The golf course has sucked away a lot of my time lately. I arrive at work early in the morning to help set up the carts or prepare for an event, then stay late to help Nicky with lessons (and play a few holes with the guys in Staging). My plan to host free golf lessons for Associates of Navarino has finally been approved, so I’m investing a lot of time in promoting and planning that.
It was about time I got away from the golf course.
Last night, Rima and I walked down to the “white house”, another apartment building for summer staffers just a little ways away from our “yellow house”. The majority of white house residents are Lithuanian, so Rima feels quite at home there. We climbed the stairs to the third floor terrace to find a dozen housemates sitting around a table, laughing and talking. They invited us to join their party.
“Here! Have some pineapple!” our friend, Domas, said.
More laughter. There was one slice of pineapple left on the plate, and everybody knows that whoever eats the last bite has to buy the next one. Domas looked disappointed when we refused. Nobody offered us a drink—they were already out.
The cool thing to do around here is to roll your own cigarettes. Now, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life (and have no intention of doing so), but it is kind of interesting to watch someone prepare the tobacco and roll it in the paper so deftly. One of the guys at the golf course let me try once, and I was rather successful (well, it looked nice at least. It just didn’t function very well).
Anyways, the guys sat around smoking their homemade cigarettes and the girls lounged along the railings.
Rima asked, “Who has tomorrow day off?”
About half the guys raised their hands. Rima and I had been hoping to find a crew to go on an adventure with. We were thinking of either exploring Kalamata or boating around Pylos. The guys had an even better plan.
“Let’s go to the Kalamata waterfalls! Some guys went yesterday and the pictures are amazing.”
As soon as we looked at the pictures we were sold.
The only problem was transportation. The bus came at 8am or 1:30pm. We all agreed to set out early, but Rima and I had our doubts about the boys waking up with the sun.
Our doubts were confirmed when we got on the bus the next morning and none of them were there. We nearly got off, but at just the last minute, two Lithuanians, Martinez and Rita, jumped onboard. They told us that they were coming to the waterfalls, so we decided that a small group would be just as much fun.
The waterfalls were not exactly in Kalamata. Thankfully, the busdriver knew where to drop us off along the way. He dropped us at the side of the road and pointed to the right. We began to follow the signs down into a little village called Polylimnio. The terrain was very hilly, but the morning was still cool and the walk was lovely. About forty minutes later, after passing chickens, an old lady who cackled at us, and a man painting his fence blue, we found the path down to the waterfalls.
We began at the lowest of the pools and steadily climbed upwards, passing small rivulets and falls as we went. The water was a flat, milky green. It was absolutely surreal: there were bamboo groves and reeds and rocks smoothed by years of water flow. At last, we reached “the big one”. It was nothing like the falls in Lake Victoria or Argentina, but it was certainly a beauty. A curtain of water rained down a 40m stretch of rock. I was the first to jump in the water. It was chilly, but felt delicious after our long walk in the sun. Water spiders glided around the surface and I splashed them out of the way as Rima and Rita eased there way in through the reeds. Martinez and I swam towards the falls and found a rickety ladder dangling into the water. I managed the ladder climb and sat down on a rock ledge about a quarter of the way up the falls. Martinez continued up the rock face. It took all of my nerve to jump from my low ledge. Martinez was much more daring, but admitted to feeling a bit fearful so high up. The milky water hid the rocks under the surface, making it all the more intimidating. We both took the plunge while the girls captured it on their cameras.
We had a lovely photo shoot in front of the falls, then settled out on the rocks to get some sun and warm up. After a few minutes, my adventurous nature prodded me to keep exploring upstream. I quickly realized that the path did not stop at this fall, but wound its way up the cliff face and beyond. Several minutes into my climb (in flip-flops and my bathing suit), I spotted Martinez on a lower path, heading in my same direction. He scrambled up to where I was and we plunged into the denser overgrowth. Another pool appeared before us, then another. At one point, the path led us right through the water, at the top of some smaller falls. We climbed up and up, until we reached a large sign naming the pool “Mavrolimnia” and describing it as “The pool that is difficult to be reached”. We smiled and congratulated ourselves on our perseverance. And kicked ourselves for not bringing cameras on this part of the trek.
We returned to the other girls no worse for the wear (minus some scrapes and stubbed toes). We sprawled out on the rocks for a while. No one was really eager to make the long walk back under the hot sun. I perched myself in a tree with my Kindle (and finished my latest book!).
At last, we packed our towels and headed away from the falls. We were almost to the main road again when we hear a loud voice shouting behind us. A truck loaded with fresh fruit was just turning the corner. We waved to the driver and he stopped to show us his wares. The watermelon looked delicious, but much too heavy, so we each took a melon instead. The cantaloupe was so fresh and the scent made our stomachs grumble. We tried to hitch a ride from the fruit man, but he shook his head. Thankfully, the bus appeared along the main road just after we arrived. We waved it down and hopped aboard.
And I still have the rest of the day off…
Time for the beach!