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Sunday, June 12, 2005

TRAVELLING MUSIC

I always find that a good way to pass the time while travelling on bus, train or plane, is to listen to good music. I usually choose my favorites from my CD collection and take those along with me. On the plane flying over to Europe I listened to Cuban music Carenas, "Tradicional"
and Greek music, Alexiou Haris "Fili Mou".

Yesterday on the long bus trip home from the Ionian Islands, I listened to Cuban trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval, "Trumpet Revolution" in particular, his rendition of "Concerto in B Major - first movement" This magnificent piece of music fit in perfectly with the panorama of scenery passing by and I played it again and again.

We had left Nidri on the 10 a.m. local bus for the town of Lefkadas (Lefkas) and had a few hours to lounge around before the 12.30 bus for Athens. Lefkada is mainly a yachting town and the harbour was chock full of yachts. As I described in my last blog, the island at this point is joined to the mainland by a long causeway making it possible to get back to Athens by bus instead of ferry.

We walked around the town a little and noted the unusual structure of the houses. As Lefkada has been hit by a couple of big quakes in the past, the worst one bringing down the town in 1948, they have constructed their buildings using corrogated steel which gives them an unusual appearance. This seemed to work, as the big quake in 1953 that rocked the Ionian Islands did little damage to the town.

The bus left promptly, as all Greek buses generally do. It was an old bus, so a little cramped, but later on we were able to secure separate seats and stretch out a little. The route takes you across the causeway and down the western coast of Greek along the sea coast until it cuts inlands through the farmlands and mountains. At one point the road cut through a narrow gorge with high rocky cliffs on each side. We eventually got to the Gulf of Corinth, passing nearby Messalonghi where Byron died as he waited to join the Greeks partisans against the invading Turks. (I'm hoping to make a trip there some time in the next two weeks).

In the past, the bus usually had to go on a little ferry across the Gulf to Patras, but since the Olympics, they've built and impressive bridge over the Gulf so we got a closeup look at this fantastic structure. It cuts off quite a lot of time from the journey. So once across we drove along the Gulf, past the beach resorts and ancient Corinth and on down the west coast of Attica to Athens. The trip was 7 hours in all, then another hour on bus and trolley to Christina's house.
We got home about 8.30 last night, quite exhausted from our travels.

When Christina and Dani got home from their day's outings, we sat in the courtyard for one last evening of talk, drinking krasi and eating mezedes. I was so tired I actually fell asleep on my chair! So off we went to bed and had a good long rest.

Today is Ingrid's last day here and tonight we are moving over to Dinaz's house in Plaka as it's closer to the airport bus stop. We're all going to the To Kati Allo Taverna tonight for a farewell dinner. Ingrid is sad to leave. I 'm sad to see her go. And I'll write more blog tomorrow telling about our last day in Athens together. We've had such a fine time touring together!

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