And that I will doing tomorrow morning as the dawn arrives. I will set the alarm early so I can be all ready when the sun peeks over the Aegean. I peeked up the steps alongside our hotel and found myself in another world: white-washed marshmallowy stairs leading up to creamy stucco, vine and flower covered houses, strains of recorded Greek music emanating from the open windows, an older couple slowly making their way up the steep narrow lane, smiling as I passed them. A friendly “Yassas!” brought forth smiles and a string of friendly Greek words. The light was dying, so I will return tomorrow morning to do it justice before we head off to Athina, our last day here. We will meet up once more with Jan and Liisa and celebrate again Jan’s 60th. One can never celebrate too much.
In our travels in this area we haven’t seen too much of the evidence of the fires, but we did drive through Aereopoli, which was hit very hard. Huge swaths of the hillsides were black and crispy and we saw at least two blackened cars by the side of the road, the metal twisted in on itself.
Other sights: men playing backgammon at streetside tables, priests in long flowing black robes darting among the traffic, gray beards and tall black hats to match the robes, bee boxes everywhere and honey being sold alongside the road. We saw an old rickety truck lumbering through the middle of town, piled with large bales of hay and two people riding on the very top. This morning a pickup went through, the driver hawking his wares over a microphone: toys and beach items strapped to the roof and hood of his vehicle.
The first part of today we drove through Sparta (no longer an ancient looking site!) and veered off to Mystra, a Byzantine settlement from the 1200s. We climbed up among the old stone buildings and churches, some with amazingly-preserved frescos still very visible. They tell the story of Christ’s life. On we went, up to the very top (would you expect less?) to the Kastra, the castle. We were once again at the top of the world with the valley and sea far below.
The afternoon we spent at nearby Mouvrouni Beach. The surf was wilder here, but still very safe and Gino was in his watery glory. Back in town, we walked out to a small islet to see the lighthouse glowing in the sunset.
Tonight we see lightning in the distance but cannot hear thunder. The weather may be changing. We have a 200 + mile drive tomorrow to return the car to Athina. Then we’ll take the metro back into the city (WITH THE RIGHT TICKET) to meet up with Jan and Liisa, as I said. Then back to the airport on the bus since it runs 24 hours. Our plane takes off at 5 a.m.
I will probably not send another message until we are back in California. So I bid you a Kalispera and Yassas, Ciao, Arrivederci.
M & G