Saturday and Stella and I get up early and set out to walk to Agia Fili. There is a very picturesque beach in a sea locked cove. Access is by a very steep stairway cut into the rock from the headland or by boat. The walk up from Vassiliki used to be not much more than a trail with the first half wide enough for cars, but in recent years it has been improved to enable cars to drive right to the access point to the cliffs. I was shocked last year to find that a car park had been constructed at the cliff top and a small cafe was operating. Attendants charged drivers for parking. I called it cultural vandelism. Stella said the local economy depended on tourism.
The walk up the hill to Agio Fili was pleasant enough. Its pretty steep in places but early morning largely shaded from the sun. A lot of building work is going on with new houses/apartments appearing on ledges carved out of the rock on the tree lined slopes which stretch down from summit to sea. Cool views of the straight leading across to Kefelonia. No people or cars, place to ourselves. Reaching the gates to the new car park was a disappointment. Large stone pillars on either side, high metal gates in bright blue locked shut with a large impressive looking padlock. The small gap pedestrains can aqueeze through on the right blocked by a piece of wire fencing. A sign saying private. There has probably been a trail running through here from time imemorable and now some local dickhead businessman is trying to block it off. Fortunately the fencing was only partially effective and had been bent back. With a bit of a wiggle we were through. The new tarmac road led down to the car park. Two portaloos stood there. I opened the door to the first one. It was filthy and buzzing with flies. You wouldnt want to use it. The refreshmant carravan was closed. Electrcal wires hung acoss the path feeding into empty glass fronted drinks cabinets. The whole thing looked a mess. Cultural vandelism. Fortunately still great on the beach and the swimming makes the walk worthwhile.
On Monday I revisited the route for a run. A nice early start along the beach boulevard then through the harbour cafes and the first short steep incline out of town. A good rhythm up the slow inclines and I’m feeling fine. I am delighted to find that when I reach the gate someone has cut the fencing free and thrown it down into bushes below. I had the same thought yesterday but no suitable tools on my Swiss Army knife to cut through the wire. The overall run is just over 5 miles and just under 11 minutes but its a demanding route. And lets face it I seem to have lost a lot of pace over the last year.
In the afternoon the cross shore wind kicks in giving proper planing conditions for windsurfing. So far this holiday its all been light wind sailing and as its been a year since I sailed in the high winds it takes a while to get into the groove. But after a frustrating hour or so, a fair proportion of which is spent in the water, I get a 5.3 metre sail which works well with the Fanatic Hawk 135 board and get into some screaming runs across the bay. Its now almost seven and I’m sitting on the balcony with a well earned beer and watching the windsurfers that are still out there, The wind has stayed in and their are a dozen good guys are having a whale. Vassiliki days when the sun shines. Where else would you want to be?