Friday, 28 April 2017

Spring is in the Air

Lindos Acropolis on Rhodes
Andorra late April - unusual conditions
The six weeks on Kalymnos had been great and now it was time to move on. Flight back to the UK from Kos were pretty expensive but much cheaper from Rhodes so we decided to make a 'short break' of it. We caught the high-speed catamaran, and had a few nights at the Agla hotel in Kos town, where we did a bit of 'touristing'.
Compared to Kalymnos, Rhodes was pretty busy - it is effectively a year round destination nowadays. The high-light was visiting the Acropolis at Lindos - the first temple was built there at around 400BCby the ancient Greeks - though the area has been occupied for around 5000 years. It has been added to by the Romans, the Knights' of St John and the Ottomans - amongst others.
Then it was back to the Ariège via a night in Stansted. We arrived to cloudy skies and sleety drizzle - what a contrast. After a couple of grizzly days the sun came out to reveal the Pyrenees in all the snowy glory. We have a couple of weeks here before we head off on the slow drive home - and some climbing.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Deserted Island

We have been on Kalymnos for almost four weeks now and as ever the spring conditions have been superb; warm and sunny, without the oppressive heat of later in the year, and delightfully green and floral.
Flowers and greenery
Despite the pleasant familiarity of the situation something is different - the almost total lack of climbers is really surprising - though not in a bad way - at least for us. The locals appear rather stunned by the silence, all the shops and restaurants that geared up in good time for 'the rush' are largely deserted and some are even closing early.
The reason behind the lack of traffic is pretty simple - RyanAir pulled out of Kos last year because of some wrangles with the mayor/council - and flights from all over Europe stopped.
What really surprises me that climbers - fun loving, adventure seeking, individualistic types can't cope with having to change planes in Athens!
All quiet in paradise
We had friends here for a couple of weeks and they manage Manchester - Athens - Kos - Kalymnos comfortably in day and the same for the return, using the time in Athens to have a meal. And for a very reasonable £170 return.
Bizarrely I have even heard of teams of climbers booking a fortnight's package holiday in Kos, but heading to Kalymnos
instead - paying for accommodation twice just for the convenience of flying from a local airport.
I am sure the season will pick up in May, and Kalymnos will once again be crowded with jolly climbers enjoying their two weeks bolt clipping in the sun and the locals will be happy. As for us - we will be somewhere quiet!

A month in Switzerland

Gornergrat - rammed A month passed in Switzerland and it has been very pleasant, climbing, hiking, chilling and even doing a bit of to...