Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Call Me Old Fashioned...

Being, as we are, quite unused at this time of the year to actually havng the odd day off, as the season winds down to its finish next week, we took ourselves off for a nice walk down to the local Gré Cafe this morning for a frappé and a good dose of people-watching.

Time was when if you sat in a café here in Greece of a morning the audible buzz would be close to deafening as the clientele argued vociferously over politics, the economy and sport. It was one of the aspects of siting in a café that I really loved. Greeks will shout over eachother in such a way as to convince the unitiated that they're about to resort to fisticuffs, when in fact they're all bosom buddies simply discussing things in the way that Greeks do - vehemently! They'll aways arise to leave and part as dear friends though, no need to worry. I remember many years ago, when, after having been married a while and got used to the way Greeks discuss things, the better half and I were often accused of always arguing in front of our friends, when all we were doing was discussing things à la Grec! I'd simply acquired the technique from her family and we still use it to this day, unconsciously of course, but it hasn't stopped some who don't really know us from thinking we're at eachother's throats!!

Down at the Gré Café this morning there were plenty of Greeks among the clientèle, plus a smattering of tourists and what appeared to be hotel workers from other countries too, preparing for their imminent trips home. It didn't take us more than a few sips of our frappé though to detect a decidedly more muted atmosphere than of old. The reason? Mobile phones. I surrepticiously took a couple of snaps, look...

Now, what do you spot in both photos? Everyone, and I mean everyone, is on their perishing phone! In the far right of the 2nd photo above is a priest and his women (?!), yet they too are busily isolating themselves from the society around them in the same manner as everyone else. Where was the bonhomie and spirited chat like in the olden days? I'll tell you, it was given up to the constant search for that next text message, or for some trivial post on a social media site, I could go on! Don't get me wrong there either. I'm on Facebook. My point is - we are becoming slaves of things that ought to serve us!!!

Call me old fashioned, but am I alone in fearing for the structure of human society as we knew it? Note the past tense there. OK, so I have a mobile phone, I have a laptop and an iPad. I love technology folks, but oughtn't it to be our slave and not the other way around? No one seems to know how to talk to eachother any more. That couple in the first photo, they sat there for over a hour and not a word passed between them!! It's bad folks, bad!

So, to lighten the mood, here are a few shots I took randomly of late...

The Petalas Taverna on the beach at the "Real Kiotari". If you've been before it may confuse you because up until this season it was called the Paralia.

Early morning late September, above St. Paul's Bay, as I was arriving with my guests for our last Bay-to-Bay excursion of the season.

Can I have your attention please?
Right! That's much better.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Halkian Days III

The boat tied up just across the quay from Taverna Babis, which is run by my friend Zois, along with wife Soula and sister-in-law Katerina, who had a baby just over a year ago. The last time I'd seen her she had a very large 'bump'! Zois it was who I photographed with a freshly-caught Tuna a couple of years ago, see the post "Smile Please" from September 2012. That post also carries quite a few more photos showing how beautiful the harbourfront of Halki is.

We'd booked our accommodation by phone, after I'd called Kyria Mary who runs the "Marco" Studios, in advance. Once again, it was a couple of years ago when I'd first snapped the sign on her front gate so as to have a record of the phone number for an occasion just such as this. The photos below, though were taken this time round...

Clicking on this photo you'll get the larger view, the phone number is [+30] 6946-250612. Our room was upstairs and far left

This is the street where the rooms are situated. You can see the gate on the right. It's two minutes up from the harbour.
We tugged our case and holdall up the street and entered the gate and climbed the few steps to Mary's front door. There's no doubt in this particular case that the owners live downstairs. Once we reached the terrace below the balcony it was littered with the toys of an evident grandchild or two, plus, as usual, a table [regulation oilcloth tablecloth spread over it] and chairs, a scattering of potted plants, basil amongst them of course. The front door was open (and it was never closed the whole time we were there) and the kitchen was in a small whitewashed outhouse at the far end of the terrace and the opposite side from the house.

I called out, "Κανείς μέσα;" which basically means "Anybody in?" In no time at all our hostess emerged from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a dishcloth. She was of average height, stocky of build and smiled immediately at us, revealing a set of gnashers that hadn't had the benefit of a dentist's attention for many a year. "Ah, καλός τους!" [no exact translation for this expression, but near enough it's like "to their good" and is often used to mean "Good to you both", even though it's in the third person] she exclaimed, walking forward and proferring her hand in welcome. She wore a black dress, indicating that she's lost her husband. I'd guess that she's about 60, so he may have died young, tragically. She told us which was our room and waved away my attempts at sorting out the cash. 

"Aach, see me before you go on Friday," she said, "get yourselves settled in and I hope it's all to your satisfaction."

It's a long time since we stayed in an older property, but it's something we used to do with great regularity many years ago, having always tried to keep away from hotels and other tourists. We twisted the key, which was hanging in the lock and pushed the door open to catch our first glimpse of our home for the next couple of nights...

This was actually taken as we prepared to leave on the Friday, hence the dishevelled bedclothes! The bathroom door was opposite the kitchen unit and the wardrobe at the far end on the right.
Yes, there was a TV, but we didn't bother with it.
This kitchen unit could well do with replacing. The right hand side is a fridge which no longer works, hence the free-standing fridge to the right. But, there WAS a travel kettle, definitely a plus-point when you need an Earl Grey urgently.
That balcony on the left is ours. You can see the recently installed TV antenna just beside it, where a pair of collared doves would sit daily and entertain us, see next photo.
The male kept trying, but the female was having none of it."I vant to be alone" she kept cooing. Didn't know I spoke "dove" did you?
A shot taken from the balcony early on the Thursday morning, as the Dodecanese Express was just docking. This ferry only comes in on Thursdays and Sundays, but it does come from Rhodes Commercial Harbour and so is convenient for anyone staying in Rhodes Town.

This is the view thru the rear shutters, next to the wardrobe.

This is the kind of view I like to wake up to on holiday!

As you can tell, I have a thing about old wooden shutters!! This is the view out of the bahroom window.

Looking through the front window, just above the sofa.

Of course, the first thing I did was go over the whole place with a toothcomb. The kitchenette, as referred to in one of the photo captions above, was a little dated and slightly tatty inside. There was, though, a decent enough set of cutlery and crockery for two people in the cupboard under the sink and the wall unit above. The hot water tap on the kitchen sink didn't work at all, but the one over the bathroom sink was fine, as was the shower, which, as expected didn't have a curtain and thus necessitated that one remember to relocate the toilet roll to the top of the vanity unit before taking a shower! The bathroom vanity unit was a cheapo once-white plastic affair with plenty of storage in its drawers and cupboards, but parts of it were damaged from cigarette burns. Why do people do that? The lower 30% or so of the mirror in said unit (which was pretty modest size-wise) was all gone wierd like mirrors do when the mercury on the back is eaten away as if by lichen or something. I know it's not lichen, but it gives that effect on the glass if you know what I mean.

The cistern above the loo was one of those narrow rectangular affairs and the downpipe, where it entered the rear of the toilet bowl could be pulled in and out. The first we realised this was when one of us flushed the cistern and a virtual shower of water spurted out from behind the pan and instantly turned half of the bathroom floor into a lake. At least it was clean water. Once I'd pushed the pipe into the rear of the bowl and gave it a periodical check, that problem was fixed. The toilet bowl was scarcely fixed to the floor and wobbled a bit, which was doubtless the reason why the downpipe tried to escape on occasion.

There was always plenty of hot water and, of course, now that Halki has its own desalination plant, there is never a shortage, which is a huge improvement over past years. The mains pressure is good too, resulting in some pretty satisfactory showers, even though they resulted in half of the bathroom getting drenched in the process. That, though, is the way it always seems to have been in village rooms or studios in older properties. It's almost kind of quaint.

I may be creating a poor impression of the Marcos Studios, so I want to redress the balance a little. Firstly, for years and years seasoned Grecophiles will identify with what I've described above. What really counts is the fact that the bedlinen was spotlessly clean and there was a plentiful supply of fresh towels laying on each of the beds. There were two pillows available for both of us and blankets if needed, which on this occasion they weren't. The view was simply exquisite as we sat and ate our breakfast on the balcony and - when all is said and done - it's only a base. We were very comfortable and loved the place, warts and all. Yes, it could do with some modernisation over the winter period. Whether it will get any is doubtful. But, would we stay there again? Yup, absolutely - and we doubtless will too.

Once we'd sorted out all our "stuff" (watch this, it's brill!!), we were soon on our way to the beach for a serious session of chilling.

Another episode will follow soon.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Halkian Days II

The drive from Kiotari to Kamiros Skala is pretty convoluted whichever way you take it. You can head north as far as Kolymbia, then take the left up past Seven Springs and through the villages of Arhipoli and Eleoussa, finally passing through Dimilia and hitting the west coast road somewhere near Fanes, where you go left and follow the coast all the way down past Ancient Kamiros and on to Kamiros Skala. Alternatively, you can head south to Gennadi and from there go right and across the island to Apolakkia, then head north through Monolithos, Siana, through the mountainous pine forests to Kritinia and down to Kamiros Skala from the south. It's a bit of a Hobson's choice, but I reckon slightly quicker the southern way, which takes about an hour.

We took off at around 8.00am for a 9.15 sailing from Kamiros Skala and no sooner had we turned on to the Apolakkia road at Gennadi, but we found ourselves behind a fairly hefty, shiny black Nissan 4x4 that appeared to be stuffed to the limit with bodies (live ones, OK?). Fortunately, the Nissan was going at a pretty acceptable pace and thus I was able to tail it for quite a long way. Once we'd passed through Apolakkia, however, it began to lose me and the only conclusion we could draw was that the driver knew this road very well. Emphasis there on the "very", since from here on heading northward it gets extremely curly!!! It goes up and down, around blind bends and frequently has an edge that, if you were to let your wheel slip off of, you'd be either in a ditch or on your head, perhaps even wrapped around a pine tree trunk, in very short order. Kerbs? What are they then?

It's very disconcerting too when you reach Monolithos, because you climb a hill to a t-junction, right beside the Panorama taverna, where the sign for Siana, pressed back against the wall immediately in front of you, tells you to go right. Dutifully obeying, you find yourself climbing steeply into the forested hills and you get the distinct impression that you're going back the way you came. This feeling lasts for several kilometers too. Climbing ever higher and seeing nothing but pine-clad hillsides, you get distinctly uneasy until you arrive at the sign announcing the fact that you're entering the village of Siana. On seeing that sign you can relax a bit, 'cos you know you must be on the right road, but with no sign of the sea for what seems like ages your bearings all all over the shop.

As we entered Siana, which was still waking up, since it was only about 8.45am, we were able to get within a hundred metres or so of the black Nissan once again, who we'd both agreed by now must be making the same trip as we were, heading to Kamiros Skala to meet the Fedon. Why else would anyone be out here in the wilds at this time of day, especially driving with such purpose? Of course, once we'd exited the top end of the village, I could see from his exhaust that he'd dropped a gear and was soon putting distance between us yet again. if I'd tried to keep up with him we'd have left the road somewhere where it would have taken rescuers a couple of weeks to find us.

This shot of Kritinia Kastro courtesy of
Eventually you start to descend, ever weaving this way and that as the road curves relentlessly and undulatingly through a seemingly endless forest, and when you finally get a glimpse of the Kritinia Kastro, standing proud a couple of hundred feet above the Aegean Sea, you relax as you now know for sure that it is indeed the right road and Kamiros Skala can now be only a few minutes away.

Taking the left on to the road leading down to the quayside, we turned left again into the ample parking area, where - sure enough - that black Nissan was already parked up, extracted both ourselves and our baggage from the car, locked it up and walked the couple of hundred metres past a taverna or two down to the quay, where the Fedon was tied up, a small knot of people standing beside her on the quay.

As we approached the gangway, where the few people were hanging around near the portable ticket desk for the boat, I caught sight of Vasili the captain among the modest throng. Now I hadn't actually seen him face-to-face since some time during the 2013 summer season, so I tried not to expect him to remember me.

Vasili is very similar-looking to the UK comedian and actor Lee Evans (he was in that movie "Funny Bones" and "Mousehunt" too), of whom I'm a bit of a fan. Every time I see Vasili I half expect him to bend his knees à-la monkey pose, extend his arms out to each side horizintally and then let his hands dangle and swing from the elbows while he apes around with a manic grin on his face. If he detects me looking at him oddly, to his credit Vasilis never lets on. 

Anyway, to my surprise and total delight he greeted me like a long-lost buddy, hugged the wife and promptly told the ticket man, whom I also remembered is called Sevgali (he's Bulgarian and has been with Vasili for many years), that we were guests and that we wouldn't be paying for our crossing. What a gent to make such a gesture. I can only assume that he remembers our conversations on the bridge of the Fedon two years ago, when I was working on the excursion and slipped him a card about this very blog and he'd gone looking at the photos and info about the vessel that I keep here on the "nearby Islands" page. In fact, it was from that page I'd retrieved his number when I called to check the sailing times.

Anyway, once aboard we went and sat in the downstairs lounge and waited for the departure. While sitting there with about ten minutes to go, the better half needed to go to the - as the Americans call it - "bathroom", even though there is rarely actually a bath in there and if it were it wouldn't be required for what we usually want to do once locked inside. When she returned, with still a few minutes to go before we cast off, she had an odd look on her face. It kind of said "Oh dear, I hope I haven't dispalyed my wares to the world." You know fellas, we can read that look can't we.

"Wassup?" I asked my beloved.

"Well," she replied, still rather flushed (in the face that is, of course) "The whole of one wall in the ladies loo is a window. It's not frosted, you can see right through it and there were a couple of crew men standing not six feet from it on the quayside. If they'd looked my way they'd have copped an eyeful."

"So, what did you do?" I asked her. She was wearing jeans by the way, not a skirt.

"Had no choice, I had to do what I went in there for. I was desperate. But it was very disconcerting to say the least!" Of course, in such circumstances the gallant hubby has to go and take a look doesn't he. Off I went and slipped into the ladies'. Incidentally, before I go on, I really liked the signs on the WC doors, what do you reckon to these then..?

I'd rather liked to have seen some facial expressions on those too, eh? Anyway, in I went to the ladies' loo opening the door to the first bit, where there's the mirror, the sink, the soap and paper towels and stuff, then through the 2nd door to the business unit. Sure enough, it feels like 70% of the far wall, which is the ship's hull, is see-thru glass. From the outside, it's the window I've circled below...

Of course, when you're at sea it wouldn't be a problem, but when the ship's tied up broadside to the quay, it really does put one off one's "flow" as it were. Fact is though, it's one-way glass. From the outside all the observer sees is a black panel. But it still shakes the resolve on the incumbent in that little room!!

We set out right on time at 9.15am and just 50 minutes later we were chugging in to Halki's wonderfully picturesque harbour, where some serious R&R awaited us if we had anything to do with it.

Part three will follow imminently.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Halkian Days (Don't tell me you don't understand that subtle and everso clever wordplay there)

According to the Oxford Dictionary, "Halcyon Days" is an expression used to describe a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful. Well, since both her indoors and I still have work commitments as we fast approach the middle of October, we found that we had to scupper plans to visit good friends in Ira'petra, Crete, yet again and settle for a quick break of three days and two nights somewhere close by. With me having been to Halki every week during the summer season for three years on the trot, sometimes two days running during the high season, we decided that it was high time we went there simply to visit the place.

What is it that makes Halki special? Well, here are a few reasons for starters...

This is the view from the balcony of the "Marcos" Studio where we stayed. C'mon guys, can it get much better than this?

Another view from our balcony

Y'know, I don't like to sound as if I'm pulling rank or anything, but after all, one of the reasons why I can lay claim to having seen more of Greece than many non-Greeks (and a not a few Greeks probably) is the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be. I am, though still young (he hastens to add), it's just that I've been young for about five or six decades now, that's how I explain it anyway. When you've visited innumerable islands and a large part of the mainland too, you do have a good idea of what ingredients a place needs in order to qualify as the "real" Greece. Halki has all the ingredients to bake a perfect Greek sojourn. That's it in a nutshell.

So, a week or so ago we decided that we'd just up and go. After all I do have contacts over there which were going to make it easy to arrange accommodation and make for some pleasant social intercourse (steady - I did say SOCIAL, get it right!), so a couple of phone calls soon got us fixed up with a modest little studio with a view TDF (see photos above) and, after asking a friend who still does Halki as an excursion and who evidently wasn't the person to ask in the end 'cos she does it from the North of Rhodes and hence didn't seem to be up on the ferry schedules from Kamiros Skala, I remembered (pause for embarrassment to pass) that my very own "Nearby Islands" page on this very blog carries the phone number of Vasili, who captains the rather sleek Fedon...

The Fedon tied up at Kamiros Skala - ain't she a beaut?
One phone call to Vasili and we were assured that she was departing from Kamiros Skala as hoped for at 9.15am on Wednesday October 8th. We bunged some stuff into a cloth case, stuffed a holdall with the rest and set off at around 8.00am that very morning to drive over to Kamiros Skala and jump aboard.

Episode 2 will follow shortly!!!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Keats, Wordsworth, Byron? Huh...

Y'know, there I was making my regulation morning frappé today when I was struck by just how much I love that desktop "whizzer" that we bought back toward the beginning of summer this year. It has to be the best twenty Euros we ever spent.

It even made me come over all poetic...


I had a Mini one time
I've had an Apple Mac or two
I have an iPod
Now there's a nice thought,
but when I need a frappé
in the heat of the day
this is the best thing that I ever bought…

OK I love my guitar
Perhaps a nice choccy bar
But there are moments when I feel really fraught,
No matter what else I own
Even the plants that I've grown
can't match the best thing that I ever bought.

When you're passing a day
at home in work or play
and that certain hour arrives
When you ought
to stop and take a mo'
to relax and go slow
You need the best thing you'll ever have bought... 

I know, I know, you've gone all watery-eyed now eh? 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Gene Kelly and a Pocketful of Basil

Well at last we've had the first appreciable amount of rain here in Kiotari since last May. Yesterday (Saturday September 27th) it clouded over and by lunchtime the first spots fell. On and off from then on until about midnight it rained, occasionally quite heavily. 

Of course the holidaymakers were devastated and wondered what they're going to do, since the poolside and the beach are out of the question during this kind of weather. Locals, however, well that's a different story. If they could go dancing down the street à la Gene Kelly then they surely would. Certainly the shopkeepers were rubbing their hands together, since rainy weather sends the tourists their way in droves. The ground is parched, the goats are parched, the plant life is desperate for real water instead of that which comes out of a hosepipe or watering can (never quite as good) and the air is torrid. 

Already, as I've just been outside at 1.00am for a walk around the garden, the stars are peeping through everywhere and the weather is set to be sunny again for at least another couple of weeks, so anyone altready here for a vacation or planning to arrive imminently needn't worry unduly.

My wife and I were out working from quite early until around 3.00pm yesterday and it was quite a novelty to be driving home with the wipers on. In fact, as the dearly beloved was driving she owned up to the fact that she couldn't remember how the wipers worked and how to adjust the interval for the intermittent wipe facility. She hadn't driven the car in wet conditons for months. When I hopped out of the car when we reached our front gate the smell of pine in the air was heady and refreshing. I could almost hear the trees and shrubs heaving a huge sigh of relief. And the atmosphere - oh so much clearer and fresher, magic.

My wife's sigh of delight was even more audible than the flora and fauna as - having parked the car under the carport and subsequently thrown some lunch down her oesophagus - she immediately set about burning some rubbish in the orchard, something she hadn't been able to do since Spring, owing to the fact that after the dry season starts it's not only illegal, but it's also very likely to start a forest fire. Frustrated pyromaniac that she is, she longs all summer for the day when she can again head out there with the waste basket from my office and a blowlamp. "Better than landfill" she'll say, and she'd be right. Plus the ashes from the fire pit that I've built for her in the corner of the orchard make a valuable contribution to the compost heap, something which we have to water like we do the garden all summer long to keep it "working" to produce our modest amount of good compost each winter.

The previous evening, Friday 26th, we'd driven down South to visit our old friend Gilma and chew the fat with him on a few old blue-painted folding wooden chairs outside his front door. The conversation came around, as it usually does, to the financial woes he's suffering these days and Maria asked him if he was going to be planting vegetables this winter.

"Ach, Maria mou. it's not worth the effort. These old bones are 75 years old you know. I'm not sure I have the stomach for the work any more, especially as you can go into any local store and come out with several shopping bags full of fresh veg and still have change out of 10 Euros." He replied.

We were reminded of how long we've known him. He was still a couple of years short of 70 the first time we met, so it was almost a shock when he reminded us of how old he is now. Here he was, notwithstanding the fact that his pension is now only 55% of what it was a couple of years ago, telling us that the effort required to plant seeds, cultivate them, water and harvest them was becoming too much for him and despite his straightened circumstances, wasn't viable when you consider how cheap it is to buy fresh vegetables locally.

Something that really worried him was a proposal, apparently now before parliament here in Greece, to replace the now discontinued and much hated property tax with a tax based on how much land someone owned which would, if it became law, ruin him. Hearing his explanation led us to conclude that if this ill-thought-out bill were to become law it would produce a greater and more virulent reaction than anything so far imposed on the working class people of Greece. I mean, consider this: Here in Greece it's been the culture for thousands of years for families to pass land down from one generation to the next. For a rural Greek family the idea of selling off land is still anathema to them. Thus in rural Greece poor people still live in the villages that their ancestors lived in as they till the land and harvest the olives and grapes. They grow their own vegetables in all the villlages around us here.

In the UK nowadays it's a fact that the rural communities have gradually become the home of the better off. How often one hears that young couples starting out can't afford to stay in their home village owing to the inflated property prices caused by the green welly brigade who work in the cities having snapped up all the desirable residences. Many rural villages in the UK are full to the brim with smart barn conversions and posh bungalows with long manicured lawns, old house that have been done up and now sell for huge sums to the urban nouveau riche looking for a nice place to come home to in greenbelt country. Local councils make attempts to think up schemes to make "affordable housing" available to people whose parents, grandparents and so on back for generations have lived in the same village, but which now has reached the stage where only the professional Range Rover driver with a set of golf clubs in the back can afford to buy a home.

Here in Greece it's quite different. Owing to this culture of families hanging on to their land, families on low or modest incomes can still live in their home village. Granted, the young have been deserting these self-same villages in recent decades owing to the search for a career, but it's still the case that they are not yet the domain of the rich. The vast majority of residents haven't even got the paperwork to prove what land each family owns, since everyone grew up knowing exactly where their family's land ended and the next family's began. Thus our friend Gilma is worried. He has a low income, something which has made his life much tougher in the past few years, yet he owns a lot of land. This land isn't bringing him in any appreciable income, yet if this new tax were to come in, he'd have to find several thousand Euros a year to give to the government for the privilege of remaining on soil that his family has tilled for generations. If the likes of Gilma were forced by circumstances into selling - that's even supposing a buyer could be found - then the demographic of rural Greece would gradually begin to reflect that of the UK, with the rich living in the rural areas and the poor ending up in the suburbs.

In the UK it's quite likely that the more land someone owns then the richer they are. Here that situation does not prevail. Thus such a tax would probably result in a huge public outcry and quite possibly vast numbers of people not paying it, largely because they can't pay it.

Anyway, as we sat and heard our old friend giving vent to his worries, we couldn't help but notice just how much basil he had growing all around his front porch area. Just about every Greek who has room for at least one plant pot has basil growing in it, usually quite near to the front or back/kitchen door. I'm sure there are old traditions and superstitions which account for this, but who cares? It's a wonderful plant and an essential in most Greek cooking. Everywhere we go we see strappingly healthy basil growing in pots, often to such a size as could be described as a bush. It's quite plain from some that we come across that the plant is perennial and has been growing for years. Just brushing your fingers through the foliage causes the plant to emit a wonderful and quite mouthwatering aroma.

There are a number of different types of basil, but all go wonderfully well in just about any dish that also contains tomato. Thus, for many years we have been trying to grow it in a large pot at our house, with limited success. I've lost count of how many basil plants we've potted up after the previous one died on us. There's nothing worse in such circumstances than hearing someone tell you, "Oh, basil's easy to grow," whilst snipping a dozen leaves or so from their huge four-foot-high specimen and there you are getting a mental picture of your own sorry example threatening to die in its pot back home outside your own back door.

Here we were sitting under Gilma's porch, beside his well maintained 10-year-old pickup truck, staring at basil growing up through the gravel in abundance in his turning area. It was everywhere. Even a few yards from anywhere and surrounded by gravel there was a sturdy example sitting proudly at around two feet high and covered in tiny aromatic purple flowers, taunting me with its vibrant health.

I remarked to Gilma about how much basil he had growing everywhere, mainly in the ground and not simply in his pots.

"Oh," he said, "It just comes up. You can never have too much of it. Not only does it taste nice, it makes a garden smell wonderful too." With that he arose from his chair and plucked a couple of fistfuls of the stuff and handed a bunch to both myself and to Maria. After first putting it under my nose to take in the luscious aroma I stuffed mine into my shirt pocket to enable myself to keeps my hands free for my drink and, before I could remonstrate with her, my better half stuffed her bunch in there too, thus almost concealing my face from the outside world with the sheer quantity of the stuff that was now making my shirt pocket bulge almost to bursting.

"You have so much of it." I said from behind a veritable forest of green leaves and purple flowers,  "What's the secret? We don't seem to be able to get a basil plant to last more than a few months at home. There must be something we're not doing right." I told him.

Gilma replied, "Oh, there's no secret to it, basil's easy to grow."

Friday, 26 September 2014

A Different Angle

Well, once again I've got a bunch of photos for you. This time, however, I thought it might be a good idea to wander around the new town and see if I could snap some scenes that perhaps one wouldn't expect to see in the modern part of Rhodes Town. 

The snaps below were all taken in a half-hour period, around midday until 12.30pm on Tuesday September 23rd. See what you think of these...

A rather spelndid frontage I thought for a house that is sadly showing signs of neglect. Not five minutes walk from the dreaded MacDonalds!!

No, the Old Town doesn't have the monopoly on cats sleeping on ledges in the shade.

The little green Ape (3-wheeled pickup) is selling fish, a fact that became much more evident as I drew nearer. The man who'd just got out was calling aloud to declare his presence to potential buyers too, just as happens in the smaller villages all the way down the island.

At this distance my nose told me what he was selling.

Old Town? Nope, New Town, where there is a really lovely "Old Quarter" of which this is a part.

Ditto. Note too how quiet this street is. It's only a few minutes walk from a very busy Mandraki Harbour and new town shopping area, where the cars dance to the traffic lights and the pedestrians weave among the traffic and those ever-present mopeds and scooters.

I just liked the look of this place.

Useful info for history buffs. That clock tower is about the same height as the Colossus would have been, about 100 feet or 30 metres. The majority of archeologists now agree, though, that he never stood beside the harbour and certainly not with his feet astride the entrance. He probably stood on the hill up near the Rhodes Acropolis, within sight of the Temple of Apollo. See the info on the Rhodes Trivia page.

The Cunard ship The "Queen Victoria" was in dock. Small wonder that the Old Town was busy. She carries over 2,000 passengers. Check out these links if you're interested in knowing more about her: QV Wkipedia page, Cunard's QV page.

OK, so I just slipped this one in from the Old Town. I was actually on my way to the Odyssey Restaurant for a spot of lunch and just thought this place looked photogenic!