Feb 052017
 

We got a crash course on driving in Greece today—not literally—as we hit the highway to Kissamos on the west side of Crete.

10 Things About Driving in Greece

1. Lanes are not rules; they are merely suggestions.

Lines are merely suggestions 1, driving on Crete - Jen Funk Weber

Lines are merely suggestions

See that car on the right? It’s driving on the shoulder as though it’s a lane. If you’re driving slowly, you can and maybe should (or not—more on this momentarily) just stick to the edge of the road.

Lines are merely suggestions, driving on Crete - Jen Funk Weber

Lines are merely suggestions

That oncoming car? Yep, driving half on the shoulder, half on the road.

It’s all good. To the Greeks, anyway. I’m not sure I’m a fan.

The problem with driving on the shoulder is that sometimes there are parked cars or rocks in the way, like, around corners where you can’t see them in advance.

Rocks on road, driving on Crete - Jen Funk Weber

Rocks on the road

2. Surprising number of slow drivers.

A good many people drive on the shoulder. Although faster drivers will pass slow drivers anytime, regardless of solid lines and blind curves, no one seems to get angry with the slow pokes.

3. Twisting, turning, winding, narrow roads.

Curving roads, driving on Crete - Jen Funk Weber

Twisting, turning, winding roads

Turns can be extremely tight, and are usually narrow, too.

Tight turn, narrow road - driving in Greece - Jen Funk Weber

Oodles of tight switchbacks

4. Roads in poor condition.

Did you see that photo with the rocks in the road? There are also potholes, crumbling edges, and very rough gravel roads.

5. “Antlion” roads in towns. Roads get narrower and narrower, and you wonder if you’re driving into a trap. Maybe there’s a car-eating insect at the end.

6. Lack of speed-limit signs, and when there are signs, senseless, frequent changes of speed.

7. Gas stations on curbs in towns. Houses and businesses open onto the road—and sometimes spill out onto the road.

Houses on road, driving on Crete - Jen Funk Weber

Houses on the road

Houses on road 2, driving on Crete - Jen Funk Weber

Houses on the road

Narrow roads, driving in Greece - Jen Funk Weber

Narrow road, cars parked o both sides, and–oh, yes!–a cat.

Olives beside road, driving on Crete - Jen Funk Weber

Bags of olives encroaching on the road

8. Willy-nilly-ness. Pedestrians stepping out, willy-nilly; cars pulling out, willy-nilly; cars parked willy-nilly; goats and cats wandering out, willy-nilly.

Willy-nilly activity, Driving in Greece - Jen Funk Weber

Willy-nilly activity

Look at this. We’ve got cars parked in both directions on both sides of the road, with several cars seemingly allergic to the curb. That black car on the right is pulling out in front of us, and the whole road is just a tight squeeze. Pedestrians are wandering all around, too.

In their defense, or something, I did see a sign that said “Welcome to Crete. Park everywhere.” Seriously. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of it.

Goats on the road, driving on Crete - Jen Funk Weber

Goats on the road

9. Our gutless car (a Suzuki “Swift”) on an island with some very steep roads. We actually failed to get up one and had to back down and find a new way to our destination!

10. Crazy-packed, narrow town roads.

Crowded town street with tractor and truck, driving on Crete - Jen Funk Weber

Crowded town street with tractor and truck

So far, so good, though!

  2 Responses to “A Crash Course: Driving in Greece”

  1. Ahh the adventure of driving in a foreign country! Been there, done that!

  2. Hear, hear! Well played, Tammy!