Settling in to the Greek way of life

Trip Start Mar 23, 2010
1
6
29
Trip End Feb 15, 2011


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Where I stayed
Vouros Palace

Flag of Greece  , Dodecanese,
Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ok, so when we last touched base, we had spent about a week in the Greek island paradise of Kalymnos. Our first Upskill camp group then arrived and the next two weeks were spent showing our friends what island living is all about. We climbed some amazing rock, witnessed some inspiring ascents from the team and ate a ridiculous amount of cheese! The second camp arrived before we knew it and again, we were in for a memorable fortnight. Highlights from this camp were the fabulous sea-cliff climbing, toasty warm weather, invaluable growth I witnessed in each of the team members and the way we managed to boost the Greek economy by the many purchases made at the local climbing shop.

Full trip reports and videos from the camps have been published at www.upskillclimbing.com .  Check them out.

While the groups were here, we stayed at the Plaza Hotel which was lovely. However, when the work stopped, it was time to say goodbye to our luxury accommodation and restaurant meals and say hello to a local studio and some home cooking. After a couple of hours checking out what was available, we found a great place on top of the local Italian restaurant (Prego). It has everything we need, including two beds, a TV, fridge, air conditioning and ensuite. Unfortunately we do have to shower over the top of the toilet (which is the norm here in Kalymnos) but we do have the luxury of a shower curtain...which is a bit of a rarity around here. Lee has managed to tap into the wifi of the restaurant, but only from the balcony, so his office is now outdoors, overlooking the Aegean Sea and neighbouring island of Telendos (terrible life we're leading I know). The toughest part about our location is the smell of Italian food that wafts up to our room every afternoon as they fire up the pizza oven and start cooking the garlic bread!!

So anyway, since the groups have left, we have been climbing for two days, taking one off and repeating this pattern continuously. We are both climbing quite well. Lee has done some amazing onsights and I have also managed to do some of my hardest ascents. I must say I am feeling pretty exhausted now. This is the most amount of climbing I have ever done in this timeframe and my muscles are feeling quite fatigued. Then there are the walk-ins which are steep and vary in length, but they're great for working off some of the Greek delights we're consuming.

When we aren't climbing, we can be found at a number of locations:

The local bar drinking frappe coffees, eating omelettes, Kalymnian salads or the occasional banana split while talking with the other travellers in the area

At the Plaza Hotel swimming in the pool or relaxing on the poolside lounge chairs napping, reading or just enjoying the seaside view (usually with a frappe in hand too)

Grocery shopping at one of the local minimarkets (usually stocking up on the Greek yoghurt, feta cheese and freshly baked bread)

 Riding the bus into the main town of Pothia for lunch, shopping, and a bit of exploring.

So far we are having an absolute ball. We are constantly pinching ourselves to check this is not a dream. We have settled in really well here, and have made some wonderful friends with the locals who look after us like we're family. Unfortunately we only have a few weeks left in this wonderful paradise before we hit the road again. Next stop on the agenda is Turkey where we plan on climbing for a few days before travelling north to Istanbul before flying to London. We then have three days in London before flying to the USA for a couple of months. We have friends joining us for a week in the States and are super excited about reconnecting with some loved ones again.

As our trip to Greece comes to an end, it's timely to reflect on a few learnings we've had over the past six weeks.

Firstly, do not feed the goats. They will not stop at just one piece of mandarin and if you are sitting on the ground whilst conducting this experiment, the goat will not hesitate to trample all over you in her efforts to reach any other food you might have available. Tying your food to the first bolt of a climb is the only way to keep her out of your stuff after the first bite of mandarin has been taken.

Next lesson, Greek time is NOT the same as Australian time. Ten minutes here equates to about thirty Australian minutes and is usually accompanied by the saying "Take it easy". I’m thinking of developing an iPhone application that does the conversion for Aussie travellers visiting this region.

When walking down a sloping concrete driveway, choose to walk on the dry side of the road, not the wet side. It is slippery and no matter how good you think your shoes are, they are not enough to stop you sliding onto your butt in front of the local tradesman and emerging with seriously muddy pants and a bruised ego.

Belaying whilst talking on the phone, reading a book, eating a sandwich or patting a goat is perfectly acceptable in Europe. In fact being an attentive belayer is just downright geeky.
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Comments

Mum on

The updates are lovely - thanks for touching - it makes you feel closer xxx

neil on

ha ha good to see guys hard at work hey. where do i sign up for a job and spare posies open sure to contact me :P lol looks like your havin a hoot. woot woot

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