|Pithagorio faces the coast of Turkey|
|Samos mountains to the south west|
The thing is, we got to like Pithagoria (named for the maths whiz Pythagorus, born there in 580 BC) and Samos, very much, and as the days passed, we couldn't find a good reason to leave. Then the wind piped up (i.e. it blew harder than usual) for a day or so, and after that we discovered (thanks to an email from our friend Jane in Bodrum) that Turgutreis, the port where we were expecting to check into Turkey, was hosting a summer music festival to coincide with our intended arrival date. Great at any other time but not when you need to make a quick, clean entry, without tangles of red tape.
So we made another adjustment to the schedule. That's one of the things that happens when you are captain of your own ship, so to speak. It's the best part actually. Instead of checking out from Kos, we'd leave from Samos,
|The temple of Hera was once the largest in Greece|
|What's left of the huge altar on which animal sacrifices were burnt|
|Fragments of the temple|
|Good coffee in the port of Kokkari|
|Plenty of space on the town quay at Vathi - and the swell never stops|
|The dingy quay (our outboard in foreground) at Pithagorio|
|A quiet ale (Alpha draught) at The Iliad (below as well)|
|The Duchess (right) and friend wait for the catch|
The biggest surprise Samos threw our way was a sharp and invigorating exhibition by an art collective called Slavs and Tatars. It could have come straight from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and as it turns out, Slavs and Tatars have shown at MoMA. Standing on the quay amongst the tavernas and fishermen, the families on holiday and the young Greeks at play, it was like coming across a new book by Janet Malcolm or Colm Toibin in a marina book exchange. Better actually, because exhilarating new art is such a rare treat when you live on a boat whereas now we have Kindle...on which I can read Homer or the latest Alice Munro, or both at the same time.
|Museum pieces - remnants from a more powerful Samos (and below)|
|The Roman emperor Claudius|
I have finished The Odyssey, to my regret, though I sped through the Robert Fagles translation, wanting to keep everything I had seen and learned in Greece in front of my mind as I followed Odysseus on his epic trip back to Ithaca. I knew those helmets made of boar tusks which Homer spoke of, I knew the bronze spears, the silver and gold cups...they were real to me, I'd seen them with my own eyes in the museums in Athens. And so much more I'd seen.
|Mycenean gold cups|
|Zeus in bronze|
We're already tossing about where to check in for Greece Part II - Rhodes harbour or Symi? - as if that were happening next week rather than eight long months away. Turkey, on the other hand, we return to knowing the ropes much better than we did at this time last year, and there's some comfort in that.
We sit at anchor now in a bay known as Paradise, its clear warm water edged with pine trees and not a dwelling in sight. Rod Heikell's cruising guide directed us here through the legion fish farms in the gulf just south of Didim. For that, and much else, Heikell (dubbed Rod the God by some we know) deserves much thanks. Libations in gold cups even.