After settling in with Paul and Erin in Oberhaching, Germany for a couple of days another 4am start signifies my continuing habit of booking early flights to far away places. I identify the need to stop doing this, I am on no timeline and this trip is on my terms (I feel very fortunate saying that).
Paul graciously drives me to the airport at a leisurely speed on average of about 200 km/h. Autobahns are such a great idea and the Germans definitely know how to use them, as a BMW blasts past us at some god for saken speed I am happy that we are cruising casually along.
Standing at the check-in counter I am hoping that my baggage arrives with me. I was ridiculously late to check-in and the lovely lady behind the counter very much reinforced just how late I was, announcing that my flight was closed to all. She made a couple of calls and I was on the flight, now to get through security as the anxiety builds, hoping not to miss the flight. Passing through security rather quickly I arrive at the gate and there are still about 120 people left to board the flight……I relax and get my affairs in order.
Today is the first anniversary of my father’s death and I am on my way to Kos and then Kalymnos to meet another climbing fanatic and Red River Gorge,KY companion Grace Romanelli. Grace invited me to Greece to join her and her friends on a nine-day climbing trip. I took great pleasure in saying yes as I thought of my good friend Glenn Short and his very clear and clean mission statement for my trip “Just Say Yes to Everything”.
So I am HERE and it is NOW!
As I sit in 14d,I am listening to a great singer named Chris Knight, whom I think sounds like a new Bob Dylan. His song “One of the River’s Own” stimulates my senses, and as I write the first 9 words of this update the following lyrics strike a chord “ Two years ago dad passed away. I’ll never forget that mournful day.” I miss dad so much everyday but I know he is with me on this wonderful journey and he would be so excited that I am doing it.
Staring out the window looking down on the Dolomite Mountains of Italia I am awestruck at the beauty and the danger that is spread out below me as far as the eye can see. I have never seen a mountain range like this from the air; or at all for that matter……I live in the flattest country on earth. It is incredible and I am staring in wonderment.
Moving further towards our destination we fly over the snow-capped mountains near Sophia; fast approaching Alexandroupolis. I look down at the ancient river basin and small villages and towns dot the landscape as the highways and back roads play “join the dots”. The mountains dwarf the towns and the farm land is only identifiable by the colour of the soil and the symmetrical patterns that are rarely non-human. Nature has done some amazing things but rarely is blatant symmetry one of them. Squares and rectangles cover the flatlands. Large lakes are still and create amazing contrast. No boats are visible. Out of the left hand side of the plane I spot the Ionian Sea as we are about to leave this beautiful coastline and head towards the island of Kos.
Arriving in Kos on the island of Hippocrates was short-lived as I grab a taxi to the ferry wharf and after a brief and very funny encounter at Kala Kardia Cafe with an Aussie woman, I head off to meet the boat to Kalymnos.
Sailing into Kalymnos is a great experience, its picturesque coastline is everything you could imagine Greek island town to be.