Tuesday 19.09.2000 - Pantokrator

Acharavi - Pantokrator - Sidari
50,5 km
243,6 km


The alarm clock has hardly gone off and we're already out of bed. We succeed in gathering our stuff and standing fully packed at our bikes in less than half an hour, which is a record time. We are surely motivated to start the main trip of this holiday!
We are facing a long climb to the highest top of the island, Pantokrator, approx. 900 m high. The climb would be easier without luggage and fortunately the hotel owner allows us to leave it in the studio, we just have to put the key on the inside of the door. Apparently we are the only guests here.

The Greek aren't quite early birds and it is impossible to get breakfast before 9.30 am. We decide to have some chocolate milk with a hot bun and some fruit leftovers from yesterday. We hope this will be sufficient for the Pantokrator climb.
Meanwhile it started raining, damn! We improvise mudguards with plastic bags we got from the supermarket and leave. But soon, is stops raining and everything remains dry.

It doesn't take long to be sweaty all over. Moreover, we take the wrong road which soon reaches a gradient of 20%. Anyway, this is an ultimate test for the gear and Gert wanders whether he is ever going to make it to the top since his lowest gear fails. After some messing around technician Piet solves the problem. We ask for directions in our best Greek and after a while we are back on track and the slopes are less aggressive again.

To the top

To avoid getting ourselves into overdrive we regularly take a break. In the Elms Tree Taverna... (it is Tuesday evening while writing this down and we start feeling the wine, yee!)... we take a longer break and some food before starting with the toughest part.

The ultimate climb is 6 kilometres further on, extremely steep, but we arrive sooner than expected.
YES, we made it!

Almost there Pantokrator - top

On top there is a small convent which is unfortunately marred by a huge pylon standing in the middle of the garden. After taking some pictures and 45 minutes later it is time for the descend, it is 1.15 pm now. The slope down is steep and it takes only 25 minutes to get back to the place we started 18 kilometres ago. While descending Piet passes two scooters and one car! Gert nearly misses a bend and passes the cars on the wrong side of the road. But in the end, we get down safely. After a small calculation we get to an average speed of 43.2 km/h! Not bad.

We pick up our luggage and ride on. After climbing and descending for another 10 kilometres we have had it for today. We stop at Sidari and start looking for a room It will be a "Rooms to let" this time. The nearest hotel was fully booked but it rather seemed they were just not so keen of tourists staying for just one night.

We start diner with an ouzo, the first one of our holiday. We continue with a bottle of wine and the later it gets, the more atmosphere there is. Our excellent Tsantalis is nearly empty, high time to stop writing and to start with the desert.