Showing posts with label Stoupa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stoupa. Show all posts

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:

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!

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:

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.

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.

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.

Clean up efforts began immediately 

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

Pantasi Beach, just below The Stone House on the Hill

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.

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

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.

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.

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:

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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Decking the Halls ~ In Greece

Rosemary Clooney was dreaming of a “White Christmas” right after Elvis had predicted a “Blue Christmas” and somewhere between the plastic goods and kitchen accessories, Bing Crosby had swept us off to Hawaii with his rendition of Mele Kalikimaka. The store’s background music had shoppers pumped by the time they reached the enormous Christmas decorations area.

Kambos Town en route to Kalamata
I need not have worried about ‘missing’ Christmas because we are in Greece. The spirit – both Holy and Shopping – is alive and well in this part of the world.

Christmas Bazaar fund-raiser - Stoupa town
The store I described above called, “Jumbo” is in the city of Kalamata, the shopping Mecca of this region. Those of us in the surrounding villages make pilgrimages there sometimes once or twice a week. In this ‘stone house on the hill’ we are about an hour’s drive away.

Our House day three

Our shopping has been focused this week on more practical things: coffee pot, microwave, rugs, furniture, bedding. . .so I am afraid if you were hoping to see this perfectly decorated new holiday home of ours, you are out of luck!  In fact, I am writing this post sitting on a folding chair hunched over a small end table in our nearly empty living room.

We bought the car as part of the house deal

 I must thank all of you who wrote comments or sent emails containing good wishes about our finally catching the daydream, and purchasing the stone house on the hill. They all meant alot to us and I would normally respond to each, but because we are limited to cafe internet time this trip, a bulk thank you will have to do until I get back to Wi-Fi land.

DSCF1228Some of you said you were eagerly awaiting more about Christmas and others wanted more about the house. . .so today you are getting a mish-mash report with a little about both.

We purchased the house ‘furnished’ just because that is the way it was sold. The well-used furniture was not to our taste so in addition to buying furniture, we have been selling furniture this week.The heavy, and far-too-big-for-this-house furniture (see last post) was sold Friday

And for another few days we are ‘camping out’ in our home. The new stuff is scheduled for delivery December 24th! And what a present that will be!  (Our good-sport English friends, Sue and Don, pictured in the photo were our first guests yesterday, proving again that good times can be had in the barest of surroundings.)

DSCF1207 The painters arrive tomorrow to start the process of ‘warming up’ this hospital-white-from-ceiling-to- floor house.  The color chips have been selected and by the time the furniture arrives it should have a warm, colorful setting in which to reside.

For those of you wondering whether we are enjoying this or whether we are having second thoughts, I can assure you we’d have missed one of life’s great experiences had we not thrown caution to the wind and chased the daydream.

Waterfront in Stoupa Town Saturday night
Merry Christmas!


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