Friday, July 16, 2010

I return to Pythagorion, Samos

Having written on several occasions about my jaunts to the Greek Island of Samos it’s becoming difficult to find anything new or original to say. The same can be said for photography. There are only so many pictures of bobbing fishing boats and blonde beaches I can get away with! But even though I’ve spent more time there than in any other foreign place, I never tire of it. The olive trees seemed even more laden with fruit this year, and the orange, lemon and lime trees hung heavy with their rich harvest. Bunches of grapes, green now but beginning to change colour dangled above my head wherever I sat, their vines providing welcome shade from the searing heat of the summer sun.

The little near-deserted beach was as welcoming as ever, and my good friend Lefritis was waiting for me at the Pegusus bar which still remains the same as the first time I stepped inside it.

I was however extremely warm during my stay. Samos is always hot, hence its nick-name as the ‘frying pan of the Greek Isles’, but this week the heat was blistering – literally! When I got back to my room after my first day In the sun and stood with nothing on in front of the mirror I looked like the English flag but with the red and white bits placed in a different order! Even the locals were complaining (about the heat, not me!) The best advice was of course to drink plenty of water, and having tried on numerous occasions added to a glass of ouzo I can thoroughly recommend it!

I’m getting a little weary of Greek food. If you didn’t know better you’d think they survived on nothing more than kleftiko, stifado, Greek salad, pastitsio and of course moussaka. They are the stable of every restaurant menu. To find something a little different requires a certain amount of research and investigation. I’m getting a bit better at now and I’m beginning to build up a list of specialist eateries which offer something a little different. But the measure of a goof chef is how his moussaka tastes and looks! They vary tremendously from dry to sloppy, heavy to light and bland to overpowering. Now I reckon I make a pretty good one myself, so I tend to judge what I’m served by the way I make it! For the uninitiated it is a dish of minced lamb with sliced potatoes, onions and aubergine ( I believe they are known as eggplants in the US, although I’m reliably informed that eggs do not in fact grow on trees!) with the whole thing assembled in layers and topped with a creamy cheese sauce and baked. Yum!

I had a bit of a start the other afternoon. I was strolling around the backstreets of Pythagoria when I suddenly clapped eyes on what I thought was Rosey’s car! There in the shade of a pink tree sat a pink Smart Car! I thought she’d followed me! On closer inspection it wasn’t Miss Pinkerton’s car, but I thought I’d take a picture of it for her!

Walking the back streets can be very interesting. You come across all kinds of buildings in differing states of repair, but each with character of its own. In typical Greek style, groups of little fat ladies sit around outside their doors chattering about goodness knows what, often long into the night. There are cats and their kittens everywhere, geckos hang to walls and unseen birds screech in the trees.

Zorba the Greek. Now where do I start? Do you know the piece of music I’m talking about? It was the tune used in the film of the same movie and wherever you go on Samos you can’t escape it. There are no words, just a clinking clanking repetitive group of notes played over and over on a lyre. It may as well be the national anthem. It’s certainly the best known piece of Greek music. It starts off slowly then gradually gets faster and faster and more often than not the people listening to it clap along with varying degrees of accuracy as the tune speeds up! You hear it in restaurants, tavernas, gift shops and in taxis and buses. The worst culprit that I know of is the affable and eccentric Kapitan Jainnus who carries dozens of trippers day in day out on his the merry tour boat. Every day at about five pm as I sat enjoying my late afternoon libation at Gregor’s Bar, the calm was disturbed by the sounds coming from the Kapitan’s approaching boat and his happy crowd of clapping passengers dancing and swaying to Zorba the bloody Greek! As I had to put up with it each day, I thought it only fair that you dear reader should experience it too! So, especially for you I present a short video, just a few seconds, so you may enjoy it too!

I'll leave you with a few pictures!

DON'T FORGET! You can click once on any of the photos to ENLARGE IT and once again to make it EVEN BIGGER! Enjoy

To see these and more photos of Samos in higher quality visit my gallery at KEITH'S IMAGES

To read 'Samos, another day in paradise' CLICK HERE
To read 'Samos, an unspoilt Greek island' CLICK HERE  


  1. Jealous! Next time, you can take Steve and I with you. That way you can take pics of us in those beautiful places for a little variety, hehe!

  2. Absolutely awesome pics Keith -- I too am jealous!! Thank you very much for posting your visual memories of what must have been a marvelous...


  3. Envy
    How can water be so clear with centuries of civilizations washing into it?

  4. Keith, you have taken me straight back to MY favourite Greek island, which I decline to name, to keep it special (it has no airport, and takes a long ferry trip to reach, so only attracts serious island lovers). The similarities are extraordinary. It's 20 years since I was there. Do they still have disastrously small drains? I've only stayed in cheap rented rooms, where the luxury of even a conventional key is unheard of, let alone a fancy plastic card and air conditioning! As for the food: Souvlakia is my favourite, closely followed by the ubiquitous meatballs. a photo remarkably similar to your olive grove one hangs in my hall.

  5. I think I saw that greek island in some musical movie! I guess Meryl Streep starred in it & the songs were from abba!

  6. @Mona
    I think Mamma Mia was filmed on Skiathos. I do however agree that Samos is a very beautiful greek island.

  7. We once spent 9 days in Athens - and loved it - went one day to one of the Greek islands - which is a totally different atmosphere - but beautiful!