Saturday, 7 May 2016

Maios 7 - Coffee - Kastro & Pelion ...

So I am sitting in Syraino as usual ...

Enjoying my morning coffee, and communicating with the world. Its a lovely sunny morning and the plan is to wander down to Koukounaries to watch the Skiathos cup.

Back at the house its chaos as the street is dug up for the water main works. It resembles a battlefield from the Somme. To be honest it would be great if it stayed that way all summer.

Lets see what happens when 'you know who; tries to relocate the rubbish bags. Odds on a fall into the trench. I have a surprise lined up ...

But its important work, and its got to be done. Greece has no money and its EU funds paying for it ...

Its very warm this morning, I am in the shade, there is the usual banter with 'Dimitris Liverpudlian' and Miri. Friends come up and say hello, others say farewells as they head home.

There is supposed to be a national ferry strike, well Aqua is coming into port, It has run every day as has the flying cat. Word on the street is that Proteus is running today too.

Someone wanders over and offered me a job, not for the first time and I again, have to politely decline. Its a flying visit, SWMBO has a busy week. In fact she was on her way to the Royal Marsden just at that moment ...

Along comes my old workmate, and a hug and a quick chat. Then an invitation, that took me around a second to accept, and change my plans for the day completely ...

Half an hour later I was back on board Kalypso, Half a 'Greek hour' later and after another coffee, and a sandwich, and we took 30 ladies and a couple of Orthodox priests to Kastro ...

Now I have to say they were absolutly brilliant, once they worked out two of the xenos (strangers) were English, they were laughing and joking. Offering us sweets, pieces of cake, fruit. We were spoilt rotten. I called it the favorite auntie run ...

Arriving at Kastro, most of the tourists usually head for shade, or the beach.


The hardy souls head on up.

Greek ladies whatever the age - They all went up. Walking sticks and some in their Sunday best shoes. One in a thick cork heel shoe ...

Two of the ladies though, struggled to get down the ramp, laughing hilariously as they tried to descend. We followed on behind and caught up with Margarita and Tasoula, just below the gates, to the city.

Margarita was struggling a little but declined help. Then spoke to us in English telling us about when she lived in Oxford. Fascinated to hear why we were there, and that we loved going up to Kastro ...

Just below the steps, she said she was too warm, perhaps we could help after all. I held her walking stick and she removed her thick woolen skirt ...

That's a first, and how she ascended into Kastro with Tasoula, in her long black petticoat ...

I took her into the church, and she lit a candle ...


The priest came in followed by many of the pilgrims, and the all started to sing. It was a moment that will live with me forever. I politely departed outside, We sat outside under the vine in the heat listening to the singing, still holding Margarita's dress.

Out she came, and said she would sit in the shade, and wait by the spring, but we could look after her skirt, so it ascended to the top of Kastro with us ...


Just birdsong and the heady waft of herbs to distract, as we walked through the poppy's and past the graffiti damaged prickly pear, and up to the top ...

The views over to Skopelos and Alonissos were stunning. Towards the mainland the Pelion was hazy with a few towering thundercaps towards Olympus. Sadly too much of a heat haze today, to see Athos to the north ...

I love it up there, the peace and tranquility, I cannot think what it was like to be besieged, pirates, disease and fear of attack ...

We headed back down to the church, to find empty seats, a quick rinse at the spring, and down we went catching up with the pilgrims, near the beach, some taking shade under the awning of the Kantina, watching the horses grazing nearby ...

We reunited Margarita with her woolen skirt, whilst the priest looked on, and confirmed it had made the full ascent of  to Kastro.

Returning to town, where the Priest gave both of us a gift, of a knotted string prayer bracelet ...


I must admit I felt touched ...

Ten minutes later we were off to Koukounaries, we picked up another group of Pilgrims, and headed to Kati Yiorgi, to take them home. Kati Yiorgi is a small fishing village, you are just three miles away, from Skiathos. But its the mainland and the Pelion, home of the centaurs in Greek mythology. Safe now as we went into the taverna, with the blue umbrellas.

Greeted as an old friend, Cherry wine, a selection of mezedes, a delicious Greek salad, Chicken and rice. Tsipouro bottles for later, and a chat as the sun went down ...

      

What a sunset it was when we were out at sea, tummies full and the afterglow of having spent time with friends ...


Even a chance to get up close and personal with EKO 1


Although as any sailor will tell, you, this is the view you never want to see behind you ...

My Greek friend said to me later, I have cooked Pasta and meat - Eat!

I made my excuses and had a beer with Ioannis. He said come on, lets go out, Again I had to make my excuses - I was shattered and my head hit the pillow and a deep sleep ...

Its the sea air you know ...



2 comments:

  1. Fantastic to read this Ian. Brightened a very rainy Tuesday afternoon.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Margaret, But as you know damp afternoons, are for a bar of chocolate, a glass of red, and a good book ...

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