Written from the balcony of a cheap hotel a day before we fly/at the airport just about to leave/the plane/Anna’s parents’ (It’s a long one!)
Further adventures high and low in the ‘Mani’ area
A stolen evening on a romantic island
Greece turns truly mountainous
We go soft in Nafplio
More ruins at Mycenae
Time to go
Mani Mountains and Diros Caves
In retrospect Kardamyli was something of a highlight. Since then there have certainly been high points, but mostly only those we’ve climbed to over grinding hours in our lowest gears!
We tore ourselves away from a waterside café in Karlamyli too late to ever make the ‘easy’ 40km down the coast the doddle it should have been. Despite being overtly a coast road the daft engineers seemed intent on climbing as high into the mountains as possible to achieve their aim, and we had to go with them.
For those of you who don’t cycle, and as a reminder to myself, I think it’s easier to pedal 20km on the flat than 5km on these kind of hills with our panniers on. With the same pedal force you’d be whipping along at 20-30km/h on a smooth, flat road- winding into the mountains you’re suddenly stuck, inching across the flat map at glacial ‘speed’ with tired legs and creaky knees- maybe 8km/h if you’re lucky and fresh, down to 5km/h on the really steep bits. Not having contour lines on our map (just vague topography indicated by shading) made judging journey times something of a lottery. This is one we lost! On the plus side the ride and scenery was truly spectacular- think the Highlands in the sunshine over the sea and you’re not far off. If we had given ourselves all day for it, and could have taken plenty of breaks, it would have been great, as it was we ‘arrived’ (set up emergency camp in an olive grove) just after dark, still about 8kms from our final destination and totally fried.
Written in the pissing rain, in our champ tent on the beach
We leave Manchester in a blur
Party Greece is a total bust
Slip the noose and escape on our bikes
We’re not as hard as we like to think
Ancient Olympia rocks
Our tent is tested
Wow! What a blur from last Friday to this! Last Friday Anna had just finished her last day of three years’ work and training, handed in the corrections on her Psychology thesis, packed up the last of her flat’s furniture into our massive camper van and her car, driven over to her parents’ place to unload and finally get to bed about 1am. We thought that was the hump and that the Friday would be easier- we were wrong! Although the flat was mostly empty, we still needed to do a final pack, break down the bikes for the flight, totally empty the flat and deep clean. The afternoon and then the evening slipped away and midnight found us still mopping floors and emptying the fridge. The van was loaded with the last of it and we finally got away, totally exhausted but slightly exhilarated. It was too late for bed by the time we got to Anna’s bro’s, where we were supposed to have spent the evening and night before the 3am taxi- a bottle of champagne had been promising itself to us all night and the lack of sleep wasn’t going to stop us!
This whole Greece jaunt was instigated by an invite to a friend’s 30th birthday at a villa in Zakynthos- we thought we could make the most of the flights rather than just going for a long weekend like most. It was going to be a good chance to celebrate with her, catch up with a few of her friends I knew, meet some new ones and have a the good old party we deserved before a couple of healthy weeks.
Written on train from Manchester to London 08/09/14
We pack up Anna’s flat and go for a ride.
Before you can go you must leave. Leaving is ending, and ending something good is sad.
We’ve just spent another weekend packing up Anna’s flat of three years and shifting her things to her childhood bedroom at her parents’ house. Before they could fit however this room needed to be cleared of the detritus of her late teens and 20s- endless A4 sheets of academic notes, a box or two for jumble sale and a few gems to keep.
It’s at times like this I wonder what we’re doing- it seems like a massive effort to pack everything up and away, rather than just shift it all to a bigger place and settle in. Of course this is madness. Everything needs a good weeding out every once in a while but there’s always something better to do unless forced by something like this. And it feels good once completed- a clear room and the knowledge that everything you’re carting around and storing is actually good and useful to you. I went through this a few years ago before moving to London- sorting, weeding, storing (in easy to move, easy to find boxes- with labels! If you can’t find something you need in 2 mins is it’s not worth keeping it. And, ‘If in doubt, chuck it out.’)
We even found time to hit a circuit around the Lancashire moors; the first time on our road bikes for ages. I was a bit worried I might have gone off road riding, but sure enough it was still a buzz and the legs, bikes and bums held up fine to a hilly 20 mile loop. I can’t wait to be off with everything we could need with us; and a whole land of the unknown to discover.