We arrive on Samos

 

Greece
Day 1 - Thursday, 16 April 1998

Our tour of Western Turkey complete we said our goodbyes to Meli and boarded a small boat at Kusadasi, Turkey for the short ride to the Greek Island of Patmos.

Samos Island, Greece

Rest was the first item on the agenda for many of us. Some would later rent bikes or cars and explore further. A laundry facility nearby was utilized, as some prepared to travel on to mainland Greece, Italy, and other places before returning to the U.S.

J1100

The group agreed with each other to take Julie out for dinner. So, she arranged the evening for us. Pretty clever, huh, we take her out and she does all the work! Dinner was at Ouzeri, - a restaurant run by Penny, a Greek-American from Texas, who did a wonderful job of putting together a meal for 20 or so unexpected guests. She also filled us in on some local customs.

Map of Samos Island

Having experienced Kurban Bayrami and then Easter while in Turkey, we had now walked directly into Orthodox Easter in Greece. Church services began on Friday night with preparation and parades of "tombs." A high point is reached at midnight on Saturday when candles are lit and people exclaim, "He is risen!" or "Receive the light" to each other.

A quick peek into a couple of the churches showed that there was standing room only, and lots of pomp and circumstance, including a priest walking among the people swinging an incense burner. Because Julie (pregnant) was being made ill by the smell of incense, we quickly ducked back out again. But not before I'd had a glimpse of a full-length fresco of Mary, with her left hand gripping the horn of what probably represented the devil. Later I learned that the apocryphal teachings name Mary as the one who overcame evil.

Map of Samos Town

All day and night, exploding firecrackers (to scare away evil spirits) sound like bombs falling on the city. Although they are illegal, there seems to be no effort to control their use.