Saturday, September 25, 2010

Four last things about Greece

1. There are stray dogs and cats everywhere! At first I felt sorry and a bit appalled at the thought of all these homeless animals but after four weeks I can see it kind of works. The animals go wherever they please and the people are usually affectionate towards them. The restaurant owners feed the animals table scraps as they come. It is interesting because all the tables are outside so the animals are roaming around as you eat. The cats are the worst, believe it or not. They will sit staring at you while you eat. Once there was a wall behind me and the cat leaped onto the wall and stared at my dinner the whole evening. I was having prawns. I was just waiting for the thing to leap onto the table and drag one of the prawns off my plate but he only watched. The cats seem to come in and out of people’s homes too. We actually had to close the window to our Lindos place or we’d find a cat playing inside with the garbage. Yes, playing.

2. We discovered kite surfing on Rhodes at the very southernmost beach there. The beach was incredibly windy so there were lots of windsurfers zipping back and forth but a far more exciting sport to watch was kite surfing. It was kind of like the snow boarding of the water. The sport has a person on a wakeboard kind of apparatus with a harness around their waist. The harness is attached in the middle of the chest to a line on a huge kite. The surfer also holds a handle bar in both hands attached to the kite. The surfers zip along the water like wind surfers but then the kite actually pulls them right out of the water to spin and flip in the air. It looks wildly exciting. Julia has decided she will take up this sport as soon as we will let her.

3. I know we’ve gone on and on about the roads but the one last thing that needs to be mentioned are the potlumps. I want to say that the roads are generally pretty smooth but every so often the pavement breaks into potholes and once we saw a potlump! This really does beg the question, doesn’t it? I mean, how does one get a beautifully paved lump? I can only imagine that in the 45 degree heat, the paving crew came across yet another rock in the road and just paved right over it. It made a bit of a rough ride but we were in a rental car and the lady who rented it to us said, “You’re fully insured so I’m not even going to check for any marks before you leave”. That’s just soo Greek.

4. I had no idea the olive was so significant. Really. Oh sure, I’d heard the old legend about how Athens got its name, (told in an earlier blog). They always say how many uses the olive has as though this is a given fact. Personally, I thought sea-water was pretty handy but that’s just me. Then you drive through the millions of olive trees throughout the countryside, sometimes creating a maze-like feel. I swear there are more olives in this country than blades of grass. However, it wasn’t until our guide through Knossos on Crete began telling us about it that I realized the full impact this tree has on the culture. She swore the first olive tree came from Crete. Is THAT where Athena got it? She also said olive oil is the leading export of Greece. I can believe that. Then she told us that men should use a drop of olive oil after shaving to make the skin baby smooth. Tom has yet to try this. Mix a little with yogurt to relieve sunburn and if that isn’t enough, buy this book of 101 uses of olive oil to help convince you. 101 uses?

3 comments:

maryanncart said...

I think that I brought olive oil home at one point as a gift! Olive oil is good...for MANY things....I hope your whole family will LOVE olives by the time you leave...Had a nice skype with Steve today...will check out between 10-11 tomorrow and hope you are on...what grreat travels. Love Mom

Mynnette said...

Have you tried a ripe olive, unprocessed? DONT! MSW

Holly said...

We saved all our trials of olives for pictures. We have found that the olives have a wonderful flavour in the first bite but then you may as well spit it out because it becomes bitter the more you chew. We wondered if this was what the extra virgin oil was made from...