Monday, May 08, 2006

Hypothetical Holiday

I must admit I am quite enjoying this "would have been" trip to the north-west of Greece! The trouble is I find my mind is wandering up and down the streets of Ioannina when it should be concentrating on translating or teaching. The more I think about it though and the more I look at people's photos I find things coming back to me; little memories of the smells of coffee and mothballs; walking along the main street and the uneveness of the pavements or the light on an Autumn afternoon down by the lake.

When I lived in Ioannina in the 70s it was not at all typically Greek. Ioannna was not liberated from the Ottoman Empire until 1913, almost a century after the Turks were driven out of the rest of Greece, and there were still many reminders of the 450-year occupation.
This is Ali Pasha's palace overlooking the lake.

Now that just does not look Greek!

If you went in a kapheneion in those days you ordered a tourkiko - one of those little doll's house coffees with all the powder still inside the cup. During the time I was in Ioannina the name of the coffee was made politically correct in gradual stages. First the name was changed to byzantino - i.e. a Byzantine coffee and by the end of my second year there you could only get an elliniko - a Greek coffee. The drink was exactly the same of course!

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