Du Lac Music Cafe
Agios Nikolaos, Crete - Greece
*The dominant Greek word we know, which our phrasebook defines as "hello", though the Greeks seem to use it like "aloha", appropriate for all sorts of gracious occasions.
It seems I have kept a number of you in great suspense! As I'm sure occurred to you, Internet access on the islands was non-existent or limited to strange hours like after 8pm, which is a bloody inconvenient time when you've been on an epic beach safari all afternoon and don't even get around to showering and eating dinner until 9pm. Anyhow, I myself have been anxious to get back to the keyboard, as I have a severe case of "writer's mind" and it can get clogged up with strange fragments of experiences until properly channeled, and thus processed... Thus I very much appreciate all of the enthusiasm I have received for these Logs!
Where were we? Ah.
Apparently having sufficiently proven ourselves (to ourselves as much as the proverbial gods), the return trip from Delphi was much smoother, though certainly not lacking in funk. Let's just say our bus back to Athens would have made the perfect tour bus had the cast members of The Partridge Family and That 70's Show ever decided to take an act on the road.
From the bus it was straight into a cab plastered with "no smoking" signs (but the driver of which smoked anyway, somehow pulling this off as ironic rather than hypocritical), and on to the port at Piraeus, which our guidebook accurately described as a lower echelon of hell that one braves only in the name of catching a ferry.
Three hours later, finally, finally we landed on the island of Kythnos in the Cyclades, then stood on the port like a couple of rocks in the current, suddenly unsure of our next move. Funny thing was, we'd so anticipated getting there, we hadn't put much thought into what we would do once we did. Our only incentive for coming to Kythnos and all of the information we possessed on the island was a small blurb on our Greek Isles map indicating "a relatively quiet island" and "hot springs". Fortunately, my radar honed in on a bus idling nearby and we ended up exactly where we were supposed to be.
The seaside village of Loutra was a huge breath of fresh air- literally and otherwise. Comprised entirely of only a handful of restaurants and hotels, a few super markets, and a motto rental/scuba diving shop, our days there were spent exploring the island in pursuit of beaches (as far as we could in either direction on foot), lounging on the one decent beach we did find, soaking in the hot springs, and of course the quintessential acts of eating and sleeping, a bit more than usual perhaps.
Most memorable of all was the quirky old Greek woman at the super market where we went daily for picnic fare. She spoke maybe three words of English but somehow we had a perfect understanding with her. We would mime "smaller" when she tried to unload near-lethal amounts of feta on us, and she patted our stomachs and tutted, obviously saying we needed some fattening up.
By the third day it was time to move on, and after a rocket ship of a taxi ride back to the port town (during which we may or may not have been witness to a covert mafia dealing when the driver picked up a couple of rather dark, Greek pals and went on to converse in rather dark, urgent Greek with them), we narrowly made it onto the ferry heading south. There was a bit of a stress-fest which I won't go into involving the island of Sifnos and another five hour lay-over (though there are certainly worse places to be stranded than sipping cold drinks by the beach), then circumstances put us on the island of Milos around 8:30 that night. Once again we consulted the blurb on our Greek Isles map, which seemed to imply that everything of interest was in Plaka (about 4 kilometers outside the port town of Adamas), though the Divinities had other plans for us. We were standing at the taxi station once again looking fairly lost I'm sure, when a tricked-up, little green Volkswagen pulled up and asked us if we wanted a room. Bending down to come into view with the driver, we met our future friend Nicholas, a young local guy with a big heart and a big fondness for dance club tunes, though he was a self-taught violin player as well. We said no thanks, we were going to Plaka, but rather than drive off and leave us in our muddle he insisted, "No, no, no- you don't want to stay in Plaka. You see, Adamas is the center, with four directions."
Adamas looked more like the center for indiscretions, but that was me after a long day.
"Tomorrow," he continued, "you take car or bus... You take day trips from here, very nice."
I was still skeptical, but then he said the magic words: "Twenty euro a night."
We ended up staying on Milos, and in our nice little room in Nicholas' building, for over four days, the longest we had planted ourselves anywhere thus far. Initially we were there purely circumstantially... then we were there because, well, we liked it. Nicholas' complex had a sense of being its own little community and was located within walking distance of the main center, in a sort of "on the verge" section of town that was an interesting mix of modern housing, empty lots, old car rental shops, and buildings seemingly abandoned mid-try. It was also where all of the strays seemed to end up- cats, dogs, and travelers alike, and on the morning of the second day we were found by a sweet little tabby kitten of no more than 8 weeks of age, whose milky hazel eyes and inexplicable sense of purpose snared our hearts within seconds. We named her Mia Gata ("cat" in Greek- well we fancy ourselves original), and for 24 hours she was our world. We fed her and tended to her cold (which she allowed very generously, seeing as she was a superior feline and all) and otherwise lavished adoration, and she purred like a finely tuned motor and followed us wherever we went, down the street and up steps and everything else.
Mostly we fantasized: Could we pull this off? Could we actually haul a cat around Europe? Along with the next morning, however, dawned Doubt. Of course we couldn't! How could we experience anything! Where would we stay! We fretted having to make the choice, or worse, carry it out, but "Mia", as we called her, saved us the trouble. We were in town, on our way to pick up our laundry, when suddenly she demanded to be put down. We did so, then kissed to her and walked on, but instead of following as usual she took one look at a shop to her right and walked with an eerie sense of deliberateness inside.
Marlon and I looked at each other and felt a conflicting sense of loss and relief. Mia Gata had chosen her own destiny.
It was time for our real adventures on the island to begin. We walked next door to talk to Nicholas' neighbor about renting a tinker toy ("car" to the Europeans, I say affectionately- and enviously). For 22 euro, we could have a new, flashy blue tinker toy that an American commercial would have smothered in techno music and over-priced sunglasses (in other words, a car Nicholas would have really liked), or for 18 euro we could have a decrepit, old, white Fiat Panda with no AC and no discernable way of opening the passenger side door, and whose highly probable role in the movie Spaceballs had obviously ended up on the cutting room floor.
We went with the Panda.
Initially, we figured it would be a good opportunity for Marlon to teach me to drive stick shift, but "Panda" ended up being a bear of a car even for the Manual Master himself in the beginning, so we decided it wasn't the moment.
In no time we were zipping all over the island with a newfound sense of freedom and independence, from seeing every single beach on the northern shore to getting lost amid a massive and unexpected mining operation on the east, to the sparsely populated southwestern side where wild mountain goats looked up in varying degrees of alarm and disinterest when we "baa-aa"ed at them as we blew past (roosters receiving similar greetings from Marlon in their species' tongue reacted purely in alarm).
The highlights of our Milos excursions however, were by far the beaches, which were phenomenal! Sloping white rock giving the appearance of sand dunes descended gradually or dropped off dramatically into clear turquoise waters, interspersed with magical caverns and twisting tunnels which apparently were once used to hide from pirates- though they looked far more like something a pirate would hide his treasure in (making our way with only my weak keychain flashlight, we felt sure to stumble across a skeleton or Indiana Jones or the gateway to Atlantis).
Eventually we left Milos, deciding to head straight on to Crete as we realized Time is starting to come down on us. Because boats go to Crete from Milos only three days a week, and only at midnight, we arrived here at 9 this morning after a rather rough night of it, but we're back as strong as ever...
Vibrational alchemist, writer, artistic mystic, pack mama and spiritual adventurer living in The Goodland - Goleta, CA. Creator of Lioness Energetics.
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