Friday, 28 December 2018

No Brass Monkeys

Back in the balmy days of October you'll remember, if you read this stuff with any regularity, I made it to the top of Mount Attaviros for the first time after having lived here for 13 years. If you didn't catch that post, it was called "Looking Down on Snowdon" because, as it happens, Mount Attaviros, here on Rhodes, is 3986ft high, whereas Mount Snowdon in Welsh Wales is 3560.

I mentioned in the text of that post that John and Wendy would be over here in December and - yup - they're here now, and due to depart for the UK in the Jeep in two day's time. The weather here's been pretty good this week, except, that is, for the fact that we're now experiencing one of those cold spells that we get now and then during our winters when the temperatures can drop to single figures overnight and the lower teens, or even lower, during the day.

Anyway, yesterday, Thursday December 27th, was Mount Attaviros day once again and we drove up there, this time in John's monster Jeep Commander. Also along for the ride this time was my better half, who'd been working on the previous occasion when I'd made the ascent.

Now, despite the fact that it was a gloriously sunny day, the temperature when we left the house here in Kiotari in early afternoon was around 12ºC, and when we reached the highest point on the mountain at which you can still be in a vehicle, the outside temperature was reading 34ºF, which translates into a smidgin over 1ºC. Folks, that's cold.

We'd stopped in Profilias en route to eat lunch at the delightful "To Limeri tou Listi" taverna, which translates into 'The Lair of the bandit/thief." The last time I remember eating there was back in 2012, when I wrote this post, where you can find a few photos taken at the taverna. This time around the food was as excellent as ever, plus we were treated to a free glass of Mastika and a delightful, honey-covered sweet-cheese pita each for dessert, made to a traditional Cretan recipe. I also mention this restaurant on my "Play, Eat, Visit" page.

Just about to go into the very snug (hey had the log-burner going inside) "Bandit's Lair" at Profilias

A very acceptable lunch inside us, we proceeded to the mountain. As I said, when we got to the top it was barely 1ºC outside, and we then made the 100 metre climb on foot from the Jeep to the summit, where the ruined temple stands, and proceeded to feel as cold as I've ever felt in my entire life. At the top, when you're literally enjoying the 360º view, the windchill must have made it feel like -10ºC. TBH, we couldn't stay up there too long for fear that our ears would fall off. But I was just able to snap these before we beat a hasty retreat back down to the Jeep...

In fact, something we very rarely see at home is ice. But up here, John discovered some. If you do check out the post from October, you'll see this shot...

It was in the corner of this 'basin' that John was able to break some quite thick ice with his boot. Now that's a first for us on Rhodes!

Although the four of us were losing the feeling in our cheeks by the time we got back into the Jeep, we all agreed that it was worth the effort. It was totally exhilarating being up there. John actually clocked the length of the lane from where you turn off the road to start the ascent, to the very top, at something like 4 miles. At about two and a half, during the ascent, we had to pass a pickup coming the other way. We'd hardly seen a vehicle the whole time we'd been out, and here we were half-way up a freezing cold mountain, negotiating some seriously rutted lanes when we meet a truck coming in the other direction. 

The pickup had a large cab, and staring at us like we were stark-raving bonkers were what we took to be three Greek goatherds as they passed us at close quarters. We gave them broad smiles, but were convinced that those three men would be expecting to watch the dramatic rescue of some foolhardy foreigners from the mountaintop on the TV news that evening.

By the time we walked back into the house, at around 5.30pm as the light outdoors was fading fast, we'd never been so grateful for the log burner in the lounge.

Oh, and hot-water bottles.

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