Thursday, June 12, 2014

From ancient icons to beach umbrellas

We had one task to complete before doing our last exploration of Veria, to find a post office. Yesterday we thought we had found one but it seemed like it was a postal bank. We did get instructions but our first stop seemed to be someone's office and it turned out he didn't know much about stamps. A stop at the tobacconist didn't help either, as in Greece  they don't carry stamps. Next we found a deathly quiet post office. There were lots of people sitting quietly in several rows of seats, each clutching their mail. Since only two people were serving, slowly, this was going to take longer than we wanted to wait. Some bookstores have stamps but we couldn't find one. It would have to wait until our next stop. Snail mail takes some patience in Greece.

We wandered around the streets heading for the Byzantine museum. It was another beautiful spot but didn't seem to be busy  when we arrived. In fact the lady had to come to each floor to turn on the lights for us. There were lots of colourful Byzantine icons. I found the colours somewhat different than other icons I had seen. There were signs telling people not to touch the icons. Those schoolchildren from yesterday would have great difficulty containing themselves by not kissing the hands of the saints. There were displays of clay pottery not even in cases and several displays of magnificent jewellery.

We walked once again through the stately old mansions to the shrine of St. Paul, the apostle, who came to Greece and Veria to spread Christianity. This marble shrine with frescoes and statues was very bright with lots of flowers surrounding it.

Back on the road again, on our way to a resort on the  Halkidiki peninsula. This involved a return trip on the very inexpensive toll road to Thessaloniki. Somehow instead of driving on the ring road around the city, we ended up with loads of trucks and cars going on a bypass that wasn't a highway. There was lots of construction and no lines on the road, making for a very interesting trip. Finally, we were on the road to our resort far away from busy Thessaloniki.

After moving rooms once because we didn't want to listen to a shrieking child, it was time to head for the beach. We bypassed the first beach and pools, again with lots of shrieking kids. Fortunately, we soon found the seven-kilometre-long beach, where we made ourselves at home. The water was warm enough for a good swim. However, it looked like a storm was coming.

Twenty minutes later back in the room the fast moving storm arrived. We had never seen anything like it. You couldn't see the ocean or even the next building. The wind howled and the rain poured down in giant sheets. Several forks of lightning appeared at the same time and the thunder roared. We watched as first one tree in front of us cracked and fell over and then another. Sheet lightning occasionally lit up the whole sky. There was no sign of the wind and rain letting up. Finally, things began to die down and we could see lightning off in the direction of Romania.

After exploring the hotel and eating in an adult-only restaurant with a lovely selection of fish, we ventured over to the marina, where some giant yachts were docked. They came from all over, from Australia to Delaware. But more importantly, in the shop in the marina they sold stamps. If a store sells cards it sells stamps. We hadn't exactly found that previously. This was good news. Our birthday card to Canada was on its way. Of course we don't know if it has arrived yet.

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