Sitting in a bar in Igoumenitsa last week waiting for a meal the TV had coverage of some terrible floods and raging torrents of water and mud in various towns. We assumed it was in Greece and worried that maybe it was where we were heading to the next day . However the caption underneath said it was the Gargano Peninsular an area of incredible beauty up the road from us in Puglia.
I see today the the prosecutor’s office there has opened a file as they call it to investigate the authorities for culpable manslaughter, violation of zoning laws in the building of houses and factories, billing for cleaning and clearing of canals which was never actually carried out, corruption by officials, corruption by politicians, corruption by civil servants. in fact the usual ” round up the usual suspects” that seems to happen whenever there is a catastrophe in Italy and more especially in Puglia.
I see today that it is raining again in Puglia with yet another low pressure system sweeping in before moving on into the Balkans rather than down here in Greece.
I have, in fact, been on the beach all day today sitting in glorious sunshine down here in Kyparissa which I guess will really annoy the readers in Puglia.
The beach is still fairly busy but they operate it here very differently than in Puglia. There they charge you for each sun lounger and the sunshade. It can work out as an expensive part of your holiday. Certainly it is not unknown for each sun lounger to be €12-16 each and a sunshade about the same price.
Here they charge you a fee that if you don’t want to pay you need to redeem by spending the money in the snack bar of the beach guy you rent them from. It seems like a really sensible idea to me . In September down here it is considered low season and so we are charged just €6 to rent two loungers and a shade which is a couple of iced coffees and a couple of bottles of water. However the flamboyantly gay guy decked out in a niffty two piece bikini who runs that place didn’t have enough English to tell me how much he charges in August and to be honest I didn’t want there to be any misunderstandings between us about what I was asking he charged what for ! Beware Greeks bearing gifts I was taught at school !
The other amazing thing after Puglia is the space each sunshade occupies on the beach. These are more like huge pods
I cannot imagine there is an Italian who would be happy with this arrangement. You are so far away from your nearest neighbour. How can you converse, how can you see what they are eating, how can you hear what they are saying. It just couldn’t work. As an Italian you need to be able to roll on to your neighbour’s sun lounger without almost any effort and if you can’t the beach is no good to you. We could barely see the people next to us let alone roll onto their lounger or glimpse what they were eating. These are great sun shades though and the whole beach area is like it. I can only assume that the thousands of Italians that flock down here in August must bring sun loungers and shades that they slot in between these Greek ones so they feel more at home.
I tell you what is also very noticeable no screaming kids. Greek children are so well behaved. I watched as a small boy threw some sand at his sister by the water’s edge. the mother shouted at him to come here and straight up the beach he came to receive a lecture and return to apologise and hug his sister before resuming their play. Oh boy how often have I heard an Italian mother screaming veni qua ( come here) endlessly at her child with absolutely no effect or action at all from the child who continued to play. Eventually the mother would go down and reward the behaviour with a smacker of a kiss.
Least you however think all is a bed of roses down here let me just say that during the day while we sat at the beach we could hear but not see a high level of activity somewhere near our hotel.
As we walked back it was clear that things had been happening. Indeed a bloody great fairground has appeared alongside our hotel with several rides coming right past our window and balcony. In fact I think I can get on the octopus ride for free if I time my jump right tonight.
The local church is having it’s yearly festa and tomorrow night the place will be jumping as pigs are slaughtered and cooked whole on spits. There will be dancing ( maybe I get to show off again ) and much revelry in other words noise . Indeed they have just as I type rigged up the sound system and I swear the hotel rocked . The dogs are now all howling. Time for a Fix beer or 6 I think.