Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Utah to Greece ~ Taking Another Detour of sorts. . .

This has been the year of detours. Sometimes even the most well-thought-out itinerary needs an adjustment and sometimes so do blog posts.  I told you last week I’d be writing about our Southwest U.S. road trip this week and in a sense I am, but not quite from the perspective I had planned. . .because Wednesday morning everything changed. . .

I was up early sipping a cup of coffee and watching the morning sky lighten over the ski resort town of Park City, Utah, where we were in our second week of ‘timeshare life’ during our Southwestern road trip. Park City is a post-card perfect ski village about a half-hour outside Salt Lake City.

On this laid-back morning, I decided to check Facebook while I awaited The Scout’s emergence from slumber. . .

The first photo that came up in my feed was from Kalamata, Greece:

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Kalamata, Greece
Kalamata. The big city just an hour from our place in the Mani region of the Greek Peloponnese.  The photo just didn’t compute. . .

I remembered reading a friend’s post the day before urging drivers to use caution on the roadways; it was raining -- a much needed rain but because it had been dry for so long – but she’d cautioned of slick roadways.  Not slick enough to cause that pileup though!

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A car on the beach in Stoupa, The Mani
The next photos to scroll across my FB page were from the village Stoupa, much closer to our home, posted by the same friend, Maria Korma, who’d cautioned drivers the day before. Maria operates Mani Rental Cars in the village, and that red car above - we were to learn - was a new one in Maria’s fleet – just a week old. It had been parked on the street only hours before.  There were others:

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Flood waters where the street should be
The morning calm in that Park City condo ended. Who could watch a sunrise in Utah when having visions of our Stone House on the Hill, its garden and/or grove being washed down the hillside?

Thanks to the wonders of Facebook and its feature, Messenger, I called my friend Sue who lives just down the valley from us in The Mani and we spoke face-to-face (at no cost, thank you, Facebook!) about what had happened.  By the time we talked – my early morning Wednesday and her late afternoon Wednesday – the storm had subsided and the clean up process had begun.

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The aftermath - Stoupa
Sue and her family had made it through with little damage to their home and property. Still sounding a bit shaken though, from the ferociousness of the storm, she said Greek news was reporting roads blocked or destroyed, homes and businesses flooded. Some had lost crops; some had lost ages-old olive trees. Cars had been tossed and trashed by flood waters.

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Divers were called in to locate cars in the bay
The storm that some are now calling the ‘100 year storm’ dumped 5.5 inches of rain in a single hour.  The Kalamata Airport closed; flights were cancelled. The Mayor of Kalamata was quoted as saying he’d never seen anything like it. Four people died as result of the storm that passed over our area as it moved northeast toward Thessoloniki.

Rallying to Recover

The communities went to work cleaning up streets, cars, homes, businesses and beaches.  The government declared five municipalities as being in a state of emergency and photos showed military troops and heavy equipment helping with the restoration and cleanup.  A call for volunteer help was issued in our area and the community responded.

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Clean up efforts began immediately 

And the response from volunteers was immediate and enthusiastic. . .

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Pantasi Beach, just below The Stone House on the Hill

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Another view of Pantazi Beach
Back in Business

By Saturday, my friend Maria had posted the photos below saying that the sun was shining and tourists had returned to the beaches.  Recovery efforts had been swift at the beach-front town.

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Stoupa - three days later
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Beach-goers basked in sunshine
And the fate of the The Stone House on the Hill . .  .


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Relief at seeing The Stone House on the Hill right where we'd left it
My friend Sue posted the photo above on FB a few hours after we talked on Wednesday to assure me our Stone House on the Hill and the four to its left were still in the same place they had been when we left last spring.

Many of you recall our friends Chuck and Marti from Kirkland who’d visited us last year had decided to move to our area this fall for a year’s ex pat adventures.  By a quirk of fate, their arrival brought them, their two cats and dog, to Stoupa late Wednesday evening. There they saw cars floating in the bay and recovery efforts underway. And they learned the road to their rental home had washed out.

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The Road to the Stone House on the Hill - this was paved
After a night in town they moved to our Stone House on the Hill until they could get to their home. They reported we had water in the living room and curtains will need to go to the dry cleaners after we get back. They dried soaked things and mopped up the water.  The garden and grove – they tell us – look good, perhaps the olives look even better than they did when they visited last fall.

The road to our place was among those hard hit. . .it is bad, but so far (fingers-crossed that it gets no worse) we’ll be able to reach our house.

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Sections of our road washed out
They were able to move to their home on Saturday, but are getting a different rental car – a 4-wheel drive) to navigate their road. You can see why from the photo below:

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The 'road' to our friends' home is worse than ours
Obviously the photos in this post are not mine.  A huge thank you to Facebook (and real-life) friends, Maria Korma, Stavroula Nikoloudi, Chuck and Marti Bartlett, and Sue and Don Beattie and an unknown source (Kalamata car photo) for posting these photos of theirs on FB over the course of the last few days.

It won’t be long now before we are back in Greece but for the last couple of days, even as we  completed our road trip through the Southwestern U.S. our hearts and heads were with our many friends in The Mani. . .

And that’s why this week’s road trip tale took a bit of a detour!

As always, thanks for the time you spend with us each week. And another thank you to all who follow TravelnWrite on Facebook or who are FB friends and who have provided such an outpouring of support and concern for not only us, but the villagers and our friends in The Mani. It meant a lot to all of us ~ hugs to you all!

Linking up with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

36 comments:

  1. O boy nature can be fierce when it comes to it. We have had local storms like that in the UK with cars being floated away. Glad to see it is returning to normal

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    1. Hi Bill and welcome to Travelnwrite, I see you among our 'followers'. Hope you'll comment often as one of the best parts of blogging is getting to know others. I agree, Mother Nature reminds us world wide of who really is the boss, doesn't she?

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  2. Wow - I don't think I'd be in a hurry to drive there after seeing all of these wrecks!
    Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/09/los-viejos.html

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    1. It was the massive storm that hit our area of Greece this week that caused the wrecks of autos and homes. . .not bad drivers, Sue.

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  3. Very unusual images I am seeing in your blog for the first time.

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    1. Hopefully it will happen once every 100 years and you won't see images like that again Rajesh. Thanks for your visit!

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  4. Oh, dear! Thankfully you were able to communicate with your friend to relieve your worries.

    I'm glad there was little damage at your house.

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    1. Yes, I am still singing the praises of Facebook and Messenger; both of which have helped make the world a much smaller place! Thanks for the visit~

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  5. Hello Jackie and Joel, You are fortunate to have escaped the storm with little damage. I am sure your Stone house will be ship shape once you return home.

    Helen

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    1. Oh Helen, how nice to hear from you! I haven't seen your blog come up in my feed and have wondered about you. How is your marvelous house doing?

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  6. I am surprised to see the fast recovery ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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    1. It is pretty amazing - can't quite believe all that was accomplished in such an amazingly short time!! Thanks for the visit, come back soon!

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  7. Such amazing destruction and you must have done a real double-take when you saw the photos for the first time. How awesome to have good friends who can keep you up-to-date on what's happening as well as reassure you that all is well. Another plus was opening your home to your friends who discovered the water in the front room. What a great community you belong to Jackie, and although the damage looks severe, it's amazing to see how swiftly the clean up commenced! Anita

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  8. Yep, double-take is a good way to describe that rather heart-stopping moment when you realize your area, some many-thousand-miles-away, has been hit by a storm and you wonder how you made out! We do have a great community - I am reminded of that every day ~

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  9. What terrible sights to wake up to. Thank goodness for social media and friends. Looks like your community really pitched in for the cleanup. Glad you could help your friends with temporary housing. Bet you're more anxious than ever to get to Greece.

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    1. You are correct Gaelyn - packed and ready to head back!

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  10. Hi J & J, We've seen similar on the south coast of Crete and marveled at how the residents cope and have things up-and-running again. So pleased to hear the house is OK. Our bags are packed too - catch up soon. V & B

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    1. Safe travels to you. . .tell our friends in Loutro hello for us!

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  11. Wow, the flooding does look bad. I feel sorry for the people with damage to their homes and vehicles. I am glad your home in Greece is ok. It is great to see the clean up happening so quickly. Wishing you safe travels. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

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    1. It is amazing how such disasters call people together so quickly and how rapidly life and get back to normal!

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  12. Oi, this is really bad! I'm so glad your place was not hit too hard.

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    1. They do think (I hope!) that it was the 100-year-storm, Dina. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it was.

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  13. Such dramatic photos, and how strange it must be for you to hear about that happening at such a distance! It's good to hear that they're picking up the pieces so quickly, and that your house is relatively undamaged. Is the road private or will the local government pay for repaving?

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    1. It is pretty amazing how quickly clean up and repairs can be made (even without a FEMA and federal government stepping in to help ;-) )

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  14. Ah so painful to see I'm sure but it looks amazing that the community is working quickly to clean up the mess, amazing!

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    1. Well, we'll soon be seeing it for ourselves and hope that the cleanup is all that is has been reported to be! Thanks for the visit,Noel!

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  15. WOW...so much water and so much damage. I am always so thankful to know how great the people are about coming together and getting things all cleaned up again. Also very thankful your Stone House survived.....hopefully the road to your house will be all dry and you will have no trouble...xoxo

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    1. Way too much water, that is for sure, BJ! Hopefully we will find it in good shape. . .fingers crossed.

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  16. Wow, as if the people of Greece haven't had enough to deal with.
    Thanks for sending this out to the world.
    The flood in Kalamata looked horrible but it was also impressive how much they were able to clean up in such a short time.

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    1. And thanks Jill Browne for taking the time to comment. Hope you'll be back and do so often!

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  17. It's hard to imagine the devastation the storm caused in Greece. The cleanup work is impressive. I'm glad the Stone House on the Hill didn't suffer significant damage. Hopefully you will be able to get there without much difficulty.

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    1. Well we have returned to The Stone House on the Hill and it is a challenge, I have to admit. I was slated to rent a sleek little automatic car but it is so low to the ground that we've stayed with the manual shift which can barely clear the roadway. 4 x 4's aren't easy to come by here, but we could certainly use one this trip!

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  18. Wow, had no idea that the damage was so bad. Hope the best for recovery.

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    1. They continue to do road work in the area as many are far worse than ours - as in can't use them at all. And many folks lost their homes, so efforts are underway to help them. But to the short term visitor, you'd never know a storm had hit here; restaurants and hotels are up and running and the beaches are great.

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  19. Oh my goodness! I just read this as if it had just happened. By now, you are probably already ensconced in your Stone House on the Hill and have assessed any damage with your own eyes. I hope it wasn't too much worse that you expected.

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    1. Our road to the house took the worst hit and yet it is better than some. We could use a four-wheel drive but they are hard to come by so we inch up and down the hill hoping each time not to bottom out our rental car. The house though made it through without damage and the garden is slowly being put back together.

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