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News August 18 2014
 



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Greek Isles

 


Greetings from the island of  Lefkada Greece.

Its a five hour bus journey directly west of Athens in the Ionian Sea. The bus ride is about 60 Euros each return. The driver takes mobile phone calls and smokes constantly as we wind our way up hill and down dale to Lefkada.

I notice more garbage by the side of the roads than anywhere else I have ever been including Bali and Mexico - I wonder why and how long this has been the case.

The roadhouse we pull up at half way has a mountain of garbage everywhere. People wrap everything in plastic and dump it wherever they are - its quite upsetting to me for some reason.

You also notice lots of unfinished buildings everywhere in Greece - obviously the result of the collapse of the economy.

We eventually get to Agios Nikitas which is really beautiful - a little gully down to a beach with picturesque tavernas and some young musos pumping out very groovy acoustic contemporary Greek instrumentals which I loved.

At our hotel Ari was in charge - he moved to Melbourne in 1971 and moved back to Greece in 1987 - which he says was the biggest mistake of his life. He now has three kids and only works in the summer at the hotel and eeks out a living picking olives in the winter.

I can highly recommend Agios Nikitas - the music - the food was of a higher quality than we had in Athens - which it must be said was a bit of a disappointment.There seemed to be more Greek tourists here than elsewhere which was refreshing. We then moved on to Vassiliki where we were recommended to stay at Porto Fico hotel which is run by an Australian Greek family.

Its a wind surfing beach so I was excited to try my hand at Hobycating which we do at everyone of our trips involving beach and summer. We’ve windsurfed in Bali and Byron and San Diego - its my annual sailing adventure.

So we front up to the sailing rent shop at the Hotel - and I’m told I need a Hobycat licence and that it costs 198 Euros - naturally I was incensed and this blew my vibe entirely. Sadly, I went straight to lawyer mode and insisted he show me the law in question and let it it rip thus blowing our relationship with the Aussie family from Glen Iris who own the hotel. The mum is Anglo and the Dad Greek - he sits by the pool and holds court with his brother everyday while mum is actually the sergeant major running the joint. I hope she has restful summers in Glen Iris to make up for the drudgery she has to put up with running a hotel for Germans. French and indignant Aussies on Lefkada - its a full on gig.
Greek lane

So we went down the beach to the Pommie rental who didn’t need a licence so got in our rig ready to roll when the owner of the hotel they were operating from fronted with 3 new guests and we were unceremoniously dumped from the rental - by this time I was getting quite sour about Lefkada and Greece generally. There is a militant attitude to air con and they regularly check that that its off if you are not in the room - all lights must be turned off immediately after use and there’s this weird thing where you aren’t allowed to put your used toilet paper in the toilet - it goes in a bin - sorry folks - thats how it is - all very odd plus dinosaur Wi-Fi / Internet hence the lack of posts from Vassiliki.
Katie then got an assignment from her new school in Cali to make a 2 minute film to be presented on the first day of school on the subject of interviewing someone about a pivotal moment in their life. Fortunately she had her camera with her so we’ve spent the last couple of days playing around with her on that which has been fun and I’ll hopefully post it in the upcoming weeks - I was her subject and the theme was the time in LA in 1983 when I was dropped by my US label and had to decide whether to come back to Australia or hang in and become a songwriter in LA.

All my good work with Tatiana re losing weight has gone to hell in a hand basket - I really like the local retsina - a gnarly white wine and we are Greek grilling our brains out - Katie with Gyros  which comes in the pita with chips as the top layer - me with the local sausages - oh yeah…. holidays are not compatible with weight loss sadly.

Yesterday was the highlight of our stay in Greece - Anna wanted to find a monastery and so we trekked down a peninsula nearby past some absolutely trippy beaches where the water was actually glowing. It didn’t seem natural. This photo Katie took is actually how it looks - it looks 
psychedelic - quite amazing.

Triipy waters
However nothing compared to reaching the Monastery at Agios Nikolaos Niras at the very end of the peninsula. A deserted lonely spot on a wind swept mountain top. We were greeted by 2 nuns [ there are only 3 there ] - I can’t pronounce or spell their names - one was in her late 70’s and the other around 40 ish. Katie had short shorts on and the younger nun wrapped her in a cloth sheet for a dress to cover her up and we were taken into the chapel. I can’t begin to tell you how breath-taking it was - I wish we could have filmed in there but no cameras allowed. Each corner housed some relic , icon , treasure and we were transported back centuries. It literally took my breathe away. The monastery has existed since the 11th century - 1000 years. Its mind blowing.
The younger nun was radiant - such a beautiful face glowing like the waters nearby . We understood some of what she was saying and I asked her if we could film her at least if not the church itself and she agreed. I bought a prayer bracelet and told her I will put it in my treasure box that I carry with me everywhere I go. It contains 3 stones my father gave me before he died from Port Willunga beach , a star of David my late best friend gave me years ago and some delicates my wife gave me when we first met. It now will have a 4th icon to join it - the prayer band from the Monastery.

Low and behold there was a pot plant full of red carnations - I couldn’t resist it - I told the nun about the connection and she insisted I give one to my lady - Anna - which I did. Katie shot some of this and I will get it up on YouTube to check out asap.

We left the Monastery uplifted and for this old bloke - it made the whole Greek odyssey worthwhile.

Back to Athens tomorrow and LA the day after.

 

                                         © HBTC 2014