Swept Away HR46 at anchor Second Wind at anchor Northern Exposure at anchor

Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Lefkas Marina, in Lefkada, Greece

Hi all. We’re back in Lefkada Town, where we’ve taken a month’s time at the marina. Last Sunday, we were in Gouvia Marina in Corfu, about a day’s sail north of here and Sammie and Jack were with us.

We went out to dinner in Gouvia Marina, and part of the restaurant was devoted to a wedding party. Thus, we managed to partake of the mezes and the wedding entertainment. We hooted when the bride arrived in her gown, and Jack was sung to personally by the chanteuse from the wedding’s band. We were buoyed by the flash of sparklers, regaled by Greek music and entranced by a band member deftly playing the bouzouki, a mandolin-like instrument with a long bass-guitar-like neck. The bride was accompanied by her new groom and the couple��s less-new, white-robed baby.

Our guests left us for more Greek sightseeing in Athens, and we departed Corfu by sea for our base in Lefkas. The winds were quiet for most of the day, but we were surprised and pleased to be able to sail for much of the journey. Our recollection of Mediterranean summer winds is that sailing is a rarity, but this boat appears to be more nimble in light winds than our previous boat had been. We arrived at the Lefkas bridge near our marina for an earlier opening than we’d predicted and got settled in the marina with the help of the marina’s attentive dock crew.

The next morning flew by in a mad rush of recovery: wash the boat down, send loads of laundry to the lady in the marina who knows how to say “40 or 60 degrees?” but little else in English, rent bikes to give us more range during our visit, clean and vacuum the boat’s interior, and swap out a cooking gas bottle. Still, we made time for our now-customary second breakfast of iced cappuccino and a yogurt with honey. Even though when I’m home, I always buy the type of yogurt that’s the national brand in Greece, somehow the stuff here is creamier.

It’s true that I was a little bit peeved at Greece for making it so difficult to get ourselves legal. Once immersed, I remember that this place is magic, from the bright floral splashes everywhere there are people and many places there aren’t, to the mid-morning scent of roasting octopus, to strains of music that make you want to raise your arms and kick your feet, bellowing “Opa!”

We reconnected with a couple we’d known for more than a decade. They’d been in Palma de Mallorca with their Hallberg-Rassy 46 when we were there with ours. We ran into each other again in the next few years in Corfu and then in Turkey. Then, the summer that we were planted at the Hallberg-Rassy boatyard outfitting our new HR54, we ran into them again, in the offices, where they were ordering their own HR54.

Our email communications are amusing, because I don’t speak Italian that well, and Sandro speaks English but would just as soon communicate in Italian. So he writes to me in Italian and I respond in English. When we’re together, we all speak English, and resolve our occasional word lapses with mime. It works out well.

They were in Lefkada to resolve a few mechanical problems before returning by air to their home near Venice. So there we were again, in a foreign country, with longtime friends.

The bikes worked out well for us. They were utilitarian but very comfortable. Though I want to look like a character from a Jane Austin novel in my wide-brim sun hat, I fear that I more resemble the Wicked Witch of the West.

Although I’m an anxious biker generally, I don’t feel threatened on the roads. Cars are generally few, and in Lefkada Town they appear well-advised to travel slowly and cautiously. I was surprised to note that pedestrians tend to walk down the middle of the street, even when a sidewalk is available. I watched out for them, and cars watched out for us. Then I noticed the servers at the waterfront cafés who had to cross the road every time they visited the seaside tables. They just took their trays and sauntered across, and traffic would swerve around them.

Indeed, there is a sort of yield sequence among those on the Lefkada road. The main road around the waterfront has places for cars to park on each side and about one and a half lanes of traffic on each side within. In any block, the parking lane is filled, and a half dozen additional cars are double-parked unabashedly in the transit lane. The buses and cars follow us at a crawl if we take up the travel lane of the road, but scooters just swerve around to our left because we can ride two abreast. Down the food chain, we on our bikes are vigilant of pedestrians and especially of people pushing strollers or of little kids in their plastic vehicles, all of whom must think that the road is the place to walk instead of the sidewalk. And last, everyone swerves around the server with tray aloft, who ignores us all and simply ambles across.

We have weeks to go in our visit, and little to explore during what is now our third visit to this area. So I decided that we’d approach this trip the way most visitors do: as a holiday at the beach. It would be just like that, except that we’d never go to the beach. That will suit us fine.

I expect that we’ll skip some of the Sunday notes for now, at least until we leave Greece and head back to Malta. We’ll be traveling locally, to nearby Ithaca, for example, using Lefkas as a home base.

Poppa, have a fabulous birthday party today. We’re sending our wishes from afar.

Love, Karen (and Art)