|Tuesday 11.06.2002 - Xi Beach||
Lixouri - Xi - Moni Kipouri - Farsa - Argostoli
For the first time this week we succeed in having an early breakfast.
Unfortunately not an English one, but breakfast and cereals together should give us enough energy for the first kilometers.
Today one of the heaviest and most capricious trips is scheduled. We will make a tour of the peninsula, meaning heavy climbs and descents all the time.
We start into the direction of Xi-beach where we notice the first huge hotel of this trip: the Kefalonia Palace hotel. Xi-beach is very special: the sand has a red-brownish color with white chalk cliffs in the distance. Together with the blue water and blue sky it looks unreal and unnatural, as if the beach was created by someone.
We get back and cycle into the direction of the Moni Kipouri convent. Though
the convent is situated in a valley we first have to face with a heavy climb to
get there. But the cereals still do their job and the climb turns out to be less
tough than initially expected.
We cycle through some small, picturesque villages and we even get encouraged by a couple of Greek working on the rooftop of a house.
|The beautiful West Coast|
The last part is a steep descent, enough to come up again to our speed record
of 76 km/h. Gert is so fascinated by this figure on his bike computer, he has to
slam on the brakes or he would have crashed into the closed gate of the convent!
The convent was built in the 17th century and several monks lived here to till the land and the gardens. At present only one monk remains and he normally welcomes the tourists from March till September. Unfortunately the convent is closed today.
We take a short stop to have some extra food and energy, which we will surely need for the next part.
The climb is 5 km long of which the first 2 km are extremely steep (> 20%).
It starts with a nice climb but it soon gets very difficult and we really have
to stand on the pedals to prevent ourselves from standing still or falling over.
It keeps on going uphill after every bend, there really doesn't seem to come an end to it. It speaks for itself we use the smallest gear available but the most important thing to do is to keep on dosing our energy. If we try to force it we will have to give in later. The last part is equal to the beginning, tough but possible.
On the top in Kaminarata we get the company of a dog puppy. He was taking a nap underneath a car and considers our visit as playtime. He constantly wags his tail and keeps on grabbing our toes instead of the biscuit we offer him. He could go on for hours like this but we do have to move on. With a surprised look in the eyes he stares at us until we're gone.
We pass by some more villages and deal with another number of short slopes.
We have some trouble to keep track since numerous road signs are missing. But at
least we have a map to lead us into the right direction.
It's downhill now to Petani-beach. It's a descent with many hair pin bends and magnificent views. One minus: we have to take the same road up again.
Contrary to the other side of the isle the sea is much rougher over here and the wind makes it rather chilly once we're out of the sun. The few people that go into the sea do have difficulties in giving resistance to the powerful waves.
We have food and drinks here before we climb back uphill.
After the climb we take an unpaved road to Argostoli. The road is sufficient
enough to cycle on and goes a bit downhill. The coastal road we took yesterday
in the other direction makes and end to our visit to the peninsula.
Another climb of 5 km is lying ahead of us but this should be the last one for today.
At the turn where we had to shelter from the rain yesterday we go into the direction of Argostoli. No special acts today, the road is as dry as a bone.
The road goes slowly downhill, it's easy going now and the speed is rather high.
The plan was to stop in Farsa, but since there's nothing much to see there we move on to the capital. We take the bridge that survived the 1953 earthquake surprisingly well and get to Argostoli.
Meanwhile stomachs have to be filled again and we buy some fruit alongside
We start looking for hotel Mirabel, which we already know from earlier research. It is situated at the central square in the hart of Argostoli. The owner is sitting outside with some friends when we ask for a room with view to the sea. He gives us a key so we can first have a look. One can hardly speak of a view but the room is more than okay so we take it.
The bikes can be left at the cocktail bar. Maybe a good idea to fill our drinking bottles with pina colada or blue hawaii tomorrow!
Alain and Piet throw themselves on the bed and fall asleep immediately. Gert on the contrary is still too active and makes himself useful by picking up the suitcase we left at hotel Mouikis the first day of our arrival. It doesn't quite give him a good feeling though, since it means the trip will soon be coming to an end...
At dinner time we have some Italian food at the cozy square. We close the evening with a fresh pint of beer in a bar next to our hotel where they're playing some excellent music.
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