Our route took us past the Necromanteion and out to cross the Acheron. The turquoise and fast-flowing river was fringed with bright green reeds and tall waving bull rushes. We saw dragon flies and kingfishers shimmering along its banks.
The Acheron is the famous Classical river of Greece. It is from here that Hermes, the soul carrier, took the dead to the boatman who rowed them to the underworld for a price of one penny each.
Under the morning’s bright sunshine and happy bubbling of the waters a more unlikely spot of sadness and grief could not be imagined. We enjoyed cycling alongside the banks and spotting the terrapins, fish, birds (and goats) going about their daily business of life on the river.
Finally arriving in Kanaliki we enjoyed a coffee and lemonade before visiting the town’s church which was getting ready for the weekend’s Orthodox Easter celebrations. A black-robed priest with a long white beard and tall black hat was blessing local black-clad women amongst the many candles and incense.
We quietly exited and found our way downhill to not just one, but two supermarkets, neither of which sold meat which we could cook with. Greeks still have household ties with butchers, fishermen, greengrocers and bakers – something we have lost. Supermarkets seem limited and expensive.
Topped up with vegetables, bread, cheese, olives, wine and beer we pedalled our heavy loads hanging precariously from the handlebars along the hot 15kms back to Bertha.
The next day we upheld a promise and cycled back around the bay to Kerentsa for the Music Festical. Lyceon greeted us warmly amongst a gathering of a hundred or so mainly Greek families seated under the shade of the trees.
Having dropped our bikes publicly and hotly on the white sands of the bay we were treated to a generous aperitif of Ouzo and introductions to the bar staff, all Lyceon’s family, including an ageing grandmother.
The afternoon’s band was set up under the shade of the trees we had sat under for coffee and was in full swing.
The traditional Greek folk music on the bouzouki and clarinet was atmospheric and hugely enjoyable. Having chosen the fish dish, Calamari, we were treated to a whole squid each deep fried in light crispy batter and served with hot thin fries and a delicious Greek salad. Well worth the pedal!