28 October 2012 | Ermopoulis, Syros
Since I last wrote we've been quite busy. We had a day out to Mycaenae to see the site of the Mycaenian Citadel and grave of Agamemnon where the gold death masks that we saw in the National Archeological Museum in Athens were discovered. Mycaenae was an important area from 1550 to 1200 BC, when it was occupied by the Myceanians. At the entrance is the 'Lion Gate' which is still standing today, minus the lions' heads! The site museum was interesting, but I think that we've been spoilt by our previous visits to Olympia and the main museum in Athens.
Shelley and Tim came to visit and we had a good week with them, travelling from Navplion to Epidavros. Tim spent quite a bit of time fishing and managed to catch a tuna, just a baby though so he left it on the hook as bait and then lost it! There were several attempts at spear-fishing by both Tim and Andy but Shelley and I had to go without fresh fish. Just as well we'd been shopping and were stocked up with meat for the week! We had some lovely evenings out with good food and too much wine, as usual when we have visitors! Shelley and Tim's last night, Sunday, was spent in Epidavros. We'd planned a quiet night as we were cleaning the next day and Shelley and Tim had to travel back to Athens for their flight. As plans go it didn't really work out! We went for a walk to the small theatre in Epidavros and then went for a drink at our favourite bar, Koilon, where we sat with Evie and Theo (the owner and his girlfriend) all night chatting and drinking until 2am. Then we went home and had dinner before going to bed. Work the next day wasn't much fun!
Andy spent the rest of the week repairing Theo's umbrellas and in return we were fed by the restaurant for the best part of a fortnight, I think we've eaten most things on the menu now. We also picked up a job to tow a small yacht from Korfos to Poros which we did the following week. Once we'd been paid for that we decided to treat ourselves and book into the local spa hotel for a night. The price for a suite with breakfast and use of the spa was very reasonable and we could anchor right outside. We checked in at 1230 and checked out again at 1300! We were told that the spa could not be used between 1400 and 1800 (siesta time) so we rushed to get ready to use the pool, hot tub, steam room and sauna before it closed at 2. When we dipped our toes in the pool it was freezing, so was the hot tub! The sauna and steam room weren't even switched on. When we complained the manager said that we hadn't asked for it to be switched on (why would we think that we had to do that?) and she'd never told us that the pool and hot tub were heated! She didn't seem too surprised when we checked out within half an hour of checking in. It was a shame as we were looking forward to swimming in a pool for a change and sleeping on a king sized bed (the mattresses were terrible, Andy would have woken with back problems again). We've come to expect the lack of attention to detail here in Greece, I don't really know why we thought it would be any different from usual!
We spent the rest of that week in Russian Bay on Poros and then headed back to Epidavros to wait for our wind generator to return from its third repair. We had a couple of days out with Theo and Evie, one to Nafplion and one around Epidavros seeing all the land owned by Theo's family and hearing about his plans for it. We returned the favour with a Chinese evening aboard Norna.
Our wind generator returned on the 16th October. Andy fitted it straight away and it has been working well since, let's hope it continues that way, it would be nice to get through a whole winter without it breaking.
Once the generator was back we were free to leave the Saronic Gulf and start on our cruise back down to Crete. We left Epidavros on the 17th October and spent one night anchored on Angistri before sailing to Kea the next day. Initially there was very little wind so we were motoring for a few hours. Once the wind started to pick up we had a good sail although as we crossed the channel between the mainland and Kea it did get a bit too windy! We had two reefs in the main and just the staysail out and were making 6 knots in 3 metre seas. A very uncomfortable and salty journey. We anchored in the same place as last year on Kea and spent a week there waiting for bad weather to go through. We had several days out walking around the headland and inland a bit. On one walk we discovered loads of almond trees dripping with nuts so we scrumped a couple of kilos and took them home. We discovered, once we started eating them, that some of the nuts were very bitter and on further investigation found that they were likely to contain hydrogen cyanide. They all went in the bin pretty sharpish and we won't scrump almonds any more!
On Tuesday we sailed from Kea to Ermopouli on Syros. Ermopouli is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are two hills in the town, one is topped with an Orthodox cathedral and the other with a Roman Catholic cathedral. Today was 'Ochi Day'. To commemmorate the day that Metaxa said 'NO' to Mussolini's invasion of Greece on 28th October 1940 each town all over Greece has parades of school children and clubs. We'd seen the parade in Preveza back in 2008 but not since. Ermopouli's parade was very good with a brass band playing and adults and children in national dress along with the normal elements. A bit more interesting than the one in Preveza.
We'll be here in Ermopouli until Thursday as we're waiting for Steph's brother to join us for a holiday. Once he arrives we'll be heading to Dhelos and then across to the Dodecanese islands for an island hopping cruise to Crete.