Friday, November 30, 2007

16th October 2007

We early risers rose at 7.30. Now worried we will miss breakfast! Nemesis has struck again.
I slept log-like. Dreams of a librarian-friend becoming a silent nun (!) and rehearsing for the Messiah with the wrong score.

Breakfast is served until 11 so we didn't need to worry. I'm having yoghurt with honey, kiwifruit and plum, self-squeezed orange juice. Will move onto the protein next. Lukewarm coffee. The enthusiastic Danae offered bread which she had made yesterday. The table's floral decoration is a bowl of sprouted lentils. Tonight's dinner? Cute. Danae made us more (hot) coffee. I moved onto her bread (with crusty salt), a piece of what turned out to be marmalade tart and a small apple turnover. All delicious. Michael wants to go to Plaka today - 5 kms uphill. We think we won't walk, although he complains he didn't sleep well last night because we didn't get enough steps yesterday. We can fix that! I think it was the very late hour we turned out the lights - ten o'clock! Amazing how TV can hold your interest and keep you awake, while silence leads quickly to nod-land. The TV last night was Part 1 of something in English. Who knows when Part 2 will occur.

I bought an Internet card last night and cleared the mailbox of all junk. Not much else BUT junk. M. did the same. There is 10 minutes left on it this morning so M is clearing his again. If there is time left I'll send an email to Mum and Julie. Then we will get on our pins and get going.

We got going! Down to the waterfront to hire a car from Nikos. A small silver car EMZ 9521, manual. I drove.

We headed for Plaka, which we found. We could only drive a certain distance, then had to turn around. It transpired that we used the famous bus turnaround mentioned in our guidebook to do so. Plaka is a very small place. We parked where we could, near the Police Station, and found the obligatory Archaeological Museum which was, surprisingly enough, open. Two women sat in the back smoking and watching TV. The Venus de Mea Culpa was there. ( a copy generously given by the French government in return for snatching the real one.). Also the guidebook's "herd of perky little bulls."

The car is a Korean Hyundai Atos. Katester volunteered to drive - that's my distinct memory, and off we went to Plaka - site of the ancient city, and once there many more vertical steps.

After the Museum we enquired about the Folkloric Museum. Closed. Michael led us to the Kastro - yes indeed, many very steep vertical steps. Wonderful views, fabulous spot. White domed church, intense blue sky, views of the island of Milos and others. There were lovely paths painted blue, and many quaint houses. A few snaps shows how far up we were, and some of the lovely sights we saw on the way up.

After coming down noted 7,200 steps - verticals. Explored the town. It is a little labyrinth of white houses splashed with cobalt blue, pale blue, green, and bougainvillea and geraniums. One or two dogs, a few cats. Michael wanted to see the Utopia Cafe and my infallible instincts led us there. It was closed but we saw the view and a plaque quoting Thomas More. Many photos.

Wound our way through the narrow lanes, nothing open. It was everything a Greek village ought to be - tres picturesque. We returned to the car and tried to navigate out. Not an easy task, really. But we did manage to find Trypiti, and then the delightful oceanfront Klima, the ancient port.

We saw the ancient theatre and the spot where the Venus de Milo was found (nearby.) Back to the town centre, and tried to find our way northeast. But we found ourselves coming back to Adamas and that was fine by us. Tossed up about lunch but opted instead to see if I could find the hot springs south of Adamas. All we could see were choppy cold seas and no swimmers. It is clearly the end of the season. the hot springs are in the ocean so there are no markers. Alas! Cut over the narrowest part of the island to Provatas Beach. I at least got my toes wet and feet sandy but a swim did not appeal.

Back to Adamas for lunch at the restaurant inf front of the Hotel Portiani. We ordered too much. A Greek salad came first, which we demolished. Then a plate of chips which we made a big dent in. Then the mixed grill for two (meat, not seafood) which was enormous and included its own pile of chips. The waiter should have told us when we ordered it that it came with chips and we wouldn't need to supplement them. We ate what we could, including liver, but really were too full. Sitting now with a bit of sun, the rest of my lemonade. Did a little pen drawing of a patron.

We have reached 10,299. Enough for the day, I think.
I got some worry beads at Plaka, and suggested getting some for worry-wart June (Kate's mother). The Kastro (Frankish Castle) was built on the ancient acropolis, the highest point on the island. Many vertical steps on uneven rocks with slurry of chips and small stones. Then picked our way back and forth in the car trying to translate the Greek letters on the signs, or see some in Roman letters. Klima, the site of the ancient port, past the field where the Venus de Milo was found. The museum had a drawing with four or five alternative placements of her missing arms.

The worry beads are amber-coloured. The will be a perfect gift (or some similar ) for Mum, who is an ace worrier.

A quiet afternoon reading on the terrace followed by snoozing. At 7.00 we went for a passegiato, or to be more accurate, an ice-cream search. Found it in a gelato bar that also sold hone, preserves, spices. We had half and half vanilla and chocolate, and ate it over the rest of our walk. It is cool but not as windy as yesterday. All the shops are open at this time - they have been shut, most of them, all day. The tourists have just about all gone and it has taken on a decidedly autumnal air. Total 13,651 or 543 calories.

How many kilometres did we do in the car? Forgot to check. Probably not many. It's about 6.5 to Plaka. Then back to Adamas and on past the airport to Provatas and back, say another 6-8 kilometres, flatter and faster.

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