After many attempts I have finally found a way from the main street, Georgiou Theotoki, to my flat in Prosforou. The old Venetian town is a maze of alleyways and narrow slits between buildings so the first few attempts involved going round in circles and asking directions. Even last night, coming back on my own from seeing the others off from the bus station, as they headed back to Athens, I had to ask the way to the Venetian Well or the well of Kremasti as it says on the map. It was dark and the yellow marble flagstones were soaked with rain and reflected every pale light that fell from the little lamps set into the walls.
It was an unforgettable experience, padding through the dimly lit alleys, the gleaming paving stones wet and golden and shot through with veins of murky sienna. Each occasional passer by a black silhouette, a shadow sliding out of a wall and silently vanishing round a corner. The only point of hesitation was after the steps leading up from the well, into another small square with a wall opposite and a doorway set in it. The tiny street on the left is so narrow that it's almost invisible until you are a few paces away. It also looks like a dead end, as the last building juts out, blocking any view. But as I went along last night, a thin strip of darkness appeared and at the end, I came out suddenly into the square, with the unmistakable palm tree in the centre.
During the day this strip turns into a gap, a sliver of something beyond the yellow house wall. It's so slight it could easily be dismissed as an illusion, a reflection. Only when you've almost reached the end does it expand into something as definite as a way through. And then you come out into the square, with the thick bole of the palm tree and its dark green spray of spiny branches and it feels like coming home.
The flat has two rooms, kitchen and bathroom off the hallway. The owner brought beds and a table and chair yesterday. Last night I unpacked and made up one of the beds, with the newly bought duvet and sheets. Stood out on the balcony and there was Orion just above the square, with Sirius and a few other companions circling him. It struck me as extraordinary that in a different landscape, and quite another city, edged with the green water of quite another sea, the same stars are visible, the same stars in a tiny patch of sky above the rooftops. And they are closer, or so it seems to me.