Monday, October 11, 2010

Bike Tour Day 8 - What Goes Up, Must Come Down!

We had a later (8 AM) breakfast and a later departure (10 AM) so Peter and I took another stroll through the village of Kalavrita before packing up.  It is a charming place:

Peaceful village square

Main Street - has that ski resort in off-season feel

We loved our hotel, which also had a spa, very welcome after the big climb:

3rd Floor - June & Peter slept here!

So, as is always the case with bike touring, we hit the road again.  The goal was to ride "rolling terrain" 40K to our lunch stop - our thighs are in shock!

Some "rolling" terrain

Our super guide Patricia was ahead marking the course with the wonderful chalk arrows that make these tours so great,  no map reading needed - and she pointed out (in chalk arrows on the road) this unusual scene:

The walnut harvest has begun!

And, as always, I lived up to my mantra: "I brake for critters".

Hard to say who is cuter - or more curious -
they are, not me!

The scenery was predictably spectacular at every turn, even in cool, cloudy weather:

Down in the valley - and we are headed that way!

Majestic mountain terrain

This shot by Peter, from the road above, gives you a sense of scale:

I'm on the bike at center bottom -
Only 3/10 mile past Peter!

Another great shot for scale:

Jeff and Rick are the two dots on the road (far right)

Part of our good fortune was arriving at our 40k lunch spot just as the winds kicked up and the rain began to spit - we quickly entered the warm and inviting taverna and ordered big bowls of bean soup - absolutely wonderful!
By the time we ate and paid up, the squall had passed.  Here are the happy diners:

Peter, June, Manolis, Bill and Nancy -
All happy to be inside, dry and warm!

The end of lunch signified the start of our amazing downhill ride - the taverna was at an altitude similar to our starting hotel in Kalavrita,so we were about to descend 2,500 ft. back to sea level:

Stunning switchbacks - down and down

Due to the damp roads we were very cautious in our descent - everyone got down safely!  We did encounter some locally heavy traffic with about 10K left:

Running of the Sheep - just like Pamplona

After arriving at our hotel directly on the Gulf of Patraikos (12k SW of Patra, the main port city of the Peloponnese), we cleaned up and were indulged by the owners in appetizers special to the area:

Tomato, teeny fish, olives and ouzo -
don't knock it until you've tried it!

Dinner was also remarkable - lots of fish dishes including whole calamari, fish soup, salad, fish and potatoes (really wonderful) chased by apples drizzled with honey and dusted with cinnamon, and shots of a special liquor infused with cinnamon and cloves.  All wonderful!

Big day tommorow - early departure to make the ferry from Kyllini to the island of Zakynthos, 1 hour by water.  It will be the only stop of the tour where we lay over 2 days, hooray!  Onward...

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