Around Greece on a Bicycle

Pelotome –
around Greece on a bicycle.

Wanderings: On Wheel and On Foot in Europe – Hugh Callan (1887).

My Life and Times

by Jerome K. Jerome

From £4,75

August 1886 – Published October 1887.

Wanderings: On Wheel and On Foot in Europe.

Setting out from Glasgow on the 3rd July, 1886, to catch the steamer to Hamburg, Hugh Callan details his 1,500 mile, high-wheeler, 33 day journey “on wheel down Europe from the German ocean to the Aegean Sea”, reaching Thessaloniki from what is today Veles in North Macedonia, (both places, at the time, part of Turkey) and catching a French steamer to Piraeus, Greece, via Volos. After paying a visit to family on the island of Aegina, he visited Athens on foot and made cycle trips to Eleusis, and Marathon, via a wrong turn to the Tatoi Palace (Dekeleia).

Catching the train to the new city of Corinth – 28 years after an earthquake had destroyed its ancient predecessor – he visited the ruins before taking an old Glasgow steamer on the Gulf of Corinth to Patras, where he caught a ship back to Britain.

The second part of the book is dedicated to his earlier July 1885 trip “on wheel up the Rhine Valley, from Amsterdam to Geneva, and back by Antwerp,” while Part Three follows his six week walking tour “‘on the tramp’ in Belgium and France,” in 1881.

  • By Hugh Callan.
  • Published by Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, London.


“In an ancient land like Greece, the thoughtful stranger is never at peace. He wishes to get away back to the Past and live in it ; but the Present kills all his fine feelings defiles, demeans the Past.

At first I thought to visit all the sacred spots round Athens on my bicycle ; but soon gave up that mode of locomotion when I found its presence made the process of getting back to the Past harder still.

To hurry indecently over ground where trod Solon and Pericles, Plato and Demosthenes, and many more of the Past’s great ones, through the groves of Academus or by ‘the whispering stream of Ilissus,’ was pure desecration !

What has a bicycle to do with Greece, with the Past? It is there in discord with the simplicity of past Greek life and thought.”

~ Wanderings on Wheel and on Foot, Hugh Callan (1887).

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