Kali̱méra! (That’s good morning, in Greek, romanized – WordPress won’t let me paste in the Greek characters without going to a whole lot more trouble that I have time for at the moment.) (Pronunciaton is Kali = rhymes with Salvador Dali, and mera = first syllable rhymes with mere, and the second is like ah, 2 words = 4 syllables run together, with the accent on the 3rd syllable.)

Probably more than you wanted to know.

Rick and I made it to the island on Saturday evening, but this is my first access to the internet, so my first blog. I will try to blog every morning except Sunday.

We flew from Atlanta to Athens, leaving Thursday afternoon and arriving Friday morning around 10:30 Athens time. That is 7 hours earlier than Atlanta, thus equivalent to 3:30 in the morning. I was not able to sleep on the plane, although Rick was able to catch a few hours. We gathered up our checked bags, then rolled everything up to Aegean Airlines where we checked in for our flight to Alexandroupolis. Somehow we managed to stay awake until 6 pm when our flight left, although it was neither easy nor fun.

Our plane took off and all was going well for the first 30 minutes of the one hour flight. Then the pilot came on the loudspeaker, saying (in Greek mind you) that we we would be circling over the island of Limnos until a storm cleared over Alexandroupolis. So we circled for another 30 minutes, then flew on in to a rainy Alexandroupolis. As we flew past Samothrace on that final leg, there were clouds hanging on to Mount Fengari.

We reached the airport – all nice and new and modern, evidently newly opened last month. Then we managed to get our eight (8) pieces of luggage into a taxi and to the Hotel Erika. We checked in to our room, only to find that the electricity was not working in it. So we went back to the front desk to tell them about that, then left the hotel to find some food.

The rain had stopped, and we walked to Milo’s, a restaurant right on the water. Although we were there at a time that would be considered late in America (roughly 8:30 or so), the place was empty. But by the time we left, the place was packed. We ordered our meal: horiatiki (Greek salad), tzatziki (a thick yogurt-cucumber sauce), mussels with rice, and gavros (flash fried sardines). I’ll post pictures later – my camera is all packed up at the moment.

We wandered back to the hotel, observing all of the street life emerging. Restaurants and cafes all along the quay were filled with people sitting and watching the Uruguay – Ghana World Cup match. We first heard the vuvuzela’s, and knew that we could see some of the action. It was odd to see the match at night time – turns out that we are in the same time zone as South Africa.

We returned to our hotel and found that our electricity had been restored. Rick turned on the AC first, then the TV, looking for the World Cup. It was broadcast in German (Erika of the Hotel Erika is German, and Alexandroupolis is a favorite among German tourists), again an oddity to hear the broadcast in that language. I went to sleep, but Rick stayed up to watch the bitter end of the game.

The next morning I had a great Greek breakfast – thick Greek yogurt and honey. Rick, on the other hand, cornflakes. Hugh Green, Bonna’s son, came to meet us and help us to the boat. We looked for a coffee filter – the coffee maker on the island was broken, and a simple drip filter holder would be a sufficient replacement. Unfortunately, the Greeks like coffee machines, and we could find nary a plastic filter anywhere. Soon it was lunchtime, and ordering was facilitated by Hugh – he had lived in Athens for a year when Bonna was here on sabbatical a few years ago, so he knew enough Greek to order food, ask for directions, etc. After our meal (horiatiki, saganaki (heated cheese), patates (Greek potatoes, slivered like French fries and fried in olive oil), and chicken souvlaki (think shish kebob)) we went to an ice cream shop. Finally we espied the ferry returning from the island, so we headed to the hotel. We got our now nine (9) bags into a taxi, then down to the ferry dock. Hugh helped us manage the transfer. Finally, at 3:30 pm we were on our way.

Our boat trip was uneventful. We were met at the ferry dock by Bonna and Mr. McCredie – two vehicles were necessary to get all of our luggage back to the hostel. Finally we arrived at the Xenia – Xenia, sweet Xenia.

We got the bags back in our “suite” then enjoyed some wine with Bonna and Bailey, her husband. Kyle appeared from his nap (he had not been feeling ill), and Abi (Bonna’s daughter) and Amy returned from their walk up the hill to Chora. Soon it was dinner time – Bonna, Bailey, Hugh and Abi went off for a family dinner as Bailey was leaving the next day, so Amy, Rick, and I walked down to the Delphinium, a fish restaurant in the hamlet of Paleopolis in which the Sanctuary, museum,and hostel are located. We enjoyed more mussels, more horiatiki, octopus