No early morning awakenings Friday. Slept like a log … once I got to bed. For the first time this trip I fell asleep over the keyboard. Not a good start at all for what I had planned for Friday.
The plan was to catch the bus to Katapola, the main port at the other end of the island and then to walk back, climbing Oros Profitis Ilias on the way. And that’s what I did. It was planned as a walk from coast to coast, an ambition inspired by the Canadian motto “A mari usque ad mare”, not the US patriotic song, though admittedly the line in the song is more poetic.
The bus was more or less on time but incredibly crowded. I was standing up along with 20+ others and it was so full that there was no room for my rucksack on the floor I had to have on my back. Most of the people were heading for a small beach near Chora and from that point on those of us who were left could all have a seat. Why do so many people do nothing but beaches on holiday? Half the bus was taken up by a very large group of French teenagers who have been popping up all over the island for the last week. They all got off for the beach armed with buckets and spades or other beach paraphernalia.
I had it all planned out. The first section is the path up to Chora which I have walked now a number of times. This time I was doing it fresh and fairly shot up it.
Caffeined-up from a frappé in the square in Chora I got to the top of the mountain in 40 minutes, a total time so far of 1½ hours. I had allowed 2 hours. Very strong wind on top. I could have stayed for hours but had to push on.
It was all without incident really, just very enjoyable walking. The only down side was the knowledge that this would be the last long walk I do before going home. I knew the route from having done it in sections before and it was just a matter of piecing them all together. I did divert off the path at one point to look at some strange landforms. Difficult to know if one particular feature is entirely natural or man-made.
Sections of the path were again across mountainsides covered in wild broom in full flower. The smell is unforgettable. I wish I could bottle it or capture it with the camera.
Altogether it took me just over 5 hours of more or less continuous walking, stopping only twice, each time for as long as it takes to eat a banana and have a swig of water.
Enjoyed it immensely but glad to reach the hotel and a long, cold grapefruit juice on the balcony.
And so the sun went down.