Twenty three of the 34 participants are over 65! Considering that this cruise is an adventure by sea and land, by ship and by bike, I can’t but admire the courage and stamina of our participants, especially our older ones. Consider Dick Belkins. At 85, he is alert and fit.
When the time came today to get ready for a bike ride (our ship carries on the deck a whole contingent of bikes for excursions of up to 10 miles), he was one of the first participants to try one and hit the road. It wasn’t long until he had demonstrated that not only did he carry his own weight up the steep road without assistance, but left much younger participants in his wake. Or take James Hudgins , 91, who not only stands straight like the pole of an umbrella on the beach, but has no difficulty whatsoever clambering up and down the fields of ruins left by bygone generations. And he is by no means our oldest participant. His wife of four years is 95 and can remember going off to far away France to study French before World War II broke out in Europe. She has a great sense of humor and shows off the cool picture she took of me and Beate, my wife, on her iPhone 5. Needless to say that she also loves to stay in touch with her children, grand-children and great grand-children by text messaging. These people sure are an inspiration to us, and a vivid proof that it is possible to live life to the fullest for very many years.
Today was a great day. It tested our endurance and strength. About half of our group climbed by bike a rather steep road up to a medieval castle dominating the island of Leros. Admittedly, the climb was tough for most of us. But the rewards were greater still: a fabulous view of the island, its blue lagoons and its slopes dotted by white-washed houses; a refreshing descent winding its way through narrow streets and quaint villages; and finally, a well-deserved lunch at a typical restaurant by the sea.