October 2nd, 2011

...now browsing by day


Saturday October 1st. Touring Homer’s Roost.

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

The French never cease to amaze me. Across the Pacific and around South Africa I learned more sailing and electronic tricks from the French than any other nationality. And here in Greece it is a repeat. Even though they are not known to have the best command of the English language they always, somehow, have figured out how to use the latest technology to come out of America before the Americans have caught on to it. My neighbor, Joe, on “Algieba” is getting good wireless reception here in the
marina and he suggested I purchase an antenna. Thirty Five Euroes for a “High Power” Realtek antenna. I figure that takes care of 7 beers in my café with the wireless connection. But I could not get it to work. Joe offered to help. And he found that my American purchased lap top confirms to FCC perimeters whereas this software was set up for the European norms. So, he just happened to have a driver on his hard disk that worked for my software. I was amazed how quick he was able to put his finger on the problem and find a cure for it. He is not a young digital geek, just another retired French sailor.

I cooked my “usual” for the three of us, Friday evening.

Friday night the 10 day storm gathered even more strength. It howled and the spray has soaked the dirt in the north end of the marina.

Today, Saturday, I rented a car. First I wanted to check out the haul out facility in Langkada, about 7 miles to the north from here. It looks good, the manager/owner, Antonis, seems like an accessible guy. They had just put in a new set of showers (with hot water) and toilet, for the visiting yachts men.
But the only drawback is that there are no stores within easy bicycle distance.
So I will need to bring my food etc., for the days that I’ll be there. I most likely will just bottom paint. He quoted me 200 Euroes in and out and 70 Euroes
storage per month. Sounds like a winner to me. I ran into Eva from Gothenburg, who I had met with her cousin in Mitilini and Eva and her husband Leonard were
just securing their boat that had been put on the hard two days ago.

My next stop was at the Monastery of Panagia Koyrna. High on a very steep mountain road overlooking Chios. It turned out not be open till 1 p.m. but they let me wonder around. It is totally isolated and self supporting. With water, life stock, fruit trees and vegetable gardens. The two ladies, in the below picture, at the table in the court yard offered me sweets. The one on the far right lived in Astoria, Oregon for 10 years. Later on in Pirgi, I talked to 10 men who were having lunch together around a big table in one of the alleys, all 60 plus. Everyone had lived in New York, at one time.

Further towards the West Coast of this narrow island I visited the Nea Moni monastery and church. This was the most interesting spot I have seen so far in Greece. It has a rich history that began in the 11th century. It was built by the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomahos. Just less than 200 years ago, in 1822, the Ottoman Turks burnt it down and all the resident monks were slaughtered. There is still the macabre display of their skulls and bones today at the restored UNESCO heritage site.

Emperor Constantine brought some of the finest craftsmen from Constantinople to built the monastery and fortunately some of the exceptional fine mosaics have been preserved. Three young women and an Orthodox priest (see photo below) were quietly chanting from a Russian missalette. I talked to them and the three women each represented 3 different nationalities from the former Soviet Republic. One was Moldavian, one Ukrainian and the third Georgian, the priest is Armenian. They were together on some sort of a pilgrimage. They were hitch hiking their way. I managed to give them a short lift. These encounters make some of the lonelier parts of this journey so very worthwhile. Just to listen in on this foursome in their professing of the same Faith we share. And to stand on this sacred ground and to treasure the art work that inspired it.

High above the Westcoast lies an old fortified village, Avgonyma, just like the better know Mesta, where I stopped later, these towns were heavily fortified with huge wall and with just one gate which was closed from dusk till dawn. Watch towers on the higher hills would signal any incoming invaders from the sea.

Pirgi/Pyrgi was my most Southern stop. It is also a medieval fortified village, but it has the unique distinction of the unusual exterior decorations called “xysta” it is a sort of reverse Batik process. Volcanic sand, cement are applied over white lime wash and then part of these layers are removed to expose the grey and black patterns. Besides olive orchards the particular crop in southern Chios has been over the centuries, Mastic, which is a resin collected from the trunk of a scrubby bush. It was the favorite “chew” of the sultans and their harems and it is still used in chewing gum, cosmetics and pharmaceutics.  

I am going to try and make it to Samos on Sunday and then onward to Marmaris.

Too little wire less for picttures. Will add them later.