Friday, October 2, 2009


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finally turned on the electric heater last night and then slept pretty much through the night. We got up before 8 am and headed out to explore Syros and find some coffee. We headed up to the left towards the large Catholic Church called Ano Syros but only walked part way. Best to take a bus up and walk down we learned later. Good to read those guidebooks before adventuring out. Thought we had but guess we didn’t; we did find two Greek Orthodox Churches with Masses in progress as we wander around the mostly wide and sometimes narrow marble streets; it was either up or down as nothing is level in this town. Syros is basically three sections: the port, the hill to the left with the Roman Catholic Cathedral at the top and to the right the area known as Vrodado with the Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Entering from the port you view all three of these sections at one time.

Syros is the capital of the Cyclades and its largest town.

The weather is dry, cold and windy this morning. We’ve quadrupled our layers of clothing this morning to keep warm as we walk about the city. We soon found ourselves back into the port where we found a market street; each shop handles a different item. One shop had fresh fruit, another bread, the butcher, the jam, and on and on. We purchased some bananas and then went into a small coffee shop to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy Nescafe (their answer for American coffee), tea for Jim and we shared a wonderful slice of warm apple pie covered with powdered sugar. Didn’t hear any English the whole time we sat in the shop enjoying our breakfast.

After breakfast we continued to walk the port to both ends and then found an open bookstore; we asked about “English language” books and she pointed us to the small selection she carried, much to Jim’s surprise. The cost of foreign language books in Europe is always high…they were paperbacks and ranged from 25 to 35 euros each. She asked if we’d like to see her second hand books and with a very positive response we found a novel for each of us at only 2 euros each. The shop keeper also agreed to allow us to bring our luggage back and sit in her shop out of the wind while we waited for the 12:15 ferry to arrive.

Back to the hotel for checkout; our “rooms for rent” had no front desk and we were wondering who and how we would pay our 25 euros. Sure enough at 11 am the girl appeared as we’d told her we were catching the 12:15 ferry to Mykonos. Packed our bags and headed back out into the wind for the two block walk to the port entry. People were already queuing up so we sat in the windy waiting area instead of returning to the bookstore where Jim had arranged for us to stay. Saw a French couple who’d arrived with us last night and they are also headed to Mykonos today. At 12:15 on the dot the smaller ferry arrived, we boarded and headed back out to the Aegean Sea within minutes. This is a ship that only does inter-island as opposed to the larger one that goes to Athens. The Blue Star people told Jim that it should take about an hour and a half. It’s going to be another bouncy ride as the sea is covered with whitecaps.

Then we’re off to find lodgings for the next two nights. Mykonos is known to be more expensive because of the tourists; it will be interesting to see what Jim negotiates for the rent.

Stopped at Tinos for a few minutes to let passengers off and then on to Mykonos. Many people were at the port offering rooms. Jim negotiated with a man called Bobby for a room, located in the center of town, with a television and bathroom for 50 euros for two nights. One night would have been 30 euros. He put us into his car along with his wife and another single young man that she’d recruited for a room. All the way up he kept talking about rental of scooters and/or cars; where to go and what to watch out for. He said absolutely not to rent from Muchens as they will come at night and steal parts off the vehicle and then charge you to replace them! The young man, on his third trip here, laughed and said he’d heard the story before. Bobby said he always warned his clients about Muchens. By the time we arrived at the Pension we understood why he was talking about renting a car or scooter. “In the center of town” meant in the center of the whole town…we are at least three quarters of a mile from the port; only 600 meters he said? But it’s all downhill.

When I asked about the heater he said the price did not include the central air/heating unit. I insisted and Jim paid the extra 5 euros a day so that I can have heat. It’s way too cold here not to have heat in the room. Oh well, lesson learned; get exact distance before agreeing to rent. But, it is clean and we have a refrigerator that we stocked for breakfast from the store a bit further up the hill. After the trip to the store for supplies we bundled up again and headed down the hill towards the windmills. They were absolutely magnificent and worth every penny to get back here to see them in the daylight. Remember that this was our first stop on the four day cruise and we’d arrived at night.

The town is basically deserted; very few shops and/or restaurants are open. But, the boat leaves for Delos tomorrow at 10 am and we’ll have about four hours to view the archaeological gems before having to return to Mykonos. No one is allowed to stay overnight on that island. There are many Internet CafĂ© shops on Mykonos but I have yet to find one open. So, all of this will have to be sent when we’re on the big ferry to Athens on Friday. Can’t wait to show you the photos we took this afternoon of the windmills.

Walked along the area known as “little Venice” and took more photos of the windmills from there as the sun was setting. It’s called “little Venice” because the walls of the houses rise out of the water and the waves crash against them twenty four hours a day. Then we found a restaurant on the waterfront that was open and we had a delicious dinner of vegetarian pizza for me and hamburgers covered with blue cheese sauce for Jim. We probably should have walked home to exercise some of that excess off but elected to hire a taxi for 3.50 euros for the short drive up the hills to our Pension. Yes, we got a price before we got into the taxi!

Jim is watching the soccer game between Greece and Albania as the heater struggles to heat up this room that was designed to stay cool in the hot summers. I have found some extra blankets in the closet for my bed. Jim has a built in heater and would have been fine without the heater, he said. Tomorrow’s another day and Thanksgiving at home.

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