Monday, 19 October 2015

Two Onion Beach - My head, Gill's feet.

Monday 19th October.

I love this photo that Gill took of me bobbing about. Swimming in the sea is something special for me, it makes me feel more alive, and freer. It's a joyous thing. Most people I think, at least happy people, have something similar - riding a motorbike on an empty road through big country, climbing a mountain, dancing the night away under the stars, listening to the birds as you weed the garden on a summer's day - and for me it's swimming in the sea, particularly the Mediterranean.

Why the Med? There's all kind of practical reasons - that it's easy to swim in due to its salinity; on most days its surf is not too challenging; it's possible to swim most months of the year. All that may be true, but I think I am also drawn to it, because, as a European, it's our sea - 'mare nostrum'. Much of our philosophy, religion, political systems, scientific methods, mathematics, were dreamt up, or disseminated by people living on its shores. It is no coincidence that although there are buildings with porticos and columns in Stockholm, Rome is distinctly lacking in Viking wooden churches, despite IKEA's more recent attempts to re-balance the matter. So for me, an inveterate wanderer, jumping into the Med is some kind of odd personal ritual of belonging.

When we leave Ionion Beach tomorrow we will have been here four nights; that's 'long stay' by our standards. It is lovely, somewhere that tempts you to linger. We have not been up to much, we had a meal in the restaurant, a treat, but an inexpensive one, only 22 euros for both of us, including wine, for well cooked hearty Greek fare. Other than that, we cycled along to the next village, past olive farms and fields of squash and courgettes, befriended a goat and reached a beach that looked more or less the same as where we started. We have strolled along the empty shore, read a bit, and relaxed a lot.

Cycled to the next beach,

the small resort was more or less closed, apart from one taverna that was serving Sunday lunch to some locals.

Billy struck goat hero pose as soon as Gill got the camera out.
I needed to relax, the long drive south has exhausted me somewhat. Not surprising really, we were looking at the small scale map of southern Europe in our Phillips Road Atlas yesterday evening, comparing our trip last autumn to this one. I was astonished to note that Cartagena in Spain is more or less on the same latitude as where we are now. It took us 72 days to reach Cartagena, but only 18 days to get here. Admittedly, the last couple of hundred kilometres this year were by ferry, but as my post about Grimaldi Ferries explains, that experience probably contributed to my weary physical and mental state, rather than ameliorating it.

But I'm feeling perkier today, time to move on tomorrow. Right now, it's wall to wall blue, time to jump back into the Med. well, wade in gingerly over the sharp pebbles. That's the trouble with having a head drawn to twenty-something notions wandering about on sixty year old legs.

Sunny morning - great swim!

Sunny afternoon...

fabulous evening...
sunset over Zakynthos


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