Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pythagoras Slept Here

We spent our second night at Kampos. It's a beautiful stretch of beach on the Southern coast, inhabited by expats and package tourists from Norway, Holland and the UK. It wasn't even mentionned in any of my guidebooks. But then agaın, the Amerıcan guıdebooks seem to skıp Samos as a whole, treatiıng ıt mostly as a jumpiıng off poınt for Turkey. The Northern European guıdebooks must give the ısland better treatment; there are plenty of shiny Nordic families hikıng ın the hills, retired Brits sunning on the beach, and Teutonıc lesbians on motorbikes toolling around the villages.

My first impression of Kampos wasn't good. It's the kind of place where they bus 'em in, give 'em a watered down version of The Greek Experience, and then bus 'em on out. Yeah, I'm a snob.

We stopped at Chester's Tavern for a late snack and drink. It's owned by two brothers, Greek-Canadians who moved back to their homeland. I took a seat way, in back, far removed from the smiling Germanic hordes. Sid, the owner, came over and talked with us for a bit. We had an ouzo, it was nice, I was ready to leave, and then Sid called us over to join the table of ex-pats nearer the bar.

And I guess I was wrong about these folks, because they all turned out to be hella cool. And I know it must get boring reading about how I had a wonderful night ... but I had a wonderful night. Again. It was all wine and ouzo fueled talk about the war, multi-culturalism, the euro, the EC, Islam, Bush, Greece, tourism, Polykrates, and Pythagoras. I got into plenty of arguments, and I lost them all.

There aren't many long term residents in Kampos. It's still undiscovered, although no one I talked with imagined that it could stay undiscovered long. Jackie O had Mykonos, Diane Lane had Tuscany, Hemmingway had Key West. These folks had Samos, one small piece of paradise, far from the beaten path.

Shoots, I just got the five minute warning at the cafe. Quickly now: We spent today climbing to the Caves of Pythagoras. He taught in one, and slept in another. I thought that phılosphers only lıved ın remote caves ın Monty Python movies; guess I was wrong. Various saints later took up residence there. The walk took hours, and at the end we had to ascend I don't know how many hundreds of feet up the cliff. We made some serıous elevatiıon - our guess ıs 700 to 800 meters. I was scared, but luckily my curiousity trumped my fear once again. It was amazing. I have half the pics posted, I'll post the rest tomorrow in Turkey.

Because tomorrow I take the ferry to Kusadasi, and a new adventure begins.

So ... Samos was stunning. I finally had gyros in Greece, I drank the sweet Samena vin doux [it tastes like it was brewed with honey], and never once set foot in any place named after Zorba. Not so bad, eh?

1 comment:

Alastair said...

Hey, MC! I'm awestruck - Bill Bryson eat your heart out, I say. It's ages since I've been on Mykonos but glad to hear it still has the same capacity to charm and exhaust. (I went to hear Mass in a charming Catholic Church there - probably the same one you visited.)

Hungrily awaiting the next chapter ...