Thursday, April 12, 2007

Exploring Hora

If you’re really bored, we now have our friends’ photos and even a video for you to look at.

Brendan’s photos are available here.

And Rob is putting together videos in day-long segments. He’s finished Day One, Great Wednesday, which is available here.

Pelagia and I think he did a great job! I’ll post the links to the following days as he finishes them. The video may take a few minutes to load, so don’t give up on it. You’ll need Apple’s QuickTime movie program, which most people already have. But if you don't, it's available as a free download here.

Rob’s video reminded me of a story I forgot from our ferry ride. So we wandered around Athens for awhile and then headed down to the port of Piraeus to catch our ferry. We wanted to stop at a grocery store before we left, so that we could eat dinner for cheap on the ferry. We were right next to the port, with 40 minutes to spare, so Pelagia and I split off to go grocery shopping while the others went to find which boat was ours. So we got a few bags of heavy groceries (in addition to our heavy backpacks), and lumbered our way over to the boats.

On the way there, Rob called to tell us that our boat wasn’t in the main port, but in some distant ‘gate’ that required a shuttle ride. Of course, since this is Greece, none of this information was available anywhere, nor was there any sign as to where we would catch this mysterious shuttle. We asked some clerks for help and they told us: “You’ll have to take a taxi, but I don’t think you’ll make it.”

So we started running, with all these bags, trying vainly to find a taxi and at some points just running in the general direction of the gate, even though there was no realistic way we would make it by foot. Of course, there was tons of traffic, and no free taxis. I finally managed to stop one and ask for Gate 1, and he claimed he didn’t know what I was talking about and left. We kept running, until we finally stumbled on this little alley where three taxis were parked together and the drivers were chatting with one another. Out of breath, we said (in Greek): “Gate 1. Our boat is leaving. Very fast.”

It was like a scene from Mission: Impossible. The driver threw down his cigarette, and popped the trunk. He helped us throw our bags in there and then strode purposefully to the driver’s seat. It was like he had been waiting for this. In good Greek style, he cut across three lanes of traffic to make an illegal left-hand U-turn, on a red. He then weaved in and out of traffic until he reached the other port. There, he hit a straightaway along the water and floored it. We were going at least 80 or 90 mph along the port.

Finally, he saw our boat in the distance. “It’s still there,” he said. He drove us right up to the on-ramp; we hopped out, got our bags, and were greeted by the applause and smiles of our friends who were waiting on the ramp for us. (You’ll see a bit of this in Rob’s video.) Anyway, it was quite a memory!! ( :

As for the photos here:

In the top photo, you see Cristina (Brendan’s girlfriend from Romania, and also a PhD candidate in the Theology School) checking out the fresh octopus being grilled outside a little restaurant in Hora. (Since Patricia had never had fresh grilled octopus, we later had some with her at that restaurant.)

The middle photo is of the Monastery of St John the Theologian, from right underneath it in Hora.

The last photo is looking down from the entrance to the monastery (the highest point on the island). The weather was overcast with a few sprinkles of rain, as it had been in Athens on Wednesday. But by Thursday afternoon, the skies were clearing and the weather for the rest of our trip was absolutely perfect -- very sunny and around 70!

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