I liked Salamina. It is very close to Athens, either a twenty minute car ferry ride or an hour by small boat putt-putting into the port of Piraeus. At weekends the island would be buzzing as hundreds of Athenians with holiday homes filled the streets, beaches and tavernas.
Once again we lived in a funny little two bedrooms house. Both bedrooms had no windows and no light but it was cheap and clean and there was parking next door for our car and an empty lot where we dug a pit and spit roasted our lamb at Easter.
It was back at the end of the eighties. I remember watching the fall of the Berlin wall on TV there and it was there that we watched the first private run Greek TV channel and the american soap opera, Santa Barbara and the Young and the Restless in english with greek subtitles. A new era in entertainment.
We made the best of it. K was home most days and together we explored all the out lying beaches. We bought a small blow-up boat, loaded it up with our picnic, put on flippers and swam it across to a small island for a day of swimming and snorkelling. K and the girls dived for mussels on the other side of the island in the polluted waters just off the big Navy Base. It's lucky we survived the contamination. The girls learnt to hunt octopus, we saw cuttlefish mating, swam in a thunderstorm.
We spent a lot of time with friends, eating out at small tavernas where there were just a few tables and one or two items on the menu, mussels and oysters, pork chops or salt cod. The girls had a lot of concerns though after their third change of school and we all knew we would be up and moving again soon.
The first summer we spent two weeks at a Navy camp. A real holiday. We had a small one bedroomed cabin, cooked simple meals or ate at the cheap restaurant on base. The sea once again was not the cleanest being just across from the main fleet but there was an Olympic swimming pool where we dived dangerously from a 3 metre board, hanging out there almost every day at the beginning of another sweltering summer. K went to work during the week but was back each evening so it was a family holiday.
My Greek was reasonable by then . I could understand everything and communicate well but keeping up with conversation was fraught with problems. By the time I had understood the subject and wanted to dive in with my own opinion they were off on another topic. I just tuned out and the long evenings of loud harsh music and tiring chat bored me stiff. I thanked the lord that I had two small children and could use them as a reason to retreat early.
Salamina was a sort of interlude. Next we go to Poros.
This is turning into a life story. One, maybe two chapters, I think and that's it. But it has got me writing and remembering. I have promised my two girls that I shall write more. The bits I've missed out. But not for this blog.
A kiwi in flight