Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Πάντα στον νου σου νάχεις την Ιθάκη.

I have a Masters Degree in Engineering - something niggles me about Claus's roof supporting structure compared to that of the Berghof (South).

This splendid shot is taken on the plain of Xerokambos - looking out from Klaus' house.
The day before my return to England we decide to visit the village of Platanos that is on the opposite side of the mountain from our village. Platanos is at the bottom of a valley and hosted a water mill during the first ice age.
The house of garbage near Platanos - used as the film set for the popular Greek comedy series Stephanos and Son depicting the rise and fall of an aspiring PASOK MP.

The waterfall at Platanos.

Platanos High Street

How to get to Platanos - last time we visited for the spring festival it was tipping it down - now it's just the waterfall tipping.
 Hypochondria is part of the Greek DNA - here in Platanos Mrs Nikos and Yiayia Mrs Nikos are recognised as doctors at the Ouzeri and we drink and eat mezedes to the accompaniment of lurid descriptions of various ailments - this is just the gambit.

A naughty boy in bed

Time to buy a new bike?

I would have chosen another brand name, especially now that Greece appears to be snuggling up to Israel.
This brand name is perfect - Three hours late and not a glass of wine in sight, but the meatballs were not from IKEA as they were halal or is that haha.
 And so the summer trip but not the journey came to an end.

Bear Ithaca always in your thoughts.
Arriving there is the goal of your journey;
but take care not to travel too hastily.
Better to linger for years on your way;
better to reach the island’s shores in old age,
enriched by all you’ve obtained along the way.
Do not expect that
Ithaca will reward you with wealth.

This is an extract from Ithaca, a poem by Constantine Cavafy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Allegro energico, ma non troppo

Sun rise over the valley

A wasp  - 1 of 239,875,000,000 that I destroyed over a 10 day period

A disused mill in the valley

Upper Astros Zacharoplasteio - the purpose of any good ride is to make this place the penultimate destination

Galaktaboureco - devine route planning and sticky map.

Cafe frappe - glykos and sketos
Going home - a view of Astros and Astros Paralia

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Unsophisticated yet happy lives.

According to Wikipedia, after the collapse of the Roman power in the west, Arcadia became part of the Byzantine Empire. Arcadia remained a rustic, secluded area, and its inhabitants became proverbial as primitive herdsmen leading simple pastoral unsophisticated yet happy lives.  On the other hand, I choose to live a life of planning paranoia and GPS fixation greeting only the herdsmen (and herdswomen) with a fleeting wave and a departing backfire from the lean running overheated boxer engine on my BMW R1150GS motorcycle.
This is possibly the  theoretical planned route recreated from the black box flight recorder and distant memories.

And so I planned a circular tour of Mount Parnon and this would be Mrs Nikos' and my first substantial ride away from the local area of Mrs Nikos Towers (aka the  Berghof (sud)). The route would take us over the plain of Xerokambos before making a left turn into the Parnonas national park.  We would then head south towards Sparta before driving on the road of 100 days and past the stone edificed monastery of Aghios Nikolaos near Kosmas.  The return journey would take us back north through Leonidon to Astros to buy a chicken for dinner.

This is the sort of nonsense that Greeks have to put up with

You are here, we are here, but where are we?

Lost again somewhere on Mount Parnon and someone else has amended the directional arrow.

Rain clouds dammit

I have never been to Monemvasia but this is a worrying development as we do not wish to go there.

I believe this filling station to be near Geraki

This scene depicts rain and that was a pity as our rain gear was 50 miles away at the Berghof (sud)

Juke box at filling station cafe

Not a single record that was recognisable but the owner managed to demonstrate his abilities at Greek dancing to many of the tunes.

We spent several hours here at the apogee of our route hoping that the rain would stop - eventually the hospitable owner served complementary tsipouro
We descended from Mount Parnon and looked for petrol and coffee.  We stumbled into Geraki and stopped at the first filling station where we were to spend the next 2 hours sheltering from the torrential down pour.  We drank coffee, deposited discretely compliementary home made tsipouro into the plant pots and Mrs Nikos danced with the Proprietor, his Mother, wife and children to Greek juke box music of the 50s.  Eventually we elected to depart as the rain had abated to drizzle.  The route to Leonido on the coast would take us over the mountain ridge (1100m) and down a spectacular gorge.

The scene just prior to our departure as the Proprietor starts to ruminate about his time in Australia with his Mother looking on.

A road side shrine to remember the last traveller who had perished by driving over the edge.

Monastery Agiou Nikolaou Sintzas in the clouds above us - I am still to this day reprimanded by Mrs Nikos for not stopping in.
Epilogue: The rain did not stop and the roads turned to soap -  I could not believe how slippery Greek roads are in the wet. There are no more photographs of this tour as the camera will not work under water. By some miracle we arrived home in two pieces and ate chicken. The ginger pussy is pleased to see Mrs Nikos.

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