Just as twilight was turning the sea and sky a dusty rose on a Saturday evening two weeks ago, the blaring of horns on fishing boats broke the stillness that usually accompanies sunset.
It was such a cacophony that we raced to our front deck to watch the gathering of the silhouetted boats near the small fishing harbor below us.
|At twilight the boats began circling in the harbor|
'Has someone drowned?" I asked The Scout, who was scanning the water with the binoculars. 'Did one of the fleet just sink?' We'd never heard such a commotion in our Peloponnese neighborhood even during the height of holiday celebrations. We'd also never seen the boats gathering as they were in our sleepy little village of Agios Dimitrios.
|The Egg Dedication - Photo credit: Takis Fileas photo|
It wasn't long before the shrill squeal of a microphone being tested joined the honking horns. It was then we turned our attention on the harborside where a stage and plastic chairs had been set up in an area that normally serves as a parking lot.
|'The Egg' on the islet|
Must be 'The Egg', we agreed, in answer to my earlier questions, as 'The Egg' is one of the biggest things to happen here in recent years. And the reason the egg is here can be attributed to another big even that took place here centuries ago. . .or so the story goes.
The Islet and the Egg
|The islet and The Stone House on the Hill (left) - Peter Coroneas photo|
As the photo above shows, there's an islet just off the coastline in front of our Stone House on the Hill. To the casual observer, it seems but a small outcropping of rocks but its size belies its rather enormous history.
It was this very islet on which Helen of Troy and her brothers, the Dioscuri twins; Castor, the mortal son of the King of Sparta and Pollux, the supernatural son of Zeus were born.
According to legend, the supreme god Zeus fell in love with Leda, wife of the King of Sparta. So Zeus turned himself into a pale white swan that was fleeing from an eagle and took refuge in Leda's arms.
From that encounter Leda produced an egg from which Helen and the Dioscuri twins were born.
|Pefnos Islet and The Egg|
I know. You are probably thinking, oh-no, there she goes again mixing fact and fiction, legend and real life, just like I did a few weeks ago when I wrote about Nestor's Palace. But to get a feel for our expat life here, you must get a dose of the real and imagined from me every so often because that is the world in which we live.
As I wrote before, the mixing of the two does start messing with your mind because we find that even we speak of mythological people and places as if they are real. I tell people that Helen was born on the islet in front of my house as a matter of fact, just as I used to tell people I lived down the street from a Starbucks in Kirkland.
But writers through history seem to have confirmed some of these claims about this rather unusual birth. In fact Pausanias, the ancient traveler, mentions as early as 150 BC that the Dioscuri were born on this very islet. There was once a pair of bronze statues of the brothers on the islet - they were mentioned in writings as 'recently' as 1795.
Only history knows what happened to those statues but I can tell you the island now has a very tangible egg honoring that long-ago love story.
|The Islet hatches an Egg Summer 2020|
The egg's creation this summer was spearheaded by Greek sculptor Giannis Gouzos and archeologist Petros Themelis. And Dr. Elias Moutzouri is credited with the photographic materials. Funding, in part, was provided by our Municipal Government.
|The Egg in the beginning stages - Credit on photo|
I have to tell you that in the beginning we paid little attention to the actual creation of the egg. There was activity on the islet but often swimmers use it as a starting or stopping point so we gave it little notice until it seemed to become the talk of the village. 'Have you seen the egg being built!?'
|The Egg on the Islet|
Work continued for several weeks as the project creators were shuttled back and forth by boat to the islet. And then as if out of nowhere, the egg appeared.
|The Egg being built|
So back to that Saturday night. . . the night the Egg was dedicated. Sitting on our deck we listened to song after song sung by Greek vocalists in honor of Helen and the love story that led to her birth. After night fell, a lone fishing boat's light highlighted the egg. There is something about the ease with which real and imagined can be mixed here and on nights like this the two blended in perfect harmony.