Sunday, June 29, 2008

Samos, Greece!

Last September, Mel and I went on a trip to Samos, Greece. It’s just an hour from Turkey, and we went partly to renew my visa and partly to get a taste of Greece.
Mel wrote a great entry about how I almost sent her to a Turkish prison here in her blog if you missed it. (Ok not really.)
Last week, needing another visa and not really keen on Bulgaria, I went back to Samos again. It wasn’t quite as fun without a sister there to listen to my corny comments and lame jokes, but it was a nice getaway.
I swam in the Aegean, OD’d on that fantastic lemon yogurt they sell over there and ate the “forbidden white meat”. Yummy!

Go away kid. Get your own fantastically delicious gyro!
I guess to pick two highlights I would have to say No. 1 would be stumbling across this church in Pythagoras. The inside was your usual Greek Church décor, crammed with icons, intricately carved chairs and more icons, hardly giving your eye a place to rest.
But the real reason this place was a highlight was because several monks were sealed away from the public area by a partial wall. You couldn’t see them, but you could hear them and their voices easily cleared that wall and them some. I sat for a long time listening to them sing and chant, their voices were strong and soothing and the way they sang was very relaxing and also, very touching.
Then a guy came and kicked me out. One o’clock siesta!
Hello! The main shopping street at  1pm!
The second thing I found fascinating were these weeds. I noticed them on the bus ride back from Pythagoras. They covered the hills and roadside. Of course I walked forever in the heat looking for these, only to find some a few meters towards the beach from my hotel. 
A little searching on the Internet led me to Poison Hemlock. Eek! Deadly stuff!
“Be wary of this plant--0.5% by weight is enough to kill a person, and people have died from eating as few as 8 leaves--but consider that most of us have probably picked it as children, mistaking it for Queen Anne's Lace.”
Queen Anne’s Lace! Whew! My weeds have a dark red flower in the middle, a sure fire way to know your dealing with the safe stuff. False alarm!
All in all it was a very relaxing nice break from the chaos of Istanbul. Got back home with very little drama, although the woman who stamped my passport on the way into Turkey was the same one who busted me on the way out last time! 

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