We exit lock-down, have a mountain adventure and the tavernas re-open

Monday May 25th was a day we had been waiting for. It was the day that the Government had decreed that the tavernas and restaurants here in Greece could re-open and we had promised ourselves for some weeks that when the day came, we would treat ourselves to a whole week of eating out because we were so fed up with cooking every night!

But where to go with so many choices? It had to be Bobo’s of course but what to do with the rest of the day?

Sheila had scheduled two lengthy phone calls during the morning and early afternoon, so I amused myself doing odd jobs around the place, including doing a little dead-heading of the geraniums

and keeping an eye on the renovation of the neighbouring house which is quickly nearing completion.

The owner has arrived from Athens and we thought we should introduce ourselves. Maria told us that he does not speak English so it was an opportunity to practice our Greek. Sheila met him in the courtyard and exchanged a few pleasantries but he seemed shy and did not give his name so I asked Maria, who said he was called Yiorgos. When I met him later, I told him my name and addressed him as Yiorgos. He looked confused and said his name was Manolis! I tried to explain that Maria had told me his name but he look confused again and said he did not know a Maria. This was going from bad to worse and as I had exhausted my Greek, I decided to  withdraw, silently cursing Maria for giving me duff information. Such are the perils and challenges of learning Greek.

It was a lovely day so at lunchtime, we decided that we would have an adventure before eating at Bobo’s.

When we bought our new car one of the determining factors for choosing the Suzuki Ignis was that it came with a 4×4 option and we thought it would be good to explore some of the dirt roads that go through the mountains. In particular, I had my eye on the road which goes past our house, up to the ancient olive tree (allegedly the oldest in the world), past the post Minoan archaeological site of Azorias which sits in an elevated position immediately behind our house, then to village of Melisses which is only inhabited in the summer and thence by way of a steep zig-zag dirt and stony road to the mountain village of Thripti.

For various reasons we have never got around to doing this but Monday seemed like a good day to try!

In retrospect it was not an entirely sensible thing to do at this time of year because the municipal road grader is yet to appear after the winter rains so the road was not in the best of condition. Indeed, in places it was barely passable and I spent a lot of time keeping an eye open for possible turning places, should the need arise to re-trace our steps as it were.

Not only was it an exciting and challenging trip, the scenery up there in the mountains was both amazing and beautiful and we even saw a Belted Galloway goat but unfortunately there is no picture, as the goat leapt up on to a rock and disappeared as we approached!

The distance cannot be more than perhaps six miles but it took an hour and a half, mostly in first or second gear. Walking by a somewhat more direct route up the E4 path from Kavousi takes only two hours so there was really not much advantage is taking the car except that I can no longer walk the path!

It was a wonderful experience but somewhat of a relief when we met the concrete road on the outskirts of Thripti, which nestles in an upland valley/plateau below the highest mountain in the area from which it takes its name. The taverna there had re-opened on Monday too and we were tempted to stop for a beer as it was thirsty work driving up the dirt road but we wanted to get to Bobo’s. So we took the tarmac road down the other side to the main Ierapetra – Pacheia Ammos road and thence to the seafront taverna, which any readers who have visited us here, will know as being our favourite.

It was great to be back there and the family were their usual welcoming selves.

Bobo could teach Dominic Cummings something about sticking to the rules whilst managing to introduce a fair degree of humour into the situation, which no doubt Mr Tsiodras, an infectious disease specialist here who has fronted up the nightly Government coronavirus TV presentation would approve of. He is now stepping back from the limelight but having become a modern national hero, signed off with an excerpt from a poem by Odysseus Elytis, which I rather feel Mr Cummings and his boss might like to reflect on.

“I’ve always told the truth. The truth can’t be lied to and the lie can be told the truth.”

Of course, we drank too much at Bobo’s and Tuesday saw both of us a little worse for wear! So regrettably, we decided that that we would not go out again but have a quiet night in. It’s a hard life!

In the past few weeks, we have been allowed to meet with friends, so we have had a socially distanced dinner party here in Kavousi,

a picnic at Xerokambos with Rich and Shona,

lunch on the South coast with Hans and Hanneke

and a day out on a remote beach at Itanos where we got rather sunburned.

We also had a pop-up virtual party to celebrate a rather important birthday of Pat, a friend in the UK.

Goodbye from my lock-down curls, now sadly consigned to the hairdresser’s floor!

John

2 thoughts on “We exit lock-down, have a mountain adventure and the tavernas re-open

  1. Marsali

    Gorgeous geraniums! I reckon Suzuki would pay you for advertising their 4×4. It looks very at home in the hills there.

    Your lockdown experience is certainly preferable to the UK. With 60,000 deaths and counting, I’m not sure how much worse it can get.

    Stay safe xx

    Like

    Reply

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