Mekong TrailsFrom the north of Thailand to the Mekong river, spiritual Luang Prabang, Pakse, Paksong and the stunning archaeological ruins of Siem Reap
Mariners talk in riddles. This is a kind of short hand to ensure that landlubbers have no idea what is going on… For example if we want to be lashed by salt spray we sit in the ‘cockpit’, personal ablutions are not conducted on the ‘poop deck’ but in a ‘head’ and at night we are tossed about like Greek salad in a hobbit sized hole called a ‘cabin’. On the subject of cabins I’m told that the term POSH, which I thought described folk who lived higher on the hog than I, is really a term coined by 19th century colonial travellers on passage to India. I now suspect that I may have more in common with these folk than I realised when I signed up for this cruise. My ‘cabin’ seems to be on the starboard side of the boat next to the ‘head’. I don’t yet know if this is a good thing.
So far the cruise has produced a few surprises but i’m told that yesterdays lurching about in something called a ‘confused sea’ wasn’t really a challenge. I’m reserving my judgement about that. The surprises have all come from the landlubbery bits. Firstly we learned that Greek Islands are mostly masculine. Anything with a name that ends in ‘os’ is male. There are plenty lot of them. This is probably why nothing much happens until 10AM and might account for the parlous state of the Greek economy. On the other hand islands which have names that end in ‘a’ or ‘i’ are mostly ‘female’ and this was self evident on our stop off at the lovely island of Kea
Kea doesn’t appeal to the selfi-stick set. It has no party scene nor cruise ship clutter. This is the spot where Athenians go for a summer weekend and where visiting landlubbers like us can get out and about along the Islands stunning network of historic footpaths From the picturesque port of Korissia it is a short taxi ride up to the old town of Ioulida with its labryinth winding lanes and white plastered buildings. The trails that start here once linked the ancient city states of Kea and are today maintained for walkers like ourselves. Most are flagstoned with carefully paved steps and periodic water points at springs and cisterns. On the day of our visit the trail sides were brilliant with poppies and a myriad wild flowers. We set out around the contours following donkey paths to ‘Lion Rock’ and beyond to the high point and stunning views south towards our next port on Kythnos. Down in the port the ‘Albatross’ was a distant reminder that landlubbers who come to spots like Kea in small boats better pack their sea legs along with their hiking boots.
Make sure to keep an eye out for our next instalment!