it.  

Dave and wife Lisa also had quite an adventure in October.  Hurricane Michael came roaring through their part of Florida.  No major damage to their property but they’ve been busy helping others who were not so fortunate.   

With respect to the upcoming walk across Europe, they invite you all to take a look at their website, thewalkingaggie.com, if you get a chance.  It has all the details of when, where, why, and how they will walk from Athens, Greece to Oslo, Norway.  On the website you can see the planned route by clicking on the ROUTE tab.  Also, the GPS tracking device John used on his walk across America will be used again and has already been activated.  That device can be monitored by clicking on the tab WHERE ARE JOHN AND DAVE, also at thewalkingaggie.com.  If you click on it now, it only shows John’s current position in San Antonio but will start tracking their position every 10 minutes starting 7 January in Athens.  They’ve also included contact information, bios, and FAQ, just to acquaint you with their plan.  

That all the news for November.  We hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving holiday.  We’ll check in one more time in December; then it’s off to Greece for what will be an amazing 2300+ mile walk across Europe.   

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October Update

Here it is, the 1st of October, and we thought we’d better get something posted since it’s only three months until we fly to Athens, Greece to get this walk started.  A lot has come together over the last few months so we’re confident that we’ll be ready to head overseas to start walking on 7 January. 

First of all, we’ve dusted off the cobwebs from the old Walking Aggie website through which you are reading this update. Thanks to Jeremy Henderson, the re-activation of the blog has been very seamless. If you were familiar with the old website, basically nothing has changed. We’ve simply updated all the pages with relevant information about this walk. Very soon we will have the “Where’s John & Dave” tab working but it won’t start tracking our movements until the walking starts in January. 

As far as the walking route, which can be view under “The Route” tab, we don’t foresee any changes to that between now and our 7 Jan start date. We plan to walk from Athens, Greece to Verona, Italy as part 1 of our trek between January and mid-March, leave Europe for 90 day’s to satisfy European Union Visa restrictions, then pick back up in Verona in June with part 2 and finish in Oslo, Norway in early September.  That’s 2321 miles in 150 days, not including the 90 day Visa break.  When it’s all finished, we will have walked across seven countries. 

We’ve both about finished collecting all our supplies and equipment. No need for a tent this time as we have planned our route to not need to camp. However, just in case, we’re both taking a sleeping bag.  The weather will be much cooler on this walk than John had across America in 2015. Therefore, we’ll be packing some extra layers of clothing, especially for Part 1 in January, February and March. 

That’s all for this update. We’ll check in with more information in November and December as we lead up to our January start date. 

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