Mary Irvine: A blog from Greece, March, 2016.
Thought I’d send a few words from sunnier climes. No, not to make people jealous. After all the temperature did drop from 25 to 22 degrees on my first full day here, And today was quite cloudy, with a light breeze. Had to put a long sleeved top on when I went out to take the rubbish to the big bin in the street. Had an interesting conversation with a very old lady who wanted to know what I was up to. It was ‘There’s a stranger in town moment.’ But I get ahead of myself.
Left home at 3.30 am last Wed to catch direct flight to Athens from Edinburgh at 7pm courtesy of Easyjet. Booked the flight months ago when I noticed it was only £74 return. Uneventful flight. Arrived just to late to get next train to Corinth so had a coffee – really shouldn’t have bothered., The proverbial dish-water comes to mind. Went to get the Proastiakos – that’s the train to Corinth. Got reduction on ticket as a pensioner. Had a joke with the man who sold me the ticket about my Greek pension. The whole story is an on-going joke but mustn’t complain and before anybody asks I was the one paying tax when I worked in Greece! I digress.
Man assured me train would leave from Platform One. Wee bit worried as platforms weren’t numbered last time I was here. They still aren’t! Platform was the sort where trains come in on both sides. One was the metro which takes you into Athens. The other was the Proastiakos. None of the people waiting , including Greeks, knew which platform was No: 1. I found a Security Guard who assured me I was on the right platform. I still didn’t feel very assured. A train arrived and everyone got on anyway with the philosophy that if it wasn’t the right one we’d get off – somewhere – and get the right one. Seemed fair enough.
Met a young Greek guy who’d just spent 7 days in England during which time he’d ‘done’ London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. He told me he didn’t like Liverpool. I quizzed further as to what he’d actually seen. Turned out he’d been to Anfield and a small museum which obviously didn’t make any impression on. He’d spent 3 hours there. Come on , Liverpool, pull your finger out! I did my best to explain that Liverpool had a lot to offer and suggested the two cathedrals might have impressed him more than Anfield and the small museum – whichever that was.
I duly did arrive at Corinth where my Swiss friend Esther was waiting. We drove to Epidavros. I had a great schnitzel with a lovely salad and then slept for ten hours. I hadn’t been to bed the previous night as I was afraid of missing the flight!
Woke at around 6.30am. Went outside to do my tai chi. By 7pm it was really a wee bit too warm for me so I went inside for a breakfast of homemade jams and marmalade, cheese and fresh bread, freshly squeezed orange picked from their trees that morning and some medlar fruit. No, I hadn’t heard of it either. Had to look it up. Apparently the medlar tree was very popular in mediaeval times but is rarely seen these days. Esther has one in their garden! The fruit is sweetish with a slight gritty taste. It looks quite disgusting as it is eaten when turning rotton but is actually very palatable! Later we walked down to the beach, about 3 kilometres away and had lunch at the beach taverna, salad, whitebait – freshly caught, not frozen, followed by fresh fruit.
Esther and family left for Berlin the next morning so had house to myself for four days. Time to get on with writing my fictionalised story based on the island of Spetses which I should now be doing instead of writing this. Byee
This section: Mary Irvine: Writer and Philhellene
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