|Lauris had his own tour guide, Marina|
We dined at the restaurant of the Argonauta hotel, fresh seafood paired with a refreshing white wine. Lauris must have been exhausted, but his excitement of being reunited with his friend Stephan in addition to a plate of a favorite food (fries) kept him awake and smiling; the giggles continued late that evening as we enjoyed the company of good friends in a setting worthy of the cover of a travel magazine.
|The Argonauta hotel|
Breakfast was had in the courtyard of the apartment after which we received our first tour of the town. In the main square is the largest church, the Panagia Ekatontapiliani, which means "church of the hundred doors". These "doors" include windows, and 99 of them have been discovered/uncovered. It is said to have been founded by the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Saint Helen, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land and possibly dates back to 390 AD. Evdoxia’s brother had been married here just two nights previous and I could imagine the hundreds of guests gathering to partake in this family honor.
|"The church of the hundred doors"|
We also stopped at the archaeological museum housing some of local finds such as the Gorgo statue from 580 BC and the figure of a Nike from around 480 BC. There was a piece present from the Parian Chronicle, a marble-chronology of ancient Greece describing events from 1500 BC to 264 BC, which seems like a short time ago upon learning the earliest traces of habitation in the area (islet of Saliagos) date to the Late Neolithic period (5300-4500 BC).
|By the way, this is PH... PRE haircut|
As the sun reached its peak and the heat became unbearable we retreated to our oasis to rest. Later, refreshed, we departed for the beach opposite the town across the bay, a thin strip of sand with a wall of rocks providing shade from the still-hot sun. Even with Mikus in my arms I could have spent days lounging in that beach chair, reading a book, or maybe borrowing goggles and a snorkel to explore the rockier shore a little farther down. The afternoon passed in a flash, as Mikus swam in the Mediterranean for the first time and Lauris learned to float with the aid of little floaties encircling his upper arms. The soft white sand and fresh cobalt waters provided us a respite from all the traveling, planning, and chaos of the transition period we’re in that we had not been able to find in Clermont-Ferrand.
Our evening ended with a stroll along the main drag next to the bay, teeming with tourists enjoying the food, wines and cool breeze off the sea. It was tempting to put the boys to bed and return to sample the nightlife ourselves, but once the two finally closed their eyes the fatigue from the sea and the sun caught up to us as well. We crawled into bed and dreamed of blue sea and white walls, of which there would be plenty more of in Santorini, our next destination.