The Coastline and Churches of Leros

8

Saturday 07 September, 2013 by Uncle Spike

Are you familiar with the term… “So What, It’s A Rental”? Admittedly, I actually know it with slightly more colourful language, but unsure as I am regarding the rules on WordPress, I’m sticking with the above version for the sake of my blog’s continuance 🙂

In the summer of 2013 we took a family holiday around some of the Greek islands that are nearest to us. Grown-up, sensible and bordering on middle-age we might be, but that does not mean that we have to stay all-inclusive and dance to naff music at the hotel’s own ‘sanitised-for-tourists’ beach party, or clap along with the sheep on ‘folk night’, where you are surrounded by tables full of middle class tourists sporting brightly coloured shirts and equally ghastly pink sun tans. No, a holiday it might be, but no need to drop our standards quite yet, eh?

So, off we went, me (the blogging farmer), my wife (the academic manager), and Young Sheldon (to neatly sum up his worldly aspirations) – all with our respective backpacks, a fist full of euros, some ferry tickets, a camera and dare I say it, a keen sense of adventure. In all, we stopped by, passed through and explored four islands on this trip, those being Kos, Kalymnos, Astypalea and Leros. Mostly it was time for a family beach retreat, having all of us had a rather hectic few years, so felt very much in need of some rejuvenation time, some quality R&R.

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But on one island, Leros, we got a little beach-bored, and decided to venture further afield, to get out and about. We hired a car. Not any old car I might add, but a big powerful go-kart. In actuality, it was a shiny little silver Kia Picanto, a four-door 1000cc ‘compact’ or more apt would be to consider introducing a new category, that of ‘very compact’.

It was a teeny tiny thing really, but heck; it didn’t half have some go in it. Once you wound that rubber band up to extra extra tight, and let it go, the little silver Kia was the epitome of hilarity on four wheels. We drove it here, we drove it there…. in the 28 hours we had him/it, we covered all but one road on the entire island, according to the map we had anyway, oh, and a few that weren’t on the map either – more of that to come later.

With its tight ratio gearing, almost square wheelbase arrangement, a turning circle that a small cow would be proud of, and my slightly heavy gas foot driving approach, we had plenty of fun – and that’s with a big capital “Fah” 😀

For sure, these micro cars would be rather taxing on a long journey down a coastal freeway, or for touring through the Alps with a large family laden with serious baggage, or heaven forbid, towing anything more than a large suitcase behind, but for somewhere like the Greek islands, I get it, seriously. This steroid pumped little fellow was absolutely ace for navigating the tiny narrow roads, the very steep inclines, and dare I say it, even passably capable when it came to a bit of off-road adventuring away from the tarmacadam and concrete roads that most other rental drivers cautiously opted to stick to!

So let me introduce you to Kevin the Kia… or perhaps Percy the Picanto. No, I thought Kevin to be more fitting, but then again, not very Greek, so we settled on Eugene; being a name of Greek origin with a similar meaning to Kevin, ‘Gentle Birth’ (well it would be a gentle birth – the whole car was the size of a roasted peanut).

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Eugene took us all over the island, showed us some spectacular sites and some equally stunning views from some very narrow little roads in the middle of nowhere. The very close first and second gears of this little metal mickey were well up for the challenge, I can tell you – as was the handbrake!

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Every now and again, you’d spot a small sign, usually pointing up a hill; just another tiny church would be the end result of that venture, but little Eugene seemed happy to try each and every one… He took us up roads where we had to reverse all the way back down after finding it to be yet another road that just ‘stopped’ for no apparent reason, and on one occasion, he drove us right into someone’s back yard – but the locals were friendly enough, and thankfully, tolerant.

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… … … … … … … … …

The adventure continued into military areas too, oops….

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8 thoughts on “The Coastline and Churches of Leros

  1. […] little Kia Picanto rental. This strange little car had already taken us to see the delights of the coastline, the tiny inland churches, as well as an offroad adventure into Greek military areas […]

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  2. […] had hired a tiny little Kia Picanto to explore the Greek island of Leros one summer. Yep, this was it… but what a little start […]

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  3. I love the small church standing on the peak of stone 🙂

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  4. […] is a continuation of the posts entitled Picanto Capers! (part one) and (part […]

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  5. Did your passengers enjoy the ride as much as you did? I’m not sure I would have!

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    • Uncle Spike says:

      Oh yes… my son loves all the adventure, and my wife loves driving too. Most of the navigation was her idea.
      “Take that road!”
      “Where?”
      “There!, that 1,75m wide track”
      “oh, ok love”

      Of course, we live in mountainous territory ourselves, so quite enjoy challenging roads 🙂

      Like

  6. […] This is a continuation of the post Picanto Capers! (part one)… […]

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