Murcia and Volos do not have much in common. The Greek city, a small town a hundred years ago, grew rapidly in the 20th century around the activity of its port and the arrival of refugees from Turkey. Little to do with the capital of Segura. until Daniel Gimeno, 34-year-old from Valladolid and Murcia by adoption, has proposed to unite these two extremes of the Mediterranean: you are going to cycle the almost 4,000 kilometers that separate the Helena city from the Region. An odyssey of about 40 days that Daniel explains naturally: «Why don’t you go do something different than what is out of the norm?». Actually, the most normal reaction is another: “At first they called me crazy,” he told LA VERDAD on the phone from Sofia, in Greece.
That Hellenic village was the first stop on his long journey through southern Europe. «Here is a square with eight houses around it, and there in the background you can see a church. There is no more, “he described Daniel after traveling his first 100 kilometers. In the morning he had left his starting point, Volos. “A pleasant city with a lot of atmosphere” where he found work when “things were a bit complicated” in Murcia due to Covid. He left as a physiotherapist for Tekio, a former UCAM defender from Moline, who signed for Volos FC, a club in the Greek first division. After the season ended, Daniel began to chew on an idea: “Can you imagine going back on your bike? And why not?”.
Thus he embarked on a colossal adventure in times of pandemic. In fact, Daniel had to modify his initial idea of crossing the Balkans. He ended up choosing to cross Greece and take a ferry to Brindisi, on the heel of his Italian boot. At the moment is traveling the country from the Adriatic Sea to the Tyrrhenian, passing through Rome and Florence, and taking advantage of “old roads, such as the Via Appia and the Camino de Santiago.” At the end of this report, the physiotherapist climbs slopes through the Apennine Mountains on the way to Genoa. For now, “smoothly.”
Daniel’s unusual determination cannot be understood without knowing his passion for cycling, which was consolidated when he joined the Caracol Protour Cycling Club and began to prove himself in long-distance races. There are two trips that sum up your mindset. The first, throughout the Iberian Peninsula, although it was by motorcycle. In the second he did dare to pedal: he toured the Sierra de Cazorla with an old friend from school. The fans discovered a more authentic tourism on which it invites you to reflect.
“We are in a world where we want to move very fast to be in one place only. Y it’s about enjoying the trip, going from one place to another and getting to know them», Reasons Daniel. It is that essence that he perceived from the first day in Sofia: «I have come here, to a small village, and they have told me if I wanted a beer, I have sat down to chat with them in English and a little Greek, I have asked them if I they could give a piece of floor to sleep, they let me shower with a hose. It’s those little things».
With that perspective, Daniel Gimeno took to the road. With no other objectives than about six hours a day on the bike and with the unexpected help from various Murcian sponsors, such as a fishmonger, to finance their expenses. In a few days he plans to meet his girlfriend in Montpellier, in the south of France. She will join this Mediterranean ‘tour’ there that will continue to Barcelona and until Íscar, Daniel’s hometown. His plan was to end up there to visit his family. “But the people of Murcia are supporting me a lot and the trip will have to end well,” he admits. Although he is focused on the route, he already feels nostalgic for the finish line, the city that welcomed him before he was three years old: «Volos is very pretty, but it doesn’t have the seafood, the baked octopus and the Estrella de Levante from Murcia. That is missed».