Thursday, July 28, 2011


In Meteora, I stayed in the village of Kastraki. It has a clock tower. Some clocks play a simple melody on the quarter hour, but at 6.15pm, as I sat for an early dinner, the church bell rung just once.  So at 6.30pm I expected the same. Instead, it rang for perhaps three full minutes with no melody (there is only one bell, harsh and sharp sounding) and with no discernible rhythm. It was what you'd expect to hear if you let loose in the bell tower a toddler with Herculean arms and a steel mallet. It was fast, loud, long and very annoying, and yet when I looked around at the locals whiling away the evening in the outside dining area, nobody batted an eye. This must be the demented half-hour chime of the Kastraki clock. At 6.45pm it does nothing at all, and at 7pm it simply tolls seven times.

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