Leonidio: Our life as climbing bums finally begins

We left England on the 6th March. Now, after two weeks, thousands of pounds spent on a breakdown and some of the most stressful days I have ever experienced in my life, we have finally made it to our destination – Leonidio, Greece.

And what a destination it is…

Surrounded by rocks and the sea, Leonidio is a tiny town which has gained a new breath of life when developers arrived here a few years ago, drills at the ready, to open up some of this beautiful rock to sport climbers. Now, there are around a thousand routes to be found within a relatively compact space and the town is overrun with climbers! It seems every tourist here is sporting a pair of E9 trousers or La Sportiva approach shoes, or some other tell-tale sign they are here primarily for the rock.


We have only been here for a couple of days, and having not climbed for a very long time (to a large extent due to the van breaking down, twice), getting back into the swing of things is a struggle. So far, I haven’t got on anything harder than a 6b. And even on that, I ended up having a bit of a tantrum. It was a badly bolted route, so it was far more scary than it needed to be, but I would be fooling myself if I didn’t admit that it feels scary and hard all over again.

But climbing problems aside, Leonidio itself is an enchanting little town, full of some of the friendliest people I have ever encountered.  Today, we walked into a shop full of local produce, enticed by a lovely smell of baked goods. The lady behind the counter immediately gave us two little sweetbreads to try, freshly out of the oven and evidently the source of the aroma.

Then, as we were buying some local honey, she gave us a huge bag of tomatoes and oranges, totally free. They grow a lot of these here, and I think they don’t always know what to do with all that produce. Needless to say, we didn’t refuse! We haven’t tried them yet, but we have tried the honey, and it is probably the best honey I have tasted in my whole life.

If this is a sign of things to come, then maybe we are finally getting some payback for the shock our nervous systems have had to endure over recent weeks. I’ll write a separate post about that, and more about Leonidio once we spend a bit more time here. But now, it’s time to go eat some oranges!

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