Monday, August 6, 2012

Tales from Euro Land

German WWII cemetery on Crete.  Not many German cemeteries exist but this is a big one

 Another view of the German WWII cemetery looking out into the Aegean Sea

Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece - where Aspen is

These are the ruins of a Minoan Palace on Crete.  It was very hot out too!

The ruins are in pretty bad condition for being over 2,000 years old!

Minoan vase at the palace.  That held a lot of wine!

The countryside behind the Minoan Palace on Crete

 This is our dock where Aspen lives on Crete.  The water is cool but the air temperature is over 100 degrees every day!

We are still getting used to the culture here in Euro Land.  It is so different than what we are used to.

We had talked before about siesta time in the afternoons here in Greece.  The stores close from 1 pm until 6 pm so if you need anything you have to wait for them to re-open after 6 pm.  That is unless you want to eat at a café or bar because those are always open.  However, if you want to eat lunch you will be one of the few people who actually EAT lunch.  Most Euros just snack all day and drink.  Their big meal starts at about 9 or 10 pm, when we are ready for bed.

Smoking is very common here.  There is a law in Greece that enclosed places must be smoke free (No Smoking) but they get around the law by making sure all of the doors and windows are open all the time at every restaurant, bar and café.  That way there are no enclosed places and everyone can smoke everywhere.

That is also part of the reason the use of air conditioning is very limited in the EU.  They all want to smoke and they seem to like the heat too.  It can be 100 degrees outside and we can’t find an air-conditioned place to have lunch!  We are dying while the Euros sit and drink, smoke, visit with friends and sweat outside all day long.

Here in the marina we have a lot of interesting things happening as well.  The shower, one of our necessities in this heat, is a curious thing.  We have a dedicated building with shower rooms that are secured with a combination lock on the entry door so that only we boating people are allowed inside.  Once we are inside the building there is one door that leads to a set of 4 shower rooms for the women while another door leads to a set of 4 shower rooms for the guys.  Yesterday a man and woman entered the shower building right in front of me.  The guy turned left to go through the women’s shower door with the woman following him.  Thinking that this guy didn’t see the obvious picture of a woman on the door I said excuse me and pointed to the women’s sign on the door.  The guy looked at the sign, shrugged his shoulders and acted like he didn’t care.  I used my best expression of ‘what can’t you understand?’ while gesturing to the sign.  The guy didn’t say anything, turned and proceeded into the women’s shower.  Come to find out, he was French, so I guess they don’t understand signs?

Then there are the Dutch.  As I just explained we have showers in the marina but the Dutch like to shower off the back of their boats in the marina, in full view of everyone, instead of going to the shower building.  Luckily they prefer to wear their underwear while they shower so that is a good thing.

Finally we have the British.  We have had several British boats tied on either side of Aspen as well as on the other side of the dock behind us.  They usually tell us good morning each day and then we become invisible for the rest of the time.  Yes, we are flying our USA flag prominently on the stern of Aspen so maybe that is an issue for them? 

We think the Brits don’t want to associated too much with us because #1, we are Americans and there was that war thing in 1776 where we defeated them and still celebrate the momentous occasion every 4th of July and #2, Captain Steve is related to Oliver Cromwell who abolished (I’m using a kind word here) the British royal family in the 1600’s in jolly old England.

There are a lot of British x-pats living here on Crete and they have their own grocery stores (called British Food Shops), full English breakfast at every restaurant (this includes bangers, pork and beans, poached eggs, corned beef hash and tea) with prices in British pounds!  Remember the Brits don’t use the Euro currency because the Queen didn’t want to lose half of her money by converting to another currency so they still use the Pound even though they are part of the EU, well at least kinda part of the EU.

So every day something unique and exciting happens.  That is what is so amazing about sailing among different cultures and peoples!

Sail on, sail on and sail safe Aspen…

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