Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Bit of Wine and Watching in the Afternoon in the Village

We’ve been a bit preoccupied with ‘house things’ since arriving in our part of Greece’s Mani two weeks ago today. 

Inside and outside - projects. 
Errands and deliveries.
Repairmen and installers.

Yes, turning that daydream of ours into what we envisioned for The Stone House on the Hill required some focus. But we’ve seen the proverbial  ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and are slowing our pace on projects.

IMG_20141224_045608_653 For a treat every so often after chores are done, we’ve headed to our village, Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas) to join the cafe culture ritual of ‘watching’.

‘Watching’ isn’t limited to people, but includes cars, buses, bikes and the like. What ever passes by is fair game for ‘watching’.

(That is ‘Ag. Nik’ in the distance - 4k away – our closer village, Ag. Dimitrios doesn’t have a cafe or taverna.




In our case, we sip a bit of wine as after all it is usually 6 p.m. or later – the time of day we consider evening, but considered by locals to be afternoon. The sun doesn’t set until about 8:45.

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Main Street in Agios Nikolaos

I wanted to have you join us on one of these outings. So I picked an afternoon/evening at our newest bistro in town, Bistrot Rock Cafe. Run by a lady named Ellie (who runs a restaurant, Ellie’s, two doors down) it offers inside seating but we prefer outside seating on either side of the main road that runs along the water’s edge. A perfect spot for watching:

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Settled in for 'watching'

We order our wine here by the pitcher, a miso kilo of krasi to be exact, or a half liter of wine. These are our some of our favorite Greek wines – served from a barrel or, these days, a cardboard box – and they usually cost no more than 4 euros.

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Bus from Kalamata

We instinctively pull our feet back as the bus from Kalamata eases past us on the southbound run at 7:10. And if we are still there, pull back again as he returns heading north to Kalamata a half hour later.

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Bus stop in Ag. Nik

The bus stop is right across the street from where we are sitting and is marked by the KTEA blue sign right under the word Gregg’s on the cafe canopy. We watch arrivals and departures.

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We watch the 'watchers'

From our spot we can also watch the town locals gather in those blue chairs right at the edge of the port so that they can watch the fishermen prepare their boats and set out for a night of fishing. (In the morning, they sit in those same places and watch as the night’s catch is sold.) Now if you look closely, between the third and fourth post from the left you will see our Stone House on the Hill. Okay, so I admit, I often remark, “Can you believe that is OUR house up there?!?!?”

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A quick visit
Now some of you might be rolling your eyes and thinking, “How boring could that be?” But it is a great way to get to know schedules, and people, like the little old man who rides his bike to the port every night about 7 and is called “El Capitan” by the locals. We are beginning to recognize the three boys who ‘Drag the Ave’ on this stretch of road; their bike chains clanking as they pedal past time and time again. We watch the motorcycle pull up so that the waitress can hug and kiss the wee ones riding on it (yes, they do stack them on it without helmets; just don’t think about it).

This ritual of ‘watching’ is one of the enchantments of Greece as far as we are concerned. It drew us here. And it will keep us coming back, time and time again.  Glad you could join us! Thanks for the time you spend with us – and happy travels to you and yours! Have you had similar Greek or other European village experiences?

Note: I just learned that it wasn’t our travels that knocked me off Live Writer, it was a system-wide glitch that has just been corrected by the techno whiz kids at Microsoft and Google.  So this is a test run to see if the glitch is gone. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start posting photos from the Far and Middle East ports of call we visited prior to coming here.  Please do come back soon!

Linking up this week with:
Travel Photo Thursday
Weekend Travel Inspirations

25 comments:

  1. Greetings from Canada!

    Hi Jackie,

    SO enjoyed reading about your people watching skills, my friend, as I am a seasoned people watcher, myself. You have described all your friendly and intriguing locals, and they could be characters from my own village, in the hilly countryside of Crete!

    Thanks for your very perceptive observations, and don't forget...I'm watching you!

    Hugs,
    Poppy

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    1. Oh Poppy, I knew you would understand this post! Glad to have you watching me! Hugs, Jackie

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  2. Watching is the best!! We've done it in many places including Greece.

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    1. It is the best cheap entertainment around, Jackie, that's for sure! Thanks for commenting.

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  3. I also like to people watch when I go on vacation. My home is in a rural area and there is no place to people watch here. I love photos of the view and the village. Have a happy day!

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    1. Our Stone House is really rather rural - up on a Hill with only a handful of neighbors, so trips to the village are fun -- and can be fascinating. Have a great weekend, Eileen!

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  4. We love watching life and meeting the locals. So fun and you learn so much. Enjoy!

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    1. I've been catching up with blogs, sounds like you two are continuing to have a blast! Take care and thanks for the visit here~

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  5. Thanks for taking us along with you to do some watching! Great to have this insight into local life!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this Amy. I saw you'd visited and commented on other posts, I will get them answered I promise. I am finally back - sort of - in the internet world!

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  6. Nothing boring about your village at all - it's positively bustling! We love sitting curbside and watching the local life and as you mentioned, it's a terrific way to learn about your surroundings and settle in. Exchanging smiles and nods are the first steps to making new friends ...

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    1. Anita, you are correct - it is a bustling, busy place this time of year. So much so, that they've closed that main road I wrote about to vehicles every day at 8 so that the café's can expand their tables even further! It has been a great way to become more familiar with the local folks!

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  7. I love everything about this post. You seem so at home already!

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    1. Heather, we've been amazed at how easy it is to settle into village life - the pace, the approach, you name it - we love it!!

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  8. I like people watching, too, although I think I'd be nervous a passing bus would squash me. It sounds like you're settling into your village. I'm glad that you're taking time to relax and enjoy village life and getting a well earned break from setting up house in a foreign country.

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  9. You've evoked the atmosphere of the early evening routine really well in this post! Thank you! It's looks a beautiful place!

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  10. I love my life, but I would love to be doing just what you are doing. Steve is more of a homebody so it will always be just a week or maybe two at a time.

    Enjoy!

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  11. Hi Jackie.,,There is nothing like watching, and your little slice of the world seems to be a watchers heaven. Joel certainly looks relaxed sitting there! You are six hours behind me, and yes...let's Skype soon!

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  12. What a lovely post. Watching sounds like the perfect way to spend the day.

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  13. I love Greece and hope to get there in the fall to do some of my own people watching!

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  14. Soooo wonderful, just had summer holidays for some minutes!!!
    All my best from Austria
    Elisabeth

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    1. Oh Elisabeth, how nice to see a comment from you and be in touch with Austria! Have a great weekend!

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  15. This is really a wonderful post.

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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