I am delighted to announce that my new book, Sifnos Chronicles 2: more greek island tales, is available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. It is the story of two Canadian travellers who return to an island they love, immerse themselves for a month in a traditional fishing village and savour the rhythms of life there. Think of it as a sequel to my first book, The Sifnos Chronicles: tales from a greek isle.
You can read an excerpt from the new book below. It’s an episode that occurs before we even arrive on the island. I hope you can sense how happy I am in tto be almost there.
From Chapter 3: “We’d arrived at the dock in Piraeus with plenty of time before our boat was scheduled to depart. The air was fresh, the sun shone and spring was here. We’d found seats on the boat’s outside rear deck, for the time being at least. I was excited. Jim was too, though in matters such as this, he is less demonstrative than I.
I love the docks in Piraeus, the busy seaport of Athens, have since my first glimpse of them and the first moments I spent there. Those huge ships gliding so smoothly in and out of their berths. Their names, so exotic-sounding to my ears: Hellenic Sea Lines, Blue Star Ferries, Ventouris, Nel Lines, Minoan. The correct way to travel around these islands is by boat, I once heard someone say, the way it’s been done as long as people have moved between them, and I’ve come to agree. Besides, to get to Sifnos which has no airport, it’s still pretty much the only way.
No Speedrunner, no Superfast Ferries or Flying Cats for us that day. We were going by slow ferry, the Adamantios Korais. Why rush to get to the island, Jim and I thought. Why not savour the voyage across these ancient seas. And why not, after a long winter at home, choose a vessel where you can comfortably stay on an outside deck for as long as you like.
The slow boats are the big ones that, in addition to carrying passengers and their luggage and other belongings, take along trucks loaded with goods that aren’t produced on the islands. Once, I even saw a long trailer back on board with a huge pile of telephone poles lashed to it.
I stood at the rail, watching those in charge load the ferry. Cars and motorcycles were being waved in and, trucks of all shapes and sizes. Everything from sputtering putt-putts to huge semi-trailers that must dwarf the island roads. That day, I saw something new, a hearse waiting to come aboard. Two in fact, one grey and the other black, each with its sad family walking alongside, its arrays of stiff flowers, and, this being Greece, its requisite bearded priest. Both were bound for Kythnos, I learned when they each got off there, the first stop on the voyage, about halfway to our destination.
I also kept my eye on the koulouri table. On the dock beside every boat in Piraeus in the hour before it is scheduled to leave, there appears a table piled high with stacks of sesame-seed-covered wreaths of bread. Koulouria, they’re called in the plural; they’re delicious and at one Euro, they go fast. What I like best, besides eating them, is to watch from the deck high above as the seller, in between collecting the coins and putting passengers’ purchases into clear blue plastic bags, deftly arranges, rearranges and re-rearranges his dwindling stock into increasingly sparse though admirably geometric displays. Today’s vendor was doing his part. …”
Find Sifnos Chronicles 2 on Amazon.