I knit on the ferry – and, almost universally, every woman over 50yrs smiles at my activity and nods in appreciation – and no men or woman under 50yrs of age even glance my way.
Samos is a smaller island than Chios, but appears bigger, grander, as the mountains glower over the buildings and are much closer and in your face than the mountain ranges on Chios. This is Vathi – and what used to be Samos Town.
The houses are built in Italian style apparently – which contributes to the grandiosity. They are certainly not the blocky, square, whitewashed affairs you see on other islands. There are more tourists around, and therefore more tourist shops to supply them (us?).
I go to a restaurant – and, in honour of and as instructed by Sue Truesdale, I have moussaka and a glass of ouzo. This latter turns out to be a mistake – as the alcohol sends me to sleep.
I book a studio in Pythagoria, on the other side of the island – and where the ferry departs for Lipsi. Yes, this is where Pythagoras was born, that well known mathematician and discoverer of the theorem: “In a right angled triangle:
The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides” –well, apparently the Babylonians (and the Indians, Chinese etc) were also aware of this some few hundreds of year before, but Pythagoras was the first to PROVE it. And very useful knowing that has been to me (not). By the time I’ve had my snooze and headed off to Pythagoria it’s gone 6pm.
A young Syrian refugee wants to help push my bicycle up the hill out of town. I am suspicious of his motives (after the incident in Albania) but he wants nothing – not even the money I offer him ‘for a drink’ – just my thanks. There seems to be a refugee camp – with razor wire atop high walls – on the outskirts of Vathi – a lot of young lads heading into Vathi from this place. They shout “Where you from?” and when I respond and ask the same question back, they reply “Syria” – to which my reply is “that’s tough” and they walk on. I feel decadent to be doing what I’m doing, accepting help and then thinking about what they must have endured to get here, and the hassles they still face.
I soon realised I was on the wrong road as it turned the opposite direction to the one I wanted and had to head back – so the sun was setting as I reached the top of the hill over Vathi– glorious, fiery sunset over the port. It didn’t take long from there to ride the width of the island.
As I rode into Pythagoria, a man on a scooter beckoned me to follow him – I thought it was clever that he knew where I wanted to go – but turns out he was trying to show me ANOTHER room. When I made it clear that I’d reserved the Ifegenia studio, he knew who I meant so was able to guide me to the right place. The studio was small, with its own little kitchen, shower, and patio. I made myself a little nest and tucked myself in.
I spoke of the refugees to Ifagenia – (her who the apartments are named after) and described what the one lad had done for me. She shrugged, and seemed sceptical the lads were even from Syria and very suspicious of them all. Maybe they ARE from Afghanistan or elsewhere. Does it matter in the end?