Our Two Villages : Compared
|A crowd in Emerald watching an Anzac day celebration|
|A crowd in Myrina watching an annual Lemnos celebration|
As we yearly fly from one hemisphere to another we leave
in autumn and arrive on the island in their spring, and when we leave behind
our house on the island we again go in autumn to arrive back in in November, in
their late spring. OK, we do have two summers but, unlike most travelers, we are
not tourists and we return to our house for a number of months and so we have
come to feel ‘at home’ in both places. Melbourne
What I think has happened for both of us, my husband a Greek-Australian, and me an Anglo-Australian, is that we have come to love ‘village life’, as it occurs in both countries. It is not the same, but it is the same. When thinking about our two homes I can see the ‘big’ stuff, like hemisphere, geography, weather, and vegetation differ, but the ‘people’ stuff of village is often remarkably similar,
Having let our unit in
we have now settled into a house in a village not far from this city. It is in
the Melbourne and one hour’s drive from each of
our children living in that city. The Dandenong Ranges Dandenong Ranges
are a set of low mountain ranges, rising to 633 metres at .
Myrina is the main town on the
. To locals it
is the capital, but for us it is another village. Myrina is on the island
of Lemnos , Northern Aegean, Greece. It is
located in the middle of the island's west coast. The town is also the capital
of Lemnos, as well as the seat of the Metropolitan (Greek Orthodox bishop) of island of Lemnos Lemnos.
Of course there are dissimilarities that appeal to us, adding to the romance of the switch. One is in the Southern hemisphere, lies on a range of high hills with forests of huge trees, and has wet winters and mild summers. The other, in the Northern hemisphere is on a low Aegean island with many beaches and few trees. It has cold windy winters and hot dry summers,
Similarities and Dissimilarities
Perhaps the biggest difference that we’ve had to get used to is the daily schedule.
In Emerald the general opening times of shops and businesses is 8, 5 five days a week (plus one hour for lunch)
In Myrina the general opening of shops and business is 9-10 and stopping at I for a long lunch siesta, and opening again at 5 until 8 five days a week. But there are also a lot of exceptions, to cater for holy days, summer tourists, and strikes.
|The is the main church, but all the churches are Greek Orthodox|
|In Emerald there are a number of churches of different denominations. This is St. Marks|
|Emerald Lake Park|
|Androni Park, Myrina|
In fact the similarities to Emerald are quite distinctive. And as we live on the outskirts of both villages we do have many of the same living conditions and these similarities do help to make us feel ‘at home’ in each place.
This is somewhat similar in that both have main and subsidiary smaller villages that tend to often use their facilities.
Emerald There are 6,813 residents in the town and about 5.000 more when you include nearby small villages such as Menzies Creek, Kallista and Clematis
Myrina There are 5,107 resident in the town and about 3,000 more in the municipal unit which includes nearby villages of Kaspaskas, Platy, Thanos and Kornos,
The first Post Office opened in the town on 22nd December 1899, possibly about 50 years after mail was being sent out to the Greek islands
Hellenic Post was founded in 1828 along with the Modern Greek State. In 1834 an agreement with French banker Feraldi ensure mail service to and from the islands, and in 1836 placed the first wagons for transporting mail between
Athens and the port of Piraeus
|The Agora or Market Street Myrina|
|The monthly Emerald Market|
EmeraldThe Woolworth's supermarket has not been long in Emerald, and there is one more supermarket, IGA, plus several other small stores that sell grocery items.
Similarly in the last few years a large supermarket was established, which is now in the process of being enlarged. There are two smaller grocery shops and several very small markets in various suburbs.
Another similarity is that both are tourist centers. Emerald draws many people all year round to its monthly market, and for rides on it old steam engine called Puffing Billy. Plus folk like to drive or cycle up into the ranges through the forest, and then stop off at Emerald for coffee. In Myrina the tourist are limited to the two summer months when folk come to the island for its beach life.
Both villages have about 4 café restaurants open all year. In addition Myrina has many tavernas that open for those summer tourist months.
|Sitting out in an cafe in Emerald|
|A cafe in Myrina|
And there are other similarities as far as we are concerned; in both villages we don’t have sewage to our houses. And in both places we are very aware of the need to conserve water. In Myrina we have a well that helps and in Emerald we have a very large water storage tank.
Of course, the subject I have yet to sort out is when does a village become a town?