The little church part way up the top of St George hill was shut. Open on the way down so I joined the three people heading into it. A priest entered and, looking serious, walked its perimeter waving a smoking thing, blessing the church for another day.
The interior is spectacular, built onto a solid rock hillside. The natural rock is exposed on a couple of the inner walls and the church has the special gold haloed paintings that mark the Orthodox Church. Equally distinctive are the great heavy black dresses the priests wear, topped with a solid black beard and pillbox hat. And as they enter the locals cross themselves and kiss multiple glass covered portraits of saints and, if available, the cross.
Not sure what it means but a priest was distributing bread rolls in a plastic bag to all of us. I accepted, as it seemed politer to do so, and was happy to see ground feeding birds on my way down. Of course they were hungry and looking to me as St Francis. 😏 Too easy as the roll was um, very easily crumbled, definitely stale.
So pleased I visited again. Even found the railway up here this time, looking very shut as the next train, the 09:30, seemed like many others scheduled before and after it, unlikely to run. Who knows.
Honestly, although I’ve loved my few days here i am glad I’ll only have another 20 odd hours after leaving the boat. The veneer is one of prosperity, tourists having a good time, buying and eating up. The reality is, I suspect very different for most. Too much graffiti and too many empty shops, ashtrays and young men loitering. Churches seem to be doing a great trade. Correlated with hard times or just the usual level of devotion here?
We are meeting at 5pm down at one of the marinas. Huge. So many hundreds of thousands of $ of boats moored here. Some huge and some moderate but many look very expensive.
Finally, we met. Two Americans, 2 Canadians and 1 Aussie (me) as paying passengers plus the cook and the captain.
The other 4, all except the crew and me, are on deck busy testing their alcohol tolerance. Most are fairly drunk and repeating the same stories. One is very drunk. I expect headaches tomorrow for at least 2 of them. Only 21:30 and there are more bottles to go yet.
Dinner was listed on the itinerary but, all we got was a few bread sticks, little tomatoes, bits of cheese and salami. Not a good start and very limited options around here.
They are onto their marriages and deep truths, numbers of marriages at present.
Very comfortable night. Little movement of the boat, hard to tell we were in a boat. The marina is very protected.