Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fig capital eats deraillers

"Who are you? I don't know your face." A man on a mule leans in to examine Basil's face where we are setting up camp. The only people that visit these parts are the people who are from here. A quick conversation about Basil's ancestry and we are assured that it is safe to camp where we are already camping.

Our new unplanned route found us in territory so remote that the milk truck doesn't deliver to the villages in this forgotten zone. The demand simply isn't big enough. And so we made our way to Kymi to ride a piece of the northern coast before the ferry arrived a few days later to take us to Alonnisos. I was quite excited to be visiting Kymi as it is legendary for its thin-skinned figs. I would have to settle for dried ones as figs haven't quite kicked off their season yet, but I would get to see and feel and breathe what some consider to be the fig capital and what a delightful surprise the village turned out to be. Like most towns founded in medieval times, pretty Kymi is perched 250 m above her harbour up a 4 km long exquisitely serpentine road. There is an understated dignity to towns that support themselves by means other than the mass tourism that pours into Greece every summer and we were surprised to find this in Kymi. As we cycled through we found ourselves wishing we could spend more time exploring the town. As fate would have it we did just that.

Somewhat tired from a bad night of sleep and still recovering from our exhausting day fighting the winds that greeted us at our landing on Evia, my ceramic pulley imploded while making our way up a particularly steep grade. We found ourselves limping back to Kymi to search for parts and then on to Halkidi 2 hours by bus away to pick the parts up. On our return to Kymi that same evening, the ticket collector confirmed several times that we were actually wanting to go to there. He seemed convinced that we really must have made an error and actually meant to get off in Eretria with all the other resort loving tourists. In Kymi, while looking for a place to eat another man assaults Basil with the question, "Who's are you!?" Really, the only reason you'd be in Kymi is because you or your parents are from there, so, the inquiries into our ancestry continue...

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