Sarah Coles


Greece – the islands, the churches, Athens, the air, the little lanes creeping up the green sides of the Acropolis. ATHENS In the isle of Tinos, Bob is  feeling unwell, he thinks he may have appendicitis. (When we get home, they say it’s gallstones, but it isn’t and the whole thing fades away. I think he feels he can do more than he’s up to, he gets so excited by the thought of all these places, Delos etc). So, I say we’d better skip any idea of Andros, and get home. I buy ferry tickets to Piraeus, and from there we get a taxi to Athens and the Jason Inn, which has no room, but sends...
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TINOS   Small ferry to another marble island, Tinos, the Lourdes of Greece. Or Knock of Ireland, or Fatima of Portugal. In 1822, time of Greek reunification, a nun Pelagia had a vision in which she saw a buried icon painted by St Luke. (Bernadette, other young women, children, it’s amazing how these visions all over the place fire up pilgrimage sites). Pelagia got everyone digging, and the was duly unearthed. A slew of miracles, particularly healing and rescuing ships at sea, was effected through its intervention. A massive church was built for it, and today pilgrims come en masse (we were lucky...
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The sacred island of Delos, birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Centre of the world, and after wandering through the sea the island was pinned where it now is by Neptune. No one could profane it by birth or death, for which people had to go to the adjacent island of Rheneia. ‘Oh how I wish I had listened to Whitfield lecturing on the Delian league’ says Bob. (That was over sixty years ago)… Today no one is allowed to spend the night here – and the only way to visit is a day trip from Mykonos. Which we do. First time we go Bob stumbles and hurts his Achilles tendon, so I go alone –...
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MYKONOS Mykonos, gay capital of the Cyclades. We arrive at the New Port, and a bus takes us to the outside of the traffic free Old Port. Slowly, we walk along, stopping for a drink en route, and find the Hotel Manto, very central and earlier booked on line. Small, boutiquey, and it is fun to sit at a restaurant on the harbour front and watch the beau monde go by. On these cobbles one beauty is wearing red suede stilettos as she flaunts along her handsome lover. Another decoratively tattooed lies on the adjacent beach, near three tubby men. Manto, whose statue is in the square, gave her considerable...
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SANTORINI ‘Santorini is for the hoi polloi’ says Kevin as he drives us to the airport. ‘Mykonos is for gays.’ We are late at Gatwick, our fault, and delayed even more by a jobsworth pulling out a phial of Dream Satin and admonishing me for not placing it in a plastic bag – this takes fifteen minutes, and then we rush through a chicane of unguents and perfumes and barely get to our Gate in time. Flight, oh fine now, above the clouds, pure and beautiful, and the flare of red red red as the sun goes down, soaking us in last light. At Santorini, officials spot us with Bob limping at the back...
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