Sunday 3 August 2014

The Peloponnese: Tuesday

Alarm 6:30 an run another 10 k: along the front, to the tiny "port" (1 k) then up the long slope at the end, past the old gents on the exercise machines, and out of town. The wind is against me (row brothers row) and so is the hill (but god is for us, oh yeah) but the views are good and for the moment I don't care about being fast, I care about nursing my left ankle and doing some distance. At 3 k I pass the sign to Poseidion resort 1 k, and it is, and 1 k further I turn. I start to get sun as I come back into town, and so back.

B'fast at 8 in the room over the front of the hotel: fresh orange juice, coffee, range of bread and pastries, honey, very Greek olives that E won't eat (*not* like olives du marche; and I'm not sure if that's a brand or a type).

Head out just past 9 for the north side of the bay to Perachora, a site M has found for us. Its a small but idyllic site, with the remains of a temple and cisterns and stuff; there's not a lot to see, no standing columns just bases; but you can see the outlines of foundations and the situation is charming (LINK WIKI). Unfortunately the children don't take to it at all; although the cove is small, sheltered and lovely neither of them will swim, but I do, and its delightful. Sit with wet trunks on the old stone seating of the old temple, guest house, or whatever, and realise for perhaps the first time that the people who made this were building forever. That is, I think, they had a different concept of time and no concept of progress. They didn't expect their stuff to be superseded and ripped down in 50 or 100 years; they expected that if they built well, it would be there forever. And, perhaps, they were right. There's a tiny little chapel I visist on the way out; a painting of Christ (I thin) seated on a lion holding a lamb. And a collect-'em-all row of icons at the back.

Then back a few km to a lake (now connected to the sea by a small channel) called Vouliagmenis about 2 k long; we're not sure where is the "correct" place to stop, but pick by chance a good place called, according to google maps, Ypanema. And there is a cafe or two, and a little jetty where you can queue up to take the sausage boat. So we sit in the shade and have our rounds of whist and - innovation - cucumber. One time I'm out I swim - again, no-one else does - and another I go round counter-clockwise to the tiny sweet church - not open, nice simple glass - and then to the channel to the sea, guarded by Greek flags.

On the way back to Loutrakis I collect roadside shrines; though the best examples I've seen are some I didn't bother with, because I assumed they were common, near Dimitsana. Oddity: behind one, which had inside it a bottle of lamp oil for the faithful, was a little careful rubbish heap of old bottles. Its as though the faith is still there, but its a faith that doesn't care for the earth at all (Later - on the coast road to Pyrgos - I realise that many of them - perhaps this is an innovation - are in commemoration of a specific death; which makes collecting them seem a little ghoulish).

Lunch in the hotel - pizza, other unexciting stuff, but M had digestive troubles overnight shall we say and wanted something safe and simple. Then an hour's siesta, followed by the Game of Risk. Which we played on the "red and black sofas", as Mission, and used the cards to determine the starting positions. I was a bit sleepy and not really thinking, and got eliminated early on, so slept feeling too hot. After that really sleep in the room, till past 7.

Decide a swim would wake me up, so invite E in, and we have a lovely talk together as we swim. she declares this her favourite (small) pool ever, mostly because its 3 m deep. By this time - about 8 - the pool is in shadow but the water still warm, and its very pleasant. To my surprise she is about as fast as me at front crawl. But I'm still better under water. And we talk about holidays, and the problems of finding something we all want to do. Game: throwing stones (though I'm slightly eliding two pool sessions together here, never mind, no-one cares about the precise details) and trying to find them underwater. I have an advantage that I can see, with my glasses on, whereas she swims without and can't.

Meal: walk along the front, the sun has set but there is a lovely orange glow and a fingernail moon, about 10 mins along to "Nikos": aubergine for me, Greek salad for M, spaghetti for E and fried shrimps for D. And a slightly rough half bottle of Macedonian rose.

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