O n board, at the dining room, our table number 42 was the United Nations. This lady and her husband were from Beijing, China, there was also a South-Africa couple, she from British and German extraction, he a Flemish from Belgium, two Floridian American women, Thérèse and I. We had a great time.
Sunsets over the sea are always most spectacular…but I can not show them all, can I?. This one occured between Kerkyra and Mykonos.
On Mykonos, we visited the Pangia Tourlani monastery built in the 16th century and still guarded by two venerable 80 something monks. One of them sat by the door greating the visitors. Despite warnings about the dress code, nobody was chased away.
His excellency the monastery cat sat reclined amongst the visitors quite imbued of his importance and sure nobody would walk over him. Admire his calm.
The water at Mykonos beaches is cristal clear. In Athens, our guide, somewhat sadly, told us: “We have been praised by UNESCO for having the cleanest waters in all of Europe. We do have pristine waters but we have lost all our industries and after Spain we have the highest unemployment rate.” Nonetheless Mykonos beaches are wonderful.
They are everywhere on Kerkyra and also here on Mykonos. Private family chapels; they are used for baptism, weddings and funerals, the left hand side picture is the family burial plot just abutting the church wall.
Some other structure that we saw on Kerkyra and Mykonos are less romantic or mystical: concrete skeletons of buildings abandoned while being built because of the economic crisis, at least on Mykonos they painted most of them green so they look less forlorne. Not so on Kerkyra.
In Athens this is the closest we could get to the Acropolis because of ongoing work up there. (And both times I used the zoom on my camera). My archaelogist son doubts the authoriies will ever reopen it to the general public.
Otherwise, our visit of Athens, a short one at that, the stopover was brief docking at 6am amd leaving at 4:30 pm, was somewhat disappointing. On the traffic clogged streets we saw so many empty shops and nondescript buildings, some alsmost soviet in style, that there was nothing much to bring back and brag about. I did manage to get a komboloi though and I enjoy it very much. Mine had broken years ago and they do not come easily in Montreal.
From our three stops in Greece, the Piraeus and Athens ended up being the least interesting. Kerkyra and Mykonos were quite something else but there also you had that gloominess oozing from the guides about the economic situation and the future. They all, everywhere, begged the tourists to come back for longer stays , strongly underlining the vital tourism industry as the only hope to maintain some economic health, or what is left of it, in the country.
That a people with such a proud past, the cradle of our civilization and of our political systems is down to that, the land of my father, makes me so sad. But it is a beautiful country, it does have wonderful skies and that blue water…It makes one one want to go back…but not in Athens.