We skipped coffee and bread for 10 today and headed out by 9 for our Vespa adventure.
We met Pierre ( french actor who played a role in a movie about Spinalonga – had pictures to prove it) and his (our) yellow Vespa just a few minutes past the hour. Pierre lived in Plaka next door and couldn’t speak more highly of the town and environment. He took some information from me, showed me how to start the bike and the function for all of the controls – then sent us on our way.
For you first time riding a Vespa do not have a passenger. Get used to your own weight and then add theirs. We practiced riding and turning in an employee parking lot. No one seemed phased by our erratic “scooting” and near misses on every turn. Once I was doing figure eights, I knew we were ready.
We stopped 2 miles out in a town called, Elounda and had an iced coffee. The town was sleepy and kind of forgettable, so I convinced Jaime that we should go further.
We rode the winding terrain another 7 miles to Agios Nikolaus and smiled in the beauty. The town is shaped like an S and is surrounded by crystal clear water on both sides. We parked in front of a boutique where Jaime would buy a beautiful sun dress and I a postcard.
After shopping, we explored the back streets… white facades, blooming hibiscus trees and lots of stain glass in the windows. What a find!
We turned a corner to find more shops and stopped into one which was showcasing the art of a locally renowned glass blower. Her colors were all the best of pastel and she would blow into old beaten cans and other scraps of reworked metal. Jaime got me a vase as a gift. I love it.
We chatted up the store owner for a bit, then Jaime asked him for lunch recommendations. He sent us down to the beach heavily populated with locals and their naked babies. We ate looking out at the water. Jaime had a fresh salad with smoked salmon and dried tomatoes; I had zucchini balls and a Cretan salad with hard boiled eggs, potatoes, feta and the freshest tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. Oh and I had a coca-cola in a bottle… it was the responsible thing to do.
After lunch we happened into a couple more shops…found a tiny yellow model Vespa and had to buy it for keepsake. Then we headed back.
The ride back was as majestic as the ride there, but the wind had picked up. Picture us going 45 mph in 50 mph wind on top of a winding mt 100 meters high (with no guard rails) on a yellow Vespa scattered with ads that read “we rent bikes!” Now picture a line of 5 cars behind us…desperate for a straightaway so they can pass. Now picture Jaime video taping the whole thing. Now picture me:
“Kate, where are we?”
“Just shut up!”
Aside from a wrong turn which led is deep into a farming village, we did pretty well. We returned to the hotel full of giggles and with over an hour of pool time to enjoy before our massage appointments. It’s a hard knock life.
We are now on the ferry to Santorini. I’m fighting the urge to vomit as there are a lot of waves. We have a window seat though, so here’s hoping we see some dolphins.
The guy next to me just burped. He may vomit as well.