Today was a family connection day.
We left at 10 and drove to Hora, parking in the large car park and walking down the steps into the square (Platia). We decided to try and find cousin Andreas first but he wasn’t in the square.
Next J asked at the Council chambers whether cousin Kostas was there- the lady made a call then said “follow me” and we tripped out into the Platia. She pointed over the other side and said “he is in a meeting down there “. So we headed for the coffee shops where he was.
In the mean time, an Aussie voice called out from another cafe - George Poulos from Sydney. So we stopped briefly to talk, then went down to the other cafe and there was Kostas. He recognised J&C immediately and he was then introduced to his other cousins S&K. He seemed quite pleased to see us and we talked briefly, and arranged to meet up tonight at 9. Seems late by our standards, but is normal here ( especially with afternoon siestas where shops close about 2-2:30 and reopen at 6).
We went back and chatted to GP for a while then walked up to the top of the town where Andreas sometimes sits. Nobody there, so we started back down and a minute later a motorbike putted up and it was obviously Andreas. He immediately recognised J&C, and stopped. An even bigger surprise when he met S and K. He had never met K, but had met S 36 years ago with her young son. He was obviously very pleased.
We walked down and found a cafe where we had coffee, and a bit later lunch. We spent about 3 hrs relaxing and talking - it might have seemed like an interrogation as all 3 cousins fired questions at him. Even nearby customers joined in - 2 who had lived in Hobart and knew all the Greek families their, and another from the west of NSW who overheard us talking about West Wyalong.
Andreas knew everyone and passers by all paused to speak. The waitress said he was a lovely man.
It was obvious he was getting tired, so we said farewell and got his phone number so we could arrange to meet for tea on Tuesday. He said it was the happiest day for him meeting all his relatives. He also asked about J’s father, and recalled that he had received a beautiful calendar from him!
By now shops were closing, but we strolled down through Hora and up to the Kastro. Again marvelling at the great views especially of Kapsali and its 2 bays. The archives were closed, but there was an exhibition of Family Coats of Arms. It is a collection of 17 seals of Venetian families but also local islanders (Kassimatis), as well as families of Orthodox bishops (Mormoris). J decided to have a look - 1 euro for seniors. The lady asked him if “he was really 65”. The displays covered a number of “elite” families from the island, most arriving here from Crete in the Venetian period of occupation. The were no Coats of Arms for J’s family!
Then back to the apartments for a siesta - promise of a swim later, then tea, then a talk with Kostas. He was born in Australia and returned the Kythera as a 1 yr old - he hasn’t been back but would like to one day.
But..........we had a swim, went to tea, but no Kostas! We will try again for tomorrow.
We tried a place near the steps from our hotel; it was fully booked which is very unusual. They offered to put another table on the street but we weren’t keen. Not that it is a busy street, but with cars, bikes, and people, it is a bit exposed.
Along to another - this one empty! (Bad sign?). But the menu looked fine so we made our selections.
Beans?- oxi, moussaka?- oxi, pastitsio? - oxi, etc. in the end we said maybe just tell us what you do have. A boy was wheeled out to give the news to us in English. “We have pork” - we dont want pork. Things were getting dire, but finally we we found some things to order - a Kytherian specialty with boiled wheat, goat milk and potato, chicken souvlakia, cucumber patties, Greek salad, eggplant dip, and saganaki. The food was actually quite nice, despite the difficulty in ordering.
Despite what readers may think, J&C are not (and I repeat not) overeating. We are sharing plates, and having mainly vegetarian. So there!j