The following Tuesday was Pam’s day to bop around town and do all the hum drum things in life, like shop for groceries, visit the bank, etc, except in this situation in rural Greece, which brought a new level of curiosity.
So after a comfortable breakfast, we departed the house mid-morning on our adventures. None of the stops on the agenda were very far away, but the roads in this part of Greece are not exactly meant for high speed transport, so the trips could take a little minute or two as they say.
The general philosophy of the local Greek’s was reinforced in my mind as we drove about from place to place. This place is beautiful, but there is no interest in what I guess we Americans would call progress. Completely different mindset.
There were a myriad of examples of houses that had been started, but for some reason not completed. Many of the roads were in severe disrepair making travel extremely slow at times, and often treacherous for those not in a 4 wheel drive vehicle.
One of the stops we made was to the bank where Pam withdrew the weeks allotment of cash. Evidently most of the local economy is cash driven as Greeks have an anathema about paying taxes. So, a cache of cash (sorry couldn’t resist) was needed in order to pay for all the various sundries during the week.
One of the stops we made was to the local cell phone provider where, again, she topped up her cell phone allotment in cash. I asked if this couldn’t be done online and she replied that Cosmote (the provider) had no mechanism to top up reliably monthly cell phone accounts online. What? There is an online account system, but the payments only go for opening and closing accounts. Topping up is only reliably done in person. She had tried it online when they first arrived but the moneys were not applied to the account for usage. Not realizing this, her cell phone ceased working mid-month and then it was a multi-day gyration to get it working again, even though there was a positive balance on the account. This mindset became the raison d’être for the remainder of my stay in Greece. We ran into it time and time again.
Before lunch, we stopped at a local farmers market. The produce, even though it was early in the season, was beautiful and I bought a bag full of the prettiest (and best tasting as it turned out) tomatoes you could imagine. There was a lot of other wares for sale, unfortunately most of it being cheap Chinese made stuff.
After the market, we got a quick bite to eat, finished up our business and then headed back to the villa. As we had meandered all over, the route back was different. We came to a small section of road that was concrete, but there were several sets of tire marks (some quite deep) in the concrete. The gouges were deep enough that Pam had to literally crawl past them to avoid incident. I asked what that was all about and the answer just about blew the top of my head off.
A month or so earlier, a local road crew came out and repaved the section of road. Evidently they don’t use asphalt here, just concrete. The paving was done, so they wrapped up the day putting barricades on both ends of the short repair section while the concrete cured. Some time later, some person came to the barricades, decided they weren’t going to go around, moved the barricades aside and drove over the fresh concrete. And of course, now that the barricades were gone, so did the remainder of the traffic, gouging up the concrete until it had cured enough to withstand the traffic. Holy moly.
Anyway, we got back to villa and unpacked our treasures. The sun had come out, the first time since I arrived, so I grabbed the trusty Fuji XT-2 and went for a walk outside to grab some images.
It’s easy to see why Pam and Emilio love this place. It’s simply gorgeous.
The villa has an upstairs apartment where I was staying, so I went out onto the balcony to be welcomed by this view:
Descending the stairs, first down to the main living area, and then to the ground floor, I walked around discovering the wonders of the villa and local surround.
There is a path in the middle of the yard leading to a rabbit hole in the hedgerow which separates the villa from the beach. It’s very cave like in the rabbit hole with a steel door to pass through and then a fairly rickety set of stairs descending to the beach.
Navigating through all that, you are then blessed with this view:
I was gobsmacked as to the beauty of the area, and just walked back and forth for some distance at either side of the villa. I could yammer on endlessly about the vista, but I’m going to let the images do the talking instead….
Returning to the entrance to the villa, here are the rickety stairs:
Through the rabbit hole in the hedge and back into the yard.
Walking around the back (front?) was more wonderment.
And finally, back up the stairs to the apartment for a final view.
The Fuji XT-2 has a panorama mode where you can press the trigger and then rotate your body while the camera snaps away. When done, the camera will stitch the images together to create these wonderful wide angle images. You can click on any of the images to open a full screen version.
This first one was taken at ground level outside the rabbit hole.
This was taken from the balcony of the apartment.
After dinner, we made our way back to Ermioni to buy a bus ticket to travel to Athens the next day. As per standard, even though the entire bus transit system has a web interface, tickets must be bought in person and for cash. Amazing.
Returning to the villa, I packed up my luggage as the bus was scheduled to leave at 5:30 a.m. in the morning, so we would be arising very early.
More of the amazing Greek adventure next time.