Log #27h Athens and Poros

November 2, 2002 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 27 Summer in Greece, The Logs

Kemer, Turkey
Nov. 2, 2002

Hi Folks,

We’re back at our winter marina here in Kemer. It was like old home week meeting the friends we made here last year and who are here again, as well as several boats we had met en route over the summer who are wintering here. As we rounded the lighthouse into the camber, we were hailed by Rod on Glenlyon whom we last saw in Paris over two year ago, and with whom we crossed the Atlantic from Bermuda to the Azores in 1999. There are 5 boats here at Kemer that crossed that spring with us. We’re even in the same slip as last year. This is a friendly place.

Today is voting day, but the results may not be finalized for another four days or so. The best guesses put the former Islamic party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) as the winner, but likely to form a coalition with the CHP party to form the government. Erdogan, the leader of the AKP, cannot run and cannot take the role of Prime Minister. Whom he or the party will appoint is unknown. The CHP is a moderate left wing party which has some good economists respected by the IMF and which might have a leavening effect on the AKP.

We went on a Sunday walk today through the town into one of the mountain gorges to the Roman Bridge, a still standing bridge built by the Romans. Lovely scenery of the towering mountains with rain clouds brooding at their summits and blowing over the pass, the rocky cliffs and grey water-eroded boulders conducting the tumbling grey-green mountain waters through the gorge, the cool breeze blowing up the pass, the sore feet of the walkers and the panting of us cyclists (yes, I rode my old three speed bike) from the 10 kilometre trek – all contributed to an exhausting but enjoyable day.

But I should save this description for the appropriate log. I am getting caught up and am able to access the internet from the phone on board the boat, provided by the marina, through my Superonline account, which operates only in Turkey so far. I may be able to switch it to an international account as I want to dump AOL as soon as possible. So, until we return to Canada you can write us at Veleda@sol.com.

Weather is warm and sunny during the day, but cools down to 15ْ C in the evenings. We are still wearing shorts, dining in outdoor cafes, and swimming in the sea. In fact Judy went in for an unplanned swim yesterday afternoon as she dropped a part in the water from the roller furling which she was servicing. She found it OK, and didn’t complain about the water being cold, but was just frustrated at the incident. She apologized to the neighbouring boats for her language when the screw went for its dive.

My logs still have us going through Greece, and this one takes us through Athens.

Enjoy,
All the best,

Aubrey

******************************************************************************

Log #27h Athens and Poros

Oct 28, 2002
Karoloz, Kekova Adasi, Turkey

We took Alvin back to Athens next day via the cat ferry, as it left 15 minutes before the hydrofoil and got to Piraeus at the same time. At least on the cat, we could stand outside on the upper deck and have the wind in our faces, and watch how it took the waves and wash from other boats. We took a subway up to the Athens Archeological Museum, using our airport bus tickets from the previous day, as those tickets entitle one to use them on all local transport for 24 hours.

The museum was good, especially the gold work and artifacts from Mycenae. This was a civilization located on the upper part of the Peloponnesus contemporary with the Minoan culture of Crete, and also experienced a sudden decline after the monstrous earthquake on Thira in the 15th century BC. However another exhibit we wanted to see was the wall paintings from Thira. If you remember from my earlier Log #27c, when we were at Thira, I expressed a frustration that the artifacts from the ruins were carted off to the Athens Museum, and there was no museum or good explanatory display at the site which we visited. Murphy’s Law!! – The display of the wall paintings from Thira was closed for renovations on that floor of the Athens Archeological Museum! Aaarrgghhh!!

We enjoyed the rest of the museum, especially as we had traveled so much around the Peloponnesus and the Aegean Islands, allowing us to put into perspective the developments of ancient and classical Greece, and the locations, many of which we have seen or will visit.

We hopped on a street car towards the Acropolis, and started to walk our way around its base, struggling to find the entrance. We spent a couple of hours wandering over the site, around the Parthenon (roped off so we could not go inside), and past several temples. We saw the southern portico of the Erechtheion, the roof of which is supported by the six statues of maidens (replicas), the Caryatids, a picture of which I remember from my Greek and Latin textbooks. There is an on-site museum with some of the original Caryatids, and other statues, sculptures, pottery, jewellery, and friezes. Some of the original friezes from the Parthenon are still in the British Museum, known as the Elgin Marbles, taken (saved?) by Lord Elgin, and currently under dispute, with Greece seeking their return. These are the sculptured carvings above the capitals of the columns, but below the overhang of the roof (part of entablature between architrave and cornice – Oxford Dictionary). Many of the statues were of Poros marble from the island of Poros, which we will be visiting. It was also from Poros marble that the Venus de Milo was sculpted. The views over Athens from the walls of the Acropolis were impressive. We could see several other hills around the city, and below were the two semicircular theatres, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus, the Odeon in good shape and still used, but the Theatre of Dionysus was just a low pile of foundation stones.

We paid €12.00 for the Acropolis and several other sites below it in the Plaka, the old quarter of Athens. And so we walked to most of them, a couple of which were closed. We particularly enjoyed the ancient Agora, especially the impressive reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, a long rectangular building with 30 or more columns supporting the roof and outside arcade. Inside was another interesting museum of statuary, pottery, jewellery and coins. While we were walking around the Temple of Hephaestus, Judy got a call on our mobile phone from her parents asking if Alvin arrived OK. We still find it unusual to be talking on the phone outside of a house or building, and often forget that we can take it with us. Talking on the phone while at sea or at anchor seems a sybaritic luxury. We also visited the Tower of Winds, a clock tower (sundials and water clock) built in the 1st century BC. It is an octagonal structure with winged figures on each of its eight sides representing the winds from each of those directions. The other interesting aspect is that the sides accurately face the four cardinal and four semi-cardinal points of the compass, even though the compass in its most rudimentary form was not introduced until over 1000 years later.

Then Judy suggested a local taverna recommended in the Lonely Planet, located in the old market and open 24 hours a day for supper before going back to Aigina. OK, so we wandered some more and finally found it up a narrow market street with fish and butcher shops cleaning up for closing at the end of the day. We had some interesting meat stews for a tasty quick meal and did a bit of shopping before all the stalls closed up. Then rather than take the subway back to Piraeus we thought we would take the bus. However, the 24 hour free transport part of our airport bus ticket had expired and we had to find a kiosk to buy some more. Of course in doing so we missed one bus and had to wait 20 minutes for the next.  It was a long bus ride. The subway took only 15 minutes, but the bus was about an hour, and then did not go right down to the port, but stopped above it on one side of the harbour. After another 20 minute walk we arrived about 2030, in the dark, to find out the last ferry had gone at 1930! We were able to get economical hotel rooms at the Acropole Hotel near the docks for only €40.00 a night, bathroom down the hall. At least we were able to get a warm shower which Judy and I had not had for over a week. This was also the first time we had slept in a bed on land since Jerusalem during the EMYR in June. Frustrating, but we were thankful for small mercies.

We caught the first hydrofoil back to Aigina in the morning, boarded Veleda and were under way by 1115 for Nisos Poros, a small island 13 miles to the south. After the hubbub of two and a half days in Athens and several days on the town dock in Aigina, we were happy to drop anchor in Ak Dana, an isolated bay a few miles from Poros town, no other boats or buildings around. Alvin and I took Sprite to explore the shoreline and went out to the point, landing below the Ak Dana light to go through the old abandoned light house. We were able to get in and went up the spiral stairs to the top balcony where we were able to see the original lens still mounted inside. The vista from the catwalk around the light was a panorama of the rugged coast line of Poros, and across the channel we could see the mountains of the Peloponnisos. There was much more greenery here and in the Saronic Gulf than we have seen in most of the Aegean islands. Back on Veleda it was nice to spend a quiet night at anchor.

From Poros we planned to rent a car to travel to Delphi, where the Delphic Oracle influenced the fate of many heroes and endeavours throughout antiquity. However, we did not trust the anchorage, and it was a bit far to travel in Sprite to the town, so we took Veleda the three miles to town, to pick up a mooring buoy (it was available and free) in mid-channel between Poros town and Galatas on the Peloponnisos side.  We arranged a car from Galatas and next day we were off to Epidavros, the Corinth Canal, and Delphi, for a long 600-plus kilometer trip.