Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The White Mountains

or as the Cretians know them,Lefka Ori.  But first, a basket of pomegranates, just because they were there.

We headed down to the south today, stopping off en route for morning coffee here:  

If I could remember which high plateau it was, I would tell you.  But I can't; however the coffee was excellent, as was the view of the plateau and not to rub it in, but on this particular November morning it was HOT.  Looking out over the fertile plain one could almost be forgiven for thinking it was spring and the long days of summer would be here soon.  Sorry folks, it's Christmas next month 😉

See the white mountains just peaking out?  Well they are the White Mountains and are called so because they are. Ade of limestone and usually covered in snow until late spring.  There are over 50 gorges in the range, but we'll get to that later.

Just look at this view, quite the 'Julie Andrews' moment .....think Sound of Music, wrong country I know, but mountains, meadows, goat get the idea.

But no skipping down hill for us because this morning the only way was...UP!

Walking through a landscape that looked almost lunar ( not that I have been, but I have seen photographs!)

it was a switch back climb that needed all your wits about you.

And just when you needed a breather the view all but took what remaining breath you had away.

Doesn't that sea just look so inviting?

But off we went, up, up up...

...just time for a pause every now and then -  a snatched moment of calm, to be carried with you along  the busy footpath of life.

We passed a pile of cedar logs, inhale deeply and you can smell the sweet resin.  It doesn't diminish with time, so I am hoping that the lump I showed in my backpack still smells as good when I get it home.

Although it is a scrub landscape this delight was waiting for us at the top, apparently the only white Autumn crocus.

Our goal was the small chapel of Loutro.

Some had already left their mark.

But here is my shadow to prove I was there too...even if I look like one of the flower pot men.

Fortunately Jean was on hand to capture the family moment for us.

Just below the chapel was the remains on an ancient Dorian town.  It seemed older than time itself.

I don't really do chapels, but the floor was jolly and

there was a nice blue bench, 

which was just the same blue as the sky outside.  If you squint closely you may just be able to make out the flock(?) of  griffin vultures circling high overhead.

But a quick head count to check we were all there...

and the helpful spray painted road sign told us where we had been.

But we followed the arrow pointing right,

down the mountain side,

into the village and straight to here

where there was a Cretian feline welcome rep. ready to seat us underneath the chestnut trees.

Perhaps if we had known where we were heading next we might not have had that second glass of wine with our excellent lunch.  But on the other hand, if we'd been stone cold sober we might not have  descended into the gorge, but then

looking at the alternative, perhaps it was the best choice.  Either way, once you'd reached the bottom the only way out again was to climb on ...


Fortunately this little beauty was there to cheer us on our way.

A quick peak into the ruins of the abandoned village at the top followed by a swift cold drink and we were off again.  This time back over the bridge - in the bus, and off to find a suitable beach for an early evening dip.

This made me smile,

as did the swim in this little cove.

And so did the sunset as we struggled back into our walking gear...getting dressed on the beach is never easy, but at least there was a pretty view to distract us.

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