Friday, 2 September 2011

The entrancing world of Dodoni, ancient and modern

The world from my window is going round like a giant ferris wheel outside while I sleep.

Every now and then, I wake, excited.

Each time, I see a different set of stars.  Cassiopeia and then a constellation I don't recognise, four stars in a square and then a bright planet. And then I realise it's not a planet, it's the reflection of the air conditioning unit on the glass.

Mr Grigg is still sleeping as the sun rises. There is an orange glow above the skyline. I reach for the camera.

An hour or so later, we are downstairs, dogs barking lazily in the early morning heat and Katerina's mother tizzling up an omelette with ham and feta.

When we arrived at this hotel yesterday, this strange, Barcelona-inspired art hotel in the middle of nowhere, I couldn't quite believe it.

First there was this pink sign:

 And then there was this, which sounded more like an order:

It was entrancing all right:

It sticks out like Gaudi's thumb in an ancient Greek landscape. And I love it.
Besides, they were playing Bits and Pieces by the Average White Band when we walked in through the door.

And as we sat down for dinner, the only ones in the hotel it seemed, Melina Mercouri started singing Never on a Sunday. Things could only get better.
And then, this morning, they do. I can see the ancient ruins of Dodona in the distance.

We wind our way down the hill, past teasels, old man's beard, fig trees, blackberrries, elderberries and avocado, the tinkling bells of a sheep and into the valley below.

We approach the amphitheatre, created by King Pyrrhus in 290 BCE and converted by the Emperor Augustus into a place of gladiatorial combat in 31 BCE.

And then to the sacred oak, the singing ringing tree of ancient Greece, where the voice of Zeus whispered its oracle pronouncements through the rustling leaves.

Just what is it the oracle is saying to me? I come over all romantic. At this point, a Japanese student takes a close-up picture of an oak leaf.

And then sneezes loudly.

I hope it's a good omen.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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