Wednesday, September 9, 2009

MESSOLONGI & LORD BYRON

Monday, October 29th, 2007 Across the pond to Messolongi.....

We’re on the ferry boat right now. Last night we made it to the Internet Café in a blinding rainstorm. It was really raining hard and the wind caught Jim’s umbrella at one point; may have to purchase a new one for him. But we did manage to get the fourth journal off to all of you. (2007 was prior to blogging my journals!) The Internet café was very interesting; it is basically set up for gaming. The place was full of teenagers and young adults; each one had headphones on so since they were doing interactive games they were yelling at each other. There were about thirty of them and the place was full of smoke! Lots of cigarette smokers here. Jim waited in the car while I went in to use the computer. The wind caught his umbrella when he came in to tell me where he had found a parking place. But the good news is that they allowed me to hook into their DSL lines with my computer.

Drove back to the hotel and enjoyed our last dinner on Corfu at the hotel; one of the best that we’ve had here. Had to wait until 7:30 pm but worth the wait and much better than walking in the rain in old town. Even with all the rain; traffic was heavy and parking places were harder to find than during the day!

It rained most of the evening but by this morning the sun was shining again and we’ve got calm seas for our ride back to the mainland. It’s an hour an a half ride so time to finally get some of the postcards written to the grandchildren before we dock at about 11 am. Then we’re headed south for the day.

Saw many more roadside memorial boxes again today. Not taking as many photos of them unless they are really unusual. We stopped at Vonitsa and found a Super Market where we picked up some drinks and snacks. They were also kind enough to allow us to use their employee toilet. There was lots of traffic on two lane roads but no “real” mountain climbing today; only foothills, driving along the base of some high mountains and views of the Ionian Sea as we wound our way south.

Just north of Messolongi, our destination for today, we spotted three Monasteries out in the middle of nowhere along the highway. The largest was right on the road and there was a grave of a Greek Orthodox Priest that had died in 2005; very ornate and beautifully done. Then up on the side of the mountain was a smaller monastery but still good size. Then even higher and tucked into a cavern in the mountain was a brand new miniature monastery. It was all very surreal looking. Stopped for a Kodak moment and then went on our way.

We first checked at a hotel out by the water that overlooked the Lagoons. This area is part of the few remaining wetlands of Greece and famous for migrating birds; it has become somewhat of a pilgrimage sit for photographers and bird-watchers. They also have salt flats and manufacture salt. We then drove into the old center of town where we found a very reasonable hotel; somewhat smoky room and overlooking the town square. There may be a lot of noise in the square tonight but the price was too good to pass up. No Internet…I found a wireless site when I signed on just now but it was a protected site. The only café that has Internet is closed on Monday per everyone we’ve talked to…so I’ll wait another day to sign on.

We do have a TV with all Greek language. That is also the only electrical outlet in the room so I’m charging camera and computer while Jim is off to the town museum across the square. Tomorrow we want to visit the town gardens to see the statute of Lord Byron who died here when he came to help liberate Greece in 1824. His heart lies beneath his statue in the Garden of Heroes, his body is buried in Westminster Abbey in London and he is credited with motivating the Greeks during their War of Independence with the Turks. The only other thing I think we need to see here is the Exodus Gate that we’ve already driving through to get into town. So…hopefully….we’ll head to Delphi tomorrow for more Greek ruins.

There really is a lot of history here because this was an important military spot during all the wars over the centuries; especially the War of Independence in 1820s. Jim is back and says the Museum was so wonderful he gave them four euro even though it was free. The manager gave him a personal tour of the place since he was the only visitor and Jim promised to come back tomorrow with his video camera.

Started out of the hotel to locate a Traverna that was recommended in our guide book and when we asked the manager for directions he also gave us his personal recommendation. We decided to go there and VOLA…just across the street, and open, was the Internet Café. The dinner was reasonable and wonderful. We had our first Greek wine with dinner: I had beef and pork stroganoff with rice; the sauce was to die for; Jim had a lamb shish kabob. We were so full we decided to stroll about town on the way back to the hotel. The Internet Café was full of young people gaming again; decided to wait until morning. The town was becoming alive, couldn’t believe the number of people out in the square, mostly sitting in various coffee shops.

Back to the hotel and found that there was a Tom Cruise movie in English with Greek subtitles. Beds were good and the noise was not too loud; what more could one want.

More tomorrow….

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