Agia Marina and daily life in Leros

House by the sea in Agia Marina

The morning walk goes to Agia Marina. Fishermen mend their nets, and the fishmonger displays squid and small fish on a table. Further on there are houses right by the sea. Rising from the water they look almost Venetian.

We window-shop and visit a café with Internet access. No mail today, but Helle is happy: the national football team played 0-0 against Hungary.

We settle outside with refreshments and listen to the local men's incomprehensible gibberish. The only thing we understand is when they greet each other with a "kali mera".

The chairs are comfortable; there are about 10 metres to the sea and enough to watch. A priest passes by in full uniform with long beard and "chimney". A longhaired Brit drives past at least 5 times, and then there are the two trekkers wearing backpacks, ski sticks and hats with hat-guards.

The archaeological museum

The archaeological museum in Platanos

The small archaeological museum is conveniently placed on the way back to Platanos. Three employees sit on the doorstep outside, but get up in a hurry and go to their posts as we arrive. Admission is free, so they are not here to sell tickets.

There isn't much to see, because Leros has never been properly excavated, but you get a hunch that finds would pop up like mushrooms if anybody had the drive to dig a hole in the dry ground. At one time they had to fix a sewer in Alinda, and the ditch was a treasure throve.

After siesta

After lunch and siesta it is balcony-time at 16:15. The narrow shadow expands quickly.

In the last ray of sunshine the thermometer shows 40 degrees Celsius. Down the road men are building a new house, and a stonecutter is working with little enthusiasm. I'm all sympathy.

Vinnie comes out on the balcony next to ours. We chat, and she says that some of the other girls have been on a sailing trip to Patmos. One of them was seasick all the way, because the boat rolled so much you couldn't stand upright.

Granny sits outside the house just opposite. Like many women in Leros she wears black. So does the younger woman on the doorstep and their neighbour (with carry-bag and shoulder-bag), who has paused for a chat.

In Platanos Square

Backgammon in Platanos Square

We're in Platanos Square at about seven and settle down with a coffee. With Greek coffee you get a glass of water, and it takes hours to evaporate.

There are three backgammon games going on. People watch, people come and people go. Three small dogs run about on the street. One of them is always in the lead and must be a bitch in heat.

Today the bleached waitress is wearing hotpants instead of mini-skirt, and the smile is still at home by the mirror. Once again a taxi picks up the boor, who could play child-eater in horror movies. The driver must be family.

Ouzo at the beach café

Down by the bay we get a table at the slightly sleazy café, where the local men hang out. "Two ouzo, please!"

Darkness embraces us while we vegetate and look at the water. You can eat here too. There is no menu, so you have a word with the waiter. While he puts a paper cloth and cutlery on the table, another man grills today's catch over charcoal just around the corner.

There's a lot of smoke and the powerful wind catches and carries sparks far away. It is a miracle the roof doesn't catch fire - it is made of dry palm leaves. 2 euro for 2 adult ouzos is reasonable. "Kali spera!"

At Taverna Psaropoula

The moon is spraying silver on the sea as we walk to Psaropoulos. Mr. Flutter greets us heartily, and we get a table on the porch. The light from the low-energy bulbs is a bit sharp, but it is too windy to sit on the beach.

We share a filo dough roll with mild feta and bacon. Delicious. Next course is meatballs in a tomato sauce. The potatoes are the inevitable soggy fries, but the meatballs are spicy with garlic and cumin. Good!

Behind Helle is a table with three Brits and an elderly Greek couple. I think they are celebrating the publishing of a book with pictures by the old Greek.

The English man in Juventus shirt talks a lot and loud. The woman wears a yellow dress and has a longish face. Given time and the law of gravity her earlobes will grow long too, if she continues to use those earrings. She contributes to the conversation with short words like "luvely!" and she can laugh on command with a staccato "he.he.he!". The laughter stops abruptly with no trailing chuckle.

Next to us is a Greek family with a kid about 6 years old. The boy doesn't demand, he is not noisy and he sits peacefully on his chair. What a magnificent specimen.

Mr. Flutter brings three small glasses with a sweet and raisin-like wine and says cheers. The bill says 21.3 euro and is brought to us with two chunks of watermelon.

Back on the balcony we can hear Greek music carried from afar. It may be the barbecue and dancing party on hotel Elefteria's roof terrace. The party was postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday, because many had been out sailing. The girls in one of the rooms practised the dance yesterday. Hotel Elefteria is up in Platanos, but with hillsides and wind the sound can carry easily.

I am happy I can waltz to bed.