Well, let’s have some fun. Enough of folk history, beach images and island art.
There were moments in my Greek trip – which I have milked so much this summer – that made me laugh or strain my neck incredulously.
First some odd signs.
Let me elaborate: I first went to Paradise on Mykonos, when I was still at school and yes, it was nudist then. The mega-industrial complex that is Paradise Camping today bears no resemblance to what I remember. Neither is nudism practised except in its furthest rocky outcrops; but the sign has remained.
The second sign. from a taverna on Ios, says it all. But the third one, I should explain.
Wherever you go in the Cyclades you will see posters about not throwing toiler paper into the toilet – they provide a tiny basket nearby, instead. But why? Surely we are not in the Middle Ages still? Well, yes and no. The islands used to have a small permanent population and a correspondingly small-bore pipe sewage system. Come the hordes of the tourists and the sewage system gets overwhelmed; one can only imagine the disaster that might befall tourists on Mykonos should the sewers get clogged and the shit hits the fan, literally.
Here’s some incongruous pictures that left my brain spinning.
The first, a mural of dubious taste, made me check whether I had accidentally entered a gay bar (no), the second whether I’d swallowed one of Alice’s shrinking pills (no) and the third made me wonder for a minute whether I was the Brazilian Nordeste (no).
Of course, we must have some animals!
Yes, you can still find stubborn donkeys on Greek island roads, especially on Sikinos and, like here, on Folegandros. You don’t often see ducks and geese though. These ones are taken care of by an old beachbum on Livadi, Serifos. Sadly, there were signs of “Don’t throw stones at the geese” – and I don’t think they were directed solely at kids. And finally goats. On Apollonas, Naxos, I met this very disturbed goat that clearly wanted to be milked. She looked at me so, well, piercingly, I knew immediately why the ancients considered it the incarnation of the Devil.
Oh, let me delve into history again.
The first picture comes from Kastro, the old capital of Sifnos. It shows an old Hellenistic sarcophagus that’s just lying there on the street that, until recently was used as a bathtub. No one knows who carried it there, or when, but no one is bothered to lift it down the long steep stairs of Kastro and take it to a museum.
The second picture is from the Folklore Museum near Alykia, Paros. It’s a rather good private museum that has cute minature models of buildings in the Cyclades. Here you see a dovecote from Tinos and a model of the miraculous Church of the Virgin on the same island.
Finally the third one is a Late Cycladic figurine (1600-110 BC) from the island of Keros in the Lesser Cyclades. I may devote a complete post about the Keros Hoard, Sotheby’s and what was termed the Second Elgin Affair that took place in the 1990s, but later. For the time being look at the figurine, and you will notice that its neck had been carefully broken (and glued back on again by archeologists). Nothing to pay attention to here, except that about a 30 percent of all Cycladic figures we have discovered come from Keros, and they all have their neck cut off. Why? No one knows..