Icons and Coconut Monkeys in Tinos

Tinos is the Lourdes of Greece and is apparently (I say apparently as I have never visited on these dates) full to overflowing with pilgrims on the 25th March (Annunciation) and 15th August (Feast of the Assumption). Ferries around these dates will be full (how many would-be pilgrims will not manage to reach Tinos in these days of computer ticketing, I wonder?) and non-pilgrims would be well advised not to travel around those dates.

Tinos town is distinguished from other island towns by the character of the road leading up to the church of Panagia Evangelistra. The shops lining the street displayed goods (both in the windows and on stalls outside) of a strange mixture of piety and seaside jollity, religious artefacts jostling for position with trinkets of secular vulgarity, rather like Blackpool crossed with Lourdes. When I was there, there were far more stall holders than visitors. On sale were a motley collection of items such as icons, water bottles, pink wrapped candles, coconut monkeys and seaside type windmills on sticks - and all side by side on the same stalls. One shop had I found a pile of pomegranates nestling along this mix of items. I bought some and they were delicious; later I wondered if they were religious pomegranates intended for some obscure religious rite. My notes mention apotropaic garlic, garlic that was reputed to avert evil or bad luck; I cannot now remember why I noted this, but think it must have been on sale in the trinket shops.