Thursday, 15 August 2019

Lets have a holiday ...

Today August 15th, is a public holiday in Greece ...

The sun is up with a orange sunrise, a smoky hazy look to the south, and some dark clouds hugging the hills. Its a bit breezy again this morning.

Greeks all over the country will celebrate one of Christianity’s most significant days, the Dormition of Virgin Mary. Some call this day “the summer easter” to show the importance of the celebration, and many thousands of people attend religious services throughout the country ...

Here on Skiathos, there was a procession around the Monastery at Evagelistrias last night, and the church bells rang out this morning across the island.




Not only is today the 'Ascension of the Virgin Mary' Its also the name day of all the Maria's - See Xρόνια πολλά!

Waiters will be at optimum stress levels, coffee shops and tavernas packed to the rafters today. Its the peak of the summer season. The last few days will have either made or will break the summer.

To the local this is it, 'summer is nearly over' the ferries should be full, as the mainlanders arrive to make a long weekend of it, before departing on Sunday. However to you, and me there are still seven weeks left, and some sense of normality still to return ...

However, even though its a bank holiday, the police will be out and about, issuing parking fines on the port, where apparently walking is still permitted.

Try not to get in trouble with your car, make sure you wear the crash helmet, on the scooter bike or lawnmower. They can confiscate your driving licence, You will get it back in person, at the Greek Embassy in your home country in 60 days time ...

Χρόνια πολλά:

To Greek friends and acquaintances who are celebrating their name day today ...

Despoina, Deppy, Pipina, Despo, Pepi, Zepo, Elona, Theotokia, Theotokea, Kristalo, Kristalia, Crystal, Krysta, Krista, Maria (for married women), Mary, Maro, Marios, Mario, Mariori, Marika, Maroula, Maritsa, Margiori, Marigoula, Manio, Marietta, Marousa, Marsia, Marcy, Marietta, Margeta, Margetina, Mireille, Mirella, Myrella, Panayotis, Panagiotis, Panos, Panousos, Panagis, Panagos, Giotis, Yiotis, Panikos, Takis, Panagiota, Panayota, Yiota, Giota, Panagioula, Panagoula, Pani, Tota, Toula, Pegie, Pegy, Presvia, Simela, Symela, Soymela, Soumela, Gesthimani, Iesthimani, Gethsimani, Mariniki, Katholiki

Previous Blog: Fires on Evia ...

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Fires on Evia ...

There are forest fires over on Evia ...

Evia is the island in the distance, opposite the popular beaches on the bus route

From Skiathos what appears to be a long cloud over the island, is the smoke cloud from the fires. The strong northerly breezes are sending the smoke as far away as Athens ...



Greek authorities have ordered the evacuation of three villages in central Evia for precautionary reasons due to the wildfire that is raging on the island, which has burned forestland since early on Tuesday.

As well as trying to extinguish the flames, the 227 firefighters along with 75 fire engines, six aircraft, six helicopters, two units of the army, volunteers and ten water-dispensing vehicles, are also battling strong winds.

Later update:

The wind changed direction and the fires have reignited and are visible from Koukounaries ...

Photo: Ghetto

Tonight is the start of the celebrations, for the public holiday tomorrow. The name day of Maria, the second most popular celebration after Easter.
Procession at the Evagelistria monastery, tonight followed by a big party tomorrow as the Maria's let their hair down ...

Previous Blog: Important message ...

Monday, 12 August 2019

Important message ...

For info ...

Many people with Greek phone numbers received this SMS yesterday from the Greek General Secretariat for Civil Protection ...



In order to avoid actions that may cause a fire in the open air. Because of the extreme danger of fire. As these days are hot and windy. Take care everyone.

There is a strong breeze this morning, Meltemi time of year, probably not a Lalaria day if you fancy a boat trip.

We went up to the Platanias valley last night. We had a lovely meal at Skiathos Calma. Never been there before, so well worth the trip. A warm welcome from the famous Maria, and lovely staff. Turns out Niko knows me from town, had a great time putting the jigsaw together.

Afterward, we went for a paddle and some stargazing at Asselinos. Where the warm water was very enticing, for an after-dark swim.

A great children's party ongoing in the taverna, so a bit too much light, and high cloud above, to see the stars as clearly as usual. However great background music from the Greek dancing ...

No shooting stars tonight either, but laying on the sand, watching the stars, as we whizz round on our globe, gets you thinking ...

We could see Saturn, to the Southwest, and the moon slap bang in the middle of Sagittarius. Which probably means I need to go to the bakery ...

Previous blog: Hot Hot Hot ...



Sunday, 11 August 2019

Hot Hot Hot ...

That's not just the weather forecast either ...

Its peak week of the season, the Greek August public holiday week, the week when every bike, car, Jimny, and lawnmower/quad should be out on the road. So far the traffic jams seem to follow the bus as it winds its way along the island, in each direction.

It's getting hot under the collar, as waiters struggle both with the heat and the covers at the tables. Yesterday even Syraino struggled with getting the coffee out. A 30-minute delay for my Gallico, but he tried hard to make up time.

I promised to bombard Dimitri with aircraft photos, as punishment ...

The forecast is hot - No very hot, with temperatures in Greece up to 40 degrees, as the heatwave takes effect. This morning its a pink sunrise with a gentle medium-strength hairdryer, effect from the breeze.

Yesterday was hot, to say the least, for me, it was a three shirt day. That's three soaking wet shirts into the washing machine, and around three litres of water into the body, and steaming out of the pores, shortly afterwards ...


32.8 degrees yesterday in town, at 5pm so no wonder you may have needed a beer, It has been warmer than that, but the record may well be broken this week.

So a very warm day to have a wedding, congratulations to friends of the blog, Jacquline and Jeff. Who celebrated their wedding yesterday in town. I hope Yannis and the horse, took on as much water as I did, on what was a very warm Saturday afternoon. Enjoy a happy life together ...

Last night SWMBO served up the Ioannis 'line caught' Kalimari, and have to say it was delicious. So was the bottle of wine it went down with - well I was needing rehydration ...

Last night Hazel asked - What the best way to get rid of a Praying Mantis from your room?  I suggested telling it you are not Orthodox, and it will politely leave immediately ...

Meet Gordon the Gecko, resident and neighbour, doing his rounds last night. Junior politely requesting that we respect his/her space ...


So time for my second coffee of the day, thank you for reading - From a scorching green island in the aegean - Καλημέρα από το βράχο ...

Later update for subu57 ...


SWMBO has just scoffed the first fresh (Purple) figs of 2019 ...

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High Fire Risk Alert

👨 🚒🚨 Great attention for today Sunday 11 and tomorrow Monday 12 August in our area (North Sporades) because the risk indicator is very high Category 4 so we want the maximum attention of all!!!

👉 Reminder there is a ban on any activity that could cause sparks near a forest area... still due to the very high risk of entering forest areas in the evening visitors. (outside the inhabitants of these areas) 🌳🚒🚨🚧 the measures to stop the movement of vehicles and residence in forest areas of the island (Forest of koukounariōn, mandraki, ankistros, hidden, small aselinos, lygaries and kechria) as well as "Eupatheí" Points. Mostly from 22:00-06:00 🚧🚨🚒

👉 Volunteers who want to cover points for Sunday and Monday night to join 6982593516 mainly in the evening hours from 21:00 to 2:00 and 5:00 to 7:00 in the morning.

👉 If you notice smoke the fire notify the fire department 📞 on 199 or at 📞 2427021199 (Skiathou Fire)

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Previous Blog: Let's go fishing ...

Friday, 9 August 2019

Lets go fishing ...

Well, why not? ...

I have lost count of the 'Greek Promises' over the years, one mate even has made a living out of it at €60 a go. As much as we like each other, I am not paying for the privilege of his company.

So we are on the beach, having a chat. Fishing comes up, yes I say when? Then they go for a swim, and Yannis says to me about ten Greek minutes later - 9pm

9 μ.μ. Πότε? 
Απόψε
Αλήθεια?
Καλαμάρια ...

9pm When?
Tonight
Really?
Squid ...

I nearly fell off my beach towel with shock - luckily it was on the sand ...

9 μ.μ. από τον Τζωρτζ
9 pm by George (The church by the lake)

It's a warm night, there is a half-moon, and who needs an excuse to stay out with friends until 2am ...

Panos was there, asked me where I was going? Who with? What was I after?
I parried the questions with a straight bat, and just in time, Yannis arrived with his cousin to rescue me.

So a few minutes later we are whizzing across the harbour into the night ...



We end up in deep water about 500m off Tsougria island, with other twinkling boat lights and voices carried across the water, from the Skiathos ' let's get some squid private boat fleet' ...

Hand lines over the side, lures attached, into the deep ...

Then it happened ...

Less than 10m away, a dolphin jumped clear of the water, landing with a splash of water, that rocked us standing with the hand lines. We were not alone within minutes the dolphins were all around us, the noise they make breaking surface, blowing water and with a gasp, inhaling before diving.

We were all fishing for the same supper, they more successful than us ...

In the middle of this action, up came my first squid for the freezer, followed by another as the dolphins circled doing their thing, illuminated by our torches ...


We moved location four times, the last drift not achieving any result. However part of the Volos fishing fleet passed by nearby, around 1am ...


Then off into the moonlit night ...


I am the world's worst fisherman, when I got to five, Yannis offered me a beer. I said you trying to put me off? It certainly did the trick,  as they started reeling them in by hand - one after another ...

But not a bad total - 10 for me ...


It was a beautiful night, passing ships to the south. The twinkling lights from Glossa and Loutraki on Skopelos. Red and Green navigation lights passing by in the dark. Mast head-lights from the yachts moored off Tsougria.

The moonlight shadows on the water, the stars, and constellations all clearly visible overhead ...


All too soon heading back to shore, back 'on the rock' once again ...

Latest score from the fly swat:

(Friday) Skiathian 6 - Wasps 0 ...

Previous Blog: Power Cuts etc ...

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Power Cuts etc ...

Power cuts are scheduled this morning 7th August from 09:00-11:00am ...

KOUKOUNARIES - HOTEL «SKIATHOS PALACE» - MARATHA - TROULOS - CHRYSOVELONI - POROS - AG. - KOLIOS - VROMOLIMNOS - KALAMAKI - KANAPITSA - ACHLADIES - LARGE SAND - FTELIA - HOTEL «LA PISCINE» - ROUTE EVANGELISTRIAS - KOTRONIONI - ROUTE PAPADIAMANTI - MESOGIA

Sea Cloud:

Returned to Skiathos yesterday and was moored offshore again.

Having been under full sail between Skopelos and Skiathos, and looking very impressive for most of the morning. Probably switched on the engines to get here for a late lunch ...

Weather:

Now the stormy weather has passed its relatively clear weather again, and a probable return to heat. Its quite clear across to Evia, so hopefully not too humid today, now the sun has dried the island out again ...

Friends:

Departed yesterday after a great time in Koukounaries and leading us astray. A great Greek night, followed by an early farewell meeting at the airport, So a slow scan of the back of the eyelids was in order yesterday afternoon ...

Latest score from the fly swat:

(Tuesday) Skiathian 4 - Wasps 0

Previous Blog: Windy Sunday ...

Monday, 5 August 2019

Windy Sunday ...

Someone turned the wind machine on at 5am ...

It certainly blew quite a bit, it trashed one of my tomato plants, and sent the tomatoes flying everywhere. Shame as it was a good cropper that one. Now I have to find a box and a ripening banana to get them ripe or its 'chutney time' here 'on the rock' ...

The wind machine made sure yesterday, was not a 'Lalaria day' as the boats stayed in port. Today seems to have a look of unsettledness about it too. Dirty dark clouds and early signs of boiling cumulonimbus clouds to the south.

Talking of clouds Sea Cloud was here yesterday ...


and slipped away early to Skopelos.

Where SWMBO & Junior were, with friends on Saturday. They have tried both the Mama Mia trips and now know for sure, which one is the best. If they did not know already ...

After the windstorm, it was a swim in a rather chilly Koukounaries sea, and a wander around the town last night.




One of our friends wanted a Chicken burger, so was given a 'Greek version' from their choice of establishment, as my suggestion of where to go was overruled - You try to guide but ...

It was ***** and whatever it was made of, did not taste or smell of chicken. Even the resident feral moggies turned their nose up at it. You can't help some people ...

Ice cream cheered up the teenager, they seemed happy with Juniors choice of establishment ...

So pleased with our earlier decision, when we were down the island, where we sat under the pine tree. Great Gyros and Soutzoukakia after the beach ...

Good to see PapaD busy last night, well it was Sunday.

Fraport have said the airport is 17% down on this time last year - 7000 passengers ...

Windy Sunday, has become wet and wild Monday. It's Raining, no it is actually tipping down, a real squall horizontal rain and wind. Thats cleaned the dust off the streets ...

Checks calendar 'Its not September' but it certainly looks, and feels like it as a crack of thunder, rattles the windows from Skopelos ...

Previous Blog: Happy Saturday ...

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Happy Saturday ...

So I am going to enjoy it ...

Home alone today, after a crazy few days, so I am going to take some time out, and have some fun with the camera.

Will be updating during the day, so if you want to keep up with the rolling blog, then pop back later for an update ...

Sunrise ...


Morning glory ...

                         



10am: Departure to all destinations ...



10:10am: Ignore the sign, and its ticket time ...



Two blasts of the whistle, and out with the paperwork. 

"I thought I was parking in a clearly marked bay on the harbour" ...

In the bakery:


This young lady always, has a smile for her customers ...

Manolis for fruit and vegetables 



Lunch at Kalo Pigadi looks good ...


But I have never been there - Yet ...

Or this place, which looks well worth a visit


Might have to wait, for the tsipouro connoisseur's to do a tour.

Off for a swim, back later ...


Almost healthy ...


Two parts of the five a day, that's OK right ...


What a very warm day it has been and ended rather breezy, A southerly wind so rather like a hair dryer, no need for one in your room ...

Tomorrow (Sunday) we have a visitor. Sea Cloud will be moored offshore from 08:30am onwards, and visitors will be taken ashore by tender to the old harbour. It is expected to stay until at least midnight, so will look good, lit up after dark ...


Thursday, 1 August 2019

Καλημέρα, και καλό μήνα ...

Good Morning, and Good Month to our Greek friends ...

... and all those who read the blog, from across the world.

Happy August, the quintessential month of Greek summer!

Crazy August is the 'nose to tail' month ...

A queue of Jimnys snaking its way down the island as everyone is stuck behind Bert and Doris trundling their way west on a quad. Doris pointing left and right at her favourite landmarks, confusing those behind who think they are indicating. Bert twitching left and right, as he takes a look at where back seat Doris is pointing to.

Like a very slow formula one car trying to keep the tyres warm, behind the safety car with screaming transmission. Only grinding to a halt when they catch up with the bus, but don't dare overtake ...

We say 'Crazy August' has arrived, the month of heat and short tempers is finally upon us. As the heat rises both at home and on the island, you can tell the ones online, who have had their Skiathos fix for the year, and those that have not.

Where is the best Mousakka in town? and get 27 variants from across the island which are no help at all, and some recommendations from previous years ...

Dont mention the Mossies or wasps, and the best cure to avoid them (Come in May) ...

Its the last few weeks to fill the bank account, for the long winter ahead. So normally we don't expect any island bargains until the sales start in another months time.

But this year it may be a little different ...

The island is not full, there is spare capacity and apparently, it's only 70% full - not taking into account 'tour operators empty beds' Take a look at the boats on the harbour and the vacant spaces. The car places have vehicles of every type available to hire ...

Plenty of room in cocktail central last night, for the discerning customer looking for a drink with friends in 'Happy Hour' ...


Plenty of Jet 1 on the island, more arrived last night. 


So no excuse for airlines, leaving another set of suitcases behind yesterday, some passengers still awaiting theirs from last Friday ...

Parking tickets:

It happens every year, but the result is always the same ...

There are no parking bays on the harbour, except for coaches and taxis. There is a clearway sign, and the port police issue the tickets after blowing the whistle when a ferry arrives.

In town, suggest you only park behind the Akyon/Liminaria restaurant in town or Acropolis at Bus stop 4.

Quads - They like to abandon them by the yachts, and everyone driving one follows suit. The Port police cant write the tickets quick enough, as we have a late evening ferry ...

Or take the bus, and get up close and personal with a friend covered in 'Skin so soft' or reeking of deet ...

Previous Blog: Another day ...

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Another day ...

Another visit to the vegetable garden ...

Which is starting to crop nicely



However, in town, the talk is of crisis - Where are the people? Crazy August is just a few days away, and the port has spaces to moor your boat, Car places have bikes, cars and lawnmowers (Quads) to rent.

Even kids availability ...
The clubs are open, BBC, Pure, The party boat is available. Yet it seems the Greek tourist is going elsewhere this year.

Judging by the way the aircraft are pulling up quickly on the runway when they land, then they are not full either - With or without your luggage on board.

The new water taxi is starting operations from the old port, to the small harbour at Koukounaries located below the Skiathos Palace hotel. Bus stops 22/23 ...

Timetable for the Kiriakoulis seaways Ninemia click here

It will operate in the evenings with a planned journey time of just 15 minutes ...

Previous Blog: The quick squeeze ...