Aspropyrgos, located 15km northwest of Athens’ city centre, has an oil refinery along with a large industrial area that is home to numerous transport companies and truck parks. It was here that Paul O’Callaghan encountered Yannis Stavropoulos who was enjoying a Greek salad and a can of beer in the cab of his truck.
Hailing from the seaport town of Nafplio, two hours southwest of Athens in the Argolic Gulf, Yannis travels all over Greece in his 1986 Mercedes-Benz 1935. The outstanding condition of this 32-year-old truck is impressive. While there are still quite a few Volvos and Scanias of similar vintage working in Greece, to see a long distance Mercedes- Benz in this condition is quite rare.
“I bought this truck 21 years ago when I started out on my own. I travel all over Greece and often collect oranges in Thessaloniki for delivery to Athens. Also I transport steel and can be heavy at 50 tonnes gross.” [Yikes! Count the axles people and do the math – Ed].
The increasing cost of diesel and road tolls were his biggest concerns, along with the worrying trend of cheaper transport operators from Bulgaria undercutting for work. When asked if he prefers secondhand or new, it came as no surprise that his answer was secondhand!
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