Mykonos – Ormos Bay              June 20 – 24, 2016

abilify generic cost Light wind day today. We, initially, head to Nisos Rinia Bay near Delos. A predicted strong meltemi may keep us sequestered aboard for the next few days so we decide on the more active Ormos Harbor on Mykonos. We will set our tried and true “Ultima” anchor and wait for the onslaught…and it comes…30…40…45 knot winds.

duolin respules price retino-a tretinoin cream price   budecort 400 inhaler price June 21, 2016

Mykonos - Ormos Bay - Pakilar and "Turkish Delight" ride out the meltemi.
Mykonos – Ormos Bay – Pakilar and “Turkish Delight” ride out the meltemi.

betahistine price philippines Daylight hours we stand topside to watch for incoming boats. It is our outdoor ‘Television’. Sometimes it is a comedy and sometimes it is a drama, with the potential to become a tragedy. Comedies come from watching stupidity and ill-preparedness, not so much inexperience. We were all inexperienced at one time. Stupidity is failing to admit your shortcomings and sail with knowledgeable and capable people until you are one of them. “Charterers” / Once a year sailors are a big concern for most mariners. The sea is a dangerous place…suddenly so.

rhinocort buy online Watching, watching! It is difficult for an incoming boat in a big wind to set an anchor, even in good holding ground. Big winds push on the sides of the boat, “sailing” it. This flips the anchor over and keeps it from digging into the mud or sand and taking hold. Compounding the problem, improperly set anchors let loose, usually around 2 am, in a big blow. Tom and Marcelo are out early this morning sounding our air horn at a neighboring catamaran whose anchor was dragging. ‘Bwaaah! Bwaaah! Bwaaah! It is such a purposely-unnerving sound. Two sleepy boxer short and T-shirt clad souls stumble up from down below and turn on the engine, haul the anchor, and power off. Where did they go? We don’t know. Do they ever get a chance to dress while managing a boat in a wind that steadily grows? Difficult to imagine.

Ormos Beach on Mykonos - Big Winds!
Ormos Beach on Mykonos – Big Winds!

aricept generic price Reading, blogging, emailing, and taking time to catch up the news fills the day. I expend my usual quota of anxiety-ridden energy worrying about the world. Job done, I click off my computer and retire to my bunk in search of dreamless sleep.

himcolin gel where to buy As we entered Ormos Harbor on the first day, we saw “Turkish Delight”, a 25-meter gullet, at anchor. Owners Warren and Elizabeth, whom we briefly saw in Paros…Warren jetted over to us in the dinghy as we were leaving to say hello… are on the stern. They come for drinks tonight. They have found a wonderful business model for their totally renovated gullet (big and roomy Turkish built wooden boats that have larger than normal common space and big staterooms). They anchor in harbors like Mykonos and Santorini and provide less expensive room options than a hotel, coupled with a unique onboard experience. The rear decks are lovely and spacious for drinks and dinner. The “living room” is perfect for cooler weather lounging. Elizabeth is a fabulous chef…winning numerous awards for her cuisine. Lucky guests! (“Turkish Delight” info@turkishcharters.com www.turkishcharters.com Tel: +90 534 073 58 29) We sit on Pakilar’s deck and share stories of favorite places and people. Warren has been in the charter business for 25 years. I say, “You must have had some strange guests aboard over the years,” hoping for a few stories. “They were all pretty nice,” he says. I reply, “I don’t believe it for a minute. You are just very kind.” He is.

effexor xr price Full moon tonight. We sit outside with a grappa in hand for a bit of quiet reflection. It makes my soul feel good.

vermox buy online June 22, 2016

The wind roars but we still manage to ready the dinghy for shore on a “mental health” outing for me. I also need the exercise. Cold water, big winds, many more visits to the quay than anchorages and some great meals contribute to my increasing sloth-like tendencies. Not a great swimmer, Marcelo suggests that I “jump off the bow, swim into the current towards the shore (similar to a swim in a hydrotherapy exercise pool) and then let the waves push me towards the stern of the boat.” “Sure,” I reply.

Short stop at “Turkish Delight” to view the renovations. Wonderful! We meet the crew and say “Hello” to two young…and very happy…guests. We seize the moment between fully booked moments to come aboard and tour the boat. I am so jealous of their freezer. Options! Fewer trips to the grocery store! If I never entered another supermarket, I would be very happy. My dislike of grocery shopping, predates my ‘lost heart’ for cooking. Any love for the incredibly nurturing and creative act of preparing a meal was ripped out, thrown on the grown and stomped on. I could almost hear the pop, shatter and heel grinding crunch of the shards. I cannot claim that this broken vessel was ever Baccarat crystal but occasionally it reached a Reidel Premium level. Thousands of meals later it can be officially pronounced “dead”! Occasional evenings, lifting a pan from cabinet to stovetop is an exhausting effort. I stare into its void and ‘sigh’.

A floating deck on the right side of bay near the beach provides an easy way to scramble out of dinghies. Tom and I wobble flat-footed on the bobbing dock, like a toddler learning to walk, towards the steps to shore. Trash bins for boaters are a bit overloaded and there is no recycling. We pack, crumble our trash down into the bins to keep the wind from littering the shore. Half a bottle of hand sanitizer later, we take the short walk to steps down to the beach and all the restaurants alongside.

We skip the on-beach restaurants and pick a tavern across the street (Porto Ormos ??). As we sit, I notice that the theme of “Zorba, the Greek” is playing…not a good sign for great food. Next tune is another version of the theme song…and the next…and the next…and the next! It is the only song they play. ‘The staff must go insane listening to that everyday,’ I think. Still, our waiter is very pleasant but a little harassed looking. (People burn-out?) We help with the usual paper tablecloth attachment, order quickly, and say our ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’. The waiter’s mood lightens. (Later, we get a smile, handshake, and “Thank you for coming”.) Tom’s spaghetti carbonara is excellent. My pork brochette is good…and becomes even better when I remember that I didn’t have to cook it!

Next stop is the AB market (both a mini-market and a larger grocery store just a few blocks inland) and the bakery. Two bakeries are located close to each other. One of them is next to the big AB Market. We check out both bakeries…to bad this is not an aerobic sport, I would be thin. The pastries in the bakery on the neighboring roundabout…not the one next to the AB…look fresher, tons of choices, and taste great! (Guess, I will be jumping on the bow of the boat when I get back.) We go on a spending spree to acquire ‘pastry” delights to bring back to Pakilar.

June 23, 2016

Hunkered in, the winds grow. Our Skype – ing to children resembles Neil Armstrong’s 1960 communications from the moon.

Late night email to our son, Jake, taking advantage of the time change to be the first to wish him a happy birthday…tomorrow!

ketotifen buy June 24, 2016

Winds are even wilder today…gusts to 50 knots. Tom and Marcelo make a long term plan to head towards Samos and Patmos at the end of next week with our niece and her family. Don’t want a chance of getting holed up for days on end with the meltemis that are common here in the middle Cyclades. For now, we hover around Mykonis, awaiting a daughter’s arrival on Sunday.

Drinks aboard “Turkish Delight” tonight. Great fun! Tom, Marcelo and I enjoy a wonderful conversation with Warren and Elizabeth and crew. Elizabeth serves her lemon and pineapple sorbets. Delicious! Amazing what a talented person can do, even on a boat.

Dinner on shore on the beach in Ormos Harbor tonight “Kuzina” Restaurant (Similar name to the restaurant in Syros) Tel: 22890 26434 www.MykonosAmmosHotel.com They have a great sushi / sashimi bar here. Every dish was excellent. Tom’s chicken brochettes and Marcelo’s salad were fabulous.

 

 

 

 

 

Serendipitous Change of Plans – Back to Tinos – June 18 -19, 2016

A nice beam reach changes our plan to go to Andros. We will go to Tinos instead. Pakilar ‘is’ a sailboat and that means she goes where the wind blows. This is no hardship. We love both islands.

Today I will be prepared for the opinionated young man who tends the quay. There will be no debate, no ‘horsing’ our boat closer to the dock. I will find out how to say, “Tie a Knot” in Greek! I have had the information at my fingertips all this time. The question is “Why haven’t I looked before?” Better late than never, I make a few confusing queries online and stumble on the magic phrase “How do you say ‘Tie a knot’ in Greek. [Shocking to me how complicated I try to make things…”What is the correct pronunciation of the phrase…, etc., etc. Simple is best!]

Google Translate provides the answer. ‘Tie a knot” is κόμπο (pronounced kómpo). Just a single word. There is a speaker symbol on Google translate next to the word that says the word…“koompo”. The dock looms and I will try my new skill as I throw the stern lines. I am nervous as I shout out “koompo”. No, he doesn’t hand me a raki, he doesn’t call the port police…he ties a knot. Such power!

Dinner tonight at O Ntinos” (Ormos, Yianaki, 84200, GreeceTel. 22830 31673). All out of our favorite “Crystalized Octopus” (Really “caramelized”, but, you must admit, it sounds more exotic with this name.) Still, we are very content with our wild artichokes and a variety of fish dishes. Athena is working at the Museum tonight…a three-day folk music festival. Dino recognizes us and welcomes us warmly. His son, the one studying in Athens, is home and working in the restaurant. “I read your blog,” he tells me. A fan…how great!

exforge us price June 19, 2016

It’s ‘2nd time around day on Tinos’! [Recommend the book “Tinos 360 degrees” by Zefi Potiri as your guidebook. Very helpful.] We will visit the sites we missed last time…Volax and Pirgo. The main road dead-ends in the town of Volax. You park your car and walk into the village. It is charming. Click, click, click go our cameras at every twist and turn of these easily navigated stone streets. Quaint…perfect but, perhaps, more tourist-ready perfect. I don’t get the feel of a ‘real’ village. Still, this is not a complaint. I am enjoying it.

View along the streets of Volax on the island of Tinos.
View along the streets of Volax on the island of Tinos.
Old doorway in the Village of Volax on the island of Tinos.
Old doorway in the Village of Volax on the island of Tinos.
Tom enjoying the beauty of an old arch and shuttered window on the streets of Volax on Tinos.
Tom enjoying the beauty of an old arch and shuttered window on the streets of Volax on Tinos.
View on the streets of Volax on Tinos
View on the streets of Volax on Tinos

Three fabulous features in this town…round granite stones that look like giant eggs, a small very well constructed amphitheater that incorporates two beautiful examples of these round stones, and poetry written on dozens of wooden doors throughout the town. Apparently, the winds wore away the surrounding earth to reveal the granite stone deposits and then continued to hew these stones into their round egg shapes. Dramatic and unusual effect! The amphitheater is a perfect community-sized structure …10 semi-circular rows. I could picture a fabulous concert experience sitting here on a summer night with a warm breeze. I would sit next to one of the perfectly smooth and rounded stones. It is sculpture…art you can touch…by an amazing artist…nature.

Amphitheater in Volax on the island of Tinos.
Amphitheater in Volax on the island of Tinos.

As you stroll the streets in Volax, many wooden doors have poems written on them in chalk (or a white paint that looks like chalk). Some of the poems look original and some give credit to an author from generations ago. (Don’t chisel this statement in stone. I will have to do some research later to verify my understanding.) This town is definitely worth seeing, in spite of its bit-too-polished feel.

Doorway in Volax...one of many with poetry written in chalk.
Doorway in Volax…one of many with poetry written in chalk.
Poetry on doorways in Volax on island of Tinos
Poetry on doorways in Volax on island of Tinos

Taking time for a soft drink and a Wi-Fi check, Tom and I head north to Pirgos. Perimeter parking lots are the name of the game here too. Home village to many famous Greek sculptors such as Giannoulis Halepas, we make it a ‘must see’ stop. We wander past Halepas’ home, view some of his sculptures, meander the winding streets, and end up in the central square next to an enormous plain tree. The trunk is swollen like the baobab trees in Africa. It is a treasure. We order sandwiches and beers at one of the local eateries and speculate about the age of the tree. Hundreds of years?? More research needed. The entire village and many tourists join us as this Sunday afternoon progresses. We are ‘walked out’ and the crowd has arrived. Time to head back to the boat.

Tom, Marcelo and I head to the Cultural Foundation of Tinos, where we met our wonderful guide Athena, to attend the last night of the “Tinos World Music Festival”. It is a three-day event. [www.tinosworldmusic.com] Tonight, the “Happy Hour Choir”, a local group of singers; the ‘Eva Quartet” (4 women singing Bulgarian folk music); and Eliza Carthy & George Ventouris (performing English folk music) are on the program. The choir was excellent. It was heartwarming and inspiring to see such a practiced group of vocalists from the community. They loved what they were doing and the finished product was quality. The Bulgarian group was fabulous. Mystical and haunting voices in this acapella group with voices that ranged from soprano to bass. The first song actually gave me goose bumps it was so good.  Clear and beautiful, this soprano’s voice had a a plaintiff echoing quality, as if sung from a hillside far away.  Eliza Carty was also amazing.  Her rendition of classic, not often heard, English folksongs, her foot stomping and  ‘fiddling’ on the violin and George’s accompaniment on guitar and bass fiddle was a thrill. How a small island arranges such an interesting and high quality performance and performers is surprising and impressive.   What I also loved and made me love this island even more was the audience response. The performers deserved the accolades but the audience’s (mostly local folks) appreciation was validating of what is good and true in a shared love of the arts!

No dinner tonight but a stop at Haagen Daz for my “Cookies and Cream ice cream sundae, Tom’s banana crepe and Marcelo’s chocolate fondant! Perfect end to a perfect day!

Back to Syros        June 15 – 17, 2016

Pakilar is close hauled. Winds are 17 -18 then 20+ knots. It is a perfect wind for us as we make our way to Syros. A confused sea…waves coming from different directions…but otherwise a great sail.

It’s midday when we arrive. Batteries are coming tomorrow. Quiet evening on the boat in anticipation of a big work day tomorrow.

Thanasis on the dock this afternoon in lime green shirt with blue piping, navy shorts and matching shoes. Bella Figura! As capable and welcoming as ever, it is good to see him.

Run the usual errands along the harbor front to laundry and our favorite specialty store. While we are doing repairs, we decide to replace a few of our fans as hot weather approaches. We head to Maistrali Marine (Karnagio – Hermoupolis, 84100 Syros; Tel. 22810 82478 Mob: 6932 560 228 email: marine@maistraligroup.gr   www. Maistraligroup.gr Makis Stathopoulos) Tons of marine and other items in this shop. Fans will come by ferry tomorrow…shocking on the quick turnaround.

We notice signs for a “Tango Festival” at the Opera House. We are all up for seeing an event at the opera house, a mini-La Scala that we can understand. Dance is a universal language. Love the tango…but who doesn’t?!

Partial View of Opera House in Syros
Partial View of Opera House in Syros
Partial view of ceiling at the Syros Opera House
Partial view of ceiling at the Syros Opera House

celebrex banned in usa June 16, 2016

It’s 8am and our batteries are delivered via forklift to the quay. Each of the 4 batteries weighs 53 kilos. Marcelo has rigged a pulley system that we use to remove our old batteries from under our settee and bring in their new replacements. His system is simple and effective. Padding in key areas prevents the potential for a random ding. Tom and I alternate between winching to lift the batteries from the boat or shore and guiding them as needed. Tom and I try to help Marcelo as much as two old people can. We are finished by noontime. Batteries, palate and cardboard are recycled with Thanasis’ help. We are repaired and pristine! Feeling good but melting a bit in the heat. Marcelo picks up our new fans at the marine store. We are looking good! Out for lunch today at one of the many outdoor restaurants here.

flomax costo   ar mod price June 17, 2016

Desperately need a hairdresser to disguise my gray hair. Finding a place “away” that a woman can trust to color your hair is a bit nerve wracking. I have stood outside many places in Greece and Turkey trying to get the courage to commit and enter. [Note: That is why women keep their hairdressers for decades, once they find a good one…and their hairdressers “Do Know Everything!”] I hear it is “not easy being green” (Kermit the Frog) so I select the salon that I have previously scoped out and trusted to do a wash and blow dry. (Tel. 22810 76580) Card is in Greek (EAEYOEPIA KAAAOAKH Hair stylist Bokotonouhou 2, Syros). It is a single person shop near the Carrefour, near the quay. Call to get better directions. She speaks English well. Excellent job! Busy lady…at least 3 local women come in for similar repairs.

My assignment for today, now that I am beautiful once again, is to get tickets to the Tango Festival. http://www.syrostangofestival.com/  There are three days of performances and lots of local sponsors.

Fabulous, fabulous! These are internationally famous tango dancers…5 Argentine couples and a Greek couple. It is an amazing performance and my hands are red from clapping. This was a quality production…no lightweights in the group. I see tango lessons in my future…with my walker. “Bravo, Ermoupolis, for sponsoring such a first rate production!”

Dinner at Kouzina Restaurant (5 Androu St. Hermoupolis, Syros Tel: 22810 89150, 6972460346). Excellent! Love those sesame spring rolls and chicken with feta.

Dessert called "Nirvanha" ...and it is...at Kuzzina Restaurant in Syros
Dessert called “Nirvanha” …and it is…at Kuzzina Restaurant in Syros

Back to Paros     June 13 – 14, 2016

We leave Amorgos. We said our goodbye’s to Georgia last night and hope the summer will provide another chance to see her. I am grateful for Skype and the Internet. It is a downwind sail after we turn the corner…fast, flat and relatively warm. A following sea gives us that extra umph!

We arrive mid afternoon. Dinner is planned tonight with our friends Jerome and Reinhart, who are renting a house on Paros next to the Margarita House. As the afternoon progresses and the weather worsens, plans change. It might be a manageable dinghy ride out but a rough one home tonight from dinner. We reassess and decide to move the get-together to lunch tomorrow.

Two AM comes and lightening flashes mark the night sky…Tom sleeps peacefully in his bunk. No problem, I am on duty to ‘monitor’ trouble. Someone must take charge of the ‘hand-wringing!’

arava crossing border hotel June 14, 2016

tetracycline prescription  Weather is definitely improving. Marcelo picks up Jerome and Reine in the dinghy for a visit to the boat then the four of us head to Ciparos for lunch. Love this restaurant. I am addicted to the sardines and lentil dish. Who knew that I could like sardines? As a child, they came in cans…tasteless and oily. This is a whole new experience. Now I understand why Marcelo likes them. Once again, our visit with Jerome and Reine is filled with interesting conversation and shared interests.

Hurrah, Jerome is cooking tonight at Margarita House! It will be a simplified version of the meal he created last week. Spring rolls, an amazing salad, chicken or eggplant curry, and a wonderful pastry with ice cream and caramel drizzle make the evening great. Mid-meal Jerome runs out of propane for the two-burner stove on which he is creating this fabulous meal. Like most older propane stoves, there is no gauge. When you run out, you run out! It requires Reine and Margarita House’s owner’s son to go to drive to town to buy more propane. Jerome pulls through like a trouper! Propane arrives and he continues on to complete a gourmet evening. Bravo!

We invite Jerome and Reine to sail tomorrow to Syros but the lack of a return ferry and their scheduled trip to Anti-Paros on the weekend foil that plan. Hopefully, we will see them in London.

Tom, Marcelo and I troop down a convenient set of stairs to the beach. With Tom’s arthritis and my troubled vision, this is a blessing.

[Note to children: Yes, I have a flashlight that you count on me to carry…along with a charged cell phone and any number of items that might be useful if we are caught in a bizarre current and drift to Portugal. You do know me!]

Our dinghy is tied to a tree and pulled up on the beach. Pants rolled up and flip-flops aboard, we wade in, push the dinghy out to deeper water and climb aboard. I carry a gift parcel from Jerome and Reine containing a bottle of zuma (a type of grappa) and another bottle of the lovely rose wine that we all enjoyed. As I put the bottle in the boat’s frig, I notice a handwritten note from Jerome on the bottle.

“Always remember Paros. June 2016. Jerome & Reine.” (with a heart!)

Great evening!

Amorgos – Katapolis Harbor            June 10, 11, and 12, 2016

Pakilar catches the tail of the meltemi to sojourn the five hours from Paros to Amorgos. The wind is a cat then a kitten and, suddenly, a tiger! We come roaring into Amorgas at 10.3 knots!

No mooring lines here. You anchor and then proceed ‘stern to’ towards the dock. Experience taught us to anchor close to the ferry dock but with only a small scope of chain. This both protects us from the ferry’s surge, while avoiding any snagging of our anchor. [Last year, the ferry unknowingly pulled up our anchor. we saw in hanging from their anchor chain as the ferry left the dock. At any moment, we expected to be slingshot-ed off the dock. Marcelo is yelling, “Stop, Stop”, waving furiously to the ferry’s attendant on the stern. The attendant just waves back! Luckily, our anchor slid off into the sea. We re-anchored and felt very grateful. Still, now I think Pakilar might be 19 meters long instead of 18!]

Friends draw us back to Amorgos like a magnet. Deceptively anonymous from the sea, this island requires that you travel it by car to appreciate its full beauty. (Hermes Rent A Car Tel: 2285072065 www.hermesrental.gr ) (No Amorgion Rakomelo Psimeni – raki and honey liquor – served this year. Last year, the owner’s mother graciously served us a glass of her homemade Rakomelo even though it was 9am.) Amorgas is an ‘alternative’ island. Hiking, climbing, walking are great choices here.

Like following breadcrumbs, we retrace steps here. First stop is to see our dear friend Georgia. It is early evening so we all head up to the Chora to look for her in her shop. Kolokithaki Handmade, Chora Amorgos, +30 22850 72083 www.facebook.com/kolakythaki   Artistic designs and quality fabrics drew me to Georgia’s shop last year. It was “…the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, as Humphrey Bogart would say. Her mother Nelly is working with her tonight. It is wonderful reunion with hugs and kisses given and received while shuffling in and among customers. Never willing to get in the way of commerce, Tom, Marcelo and I head to “Café Jazzmin” a favorite bar/restaurant in Chora to have a drink. Georgia joins us later and we all head to “Kath Odon” Restaurant (+30 697 828 3575 nearby for a delicious dinner.

skinoren cream malaysia price June 11, 2016

Marcelo saves the day for the neighboring boat. Their anchor is caught on a rock. Marcelo dives to free it. “Mon Sauveur”, our French neighbor labels Marcelo. Good way to start the day!

It is a morning of conversations on the dock with other boats that we have seen in other ports. “Dorothea” is here. Owners are a couple from Essex, England. They are off for a walk to the monastery here. Spectacular views are your reward for walking the hundreds of steps up to see it. I tell them, “We are off for a walk too…to the bakery!” A backstreet bakery makes a terrific coconut macaroon. We need to stock up for onward travels. Breakfast at Jazzmin’s again this morning. Theo, the owner, is on duty today. Theo organizes a performance art festival each year. We will miss it by one week this year…batteries will be waiting in Syros. Steve, a musician from Poughkeepsie, New York, now living in Italy and performer in last year’s festival is here again. We are all avid fans of Amorgos and Café Jazzmin!

Georgia comes for a late afternoon visit and returns after her shop closing for a Marcelo created meal of salad and pasta and banana flambé! Great evening! The fun lasts until 2 am.

duolin price June 12, 2016

Some shopping and general provisioning fill the day. The highlight is a Georgia-planned trip around Aigiali Bay with a stop in the town of Saladi. This beautiful hillside town overlooks the sea. We sit at the “Saladi” neo café / bar that overlooks the valley. Our owner/waitress is also named “Georgia”, the only other on the island. Two locals pass us sitting sideways on donkeys. The first is a young man with a “boom box” that moderately blasts Greek tunes as he rides past us. He smiles and gives a short salute. The second is an older workingman, covered in dust. Georgia tells us that donkeys are the most practical way to get to fields without roads. Tom and I rode donkeys in Rhodos and, hopefully, will never do it again. I can see the benefit of riding side-saddle. It facilitates a quick exit, an ejection seat.

Back in the Harbor of Katapolis, I head to Theodosia’s for a massage. Tom and I had massages here last year. It was a magical and soothing experience. Her work at a spa, hosting a guesthouse for multi-media artists, and efforts to begin a yoga studio now make us one of her few outside customers. Her touch is gentle and healing…like Theodosia. Oils and herbs, bells and Thai Singing bowls reflect an Asia-India influence. I sleep well tonight.

Paros Island – Parikia, Kostas, Lefkes     June 8 -9, 2016

Tom, Marcelo and I trundle into the dinghy. Shoes and socks in plastic bags and empty boat bags make a wind and water break as we head to the dock near a beach bar in Ormos Ioannou. Marcelo returns to the boat to make sure Pakilar doesn’t decide to sail away in the continuing high winds. Once unloaded on the dock, Tom and I climb the rocks up to the roadway. It is tricky only because we are getting old. Careful footfalls are necessary. Neither Tom nor I bounce very well. We wait for our driver, Panayiotis, who will pick us up to take us to the car rental office (Tel: 22840 53137). Just 3 euros pick up fee each way makes this a reasonable option. The usual errands accomplished, we head to “Margarita’s House” (Tel: +30 22840 51020), a charming low-key hotel on Paros near Naoussa. Guests come year after year and I can see why. Not fancy, its hoteliers make it feel homey and welcoming. There is a very nice pool area and the small open-air dining room has a lovely view.

[Back Story: When Tom and Marcelo and I were at Omega3 restaurant in Sifnos, our favorite restaurant to date, we saw a beautiful little girl playing on the beach with her father. Another little girl about 6 years old was doing cartwheels. Each and every cartwheel generated a wonderfully riotous bout of laughter from this less than two-year old watching her. It warmed our hearts to see. It was so genuine, so joyful, and so very ‘tuned in’. So now we are watching this sweet little babe as she continues to play. She is obviously bright…from her interactions with her playmate and father…and happy. Mother comes and the whole family walks into Omega3 for dinner. Mother, Juliette, and Tom and I begin a conversation about her daughter Sophie… how bright she is and how much she reminds us of our own petite daughters at that age. This generates a discussion of the many shared joys here in the Greek isles…one being food. Lovely Juliette has a friend who is becoming a chef and is performing a pop up dinner for a few nights on the island of Paros, our next planned stop. So now we are off to visit a friend of a new friend.]

We have just missed one of Jerome’s, Juliette’s friend, pop-up night chef dinners. Bummer! The meltemi’s strong winds preclude a repeat dinner in Margarita House’s open-air dining area tonight, our last night in Paros. Plan B is meeting Jerome and a friend for lunch this afternoon. In the interim, Tom and I drive to Parikia, the principal city on the island. I sit in our ‘questionable’ parking space while Tom searches the labyrinth of interior shops to find the WIND store to top off phones and renew data plans. I watch three friendly giant-like ferries navigate in and out of the port. Miniature-sized people stand on the ferry’s rear balconies to watch the drama of docking. Only a slightly larger crew scampers across the enormous rear platform, leaning into wind, raising side rails for the exodus of trucks and passengers. It is hypnotizing. For me, potential disaster seems to loom everywhere. I resist a rising impulse to shout ‘Stop! Watch out! But like most of my fears, thankfully, they go unrealized.

Next stop Lefkes…or so we thought! A half hidden sign on our right as we pass through the town of Kostos says “Studio Yria – Ceramics” (Tel. 22840 29007 www.studioyriaparos.com email: stgkgr@gmail.com). We round the corner and follow the next sign up, up, up this one-lane road. We are committed, no turnarounds wide enough to retrace our way back to the main road . Two barking dogs, with wagging tails, announce our arrival…to no one it appears. Tom and I chat with our canine greeters who escort us into a courtyard containing two large buildings. One is a display room and the other a large workshop. There are some quality pieces in the shop and some intriguing ceramic installations in the courtyard of this upscale working operation. We walk into the workshop looking for someone to ask about a blue ceramic bowl and hand painted dishes…quite lovely and unusual. Stellios, the owner/fabricator/painter of most of the ceramics in the shop, arrives wearing a leather apron. He is covered head to toe in pottery dust.

“ What is it?” he asks. “I have something in the kiln.”

“We are interested in a couple of things in your shop,” Tom replies.

“Ok, ok, just a minute. How did you find us,” he asks.

“Your sign”, I reply. Stellios is just as surprised that we noticed his sign buried in the scrub on the hillside, as we were to see it!

Stellios’ ‘why are you bothering me’ attitude changes into a pleasant exchange between artist and appreciative audience. We ask, “Who is the artist who painted the dinner plates? They are quite good.” He smiles and tells us that he did the painting. We discuss style and process and other ceramicists and sculptors that we enjoy.

Purchases made, we all head out to the courtyard. [A red child’s slide, op art entitled “Indecision”, a creation of one of Stellio’s friends, sits on a berm above the courtyard. The slide has a perilous looking fork half way down it. Supposedly, you get to decide midway whether to go left or right. Still, the wrong decision or ‘no’ decision would work a catastrophe on very sensitive parts for man or woman.] Tom and Stellios have already discussed the two red meter-high ceramic screws sticking in the earth here. Tom asks Stellios “How much? I really like them.” Stellios seems pleased but perplexed about what they might be worth. One of them is promised for an exhibit. We have his contact information. It is a discussion for another time. Stellios heads back to the workshop smiling and the two dogs escort us back to our car, tails wagging.

Now it is time to head back towards Naoussa for lunch. “Siparos” Seaside Restaurant sits beachside….lovely. (Xifara (Santa Maria)Tel: 22840 52785 www.siparos.gr ). Smiling faces announce they are Jerome and friend Reinhart. Introductions made and wine poured, Tom and I want to know how Jerome started wanting to be a chef. Also, why Asia Fusion…although I adore Asian food, especially Vietnamese and Thai food! His love of Thai cuisine and a recent trip to Thailand and Cambodia nurtured his interest. I shared my February/March back road biking trip in Vietnam and Cambodia with my oldest daughter.   The conversation changes to art and Reinhart tells us about a painting that he recently saw in a gallery in Mykonos that he loves. As he describes it, Tom pulls out his phone, flips to a painting and says “Ah yes! Do you mean this one?” It is the same painting! Two and a half hours later and many delicious courses later, including a tartar and a sardine and lentil dish at this wonderful restaurant, we part, sharing contact info in hopes of meeting up again. Wonderful lunch with very kind and interesting new friends!

Tom and I head inland towards Lefke, the old capital city of Paros. It is a quick trip that makes a return visit ‘a must’. This beautiful rather large village is scattered along the many ridges of this multi-plateaued valley. An immense cathedral, a jewel in its crown, stands proudly on a lowland promontory, a wide expanse of the Aegean Sea serves as its backdrop.

Laundry, groceries and daypacks in hand, Tom and I scramble back down the rocks to the sea. We litter our load along the way and then like runners passing a baton, we shuffle them down to Marcelo and the waiting dinghy.

 

 

 

 

 

Off to Paros – Naoussa Harbor – Ormos Ioannou       June 7, 2016

‘Good try but no cigar’ attempt at sailing today, so most of the trip to Naoussa Bay on Paros has us put, put, putting along. A long expected meltemi will arrive Tuesday afternoon and we need safe harbor. We slowly slip Pakilar into the entrance of the marina here…braille-like again. The woman dock manager confirms a 3-meter depth at dock. It is too close for comfort, so we head out into the Bay and anchor at Ormos Ioannou. It offers good protection. We set our “Ultra” anchor and feel that wonderful tug as it takes hold.   Water taxi to Naoussa from a small quay in Ioannou leaves on the half hour. Last trip back to Ioannou from Naoussa Harbor around 8:30 pm.

It is so difficult to be RIGHT! I have a new appreciation for the Greek Seer Cassandra. She could see the future but no one would ‘believe’ her!

Laundry day…past due actually. The boys decide that today is the day! We are at anchor.

“Why would we want to drag a ton of laundry into the dinghy, up on the dock, into a water taxi, off of the water taxi, up the dock, into a taxi and, probably, up to a laundry…far, far away? I say. “No, no! It’s simple” the boys retort. “The laundry must be on the main street.” Wise Rita is overruled…again.

We pile our over due collection of washables up on deck into the dinghy and to the water taxi dock. It is a tall step up and Tom careens over onto knees and elbow. He is scratched and bleeding but nothing is broken but his pride. Luckily, I have an assortment of adhesive strips in my purse! (This would not surprise my children. They know that I carry “everything” in my purse. Ready for any emergency!) Tom and I pile into the water taxi with laundry, garbage and recyclables in tow. Tom strikes up a conversation with a couple from New Zealand, viewers of our mini-drama on the dock. As we arrive in Naossus Harbor, this very kind couple helps us lug laundry and trash across the square to the taxi stand and, even, disposes of our trash and recyclables to help us out. Very kind! We ask them to join us for a drink on the boat early evening.

The laundry is far away. We must wait for a taxi…and wait and wait and wait. I check in at the local mini market for a telephone number for the taxi. “No taxis?” I say to the young woman at the register. “The cruise ship is in now. It will be another 30 minutes,” she replies. (Paros Taxi Tel: +30 6944 53 5686). Next stop is the “Krikos (sp?) Laundry (Tel: 23840 53376). Artemis is our attendant. Very nice! Not cheap here. Hopefully, they will do a good job. Note: There is a second laundry in Ormos Ioannou.

[Note: There is a Belgian Chocolate Store across the street from the laundry!!! (Also an A&B Grocery…but who cares?.) We plan to come back later in the day. Chocolate will be long melted before we return to the boat this afternoon.]

Tom and I shop. We find a wonderful linen store, “Eclectia” (www.eclectia. Gr) The owner’s sister is the designer of these artfully crafted women’s clothes. My aging bulk is transformed. Beautiful…lovely cut! Definitely worth a stop for any size and age of woman.

Drinks onboard with Tina and Allen from “Whisper”, the lovely and kind couple from New Zealand. We share many great sailing stories. I visited New Zealand many years ago and still remember it as one of the most beautiful places I have seen. We discover that Tina is an artist! She shows us pictures of a few of her pieces. Wow! She is a very talented ‘Realist’ painter. Her landscapes are incredible. Tom is the expert here, but even I can see that she has a gift! Great night!

co-amoxiclav uk Ormos Ioannou – Onboard June 8, 2016

Meltemi today with gusts up to 35 knots. Glad we are at anchor. Marcelo ran onshore today all the way to the Naoussa. He said there were huge surges and the boats were bouncing all over the place. Reading, emailing, blogging, eating and napping onboard…decadent!

 

Lovely Sifnos – Kamares Harbor – June 4 -6, 2016

Either on the nose or a light wind keeps us from sailing. We power into Kamares Harbor.

Dear charming, picturesque, perfect Karmares Harbor,   Why haven’t we come here before now?  Love,  R”

Steep cliffs announce the entrance. Good protection here from a meltemi if you put out enough anchor in this mud bottom. Only an occasional gust sweeps down the hills.

There is no one on the quay…or is there? A very tall man with a shepherd’s crook and a Fidel Castro-style hat gives us direction. He is our “unofficial” greeter.  Something seems to distract this man and he drifts to the other end of the quay. Tom backs Pakilar into a spot near electricity while Marcelo puts out the anchor chain…all 100 meters! Close enough to the now untended dock, Marcelo jumps to the quay to tie up.  “Fidel”, as we start referring to our tall man ashore, returns.  He seems not to like Marcelo’s snubbing of our lines and tries to take them out of Marcelo’s hands.  Marcelo says “No”.

There is something amiss with our friend on the shore. He is decidedly strange. I begin a close watch as Fidel leans in and whispers something in Marcelo’s ear. ‘It must be something lewd,’ I think. Marcelo smiles sheepishly and then moves to tie our starboard line. Fidel moves in and, once again, whispers in Marcelo’s ear. ‘Poor, Marcelo!’ I think. Fidel moves off as the dock manager arrives. The dock manager is kind to Fidel but conveys a message that he will take over now.

Marcelo later tells us that Fidel whispered, “I love you!” in his ear… both times. The first time, Marcelo said he was shocked and didn’t respond. The second time, Marcelo with his new philosophy of loving everyone…even the most strange among us…said “I love you too!” We notice that Fidel waves to Marcelo whenever he leaves the boat…but from a distance!

[Note to Marcelo: Good strategy, Marcelo. Still, it could have turned out very differently!]

Tidied up onboard, Tom and I go for a short walk in the harbor. It is charming and a bit more ‘upscale’ than many. We do a little shopping at Maria’s,who becomes a great source of information about the island. Reservation for dinner tonight at “Absinthe Restaurant” (Kamares, Sifnos T: +30 22840 31202 www.absinthe-sirnos.gr) Excellent! George, the owner, is a numismatist. We discuss his coin collections and his love of art deco. He purchased the restaurant for his two nephews to run. One of his nephews, also called George, is our waiter and sommelier. Great service. He does his uncle proud!

June 5, 2016

We rent a car today (tons of agencies rim the shore) and make a circuit up to Apollonia, the big city for the island; then up to Heronissos on the northern tip, and down to Platis Gialos on the southern tip. Big marina in Platis Gialos with a reported 7-meter draw and a big breakwater. The town is less charming than Kamares.

Marcelo comes with us on our return trip to Platis Gialos this evening. On the way, we stop in Vathy to check out the harbor there. It looks very nice and is on the list of future trips.  Platis Gialos is home for a restaurant called “Omega 3 – Fish Bar”  Tel: 22840 72 014).  My, my!!!! Best restaurant on our trip so far! Chef Giorgos Somoilis creates some amazingly delicious dishes, including slipper lobster carpaccio, sea bream ceviche with fresh seaweed, and Amberjack tiraditio with citrus olive oil. Giorgos spends half his time in Brazil and half his time here on Sifnos. Learning that Marcelo is Brazilian and hearing our rave reviews for each dish, he comes out to talk to us. He and his Brazilian wife are expecting their first child. They plan to be back in Brazil for the birth. It is a very creative time in both their lives!

[Dishes at Omega 3 are beautifully presented on locally made stoneware. [Sifnos Stoneware: Antonis K. Kalogirou, handcrfter pottery. Agia Anna, Artemonas,Sfnos; info@sifnosstoneware.com Tel.   22840 33090 www.stifnosstoneware.com ]

 

Serifos          June 2-3, 2016

A glassy sea and no wind! We power the 3 ½ hours to Serifos. Conversations swing to deeper topics …spirits, death and dying, a supreme being. Being at sea leaves a lot of time to think. The vastness of the cerulean blue Aegean and the precariousness of being “in’ nature, encourages some wonderful discussions…no answers, just lots of questions.

Serifos is beautiful, even from the sea. Long winding roads, dotted with white stucco houses, lead from Livadi Harbor to the Chora on the hilltop. Anchoring here is tricky with a rocky and grassy holding ground. Luckily, the newly finished (EU funded) marina awaits. Pakilar pokes its way into the harbor like a blind man checking new terrain with his white cane. Our 3-meter draw requires us to be conscientious. The chart tells us nothing, so we rely on our electronics …8…6 then 4.4 meters of water below the keel. The numbers keep dropping! Our Greek dock attendant signals us to come in alongside the dock. Marcelo rejects the offer and shouts out “What’s the depth?” “How much water?” The dock attendant doesn’t understand and goes to get someone who speaks English. Our new man motions with his hands wide apart like someone describing the size of a ‘just caught’ fish. We decide to take a chance.

Marcelo points out a stern-to position on the dock and the attendant gives the OK. Tom is at the helm, as usual. He swings Pakilar’s stern and starts to back into the spot. The water is crystal clear. It is hard to judge the depth below the rudder. Rocks curl up from the harbor bottom, a last lip before the dock. Marcelo shouts to Tom, “Forward! Forward,” holding us off the dock and giving us a chance to decide if it is too shallow or if we can throw the lines ashore…a final commitment. “Ok. Ok!” shouts the attendant. He again uses his hands to describe the depth of the water below the keel. Marcelo grabs the mooring line. I throw the starboard and port lines. We are in!

Docking always has an element of tension. Fellow boaters emerge like gophers from holes when they hear a new boat coming in…worried the new arrival will foul an anchor or collide…. The stress often mounts as the wind increases. Inexperience, a disregard for the force of nature, a lack of preparedness, or just bad choices can result in disaster.

Tonight we three sit in a hilltop tavern in the Chora eating fennel pie, a local specialty, and drinking wine. (Passed on the local “red” wine that was decidedly “white” in color.) The waitress is pleasant and hardworking. There is a staircase of wide meandering steps that traverses the entire two-mile route from the Livadi Harbor to the Chora. We choose a ten-minute passeggiata to the church from the top of the hill. The views are exquisite. We can see Pakilar in the harbor…a small sliver of blue in a big sea.

June 3, 2016

Morning comes…or late morning…when I poke my head out of the cabin. Waking in my bunk, I could hear the roll and rattle of dice. Tom and Marcelo are playing their morning round of backgammon. The game is a favorite and their moves are decisive in the early minutes of the game. We make a “POD” (Plan of the Day), as Navy friends refer to it. We will check with the local markets, Carrefour and Proton, and shop vendors to find diesel, laundry and rent a car for a tour around the island. The electricity on the dock is not working yet. We will have to run our generator and need to find a time when the fumes won’t affect the neighbors.

Tom and I go for a walk on the long street boarding along the harbor front to make our queries. Now Tom uses a retractable ski pole-like stick to make walking easier. Last night’s taxi driver on the way back to the marina from the Chora  (8 euro trip) said that there are only 700 permanent residents on the island. Here on this street, it looks like all 700 have a restaurant. (Bus service to the Chora is available on the hour. Bus stop is next to the Carrefour: 8 pm is the last trip up to the Chora; 8:20 pm is the last trip down to Livadi).

“Do you speak English?” “Is there a laundry, a lavandaria?” Tom asks the shop owner.

“Yes, one man does it,” he replies. “But the place is dirty and you must watch him!” Leaving his first three fingers on the counter, he swishes the last two backwards several times to indicate palming money from the table. An old grudge? A family feud? Lots of reasons for arguments on a small island.   Regardless, we are forewarned. We will not be doing laundry here.

Diesel truck arrives and pumps the 300 liters of diesel we need to fill up. To reach this supplier just call: Tel: 2281 051512.  The truck and hoses are clean and the workers were pleasant and responsive. Importantly, they are able to regulate the pressure…keep it low…to more easily fill our four connected tanks. Nice job!

Tom and I rent a car from Coralli Holidays. It is Krinas Rent a Car: 22810 51.488. They are next to the Carrefour as you face the harbor.  The owner washes the car, a nice touch and well appreciated. We take the left hand turn at the sign labeled “Bakery” and take the first left heading towards Mega Livadi. Amazing, amazing beaches on this island! Take a special note of Vagia and Ganema. Closed iron ore mining shafts and equipment speckle the island. Still, they seem more like vestiges than debris…historical landmarks.  Whole truck cabs and iron ore railway cars rust in place on hillsides and in valleys. We see signs of a concrete manufacturer and hope there is enough industry for the very welcoming people of Serifos…consistently nice and helpful.

Lunch of fennel dumplings, meatballs and a pasta dish for Tom at “Cyclops Restaurant” in Mega Livadi. We head north towards Galani and the monastery here and then swing south back to Livadi. Well worth the drive. Definitely rent a car. There is so much beauty here. You will miss it if you choose to veg in the harbor.

[Note: We ALWAYS try to run the generator when it will least bother the neighbors. When we return from driving around the island, we hear Marcelo’s recount of today’s Generator War! Marcelo heard the neighboring boat complaining, in French, about fumes from our generator. In retribution, they brought their generator aft and purposely angled it so the fumes would channel down our companionway. Do we take it to the next level? Do we remind them that without the Americans, the French would all be speaking German? No, No! Maybe we should close our hatches, turn on the air-conditioner with the generator running?! No, no!  We remember the French contribution to gourmet cuisine and wine. We are grateful for the phrase ‘ooh la la’.  We are all about love! Marcelo’s philosophy is rubbing off. No vindictiveness, only kindness…. dammit!]

Dinner on the boat tonight and a search for ice cream follows. The Ben and Jerry’s refrigerator is empty at the gelateria and there are a limited number of gelato flavor choices. I remember my three brothers with adult onset diabetes and refuse a banana crepe with chocolate that the boys buy on our late night walk.

God Bless my bunk!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Syros           May 31 – June 1 , 2016 

We join our happy group for breakfast. E continues to charm the staff. It is a bittersweet day. Serene, Colin and E fly home midday. It is a bummer for Grandma and Giddo. Comfort lies in planning our next get-together.

Back to the boat and off to Syros today. Our eight-year old batteries are not charging the way they should.   We need to order them from the maker in Nova Scotia and have the distributor in Spain ship them out. It’s all part of the regular maintenance of the boat. We must “hurry” to place the order for a must ship date of Friday and then “wait” the predicted 14 days for delivery (initially 5 business days). There is a shipyard in Syros but Marcelo can do the work…very lucky for us.

Dinner tonight back at Kouzina Restaurant (5 Androu St. Hermoupolis, Syros Tel: 22810 89150, 6972460346). It is as wonderful as we remember it. Anostos warmly greets us with “I hoped that I would see you again.” Our dishes are excellent and we end the meal with dessert…the “Nirvanha”, of course.

June 1, 2016

Lazy day. Tom heads for a shave trim at a “world class” barber just one street away. We stock up on our favorite gourmet foods at Topon Geuseis. Tonight dinner is at “Mazi” Restaurant (Leotsakou, Syros, Ermopoli Tel: 2281 088811 www.mazi-syros.com). This is one of the most beautiful restaurants that I have seen in Greece …and I have seen a lot of restaurants, as you will notice if you are reading this blog.   It was a ceramic fabrication plant. The arches and rock walls remain and a magnificent canopy of vines and trees becomes your roof. Wow! This outdoor garden restaurant is gorgeous. (Caveat: If it rains, they cannot serve dinner. There is no indoor space.) It is a fairytale setting. The delicious and unique choice of dishes will make you think you are still dreaming. The lentil salad, salmon carpaccio, and octopus were excellent. Wonderful last night in Syros!