Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kalymnos Part 4

There's no doubt about it, summer is officially over in Greece. In the last week, we've seen the temperatures go from the mid 20s to the mid teens, and there's plenty of frigid wind to go with it. This is generally considered better conditions for climbing, but our warm afternoons of basking in the Aegean Sea may be over. Regardless, we can still enjoy the beach; we’ll just have to keep our clothes on.

We have a nice routine here. We climb 3-4 times per week and, on days off, Pam takes Elise out in the morning while I work in the apartment. Elise naps from 1:00-3:00 and then we usually go for a hike or beach excursion as a family before dinner. Since daylight savings, the evenings are long and dark giving us more time to kill. We sometimes go for an after dark walk to fill the gap before bedtime.

Here is a photo of a church on the ridge above the port town of Pothia. We drove up for an evening and enjoyed the late afternoon light and views. Elise especially liked the large chicken coop behind the church complex.

We’ve been spending some time climbing and socializing with a couple from Boulder, Dan and Kate. They live next door and we’ve had a couple of nice dinners together. Here’s a photo of Dan flashing a hard route (Sardonique) at the Odyssey sector.

This is Elise watching her IPOD during one of our dinners out.

Elise continues to climb and continues to improve. Her latest route is called Eumeo (4b) and she’s done it a few times now. She has climbed it without any help from either of us and lowers back down without incident. Here is a photo of her at the top of the climb with her little friend Koji (from Chamonix) beside her. A little competition never hurts…

This past week was a French holiday and there have been a number of French families here. Elise has enjoyed the companionship of other children. Here she is at the base of the Odyssey wall with Koji (in the tent) and Juliette. They cannot understand each other, but it doesn’t seem to matter. They play together and Elise provides instructions in English, regardless of their response.

The other day, while we weren’t looking, Elise put our belay gloves on her feet and started walking around the base of the cliff. She looked like a chicken and we all thought this was pretty funny. The things she comes up with.

Here is a picture of Odyssey cliff.

Here is a picture of a beautiful little church on a peninsula below Odyssey cliff.

The kittens continue to be a huge hit with Elise. However, there have been some mishaps. After two separate incidents where Elise “manhandled” the cats, we gave her a 24-hour cat time out. In other words, no cats for one full day. This she took seriously and the behavior has improved, somewhat. We still have to coach her constantly on appropriate handling of the animals.

This is one of the kittens.

This is Leo, the dominant male in the area. We’ve seen him fight and chase off a couple of other males and he’s certainly taken some abuse in the process. This picture is about the best I can do for poor Leo. He’s not a proud looking specimen with his scars, scabby eyes and black-spotted lips, but he does have character and is very friendly. However, he scratched Elise in the face the other day – I have no doubt she deserved it.

We celebrated Elise’s first Halloween last night. It was the first time she actually understood it and got to participate in the festivities. Pam made her a cat costume (this seemed appropriate) and we went trick-or-treating in our apartment building. We visited Dan and Kate next door, Monica (the manager) on the first floor, the family that owns the building and our Toronto friends Daniel, Peter and Tom. We had warned them all that we would be coming and they had treats ready for Elise. She did very well, considering she was working a country with no idea whatsoever about the North American significance of this holiday. We finished the evening with a nice dinner out with Dan and Kate.

Here is Elise’s costume. Note the paws on her hands.

Here she is outside our apartment with her jack-o-lantern, midway through the session.

This is Monica, the apartment manager. She’s been very helpful and Elise really likes her. Monica feeds the cats which is one of the reasons they are reasonably healthy and happy here.

Finally, I thought I’d include a couple of pictures of our apartment. The wide angle lens on my camera makes it look a mile long, but it’s actually quite small. In the first picture you can see Elise clowning around on her bed. She likes to play with Polly Pockets (her new favourite toy – grandparents take note) on her bed each evening and I’m constantly putting Cinderella in different dresses. The second picture shows the other half of the studio (minus the bathroom) where we do our cooking and eating. It’s small, but adequate.

Elise is talking excitedly about various winter activities such as skiing, skating and building snowmen in the yard. I told her that it’s going to be cold and she’ll get wet, but that seems to be of no consequence. She assures me she’s ready. Winter will be interesting this year.

Four more weeks in Greece! We hope it doesn’t get too cold to continue enjoying the outdoors.


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