Friday, July 5, 2013

Leros Thoughts

Friday, June 28, 2013—Alinda, Leros, Greece
Realized today that I've hit a bit of a wall. Like I mentioned in my last entry, yesterday I felt like I really needed a day to recharge. Today I've been feeling the same way. I woke up today, after about nine hours sleep, feeling totally wiped out. I knew it was going to be a minimalist day from then on out.

I did manage to climb the hill up to Pandeli Castle, which looms above the over side of Alinda Bay. It was interesting. The bulk of the castle was destroyed at various times, so most of what's up there is a reconstruction but it felt pretty authentic. More interesting than the castle itself was the museum next to it. The museum is culturally only tenuously connected to what had gone on with the castle. Mostly it houses examples religious iconography, which were quite interesting, mainly because the guy working in the museum explained them really well. He was a Greek-American from Texas, so he understood how to translate Greek Orthodox traditions for outsiders. Other than the museum all I managed to do was buy a boat ticket for Kos (I leave tomorrow at 10:20 AM).

I really haven't seen much of this island, just the castle and the towns strung along this part of the coast. Normally this would bug me, but I hadn't really planned on coming here anyway. Also, based on descriptions of this place and what I have seen there's really not that much that interests me here: I'm using this island mainly as a relatively inexpensive pit-stop. That said, if I had a bit more money to burn, I wouldn't mind staying here a couple more days, mainly because I haven't quite figured the place out and I don't like leaving mysteries behind me. That said, I do think I get why this isn't exactly a hot destination: it doesn't have the wildness and breadth of someplace like Crete, while it also lacks the glamor, facilities, and style of places like Rhodes and Kos. It feels off the beaten path, but not necessarily in a good way … 

 Today the wind kicked up, making it a pretty lousy day for the beach (which is mainly what this place has to offer). Because of this there hardly seemed to be anyone around. Or at least that's what I thought was going on. To save money I ate in again tonight, taking advantage of the rarity of having a kitchen. After eating an early dinner and then taking an unexpected nap (I just crashed), I decided to head out and get a drink somewhere just to get out and mingle. Alinda, though, was empty; it's a Friday night and virtually every restaurant and bar was deserted or nearly so—and this is the tourist center of the island. I'm beginning to think that a lot of the people I saw on the beach yesterday were local Greeks who didn't come out today because of the wind. If my observations are correct, this place is really dead. I wonder if this is because of the state of the European economy or is this place always like this (I doubt the latter seriously: there are too many restaurants, hotels, etc. to have arisen for no reason). Some of the businesses here are closed. Maybe this place is really hurting. Or maybe things don't get going here till later in the summer. It was so dead that I decided to buy a beer and head back to my guest house. I didn't want to sit in some bar literally by myself …
Onward to Kos …

Pandeli Castle (or maybe the Castle Anthrax - "In the name of King Arthur open the door ...")

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