I never learn my lesson. I’ve never learnt that strippers make lousy girlfriends,or that I shouldn’t sleep in bins after drinking all night, or that the Raiders will never again win a Grand Final. I’ve also never learnt that climbing mountains isn’t a very sensible thing for me to do.
Climbing mountains has led to me being assaulted by a deranged Slavic gentleman, almost killed by a a wild storm, and pushed to the verge of freezing to death. But, disregarding all that as mere bad luck, today I decided to climb up Naxos’s tallest mountain, Zeus. With a name like that, you know the big fella is a bad arse (or a dickhead’s dog – Zeus is definitely the sort of name a dickhead would give a dog), but I was sure I could handle him.
I rolled out to the town of Filoti on my quad, and it was a bewdiful cruise through the interior of Nazos. Hills, valleys, villages and more rolled past as I hooned along the road, feeling like the toughest bloke on the planet (I’m not, just in case you’re thinking of ‘testing’ me by punching me in the face). It’s most well signposted, and even if you get lost, who cares? Half the fun of running around is finding weird little houses at the end of lonely tracks.
Finally, Filoti came into view, and behind it stood Zeus like a gigantic stone shark’s fin. Suddenly, the thought of climbing that big bastard didn’t sound so easy. I fanged through the township and up the side of the mountain, willing the track to keep climbing before I had to dismount and finish off by foot. Unfortunately, the tracked stopped a long, long way from the top. Even worse, there wasn’t an escalator or cable car to take me to the summit – how third world is that!
With the temperature hovering above 33, and feeling a hell of a lot hotter than that due to the sun bouncing off all those shiny white rocks, the ascent was as tough as a $2 steak and just as devoid of taste. The start had a nice path to follow, but that soon disappeared and I was left scrambling up rocks like some sort of demented goat. I fell over and cut my knees, sweated like a paedo in church, and generally had a rough time of it as I got closer to the top.
It was worth it, though, because the view from the summit is immense. Naxos is a fantastic island – big enough to make exploring it fun, and still rural and traditional enough to make it feel authentic, and not just like another tourist attraction. There are enough restaurants and shops to make it a relaxing trip, but it actually feels like a part of Greece, unlike some of the other islands. In saying that, tomorrow I’m shipping off to Santorini, which might be the exact opposite…
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