No electricity in all Pylos, Madam!

23 September 2013

After the Museum I went to Niokastro (new castle) which wasn’t closed for conservation, or closed because of any danger. It was in fact, open! Of course it’s not old enough for my preference, having been built in the 1500’s under the Ottoman empire, then upgraded by the Venetians, but it was still quite fun. The picturesque old walls of the town, which led up to the castle, run alongside the road.

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The heat was relieved by a light rain in the afternoon – a novelty in Greece during summer – but a storm brewed up in the evening.

The thunder and lightning continued throughout the night, and at some point I was awoken by a loud bang. That’ll be the electricity, I thought, and tried the bedside lamp. Then the room lights. As I suspected. I unplugged my camera and iPad, which I’d had charging, in case it suddenly came back on, then went back to sleep.

This morning there was still no electricity, and in case it was only my room (did I mention the dodgy wiring?), I mentioned it to the man in reception. He snapped, “No electricity in your room, no electricity in all Pylos, Madam!” Hmm, could be a good day to move on …

“Ok, but there’ll still be some cold breakfast, even if there’s no tea,” I thought, feeling a mild panic begin to rise. Have I mentioned my tea addiction? I need┬átea, especially in the mornings.

As I entered, the waitress giggled at my bare feet, then surprised me by handing me my customary large mug! “There’s hot water? But how?” I asked, excited. “Ne, ne (yes,yes),”she smiled, waving generally out the back. “Cars,” she said. Some sort of portable generator, then. How clever. And thank goodness!

Off to … somewhere today. My last night before handing the car back at the airport then back to Athens for my last week. No electricity, so no wifi, so no booking possible. I think I’ll just drive and see where I get to. I’m considering Hotel Saron at Isthmia again; it’s nice, I can have a swim, and the wifi is ubiquitous and strong!

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Arrived!

Friday 6 September

Emirates is a really nice airline. Too bad I only flew economy. The upstairs part of the airbus looked really nice from the bottom of the stairs!

There’s also wifi available on all planes. Problem was, I didn’t read the fine print and forked out US$7.50 for 15 mb which disappeared twenty-five seconds after I opened Google Maps.

Luckily the pilot didn’t need my assistance and we arrived at Athens airport right on time at 2:05pm. Straight through Customs without a bag check and up to the Metro to Monastiraki Station and checked in about 3:30pm. My room at Attalos is a cute little asymmetrical single.

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The bathroom uses every tiny bit of space and requires a bit of manoeuvring around the door, but it’s newly fitted out, very pleasant and has a 20 cm2 shower head. Luxury!

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I had an epiphany the first time I used it as to why Greek hotels mostly use shower curtains instead of fitted shower doors. I think it’s because of how clever they are at using space, and as many of the baths and showers are non-standard sizes, if they used doors they’d mostly have to be custom built. That’s my theory anyway.

Unpacked and got myself sorted. My things all basically fit into my carry-on bag, so I packed it inside my suitcase. I picked up that neat trick from a lady on a trip to Bali and Hong Kong in 1979. I’ve never used it, because I’ve always taken too much stuff with me, but this time I went minimal, so I have more room to bring home whatever I buy here.

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Went out for dinner and live rebetika at Dioscuri near the ancient agora. Napoleon Saripanidis, whom we heard last year, wasn’t playing, but one of the guys he’d played with was, with another bouzouki player, and a girl with a great voice. Rebetika really stirs me; the rhythms, the harmonies and the passion – I just love it.