Saturday, 13 April 2013

St George and The Red Fort

Today I left Asia for a daytrip to Europe, which is only 15 minutes from here by ferry.

Turks call the island Meis, but the Greeks call it Kastellorizo ("Red Fort"). It's the most easterly of the Dodecanese island chain.

The boat docked at the only town on the island. The population of the island is about 500 and most of them are elderly. There were about 10,000 people here until an earthquake, German and Italian bombardments during WWII and finally a huge fire drove most of the inhabitants to head for Melbourne.

I felt like we were arriving in a toy town when I first saw it.

Brightly painted ersatz houses that looked like a movie set rather than a real, lived in place. Or a Greek version of The Village from TV show "The Prisoner".

Both Greeks and Turks often place "evil eyes" on their doorsteps to keep away misfortune.

The island is basically a single, flat-topped hill sticking out of the sea. I decided to climb to the top of the hill hoping for good views. Also, I had read that the Monastery of St George was up there and I thought I'd have a look at that too.

Happily, the path up was paved and quickly became a wide, flagstoned staircase that hugged the cliff and looked down over the town.

The higher I got the better the views became...

The plateau at the top was hot, dry and stony - found some stuff I'm guessing was left over from the war

I followed the only path until I came to the small, walled St. George monastery.

Some workmen were reconstructing part of the outer wall when I arrived. An architect from Athens was overseeing the work.

I asked her if this St George was the same as the English one, but she didn't know. she told me I could look around inside so I entered the small chapel.

Dragons - must be the same St. George

In a corner hidden in a sort of fireplace was a smallish hole in the floor.

I asked the architect outside about it. She told me it was the crypt of St. Charabamleros and I was welcome to go down into it as long as I took all responsibility for any accidents that may occur. 

I agreed, put my torch between my teeth and wriggled down into the crypt.

The crypt consisted a single, tiny spartan cell - the low ceiling covered in charcoaled crucifixes.

It kind of freaked me out so I didn't hang around much down there.

I thanked the architect and left.
I'd forgotten to bring water or food with me (again!) so I hurried back down the steps to eat in town.

I had a Greek salad and shared my calamari with the some of the Greek Chapter of the Legion of Quayside Cats.

Buddy's Recurring Nightmare

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