When me and Victoria planned our summer holiday last year we considered going to Santorini, one of the more interesting Greek Islands, having a history peppered with earthquakes and volcanoes and having – as a result – perthaps the most amazing geography in the region.
I would probably have never blogged this were it not for the fact that it chimes in with the fact that my recent reading has been Robert Harris’s pretty-good ‘Pompeii’ and that I’ve got at home, waiting to be viewed, a video of the most recent one of those British Isles: A Natural History programmes, which deals with volcanoes, too – not to mention all the excitement about Mt. St Helens – so I’m naturally interested.
None of which, obviously, is quite as exciting as this, which happens every year in Kefalonia, and prompted me to want very much to go there, too:
“High on the hill top above the resort of Katelios between August 6th and 15th a large number of small harmless snakes have been making their appearance for centuries in the church of Panayia of Langouvarda and in the village of Arginia higher up the slopes of Mount Ainos. The original church of Langouvarda was burned in 1945 and completely destroyed in the earthquakes of 1953. From the night of August 6th ‘telescopus fallax’ known as the cat snake appears in and around the church’s courtyard, walls and bell tower. The inhabitants of the villages consider them to be holy, collecting these harmless creatures and setting them in front of the silver icon of the ‘Virgin of the Snakes’. After the festival on the 15th August these honoured guests leave until the same time next year. Some say it’s a miracle, whilst others believe the wet damp route that runs from the fresh water spring in Arginia down the ravine to Markopoulo is a migratory path. Locals consider their presence as a good omen for the coming year. During the German occupation in the second world war and the earthquake of 1953 the snakes failed to appear.”
Elsewhere in the hot world, Anne-So and Sam are diving in Egypt at the moment, and it seems that yesterday’s atrocities occurred quite near to where they’re staying. Don’t be blown up, AS and Sam!