Return to Dalbeattie Domain Server
The Mermaid of Poros, Greece

Poros 2006, A week in June in Greece

~ Index ~
First Day ~ Second Day ~ Third Day ~ Fourth Day ~
~ Fifth Day ~ Sixth Day ~ Seventh Day ~ Eighth Day ~
~ Attractions ~ Tavernas ~ Other Businesses ~ Links ~
~ Saga Hotel, Poros ~ Poros 2007 Blog ~
~ Poros History ~ Poros Index ~


Day Three : Friday June 2nd 2006 -
Kalavria by Quad and the Zoodochou Pigi Monastery


  • Morning after the Night Before.
  • Hiring the Quad from Fotis Tours.
  • Trip through Askeli to Zoodochos Pigi Monastery.
  • A gem of a Chapel
  • Up to the Naos Poseidon and some Hives.
  • Return to the Saga Hotel.
  • The George Taverna and the Cinema Cafe

Zoodochou Pigi Monastery, Poros and Jenny
Zoodochos Pighi Monastery, Poros and Jenny

Woke at 8:30 feeling rather unwell from having eaten too much, showering and shaving was an effort, breakfast was muesli, toast and honey, with two cups of Lady Grey tea. Jenny, by contrast, was much better and went into Poros to look at the shops. I stayed at the Hotel, read some more of the 'Old Dog' and discussed the blog and the Saga Hotel Honeymoon website with Zefi. When Jenny returned from her walk, I went out to the friendly Supermarket and bought us some apricots and a six-pack of bottled water, then ate and snoozed until late afternoon. I felt somewhat better by then, Jenny had a bit of sunning on the balcony, so resolved to go to Fotis and get the quad at about 5 p.m., although the weather was still rather hot.

Jenny had sent a text message to Natalie, our younger daughter, explaining about the heat and the proposed trip by quad. Back came a dismayed message : '39 is too hot Do not go on the quad'. After that, there was really only one thing to do.

Dimitri, owner of Fotis Tours
Dimitri, owner of Fotis Tours
On the Quad outside the Monastery
On the Quad outside the Monastery
Jenny tries the Quad - without the keys
Jenny tries the Quad - without keys

Fotis Tours, Dimitri and Greek Roads :

Got to Fotis and Dimitri at 5:15 p.m. and obtained the quad for 25 Euros with a full tank of petrol and helmets, also the promise that I would be the only driver. I had brought my full UK Driving Licence with me, so that meant I could drive the quad legally under Greek traffic regulations. Despite machismo (or because of it) the Greeks are quite strict about some aspects of traffic regulations, although wearing a helmet seems to be more honoured in the breach than the observance. Agreed to return the quad in the same condition with a full tank and set off with Dimitri watching. Yes, I made the mistake most British tourists do, by driving on the left instead of the right, but he and a friend in a car put me right. I discovered that a right turn is dead easy, but a left turn goes against all one's training in Britain, through being on the 'wrong' side of the road. Although very scared and conscious of not driving a moped for nearly 19 years, I got the quad back to the Hotel and parked it up.

For those who never have ridden a quad, there are two things to get Dimitri to show you - the turn signal canceller and the starting system. The starter is a small white button on the left handgrip, but although it will turn the engine over, the engine will not start if the red engine ignition and lighting cut-out slide switch is turned off. The turn signal canceller needs a double squeeze to turn off, otherwise it just goes on signalling for the last turn you used it for. The quad's brakes are the same as on any bike and there's a good old-fashioned kick-start for use if you flatten the battery. The parking brake is similar to a moped's, with a device like a staple that you have to lift. A full tank of petrol is enough for a couple of circuits of Kalavria, but there is only the one petrol station on Poros, on Kanali main street, so it's important not to get stuck and have your mobile to hand to call the Hotel or Dimitri.

Jenny had sufficient confidence, bless her little heart, to come down and agree to a trip to the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, I tried to turn the quad round and nearly ran into a parked car, but worked out that the quad had a far wider turning circle than a motorbike and got into the right direction on the right side of the road outside the Hotel. Then it was off, rather jerkily, Jenny hanging onto me for dear life. I was rather glad she could not see my face, for I was quite frankly scared stiff. Round and out of the road, past the garden, through the narrow lane, then to the junction and across it up the lane past the Supermarket to the Petrol Station. That at least brought us out onto the main street, where I negotiated a turn to the left through a break in traffic, then left at a Y-junction that brought us onto the Askeli road and the way to Zoodochou Pigi.

Greek island roads are either asphalted or a mix of soil and gravel that would be right for a Forestry Commission trackway. Fortunately, we were on asphalt the whole time, although this scarcely tested the cross-country abilities of the quad. A rather nasty little hairpin was our introduction to another aspect of Greek roads, but this was safely negotiated and Jenny started to relax a bit. I was rather relieved that I had my helmet on, because its useful peak (very CHiPS) kept the glare out of my eyes, although Jenny preferred to ride without her helmet, to my anxiety. In fact, the major worry I had was whether her hand clutching the front of my shirt would start to make it lose its buttons, her other hand being on the rack that had her handbag on it, under two 'twangers'. At least we started to relax a little, pulling up beside the Monastery bus stop.

The bus stop had a Eucalyptus tree opposite it, one of many that give the island a curious flavour of Ozzieland, so we parked the quad under it and took a few pictures. Jenny sat on the parked bike with no key in the ignition, so this was just a teaser for Natalie ands our elder daughter Joanne.

Jenny in the Monastery Chapel
Jenny in the Monastery Chapel
by the Altar Icons
The Bishop's Throne
The Bishop's Throne
Madonna and Child of the Source
Madonna and Child of the Source

The monastery does have a dress code and a souvenir shop (unstaffed by the time we arrived). The monks are practical souls, providing wrap-around skirts/shawls/capes to keep bare-limbed tourist types from offending the tenets of religious belief. Jen modelled a skirt and a shawl, I had a cape. We then entered the cloister, which had the small but delightful chapel in the centre. A couple of Greek Admirals are buried there either side of the porch, whilst the chapel interior is gilt and mosaic in the Byzantine fashion. There is a magnificent Bishop's Throne and various beautiful icons, including one to Our Lady of the Sea which had a representation in one panel of Poros Harbour in the early 1800s, unfortunately that did not photograph well, but there was a rather surreal one of the Madonna and Child in a fountain basin that resembled a large egg-cup. We lit candles (a small donation is correct) then went back into the cloister, greatly moved by the experience.

A guestroom is provided at the monastery and - hearing voices - I was a little nervous about going in. A cheerful Greek couple and a priest in black robes and the Orthodox black cylindrical hat made us welcome and the priest passed us some sweets, which Jen ate, but sadly declined to be photographed, although I did ask him first. So we left, still content, to take more pictures of the outside of the Monastery and the Monastery Bay below.

From the Monastery, we headed back on then quad (now seasoned travellers) then took the road up into the hills, a hairpin-filled experience with earth roads liable to lead us astray. We kept to the asphalt, myself more than ever glad of the helmet's peak shading my eyes, to climb up on to the Palatia plateau. I stopped once, to take pictures of a row of hives producing the famous local honey, but otherwise just pressed onwards and upwards, heading for the Naos Posidonos - the famous Temple of Poseidon, the classical God of the Sea and of Poros. We got there around 6 p.m. and the view and weather were perfect, although we had a surprise, for the Poros Train (a tourist tractor drawing trolleys with seats) was there as well. The Poros Train runs from the harbour near the mermaid to Askeli, the Monastery, the Temple and around Poros island itself, but I think we were better off on our little quad.

Monastery Bay from the terrace
Monastery Bay from the terrace
A stop beside the famous Hives
A stop beside the famous Hives
Naos Posidonis - Temple Buildings
Naos Posidonis - Temple Buildings

The Naos Posidonis is a complex of temples and other buildings almost at the centre of Poros. It was the place where the orator and philosopher Demosthenes found sanctuary and later committed suicide in BC 322, after the Macedonians conquered Athens and Greece. Before then, it had been the religious centre of seven allied city-states that included Athens and Sparta. The local people used the temple as a convenient stone quarry up to the end of the 1800s, but in 1894 Swedish archaeologists excavated the ruins and more recent excavations are underway there as well. There is a good noticeboard but I could not get a decent photo for the blog. I took pictures in and around the Naos Posidonis proper, Jenny touched her first olive tree, I told her how Poseidon and Athena contested the right to be the patron of Athens, then we left with a single pine cone fallen from a tree that stood in the middle of the Temple sanctuary. A magical moment.

Back onto the quad and along and then downhill, slightly anxious now because the light was starting to go and I was concerned about the hairpin roads. Fortunately, heading downhill on the asphalt road was entirely the right thing to do, although I nearly took the Kamara road at one point. But we made it safely back down onto the main street of Askeli, turning again just past the Petrol Station and past the friendly Supermarket on our way back to the Saga Hotel. I must confess that I was very relieved to be able to stop and go to the bathroom, for the combination of heat, nerves and glare, had been rather draining. Jenny, poor love, was rather tired; she had liked the Monastery and the Temple, but needed a bit of tender loving care.

Naos Posidonis - Temple Sanctuary
Naos Posidonis - Temple Sanctuary
Jenny and her Olive Tree
Jenny and her Olive Tree
George Taverna - from across the road
George Taverna - from across the road

The George Taverna and the Cinema Cafe (again) :

Gluttons for punishment, we showered, changed and walked into Poros, told by Frances and Dennis to try the George Taverna. The George is popular with English visitors, mainly because the staff speak English, so we took their advice and went. Concerned by my own gluttony, I decided I would keep to something simple, so ordered an omelette with a side salad. Jenny decided to try a Moussaka which was delivered with a side-order of chips. I regret that I was still not well and twice had to use the George's gents, which were not of the best. Also - to my dismay - Greek omelettes turned out to be cooked in olive oil rather than milk or butter, so the results were greasy for my taste, although the side salad was what my body needed. Jen liked her Moussaka but thought the Posidonis had done a better chip. Probably my experiences did not give me as good an opinion of the George as it deserved, for Frances was surprised at my reaction. She and Dennis found us finishing our meal and took us back to the Cinema Café for tea and coffee.

I had another try at taking a picture of Gilda, then the proprietors called me across to look at new logos for the cafe, for Dennis had told them about my Internet work. This was a bit unexpected, but I promised to list them on the blog's Tavernas listing. No go on Gilda, but a passable picture of the French Viv Leigh poster. The mermaid ? She was in a closed shop, advertising beachwear. I found the picture worth a giggle, for a mermaid can only use half of a bikini. Back to the Hotel afterwards, going to sleep soon after 11 p.m.


George Taverna - the Side Salad
French version of 'Gone With The Wind'
 poster
French 'Gone With The Wind' poster
A rather perplexed Mermaid
A rather perplexed Mermaid

Top

© 2006 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.