Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tiros to Kosmas - The Hill

The day dawned clear and calm. Here's a picture of how we had to rough it for breakfast.

After breakfast we loaded up the bikes and headed south out of town. We had twenty kilometers (about twelve miles) to ride to reach Leonidio. In those 20k we climbed two fairly high headlands. Here is one last look back at Tiros.

Leonidio is a pretty little town set back from the coast a bit. We wished we had time to explore there more but we still had 80 more kilometers to go (we thought). Our goal for the day was Githio, a 100k ride, the most ambitious ride of the trip. We stopped in a bakery to by a loaf of bread, and pushed on. Here we turned inland. We knew there was a big climb ahead, we just didn't know how big, and for the first 12k or so it seemed like it would not be so bad. The road climbed next to a river up into a gorge. It is such a place that in the U.S. it would be made into a national park. It looked a lot like places in Utah, red cliffs and all. We were chugging along when, as we rounded a curve, we heard a bell and then chanting. We looked up and there was a monastery plastered to the cliff ahead.

We could hear the chanting for several kilometers as the sound echoed off the canyon walls. Around the corner was the shrine of the day. It was just past a roadside fountain that had flowing spring water. We filled up the water bottles not knowing how important that water would be near the end of the day.

It was not much farther when the climb turned ugly, switchback city, and steeper. We did all right till the second to last switchback, from there on we were forced to walk the steepest grades.

If you click on the above picture you will see many sections on the road we were climbing. Beyond the switchbacks, we still had 10k or so of climbing to reach the mountain village of Kosmas, and our energy reserves were quite spent. It was getting late and cold. It was the easiest decision to make to find a room for the night half way to our original goal. Kosmas is a pretty little mountain village, quite old, with a small triangular plaza bordered one one side by the church and cafes on the other sides with a few very old trees inbetween. After a couple of tries, we found a inn with a room available. It turned out to be the most comfortable, pleasing room we have had so far (however, in our state it would not have taken much to please us). Here is a picture of our inn, built in 1876.


Unknown said...

That monastery looks amazing! Probably one of a hundred awesome unexpected sites, but still.

Dave and Belinda said...

Hi Jonathan, it was awesome, and so was the fact that we could hear the monks chanting for so far.