Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Aphrodite's Waters to Agamemnon's Palace, via Lidl.

Tuesday 10th November

I had assumed the name of the Camperstop, 'Afrodite's Water' was just a bit of touristy nonsense. Then I noticed a sign somewhat unromantically sited to the right of the chemical toilet emptying point, it had a arrow pointing up a steep hill towards a small rocky outcrop half hidden in trees. The sign said, 100m Afrodites Waters. It was true! We were camped beneath our very own sacred spring. Once I had performed the Thetford cleansing ritual and washed my hands in Aldi's magical honey-scented lotions, I legged it up the hill in pursuit of the goddess of Love's very own spring. Breathless I approached the grove. I stooped beneath the bough of a fig tree and heard tinkling water beyond. It emanated from a dark cleft in the rock, the sacred fountain of Afrodite flowing today as it had for aeons. Maybe the two bright blue flexible pipes running from the sacred spring siphoning water into an old brick cistern added a touch of bathos to the idyllic scene. However, I am sure the Olympian maid would derive some solace from the thought that even if she was no longer worshiped, at least her spring was still deemed useful and supplied the whole camp site. In fact, I felt positively blessed by the thought that I had just filled Maisy with 100 litres of sacred H2o, and anticipated all kinds of beneficial effects over the coming days.

A divine sign?

beyond the magic fig tree

Afrodite's waters

rising from the ancient depths of the Earth

through flexible plastic piping, straight into an old cistern...

to supply the camperstop....
It's fair to say that these blessings were not immediately apparent. Access to the Camperstop is difficult, through narrow gravelly lanes, around sharp bends and up sudden steep hills. I seemed to meet every local farmer and his overladen pickup truck on my way out of the village, and once we finally managed to find the motorway south towards Nemea, the hefty toll charges levied on motorhomes came as a bit of a shock. Now I am worried that I have annoyed the immortals by stealing Afrodite's water. I keep glancing in the wing mirrors watching for a telltale smudge of smoke in the distance as the Furies hurtle towards us to wreak revenge for our sacrilegious act. Eventually though, the Nemea turn-off approached without mishap, perhaps we had dodged our Nemesis, at least for today.

An avenue of eucalyptus leads to Mikenis village
I was thinking to myself - I am a boring, pedantic old git, otherwise I would not have spent days over the summer copying all manner of useless information gleaned from the internet onto our paper fold-out map of the Peloponnese. Occasionally, this seemingly futile effort does pay-off. It did mean that even without Wifi, 3G or any other miraculous forms of divination, we knew that somewhere near Argos lurked a Lidl, and we needed to shop for groceries. I realise there is a particularly lame joke about it not being unusual to find Lidl beside Argos, but you will have realised by now I am much too sensible and high-minded to even think such a thing remotely amusing, so I won't mention it. While on the subject of being irritatingly smug and self-congratulatory, I am delighted to say the summer research did pay-off, a 20 metre tall Lidl sign duly appeared, and I was so excited that I drove straight past the entrance and became immediately enmeshed in Argos town centre's bewildering one way system. Eventually, Lidl reappeared, I found the way in, and we stocked-up on life's essentials, milk, chicken, muesli, wine, sparkling water...the usual stuff.

It was early afternoon by the time we reached the campsite at Mykines. We drove in, at least the gates were open, the place is not in the ACSI book, so we were not sure if it would still be functioning. A friendly but vocal King Charles Spaniel came to greet us, followed moments later by its owner. "Park anywhere," she said, waving her arm about vaguely. She went on. "Eengleesh, I like Eengleesh!" Some minutes later she reappeared with a welcome gift of bougainvillea, sprigs of thyme and newly picked lemons. Like the previous place the facilities are decidedly antique, the decor quirky, but the welcome warm and hospitable.

Welcome gifts of lemons, pomegranates, and thyme from the campsite owner.
"Let's make souvlaki tonight" Gill announced, "but I need some mint to make a tzatziki side-dish." She glanced down at her feet, there sprouting at the edge of the pitch were clumps of mint. You see, we had not annoyed Afrodite after all, she was pleased we had drawn water from her sacred spring, that we had shown a modicum of respect towards her fading immortality. The campsite owner may have gifted us lemons and thyme, but the miraculous appearance of the mint undoubtedly smacked of divine intervention.

The miraculous mint.
In the morning we are heading to the nearby archeological site of Mycenae, Agamemnon's palace. If the theme of today was the unexpectedly divine, tomorrow threatens to be inadvertently epic.


1 comment:

  1. There you are! Glad you're back online - was beginning to worry Greece had eaten you up. A lot to catch up on tonight .......