Jes is still on hiatus and Catherine Lenderi is blogging with me again this week. Jes is busy teaching cats how to moo. Last week her neighbors reported her for illegally boarding cattle in a strictly non-bovine zone. She is still trying to explain herself to the constable and as soon as she gets her legal troubles straightened out, she will be back to telling me off.
So, Cat lives on the island of Syros, which is a part of Greece. This tiny spec of land is only thirty-two square miles - about the size of a Super-Walmart here in the states. We drive further to get a cup of Starbucks than they do to go anywhere on the island. To me, this is a greater enigma than any cultural difference we might have.
One of the greatest joys of living in the US is to get in your car and go. The destination is irrelevant. What matters is that you drive until your eyes hurt and your ass feels like it has become a part of your car, then you get out, and you are somewhere you've never been before. A quaint new town; another scenic state park; a secluded beach - they are all hidden jewels to be found by the adventurous. There's so much diversity in our country that you could spend ten lifetimes and never see them all. I would think that you could see the entire island of Syros before lunchtime. Of course, we don't really get to 'see' our country - unless you count watching it go by from the side windows of our cars. But even then, how long would it take a person to explore thirty-two square miles? My traversing ways would know every rock by name in a week.
Of course, there is the option to hop on a plane or a boat and get away from that postage stamp in the ocean, but I imagine that isn't very practical. We have had to curtail our travel because of the ridiculous price of fuel. Cars are still the cheapest form of travel in this country and I wouldn't think Greece would be any different. On my salary, I would be island bound for life. Sure, you live in a tropical paradise, and snow, ice and frozen toes are the things of movies and fantasy, but I'm not jealous at all... Okay, maybe a little bit, but I could never get used to it. I need to be able to go places and see new things.
Now,tell us your side of life on an island.
Well, my family moved to Syros from Athens in 1981. Having lived the first years of my life in the big city but also visiting it frequently after that due to relatives still residing there, I dare say that I wouldn't trade my thirty-two square miles of a little island with anything.
To answer your first question, I have to tell you that you would be amazed by how many things you can discover on the island. I can assure you that a week is not enough. Besides the obvious and most known parts of the island, there are several off-the-beaten-track corners that you will never think of exploring unless you actually live here for quite a while. I am ashamed to say that I still haven't seen every one of these corners. Syros is an island that has a lot to offer a visitor. Apart from the natural beauty, one can discover places of historical and cultural interest.
Regarding your second point, Syros, being the capital of the prefecture, has the most efficient transportation system. So, ships are a very practical way to visit other islands. I will agree that fares can be costly, but still, to me, travelling by ship is a wonderful experience by itself.
Now, as far as the weather goes, I think I have told you before that Syros means Bliss in the language of the Phoenicians, who were its first inhabitants. Believe me, this is not without reason. No matter how bad the weather is all over Greece, we experience very little of that. Today, according to the weather forecast, there will be severe rainfall in Greece. Yet, if I look outside my window right now, I will see a cloudless blue sky once again.
I can vehemently say that it is a priviledge to live in such a place. You can possibly not fathom how tranquil life can be here. We get frustrated by tourists coming from the big cities and bringing their fast-paced ways, especially in driving. Here, we go slow, enjoying things around us and especially that crystal clear blue sea that has the ability to take all your worries away, if you just spare a moment to look at it.
I hope some day you will be able to see all these on your own.
Sure, throw your mild weather and your tranquility in my face, island temptress. We Pennsylvanians love to shovel snow and sit in traffic for hours. How do you kill time if you're not battling the environment or the masses? I'm not sure what I would do with all those extra hours in the day. Maybe I could write more books. Can I move in tomorrow?
Anytime, Don, anytime! :) You are always welcome!