Thursday, 1 April 2010
Iron and concrete
(The new parking place at Molyvos)
Most of the time Easter means the beginning of the summer season here on the island. This year however, Greek Easter - the same date this year as the Catholic and Anglican Easter - is so early that it will really won’t be the beginning of summer. Normally most hotels try to be open by Easter: they do the gardens, refresh the rooms and tourists are all welcome. But this year only a few hotels are ready to open for Easter. Not many Greek visitors are coming because of the financial crisis. The municipalities try hard to get their roads and amenities ready for Easter, but for them this year it’s also too early.
I have to report that the municipality of Molyvos has not been lucky in this respect, especially with the road to Eftalou which suffered so much storm damage during winter. Sometimes you will see a bulldozer or truck shuffling rocks on to the road, but that hasn’t helped much. Last week our notorious west wind started blowing again so it looks like the municipality has one of the 12 labours of Herakles to perform, because waves have again pounded the boulevard and, will, I am sure, have undone some of the repair work.
The municipality seems to be a bit luckier with their work on a new parking lot, although that won’t be ready before Easter either. The town of Molyvos is a protected area and at the foot of its hill, just behind the school there used to be a beautiful parking space, a kind of field with olive trees where everybody could park their car. I thought it functioned very well but the municipality had different ideas, so the whole area is to be covered with concrete, and they are even building a huge wall in order to make a higher field as well as a parking space. Until now they have kept the olive trees, but you have to ask yourself why are they spending so much money on a parking place in such a time of crisis?
The municipality of Lisvori has no money left to realize all their projects. And so the refurbishing of the Hot Springs has also come to a halt. The mayor however has kept to his word about parking facilities so now the huge concrete apron in front of the two hot springs is covered with tiles. But the hotel and the baths have been left as they were: the improvements to the baths are not finished because the Archeological Service stopped the work because it did not have the permits.
The municipality of Petra is also taking part in the competition to see which town can make the island uglier. The new priest of the famous Maria Glikofilousa church on the rock that towers above the little seaside village has decided to make it easier for the many pilgrims that come every year to climb its 114 steps: along the path that winds over the rocks to the church he has placed a huge and ugly fence. Maybe you might think: everybody his own taste. But Petra’s beautiful eye catching Byzantine relic hardly deserves to have the kind of fence you normally see around a building site. Come Easter the thousands of cameras that will be pointed at the rock and its church will not be capturing images of family members proudly climbing all the stairs; all that will be seen will be the fences!
But at least the priest of the Maria Glikofilousa Church will be ready to receive churchgoers on the Saturday to Sunday night when most Greeks will attend the Easter midnight mass. But the parking lot at Molyvos and the coastal road in Eftalou will not be ready and will probably be the causes of some entertaining chaos.
Every year we wonder if everything will be ready for the summer season by the middle of April. And every year again we are surprised that many Greeks succeed in fulfilling their version of those labours of Herakles. However, this year, I am sure the above named projects will not be ready.