Day 7. THURSDAY 4TH OCTOBER.
Moved from Therma to Kamariotissa to experience town life.
Packed up at our country abode but before we left our Greek neighbours John and Litsa invited us to their veranda for coffee and tea to discuss our movements over the next few days. They didn’t want us to move, I think they enjoyed our company and the chance to speak English. Bev and I discussed the possibility but decided to go to town for a couple of nights and come back to Aleka’s cottage for the last two nights on Samothraki. They have offered to take us to Thessaloniki on Monday and have asked us to stay, an offer we accepted.
Going to town meant we could experience Greek village life, be around boats and be right on the seashore. One of Bev’s lifelong desires has been to hold up in a cottage overlooking the sea so this was her chance, albeit for only two nights.
Our room ($25 per night for two) for the next couple of nights is just out of the frame on the left. The yacht moored at the quayside was from Kavala on the mainland. It was skippered by a Bulgarian and I reckon we could have hitched a ride back to the mainland with him.
The sliding window in the room could not be secured in a partly open position so my walking pole came to the fore. A walking pole on a trip like this is an asset. It not only can be used as an aid when scrambling down steep slopes but it can be used to ward off wild dogs, as a cat prodder or a robber deterrent (I think a robber is less likely to have a go if you are carrying a stick) and a monopod to steady my camera. The following photographs show two other unusual uses.
Returned the little bus to the hire man. He didn’t check to see if we had damaged it or not nor did he check the level of the fuel tank. He also told us to leave the keys in the ignition even though it was parked some distance from his office. I suppose you don’t have to worry so much about a car being stolen on a small island like Samothraki as the only way off is by ferry and the police would be lying in wait if someone tried to get off the island with it.
Down by the port we watched the SAOS ferry dock. The following sequence of photographs shows the procedure. It amazes me how the ship’s master can manoeuvre such a large vessel in such a confined space.
There is one thing about the Greeks and that is nothing is too much trouble. They pride themselves in being able to achieve the impossible. The dockworker went to extreme lengths to get this truck loaded by coaxing the driver, calling ‘ella, ‘ella ‘ella (come, come, come) and finally the truck was safely on board. The truck probably arrived on the island with a full load, therefore it would have been sitting lower but leaving when he was empty meant a lot less clearance. From my observation post there was only about 25mm clearance.
The Greeks may be innovative but they are very messy painters; they rarely use drop sheets. The following photographs show a messy painter in action.
Day 8 FRIDAY 5TH OCTOBER. Exploring Kamariotissa .
Not much on today except swanning at the local internet café and watching portside action. Swanning on a journey like this is very important, especially for a couple of old donkeys.
Clutter can overwhelm one and every now and then I reckon stuff has to be eliminated from one’s life. One of my great enjoyments is to go the dump. If you look closely at the stuff here there is Jesus sitting next to the wi-fi gismo, a tilly lamp in case of a blackout, a model boat, a CD player and a power board. Electrical arrangements in Greece leave a lot to be desired.
The lead plugged into the bottom is my laptop charger and because the Greek power points are only two pin they are loose and plugs fall out. Power points have no switch, so when you plug in an appliance sparks fly every time. There are many loose power points and sometimes there are bare wires showing. Not good enough. Wok, what do you reckon? Wok is an electrician friend.
Travel books suggest that when on the road one should take an iPad rather than a laptop as they are too cumbersome. I don’t agree entirely as I have coped with my laptop quite well. Without it there is no way I could have produced this blog. Another advantage of a laptop is it brings people together, especially in countries where they are not so common. I have found that when working in a café or dining room of a hotel young people come and want to touch and play too.
Time is an interesting concept, you can’t make time, only allocate it. Today we allocated time to wander the back streets of Kamariotissa and found a number of interesting things. I have included a few of them below.
It is difficult to build a sharp corner using random-shaped rubble so squared stones like these overcome the problem. Quoins are set in position first then a string line is run out between the wall corners that makes it easy to keep the random rubble in a straight plane.
The question is, are these flowers artificial or real? I couldn’t get close enough to determine if they were real or artificial. Bev says they were artificial. What do you think David M? David M is a botanist friend. Note the clever catch at the bottom left corner holding the shutter open.
In the order of crosses these would be classified as cloverleaf or rose crosses. Crosses are the most ancient symbolic ornamental devices found in many cultures from prehistoric times. I first became aware that there were many crosses other than the Calvary cross when I saw a swastika (classified as a cross) travelling through India in 1970. It was embossed on the outside of a restaurant and I wondered why a restaurant would display such a symbol when it was associated with the Nazi movement. In my ignorance at the time I didn’t realise that the swastika was an Indian invention, which can mean good luck or higher power. Hitler used it to represent a higher power and the purity of the Aryan race.
Of interest is the Peter cross, an upside down model. In the outback of Australia on some property gates and on dog fence gates you sometimes see a Peter cross cut out of metal and hung on gates or painted on gate signs. It is used to instil into travellers that if you leave the gate open you will be crucified like Peter was.
A couple of days ago we decided to eliminate some of the winter clothes from our bags as the weather is remaining warm. pack a box and sent to Switzerland. The weather has been absolutely perfect, around 28 degrees during the day and one blanket on the bed at night. From now on we may have to carry some food and we might have to sling the bags onto our backs as we move into Albania. To quote one reference relating to catching a bus in Albania, ‘the bus station is in a muddy spot near the railway station’. So dragging our wheeled bags through mud would definitely not be an option. Our bags have backpack straps as well as wheels. We have never had such a configuration before so it remains to be proven if they are suitable or not. So far they have proved to be most suitable.
For the people of Samothraki the geology of the island is their destiny and it’s their destiny (lives) that we find most interesting.