Amorgos: in search of peace and quiet

Change of breakfasting habits on Wednesday.  I had found another taverna with WiFi and a roof balcony.  It also served breakfasts but only from 09.00.  So I decided to do things in the room first and then go to have breakfast and post the blog at the same time.

The room is cheap but has its drawbacks, not least of which are it’s small size and lack of facilities.  But in one respect it far surpasses most if not all hotels I have stayed in …. the wash basin holds water.  I carry a ‘universal wash basin plug’ but it rarely works because a common problem is that the seating for the plug is not sealed in place and so the water drains away down the side of it.  But this plug works perfectly.  Which greatly facilitates washing clothes, one of the things I did  before going for breakfast.

The breakfast was good: fresh, crusty wholemeal bread (wholemeal seems more generally available in restaurants on Amorgos than anywhere else I’ve been), very tasty home-made marmalade, and a cafetierre of good strength coffee.  It’s more or less exactly what I have at home and is somehow comforting. Which is a strange thing really.  The breakfasts I normally have over here are good and I enjoy them but I would never think of having them at home.  I think I’ll stick with this place for breakfast while I’m in Chora.

The Plan for Today was to again walk to the Hozoviatisa monastery, the fourth time in as many days, but this time with clothes that met the dress code so I could go inside.  Basically that meant shorts with zip-on legs so I could put them on when I arrived.  It’s much too hot to walk in trousers.  It was fascinating inside, amazingly narrow everywhere, the one wall of many of the rooms and corridors being the cliff face.  Photography was allowed but not in the church or the museum.  Shame about that because a lot of the greatest interest was in those two places. The museum had a collection of hand-copied books on display some of which dated back to the first half of the 10th Century.  It must once have been a place of remarkable peace and quiet.  Probably still is without us trippers clogging it up.

The main staircase: wall on the left, cliff-face on the right

This way to the museum

On the balcony outside the church

Looking down to the entrance steps from the balcony

Carving in stone lintel of church window dates it to 1681

From there I wandered back to Chora and ambled around for a while.  I thought as I was in the village at meal time I would have a change from banana and nut bar so I had a Greek salad.  The alleyways of the Chora are very narrow and many of the restaurants simply have a line of tables on one side, sometimes widening out at corners.

One of the many 'alley-side' tavernas

I ambled around with the camera for a while but got restless.  I’ve always been a driven personality, can’t being doing with sitting still or just ticking over.  I decided I needed to get out of Chora and go for a walk. One reason for this was that a coach load of Americans had arrived presumably on a whistle-stop tour of quaint things to see in Greece.  They were ambling around, huffing and puffing struggling with the steps, some of them filling the width of the alleys on their own.  Big people Americans.  At least these guys had passports. Estimates vary but somewhere between 75 and 93% o Americans have never had a passport.

(see http://www.gyford.com/phil/writing/2003/01/31/how_many_america.php)

I took a couple of photos and then decided I had had enough.  I had to escape.

Many buildings have stone carvings set into the wall: this one depicting a windmill of which there are many in Chora

This one either depicts a plant pot with flowers or the fact that there were once reindeer on Amorgos

I headed back up the mountain.  There I could be sure of walking at my own pace and I had been regretting not have photographed the scree slope at the bottom of the cliffed edge while I was up there yesterday.  It took me just under an hour to get to the top.  Once again I was struck by how great a place it is with wide-open views.  Mountain tops seem somehow unrestricted, mind expanding, a God-made, God-sized environment compared with the made-made confines of towns.  I stayed up there for an hour or so before coming back down to reality.

The path across the scree slope seen from the top of Profits Ilias 400 metres above it.

Before going up the mountain I had washed a pair of shorts and by now they were crispy dry in the hot sun.  I took them off the line on the balcony and found that they had an unusual visitor.  Never seen one of these before.  Glad I found it before I put them on!

Visitor to my shorts

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