Tuesday 19th May, Galatas 37.49511 23.45531
We are parked up tonight in Galatas looking across the 500metres of sea that separates it from the Island of Poros. The island has the picture postcard houses in pastel shades built on the port and the low hill and a tall square church built on the hilltop looks sternly down on the town. Poros looks like it would like us to visit via the car or passenger ferries that cross the short stretch of water every few minutes but we're not falling for the pretty town's charms. It's built for tourists and I'm sure the price of a fredo Cappucino or ouzo will reflect that so we'll stay in Galatas which hasn't got the picture postcard appeal but has a more natural feel to it. Poros looks a bit too clean and tidy from where we are sitting looking across. And Galatas provided us with the three H's today! Some brass Hinges from the hardware shop which was liking stepping back in time to a hardware shop on Holloway Road in the 1960's and probably had stock from that period. "I have no bags" said the lady shop owner with a smile "So I wrap your hinges and screws in old newspaper and we save the planet". We saw a bakers shop selling meadow Honey and bought a jar, "Please, for you, my pleasure" said the baker's daughter as she gave us each a piece of gingerbread cake to eat on our way. The third H was a Haircut. Phil spotted a shop with the revolving barbers sign outside where the Barber was just finishing of a squirming young boy. "I cut some off and if you want some more off, you tell me" he said to me. He snipped away for a while in silence and then I said that when I have a haircut in England we talk about the weather and football and I asked what they chatted about in Galatas. "Ah, for five years now we talk about the economic crisis, nothing else. We discuss, we argue, we blame people, we still have an economic crisis". So I chipped in my two pennyworth and we put the world to rights in the time it takes for a pretty good haircut. I doubt I would have got the three H's in Poros.
The fredo cappuccinos here were pretty good too, served in jam jars with a complementary side order of smarties and mini chocolate eggs. After the shopping trip we called at the rough and ready taverna opposite our rough and ready car park. Phil had a beer and I had a couple of ouzos, each one accompanied by a little plate of meze; bet we'd have had to pay for the meze in Poros eh?
On the way here today we followed the coast road and took a chance and took a very narrow road which led to a tiny village or hamlet with a sea wall maybe a mile or so long. We parked the van and walked along the front and came to a lovely little building with double glass doors, the outside beautifully ornamented and a sea side shelter with tables and chairs and a few guys drinking coffee. I'd left my money in the van so went back to collect it while Phil waited. When I got back the guys had disappeared so I looked around a bit and was about to go into the building when one of the guys came around the corner. We greeted each other and he said "You like my house? You thought it was a cafe?" Much laughter and we bade him farewell with a handshake.
Yesterday we visited the jumble of stones at Epidavros but as it was international museum day, or something like that, we didn't have to pay. Strangely, instead of giving the ticket office staff the day off, the poor souls sat there all day repeating the mantra " Its free today" over and over again. Now, call me daft but looking at a few five thousand year old stones in an imperfect rectangle does not convey the image of a bathhouse or dormitory or dining room to me. So here's a thought. Why not put a few more stones on top (they'll be five thousand years old too won't they?) A door, maybe a roof and then it'll look like a bathhouse or whatever instead of a jumble of stones with weeds and grass growing everywhere. Maybe just do half the site. This is what's left and this is what it would have looked like. Incorporate the bits of pillars and friezes and statues and whatever else they've unearthed and the place would look the part. Anyway it was free and the ancient theatre was still pretty much intact and impressive.
We parked in the car park outside the Archealogical 37.59685 23.07435 site and shortly after we returned to the van an elderly English couple in a Motorhome turned up. "Bloody Hell" the guy said "You're English. We're lost and we can't find a campsite".
"Never mind" I said, "You're at Epidavros and it's free to go in today".
"Yeah, we came here last year" he said. We scratched our heads and lent him a Camperstop guide book.
The view from our coffee stop on the way to Epidavros.
The ancient theatre.
Poros by day.
Poros at night.