I have just arrived back from a great trip back to the UK. I had a fantastic time visiting my mum right up in the north of Scotland and my son and his family right down in Kent in the south east of England.
Arriving back in Samos I realised I needed my sunglasses again. The warmth and brightness of Greece, even in the end of November makes me smile. I love England but I love sunshine too. Sunshine makes me smile.
I thought I would tell you a little bit about Samos.
We are in the marina just outside the village of Pythagorio. Yes it is named after Pythagoras who was born here over 2500 years ago.
The village is one of the most beautiful you will see. It has beautiful cobbled streets, olive trees and orange trees cascading over the paths, tavernas lining the seafront and treks up to ancient ruins of the Temple of Hera and the Tunnel of Efpalinosin in the hills behind.
Even in December this place is beautiful, warm, friendly, clean, tidy and peaceful.
During the summer we spend most of our time on anchor because the towns are just too busy. The marinas are often out of town but very expensive to stay during the season. Surprisingly, Samos marina is not very busy and it is affordable for us to stay for a few months over the winter. We have booked in for three months. We have water, we have electric and we have showers and a washing machine. What more could you wish for?
In the photo below you can see Turkey on the horizon.
The marina is the most tranquil we have found. It lies about just under a mile from the village and the road is around the back so no cars and bikes racing up and down behind the boats. There are only a few crews staying for the winter here and just one or two members of staff occasionally here. There is lift out facilities but there is not much happening in the way of boat repairs. So it is quiet and peaceful
The marina entrance is to the East and a large wall provides protection from the south. Just a mile away is the rugged coast of Turkey. We can already see that it is going to be a lot calmer than Leros.
There is a butcher, fruit and veg shop and mini market in the village so we can walk around to shop and if we need heavy items like water or wine we can get a taxi back for five euros. We have heard there is a supermarket on the island but we will need to hire a car to travel further afield so we will check that out during our stay.
With this side of the island being all peace and tranquility we know that the other side of the island has a different story to tell. Samos is home to one of the big refugee camps of Greece. The camp, built just outside the town of Vathi, was built for 600 people and currently it holds over 6000. With people living in tents with very few facilities it is vastly overcrowded, dirty and depressing. I understand that new refugees are brought to the camp and must stay for a month while their details are processed. After that, they are free to leave the camp to visit the town but they have to stay in the area for up to a year whilst waiting for papers to move on.
My first thought is how different our lives are, me sitting in the sunshine in a beautiful bay while just over the hill they sit in the same sunshine looking out on 1000 tents, heaps of debris, with not enough water or food.
I am starting next week volunteering with one of the charities who work with the refugees. I am not sure I will be able to help with homeopathy so I expect I will be helping distribute food, water, clothing, blankets and tents. I will keep you posted with what we are doing and with the situation at the moment here in Greece.
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