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Poros 2007 -
Our September Fortnight in Greece

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Sacred Sites, Sun, Sea and Election Day -
16th September 2007

  • Askeli.
  • Zoodochos Pighi.
  • Monastery Bay.
  • Election Night in Poros.
  • Caravella and Asteria Tavernas.

Zoodochos Pighi Monastery from the road
Zoodochos Pighi Monastery from the road

Askeli... :

Arrived at the Corner Cafe at the wrong time for the bus to Zoodochos Pighi, it being a Sunday and Jen wanting at least to visit a church. Decided to walk through Askeli to Askeli Beach, keeping an eye open for the bus on the way. Askeli is somewhat more of a conventional tourist destination than Kanali, although its beach, to be quite frank, is rather narrow and stony. One unexpected hazard we had noticed at Kanali was a sudden arrival of jellyfish, with swimmers of both sexes using a palm frond and stones to bring the jellyfish ashore and bury them. One man actually took hold of the top of a jellyfish's dome and flipped it upside down so the poor thing was inside out. In my opinion he was lucky not to get stung. Then the blue-striped bus came, we got on and headed for the monastery.

Zoodochos Pighi ...

The Monastery of the Sacred Source was built on a small hillock just across the stream-gorge from the hill where the sacred spring actually arises. The tale is that the Bishop of Athens arrived ill at the spring and was cured by its waters, so in the best religious tradition decided that it would be a very healthy spot to set up a monastery. The actual source is now covered over, but the spring water flows from a lion-headed spout beside a small chapel that faces the monastery. This elegant solution means that local people can collect the water without being charged.

I took pictures of the Source, the Chapel and the Monastery, they being elegant items for photography and for the history of the town, as well as some of the most relaxed pictures of Jenny. She was very happy to visit the monastery and its church once more, with the altarpiece and the miraculous Icon of the Sacred Source. I took additional pictures of the Monastery quadrangle and the Church to add to my Poros 2006 collection. Amongst others, there is a rather lovely Icon of St. Katherine of Alexandria with her broken wheel. Set in the floor was the Byzantine double-headed eagle, adopted by the Orthodox Church and the Russian Tsars as their emblem. In the Church porch there are a number of notable graves, which include those of the Hydra-based Miaulis family, one of whom was the rebel commander in the Battle of Poros, a sad and dramatic moment in the naval history of modern Greece.

The Monastery has been a participant in the events of the formation of modern Greece, with its most dramatic recent history probably being in World War II, when resistance fighters hid in one of the cypresses in the Monastery gardens whilst the Germans searched the Monastery. For more information on this and other matters, go to my page on Zoodochos Pighi Monastery.

Askeli Beach
Askeli Beach
Jenny at the Monastery
Jenny at the Monastery
Icon of the Holy Source
Icon of the Holy Source

Monastery Bay ...

The way down from the Monastery is through a rather impressive side gate, along a terrace and down a pine-shaded path. To my surprise, there were various signs indicating that the woods were owned by the Greek Navy. After bizarre thoughts of a reserve stock of wood to use if the steel ships gave out, I realised that this might be where the Naval Academy found the space for its rifle-ranges. Pity - the idea of a Hellenic Navy trireme or nineteenth century frigate was rather good. Small as it is, Monastery Bay has attracted three establishments - the Nicholas Taverna, a second smaller one we did not identify, and at the nearer end to askeli, the massive Hotel Sirene. Sirene is very unusual - its reception is at road level, the other facilities and rooms being downcliff towards the bay in its imposing block. Impressive family-run five-star hotel, but possibly pricey.

The Taverna Nicholas at Monastery Bay guards its beach access and sunbeds quite carefully, so we paid our 4 Euros for a beach parasol and sunbeds, Jenny trying out the water and her bikini. Sadly, the weather was not as warm as before, for the wind was cool though the sun was warm. The one thing about the beach that was distressing was the plethora of cigarette butts - there is no tide to wash them away, and the same lack of a tide means that only a few places have sand that goes for any distance underwater. I did take some pictures of Jen, but she decided to have a snack and so we went to the relative shelter of the Taverna. The iced tea was 2.50 Euros here, as was Jen's Cola.

Returning to the bus route turned into something of an adventure (definition : somebody else having a difficult time far away and at another time), for although there was a direct route to the road by a path, it had briars and a steep ascent. Worse, when we got to the top, a white (no stripe) bus rolled past us. Disheartened, we walked up the road to the bus stop near the Monastery...and Jenny was not very pleased with me. But the blue-stripe bus turned up after a while, for a Euro each dropping us off at Kanali near the bridge. Back to the Saga for a restorative cuppa and a rest

Monastery Courtyard and Shop
Monastery Courtyard and Shop
Taverna Nicholas - Mermaid Sign
Taverna Nicholas's Mermaid
Taverna Nicholas's Tame Gull
Taverna Nicholas's Tame Gull

Election Night in Poros :

The evening provided the other highlight of the day, for it was, of course, Election Night, with the party workers gathered around their temporary offices in Poros town. All Greeks have to vote, but I reckon they would do so in any case - political argument in Greece is thankfully starting to replace armed disputes as entertainment. We carried on towards the Caravella (Carvel) Taverna, whose owner had shown us his excellent buffet previously. Jen had a Moussaka and I had a Pork Kebab, Jen with her quarter-litre of wine and me with water - all good and the service excellent, for a modest 17 Euros, so we gave a tip of 2 Euros. As I told the owner, the meal was all he had said it would be - cooked by his mother, by the way - and I would go there again. The adjacent Oasis are rather pushy, and were starting to get on my nerves.

A pleasant evening stroll saw us at the Asteria Taverna who had a projection screen tuned to the Election results. Our (or rather, my) fascination with the results, highly amused the waiters. New Democrats (Karamanlis) took an early lead over Pasok (Papandreou), whilst the KKE (Communists) recorded just a few percent. Alas, the Greeks changed channels to a basketball competition, but we enjoyed two particularly good hot chocolates, with water on the side. Reluctantly, we returned to the Saga Hotel, where Jenny sent Frances a text telling Frances we were off to Athens tomorrow. The send was uncertain so we were not sure that Frances and Dennis were at their flat. Alarms set for 7 a.m. as we meant to get up early.


© 2007 and 2008 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.