Published: July 30th 2012July 30th 2012
My ad for Mythos, "the best Hellenic beer".
Zeno proved that fleet footed Achilles could never catch a turtle. He observed that each time Achilles halved the distance to overtake the turtle, there would always be another distance, albeit shorter, to be halved. I use a similar trick for making my trips last longer. I don't allow myself to think about my next destination. Instead, I focus on the next half of the duration between now and when I depart. Nancy must be frustrated when I fall silent each time she tries to make a plan for the next stop.
I am especially superstitious about allowing myself to think of coming home, home tomorrow, back to work handing out life preservers on that sinking ship of a university. Well... I'm violating my own policy just typing this.
I am composing my blog while standing in the kitchen of our pension in Tolo. I stand because there are no chairs or tables. I am waiting for the water to boil to make coffee. Nancy is asleep in the next room and it is probably 95 degrees outside even though it's only 7 AM.
Tolo is a tiny beach town on the eastern shore of the Peloponnese.
Sitting in a cafe in Napfleon.
It's just around the bend from Napflion, a slightly less tiny beach town, but one that was at one time the capitol of Greece.
The Peloponnese dangles by a narrow isthmus from the rest of Greece like a large sack of mountains. The highway signs we passed driving down here are straight out of Thucididyes: Corinth, Megara, Argos, Mycenea, and of course, Sparta. I want to get out of the car and walk this storied ground.
Tolo is pleasantly free of foreign tourists like myself. Unfortunately, Tolo is relatively free of Greek tourists, too. Vassilis, the manager of Aretoysa Hotel
, our bar tender, and an Aston Kutcher look-alike tells us that his business can survive through this year, but not another. The economy must recover. I don't think it will. I leave a slightly larger than average tip hoping maybe the couple extra Euros might get him through 2013. I tell him that I'll mention his hotel in my blog.
In fact Tolo is a great place to spend a few days. The restaurants set their tables on the beach and serve octopus sovlaki. Vassillis' hotel is cheap, comfortable, has a great view, a pool that
Santorini is what's left of a much larger island that disappeared after a massive volcanic eruption. That's the volcano in the center of the caldera.
changes color at night, and he makes a great mohito. And did I mention that he looks like Ashton Kutcher?
The island of Santorini is the largest in a chain of islands that circle an active volcano. In 1600 BC all of the islands were part of one big island, then the volcano blew. The entire middle part of the island sunk and the sea came rushing into the caldera. The resulting tsunami inundated Crete and may have caused the fall of the Minoan civilization.
Today the towns of Fira and Oia drape over the edge of the caldera's 1000 foot cliffs. From a distance they look like snow caps. Giant cruise ships pull into the caldera. Donkeys lug the tourists up the cliffs for five euros per head. At the top of the cliffs the tourists can pay one euro per minute to soak their feet in aquariums filled with tiny fish that eat dead skin. (I'm not making this up.) I lower my feet into an aquarium and all of the fish die immediately. (Okay, I did make that up.)
For Nancy and me our refuge from self conscious Fira is Caveland, a former
From a distance the sun bleached houses of Oia and Fira look like snow caps.
wine cellar that has been converted into a hostel. The rooms are actual caves. Outside young travelers sit under a bougainvillea canopy and stare into their iPhones.
Living in a cave presents some challenges. A machine runs constantly in our cave. It extracts a full quart of moisture from the air every eight hours. Also, used toilet paper has to be disposed of in a trash can next to the toilet.
I almost forgot the best part of Santorini. We rent an ATV and explore the island! For Nancy, the ATV is a means to reach remote beaches where we can spend the day. For me, remote beaches are simply a pretext for riding around on the ATV. As soon as we arrive at one beach I suggest to her that the next beach is probably better and that we should hop back onto the ATV. As I drive I sing: "I don't wanna a pickle, just wanna ride on my motorcycle. And I don't wanna die, just wanna ride on my motor cy.... cle."
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