Symi – 2

Yialos stretches around the main bay into the smaller Harani Bay, the main area for shipbuilding in times past. Some boats are still repaired here, though the majority of the vessels tied to the quay are small, multi-coloured fishing boats, piled high with nets, straight out of a photographer’s dreams. On the hill above isContinue reading “Symi – 2”

Patmos – 2 – Greek Orthodox Service

I was lucky enough to see a Greek Orthodox service at the Apokalypsis monastery. The priest wore a white ‘dress’ decorated with Greek crosses. He had a large, bushy grey beard and his hair was a similar colour. He spent most of the service in an inner room chanting while two men, members of theContinue reading “Patmos – 2 – Greek Orthodox Service”

Plum Brandy – 4

“Ja, Bonev gola,” he said holding up two fingers to indicate Bonev had scored twice. A feeling began to creep over me that he might be right. I drank the clear liquid quite slowly this time. It was slivovitz. It was strong. I then thought about English teams playing against Bulgarians and remembered: Liverpool 5Continue reading “Plum Brandy – 4”

Lake Bled – 6

When I had taken my picture of the bell-tower, to the accompaniment of more failed wishes, I walked over to the church and went inside. The Hungarians were pulling on the rope together. They tried twice and managed to make the bell toll twice, but then decided they had had enough. My travelling companion thenContinue reading “Lake Bled – 6”

Plum Brandy – 3

The man with the cap was sitting at a small table, with a pen and paper lying on it. The table was under a plum tree. He patted the seat next to him. I sat obediently. He poured some liquid from his bottle into two medium-sized glasses. “Bulgaria,” he said pointing at himself and swallowedContinue reading “Plum Brandy – 3”

Lake Bled – 5

After half-an-hour of fairly vigorous oarsmanship, we landed on the island. One other boat was leaving as we arrived, so we had the island and the bell all to ourselves. We walked up the stairway, built in the 17th Century, past the Chaplain’s House and the Provost’s House towards the 14th century Baroque church andContinue reading “Lake Bled – 5”

Plum Brandy – 2

The door opened and a lady of around fifty-five appeared, patting down her graying hair, as though I had arrived ten seconds too early. She gave a slight curtsy and beckoned me in very trustingly. “Yullian?” she said. “That is me,” I said, “Julian.” “Me Yulchka,” she said, “Your room there,” and pointed down theContinue reading “Plum Brandy – 2”

Lake Bled – 4

Luckily for our gondolier, after 9 minutes and 59 seconds, a friend of a friend brought 5 more people for the trip and we were off, albeit rather slowly. The gondolier was using just one of his two oars and was keeping close to the shore, as he was still looking for more business fromContinue reading “Lake Bled – 4”

Plum Brandy – 1

In certain parts of Bulgaria there is a scheme where travellers can stay with villagers in their homes. This is an excellent idea, rather like a homestay. The village I stayed in was near the town of Pernik… In the late afternoon sun I stood before the house where I was staying. A vine wasContinue reading “Plum Brandy – 1”