Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July on the 5th! We've had an exhaustive, but wonderful week full of new experiences, including learning some steps for Greek dancing, back-breaking work clearing rocks and brush along the ancient Byzantine pathways, and snorkeling yesterday off the coast of Antiparos, the next island west of Paros.

First, we spent Monday, Wednesday, and Friday out on the Byzantine paths about a 20 minute bus ride to Lefkes, then dropped off to walk down a fairly step decline into the valley, where we were met with two guides who provided us with shovels, hand saws, rakes, clippers, hoes that were industrial-strength (they looked like pick axes without the pick), sandwiches, water, and a zeal for cleaning brush. Kozmas appeared to be the main person in charge as the other guy took a weed whacker and a group of students, and Cathie and I, along with some other students and Bele, went with Kozmas. As I've mentioned in previous posts, the landscape in the hills is quite rugged, with vegetation that is course, prickly, and not a whole lot of fun to walk through, around, and cut down. The ancient walls along the path were, for the most part, intact, although there were places where years of rain and weather caused some of the rocks to slide down into the path. One of our jobs was to put some of these rocks back on the wall. Also, the vegetation in a number of places had obscured the stone paths, or limited the way through because of the overgrowth, so we had to cut, saw, hack, rake, etc. to make the paths wider.

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