Sunday 05.26 was a day of contrasts. I started in a busy tourist town, cycled beautiful coast, crossed from the north coast to the south coast at the at Crete’s most narrow point, went through a region of huge greenhouse farms that must produce most of the country’s vegetables but has many poor workers and squalid housing, and ended the day in Mirtos, a small beach town off the main route, loved for its lack of big hotels and development.
An artist with a little shop in Mirtos pointed out to me that the wind had changed in the early evening, becoming warm and blowing down from the mountains. I asked what that meant. “Strong winds, maybe dust storms.”
Monday 05.27 I left Mirtos and went inland, into the hills, heading west. It was a long day – 92 km, hot, hilly, headwind (the wind predicted yesterday). I walked some of the steepest grades; once I drop below 8 km/h in my bottom gear it is time to walk so I don’t damage my knees. The country is agricultural, mostly olives and as the day went by, grapes. Good pavement and little traffic. I ended the day in Mires, an inland agricultural centre that is just somewhere to stop; like staying in a highway town in the BC interior. I may have been the only tourist here. Except for some Americans visiting relatives here, I did not hear a word of anything but Greek. Fun to observe a Greek town going about its business.
Saw another bike tourist, the first anywhere on this trip. He looked German or Dutch; we didn’t stop, just waved from opposite sides of the road.
The mosquitos are annoying. They are small and fast. I have a strong reaction to the bites. The Greeks have not discovered the window screen, at least not in the class of hotel I frequent. But they have done without screens for thousands of years. No rush. 🙂
Tuesday 05.28 I rode northwest to cross the island again and finish in Rethymno on the north coast. It was like the previous day in some ways, hot, hilly and some walking, but not as long and the wind was a tailwind at times. It began with a fast, level 15 km ride, but then turned into a 10 km grind up a long hill. Not as long or steep as the 14 km uphill the day before. Descent into a valley, some rolling country, another long hill and finally a 6 km descent into Rethymno without any pedalling, just hanging onto the brake levers. 74 km in total.
Rethymno is a busy tourist town and port. I has an old town of narrow winding streets and a Venetian fortress. I will be off to explore shortly.