The fifth of Christian Peter’s walks. I hope that you are enjoying this; the scenery is stunning.
a. The longest hike on the Cycladic island of Armogos is also the most beautiful. The old connection between the main island villages of Chora in the Island centre and Aigiáli in the North is a one day walk on old, partly paved paths with fantastic bird eye views upon the whole island. Along the way lies the monastery of Chozoviótissa which is among the most important monasteries of the Aegean Sea.
The English Guidebook to Greece used to describe Chora (Xora) as “noisome.” When I first arrived in Chora in 1961, I was 21 and had just gotten my Masters Degree in English
and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. I was also working towards a
degree in alcoholism, but didn’t know it yet. William Kittredge, an Ohio gentleman
farmer with a PhD in archeology had recently helped fund Carl Blegen’s continuing efforts to excavate Nestor’s Palace above the sandy shores of ancient Pylos. Mr. Kittredge, learning of my interest in Ancient Greece secured me an invitation to the
excavation site as an observer. Digging with Blegen was the next best thing to digging with Schliemann. I was overjoyed. The very first day I was at the site, Mr. Blegen instructed a Greek worker to sweep away the dust in what appeared to be a non-descript patch of ground, lying just outside the limits of the palace floor, which had already been uncovered. I was standing at the worker’s side when one of his swipes with his rather dainty brush uncovered what was later to be referred to as “Clytemnestra’s diadem.”
Seizing the opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry, I invited all the archaeologists
and scholars at the dig to a celebratory dinner that night at a most humble tavern in Chora. The entire town seemed to have taken part in the preparation of a magnificent feast of fish and lamb and octopus and endless amounts of Fix beer, retsina, and ouzo.
Bouzouki music filled the air. I am guessing that we numbered 12 and I do remember
that the check came to about $30.00 US. When I offered a tip, it was politely refused.
When June arrived and the heat became too intense to work the dig, I walked back into
Xora and with handshakes and hugs, and not a few cold Fixs, bid farewell to the people of Chora,who had helped us celebrate the uncovering of Clytemnestra’s diadem.