Today’s distance / 今日の走行距離: 51.38km
Average speed / 平均速度: 15.3km/h
Time on bike / 走行時間: 3h 21m
Total distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 51.38km (plus 8400km)
Ascent / 上り: +610m
Descent / 下り: -730m
This morning I had some more speedometer issues, ending up with me having to reset the computer unit. Hence the mucked up total distance to date reading in the stats above. It is all sorted however, and the $5 speedo I bought in the Uzbekistan bicycle bazaar is still going strong.
I was once again lured by the brown tourist sign today, but it wasn’t quite as far. Just a 250 meter climb up a road just about as steep as the Black Sea coast of Turkey roads to a church.
It was Greek Orthodox in all its glory. 2 hours of standing up in a crowded church, listening to the priest dude do his chanting thing and the nuns doing their singing thing. I guess it wouldn’t be so much of a chore if you knew what the hang was being said, but I committed myself to staying till the very end, and despite the long time on my feet, I made it.
It was interesting to make some observations. Everyone in their Sunday best (and me with dirty shaggy clothes), lots of incense (no complaints there – masked the smell of my ‘haven’t-showered-in-a-week’ body), men on the right side of the church, women and children on the left. Lots of brass hanging things and plenty of candles. Halfway through the service, a nun wielding an aluminium pole started to sway the chandeliers. I hoped to God that the service wasn’t going to last as long as the chandeliers were swinging. They swung for ages.
Towards the end of the service, there was a flurry of activity, and people started to remove the pictures of saints from the walls. I was about to shout ‘thief‘ when the congregation parted, and the priest followed by the nuns filed out of the church, followed in turn by the congregation. The procession headed out for a lap around the church.
After a short outside reading of the Good Book, everyone piled back into the church, saints were replaced on their hooks on the walls, and communion ensued. In Georgia, I was not allowed to take part in communion because I am a protestant, so I didn’t risk it here.
All in all a rather interesting experience. Not one that I personally would like to repeat every Sunday morning, but I guess it rocks some people’s boats.
I left the church alone, slightly put out that I hadn’t been invited back for lunch to someone’s house, but I enjoyed the sun in a pagoda down the road, cooking up some pasta and pasta sauce for lunch. It was such a lovely day that I even hung my sleeping bags out to air.
I made relatively good time for the afternoon ride, enjoying some more coastal views. As I was riding slowly along looking for a spot to sleep, a car pulled up with a family out for a Sunday drive. They asked the same questions as usual, and I gave the usual polite reply. They headed off suitably impressed with my endeavours, and sped off.
I was just about to head up a side road to get to some under construction buildings, when the same car came back.
“We like what you are doing, so please take this” the father said out of the window while his wife handed me a plastic bag full of sandwiches and some orange juice. These Greeks are a hospitable bunch after all.
I headed up the steep road to the buildings, and set up. A room with a massive view out over the Ege Sea.