Securing a fishwife
Trip Start Aug 01, 2003
66Trip End Sep 20, 2004
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I virtually crawled away from the plane after the worst landing in recorded history. I swera the pilot touched the water, after descending through low cloud, before pulling the plane up sharply and coming at the runway from the opposite direction. I did the coach transfer in the brace position.
The further north and east you drive from the airport the prettier the island becmoed. Pine clad mountains to your left, falling away to rocky coves and sandy beaches on your right. We stayed just outside Scala in a family run apartment block. The couple smile, gave us the key then went back to playing cards on the verandah. No wonder they live longer!
The aprtment stood on the side of a hill surrounded by a beautiful meditteranean garden with great views of the twinkling, blue Med. Scala was a 15 minute walk away, just the right sixe for a choice of good restaurants and bars. We ate out every night as it was cheap and lush. I loved the grilled haloumi cheese.
There were some unispiring Romanesque ruins nearby but the real treasure was found after a long walk up the mountain to an old villlage destroyed by earthquake in 3,000 BC. The beach at Scala was functional but keep walking to the right and scrabble over the rocks and you'll get to the nudie section.
Hiring a car and heading north provided a day in my life that I will never forget. It started with traditional coffee and toast at the harbour in Sami. It was so early the town itself was just waking up with fishermen tending their nets. Circling the bay and up into the mountains we arrived at the lookout over Mirtos beach. I have visited beaches in many spots around the world but trust me this is 'the beach'. You arrive on a high narrow path and the view stops you dead. A long crescent of platinum sand sandwiched between two sheer cliffs and the blue-green glittering water - enough to induce orgasm in the vulnerable. Even better is that you can drive down along a swith-back road and park on the beach itself, then there are great rocks to dive off, fish to gawp at and a cave to swim into. Such fun.
Had lunch at Assos, a narrow isthmus spearing out into the sea. There is a quaint old village around a sheltered bay where you can get fresh fish and sunbathe and snorkel in the shallow waters. Overlooking the village high up is Ulysses's castle. J felt sedentary, so I decided to jog up and take a look. It was a hot day and the path was steep and rocky. With dehydration I began to stagger and wobble from side to side. I should have turned back but I am a stubborn swine. The pathe got even steeper but I wasn't going to be beat. I began to sweat like a badger but still I went on. An old Greek couple passed me by making the protective sign of the horn. With a wild glint in my eye I staggered on.
I don;t know how nuch time had passed but in a delirious state I crawled up to the gatehouse of the castle and luxuriated in the shaded gateway breathing heavily. It smelt as if man and beast had been using it as a urinal but I didn't care, I just lay there like a beggar on his lunch break.
When I had recovered sufficiently I made it for the top. It's a man thing, I wanted to conquer this place and wave down to my adoring girlfriend below. She would look up and think 'wow that's the guy I want to marry. So, I went on into the overgrown inner sanctum. The place had a thorny barrier like sleeping beauties palace. I climbed, crawled and traversed my way onward. Squeesing my body through a tiny hole I appeared blinking into the sunlight. I was on the highest point of this castle mountain and there was a wonderful view for miles around. I was ecstatic. I glimpsed the old village below and started a waving and a hollering like crazy. Unfortunately J had gone for a swim and never truly got to appreciate my achievement but at least I caught the eye of the local fishwife.