Running from the sea to Mt Vrachionas gave me the opportunity to discover the wild side of the Zakynthos island.
According to the locals also Zakynthos is having a strange summer weather, especially considering that we are in August. I know nothing about night temperatures on the Greek islands in August, but the point is that during my 35km scooter trip from Tsivilí to Porto Vromi, at night, I'm freezing. A t-shirt and a long sleeve shirt are obviously not warm enough, even for a Greek mid-summer night. If only had I listened to my mum's take-a-pullover-with-you advice... The night is completely dark, there is no moonlight and no street lights, except in the few villages that I cross. Plunged into the darkness I feel a bit nervous and I start having some doubts about the idea of running from Vromi Bay in the north-west of Zakynthos to the highest mountain (hill, for Swiss standards) on the island, Mt Vrachionas, at 758m above sea level.
I reach Porto Vromi at dawn and with the first lights of the day the doubts are gone. The landscape is wonderful and the idea makes again perfect sense: connecting the lowest point of the island (or, to be precise, a lowest point of the island) with the highest one. Just before 7 o'clock I start running up the road that I drove down a few minutes before.
This side of the island is much wilder compared to the eastern, flat region, where all the tourist resorts are located. Here you can find many goat herds that are defended by watchdogs whose attitude towards a runner is quite intimidating, for this reason I decide to stay on the road (although I don't like the asphalt). After reaching the village of Maries I continue on the road towards east and a few kilometers later I turn right on the only street that reaches the top of the island. I arrive at the summit of Mt Vrachionas after 1 hour and 39 minutes of running (12km, +758m). After a break I return to Porto Vromi where I finally can have a refreshing bath in the perfectly transparent water of the bay.
The week I spent in Zakynthos was not only about running, as a matter of fact it was quite the opposite. Together with Wendy we enjoyed the sun, the delicious food and the very beautiful Greek landscape with hills, beaches, cliff caves and a stunning blue-green sea. Below a few pictures of our holiday in this beautiful island of the Ionian sea.