Tuesday, July 7
It’s 14:05 in the afternoon and I just finished having my lunch; a nice big salad called “Salad of Eros” and a chicken gyro. Both were delicious and just what I needed to fill the gap. It’s hot and sunny here and I might go for a swim later but want to get caught up on some writing first.
This morning I woke up around 07:30 and shortly after 08:00 I was gone running. There were a couple of mountains in view but I really wasn’t sure how far I could get; where the trails could lead and if there were any obstructions (ie. guard dogs!) in the way. I ran from the marina up the hillside a few kilometres before I was on steeper terrain and having to hike up goat trails. Not much further up there was a dog barking at me. I couldn’t tell if he was fenced in or not and he certainly didn’t sound as mean as the one the other day, but as the trail was disappearing I didn’t want to take my chances and thought I might be able to find another route up. After backtracking about 500 metres I met a local guy who was just pulling into his driveway on the other side of the road. He was very friendly and spoke English well enough that he could explain that there was a dirt road that let to a monastery, just on the other side of the villa where the dog was. He said not to worry about the dog and he offered me water. I already had some so he told me to come by his restaurant later, “it’s the one in the square with blue chairs”. So I thanked him and continued on my way, this time going around the opposite side of the villa and finding the road, passing by the dog who was on a leash. The road was gradual enough I could run most of it and eventually I made it to the monastery (after cautiously passing by another guard dog at a goat farm. He was leashed too but had an angry bark!) There wasn’t a whole lot to see at the monastery, the yard was all fenced in anyway. But I had my eyes set on a mountain peak that was beyond the monastery. I had to hike and climb up some pretty steep terrain with some jagged volcanic rocks, but the roaming goats and sheep seemed to have made passable trails over the years. Finally after two hours and 8.3 kilometres I made it to the top! Right at the summit there was a bee or wasp hive. I wasn’t going to go close enough to determine the difference, but enjoyed the surrounding views before deciding on a route to try to get back down. I didn’t want to go back the same way so instead opted for the east side of the mountain which would likely take a while but it looked possible. I remembered seeing a road near sea level when we were sailing in yesterday. I figured I could get to it and it would lead me straight back to town.
The descent was challenging and I had to be careful with every step. The heat of the day was rising as the morning cloud cover was now clear. In the shaded, bushier areas I had to mind all the bees buzzing around—it was no walk in the park. I made the descent to the road in just over an hour; thirsty and hot, with no water left, but I knew I wasn’t far from the town or the sea and I was on the road now so could easily run. Within a couple of kilometres I had made it to a beach area. I gladly plunged into the cool, refreshing water! As I knew I’d be passing through the square I looked for the restaurant with blue chairs and there was the boss, greeting me with an impressed smile. I ordered a big bottle of cold water, and sat down to enjoy it, ending my hike/run at just over 14 kilometres and 3 hours 49 minutes.
I walked back to the boat and had a cold shower on the pontoon. I was pretty hungry now so came back towards the town and found a nice seat outside on a patio to have my lunch and write.