Day 1- Friday/Saturday
Left work at 3pm and headed back to the house to pack up a few last things before heading to the light rail to get to the airport.
The trip on the lightrail to DIA, was extremely painless and we made it to our gate no problem. When we boarded the flight we ate some mad greens and settled in for the long flight. As soon as we were in the air we watched a movie together about 8 women stealing many many jewels.
I barely made it through the end of the movie before passing out. It wasn’t that comfortable, but with our pillows and new eat plugs I slept for almost the whole flight. Breydan.. didn’t sleep as well so he watched another movie and tried to get as much rest as possible.
Our plane touched down in Paris about noon, we grabbed our bags and headed to the metro to get to our hotel. We found the tickets easy, got the route to our hotel and were on our way. Most of the route was one train, but we did have to switch once and there we had a bit of trouble. Both of us saw these signs with arrows straight down and had trouble figuring out the other train was on another level. Once we cleared that up there was a rough moment when we thought that we may be stuck in the turn-style with all our baggage…. but we made it through and discovered a nice baggage slide to go through the turn-style after… Another thing about their trains I didn’t remember was the open latches on each door in the metro. It was very old school and fun to see.
Finally we got off a stop called Edgar Linger and we popped out in a beautiful calm neighborhood bustling with people. There was remnants of what we think was a nice farmers market in the front and many people eating in the cafes on the patios.It was just the quiet place we were hoping for and our hotel was directly in view not more than 100ft away.
We checked in the hotel, dropped our bags in our miniature hotel room- probably about 200sqft, sat down for a few minute so and just started walking. Along the streets there we many shops, bakery and restaurants. We quickly found a few little boulangeries and bought a few croissants, butter and chocolate ones —One breydan claims was the best of his life… I only tried a bite so I cannot confirm or deny this theory. As we leisurely strolled around our neighborhood, we noticed that the basic pharmacy symbol in many countries actually is identical to Colorado symbol for weed stores— interesting. A bit later we noticed the little electric scooters buzzing by us in town with the same green and white logo as on Denver, the lime scooters that must be taking over the world!
After aimlessly walking a bit we actually ended up back at our hotel on accident and headed towards the Eiffle tower. We took and metro a bit and popped out of the station close by. There was some event going on that had a lot of the grass all fenced off with many white tents, we went around the tent and relaxed a bit in the green park while we watched some adorable Australian Shepherds playing together.
Both of us have been to paris before, but not together and we were only there for about half a day to explore before climbing every other day on Greek limestone. Closer to the Eiffel tower we noticed the thickest glass wall we had ever seen, probably 4-5 inches thick, along with a small electric wire protecting the small square of land below the tower. We considered climbing to the top together.. but as we walked by we saw a long line of people and realized that was only security to get into the enclosed area…soo we passed on that.
Next, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe and the circle was hectic as usual, but we actually got to see a ceremony of sorts that stopped all the traffic in the circle and a group of people were all lead across the street in a line a few people wide.
As the city was getting darker we headed towards Notre-Dame de Paris to take a look before the sunset. I did not remember being there, but the moment I was below it I remembered seeing it during my highschool trip to Spain and France from DeLaSalle. Close by we noticed some very talented break dancers moving around on their hands, rolling their bodies in odd ways and spinning on there heads. We watched for a bit and then walked a bit further to realize my favorite gelato chain Amorino gelato was everywhere. It is the best gelato i have ever had and its shaped like a rose.. what could be better?
At this point we had walked quite a bit and it was nearing the end of our day. We had not eaten enough so were going to head over to our hotel in a cute neighborhood with many restaurants to have dinner, but before we knew it we were in an alley with many restaurants and shops. It was very cute! We browsed around a bit and found ourselves at a nice Greek gyro shop where the meat was shaved off this large rotating pole. Our meal was really good. It filled us up well before we headed off to our hotel to get some sleep before our early flight to Athens to climb.
Day 2 – Sunday
That morning we picked up some pastries in the Paris Airport and we got stuck on a flight with a large school group probably 8-10 years old, but fortunately we did not notice them much on the flight and got to sleep.
When we arrived in Athens we were a bit tired, but excited to get to our destination. We picked up the car easily, but had a bit of trouble getting directions without data. After figuring out the turns on our 3 hours drive to Leonidio we were off in a tiny red go-cart like car.
Along the highway we passed many run down towns that looked like no one lived there. You could see a few cars moving i the distance, but no a single living thing moving around. It is almost as if these areas used to be cities long ago and are now just a town for ghosts. About an hr in we got pretty hungry and had to stop. First we puled off a random exit, but found ourselves only by broken buildings and a little grass.. So we kept going a bit further and found a dinky little rest station with some food that would help fuel us to our destination.
In the airports we did not find a phone sim card stand, so we had no data to get internet and contact our Airbnb Host, we stopped at a small coffee shop where the locals barely spoke English and the employees were all smoking cigarettes–even the young people! A quick message to our Host and we were on our way. The last hr our drive was lovely, along the left we had the ocean side and on the left we noticed some rocks starting to appear on the right.
We arrived in the town a few hours before sunset, met our host at a local cafe and drove through the small town to the cliffs, not even stopping to see our apartment. The first area we went to was Twin Caves, one of the most popular in this region. The route we started on was a 6b+ “Sakatemenos”, after we tried a cool 7a+ “Vromika Myala” and then finally I put up a 7b “Bonobo.” The 6 route was nice, but nothing special and the 7’s were really quality. I almost onsighted the 7b … but … despite better judgement I went up without a headlamp and it got quite dark at the top and I couldn’t see the holds.
After we got our gear off the last route it was completely dark and we could see down into the lights of the town. It was quite beautiful. I absolutely love these little towns nestled into the hills, although the landscape wasn’t the tall green forests I was used to the smaller trees and green brush looked great on the hillsides.
That night we met up with our Airbnb Host and went to see our small studio apartment where we stay for the rest of our trip. It was a very quaint mother-in-law studio apartment, in a great location. Since it was already late we decided the best decision was to eat out. We parked the car and strolled around a bit to find this Italian restaurant in the middle of town that had incredible character. We really enjoyed our meals alongside the wild cats, on the patio, however we were sad that we did not see all of their food options. The menu was made out of wood and Breydan was confused at why there was two sets of latches… but I disregarded his comment because I was hungry and to our surprise after we ordered we discovered there was two other pages of food…. not ideal, but our food was still incredible and that just gave us another reason to go back to the restaurant.
Day 3 – Monday
We woke up slowly, paged through our guidebook and tried to decide where to climb. Breydan made a nice simple breakfast and we got ready for our day. Once we left the house, we got coffee at red rock cafe and stopped at a super market in town to get some food for the day. The store we stopped at only had frozen and dry goods, no fresh meat or veggies. I was pretty disappointed and thought that maybe the shops in this town just don’t have more than that. As we drove to the crag we discovered a local organic produce mart that had all the fresh fruits and veggies that I had wanted earlier! It was perfect, the town did not lack these items in their town– but still had authentic high quality specialty stores.
That day we headed out to an area called Mars–recommended to us by a nice climber in Rummey, NH. There was not a lot of confusion finding the area, because there were many wood signs in the town directing people where to go. The only thing that we found concerning on the drive was the tiny dirt road that we took to the “parking spots” in between the olive trees. The hike was a bit unclear at first, but we came around a bend to discovered a break taking limestone wall lined with tufas at the bottom and pockets at the top. We climbed all day here onsighting 6b+ “”Sinter Synphonie””, 6c+ “Jumanji”, 7a+ “Boubouki ext”, 7a+ “Spaceman Spiff ext” and I squeezed in another 7a “Mystere et Boule de Gommee” as the sun was setting again that Breydan didn’t get a chance to try. The only issue with the day was a large group of strong French climbers that were smoking and constantly yelling back and forth to each other, we started calling them the french army for fun. However, despite this issue the climbing here was really fun, we had perfect weather and we climbed really strong.
That night, we thought about cooking.. but by the time we got done with climbing and back into town it was late and we were hungry. So, instead of looking into our options…. we just went back to the really good Italian place and ordered off the part of the menu we didn’t realize existed the first time. The pasta we had was incredible and little chocolate icecream they gave as a free desert was really yummy.
Following dinner, we headed over to a little fresh veggie shop and got a few things we could cook for breakfast or dinner the following days. Next to this shop we found a little specialty sweets shop and got some more desert since apparently the ice cream at the Italian place was not enough. We got a variety of sweets, but the one that stood out the most to Breydan was the cream puff.
Day 4 – Tuesday
The next morning Breydan got up earlier, made me a nice egg scramble and served me breakfast in bed. After we ate and got ourselves organized, we loaded up the go-cart for the day. We started off again at the red rock coffee shop again on our way off to an area called Elona. This spectacular looking rock is the reason that we ended up in Leonidio. Breydan saw this area a few months ago in a magazine… I found some stellar tickets to Paris and off we went.
To get to this area we took a new road out of town to this and saw a lot of these very interesting lock boxes and could not figure out what they are. …our best guess was maybe peoples ashes? or a shrine to someone that had died? ……. turns out that they are most likely for bees so locals can collect honey! Definitely not anything like we were thinking
Anyway, the drive was beautiful and on the way we stopped at this area called xmas because we had seen this really cool video online… however, the climb xmas was actually at a different area.. so we didn’t moved on to Elona. The approach to this area was very minimal and it was right next to a beautiful monastery nestled into the mountains. The wall was very impressive with big columns and 3D features. On the wall there were a few 7a+ so we thought we could start there. We began by trying to climb 7a+ “Paranihida”… which was so physically demanding that I decided not to even try it. In one guidebook it is described as a full body workout!
Then we tried another 7a+ called “Kneebaroplous” that was incredibly tiring, but really good quality. Both of us were pretty wiped out from these powerful routes so we decided to try a few routes on the other side of the cliff a techy 6c “Techno Berlin” and 7a+”Lolly Pope.” They were both pretty fun, just very thin and technical. You couldn’t really make mistake or you would fall. Finally that day Breydan tried to do the first route again and used all the rest of his energy to finish out the day.
Back in town that night we went for a stroll to the shops Breydan got me a beautiful leaf necklace at a jewelry store and we got some really nice handmade faza brushes at the small local climbing shop. I chose one with a lizard on it and he picked out one that had dark wood coloring and a very unique shape.
That night we decided it was time to do some cooking of our on own and we stopped in at the butcher shop to get some meat for our meal. The shop was very small with only a few large slabs of meat in the cooler and little cow wall paper lining the walls. It was really great to know your meat is fresh and that it was raised well. We did not get a lot of details since he didn’t speak much english, but it was a nice challenge to try to communicate. We ended up with about half a kilo or about a lb of beef… it was just a mystery cut. We used it in a stir fry that night with eggplant, zucchini, onion and pepper there was not a ton of seasoning. but it turned out really well and the meat was extremely tender.
Day 5 – Wednesday
On the third day we decided to head back to Mars since we love the climbing there so much and wanted to ensure we had quality climbing. Our morning was very peaceful since mars was an afternoon shade area we did not want to arrive before about noon.
We started the day off with a great 6b+ warm up “Tufa Tango”, before trying a spectacular 7b “Pontiki sto Tiri ext” that was very powerful. Breydan not feeling great managed to send the 7b while I did not have that same luck, but finished my day by onsighting a tricky 6c+ “The Beast in the Beauty” at the edge of the cliff. We had a lot of fun that day, only sad part was that we lost a sandal off the cliff and couldn’t find it when we hiked down to find it.
Again we climbed until dark and it was pretty late already to eat so we headed to a new restaurant i saw online called michael and margret’s. It was a nice blue and white, greek restaurant on an ancient port– according to the sign when entering the area. I am not sure what makes it ancient since the whole town and area is so old.. but it was cool. We had nice fish dinner and sat out on the pier after our meal.
On the pier we noticed a middle-aged guy with white coat on just scanning the water with razor like eyes. We asked him what he was doing and he tells us that is fishing.. but not the way we normally see with a fishing rod and a hook.. instead he had along spear that he said he used to catch the fish when they got close enough to the dock. He showed us a picture of the fish he has caught and claims he caught an octopus too, but we didn’t see him spear anything so we are not sure if he actually ever catches anything with this spear.
Finally in addition to the spearing fish guy entertainment the area was covered in wild cats that were all fed by the restraint employees and guests. One in particular we found to be very loving. She was a young beautiful calico cat that we started called mittens. She was absolutely lovely and I would have loved to put her in my suitcase and bring her home!
Day 6 – Thursday
A few days in and we were finally feeling pretty sore so we decided to take our one and only rest day. We started off the morning slow debating constantly on what we should do. Instead of making breakfast this morning we headed into town and stopped at some of the local bakeries to get some morning pastries. I got a delicious feta and yogurt croissant, a ham and cheese croissant and Breydan got a donut… (:
We also stopped into some local shops and purchased some goodies to bring home. Our favorite store was by far this one on the main street with almost all homemade products. We could tell their products were local because the products did not have any fancy nutrition information or labels, but a little chicken scratch of permanent marker directly on the bottle or on a piece of white paper. It was great and in addition to the homemade goods the seller actually gave us a ton of little yellow and green clementines she said were from her garden. Neither of us had seen clementines that were not orange, but these little fruits really packed in a ton of flavor!
Relaxed and indecisive about our day we wandered around a it more and found a beautiful rooftop cafe at a nice hotel on the main street. We were not hungry enough to eat, but really enjoyed the view and would recommend that cafe to everyone! As the morning passed we headed to red rock cafe to get Breydan his coffee and to the sweets shop to get a few cream puffs before setting off to the town of Peleta, were we believed was a sinkhole.
We drove down the coast and found a little quiet private cove off the road where we decided to take a swim in the ocean. The water was a bit cold at first, but it was incredibly fun and refreshing to get into the ocean a bit– even if it makes me a bit nervous with all the big sharks and unpredictable strong waves. Breydan grew up by the ocean soo I decided I was in good hands if there was anything out there.
Once we finished our swim and took a few nice photos we headed up a incredibly steep, narrow and winding road in the go cart. The drive was very scenic and the turns were pretty blind, but we made it up the road just fine. Along the way we noticed these little church like shrines that we believe are dedicated to people that have passed, because one we passed actually had a photo of someone on it with dates under it.
As we neared the city of peleta we finally leveled out onto a flatter surface and we literally almost ran into one of my favorite things in Greece. … GOATS 🐐+🐐=🐐 🐐 🐐 🐐. lots and lots of goats peacefully eating their greens and enjoying their day in the sun crossing the road slowly with no care in the world. A few we spotted were pretty huge and seemed as if they were the alpha goats.. if there is such a thing?
Anyway, after the goats let us cross the road we went into the town and stopped to see the only thing in the town a nice church… we looked for a sinkhole a bit.. but we didn’t have any luck so we headed back down to a nice restaurant on the beach called Myrtoon.
The view into the ocean was wonderful and the food had very incredible flavors, I had a rooster in wine sauce and Breydan had a octopus in wine sauce.. which of course he made me try. I would say that I didn’t enjoy it.. but it wasn’t the worst thing i had tried. The texture to me was just not sitting well.
Before heading back to the studio we had a nice walk on the beach and went down to the pier where we saw the guy with the spear the night before. We found some local characters at the pier catching their fish or cleaning their catches. It was very nice night, other than the awful mosquito that night.
Day 7 – Friday
That morning we got some more pastries and headed to this panjika cafe we had discovered that seemed to be the local hangout for climbers in town. We got some coffee and went to a newer area we thought was good called crash of the titans.
Noe one had suggested this area to us, yet we thought it was a good idea to check it out…. to start off the approach to the are was rugged and steep. There was barely even a trail… this should have been the first sign to retreat, but we forged on and tried a few climbs – 6b+ “Helter Skelter”- which was kind of awkward, 6c+ “Beefcake”that i really enjoyed, 7a+ “Child in time” the hardest at its grade forsure and 7a+ “Owl Flash!” a nice route to finish off our morning there. Overall the routes were very short and not that impressive. The approach was rough and the descent down to the ground even tougher.. I definitely had a BIT of trouble going down– but despite the challenges we made it off the cliff and back to the car in time to climb at another area.
Close by we stopped at a place called hot rock, it looked like long technical face climbing not like anything we had tried so far we did a few routes and had a lot of fun.
That night we ventured off to a restaurant we had not looked at before at the west end of town. Turns out that this little place on a fairly steep street was the one really good greek restaurant in town. We chose to be adventurous and sit outside on the street where we literally were eating at a slant and the food was all mushed on one side of the plate on the verge of falling out all together. Oh and did I mention the cars passed us by withing a few feet of us leisurely eating dinner. A bit less than peaceful, but a really fun experience I am glad we had. Plus the food was delicious. Breydan had some lamb in the oven and I got more rooster.
Day 8 – Saturday
We woke up Saturday and spontaneously decided to make a longer drive to a climbing area south of the town were we stay called Watermill. First, we made some really tasty breakfast sandwiches and made the really pretty drive to the cliff. We passed through peleta again and got to the goats again.. which was GREAT, but what was ever BETTER was that there were big sheep too this time with little dogs hearing them alongside a nice shepherd.
Once we arrived to the bottom the cliff we realized that it was still in the sun a bit and we had no food .. so we headed into the town of Kyprissi and stopped at the single supermarket in town. There we got some random cheese from their deli, a little salami and these little cracker bread pieces so we could make these tiny sandwiches!
We arrived to the area at the perfect time no one was there yet and we had our choice o the routes. First we began with a really good 7a+ “Kyprissi” and then did another longer 7a+ “Thanks George. ” Both were really fun an quality routes, it was a bit busy so we headed up to a different section of the wall and tried some impossible 7a+ and 7b, both looked like many holds had broken and the rock there was not good to climb. It was not that much fun so we retreated back to the area where we began and tried a really fun 7b that we both got called Myro.
On the drive back we stopped at to have dinner quite late the pier again and saw our baby kitten again that we talked about bringing home for a long while.
Day 9 – Sunday
Our last day in our little town had come and I got up to shower and pack up while breydan mourned leaving all together. We had some leftovers for breakfast that morning, checked out of airbnb and met my friend armin from Sudtirol Italy to climb for the day.
We got some coffee and a few nutritious breakfast cream puffs and headed to the area where we went on our first day, Twin Caves. The forecast was calling for rain so we weren’t sure how long we could climb, but we hiked up to the area and found the only route we reallyy wanted to try 7b – bonobo was up by a group of people we met from utah earlier that week and they were about done. So Armin put gear up on the 7a+ next to it and we waited patiently to try bonobo again. This is the route I had tried the first day as the sun was setting so the climbing definitely was hard in the dark! The first day it had felt really hard and now it felt lot more manageable. I think that climbing in this style for a week really improved my technique.
While Breydan was climbing our friends sara and lukas arrived. They had driven in from athens during the night so they did not make it to the climbing area until early afternoon. We spent some time catching up and enjoying each others company while the day passed. It was great to hear about their lives and climb with them a bit since i had not seen them for a year.
However, Breydan and I had to drive to athens that night so we did not have a lot of time to be outside climbing. We only had a few chances to try this route, which made it a bit stressful, but in the end we both sent the route and had a very pleasant night because of it (:
Before long Breydan and I decided to head out to athens so the drive was not all in the dark. We said goodbye to my friends and stopped in town for more sweets from our favorite sweets shop.. and yes of course More cream puffs.
We also stopped at a pharmacist shop that was right out of a story book, his outfit and shop fit the storybook perfectly!
The drive went well, only about one wrong turn. We did make a stop for gas, told the guy who pumped our gas for us how much to fill and the strangest thing happened a swarm of mosquitos tried to enter our car when we stopped to fill up. I had never seen anything like it! There had to be 50 of them just flying inside, quickly we paid the guy, opened our windows and drove fast so they had to be sucked out. It was not pleasant.. but something I will defiantly remember.
The rest of the drive was uneventful stopping at a few little shops and a pastery stands before making it to the airbnb. The only issue with the airbnb… was that i didn’t have wifi and the information on how to unlock the door was not on my phone anymore… so we had to calmly find a little place that was still open to let us use their wifi. There was a very nice greek woman inside that was very helpful and we must not have been there more than 10 minutes before getting what we need. So we headed to our airbnb, got in fine, packed up our things and tried to get some sleep before the long plane home.
Day 10 – Longest Monday
Next morn, we traveled through athens airport to cdg in paris and got on a long flight back to Denver. Overall, we had a wonderful time exploring the greek countryside and cannot wait to adventure again soon.