We learned today that our speedo reads 20% fast up to about 30mph/48k and about 20% slow above 40mph/64k, netting us a 2nd, two 6th’s, an 8th and a 10th.
The odometer can’t be reset so we have to manually add all of the 25 or so distance markers by hand before every stage.
The more we tried to compensate the worse it seemed…but we gained only about 108 points for the day. All of these are tiny differences. No kidding from as little as two seconds to 10 seconds in the first four stages and all of twenty seconds in the last stage while usually covering about five miles/eight km. In total we were off by less than a minute having covered about 120 miles/205km.
The problem is that other cars are doing even better than we did and added to the huge penalties we drew on the first day our total of 1300 points looks pretty hard to come back from even though we moved up one place to 12th overall. The top dogs are unlikely to mess up anywhere near as badly as we did the first day…and we can only hope to hang on to our place.
Today we left our mountain retreat in Dimitsana after a boisterous dinner with the teams the night before. There is a lot of toasting and in true Euro fashion you have to clink glasses with everyone at the table every time. Jax the namesake of Team Ajax was out numbered by 9 men to herself at our table but held her own in high form. Everyone wants to toast with the Jax for some reason.
Jordan our hotel host seemed to do everything including the cooking has a soft spot for a couple of beautiful large black and white Greek shepherd dogs who were abandoned by their owner just ten days ago. Times are still hard in Greece with a 50% unemployment rate in under 30’s and 27% overall. So the dogs and their canine buddies in the village get all of the left overs from breakfast and dinner. We donated our sausages, cheese and bread up front. Right to the pups mouths as it were.
Our drive down the mountain took us through single width lanes in stone village after village with many people smiling and waving as we gave the four handed wave over the top of the windshield and a toot of the horn for kids as our exhaust noise rumbled and echoed in man made canyons.
We cut right through the middle of ancient olive groves as we switch backed down one side of the mountain and back up and over on our way to Mystras a suburb of historic Sparta or Sparti as it is known today.
This is the valley Helen of Troy hailed from before she eloped with Paris. This intersection of Ancient Greece, Roman Byzantine, Ottoman Empire and modern Greece has played out on the hillside of Mystras since 450 BC. It forms a continuous history of strife and exploitation which at its height made the first effective billionaires out of silk merchants harvesting mulberry leaves to feed silkworms above the valley floor in the Ottoman period. The Byzantine frescos in the Peribleptos Monastery from 1350 are hauntingly beautiful despite their eyes being scratched out in an existential exercise.If you can’t see me you can’t influence me according to our local guide and artist in residence Anna Traga. A Dutch egyptologist stranded far from the archaeological digs in Luxor of her early career thirty years ago when she like Helen married a wandering Greek.
The deep and continuing antipathy the Greeks have for the Turks is evidenced by the eradication of all traces of the 400 year Turkish presence in Mystras by the Greek government over the last 50 years.
Two more rally stages brought us to the sea again at Monemvasia the Gibraltar Rock of Greece with its massive rock and fort re-connected to the mainland by a causeway after waiting 300 years after an earthquake.
Perfect time for an 800 meter swim in the still warm waters in front of our hotel room.