Naos Kimiseos Theotokou

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    • Day 23

      Shopping and Cooking

      June 11, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      After a good night sleep, I have my coffee and breakfast (yogurt, honey, sliced plum and muesli). I head down to the water area to get some pictures of the waterfront. I should mention that Syros is not your typical tourist island. It is actually the Administrative Capital of the Cyclades Islands. Therefore, although there is a lot to see for tourists, this island does not ‘shutdown’ in the winter months. The restaurants and hotels are open all year. There are 25,000 residents that live here year round.

      It is hot today and my clothing choices are too hot for here. I spot a little shop with cooler looking cloths. The lady there helps me find a few pieces that are much cooler (linen vs the cotton I brought) to wear. I actually where the pants out instead of the shorts! Now that I’m not dying of heat exhaustion, I continue down to the water and get some decent shots. I stop at a little café for a light lunch and then head home for a nap. I have a cooking class tonight and want to rest up.

      The cooking class meets at the Town Hall. Elisa has sent her husband to fetch me and two other gentlemen. Guess what? We get to walk up more stairs! Yes, the 3-minute walk (I have no idea who times this but it must be a 100-meter sprinter!) takes us about 10. I do cave half way through to catch my breath and get some water in me. Once there it is a wonderful house that is also a villa with rooms to rent. Wish I had seen this place before the one I rented!!

      There are 6 of us. A couple in there 40’s or early 50’s from London, the two gentlemen, also from London, who are in their 30’s and a food writer from Australia probably in her late 20’s. We have the Commonwealth very well represented!

      Elisa has prepared an entirely vegetarian menu. There are two dips, an olive pie, aubergine stuffed with cheese, fava beans with a tomato sauce, a beetroot salad, peppers and tomatoes stuffed with rice and a wonderful traditional Bundt cake. Elisa explains how Greek food is simplistic in that it does not use many ingredients but the herbs used give it a wonderful flavour. The herbs primarily used are sage, mint, oregano, parsley, and garlic. Some paprika, salt and pepper, with cinnamon and cloves round out the spices used. We all start chopping, filling, take turns stirring and generally talking about where we have been and where we are going. Getting to know each other. As we go Elisa expertly guides us to create a meal we will all share up on the rooftop. This meal is delicious and so filling without being heavy in your stomach. An interesting thing about eating in Greece that I didn't really notice until Elisa mentioned it; is that food does not have to be served hot. One of the things I always fret about is timing dinner so everything is hot when it hits the table. Not so in Greece. The stuffed peppers and tomatoes are done first and they are set aside to cool. The olive pie comes out next. By the time we get everything up to the rooftop, have a relaxing toast and appitizers, our meal is still warm but not hot. The flavours have had a chance to meld and merge and everything is wonderful. Perhaps another thing to take back to Canada with me. Elisa is going to send us the recipes for all of these dishes for us to prepare at home. (The kids are never going to know what they are eating!)

      Interesting side note here. The picture of the pretty flower is actually the flower of the caper bush. Capers are buds of the flower picked before they bloom. Neat huh?

      It takes us about 3 hours to prepare our meal and then another 2 hours to eat and gab. By this time, it is dark and Chris and Clive offer to get me back to the main square. My night blindness is in full swing on the stairs going back down. Once at the main square there are street lights and the route home is just one street and somewhat level (for Greece!).
      I make it home safe and sound and am ready for bed. Talk to you tomorrow.
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    • Day 22

      Syros, Last Island of My Trip

      June 10, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      I’m in Syros now. Last island before I hit the mainland and Athens. That means that I am almost finished my vacation.

      I arrived at my place in Syros but as always, it was an adventure. Returning the car and having one last lunch on Tinos was no problem. The ferry over to Syros was only 35 minutes, no not much time do write or anything. I didn’t rent a car for Syros and a good thing since parking would have been a nightmare! My host gave me directions to go to a street corner basically, then look for an alley way and then a house with green shutters. Clear as mud. The street corner that my trusting Google Maps brought me to, didn’t quite look like the one in the picture he sent me. So, I called him and he said that the picture was several years old and they re-painted since then. This is the problem I have with absentee landlords. He lives in Athens and has not updated his information. When your landlord is in the area, it is much easier to get help when you need to. The walk to the place was up about 25 stairs (carrying luggage) and through an alley way (up more stairs). I’m bushed when I get to the door.

      The place faces a courtyard and the place seems to be swarming with mosquitos. I finally get inside (with about 5 hungry mosquitos). The place has been locked up tight for a while (owner said 3 days) and had a strong musty smell. It is an older house and the kitchen is very old. He should have had someone air the place out this morning. Also, it is hot as outside. There is a bottle of water in the frig, thank goodness. So, I strip down, take a drink, and rest for a minute. The listing said air-conditioning but I can’t find it. There are two windows but no screens, if I open those more mosquitos will come in. There is a fan in the living room so I turn that on to at least move the air around.

      This place has 2 floors and a rooftop balcony. I head upstairs and find an air conditioner on the second floor. I turn that on but it is old and has minimum air flow. I do open the windows on the second floor and turn on the fans up there as well. The place starts to air out a bit. Now for the oddities, there are 2 bedrooms and a main bathroom on the first floor (2nd floor for us Canucks). However, the wardrobe to hang all your clothes in is on the ground floor. The bathroom has no shelf space for toiletries and the sink has no vanity. The washer is on the ground floor, where you hang your clothes to dry is the rooftop balcony. (Two sets of stairs up). The kitchen is very old and I have my suspicions that is where the musty smell is coming from. The final insult to injury is: there are only two mirrors in the house; one in the bathroom (5’ off the ground) and one in the second bedroom. Both mirrors are 6” X 8”. Can’t see anything other than you face.
      The good part is that the bed is comfy and there is decent water pressure. I head out for my grocery run and find a lovely pedestrian area where there are several food vendors. Yeah, all is not lost, I have found food. I make my purchases and head back for a well deserved shower and bed.

      There is a church right beside me (surprise). The bells from this one start at 7:00 AM. This should be fun!

      The views outside are good from the second floor and the rooftop. I have a 10-minute rain shower (first time since I have been in Greece) and it does cool things off a bit. I get some neat pictures of the cruise ship leaving and the ferry.
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    • Day 24

      Saint Nikolas and the Ritzy Area

      June 12, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      This morning I had brunch at a place called Jar, near the town square. It is located in a little alley way and has limited seating. I was lucky to get a table. They have a varied breakfast and lunch menu and a pleasant atmosphere. The staff are nice and attentive. I had the omelet with a frappe.

      After brunch, I went to see the church of St. Nikolas. It is a large church that is in a different part of Ermoupolis town. This is the part where wealthy merchants used to live is called the Vaporia Quarter. It is dominated by Saint Nikolas Church. There is a monument out in the courtyard. I'm not sure what it means but it looked interesting. Anybody have better Greek than me? This is a Greek Orthodox church and is beautiful. It is very much influenced by the Venetian architecture of the area. The columns in the front give it a very old world feel. The service was just getting out when I went in, so there were still people milling about. I did get some pictures though, check them out below. The church was started in 1848 and completed in 1870. It is very ornate, which seems to be in keeping with other Orthodox churches that I have seen. It also has the slate blue colouring in the ceilings.

      After the church, I proceeded to walk down some of the other streets. Here you find cobblestones and narrow walkways to the homes with glimpses of the sea. I went down one particular walkway and got a great photo of the local swimming spot. Ermoupolis does not have a beach but it does have these cement slabs that were probably used for boats and have now been re-purposed as a swimming platform. A lot of the homes in this area are being restored and turned into residence or boutique hotels. I have included a photo of the port I took on my way back to town, just so you could get an idea of how big the place is.

      It is a pleasant day out with a little overcast and a nice breeze. Thank goodness, otherwise this would have been a very hot walk. I meander back to my place and enjoy an evening at home. I love the views from my first-floor window. We have a full moon tonight and it looks very pretty shining on the water.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Naos Kimiseos Theotokou, Ναός Κοιμήσεως της Θεοτόκου, Q105393043

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