Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kalymnos Part 5

Our village, Massouri, is like a ghost town. In the course of two weeks, the crowds have fled leaving deserted streets, hotels and restaurants. After the craziness of October, it’s actually a little eerie, even lonely. This picture shows the town from the water. We live in a white building just right of centre, about one block above the sea.

On the flip side, the cliffs are much quieter and our climbing days feel more relaxed – we no longer have to battle with the abrupt Euros to get to the climbs we are keen for. All of our friends have left so the last two weeks will be socially quiet, unless we miraculously meet some unexpected acquaintances. Many of the shops have shut down for the season, but since we have a car, we can get what we need by driving 10-15 minutes toward Pothia. A few of the restaurants are still open so if the mood strikes, we can still get authentic Greek food. With the long, dark evenings, our trip here is winding down on a quiet note.

Here are some photos from a climbing day on the small island of Telendos. There are a lot of spiny plants here. The vegetation is very desert-like.

Elise posing on Telendos. It was a windy and cold day.

Showing me her "funny face".

Climbing-wise, we all had a very good, even excellent, week. I did one of the hardest routes I’ve ever climbed away from home, Pam sent one of her long-standing projects (a very overhanging climb) and Elise did two new climbs and absolutely perfected her favourite climb "Eumeo". She now flies up it on demand. Still, the conditions are a tad warm and muggy for good friction, but since we are not freezing, I guess I shouldn’t complain. In fact, in the last three days, we’ve managed to swim twice in the Aegean, although the water is definitely getting more “refreshing”.

We hiked to a small church on a peninsula. It was a beautiful afternoon.

Relaxing on the beach.

Elise posing on the white-washed steps that led down to the sea below the small church. I dove off the dock and swam, Pam opted out and Elise decided to wade in the tide pools instead of swimming.

Elise continues to impress us with her napping skills. She sleeps anywhere, literally. At Odyssey cliff we put her to sleep on a mat between two cacti (no tent – it’s often too windy) and she lays there in the breeze sleeping for two hours, easily. That we can count on this day after day is truly amazing.

Since the summer weather patterns have broken, we’ve had some tremendous storms. Typically, they roll through at night. We hear thunder in the distance that slowly approaches, followed by incredible lightning and torrential rain. Bear in mind we live in Squamish and are accustomed to legendary precipitation, but these storms are on a whole new level. It rained so hard last night one of our walls started to leak. And the morning dawned sunny and dry! I’ve tried to get Elise to sit on the deck with me at night and watch the fork lightning rip across the sky, but it makes her nervous and she quickly darts inside to the sanctuary of her bed and Polly Pockets! The waves have grown large during the storms and again Elise gets nervous at the beach. She’s always telling us to “get back” from the water’s edge. She thinks we’ll get wet or swept away.

The calm before the overenight storm.

The aftermath. Note the muddy run-off along shore, seen as a brown streak in the water.

We visited the Kalymnos Archeological museum and it was very impressive, including the price of admission – free!

We learned that this island has been inhabited by humans since the Bronze Age and has an incredible history. Ruins litter the island and I’m especially interested in visiting a cave where the majority of the oldest artifacts have been found dating back to 4000 BC! In the museum, we looked at all kinds of pottery, bronze figurines, marble busts, glass bowls, fishing hooks, stone tablets and coins (Kalymnos has been minting its own currency for thousands of years). One of the most impressive displays was a collection of bronze, life-size statues that had only been recently discovered at the bottom of the sea, between the islands of Kalymnos and Kos. Can you imagine discovering something like this while diving?

Afterward, we visited the restored mansion of the self-proclaimed “Sponge King” of Kalymnos. The house was a couple hundred years old and incredibly ornate, furnished with items from France circa Louis the 14Th.

The highlight for Elise was picking (and eating) an orange from the orchard out front of the house. The trees are heavy with citrus fruit right now.

We’ve been indulging in Greek pastry. The sweet shops here are pretty impressive, far more so than in Spain, which was totally lame in this department. In particular, we’ve been enjoying the baklava, which is honey-soaked pastry served in a variety of forms. The Kalymnians claim they have the best honey in the world and I wouldn’t doubt it. It has something to do with the species of bees combined with the flowering herbs that grow wildly on the island. We have the honey on goat’s milk yogurt (definitely not low fat) every morning. Its rich, creamy and delicious – a real Greek treat. If the honey yogurt doesn’t kill us, the pastry surely will. I’ve noticed our intake of pastry has increased from a couple of times a week to an almost daily occurrence. We’ll have to keep it under control before we leave or we’ll negate all our hard climbing work!

Elise is very much looking forward to coming home and talks about it a lot. She’s planning a blueberry pancake breakfast (her favourite) with some friends for the week that we return. We’ve been working on her alphabet and she’s getting quite good at identifying the individual letters and naming words that start with the sound in question. She loves to “read” before bed every night. After we give her bedtime stories, she sits in bed with her headlamp on and “reads” books. In other words, she flips through the books and recites all the words from memory. It’s amazing to me what she can recall! We just lie there, watch her and laugh quietly to ourselves.

We’re off to a BBQ with our apartment manager Monica. Tonight is her last night before leaving for Spain and we are about to inherit the feeding of all the stray cats. Elise is thrilled…

Until next week...

No comments:

Post a Comment