Thursday, 1 May 2008

Chios 28th April-1st May

Our ferry docked in Chios (Ch as in loch) at 9pm. Chios is home to the Aegian University and all 1400 students seemd to be on the long harbour front, in the line of cafes blasting out disco music. The few lodging we saw were shut or seedy, all very noisy. And here, a small lament about pavements. Everywhere we have been cafes have the awful habit of filling up the pavements...and then there's the steps, the uneven surfaces, the sudden disappearances altogether. When you are pulling a wheeled suitcase you really curse them. Needless to say, wheelchair users are never to to be they need some good laws and enforcement!

By 10pm we're beginning to feel a bit desperate when before us, near the end of the harbour is a large old mansion, and in large blue neon letters 'Chios Rooms'. Eventually we gained entry and were shown round by its owner, a New Zealander called Don. It was such a beautiful house, ceilings 15 ' high, and cheap, that we decided there and then to stay a while. The following evening, in the communal kitchen, Don told us that he lets out rooms for 5E for three hours to soldiers, so that they can have a warm shower and relax. If someone said that to you, what would you be thinking? Of course, Don, just what young men, confined to barracks all day, need!
Chios is the reputed home of Homer, author of 'The Iliad (about the ten years of the Trojan War), and 'The Odyssey" (about Odysseus' ten year journey back home to Ithaca). He lived somewhere round 750BC, and was describing some real events, some mythical that occurred around 500 years earlier. it's such a long time ago that no-one can be very exact, or know how much Homer was working from ballads handed down over orally over the generations. (people didn't write down Greek until around 800BC so everything would have been mouth to mouth). Homer was a real life person and we are here to find him.

On the morning after our arrival, we took a bus along the north road to Omeroupolis (Homer's Town and found Daskaloupetra (Teacher"s Stone) on the edge of the town. We climbed up to a small area of flat rock, a stool size stone was in the middle and a semi circle of stone benches around, all very ancient. Homer was blind, and we took it in turns to sit on the stone with eyes shut and imagine him with his scribes; sound of waves lapping, and craggy mountains to our backs and we agreed that this was as good a place as any. Dictating those long stories all in verse, would have required intense concentration, probably only possible with no other detractions

Next day we visited the archaeological museum and were guided round the most important finds of Chios. We were shown two female figurines in clay dated around 1300BC in the shape of the Greek letters ψ & φ, the precursors of the Greek alphabet. Nothing specifically related to Homer, but our lovely guide suggested we visit the site of Emporium which was built between 800-600 BC. We hired a little yellow car and took ourselves to an amazingly kept limestone ancient village built up a steep hill ovelooking the Aegean, with a temple dedicated to Athena at the top. Our journey continued to two 1400 AD fortified living villages. One of them, Anavatos was stone built in exactly the same way, 2,300 years later but with a church at the top.

Ian, we are planning to have an Easter (Mayday really) meal to-night, our last evening on Chios. A lovely place which we would like to visit again!

Next Samos!


Ian said...

It's occurred to me before that Homer's task in dictating to scribes must have been a bit like using a computer with Dragnonspeak. The problem being that what ever you say will be written down whether you meant it or not! Of course, Homer had the advantage of being able to cuff his scribes around the ear when they read back to him, a feature that is absent from Dragonspeak!

Glad you got some Easter food ... Lamb and herbs ... sigh!


Mikis said...

Hi Mum & Dad...

Still keeping up with you blog and have so much else going on. Unfortunately I'm not using my Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software to write in this blog and so am just going to keep it short...

We Love you lots and miss you plenty..

Mikis & Family

owen said...

reading your blog in a Nottingham rehearsal room. It brings back the smell of that Cyprus orange blossom. Keep on blogging
love Owen

Costas & Gerry said...

Yiasas Andrea & Sabrina !!

I perigrafes ton peripetion sas
ke gia tin elliniki istoria ine katapliktikes.
Lipithikame oou o keros den itan
poly kalos otan isaste stin Mitilini.Eprepe napate ston Molivon,pou ine mia exesia poli.
Tha pao sto nosokomio stis 19 tou
May, ke i eghirisis tha ghin tin
Tetarti 21 May.
Anapste kanenan tzierin gia hari mou !!
Elpizo na pane ola kala.
Afti tin vdomada tha pao exo me ton
Mihali ke ton Kokon. Sou stelloun oli pollous heretismous.
Me poli agapi
Kostas and Gerry
Tuesday 6th May

Mikis said...

dear Papous and Yaya.

I miss you lots and lots.

By the way I've just listened to some of your writing. It sounds very amazing. I wish I was there with to see all of these things but I'm not. Instead I am at school working hard and daddy is reading your story to me.

So when you come back I hope we spend lots of time together love Melissa. kiss kiss :)

um um you are my daddys mum and dad and I'm going to buy some plants and a greenhouse and some flowers for you.

And I'm going to buy you a magazine about the titanic that sunk. it was a passenger ship but then it sunk and crashed and it sunk and it sunk to the bottom of the sea and then a shark and a jellyfish came and stung them and there was no titanic again....

Love Myron x x x x x he he