After our lovely scooter powered day on Skiathos, we were excited to do a repeat here on Skopelos. We went from rental shop to rental shop, and were told over and over that it is “impossible” to rent a scooter in the EU with just a car license. Since we’d just done it yesterday I am not exactly sure about “impossible” but at least on Skopelos, it cannot be done. A little baffled, we went on our way, rethinking our island plans.
In either event, the scooter rental failure led us to do a bit more research in which we concluded that this island, unlike Skiathos, is perfectly rideable by bicycle. We scoped out a ten mile loop and hit the road.
The bike felt all wobbly without our heavy load, and before we’d even made it out the driveway of our apartment, I’d run the chain-ring right into the back of my calf while maneuvering down some stairs. I am ever so uncoordinated sometimes. Ben still has a mark from his last run-in with his chain-ring– we may end up with matching scars.
Then, we hit the road over the island to the beaches. It was an easy climb up to the top of the island, and a quick descent to our first stop: Stafilos. We’d read that the beach gets busy, so we were tentative, but when we arrived, we shared the long beach with maybe ten other people. We got right to work swimming nearly the entire length of the beach and back until the wind kicked up and the water got choppy. I have always been terrified of swimming in open water, but with this kind of clarity and with the buoyancy of sea water, I am feeling more confident than I expected. I never thought I would enjoy swimming for exercise so much.
The wind on the beach eventually got to be too much to make for nice sun bathing, so we headed back to the bikes for another climb and then long descent into Agnondas. We stopped at least three times on the way down the hill to debate whether we really wanted to go all the way to the bottom, only to have to climb back up again, but ultimately, we were back at sea level before we really had the chance to decide.
When we arrived, a tiny port with a tiny harbor sat next to a pristine little beach. We grabbed some ice cream bars from the market across the street and then found a shady spot on the beach to eat them. Before very long, the water drew us back in and we were once again, swimming back and forth across the bay, bobbing with the gentle surf as we went. I would have liked to keep swimming for hours, but my fingernail beds were soon weighted heavy blue and my shivering shook me like a tree in the wind. The water is beautiful, but it isn’t exactly balmy warm!
We dropped back on the beach for a long bit of watching the world go by before my begging stomach became difficult to ignore. We headed back up the pine encrusted hill that turned out to be not such a bad climb after all, and then into a precocious headwind for a long descent. The vistas presented royal ocean as far as we could see and the streets were all but deserted, leaving us the entire lane to ride side by side. When the roads are not to steep and just quiet enough, bicycle travel is magnificent.
Back in the apartment, we took turns guessing at the time, and concluded it must be around 3 (we don’t usually have a time keeping device with us, and knowing the time is very rarely important). My rumbling stomach made much more sense when we realized it was nearing 5:30! We sure do know how to use up a day.