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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A STORMY CROSSING TO SERENE SAMOS

Homer's "wine dark sea"

The sea crossing from Naxos to Syros, and then much later, from Syros to Samos, was turbulent to say the least, but somehow I managed not to get seasick.  From Naxos we sat on the deck and watched the sea roil and the wind blow rainbows in the sea spray.  I felt like Odysesseus sailing on the wine-dark sea with Poseidon's white horses racing across the deep.  It was easy to see, when watching the foam-crested waves, how the ancients believe they were white horses!  And that wine-dark sea of Homer -- well evidently grapes were different back in ancient times, very black grapes that produced extremely strong dark wine, and in the storm the sea looked purple/blue which probably explains that 'wine dark' sea (not burgundy like our wine color). 


We sailed five hours to Syros and then had a few hours to browse the port. I've only sailed in and out of there (many times) in the past, so it was interesting to have a look around.  I was told it is known as the Little Vatican as it is a very Catholic island.  And a Syros port the main attractions are two churches high up on the hill behind the port.  It was Saturday night and the traditional 'volta' was talking place where all the Greek families come out to wander the square and socialize.  The coolest time of day is around 10 pm and they were out in full regalia with the main road by the port cut off from traffic, wandering up and down, kids playing and dancing and a general festive atmosphere.  There were horse-drawn carriage rides up and down the street and a small pony ride for kids.  Really fun to be part of it!

Boarded our on-going ferry at 1 a.m. and by then I was totally done in from the travel and heat and thought I would collapse with exhaustion.  We had airline type seats to sit in during the night and somehow i managed to sleep and not be bothered by the ship tossing and turning in the storm.  We got into Samos port at 7 a.m. and the hotel Inka had booked for us was right across the street.  We had another few hours wait, though, before we could check in.  When we finally did, it was such a relief to see a REAL bed, air conditioning etc.  And there was a swimming pool on the roof where we could relax and cool off.

Dorrisos resort and folk museum
Samos is a lovely island and I've been here several times on route to Turkey but not sure I've stayed in Samos (Vathi) town before.  Yesterday we spent the day in Pythagorian (home of Pythagoras the mathematician) and we parked ourselves at the fabulous Dorrisos resort outside of town.  This is something to see, a real folklore museum and all the various lodgings of the resort are in different types of traditional Greek houses.  The beach there was pebbly and not too good for the feet but refreshingly cold.  We rented posh beach couches for awhile then moved over pool-side and ordered lunch and drinks.  After we told the manageress who we were we got the drinks free!  And we got to swim in the big pool and loll around like we were paying residents! 

Inka left for Turkey today. I ran out of funds so couldn't go even for a day trip. So I am now here for a couple of days on my own exploring museums and archaeological sites.  I'll post another blog about this tomorrow.  Thursday I head back to Athens and I'm looking forward to seeing my friends there. They've been on holidays so I haven't seen them yet.  I also hope to make a couple of small day trips out of Athens to see some other sites.

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