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BS: Postcard from 'Dendros' 2017

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Roger the Skiffler 02 Jul 17 - 05:48 AM
Roger the Skiffler 02 Jul 17 - 11:18 AM
ChanteyLass 02 Jul 17 - 04:36 PM
Steve Shaw 02 Jul 17 - 05:22 PM
Roger the Skiffler 03 Jul 17 - 03:41 AM
Steve Shaw 03 Jul 17 - 04:50 AM
Roger the Skiffler 03 Jul 17 - 06:28 AM

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From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 02 Jul 17 - 05:48 AM

After 22 years and 15 visits there is not a lot new that I can report. The village has two new 5 month old babies which were paraded to be admired at every opportunity. Friends who arrived a month before us in a new studio (last year told it only needed 30 days work- it was just ready, without Wi-Fi or last minute touches, the day before they arrived!). They had a wet first week and had to work at tavernas for wi-fi with inevitable interruptions.   A few days after we arrived they got wi-fi but then the weather was lovely! We were in the smaller of our Owner's two apartments a s a couple of Austrian climber we have met on previous visits were in the larger apartment, coming to the end of a month's stay. When they left, we moved over as there was non-one else coming in till we left. The Owner as usual met us off the ferry and stopped off at the supermarket so we could stock up with items not available at the small village shop. The Austrian helped us drag our bags up to the apartment which was a great help. We heard on the journey how taxes were up on houses and even on beach furniture. Despite pleading poverty the Owner couldn't help pointing out several properties he owns in "best" parts of the island.
        A rich islander living abroad has bought them two new buses which were unused for months waiting to be licensed. The bus timetable remains minimal and ferry times have been cut to those subsidised by central government.
        The music in the tavern was international as usual especially when yachts were in. A strong wind for a few days kept some of them around for longer than planned (we found our balcony table upside down one morning). There were Finns, Greeks, Danes, French and Austrians in. The Finns went in for drinking songs which involved lots of standing up. There was a couple of outbreaks of Greek dancing led by the daughter and daughter-in-law from the taverna, joined by others after a round of raki. At the weekend a boatload from Leros sang from lunchtime until they returned to their boat.
        On the windy or cloudy days we did our usual walks. We reassured ourselves that the road to nowhere round the headland hadn't progressed any further.   Our attempt to do what we call the goat gate walk was defeated by a particularly fiendish set of rope knots fastening one gate.
        Hiring a car for a couple of days enabled us to visit a few more favourite places and to have coffee and icecream at the holiday home of some British friends. As usual driving gave us a chance to admire other drivers' techniques: a moped towing a wheelbarrow held by the pillion passenger, and one of the three-wheelers with trailer carrying a tall upright refrigerator. We learned that all post delivery workers have been sacked and the sorters refused to deliver so customers were shown a pile of post in the PO and told to find their own! Meter readers had also ceased to visit so people were only paying estimated fuel and water bills. A helpful waiter at one tavern pointed out our hire car had soft tire and pointed us to the nearest petrol station. He also took a take-away customer by motorbike to the day trip boat about to leave. "I do everything round here", he said. He planned to return to Australia after 2 years on his "home" island.
        Although there was no outbreak of hilarity like the notorious "car keys in the bananas" incident of a few years ago...having picked up the car, shopped for "jolly memorials" and bread we returned to base to pick up our wheelchair bound member who couldn't manage the ' bus (steep steps and the disabled seat up another step!). At this point, we put our bread in their fridge and prepared to head out for lunch. Herself realised she hadn't got her glasses. I went back to our apartment to look for her spare pair, not where she said, perhaps mislaiid in the move between apartments. We drove back to the main town- not in the gift shop, not in the bakers.   After we got back and reclaimed our bread we found them in the bread bag! The spare pair were with my spare pair in my bedside drawer.   We visited the church of Ayios George & Nektarios which has a great view over both coasts and a viewpoint above the fertile valley that is usually marred by rubbish. A new bin had been installed and we tidied up and added the odd condom wrapper and plastic bottle that had been left around.
        On our walks we saw a Melanistic whipsnake (harmless) and one of the large "dragon" lizards and the usual goats. One couple we met had found a large hedgehog on their doorstep when they returned from the taverna. Nothing seems to change in Greece despite the well-publicised problems. Contributing to political parties ensures building permits, neighbours call the police to report what they perceive is illegal works. One shop had a notice that customers need not pay if not offered a receipt. Only one pace we ate at had the legal notice about complaints.   
        The weekend was busy as usual with families coming to the beach and trailbikes and jetskis disturbing the peace. The Sunday after the Summer Solstice
youths lit fires of haybales on the jetty and jumped over them and then into the sea. Small fires were lit so tots could do the same. Saturday mornings we were summoned by bells as the local church is just above our apartment. Old ladies swimming in their dresses and headscarves were usually in the sea before we had our breakfast.
        When our Owner and his family were in residence at the weekend they force-fed us with breakfast and lunches, we usually had enough left for another day.   Although there were always young women taking posing selfies with their friends on the beach, after the end of the school term what I took to be the leaving class took a mass bikini shoot and later that evening dined to an (over) amplified band at one taverna with some dancing later.
        There were an average of a dozen yachts in each evening which swelled the dining population. I was asked not to sing till they'd paid to avoid scaring them away.   Some were Turkish. There are apparently two types of Turk. The Bad ones eat on board and empty their tanks in Greek waters. The Good ones come in to the right taverna, spend lots of money and join in the entertainment.
        One Irishman who has a holiday home here said when the village parking lot was paved with EEC money they should call it Angel Merkel Platz!
        One odd incident. A truck carrying pots (pithoi, kappasas etc) arrived. "Gypsies" the Greeks said. The man's sales technique was peculiar. The ladies at the tavern said they didn't want any and not at 120 euros. He shouted waved his arms, insulted them, kept unloading pots. When the paterfamilias arrived he didn't support his wife and daughter-in-law and tell the guy to sling his hook, just bartered him dons, taking 2 for 20 euros!. His wife took 20 for herself out of his wallet in revenge!
        Security concerns throughput Europe meant the strongest airport checks and young man was ordering dynamite off the internet for the next Easter celebration when they throw bombs in the mountains and into the sea, while local police just concentrate on crowd control. One year one of these bombs "accidentally" destroyed a restaurant/bar opened by an outsider near the marina at the port and had been creaming off trade from wealthy sailors. It wasn't rebuilt and the owner left the island never to return. Someone was taken ill in the village while we were there. The hospital phone was unanswered and the police said they couldn't respond as they were busy with a visiting politician. A taxi had to be called instead!
        Some had questioned why I name no names. Well, the tradition of passing down family names can leave to confusion. In our little tavern there are three Eirenes, assorted Marias, Christinas and Elenis and as for Georges: there is George the Owner, George the Guitarist, George the Vegetable man, George the Baker and baby George the new grandson.
        We probably won't be back next year as a BIG Birthday for a family member means a mass UK holiday at this time of year. We'll be in Sifnos in September and a possible Postcard will ensue.

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From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 02 Jul 17 - 11:18 AM

While there I mused on prices. Ten minute white-knuckle taxi ride from the airport to the ferry 15eu, ferry 30-40 minutes 15 eu (for 2). 30-40 minute taxi to village from port usually 30 eu. 'Bus (only 2 a day) 3eu pp ie 6eu. BUT when 3 of us shared a taxi, driver charged 25 eu then said: "Are you sharing? I'll make it 24 so it divides by 3." He was delighted to receive 26 eu and gave us 2 packets of peanuts, home roasted! We pay about half what our Owner charges others, but we did bring him something from UK on special offer that was expensive in Greece, and don't expect cleaning while we are there, and change our own beds and towels from his supply.


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Subject: RE: BS: Postcard from 'DENDROS' 2017
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 02 Jul 17 - 04:36 PM

I always enjoy reading about your trips. Thank you!

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Subject: RE: BS: Postcard from 'DENDROS' 2017
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Jul 17 - 05:22 PM

You want white-knuckle taxi rides? Try any taxi from Catania airport in Sicily! 😫

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Subject: RE: BS: Postcard from 'Dendros' 2017
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 03 Jul 17 - 03:41 AM

We're going to Sicily in October, Steve,I'll remember my pills!

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Subject: RE: BS: Postcard from 'Dendros' 2017
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 03 Jul 17 - 04:50 AM

Have you been before? We love Sicily. Last year we spent a week in Ortigia, staying in the Giudecca area. Amazing restaurants, real food and stunning architecture with lots of ancient narrow streets.   The archeological park in Siracusa is a must and the Duomo piazza is a great place to hang out for an hour or two. We had a very entertaining day out to Noto by bus in biblical weather, but what gelati! I duetted with a boatman in "Santa Lucia" in a sea-cave. I love the idea of your postcards but I prefer not to let the world know I've been away until I get back. We got back from Lake Como last week. The beauty swept us off our feet and we stayed in a tiny lakeside B&B where the owner regaled us with wonderful food made from local ingredients made to ancient regional recipes. A proud man of passion. No big coach-trip hotels for us!

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Subject: RE: BS: Postcard from 'Dendros' 2017
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 03 Jul 17 - 06:28 AM

A first for us, looking forward to Greek & Roman remains etc.

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