Goodbye Aegina, you have been good to us

Tomorrow we’re packing up and saying goodbye to our island home. We’ll be on the move for the next week – heading to Athens, then catching a train to visit Meteora, several buses to Corfu, and a ferry to Albania – so I’m not sure when my next post will be…or where I’ll be.

I am so grateful for the month we’ve had on the island. I feel like I’ve finally recuperated from the stress of my PhD – and it has been so inspiring. When we haven’t been exploring I’ve been writing, writing, writing.

I know I’ve said this before but during our time here I finished writing the novel I’d been working on for the last 12 months. A big achievement – and I felt good about the work – like it was the best thing I’d written so I decided to start querying literary agents about representation…then realised my novel is rather, no VERY, long for the genre. As a consequence, and to give my novel the best chance of succeeding I’ve had to be ruthless. I’ve tightened and rewritten scenes – and managed to cut 4,000 words, which felt like it was a lot harder to do than writing 4,000 words! I’ve still got several chapters to edit and hope to cut another 4,000 words by the time I finish.

I’ve also started writing novel number 2 as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and as of day 5 I’m on track to write 50,000 words by the end of November (averaging 1,667 words per day). Happy days if I do! Though I’d never share the draft I produce during NaNoWriMo with anyone. It’s too messy! There'll be serious editing and redrafting to do in the following months…

Now for the sights. Two days ago we set off on our biggest walk to date, which was to visit the Cathedral and Monastery of Saint Nektarios and the ruins of the medieval village of Paleachora. Paleachora was the capital of the island between the 9th and 19th centuries AD. All that’s left of the village are its churches (33! We visited 16) built high on the hillside – the village had magnificent views! The churches are in varying states of repair as you’ll see from my photos. They were fascinating – and if you’re interested in reading about them and the history of the site I recommend reading this.

After stopping for a rest at a lovely leafy restaurant where we ordered “spicy cheese salad” which turned out to be a feta dip with bread and “pie of the day” which was more like a spinach and feta pastry (I’m enjoying the disparity of what we think we’re ordering to what we're served) we decided to follow the coast and take a different route home. It was a great way to see more of the island but after so many hills and so many kilometres my feet began to throb and the sun began to set. Thank goodness for twilight, because my phone was running out of battery and we had no torch. We arrived home approximately 7 hours later, after 20km and 128 flights climbed (according to my phone). Not a bad effort.

Twilight and we were still walking!