Aegean Day 11

Because I am the only American on board, I have been asked to explain Donald Trump and now “the worst mass shooting in American history” in a gay nightclub in Orlando, with 49 dead and another 53 wounded, according to the NY Times. I hadn’t paid any attention to the news since I started this trip, so I had to google it.  How to explain the prejudice and stupidity of Trump supporters, and how to explain Americans’ predilection for firearms to people who live in countries where guns are not allowed. They thought that American bellicosity would have been tempered by Obama succeeding Bush. I can’t explain it; I can’t even explain why my son-in-law bought a gun.

Chalki

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IMG_6339It’s cloudy, but only a few drops of rain, so after breakfast we ten squeeze into a van for eight to drive up to the old village. The mountainside is full of rock walls around rocky fields. Some old olive trees and a few goats. Yes, we shall be going up this entire hillside. Intimidating. A stone walkway with lots of stairs, first to the St. George Diasoritis Byzantine Church.

 

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Then many switchbacks and many more stairs to the Thrones of Zeus and Hekate, part of the fortification wall from the Hellenistic Period. (The Aussies pose – B’s photo.  Looks like they’re in front of a backdrop.)  Kinda reminds me of Capricorn by Max Ernst in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art.

IMG_6344On up to the medieval castle of the Knights of St. John and the ancient acropolis. Only made it all of the way because Maria said that she has a knee-sized ice pack I can use when we get back to the boat. The views, as usual, are gorgeous.  The thought of guys cutting all of this stone and setting it into the fortifications is daunting.

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Halfway down in the van, then a stop for our midmorning coffee on a windy terrace overlooking the sea. A short walk downhill to The Traditional House of Chalki, preserved since the 19th century, when the owner had been in the sponge trade until his boat sank on the rocks and he had no sons to succeed him. Crochet work everywhere, done by the women of the house.

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Another short walk to the pier, but our gulet had to leave for two ferries which came in, so we waited in a cafe with glasses of white wine until it returned. The wind had whipped up and waves were splashing seven meters onto the promenade.

When our gulet returned we had to jump up to the gang plank, which was bouncing up and down, with a strong-arm help from Ugur, the muscular first mate.

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chalki 2A boat capsized in the bay, and the attempts of the owner, swimming in those cold waves, to upright it were our lunchtime entertainment. Two boats, one a small rowboat, attempted to help, and a number of the cafe patrons walked out to watch. Finally a lorry (okay, that’s what the Brits call a truck), with a crane, pulled it out almost an hour later.

Our boat was being battered about, so we left for a calm bay at Almia. A few of our group went swimming (note: all of the men wore speedos) and IMG_6386dried out in the sun (flat areas of the gulet are covered in cushions); then some of us went to shore on the Zodiac (see photo) for a walk to an abandoned settlement, perhaps originally from the 3rd C BC.  There were sheep about, probably herded a few times a year, and a church used once a year for a saint’s day. Back to the gulet for drinks and dinner, the sea here calm, the air now cool.

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