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May 29, 2007

Road Trip Day #2: Lasithi Plateau and Resident Evil look-a-like Tzermiado

As you come over the crest of the mountains and start your descent towards the Lasithi Plateau, it is awash with a sea of Venetian era windmills.


Well, that's the idea anyway.

It must be at a different time of the year to when we visited however. That picture is from a painting in our guest house, rather than any scenario we actually saw in Lasithi. Of the thousands of metal windmills still existing on the plain, we only saw a handful rigged with their sails and ready for action. Most were just sparse frames.


The Lasithi Plateau has a few villages dotted around a road that rings the expanse, so we set of clockwise to visit  the largest place, Tzermiado, before reaching Ag. Georgios where we hoped to stay.

Without wanting to be unkind, the area was very run-down. It reminded us a little of the location in Resident Evil 4.


Not, of course, that it was swarming with killer zombies, you understand, but that it had a dusty dilapidated feel, and everyone looked old and careworn.

In fact, this is one of the areas where traditional Greek rural life is visibly under threat of extinction. Life on the Plateau is a hard agricultural one, and it was noticeable that apart from some children too young to have fled the nest yet, we saw only one or two people under the age of 50 in the 24 hours we were on the plateau.

We stopped at Cafe Kronion in Tzermiado, run by a French woman - who seemed quite harassed. It turned out that the entire plateau had been without electricity for most of the day, and so they had been trying to serve customers with no fridge, no gadgets and no lights in the kitchen. Consequently I had quite a warm beer in there - although no doubt not as warm as the beer that had been gently roasting in the back of the car since we set off!


Tzermiado was full of little houses that would have been beautiful but were in a right state. Not so much "do me uppers" we quipped, as "knock me downers".


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