Friday, 29 April 2016

There she blows ...

Its our new 'chuggy chuggy' ferry ...

The 'Myrtidiotissa' which has been laid up, after service for Nel Lines, and many other companies. Arriving today - Megali Pareskevi,  after having the barnacles removed, and a fresh coat of paint in dry dock..



The 102m former Aqua Maria, will ply the route for Aqua Maria Shipping - between Agios Konstantinos and the islands, and did have a suggested start-date of April 20 ...

Nine days late already then :)

Better late than never ...

Holy Friday – Megali Pareskevi ...

The mourning bell will ring ...

It reminds us of the special meaning of the day, shops and businesses normaly close from midday.

Tries Hieraches church will be very busy as smartly dressed locals, visit to view the decorated Epitaphos, which has been prepared for tonight's candle lit procession.

The coffee shops, and bars will be full, and the tavernas will be serving just fish and shellfish dishes. Ouzo Tsipouro and coffee, are the drinks of the day.

In Skiathos they follow the old tradition, and its magic to be here with your neighbours, walking the town tonight, in a candlelit procession shortly after 4am ....

The ladies of the Panagia Limania church, decorating the Epitafeios this morning ...

Photos shared by kind permission of Dimitris Anthopoulos



The epitafeios from Panagia Limania is ready to leave the church tonight ...

Photo shared by kind permission of  Giannoula Kokoliou




The airport is busy again ...

Summer 2016 season started today

At 08:59am (Local) the 1st charter jet, of the summer arrived on Skiathos ...



Arkefly (TUI) OR287 /TFL287 from Amsterdam

Boeing 737-8K5

Καλό καλοκαίρι ...

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Little Miss Sunshine ...

Today is a very special day ...

It is juniors birthday, a date that has been on countdown for months. Like any proud father, I have been looking back, over photos to seven years ago today, when our lives changed forever ...

I was sitting in my scrubs, all alone outside the operating theatre. It was a very lonely hour indeed and a cold coridoor ...

I was eventually called in to see the birth, by Emergency caesearian. After a 29 hour labour, and a night supporting in a birth pool. 

I held SWMBO's hand and there was the cry, as Junior was born at 10:27am. Sadly it was me she saw when she opened her eyes for the very first time, and not her mother who went through so much. 

Our lives changed forever at that moment in time, and have been all the better for it, from that day to this ...

One day we were on Kolios beach, at the blue and white taverna - Just enjoying life, and the joy that a baby brings to it. Yvonne Ayoub was taking photos, one of which later became this  ...

Little Miss Sunshine


Something else we also treasure from that day to this ...

Happy Birthday -  Wszystkiego najlepszego -  Χρόνια πολλά


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

#Manflu (update) ...

It started on Friday night ...

It's been attacking in waves, every day since. Last night SWMBO said, 'you look rough' I took this as a compliment ...

I looked in the mirror, and to be honest I thought 'She's right' ...

The haggard, three day unshaven grey face, with watery red eyes looking back at me. Even with the first colour of summer, is pale and drawn.

Home made Tomato soup, burns the throat and chest, and I cannot taste it at all.

The shivers return around 8pm, I can't keep warm. I pack junior off to bed, and dive under my duvet. It's around an hour before I feel warm.

Then the sweats, and the coughing start. I catnap, twist and turn and aching arms and legs with electronic shocks.

It seems I have a musical chest ...

Here's to a better day ahead ...

Monday, 25 April 2016

Μεγάλη Δευτέρα - Holy Monday ...

Its Holy week in Greece, and today is Big Monday ...

Its the start of the build up to Pascha, this weekend - Greek Easter. Many of the locals who are fasting will now will follow a strict diet. Even those who have not followed the fasting period, will now follow some kind of observance ,,,

Holy Week, is a special time of fasting. Like the first week, a strict fast is kept. Some Orthodox Christians try to keep a total fast on Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday. Most eat a simple Lenten meal at the end of each day before going to the evening Church services.

On Holy Thursday, wine is allowed in remembrance of the Last Supper. Holy Friday is kept as a strict fast day, as is Holy Saturday . Holy Saturday is the only Saturday in the entire year when oil is not permitted.

Holy Monday came in with a bang -  An earth tremor at 00:30 shook the island with 3,2 r 17 km West-Southwest of skiathos. Because of the focal depth of 5 km of the vibration it was felt for a very short time.

In my case its another fasting day with #Manflu ...

Sunday, 24 April 2016

#Manflu ...

When I heard the cough, I changed seats I moved away ...

Three days later, I am shaking like a leaf, sweating profusely and confined to bed. Not the kind of bug to have when SWMBO is on chemotherapy ...

I came back from the shops, chilled to the bone, and uttered the words SWMBO knows mean trouble ahead - Get the brandy bottle ...

So I will be giving the Marathon a wide berth today. Now approaching 24 bedridden hours shaking like a leaf with #manflu

Later, looking at the lemon and honey drink, Junior is dispensing. It reminded me of the Limoncello, which is brewing away now in week two. Limoncello & Honey ???

In the message box, a communication from Vicky and Chris from Skiathos, with an update on their version of  'brew Limoncello with me' ...


Three jars on the go - well they do have access to exceedingly fine lemons.

The lemon on R/H side looks like it may have shaved it a bit hard. You do not want the pith - white in the mix if you can help it. Then shake the life out of them babies (daily) at least for one week. Exercise with good intent ...

But looking very good - Anyone else with home brew to share ?


Thursday, 21 April 2016

The flame is lit ...

Its on its way to Rio ...


Katerina Lehou, an actress playing a high priestess, lit a torch from the rays of the sun at the temple of Hera, using a parabolic mirror, to set off a domestic relay.

At about the same time, the captain of the ANES Proteus, did something similar to light the boilers of our island chuggy ferry, and start services to the islands for summer 2016 ...



Lets hope neither flame gets extinguished, before reaching its final destination ...

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Pasca Gang ...

They are all packing their bags ...

Eagerly making plans in readiness for their arrival next week. The wires are buzzing this morning, as one of our friends needs some supplies. I have been acting as facilitator and now eager watcher from the wings.

The gang are very generously going to be uplifting goods, to friends in need, on their annual Pasca run to the rock ...

Looks like the lucky recipients, will have to restock cupboards, next week. As well as make a lot of tea, to go with them famous cakes :)

Limoncello Update ...



After five days. It has a distinct golden hue and a heady scent of lemon on the nose ...

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Swallows and amazons...

That's what is like out of season ...

You make your way up from Athens or down from Thessaloniki. Its an adventure, you see new places and meet new people on the way.

The X93 airport bus prices have gone up ...


The road up from Athens at this time of the year, is quiet, the view from the bus has amazing colours, towards Evia across the water. The villages covered in fresh spring flowers as life goes on as normal.

Through the countryside you see dereliction of once prosperous businesses, projects seemingly abandoned - One being the high speed railway line, bridges and viaducts built lines laid then petering out in a field by the motorway with piles of concrete sleepers disappearing into new grown foliage ...

Its a good run, and we stop at Aghios Konstantinos, for a break. Arriving in Volos a very swift four hours fifteen minutes after leaving Athens.

I always plan to stop overnight in Volos, regardless of the time of arrival - unless there is a convenient departure for the islands ...

I rest at the Hotel Electra, where its quiet and they do a great breakfast. I called them from the bus on the way up from Athens. Panos answered the phone, and took the details, and did not seem surprised with a 'see you in two hours' from Ioannis apo Skiatho ...

We arrived, and I think he remembered me. Swiftly accommodated, then he very kindly assisted me, with the usual travelers problems. Nothing ever too much of a problem, and a great help.

Maria looked after us once again at breakfast, the following morning, with a warm smile as usual. Greek Yoghurt and peaches for me, Account paid and off to the port for the ferry. Lovely friendly hosts, and a quiet comfortable hotel - What more can you ask for.

However in the evening, I refuel at To Paragadi. Its my 'Tsipouro Ouzeri Mezedopolio' place of choice when in Volos ...

Its become a firm favourite, since being led astray there one night by 'Adnamsman' It remains the only place I fell flat on my face on the way in, rather than the way out - after tripping over a low chain in the rain one night.

Always swift service and a genial friendly host. The owner even puts up with junior ordering first. 'Octopus arms and Limonada parakolo' Always happy to return there ...

Down on the port, I get my tickets opposite the harbour at Sporades travel. Georgia remembers me, and my desperate trips between Larisa Volos and the island. With a 'Hello and how is your wife' ...


Once on the ferry you have time to spare, after a while you fancy a snack, then you remember why you used to visit the bakery before boarding ...



Yes a frappe coffee, and a packet of crisps - €6.10 ! You sit down swiftly to recover from the shock.

The ferry leaves on time, gracefully pulling away from the dock, but arrives in Skiathos 15 minutes late. It seems they are still throttling back the engines, to save fuel ...


But two hours forty after leaving Volos you arrive here.



A little lighter in pocket and richer in experience ...

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Sunny evening ...

I just love the colours ...

You look up, and the 'Seven Apostles' is preparing to land the days catch.


The hills over on Evia are taking colour from the setting sun, with hints of indigo and violet. The seagulls calling and circling.

This is my kind of Skiathos life ...

Weather:
Anyone heading down shortly for the celebration of Pasca, will be pleased to know, The next few days will again be very warm (around 10℃ above average for this time of the year). Highest temperatures up to 34-35
℃  degrees, locally, are expected on Tuesday across Greece ...

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Springtime ...

A great time to be on the island ...

Amazing light, flowers blooming everywhere, the aroma of blossom in the air. Sunlight and a surprising heat that turns your skin tone red, or in my case straight brown even in the shade ...


Deserted beaches that will shortly transform into ones covered in sunbeds, with more than a passing waft of suntan cream ...


The water is as still as a mill pond, a sheet of glass ideal for a water skier. There is a touch of the infinity blue too. Some will say its too cold to swim in May. Well 'Junior and Barbie' have been in, and its April, and will disagree with you ...


Some though just like to sit with a friend, and watch what is going on. Sitting comfortably under the shade of the tree, with bees buzzing and servicing the fragrant blossom overhead ...


Its a dogs life, watching as the island comes to life ...


Friday, 15 April 2016

Limoncello from Skiathos lemons ...

I was tempted to make a lemon tart ...

But after that taste of the home brew, I decided I had to make some more. Here it is and as you can see the liquid has already turned a golden colour, after a few minutes ...


Now we can brew along together if you wish, but you will need a large glass jar and good quality organic or unwaxed lemons ...

Ingredients:

The zest of 6 or 7 large organic lemons
1 litre of pure grain alcohol or vodka
5 cups (1250 ml) water
3 cups (700 gr) sugar

Instructions:

Peel the zest from the lemons with a vegtable peeler and place them into a large glass jar.  Try to avoid the bitter white pith of the lemon skin, under the yellow zest.

Add the alcohol to the jar with the lemon zest.

Close the lid on the glass jar, and give it a good shake, Within a few minutres the spirit will start to take on a yellow colour. Agitate the jar daily and store it in a cool place.

Quick method: Steep lemons for 7 days.

1. Place lemon peels in large glass jar.  
2. Pour alcohol over lemon peels
3. After seven days, strain the alcohol from the peels  
4. Add simple syrup and pour into bottles

On the sixth day: Boil the water and add the sugar to the boiling water. Stir the sugar until it is fully dissolved in the water. Set the sugar syrup aside to let it cool over night.

On the seventh day: Strain the lemons peels from the alcohol and discard the peels.

Pour the sugar syrup into the glass jar with the alcohol and stir well.

Serve chilled, from the refrigerator or freezer.

NOTE: The limoncello will keep for one to two years. Store it in bottles with a cap or cork in your bar or cellar. When you want to drink it, chill the limoncello in the refrigerator or freezer before serving.

UK friends, The L**l supermarket is selling a 'Russian type' vodka 50cl and 5x times distilled (See photo) for just £9.69 for a half litre. Ideal for the purpose ...

The jar in the photo, is a 750ml one and contains just 500ml spirit, with the zest of four lemons from Skiathos. Adjust the recipe down, from that above,if you use just 500ml spirit like I have.

If you leave it a month, then you will have a darker colour liquer, as an end result. Next month its SWMBO birthday, so I have a cunning plan ...

Thursday, 14 April 2016

A tale of two lemons ...

Here they are ...


On the left an organic lemon from a well known supermarket, yes it rather looks like a lime, but that's what happens if you keep them a few days. It meets UK/EU supermarket requirements, but it fails the sniff test, In fact a sommelier might detect a hint of cardboard, on the nose ...

On the right  an organic lemon from Skiathos, Xanemos area. Its leaf slightly faded, and bumped about a bit - However still fragrant after three days ...

So what? I hear you ask ...

Well I picked them both, one from a supermarket in a nice net bag, and the other from the tree. Bursting fragrant Lemon oil over my hand when it was picked.

Really ?

Yes ...

 

Lemons like this one make excellent Limoncello. I found we still had some of our previous vintage (2013) tucked away. It still tasted delicious, stored in an old vodka bottle, that we 'outsourced' in 2011 ...

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Flying Cat 4 - Thessaloniki to Skiathos - Summer 2016 ...


The old route is back ...

Flying Cat 4 will operate from Thessaloniki - Northern Sporades and Skiathos with Hellenic Seaways during the high summer ...


The route will begin on the 17th June and will end on the 6th September 2016 ...

You can find the latest timetable - here

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Beach Cleaning programme 2016 ...

Its time to clean the beaches, the holiday season is nearly here ....

APRIL 10 -17 2016, Clean up week, “Skiathos All hand on Deck”

Please see below the program of the cleaning
Hope to see you there! 


Cultural Association Skiathos with the support of the Municipality of Skiathos

Sunday 10 April
Megas Gialos - *Cultural Association Skiathos

Monday 11 April
Krifi Ammos (Hidden beach) & MANDRAKI - *Cultural Association Skiathos

Tuseday 12 April
Elias & Agistros - *Cultural Association Skiathos, & High School

Wednesday 13 April
Ligaries - Skiathos Rescue Team
Park-Pounta - Skiathos Women Association 

Thursday 14 April
Siferi & Saint George Lake - Primary School

Friday 15 April
Agios Panteleimon - *Cultural Association Skiathos
Plakes - High School

Saturday 16 April
Aselinos - Skiathos Team of the Greek Guiding Association, Skiathos Basketball Association
Kastro - *Cultural Association Skiathos

Sunday 17 April
Under water clean up, at Koukounaries harbour - Port Police, Cultural Association Skiathos

*Cultural Association Skiathos  = Volunteers meet at Acropolis at 9am

Thodoris Tzoumas

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Questions being asked ...

Where am I ...










Its great to know you miss me ...










But ...










There is only one way to explain it ....










Thank you for watching ...

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Kalimera ...

Certainly a lovely morning ...

Azure blue skies, and a gentle warm breeze. A factor 25 kind of day ...

A strong waft of paint, from Kabourelias ...

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Sailing race weekend ...

Pull the sheet and let go the mainsail ...

The Skiathos Yacht Club, has got together with the Yacht Club of Greece, and have announced a regatta in the bay of Koukounaries, on the weekend of May 6th - 8th ...


12 teams will race, for the first 'Skiathos Palace Cup' supported by the Municipality of Skiathos and the Cultural Association of Skiathos.

Given fair winds it should make impressive spectacle, from the beach, or as the hosts will wish - the hotel ...

Congratulations to Ortwin Wildmans walking group, They ascended to the highest point of the island Cape Mitikas. The walking group meet during the winter, and cover all the marked trails detailed within Ortwins book.


Photo:Despina Symiakaki

Upon successful completion of all of the walks, then you will be rewarded with the Skiathos walking medal ...

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Annual Skiathos beach cleaning 2016 ...

Thanks to Stuart for advising ...

The Annual cleaning of the Beaches on Skiathos will take place April 10th to 17th.

Details to follow.

'Apart from several individuals living here who regularly collect driftwood and the plastic that gets washed up, the Cultural Society of Skiathos organises groups of individuals and social groups including schoolchildren and transports them to all the Beaches including those on the North side of the Island and the small Islands nearby. 

They also arrange for it all to be collected, and this amounts to hundreds of black sacks, and then transfers it all to the Rubbish Dump. And not a lot of people know that!

Good morning from ...

A small green island in the aegean ...


Friday, 1 April 2016

Kαλό μήνα - Summer is loading ...

Καλό μήνα - Απρίλιος ...

Kalo Mina - Good Month - Aprílios - April ...

Only another 31 days to go, holidays are coming ...


Come on own up, Who has started packing yet ?

Thomas Cook holidays to Skiathos for 2017 went on sale this week, Strangely just as they started to announce changes to the flight plans for 2016.

If you thought you were flying home via Kavala, check again - It may now be via Corfu. At least you get another low landing over the water, when you think you may get your feet wet.

So time to book, or pack, what are you waiting for ...