The first of the month – memories of Greece.

I first wrote this post exactly four years ago, and published on my Sailblogs site, which no longer exists.  So I’m re-posting it again here.

“Kalo Mina”. This is what you must say to a Greek person on the first day of the month – it means “have a good month”. So I tried it out on about four random Greeks today and they did smile back at me, so I must have pronounced it properly. Unlike the other day when I tried to say good morning to an old Greek woman. I said “Kalimari” instead of “Kalimera” so I had called her a squid which she wasn’t too pleased about.

Today Tim decided to have a day off from boat work, the first day off for almost three weeks. As the forecast said it was going to be sunny for most of the day we decided to go to the nearest beach resort to us, which is Azolimnos, about three miles south. Greek buses are hard to fathom out, especially the winter timetable, and everyone you ask gives a different answer. So we decided to walk there. Yes, I know, you did read correctly, I was going to attempt to walk three miles each way. This is unheard of, I have never walked three miles in my life.

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We saw a lovely blue and white house. I’ve written a blog post on why many Greek houses are blue and white.

So we set off at about 1030, stopping off at the boatyard to show the owners Spiros and Stavros their names in print as I had mentioned them and the boatyard in one of my recently published magazine articles. Maybe they will give us a discount on next month’s yard fees….
Five hundred metres up the road the bus passed us! Grrrr! I knew that would happen! Never mind, we carried on, and decided there was much more to see on foot; we saw a Greek scarecrow, several huge prickly pear cactus plants several metres high, a solitary pig in a field and a multitude of spring wild flowers.

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I shall digress for a moment – a few days ago Tim tried to buy some small pieces of clear thin Perspex to cover some new lights in the shower room on board Fandancer, but was unsuccessful. After walking for about a mile or so out of town, just past the airport turn off, (one flight a day to Athens in a tiny plane resembling a bus with wings), we came across a building that seemed to be a modern print workshop, and after digging about in some boxes, the owner found us some scrap pieces of thin Perspex! Now, what are the chances of going for a walk and randomly finding somewhere that would not only have exactly the right pieces you wanted, but also have them cut out on a laser cutting machine and only charge you three euros! Quite bizarre!

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So we carried on walking and arrived in Azolimnos some time later, carrying two pieces of Perspex. The village is very much a small holiday resort in summer, with several tavernas and many apartments for rent opposite a clean sandy beach with tamarisk trees growing out of the sand. A lovely place for a holiday. However, everything closes down from the end of October until April so we had the beach to ourselves, apart from a couple of hardy Greek ladies who were actually swimming in the sea. But as the water temperature in Greece in February was probably equal to what it would be on the hottest day of the year at a beach in the UK, It probably wasn’t that cold.

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It was such a lovely day, clear blue sky, no breeze, sun shining. Perfect for walking. Fantastic for February 1st, we felt very lucky to be there. I must say that if it had been even 4 or 5 degrees warmer it would have been TOO WARM to have walked that far! And a further bonus was that we did find a taverna opposite the beach that looked like it was open, as people were sitting at a table with drinks, although we thought they might just be friends of the owner. But it really was open, so we ordered a beer each, as a reward for walking three miles, and then ordered lunch from the quite extensive menu – Greek salad, bread, tzatziki, fried courgettes, pork chop for me and Tim bravely chose something called spiny dogfish which arrived disguised almost like nuggets, in batter. I was half expecting that we would have to walk the three miles back before we got any food or even a drink, so it was a lovely surprise to be able to eat lunch with a perfect view of the sea.


And yes, I did make it back home, another three miles!

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