Sunday morning, and there they are! The bells! ringing out along the coast. I’m reminded of Greek Easter back in Newtown. The magical whispering of the candlelit procession as it passes my house on the way to the church, and I watch it quietly from my balcony.
Today I leave this side of the island behind and head across to Monólithos, on the western side. We cut across from Faliraki to the airport, where I will be picked up, along with the other poets, to be taken to our retreat. It feels like a holiday within a holiday. Driving along the coast with the most spectacular scenery. Turkey is so close, we joke about swimming across, or doing tours called Turkey in a Tinny. The best thing about travelling with poets is that our first exchanges are playing with words, tossing them around, tasting them with delight. The love of language we share forms an immediate joyful bond. Not so different to working with linguists.
Monólithos is tiny. Population 70 and everyone has to have a business to make ends meet. Lunch at one of the local tavernas owned by Manolis, who insists that we taste his Suma (a little like aquavit) and see how his homemade wines are progressing in the ancient but spotlessly clean and dry cellar below his street front store. He also sells olives, and oil and honey, salt and herbs. All local. The fragrance of meat and charcoal in the late afternoon. I fancy in preparation for the gods, or for our sakes, the muses. Tonight we eat locally. Tomorrow the learning begins.