Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Looking Over my Shoulder: Lemnos from Melbourned

Looking Over my Shoulder:

Lemnos from Melbourne

The Differences

These do not immediately hit us as we are coping with jet lag, and begining life back in Australia is easy. Once we are sleeping OK we slot back quickly; here the car usually starts immediately, the water flows and the shops are nearby. Lemnos receedes, but after a while we start to make comparisons, and laugh as we remember at some of our Lemnian troubles, and we might grumble about some of the things that are not as good in Melbourne.

Road Rules

We will have quickly noticed that folk in Melbourne park their cars correctly, they do not block your way and they give clear directions as to where they are going and when they are turning. I know some people in Melbourne will say, ‘Not always’, but the thing is in Lemnos these things are almost never done! (Perhaps its the steep fine you’ll get in Melbourne makes the difference.)
Walking malls that scooters regularly zip down
Large tourist busses getting through small streets


There is one largish supermarket in Myrina and several small ones, and many more micro ones. We now find we can buy most of the things we want in Lemnos, but ten years ago when we began visiting Lemnos this was not so. At that time even breakfast cereals were not available, and I made up my own museli. Now you can buy a good selection of most things, though the Lemnian children are adicted to very sweet cereals. I still have to scan the shelves to find something that does not contain chocolate. But here in Melbourne we miss the thyme honey, and local cheeses, these are things we stock up on as soon as we arrive on the island.

Garden Fresh Vegetables

And the Mediterranean vegetables are very much missed here in Australia! The tomatoes from my garden, sweet and red, cannot be found. Fruit and vegetables are picked too soon and then frozen, shipped to some holding center, and from there all round the country. The big supermarkets are too intent on making fruit and vegetables available all year round, whereas in Lemnos they tend to be more seasonal and the fruit, when in season, is fresh and sweet whether apricots, cherries, strawberries or peaches. There are a few local markets however where you can buy locally grown vegetables. But

Melbourne from Lemnos

The Differences

These immediately hit us as we begin life back in Lemnos again. We have to drive out to buy food and immediately and we usually find that to get the car up and running, and getting the washing machine and all the pumps working takes us a week. Living here requires more attention. It may be simple and slower but there are more things that can go wrong. However though it may be more work to get ajusted it is still exciting. As for thinking about Melbourne it takes about a month or two to settle in before we really begin to miss things about Melbourne.

Road Rules

Takis is used to cars not being driven correctly on the island but he still yells at drivers, swears at ladies who park anyhow in front of the supermarket. I tell him to rememver that many of these folk are still getting used to having a supermarket car park. I think it has become a game for him and each time he drives out he comes back to tell me how many infringements he’s seen. Melbourne traffic is seen as a dream of perfection from Lemnos.


Well, we are from Melbourne the coffee capital of the world! And we have in various places of residance various types of coffee machines. We like Lavazza beans but try out other brands now and then. Takis is a good barister, and our favourite cup is a Café Latte, made with a double shot of expresso. Now on the island everyone is addicted to Nescafe, and what they call a ‘frappe’, cold water, ice and Nescafe wizzed up together. It is a concoction that we look down our noses at, but evidently it hits the spot in hot weather. However the people lining up on our terrace for an expresso at eleven o’clock each morning tells me that they know a good coffee when they get it!

A Greek Cold Frappe
A Melbourne Expresso

Papers, Cinemas and TV

One can buy English German and French papers in summer from one outlet. I choose the Herald Tribune which is the New York Times International. It is a good paper, and even has, in English, a Greek insert call Kathermirini. This gives me some insights into what is going on in Greece as I don’t get too much information from the Greek TV news. That is my fault entirely, as I don’t read or speak Greek. But even Takis finds the Greek news hard to follow, the news readers rattle off the news as fast as a shot gun, or they have long winded discussions with five or six people. There is a local news station, which is a very valuable resource for the islanders, or else information is posted on telephone poles.
So when I get back to Melbourne I lap up the media, loving the local ‘Age’ paper, quickly try to catch up on what is now playing on TV and in the Cinemas.

From the space Between

I’ve made these comments from a ‘space between’, a place and time where I am the observer. And to the degree I'm comparing Lemnos to Melbourne I realise it is not quite fair. I should be comparing Melbourne to Athens, or Myrina to our local Australian village. However the lifestyle from the big cities is to a degree repeated in the smaller towns.

What I have come to realise about moving from home to home is that it is not long before the place where we are currently living soon becomes the base from which I veiw the world!

 Right now I’m once again getting used again to becoming annoyed by Australian politics, but not long ago, in Lemnos, I was more involved with what was going on in Europe, and very pleased to have left all that Australian backbiting gossip behind. 
Summer in Australia

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