Day 15 - Nymfaio - Edessa
What a difference a day makes! After an amazing dinner last night and fabulous breakfast this morning we rolled from our guest house in Nymfaio as we began day 15 of our cycling tour in Greece, Ride with the Gods (our 12th ride). The 10 km (6 mile) downhill was a breeze and we continued on through villages and farmland, with long stretches of downhill grade for quite a long time. In the town of Amyndeo we rolled it was market day and we had quite the challenge wending our way through the stalls of fruits, vegetables, clothes and other products as the sellers were setting up.
At 11:00 a.m. at 24 km (15 miles) about a 1/3 of us stopped at a local winery for a tour and tasting. Alpha Estate Winery was established in 1997 and began production in 2005. They produce roughly 1,000,000 bottles per year now. They have 5 vintners and one of the fastest bottling machines in Europe. They age their reds (and a few whites such as Chardonnay) in french oak barrels. They do use natural cork from Portugal but for sale in America and Canada they are using screw tops. We tasted 4 wines: a Malagouza which is a native varietal from the Peloponnese and is quite floral and light, but not sweet; a lovely Rose produced from the native red Xinomavro, which was quite floral and delicious; their 2022 Xinomavro which had good legs but was still a bit young and could use some aging; and finally their dessert wine, produced from Gewürtztraminer and the Malagouza, from late harvest grapes that do not require any additional sugar (and it was absolutely delicious.
By 11:45 we were ready to roll. We continued on through vineyards, apple orchards and cherry trees, arriving at Lake Vegoritida where we rolled up and down following the shoreline for nearly 16 km (10 miles). There were lots of birds, ducks, flocks of cormorants that were flying in migration and even a pelican or two. It was beautiful scenery. We then rolled though some more fields and then encountered our first major climb of the day, a 1.1 km (0.7 miles) of 7-10% climb. We then had a wonderful downhill before turning onto a small highway which we then followed for the remaining 20 km (12 miles) into Edessa. We arrived at our hotel in the heart of the old city (built on top of the Byzantine ruins) finishing with 68.5 km (42.6 miles) and a relatively easy 278 m (912’) of climbing. All in all it was an enjoyable day.
Edessa is known as the “city of water” and is home to spectacular water falls that have carved travertine caves into the rock face. The falls are over 70 m in height (230’). The power of the water is impressive and the roar can be heard throughout the old part of the city where we are staying. Tomorrow we are off the bikes as we transfer to Litochoro for our climb on Mt. Olympus on Friday.