Sunday, 8 April 2012

Crete, Greece - A day in the mountains

After a few days of cycling along the pretty south coast of Crete, it was time to return to the north coast and cross the peaks that form the backbone of the island. It was time for a day in the mountains!

We woke early in the cheap room that we had found above the taverna in the quaint mountain village of Amoudari and Bart popped out on his bike to get fresh milk for breakfast and croissants from the bakery. We left most of our bags with our landlady, a grey-haired old Greek woman dressed in black, and only took with us what we needed for a day in the hills. We started our day in the usual way of cycling on Crete...with a long, steep climb on a gravel road! We rode up through pine forests that thinned out to snow patches and rocky ridges, giving us beautiful views of the snow-covered mountains above. Yes ... you read correctly ... snow-covered mountains on Crete! We chained the bikes to a tree and started walking, picking our way through dense bushes with vicious thorns and across boulders with holes in like Swiss cheese and then finally up steep snow fields. We climbed to a top at 2135m for views across the snow-plastered Askifou Plateau and tried to eat a snack as we were blasted by a strong, cold wind. We made a quick descent, running down the snow and then cycling back down the mountain, to enjoy a cold drink back at the taverna late in the afternoon. We picked up our heavy bags and a few groceries from the little supermarket before cycling over another mountain pass as we scoured the countryside for a camp spot.

We eventually found a gorgeous little spot for the tent beside a small chapel, tucked in olive groves below the mountains. The chapel was unlocked and in the evening people came to light the candles inside. We cooked supper in evening sunshine and looked back up at the snow-covered peaks with a feeling of deep satisfaction from a great day in the mountains.

Photos from Crete on Flickr - click on the link on the right.


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