Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Climbing to Assos - May 16

Murray and I headed by bicycle toward the picturesque village of Assos. We traveled along the same road that we cycled on our way to Mirtos beach. We passed the beach turnoff and kept riding northeast. Once again, the mountain road provided the only way to our destination. This road was long and steep. For my cycling friends back home, think Bearthooth Pass. My legs felt fatigued after two previous days of climbing and the hot midday sun made the climb a real workout. The views were breathtaking, though. And going up the mountain slowly provided ample time to see the entire setting. The terrain on the northern part of the island seemed rockier and less green. The descent was tricky - equally steep along a narrow, winding road. While it didn't have heavy traffic, he road did seem busier than our other journeys. It is always nerve-wracking for me to have cars try to pass on steep descents.

We made it to the village unscathed - mostly. Murray toppled over as he stopped his bike atop the climb to wait for me. The road was uneven and he couldn't unclip.

Assos had a quaintness to it with narrow winding streets and white houses with different colored shutters. The village is inhabited by only 75 full-time residents and the tourist season - from May through September - brings an abundance of foreign travelers.

Assos also has a large castle - once used as a local prison and formed the backdrop for almost every sunset scene in the movie Captain Corelli's Mandolin. It was a long walk up to the top. With our cleated shoes, we bypassed the castle. The castle is also the spot where around 1,500 Italians were butchered by Germans in September 1943.

Our lunch stop was a restaurant by the waterfront of Assos. I ordered a chicken kabob. Murray stuck with his noontime omelet. Once again, we split a Greek salad. The food was so-so and the bill much more than our previous lunch at Poros.

After lunch, we met up with Murray's family. They were enjoying a day on the pebbly beach at Assos. We stopped to say hi and posed for a quick photo. Then the only way out was up. As I started to pedal, I became a bit unstable by starting on a climb and toppled over as I started. I managed to unclip, but the gears scraped into my right calf. Oh, what would a cycling vacation be without a fall? I'm glad that Murray and I got our crashes out of the way.

The climb up was equally steep, but not as long. Then it was a fantastic descent most of the way to the villa.

Murray cooked that night - pesto pasta, salad and bread. I cleaned up afterwards.

Total miles: 40

1 comment:

  1. What a great adventure you are on Nancy! I feel like I am following a Hollywood script. Good job!