Day 5 on the Aegean Sea, hot again with a lovely breeze and mostly calm seas. I took dozens of photos of that beautiful, empty sea and distant coastline.
A year earlier when my daughter went sailing on Tobin Bronze with my brother, Peter and his wife, Judy they were in the south of the Aegean Sea. Her photos were of beautiful, stark white buildings above sparkling seas. Greece has the highest poverty risk rate in Europe, with approximately one quarter of the total population falling under this category. We were in the north, (not a stark white building in sight) the poorest part of the country. It was quite a contrast to the grandeur of our recent surroundings in Istanbul.
In the year between my daughter's visit and mine the financial crises hit Greece and from what I saw on television and read in the papers, travelling there seemed like a pretty bad idea. Cashless ATMs. I even saw predicted a shortage of feta!
Thank heavens my brother assured me we would be fine - and we were. I had troubles with my cash card but that started weeks before in Ireland (and it was eventually swallowed by an ATM in Nea Moudania). I shudder to think how I would have managed had I been on my own but I'm sure I would have managed somehow.
On our way to Nea Moudania we took a shortcut through a narrow canal, under the bridge at Nea Potidea. I've never been very good at spatial awareness and looking up at the mast, I couldn't see how it was going to fit under that bridge. Peter had done his homework and knew it would, so I was happy to take his word for it.
One one side of the passage appeared to be quite poor although the little working boats appeared to be well maintained.
On the other side there was a resort.
The weather was picking up as we approached Nea Moudania. My eyes were drawn to the beautiful mosque overlooking the harbour.
But later on when I looked back the other way (don't ask me which was north, which was south, I had no idea where I was) the view was a lot more foreboding. Don't be fooled by that flash looking construction at the marina. It was a typical Greek project started with lots of Euro money and badly maintained, the structures in place for power and water but not connected.
The weather forecast was not good so it was decided that we were as close to the airport at Thessaloniki as we were going to get by boat and I could travel by taxi the rest of the way the day after next when I would start my journey homewards.