7.0 Lendas- Vianos- Mirtos

7.0 Lendas- Vianos- Mirtos | 104 km | 1.924 vertical meters | Categorie 1

104 km | 2.087 vertical meters | Categorie 1

Lendas- Viannos- Mirtos

Do objects have a soul, do they influence our lives? Well, who can doubt that.

A Dream of Jeannie: Lost in the fog, neither path nor stair can be seen. Only gurgles from swampy depths and pine trees bowing their heads, whisper, to beguile thee. Lucky you there lies a manor, the sprawling buildings in various states of decay, and yet a haven. From the courtyard you can see the facade framed by two mighty towers. Laurels and ivy overgrow the narrow Gothic window openings, hollow and empty now. The slate roof is adorned with battlements and bay windows.

Lost In The Fog – © nick / bikingcrete.com

A shadow in one of the window openings, a milky veil or a being wrapped in a cloth, makes you shiver. Surprised to find a human being in these ruined walls, you step through the gate into the hall in which a fire burns merrily. But no person, no originator of all these oddities can be found during an extensive inspection of the building.

The Whistle: Back by the fireplace, a slim box made of light-colored marble catches your eye. A small silver whistle, a bosun’s signaling instrument, lies within. Irresistible is your desire to own this gem. A trill on just this whistle and a stormy wind bends the trees all around, pushes through the gate, roars, and makes noise in the house, slams the doors shut and envelops everything in suffocating smoke of the fireplace. And in that din, noisy tumult, and sooty smoke, very close to your ear, there is a breathing, even a rattle, and a whisper: „Master here I am to do my duties.“

Enchantig Jeannie: Unfortunately, your new friend is not a „Dream of Jeannie“ and does not have the distinctive appearance of Barbara Eden. On the contrary, he resembles more Uriah Heep with his devious and submissive demeanor. In addition, this being is constantly accompanied by a musty smell of decay and decomposition. Even the sheet it wears hasn’t been washed in roughly four hundred years – disgusting. Everywhere it strews earth and withered leaves from his former burial ground on the floor and if these are used for potting plants, the pitiable creatures wither within a day.

Now this is a story from the good old days when family values, such as the relationship between Master and Servant, were not empty phrases. Today, on the other hand, even profane objects, such as a mouthguard, gain power over us without magic being involved – or is it?

The Second Night In Lendas: My faithful friend and travel companion Patroclus and I spend the second night in Lendas. Early in the morning we had set out hopefully in the direction of Mirtos, until after 20km and the first rest, Patroclus had to realize that he had lost his beloved mouthguard. Regularly checking the whereabouts of this dental prop has been a fixed ritual for the past few days.

As a result, we crossed the Asteriousa Mountains again in the direction of Lendas and rented a room in the same house we slept the night before. From then on there was a constant search for the missing talisman, without which Patroclus was not willing to go a step further, let alone continue the journey at all.

Lendas Panorama and Mt. Koprana – © nick / bikingcrete.com

The Mission: Measures included a thorough inspection of our guest room and kitchen, emptying of all accessible rubbish bins in the house, and the inspection of the dirty linen storage basket in the yard, which led to an embarrassing altercation with the landlady, who outright accused us of stealing linens. We were also unable to convey the essence of an occlusal splint to her either verbally or visually. The mouthguard is entirely unknown in southern Crete as a means of protecting your teeth.

The next morning broke and even Patroclus saw that the battle was lost. Morosely he did his rounds on the square in front of the house, sometimes calling out in a bad mood to ask why I was late.

Bike Maintenance – © nick / bikingcrete.com

Bike Maintenance: Meanwhile, in the company of the little daughter of the house, I was busy doing the final maintenance work on my bike. A bright five-year-old child who stood by my side with all sorts of technical advice on cycling in the local language, which I don’t speak but whose meaning I could guess. Finally, she expertly checked the air pressure of the tires between the thumb and forefinger of her chubby child’s hand.

A long dress that reached to her ankles, a pair of all-terrain sandals, and an elaborately crafted necklace slung around her neck describes her appearance on this memorable morning. Different colored fruit pits, almonds, shells of clams and scallops as well as dried flowers, were masterfully combined in this necklace in a symmetrical arrangement with a central brooch. The brooch consisted of a U-shaped, transparent plastic splint into which pomegranate seeds were inserted from behind, in the area where the teeth otherwise engage.

The Betrayal Of Patroclus: Cold sweat stood out on my forehead. What should I do? Snatch the artfully woven brooch away from the child? The Cretans are all armed with long-range rifles and we had 12km of ascent ahead of us, with 450m of elevation gain at an average speed of 15km/ hour.

The Vision: One day, on the occasion of a village festival, she would step up to the fireplace and take this jewelry out of a box made of light-colored marble. A guest staying on the island, student of dentistry from Athens, would fall madly in love with her, and thus continue the round dance of love and life in a typical Cretan love story. A house, a garden with almond and pomegranate trees where children frolic happily with a dog. So they lived happily ever after.

All the way to Mirtos, Patroclus was extremely taciturn. He felt that his best friend had betrayed him. But what could I have done? Wrapped in fluttering sheets, traveling back in time as a ghost to prevent losing the mouthguard on day one, only to return to the future again? Unfortunately, I’m only humanly gifted and don’t own an bewitched monkey paw with three magic wishes, nor a magic whistle.

7.0 THE TOUR - Lendas- Vianos- Mirtos
Steep Climb Near Lendas – © nick / bikingcrete.com

This nice climbing route from Lendas to the pass at the village of Miamou is unique. One of the most beautiful roads in Europe lies ahead of you. At Lendas center, the climb into the Asterousia mountains begins, then, after conquering the pass, you speed down to the Mesara basin. With a strong tailwind you glide through the plain, crossing the southern flanks of Mount Ida at Ano Vianos and dive down to the sea at Mirtos again.

The level of difficulty and the fitness requirements are demanding, the technique challenging, and the landscape invites you to perfect climbs and fast downhills.

Asterousia Mountain – Near Krotos – © nick / bikingcrete.com

Two sweeping bends lead you from Lendas into the mountains. This masterpiece of road construction is first embedded in gravel, sand and conglomerates, then in the amphibolite rocks, limestone and argillaceous slate and leads with a 5-8% incline over 12km, through a wide valley with sparse vegetation, via the village of Krotos (435m) to the pass at Miamou at 475m altitude.

The road swings up wonderfully over steep sections with up to 15% incline. Great panoramas open up when you look over the foreland to the sea or far to the east with the towering Kofinas (1,230m) and up to the peaks of the Asterousia mountains.

Kato Kastelliana – © nick / bikingcrete.com
Mesara Plain – © nick / bikingcrete.com

Tamarisks, poplars, plane trees, olive trees, vineyards and crops around the village of Krotos interrupt the monotony of the sparse vegetation. This area, occupied by the ophiolite nape (160 Ma) of the uppermost tectonic unit of Crete, is highly affected by Tertiary HP/ LT- metamorphism. An area where already the Minoans mined copper and talc serpentine (steatite).

Then you drive again through phrygana into the sun scorching southern slope and over the pass. A wide plateau opens up with the Kofinas in the background. The village of Miamou is an oasis adorned with bougainvillea and vines in the wilderness of limestone and argillaceous rocks. Herbs grow everywhere, it blooms in the gardens between the small white houses and the village square shaded by plane trees invites you to linger.

On the southern flank of the Mesara plain, at the edge of the tectonic fault, the narrow road takes you through the towns of Vagionia, Stavies, Harakas, Pirgos, Kato Kastelania, Demati and Skinias, uphill and downhill through the green hell of this rich agricultural landscape.

Shortly after the village of Demati you‘ will cross the river Anapodiaris. A few kilometers downhill, then the strenuous, 22.5 km long climb of around 750 meters begins. Via the village of Martha (375m) and a hilltop at 635m, you drive to the picturesque village of Ano Vianos (550m).

Ano Viannos To Mirtos – © nick / bikingcrete.com
Ano Viannos – © nick / bikingcrete.com

After another three kilometers of climbing, you reach the highest point of the tour, the pass at 730 meters above sea level. It is now constantly downhill to the south coast, until after another 20km drive you have reached the lovely village of Mirtos. One of my favorite tours. Go for the adventure.