May 15, 2014

The Road to Ramos

On the road to Ramos with
a great view of Sifnos

Today I walked to Ramos, the next town over from Livadakia and two mountain passes away.  I tied my hat down with a scarf to keep from having to rescue the hat from the wind.  It does keep blowing, but tonight there is a sudden stillness.  In any event, Ramos is a small settlement of about twenty homes off the main road and along a dirt trail.  As there are 120 churches on Serifos, Ramos naturally gets its own church too.  Coming around the bend in the village, an older man who was working his garden, said hello and immediately said he was Greek.  We chatted and said he was living in Australia for the past 40 years.  So we spoke a bit and he asked me in for tea.  I said I’d stop in on my way back.

So on I climbed past these many stone fences that are everywhere on this island.  It looks like Ireland.  The large stone pilings that appear here and there are evidence of cyclopean stones that I’ve mentioned earlier.  A mythic white horse suddenly appeared in a field and watched me till I went out of sight.  Plenty of homes, if they have a bit of land, have small vegetable gardens.  The church is in the center of the village with its main altar directed straight out to sea.  New homes are being built in empty lots and the size of some of them took my breath away.  On Greek terms, they are starter castles, as Greek homes tend to be small and tucked into the mountain.  An island such as Serifos does not seem to have endless resources although many, many homes have solar panels on their roofs which must help support the energy supply.  But there’s a bit footprint from these buildings.

The little church in Ramos
I climbed as high as the paths would allow and then circled back to have tea with Constantine, a divorced man and a former seaman probably 70 years old.  He was back at his Greek home to prepare it for the Baptism of his young grandson who would be arriving in September with about fifteen of the relatives also living in Darwin, Australia.  The ceremony would take place at this little church just down the street.  The whole contingency all the way from Darwin would attend this little church in Ramos.  This is surely called Tradition!

We sat at his kitchen table and chatted.  This is a man who has been all over the world and is completely comfortable with himself.  He showed me pictures of the children and his family.  His opinion is that the Greek infrastructure is deteriorating due to the system of government and that young people have lost their ability to work hard on the land from too much television and internet.  But then, who doesn’t feel that way; the Greeks are not alone in this.  I finished my tea and thanked him and said if I went up the road again that way I’d stop in to see him.  It was a joy to have gone into this very humble home, to have felt so comfortable and safe inside.  It would have been wrong to photograph any of it.

With this company, who
could say one is alone!
I came back and spent a few hours on the beach in late afternoon feeling myself in the luxury of drowsiness on the blanket with the lapping of the water against the sandy shore. In the evening as always when I cook, the locals join me at the window in hopes of a mere morsel tossed their way.

I have nearly almost stopped thinking.