Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lefkada and Nisyros!

It feels like such a long time since I left the turtle project in Kefalonia and started travelling again.
But possibly it has only been two weeks. Perhaps a bit more...

It's been a highly sociable period, full of greek islands and sharing with friends.
First with Angie, my argentinian friend that I met in Ecuador and now are paths cross again in the island of Lefkada. For me it is not clear if this is actually an island, because you get there by land. But who am I to define what is and isn't an island...
We stayed only a few days, and happily joined the touristy spirit that spreads through the islands during August. You can actually barely see the beaches from the amount of people, sunbeds, umbrellas, plastic toys.

We rented a scooter and felt like a slow motion movie going up the steep hills while the petrol needle went down and down.
And we also participated in one of the one day "exclusive cruises" with 300 other people and two other similar boats following us everywhere. Amazing beaches to escape the pop-electronic music that the speakers kept insistently bellowing to the pleasure of... no one...
Good times with Angie : )

Then the holiday within the holiday. The small volcanic island of Nisyros, near Turkey. There we went "free camping". Lindaki, and me, and all the rest of the people that are happy to walk half an hour from the end of the road and live in absolute simplicity, by the beach.
Apparently "free camping" is a full institution in Greece. By word of mouth people know where to go and during the summer whole communities are built.
We were in the beautiful beach of "Paggia Ammos" (fat sand, little black volcanic pebbles that invade everything but remain nowhere).
Mostly spent our days escaping from the sun. Building rickety installations with sheets and sticks on the beach, lying down after lunch under the big tree by the tent.
Nights on the beach fire, under the never ending falling stars, swimming between the phosphorescent plankton.

Nothing more could have been asked for.
But we did get the traditional celebration of the Panegyri in a beautiful monastery up the hill. During this celebration the monastery opens its doors to everyone and feeds them and provides great music and a space for dancing.
It was an amazing feeling getting into the trance of dancing to the rhythm of the buzuki and the violin. Only some steps I was able to follow, others were exquisitely complicated, but all Greek people would dance them gracefully.
The celebration continued the next morning, after sleeping somewhere, anywhere near the monastery, we woke up to more food and music. I really don't know exactly what the Panegyri celebrates, I think something related to the Virgin, I am just very grateful to have been a part of it.

We also got the chance to rent a car together with Jristina, Nancy and Jrisula. A great bunch and a great day. It was never only us riding the cool car (a jeep without a roof), because everywhere we picked up people from the camping and dropped them off somewhere different.
Picturesque towns on the top of the hills (safe from the pirates they say), beaches with big rounded stones, castles made of old old great stones (so similar to the incas overviewing agriculture terraces delimited by stone walls)...

And the volcano where the Titan Polifotis who is crushed beneath the island breathes.
The legend goes that Poseidon took a piece of Kos (a larger island nearby) and crushed and trapped Polifotis with it to show him that humans may never beat the gods. This piece is the land of Nisyros.
The titan breathes sulfur through bright yellow nostrils. The whole landscape could perfectly be a part of the Andean planes, or Patagonia, or Mars... The ubiquity of minerals...

And, the cherry on top of that beautiful day: The sauna.
Following a woman, a man and a dog who guide us through dirt roads on their bike. Following them walking the sunset over golden fields blowing in the wind. Until we get to this ancient abandoned stone house with only one room left: The sauna.
Delicious, relaxing, hot breath of the titan.
We even had a bit more Greek dancing that night in the beautiful town of Nikias were the streets smell like flowers only at a certain hour in the night.

Such beautiful week in Nisyros. Sleeping like angel in the tent that was invaded by sand-flies. Waking u to a giaat standing on two legs munching leaves from a tree. Ahhh
I was even "caressed" by a scorpion who decided to make my backpack his home. Luckily he didin't actually sting me, otherwise anothe bird would be this song singing...

Oh so much laughter with Lindaki and Jristina. Efharistó paaaaaara polí!
I think I even got to learn some greek. Even got to the stage where I hated it and didn't want to ever hear it again. Also went through the stage of driving sven people constantly speaking greek in the car, giving me instructions in that language. Now I think I can really start to understand the frustration and the usefulness of learning a language by immersion.

But now, forget it all, clean the brain of that ancient language and leave some space for... turkish...

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