Greece 2013 – Crete – The Tour de Aghios Nikolaos

20131001-131257.jpgFor some reason we forgot that we were on holiday and booked up a 18 mile bike ride for today around the island of Crete. OK not around all of it obviously but it felt it at the time. So we met up with our over enthusiastic Austrian tour guide Alex at 8am where we were given our bikes and helmets. After a short safety briefing we were off.

From early on I struggled with the gears. I mention this only to make what came later seem much less my fault. The ride took us along the coast, through some attractive olive groves. This being a Sunday when we stopped for water at one point we could hear the Greek Orthodox priest calling their parishioners into church. It was haunting and melodic at the same time.

At about eight miles out and a mile away from our destination the chain snapped on my bike. I swear that this was nothing to do with me but Alex became slightly less enthusiastic on seeing that not only had the chain broken but the gear mechanism too. While it was possible to fix the chain the rest was not repairable meaning that for the rest of the ride I couldn’t change gears. Now our ride around Crete was selected to not be too onerous but wasn’t flat either making it tricky with only one gear. Actually it wasn’t the up hill stretches that were a problem but the flat and gently downhill stretches where it was impossible to peddle due to the gearing. Also the gears had developed a mind of their own leaping between cogs with alarming regularity.

While it was an enjoyable ride it was tempered somewhat by the issue with the gears. In the end I was happy to get back to the ship as not only had I done 10 miles in one gear but by this point it was pretty hot too.

Late afternoon we stepped off the boat again for a wander around the town of Ag Nik which while attractive was clearly geared up for the influx of tourists from the cruise ships. After a walk around the lake here we found an Aladdin’s cave – a cafe with great coffee and great wifi so both Helen and I were happy. This allowed me to upload my last two posts and clear my inbox, just 48 hours had seen 60 emails stack up and this was the weekend!

This evening rather than the ents team it was a comedian “flown in” from the UK, Maxwell Plumb. No, I’ve never heard of him either. I found him amusing rather than funny but I’m guessing the entertainment budget couldn’t run to Billy Connelly. One thing that Plumb did say that rang true was how different nationalities react on boarding a cruise. The Americans and the Australians look at the food and entertainment on offer and say “we’re going to have a great cruise”. The Brits get on board and turn to the first person the see and say “How much did you pay?”