Every afternoon, after Ian's finished his morning works, we take a stroll somewhere new on the island. These strolls generally involve elevation lost and gained of several hundred vertical feet. Occasionally we have a dip in the crazy blue Aegean as our reward . . . for the downhill. As you know, we live at the top of a cliff. We've frequently marvelled at the uphills, and how it appears we're merely scaling a cliffside. It's also amazing how fast you can go up a hill, particularly when it's essentially like climbing a rude set of stairs. At times, it seems that the environment here is made up of only 5 elements--sun, rock, thorns, plummeting cliffsides, and goats. Of course, we climb in sandals--Ian in Chacos, me in the new open-toed Keens.
We're always smugly exausted and can't believe we went so far by the time we get home.
Yesterday afternoon we set out in a new direction, following a trail to a little settlement, and eventually planning to hit a beach, then wend our way along an easy (i.e. paved) road the one km from the beach to the port, and catch the last bus the 3 kms back to our clifftop home. As we reached the middle of open, hot, thorny countryside, we came upon a quartet of middle-aged Europeans; two Brits, and two French.
"Are you out for a long walk?" the British man, wearing hearty hiking boots, shorts, and a purple tank top, greeted us.
"Well, uh, I guess so." Ian and I were non-commital. We have no idea how long our walks are. We usually forget to have a watch with us, and frequently we lose track of distance as well. "We're planning to take a trail down to Livadi beach."
"OH!" said the man. "You can't take that trail in those shoes! It's a trail, but it's like hiking there," and he waved at the rocky, thorny hillside behind us.
We tried to explain that we hiked every afternoon in such conditions, but he would have none of it.
"We walked up it," he said, "and the trail's easy to see, with piles of rocks and red paint dots marking it," (way more information than we usually get for trails!) "but it's way too long. And those shoes won't work."
"Maybe you should walk up that hill to the church up there instead," his wife suggested. "That would be nice."
"We would be completely lost, wandering around," the French man said, "if we hadn't found these people." His wife nodded, and also looked askance at our footwear.
"Mmmhmm," we said, and "Have a nice walk back." We parted company, found our trail, and had a glorious afternoon leaping down a rocky track, then swimming in the clear chill waters of Livadi Beach.
The patronizing of the English man was very, very mild . . . and therefore practically unnoticeable . . . and so therefore all the more irritating. "The thing that gets me," Ian said, "is that he said it was too far."
But then, I'd probably feel superior if it was two pounds to the dollar instead of the other way around.