Friday, May 1, 2009
volcanic let downs
friday was day trip day. a full afternoon of greek island excursions. we started by getting picked up in a nearly empty charter coach which inched it's way down the trecherously steep winding road to the port of athinios. then we got on a sailing ship and braved the high wind and choppy water to the volcano (nea kameni) which apparently is classified as 'active' and blew last in the 1950's sometime but we were vastly dissapointed as a group, it was the most inactive active thing i've ever seen. just a pile of rock, sort of felt like we were scrambling up the side of mount doom. but not as exciting as we made a volcano climb out to be in our heads. a bit of a let down. then we sailed (aka motored, they didn't break out the sails once) to the hot springs at the side of palea kameni, where half the boat jumped and in and swam in the freezing water to get to the hot springs that turned out to be meerly warm. after we moved to the miniscule island of thirassia, with a population of about 250, the captain must have been purposly steering us into each wave to approach us as the boat rocked and pitched dramatically, and sprayed us with water at regular intervals. almost like some sort of water park ride without the safety gear. after a picnic lunch on the stoop of an authentic whitewashed island house, we ate ice cream bars and snoozed on the deck of the ship in the sun before heading to the town of ia or oia on the main island, where we had to climb 270 steps, or be very lazy and ride a donkey. we opted for the steps and felt significantly more proud (and less like lazy americans) upon reaching the top. buffeted by blistering winds from the water we sought refuge in a terraced cafe where we had meatballs and fried potatos and me and phil tried to teach the english girls the proper pronunciation of baklava. they charged us for the bread they brought to the table. these seems to be fairly usual but sad a sneaky. and after dinner, bundled in every layer we could find, we trecked across the town to the old ruins and turned to face the setting sun and the famous windmill, the view looking exactly like so many postcards we had been seeing in shops for the past few days. it was a nice sunset, but mired by a low fog on the horizon, not as spectaular as ia sunsets are reputed to be. still some people aplauded which seemed a bit too much. like clapping in a movie theater. and then it was just a matter of following the masses to the bus park where we found our coach and settled in for the ride back to perissa on the far side of the island, comparing pictures and eating sesame bars.