I knew that my legs were tired after the last three days walking. It’s surprising how much it takes out of you walking the bed of a gorge. The altitude rise is not very dramatic but you can’t get into any kind of walking rhythm as every footfall is different. Each step has to be watched and stride is stretched or contracted to cope with the distribution of boulders. Coming down is easier, if you concentrate, because you can hop from boulder to boulder more easily taking advantage of gravity …. assuming that you get your balance right!! That plus the fact that I’ve not yet acclimatised to walking in the heat of the day took more out of me than I thought. By the end of a month walking in the heat I have usually acclimatised but the first 3 weeks over here this year it has been pleasantly warm but not hot. Now I’m finally beginning to acclimatise to a Greek Summer.
So I set myself a modest target for Friday culminating with an early finish on the beach for a long swim.
First was long pull up to Agia Sofia (in case you haven’t twigged yet Agios = Saint, Agia = Saintesse, Agio is the neuter form and as far as I know is only used to used to refer to the Holy Spirit ‘Agio Pnevma’, yes, same origin as the word as ‘pneumatic’. Greek lesson over! Almost.)
The tiny church at the bottom of the village was just as photogenic as yesterday and I couldn’t resist taking another photo with the sun at a different angle. One major bonus today was that the lady who lights the candles etc was arriving to do the business just as I was struggling up the final section of path. I intimated my wish to look around inside by the use of the ubiquitous ‘parakolo’ (please, may I) and she urged me inside but very quickly said ‘no photos’ …. so, apologies, no photos of the frescoes lining the inside of the church. They were more intact than in Lakaki but still showed signs of damage.
From there I dropped down into a small valley and then climbed up to the village of Petrovouni, which as far as I know means Rock Mountain though I couldn’t understand why. The old church was enclosed by walls, fences and locked gates so I couldn’t even see the outside properly nevermind the inside. No matter. The paranoia may be justified in view of the damage at Lakaki.
From there I got really boring and dropped down a very good kalderimi (paved donkey path) and encountered wash-day blocking the path. It reminded me, very nostalgically, in some way of my uncle’s farm in Carmarthenshire which had no running water inside the house, no bathroom and only an outside loo at the end of the orchard. There was a large 45 gallon drum with handles boiling water over a wood fire burning slowly underneath it . The water was then transferred it seems to a smaller drum where the nets for catching the olives were being washed ready for the Autumn’s crop. The household rugs had already been washed and were draped alongside the path to dry in the sun. There was a route through washday-on-the-path. Fascinating!
I dropped back down to Kardamili and from there to a frappé and then a sunbed on the beach. Sequence of swim, dry out in the sun, get hot, swim, dry out in the sun ………….. you know the decadent pattern. What a contrast of lifestyles with the guy washing his olive nets up the mountain!!!!
Having got bored with that I took the camera for a walk to the old olive oil factory on the edge of the sea. Once again, fascinating! No olive oil processed here for many years. A ghost of a place. I climbed up into the building and wandered around inside the skeleton. This used to be a thriving business, providing employment for local people. The only income for Kardamili now seems to be processing tourists.
A very different day with very different perspectives on life past and present.
As a complete change of subject. I had my usual twice-weekly e-mail from Aldi supermarket today telling me of Sunday’s special offers. They include: ice cream maker; ice cream wafer curls and fan curls; freezer bag; ice lolly moulds (or is that molds); ice cream tray and ice cream scoop; swimwear; beach dress; beach bags. Checked the weather forecast for South East Wales, my home patch, and see that they will be on sale just in time for the end of the cloudless blue skies forecast for Saturday with temperatures up to a sweltering 16oC and a return to wet weather from Sunday onwards. Two thoughts occurred to me. First, Aldi have got a different and more reliable weather forecast (unlikely!!). Second, the order placed in China 6 months ago has now been delivered to the UK and the stuff just has to go on sale (more probable). The problems of the global economy!