Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Easter Ride To Areopoli

This morning we walked to the ritzier side of the port for breakfast at one of the nicer hotels. The only thing you can get for breakfast on Easter morning is a "European breakfast"; bread, butter, jam, honey, and coffee (such good coffee!). This is because everyone is busy preparing the big Easter Sunday dinner. Primarily this means roasting whole lambs on a spit.

As a side benefit of eating at the fancy hotel, we discovered that we could get free WiFi there. So we sat, posting our blog and doing some e-mailing, much later than we usually spend over breakfast. So we didn't leave town until about 11:30. This was all right though as we were only riding 28 kilometers. Our last view of Githio was this lighthouse.

As we rode a most gentle route through the mountains towards Areopoli, we were amazed by the stunning beauty of the Spring wildflowers. The sheer abundance is mind boggling. Spring has to be the best time to visit Greece. It is impossible to capture the full impact of the splendor with a camera.

A word about Greek drivers. Many people told us that the drivers here were nuts and it would be very dangerous on the roads. This seems to be true if you are driving. Greeks seem to be impatient with each other, crowding, passing, honking with abandon. We have been through a heavy traffic period due to the Easter holiday, however we have not felt imperiled at all. Some drive fast, some drive slow, but all have given us plenty of room. For this we are grateful.

The shrine of the day mirrors the rocky landscape we entered during the gentle climb towards Areopoli. The houses are all made of rock and there are myriads of rock walls defining goat pastures or property boundaries. As we got close to Areopoli, there was one final climb past an impressive coastal peak.

Then it was downhill into an old town with cobbled streets. We finished the day with a traditional Easter Sunday lamb dinner in Greece, a kilogram of lamb for two.

After the lamb is roasted on the spit, they use a huge cleaver to cut it into pieces. The meat was delicious and tender.

Tomorrow we will make a big push for Kalamata. The coastal road looks rough with big climbs and it is 80k. If we poop out before reaching Kalamata, there are plenty of camp grounds on the way.


Sandy said...

Hi, hope you are both well. This is a test to se if Sandy can publish her comment

Sandy said...

Hi, hope you are both well. This is a test to se if Sandy can publish her comment

Sandy said...

Did a big comment yesterday but couldnot get it sent, try try again. All the best sandy

Daniel said...

The food looks delicious, must have been a very happy Easter!

Dave and Belinda said...

Hi Sandy, your messages today have come through. You are cookin in the kitchen now!

Hey Daniel, it was tasty, but surprisingly expensive. But what are you gonna do? It was Easter after all.

Diana said...

Your comments re. Greek food have inspired me to cook avgolemono,, moussaka, and lemon chicken to further the experience here at home. Now, something with Kalamata olives. Hey, has your journey taken you anywhere near the original marathon route?

Dave and Belinda said...

Giamas! Diana. Sorry to disappoint, but I believe the original marathon route is to the east of Athens and we are to the west. Maybe our friend Ray can set us straight.