Quotidiano | Categorie: English news

Two news letters after summer peregrinations of. Mr. Bob

Di Robert Lambert Domenica 27 Settembre 2015 alle 14:26 | 0 commenti

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Dear Students, I'm finally back after my summer peregrinations. I apologise for not writing earlier – due to a dose of hot weather lethargy, unfriendly ccomputers, or lack of them at all. As it is, I am listening to the cricket commentary on my PC, overlooking Carmini Church in Vicenza, the only building of note built during the Austrian period in the 19th century.

So, the last time I wrote, I was in Thessaloniki public library, at the beginning of July. Despite the scenes of violent demonstrations one kept seeing on the TV, all in Athens around Syntagma Square, life in Greece's second city was calm, uneventful even, in the run up to the referendum to decide whether they should accept the stringent conditions laid down by the international community in return for being allowed to stay in the Euro. I did miss my bus a couple of times, due to peaceful demonstrations, but other than that, it was a non event, and in the end, Greece ate humble pie despite the outcome of the vote. To the disappointment of my fellow citizen, Gianni Coviello, who runs Vicenzapiù, who wrote editorials praising the 'No' campaign.

 I stayed, as usual, in the well-off area of Saranta Ekklisies (Forty Churches), named, not due to having more than one church, but after an area of Istanbul which used to vaunt forty churches during the hey day of the Byzantine empire. The flat is on a steep hill, the last building before the pine forest begins. One of my neighbours fed twelve stray dogs from the forest, who spent the day lingering around her fence. One evening, with the young French West Indian girl, with whom I was sharing the flat, we braved the dogs on our way back from Nora, our landlady, who had invited us for coffee. It was in the twilight, and Scarlett insisted we return through the forest, which is slightly quicker than the road, saying she wasn't afraid. She led the way, but as the dogs approached us in a pack, barking, she immediately hid behind me. I walked on, my adrenalin streaming through my veins, but luckily they were just being sociable.

 I had an unfortunate meeting with Scarlett in the corridor. It ws alte at night, I was lying thirstily in bed, and wanted to go to the kitchen for a glass of water. I could hear Scarlett having a shower, so decided to let her finish, and retire to her room, in case she came out of the shower in a state of partial undress.

 I heard her bedroom door close behind her, got up, opened my door, when simultaneously she appeared from her room, en route back to the shower, totally, stark naked. We both exclaimed, and she dashed back to her room. I would be lying if I said that this unsought for view was not aesthetically pleasing.

 The other flatmate was a German man, very tall, and very fat. If he was sitting in the small kitchen, it ws a real effort to get round him to the fridge, or onto the balcony. Fifty-five, he had converted from Protestant Christianity to Judaeism. I never quite found out why.

 As usual, apart from the damp heat in the second half of July, life in Thessaloniki was idyllic, swimming, chatting with my friend the captain, who lives on a yacht in the marina, from where one sees the sun set over the Thermic Gulf, prior to drinking an aperitif with my friends in the relative cool of evening, at Goody's, a self-service fastfood restaurant, with a terrasse overlooking the sea. The only problem is, they don't serve tsipouro, my favourite aperitif. The only solution was to bring my own, and drink it mixed with the mineral water I bought from them.

 Imagine my dismay when Grigorios, the manager, approached me one evening, and told me not to do it. I managed to get away with it by camouflaging the tsipouro in a mineral water bottle, and exchanging it for the real mineral water, which I hid in my bag, with a cunning sleight of hand. Proud of my cleverness, I told my niece when I got to England.

 “You sound like a fourteen year old schoolboy, Uncle Bob,” she told me. Well, that took me down a peg or two!

 As usual, before leaving Greece, I went to Holy Mount Athos, the Orthodox religious sanctuary closed to women. Apart from losing my glasses, it was as wonderful as it always is, walking alone in the pristine countryside from one monastery to another in what is called the Virgin Mary's garden.

I left Greece on the 11th August, en route to Budapest. I will write later about the rest of my trip.

Leggi tutti gli articoli su: Carmini, summer

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