Friday, November 18 – Cute Katakalon
We love Katakolon. Period. It is a three-block town that appears only when there is a ship in port and then closes until the next ship. It’s sort of like the old musical Brigadoon in which the town appeared every hundred years. And we may be the last ship of the season, so everyone will go away on vacation or tend their gardens tomorrow.
The three blocks comprise tchotchke stores, clothing stores, jewelry stores, a drug store and about a half-dozen outdoor cafes; these may have indoor seating, but we have never looked for it. Today was, perhaps, the warmest day we have had, a good 10 degrees warmer than Florence at about 65F. Not only did we not need coats, we were comfortable eating outside in “our” café.
The walk from the ship to the town is about 2 inches. Okay, it’s a block. The most noticeable feature of the walk is the stench of sulphur where the dock meets the land. It’s been this way at least since we first visited in 2009. Once around the corner, though, it dissipates quickly. We looked in souvenir stores just to see what we could see and, as always, bought some items which will go unspecified. We walked past the jewelers and the clothing stores and went to the end of the third block, rounded the corner and walked into the café we go to every time we are here. Although it advertises itself as a fish-centric restaurant, we avoided the fish and got moussaka [MA] and a gyro platter [D] along with 2 Diet Cokes. Other passengers wandered in while we were there and quite a number of crew were there as well. We watched as they ordered extra rice which the waiter brought along with soy sauce, ketchup and mayo. When we finished, we paid our 27 euro tab and went for the real shopping.
MA was wearing a “Trojan wall” bracelet which she bought here last year. We looked in several stores before finding one which had a similar necklace. The necklace was too short, however, but the staff offered to add 3 links [more if needed] to bring it the length she wanted. There was no additional charge most likely because of the huge markup already in place. The price was allegedly 92 euros but “for you, only 80 including the extra links.” Maybe we could have found it at a better price at the next/last store, where we bought it originally, but maybe not, so MA walked out of the store wearing the necklace. We looked for souvenir polo-style shirts for D but found nothing; the one shirt he liked wasn’t available in the right size. Another possibility was dismissed when we heard the price.
Having eaten lunch and used most of our available euros, we returned to the ship where we read until trivia. The “new people” showed up again and we now know his name is Stan; we still are not sure of hers. We chatted until game time, scored 14 points again [nowhere near the perennial winners] and then chatted some more. Stan told us yesterday that he had brought the wrong power cord for his laptop and had borrowed one from one of the tech people but the plug was the wrong size. D took ours to trivia today and told him to try it. When we returned from dinner tonight, there was a note in the door saying that the cord had worked and to call them. D did and then went to their room to retrieve the cord so he could use our laptop. We will probably be passing this cord back and forth for the next three weeks.
As most cruisers know, the cabin stewards place towel animals on the beds when the do the evening turn-down service. We have been saving the eyes and tonight at dinner we made little faces on our butter plates – two eyes with a butter nose. The waiter, the wine steward and Stephanie, the assistant manager, were all caught by surprise and are now convinced that we have escaped from the asylum.
TOMORROW – Nothing Doing in Athens