CHORA

I visited Chora last night. Also known as hora.

Most Greek isles have a Chora. A community of sorts. Generally, a town. Most are medieval in origin. Go back 1,500 to 2,000 years. They still look the same. Unchanged by time. White buildings, narrow walkways.

Choras were built on hilltops. For protective and defensive purposes. Amorgos’ Chora is on top of a tall mountain. Just over the top. So it could not be seen by ships entering the bay. Way back when, pirates were a problem. By constructing their homes just over the crest, the early Greeks were hopeful their community would not be spotted.

If discovered, the set up of the Chora assisted in its defense. The entrance to the Chora was always a very narrow walkway. The attackers were only able to enter single file or two abreast at the most. Chora’s defenders were better able to protect their homes and families and at the same time do the most damage to invaders.

People still live in Chora. Old and young alike. Businesses have opened. Tiny specialty stores and restaurants.

I took the bus to Chora. A ten minute drive. 1.60 euros each way. A bargain.

The buses are magnificent. Large. Air conditioned. Comfortable. The drivers friendly and adept at driving. They have to be. The road up and down is steep and full of dangerous curves. The drivers carry themselves as if they were Captains on a jet airliner.

I walked the same path as last year. You will recall Chora killed me last year. Steps up. Everything up. It was a horrible trip.

This year, I did it with ease. Surprised even myself. I am in better condition.

I went to the same cafe/restaurant as last year. Along the way, I spotted Maria’s store. Maria who did my nails a couple of days ago. Her store is named Kwati. Sells soaps, oils and some foodstuffs. I was especially taken by pint jars of broccoli in oil and garlic.

I sat outside the cafe and drank. Three gins. They were all big. I was surprised. Even had Tanqueray. I sat there close to three hours.

Marie had mentioned I should try raki psimeni. A Greek drink made with burnt sugar. I did. Sweet. Good.

I cannot tell you the name of the restaurant. It was in Greek. Not an easy language written wise. Letters not arabic.

I have discovered that when I ask someone to spell a Greek word in English, there is difficulty. However most can spell it in Latin. It does help. I took three years of Latin in high school and also served as an altar boy.

Cats are a big deal in Chora, as well as all of Amorgos. They are well liked. Permitted in restaurants and cafes. They are beggars. People constantly feed them. I cannot. I find it repulsive.

Trees. I mentioned yesterday or the day before that there were no trees on Amorgos. There are. In Chora. Tons of them. Why not elsewhere, I do not know.

The evenings have been cold while I have been on Amorgos. Chora was cold by day and even colder by night. The wind on top of the mountain was strong. Could knock you over. You bent with it. Came from every direction. Buildings were no protective help. The wind moved around corners with ease.

I had planned to have dinner in Chora. The cold dissuaded me. I decided to leave.

I screwed up. Got the return trip wrong time wise. My fault. I did not understand the bus driver. Missed the bus. There was a 1 1/2 hour wait for the next one.

The bus stop is just outside Chora. No protection. The wind bellowed. So cold I could have used a winter jacket. And long pants. I was wearing shorts. Fortunately, I found a small bar just at the entrance and got the protection from the wind that I needed.

Enjoy your day!

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