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Thursday 26 September 2013

[Wednesday 25 September 2013]

10:00–18:00 Mytilene, Lesvos—tender to shore

Day 269 Thursday 26 September Nehemiah 1-5

Cruise News









Explore Ashore




Woke up, ca.8am. Janet had been awake since ca.7.30am. We were still moving, with green hills rising from the sea passing by in the distance, with occasional cliffs, and a sprinkling of villages and small towns on and among the hills. We had no excursions booked so weren’t in any hurry. Janet got up ca.8.15am, and I followed when she’d completed her ablutions in the bathroom. We went for breakfast. Janet has been lamenting the lack of variety of fruit at dinner time, notwithstanding the choice at breakfast, so she did the logical thing: take a peach and two large plums away with her for later. She felt as if she was stealing, though! We went ashore on the tender boat. The sun was bright and hot.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 10:36:02
Going ashore from the tender

First, we went to a bar/café facing the harbour from just across the street, and had a drink. Janet had a Coke Light and in the absence of Fanta I had a perfectly acceptable local bottled orangeade drink. The TV set in an upper corner of the room had the word “ΣΚΑΪ” at the top left of the screen, and it took me some minutes to realise that it was “Sky” because I didn’t immediately see the last letter as an iota with a diaeresis.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 10:49:40
A drink in a nearby bar/café

Then we found the road up the hill to the castle, not hard to do, even though the street names didn’t resemble the names given on the map, even allowing for the map’s use of Latin characters. We paid, I think €2 apiece to get in.…


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:28:58
Mytilene castle

Janet was unhappy with the heat in the castle grounds, which curtailed my wanting to explore the site more thoroughly.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:32:42
Mytilene castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:35:12
Mytilene castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:35:28
Mytilene castle

It reminded me of the castle in Scarborough, in that it overlooked both a north bay and a south bay. The prospect over the north bay was easy to find.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:40:22
Northerly view from Mytilene castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:40:22
Detail 1


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:40:22
Detail 2


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:44:22
Mytilene castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:45:48


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:47:34
Medrese: Ottoman theological school


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:48:46


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:48:08
Tekke — used for the rites of the dervishes


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:49:30
Tekke — used for the rites of the dervishes


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 11:49:40
Tekke — used for the rites of the dervishes


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:01:14
Mytilene castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:02:36
Mytilene castle

I risked stepping over a rope barrier to climb some steep stone steps, open on the side away from the wall, to see if an opening in the wall would afford a prospect of the south bay — but it didn’t.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:03:46
Mytilene castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:06:22
Mytilene castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:07:30
Mytilene castle, southern gate


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:10:20
Mytilene castle, southern wall

I finally got some southerly views that I desired.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:10:36
Mytilene, viewed from the southern part of the castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:10:50
Mytilene, viewed from the southern part of the castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:11:18
Mytilene harbour-wall, viewed from the southern part of the castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:13:52
MS Thomson Celebration at anchor


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:14:20
MS Thomson Celebration at anchor


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:18:22
Νατάσα (Natasa) loves Δημήτρης (Dimitris)


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:19:22
Mytilene castle, southern wall


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:22:46
Seen as leaving the castle grounds

We wanted to find the “City Cathedral”, mentioned in Explore Ashore, but I didn’t find the map much help.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:30:02
Mytilene street scenes


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:31:32
Mytilene street scenes

The building we went in seemed to be in the place shown on the map, but equally seemed too small to be a “cathedral”.[i]
[i] Back home, comparison with photos on the internet confirmed it to be the place we sought, the Cathedral of Agios Athanasios, as I’ve indicated in the captions of the photos below.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:38:06
Cathedral of Agios Athanasios (Saint Athanasius)


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:42:08
Cathedral of Agios Athanasios (Saint Athanasius)


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:42:16
Cathedral of Agios Athanasios (Saint Athanasius)


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:42:30
Part of the iconostasis

The black-robed priest, or I guess if it was a “cathedral” he could have been the bishop, came in bowing and kissing icons. We put a couple of euros in the offering box before we left.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 12:46:10
Cathedral of Agios Athanasios (Saint Athanasius) from the arch of the bell tower

We kept our eyes open for the actual “cathedral”, i.e. something more cathedral-like, but obviously didn’t find it. We proceeded along a long, narrow shopping street. Then I saw on a street crossing it a sign with a name I finally recognised on the map: “Μητρέλια”, matching the name “Mitrelia” on the map. Janet was too hot and weary for more exploring, so I left her there while I “went for a scout”; having now got my bearings, I retraced our steps to the church we’d been in and was reasonably sure it was the “Ag. Athanasios” shown on the map. I went back to Janet, and we entered a shop, where she bought some “Greek Delight”. Then it was a short distance from there to the street running along the harbour, where we found a café and I had a beer and Janet a Coke. We got a bowl of crisps with our order, which was welcome to me, because I was the one who ate them. This is what we like about catering in Italy and Turkey — and now Greece (but not arrogant, pompous, look-down-their-nose-at-you France, damn them!): you order a drink, and they give you crisps or nuts with it.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:19:02
Refreshments

Farther along, as we made our way back to the departure point of the tender, there was a statue of Sappho. I expected it to be spelled “Σαπφώ”, but found that it was “Ψάπφα”.[ii]

[ii] Back home, a search on Wikipedia accounted for the variation in names; see the photo-caption below.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:27:26
Statue of Sappho (Attic Greek: Σαπφώ), here spelled “Psappha” (Ψάπφα) in the local, Aeolic dialect


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:27:26
Detail of 13:27:26


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:27:50
“Psappha” (Ψάπφα)


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:29:42
Returning to the ship


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:30:58
Looking back at the town — Centre: Church of Agios Therapon

There was a boat waiting when we reached the rendezvous point, so we were off almost straight away.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:38:02
Boarding the tender


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:46:38
Looking back at the castle


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:47:32
Approaching the ship


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:49:16
Boarding the ship

We were back just in time to go straight to the Broadway Show Lounge for what the Cruise News billed as “2pm Theatre at Sea: Our afternoon play the hilarious ‘A Jolly Sinister Jape’”.

Four bright young things take shelter in a grand old house on a dark, stormy night. What could possibly go wrong? Join us for our hilarious play this afternoon.

Afterwards we went back to the cabin briefly, before going to the Lido Pool Bar. We had drinks; and Janet had an apple and I a slice, perhaps more than one, of pizza. The ship’s rock band Top Men were just finishing their set there, and they were followed by a towel-folding demonstration. The commentary was a bit loud and intrusive — the rock band had been as loud if not louder, but welcome, not intrusive — and what’s more, we were pestered somewhat by people going round trying to sell the towel folding manual that had been produced. A couple was sunbathing, oblivious-seeming, right in front of the demonstration; we despise the subspecies homo stultus.


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 13:59:54
Rock band “Top Men”


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 15:17:16
Towel-folding demonstration


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 15:17:16
Detail 1 of 15:17:16


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 15:17:16
Detail 2 of 15:17:16

We visited reception on the way back to the cabin, to find out our departure time on Monday and to book a late-checkout cabin. We were given the welcome news that we would be able to retain our present cabin. The cost was £15. Janet washed a pair of my travel socks, and went in search of a dryer. There were a couple of locations where there were washing machines and tumble-dryers. I went out on deck and took photos, as the coast of Lesvos receded. In the low late-afternoon sun, I could see why Homer called the sea “wine-dark” (though the photo of it failed to capture the effect).


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 16:09:28
Leaving Lesvos


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 16:09:54
Leaving Lesvos


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 16:14:52
Leaving Lesvos


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 16:16:42
The “wine-dark sea” (οἶνοψ πόντος)


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 16:18:00
Leaving Lesvos


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 16:20:04
Turkish mainland ahead

Janet sought me to get me to try to help her operate the dryer, but I had no more success starting it than she did. In the end, she collared a crew member. I didn’t realise that you had to push the big red button in to start it; I assumed that such things were to stop machinery in emergencies. I went back to the cabin; copied today’s 53 photos from the camera (16:28–16:29), but didn’t edit them, apart from rotating those that needed it (16:32–16:45). While the dryer was working, Janet went to Hemingway’s Bar for a drink, and also bought a 0.5ℓ bottle of water for tomorrow. The socks didn’t want to dry, seemingly, and Janet ended up hanging them from a drawer in the cabin. We went for dinner to the Lido Restaurant. Back in the cabin a towel “sculpture” awaited us. Janet updated her journal.…


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 19:09:58
Towel “sculpture”


Thursday 26 September 2013 — 19:09:58
Detail of 19:09:58

Copied the above photo from the camera (19:15). Cabin temperature was about right today, by the way. This evening at 8.45pm in the Broadway Show Lounge there was to be Tutti Voce

Tonight we bring you our concert show with excellent vocal performances and beautiful costumes.

—so we headed there at 8.15pm so we could get a good seat before the place filled up, to find the door barred to us: “Captain John’s” Gala Reception there was over-running. We went to the Lido for a bit, where Janet bantered with the waiters, then went back to the Broadway Show Lounge and queued up. “When we were allowed in,” Janet wrote, “I bagged two front-row seats.… The show was fantastic. These young people are so very talented and are a real pleasure to watch and listen to.” We went back to the cabin; Janet had a shower, and further updated her journal. “It’s now 10.19pm,” she wrote, “and I’ll get my head down soon as we need to be up early (ca.6.30am) for the Athens tour. I’m still slightly anxious about coping with the heat.” I was doing diary update whenever I had time; the entry for yesterday was done at the expense of completing the day’s before, but I went on to do that and completed it (i.e. the relating of events; the photos and captions went in after we returned home). Edited a few of today’s photos (22:17–22:23). Decided not to do today’s diary update before I shut down (ca.00:10) and went to bed.

[Friday 27 September 2013]



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