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May 12, 2016

On one of our 2 week camping trips in Greece, about 1965, we were in the Peloponnese, the southern peninsula of Greece, all 7 of us in the red and white VW, with a car-top carrier the whole length of the roof filled with sleeping bags and the tent and suitcases.  The food and stove and kitchen stuff was in the “way-back” over top of the engine.  This was before tourism was Greece’s #1 business, and most places we camped were just a beach or field or olive grove someone in the village pointed to and said it would be OK, or perhaps, olly kala.

This particular place was a natural harbor or cove or bay with a sandy beach running along one side and turning into rocks and steep cliffs on the other side of the cove.  There was no breakwater or pier that I remember, just the fishing boats pulled up onto the beach in front of the village.  We pitched our tent on the sand a couple of hundred yards away.  Behind the camp, perhaps a couple of hundred feet up the slope, was a low hill, also of sand, with the tall circular stone wall of a castle.  We went through an opening in the wall to the interior, where there was a keep, or stone tower, albeit with no roof or interior, just another tall stone wall.

We spent several days there, most of the time swimming and snorkeling in the cove and finding interesting metal things on the bottom and playing in the castle.  There was a restaurant on the beach in the village – a concrete slab with a canvas roof and no sides but light bulbs hanging on wires around the edge.  One end was the kitchen, and I’m sure everything was fried.  Most of our camping meals were fresh local bread and fruit, or something canned from the commissary, but occasionally we ate in a restaurant.   One day I walked to the restaurant with Dad and he ordered fish from a cabinet of fresh caught fish and we came back later, probably 5:30, well before their usual opening time, and had supper.

I’ve been looking for that place on Google Earth and in photos on the internet without success.  However, my older sister Adele says she has a postcard from there and can find it.  My brother David confirms my memories, but it doesn’t seem to exist.  The photo is from my recent visit to the island of Patmos.

What would be cool is if the village is still just like it was 50 years ago, with wooden fishing boats and nets drying on the beach and the little restaurant and a tiny village, and crystal clear water in the bay, and the sand, and the castle, and maybe even a canvas tent up the beach with a red and white VW parked beside it.

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From → Writing Fiction

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