A river too far
Trip Start Jun 12, 2007
129Trip End Ongoing
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We negotiate a number of steep rocky parts where I’m expecting one of the tyres to go pop at any moment and then we come to a river. There is a concrete base on the ground, so it looks passable, but I wonder if it’s a bit too deep for our little car in the middle, "nah, it’ll be fine" John says as he drives through it and we’re on our way again.
We’re surrounded by mountains, we stop several times to take photos, take in the views and just take in the fresh mountain air. After the lack of summer we’ve had in England this year, the sun and warmth on my skin is wonderful. We continue bumping and winding our way along the track, splashing through puddles created by last weeks rain, watching lizards scattering from their sunbathing spots as we approach and generally having a great time as we bob along wondering what will be around the next corner.
We come to another river, the same as before, but I have confidence this time that we’ll get through it – and we do. Along the journey we come to another river, this time there is no concrete to cross it, it is just a riverbed, plain and simple. We get out of the car to have a look, it’s not particularly wide or deep, but the bank is at an angle that we think the underneath of the car may get caught because we are fairly low to the ground. John decides that yes it can be done, so we get back in again, put the car into 1st and off we go. We make it and the road turns to tarmac the other side. I can’t begin to tell you just how much we were laughing – we were having great fun.
We stop in several more places along the road – it had been very slow going and had taken most of the morning when we arrive at a fully flowing, fairly deep, rocky river. We pull up, get out of the car and I’m immediately shaking my head and saying to John “no way we’ll make that one, we’ll get stuck for sure”, but he seems to be seriously looking for ways to cross it. It absolutely cracks me up when he says he thinks he can see a line that he can take through it - urm, John, are you looking at something different to me – I’m not really sure how one bit of rocky riverbed looks any different to the next, but hilariously John seems to think so!! I’m laughing and saying “no, really I think we’ll get stuck, we need to turn back” – Johns serious though and is still uuming and aahing about which way to get across. I see some rocks in the river that I can rock hop across, to see just how deep it gets in the middle – I have flimsy shoes on, so decide to change into my trainers, which are in the boot of the car – I get them out of the boot and start to put them on, just as a large 4 x 4 vehicle comes up behind us. John says he’s going to move our car out of the way, so he slams the boot, gets in the car and then shouts something out of the window to me. I don’t always hear too well and by the time I’ve processed what he’s said and realised he’d yelled “I’m going through” - he was half way through the river! Now I’m not a religious person, but I did look skyward for a brief second before looking back and seeing the river up to and passing the bottom of the car doors, water flying everywhere and suddenly and thankfully the wheels of the car finding the other side – he got through – that crazy husband of mine had done it! I got my trainers on and rock hopped across and was met by a highly excitable John, who was now looking back at the river shaking his head – crazy boy!!
So, we check the car for damage and amazingly seem to have got away unscathed. We continue on and both agree that really it was far too deep to cross in that little car and we shouldn’t have done it, all in amongst fits of giggles. I think we had long left any road that was potentially on the map, but I felt it couldn’t be much longer before we actually came out somewhere – as we often do – but just as I voice this we came to another river – there was absolutely no way we could pass this one, you actually had to drive down the bank – into the river and turn right, drive up the river a short way and then turn left up onto the bank – impossible, and John instantly agreed, which spoke a thousand words considering what he is prepared to drive on/across/through in a small car. A large range rover type vehicle came the other way and we watched as it struggled to get through, no chance of us making it – at all – it was one river too far.
We turned the car around and both took a huge gulp in realising we now had to get back through the river we had previously agreed we never should have crossed. We had no choice though because we were now stuck between a river we shouldn’t have crossed and a river we couldn’t cross. When we got back to the river, John admitted that it had been a bit difficult getting through it before and that he’d slipped a couple of times. I decided that my extra weight in the car probably wouldn’t help, so I got out again to rock hop across. I stood back and watched as John lowered the car down the bank and into the river – the car seemed to be slowing and I was thinking – don’t stop, please don’t stop – it was then I realised that the wheels were still moving, but the car, not so much. John must have known as well and put his foot to the floor, at which point the back of the car started coming round, putting the car almost sideways in the river – it was a small miracle when one of the wheels must have momentarily found something to grip onto and with a final jolt John found his way onto dry land on the other side of the river bank. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and rock hopped across. John and I looked at each other in silence briefly before exclamations of bloody hell and the like came out.
Eventually our senses calmed enough to start laughing again and my did we laugh – I was literally in tears as we discussed how in the world John EVER saw a line across that river. We decided that we’d probably pushed our luck a little too far today and should head back – the only way we could – on the steep, stony track to the monastery.
We found ourselves in an unusual position for us – being back at our accommodation in the afternoon. We decide to go in search of a late lunch, so we drive along the coastal road and see a sign to a café/restaurant/art gallery – so we pull in, phrase book in hand this time. We end up being in there quite a while as we chatted and amused ourselves with the morning’s events, had dinner then the most delicious chocolate crepes, followed by coffees. Incidentally, with the help of the phrase book, I’ve now discovered what the waiter was telling me yesterday that I wouldn’t like – it was spaghetti with raw fish eggs on it.
We decided that it was too late to go anywhere else now, and when we came past the monastery earlier it was completely deserted. There is a very inviting pool to take a dip in, so we make ourselves at home there for a couple of hours, reading, writing and swimming. The price of eating out here is steep to say the very least, so early evening John suggests that we put together a few bits that we picked up in a supermarket yesterday and drive a short way up the dirt track from this morning to sit and watch the sun go down and eat them. This we do – we bear in mind that we will be driving back in the dark, so we don’t go too far up the rocky part, pull off the road into a small bay where we have a great view of the mountains and the last of the evening sun. We eat our picnic and read until the light gets too dim – then we drive back and retire for the evening.