As the sun began its rapid descent, the sky began to fill with black kites, some of them tiny specks a mile high. At first we took them to be of the raptor variety, but as we emerged from the undergrowth into wide grassland we saw a hundred boys and men wrestling with long twine stretching into the distance.
To me photography is often about engaging with people. Despite being told to do so by our taxi driver I point-blank refused to stick my camera out the window of the car as we drove down one really poor street. Yet on my second visit, this time walking down the same street, we bothered to talk to the people I was snapping and everyone we met appeared so happy. Except one family. You’ll notice in amongst all the photographs of smiling faces are two brothers who look very sad. Why were they like this? It doesn’t bear thinking about but their eyes tell a different story and their portraits stick out like sore thumbs. It’s a stark reminder that behind all the laughter life is still damn bloody tough.
Lipsi. A quintessentially Greek island untouched by the hoards of package holiday tourists that populate the bigger Dodecanese islands. I’d say the people here are a mix of holidaying Greeks, a few backpackers and a bunch of yotties, not forgetting the gentle locals, which makes for a very peaceful atmosphere indeed. These next few log entries, including a special post by Millie The Cat, cover the rest of the Dodecanese islands and start with Lipsi, which is littered with some of my fave photographs of the Dodecanese islands. Let me know what you think of them by leaving a comment at the end of the page!
It’s a most startling and incongruous sight. In fact I found it impossible to suppress a slightly hysterical giggle at what had happened to this old monument to Catholicism. (During later sight-seeing forays I saw other, similarly changed, monuments of Christian worship, all of which triggered this irrepressible giggle.)
Famagusta is in the north of the island. Well, most of it is. Quite a large part of it is now sectioned off with barbed wire walls behind which can be seen the eerie no-man’s land of skeletal hotels, tumble-weed roads and literal urban decomposition…
The ensuing scene could have been used for a remake of the film ‘The Exorcist’ as I swung through an 180 degree arc, like the hammock was made of elastic, jerking violently in every direction. Fortunately my head didn’t twist round and curse obscenities, and neither did I throw up purple sick, though I did feel like scratching ‘Help Me’ in my stomach. Like Linda Blair I didn’t get much sleep that night.
As Liz alluded to we both texted our parents and asked them what they recommend seeing in Malta. Both Liz’s mum, Dorothy, and Dad insisted on checking out St John’s Co-Cathedral, which he described as ‘gob-smacking’.
The prehistoric temples were as stunning as anything on Malta, but having already seen a couple of sites and the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta (which houses all the goodies, including some superb statues from 5500 years ago, including my favourite, the “Venus of Malta”) we were less stunned than we should have been. Don’t let that put you off, though, it’s an awe-inspiring site and built on a great spot overlooking the island.
Despite my blatant atheism I do love a good cathedral and this does not fail to impress. Whilst one spends many a moment wandering around, mouth open agog at the many splendors that adorn the walls and ceilings, for me the highlight were the marble tombs in the floor.
We slipped the lines at 10am, making the most of the strong tides that run around Alderney Race, though this was nothing like our outward journey. We had the steering back for one thing! After passing Cherbourg we turned the engine off to find that we were doing roughly one knot through the water due to changing tides. Five knots of wind and fed up with the engine on… spinnaker anyone?
I was surprised that the majority of tourists in Santiago were Spanish. Santiago is one of Europe’s primary religious destinations, second only to The Vatican, yet we overheard no other language other than Spanish, save for an American couple arguing over whether they should go shopping or have a cup of coffee. That said, the streets are packed.